Connie makes plans to see Mellors in Venice. But before that, she has to suffer through a train ride on the Orient Express, because her father likes to travel in luxury. Boo hoo.
On the train, Connie finally confesses to her father that she's pregnant. He's not too shocked—remember that he's the one who told her that she needed to get laid in the first place. But he does tell her that she's an idiot to want to leave Clifford.
Clifford has already said that he'll accept any child of Connie's as his own, and Sir Malcom has some old-fashioned ideas about estates and inheritance: "Stick by Wragby as far as Wragby sticks by you. Then please yourself. You can make a break if you wish […] But you won't get much out of it. Put a little baronet in Wragby. It's an amusing thing to do" (18.30). Then he pervs out on his daughter a little, asking her if she at least had a real man and admiring her "sensually" (18.33).
To recover from this really gross scene, Connie meets Mellors at a restaurant. It's awesome. He looks great in his suit and she's happy to be with him.
Mellors doesn't seem quite as thrilled to see her, but, to be fair, he's had a lot on his mind, what with his crazy wife and job loss.
Finally she asks him if she should just go back to Clifford, and they get to the bottom of it: he's not too keen that she's the one with all the money in the relationship.
In his own elegant terms, he's "not just my Lady's fucker, after all" (18.101).
Connie reassures him. He's got something even better than money: he's got "the courage of [his] own tenderness" (18.113). In other words, he's a real man. He sure is—he admits it even to himself, and says that what England needs is more touch, with sex being the "closest of all touch" (18.117).
This gets them both so worked up that they go back to his room and have sex, where he realizes that he should just be happy that he's got a woman. This is a real turning point for him: "she is my mate. And it is a battle against the money, and the machine" (18.145).
So, they love each other, they're going to be together forever, hooray. Except that they're still both married to other people.
What now? Now Connie asks Mellors about his wife. Way to spoil the mood, Lady Chatterley.
Here's a good time for a quick history lesson about divorce: in the 1920s, in England, adultery was pretty much the only reason that the courts would grant a divorce—adultery on the part of one party in the marriage. Divorce was for the innocent person. You couldn't get a divorce just because you didn't like living with someone anymore.
If both people were adultering, then the courts might just decide to refuse the divorce. This means two things: (1) Mellors and Connie can't be seen together, because that'll make him a guilty party, too; (2) Connie needs to prove that she's been adultering with someone—but it can't be Mellors.
Connie goes to her father with her little problem. He's not thrilled about his daughter sleeping with a gamekeeper, whom he suspects of being a gold-digger—not because of the sex, exactly, but he doesn't want a scandal. He also doesn't like Connie's solution: get Duncan Forbes, the artist with a crush on Connie, to pretend to be Connie's lover.
Why in the world would Duncan do that?, her father asks. Because he wants Connie to model for him. He doesn't really want to have sex with her, but he does want to get her naked and paint her. (Well, the "naked" part is implied.)
Hilda, naturally, is furious, which seems to be her usual state of mind. But Connie, who's developed quite a backbone, insists that her father meet Mellors.
The meeting doesn't start off well, but pretty soon the two men are drunk and talking about women like a bunch of dudes in a locker room, "establish[ing] the old free-masonry of male sensuality" (18.225). In the end, Sir Malcolm resolves to leave her all his money, since "she deserves it for showing spunk, in a world of old women" (18.226).
Lunch with Hilda the next day doesn't go as well. Mellors isn't happy to hear about Connie's plan to name Duncan as "co-respondent"—the guy she's allegedly sleeping with.
Mellors suggests they just run away, but Hilda points out that Clifford is too well-known—not movie-star quality, maybe, but definitely as famous as a B-list television actor. This really stinks for Mellors, and it gets worse when he has to meet Duncan.
Mellors announces that Duncan's art "murders all the bowels of compassion in a man" (18.283), which Duncan does not take too kindly, although he dismisses it all as "sickly sentiment" (18.284).
Finally they come to an agreement: Duncan will pose as the father of Connie's child if she consents to model for him. Mellors objects, saying that Duncan will only "shit on you on canvas" (18.304)—not literally; this art isn't that modern—but Connie says she'll go anyway, since it means that they can be together.