After dinner, Ben and Meg talk in the parlor. Meg has something she wants to discuss.
She explains that they are living in two different marriages.
True, Ben has been working hard on cases, but it's not enough; she feels like she's been waiting for him forever. First she waited while he was at Harvard, then while he was at Columbia, then afterward as he fought a war in Cuba.
From where she's sitting, it hasn't gotten better through their 11 years of marriage.
Meg respects the cases that Ben takes—heck, she even loves that he wants to help the little guy, people who are poor, Black, or have a tricky case—but she also wants to live in a house without a leaky roof. She's sick of giving up what she wants so other people can be helped.
Ben realizes that his wife is right. It's not that she's selfish; she just wants like to be a little cozier than this.
Just then, there's a knock at the door. Mazie announces it's a Black guy named Nate who wants Ben's help.