We see more of the impoverished Gregson family; Mrs. Gregson has had a baby and is too weak to produce enough milk for the child. Harry and his younger brother start sneaking out at night, stealing milk from Mrs. Forrester's beloved cow Bessie for the baby. One night, however, the younger brother accidentally leaves the gate unlatched and the cow wanders off. When Mrs. Forrester finds her Bessie is missing, she is inconsolable and a good deal of the townspeople turn out to help search for the beast.
While this is going on, Major Gordon proposes to Jessie and she is about to accept him when he informs her that his regiment is being sent to India. Jessie tells him that she can't possibly leave her father alone and move so far away and, extremely upset, the Major leaves Cranford.