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Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited


by Evelyn Waugh

Rex Mottram Timeline and Summary

  • Julia visits Sebastian and Charles at Oxford and brings Rex with her. He and Julia invite them to a ball that night.
  • When Sebastian, Charles, and Boy are arrested, they call Rex to help them with their jail situation. He does.
  • Rex arrives at Brideshead a few days after Christmas with a present for Julia: a live tortoise with her initials in the shell in diamonds.
  • Rex proposes that, as a solution to Sebastian’s alcoholism, he take him to this guy he knows in Zurich.
  • Cordelia later reports to Charles that Rex and Julia are getting very close, much to her dismay.
  • Rex comes to visit Charles in Paris and takes him out to dinner. He gives the latest news from Brideshead and discusses his intentions to marry Julia and the barriers in his way (namely Lady Marchmain). He admits to his affair with Brenda Champion.
  • Rex is very picky regarding the cognac they are served after dinner.
  • In May, his engagement to Julia is announced. In June they are quickly and quietly married.
  • Charles gives us the back-story on Rex and Julia. Julia liked the fact that he was older than she, and that he was a somewhat unsavory character. They met when Rex was staying with Brenda in France and Julia was nearby with her aunt. He was getting bored and so decided to pursue Julia as a project of sorts.
  • As Rex showered Julia with more and more gifts, she grew dependent on him and finally fell in love. One evening, he flaked on her and spent the night with Brenda instead. The next morning, Julia was upset and agreed to marry him, since being engaged was the only way to justify her anger.
  • They start fooling around together, until Julia puts an end to it on the grounds of her being a Catholic. Rex gets it elsewhere, from Brenda.
  • Julia, in an attempt to keep Rex faithful to her, resumes the fooling around and essentially renounces her religion in the process.
  • Lady Marchmain keeps trying to keep the engagement a secret, but Rex eventually gets Lord Marchmain’s consent, which is enough.
  • Now Rex has to convert to Catholicism. He does so, but fails to treat the conversion with the appropriate gravity. He also buys all of Cordelia’s ridiculous stories about Catholic dogma.
  • When Brideshead announces that Rex has been married before, Rex doesn’t think it’s a big deal. He insists he’ll just get an annulment and it takes some time for the Flytes to convince him that it doesn’t work like that.
  • He and Julia decide to get married in a Protestant church.
  • Julia later remarks that Rex isn’t a complete human being, and that the priest who tried to convert him was the only one to really understand this.
  • Aboard the ship on the Atlantic, Julia gives Charles some more detail. She and Rex tried to have a baby, but it was born dead. He didn’t mind so much because it was a girl anyway. She again says that, though Rex isn’t "intentionally unkind," "he isn’t a real person at all."
  • She adds that he went back to sleeping with Brenda Champion about two months after their honeymoon was over.
  • Julia explains that she is now living with Rex at Brideshead. He is disappointed with her and writes her off completely until someone he thinks is important takes a liking to her. She feels she’s being punished for marrying him.
  • Charles joins Julia and Rex at Brideshead, with a group of Rex’s loud and obnoxious friends.
  • When it comes out that both Charles and Julia want divorces, Rex asks Charles to get his divorce but leave Julia alone. Charles knows that Rex’s life isn’t going well, as he’s played his political cards the wrong way and has gotten some bad press.
  • Julia officially divorces Rex.