For Esmé with Love and Squalor
by J.D. Salinger
Charles Timeline and Summary
- Charles shows up partway through Esmé and the narrator's conversation to deliver a message from Miss Megley – she wants Esmé to come back to their table and finish her tea.
- Though he's supposedly "brilliant," Charles basically acts like a dopey, goofy little kid. He does some casual acrobatics under the table and tells the narrator that his eyes are orange (they're actually green).
- Charles placidly blows a huge raspberry at the narrator.
- Charles tells the narrator a riddle, and cracks himself up hysterically.
- Moments later, Charles repeats the very same riddle, word for word.
- The narrator doesn't give Charles a chance to get to the punch line, and answers the riddle before the little boy can. This is a total no-no.
- Charles, seething with anger, flips out and leaves the table in a huff.
- Esmé, Charles, and Miss Megley leave the tea shop.
- Esmé marches Charles back in a moment later to give the narrator a kiss goodbye. He does so rather unhappily.
- As Charles attempts to flee the scene, the narrator catches hold of his coat and pulls him back. The narrator asks Charles the riddle – Charles, incredibly pleased, delivers the answer and runs off, delighted.
- Charles includes an adorable but uninformative note in Esmé's letter to Sergeant X.