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For Esmé with Love and Squalor

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.