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by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita Book 1, Chapter 22 Summary

  • News comes that Lolita cannot begin boarding school until January, so Humbert goes to the doctor to get his sleeping pills so he can drug her and take advantage of her. He really plays up his insomnia so that the doctor gives him something strong.
  • He also realizes that in his eagerness he may be getting sloppy as he accidentally mentions to the doctor that he had been in a sanatorium.
  • Pleased with his acquisition of the pills, Humbert returns home.
  • Here's where it gets ugly: Charlotte got into his desk and read his letters. A sample: "The Haze woman, the big bitch, the old cat, the obnoxious mamma" (1.22.5). She not only knows what a cow he thinks she is, but also that he lusts after Lolita. Not good. She also she has written some letters – perhaps to Lolita, telling her of these sordid revelations – which she plans to mail immediately.
  • A desperate Humbert scrambles by explaining that they are notes for novel and that she is crazy. Humbert retreats to a kitchen for a stiff drink.
  • Just then a man calls on the phone and tells Humbert that Charlotte has been hit by a car. Now Humbert is really addled because he just left her in the living room. He returns and realizes that she really is gone.

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