A Room with a View
by E.M. Forster
A Room with a View Part 2, Chapter 18 Summary
- Mr. Beebe, blissfully unaware of what has transpired overnight at Windy Corner, is on his way there with a letter from the Miss Alans. The two elderly sisters are planning a trip to Greece, and he can’t wait to tell Lucy about it.
- On his way into the house, Mr. Beebe encounters Cecil and Freddy. Cecil is clearly departing for the train station. He is uncharacteristically gentle. They chat briefly about the Greece trip, and just before Cecil and Freddy leave, Freddy warns Mr. Beebe about the breakup of the engagement.
- Mr. Beebe is ecstatic – he thought Cecil was pretentious and a bad influence on Windy Corner.
- He hears Lucy playing Mozart in the drawing room, but decides not to interrupt her. He instead goes looking for his niece, who is in the garden.
- In the garden, he encounters Mrs. Honeychurch, who is engaged in a battle against nature (her dahlias), assisted dubiously by Minnie, a servant boy named Lennie, and Charlotte.
- They discuss the death of the engagement briefly, then Mr. Beebe returns to the house. He goes to talk to Lucy. After some preliminary discussion about the broken engagement, he shares his news about the Miss Alans.
- Lucy unexpectedly decides that she must go on this trip. She grows more and more attached (perhaps irrationally) to the idea; it provides a possible escape mechanism from home, family, and the confusing feelings that are plaguing her.
- Charlotte appears, and Mr. Beebe leaves to take her to tea with Minnie. On their way, they discuss Lucy’s situation. Mr. Beebe wonders if Charlotte might have hidden depths “of strangeness, if not of meaning.” Well put, Mr. Beebe.
- Charlotte is reticent for once. When they’re having tea, though, she opens up suddenly. She is convinced that the Greek scheme is a good plan – she knows why Lucy wants to get away from Summer Street. She convinces Mr. Beebe that there is a mysterious yet pressing reason for Lucy to leave, and he agrees to help her send Lucy to Greece.
- Mr. Beebe’s complicity here is a little puzzling, even to him. He has the distinct feeling that he wants Lucy to remain single and devoted to unmarried life, even if he doesn’t admit this to anyone. He’s not sure exactly what the circumstances are that Charlotte evasively refers to, but believes that the need for “rescuing” Lucy is pressing enough to send her away.
- By the time the trio returns to Windy Corner, the plan is in action. Mr. Beebe manages to convince Mrs. Honeychurch that Lucy should go to Greece. Everything appears to be settled.
- Everyone returns to the drawing room to hear Lucy singing a rather foreboding song – the lyrics emphasize her new commitment to remaining alone throughout her life. Mr. Beebe is briefly dissatisfied with the outcome of this story, but convinces himself that he’s doing the right thing.
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