A Room with a View
by E.M. Forster
Charlotte Bartlett Timeline and Summary
- Charlotte and Lucy arrive at the Pension Bertolini. Charlotte attempts to “handle” matters with the rooms (and with everything) her own way – that is, ineffectually and passive aggressively. She apparently has a real chip on her shoulder about the fact that Lucy’s mother paid some of her travel costs, presumably in exchange for her chaperonage.
- Charlotte decides that the Emersons are absolutely unacceptable. She refuses the offer of the rooms.
- Mr. Beebe convinces the ladies to take the Emersons up on their offer. Charlotte “politely” thanks George.
- Upon moving into the recently vacated room of Emerson Jr., Charlotte finds a piece of paper with a large question mark drawn on it hanging on the wall – it gives her the creeps, and she carefully puts it away to return to George.
- Charlotte and “the clever lady,” Miss Lavish, quickly make friends.
- While Lucy is having profound experiences in Florence, Charlotte obliviously goes about her business. She hangs around with Miss Lavish, feels cool, and has her own small-scale adventures in the city.
- Following the murder, Charlotte and Lucy run into Mr. Eager, and arrange for the drive in the hills.
- During the afternoon in the countryside, Charlotte and Miss Lavish shoo Lucy away. She wanders off.
- Charlotte, looking for Lucy, discovers her young cousin being kissed by George in the meadow of violets.
- Upon their return to the Bertolini, Charlotte and Lucy decide that the older lady will deal with George. The two flee Florence, and head to Rome to meet up with the Vyses (family friends of Lucy’s).
- After the end of their trip to the Continent, Lucy and Charlotte fall out of touch. We learn that their relationship became even more strained after the “flight to Rome.” However, after receiving a letter from Miss Lavish informing her that the Emersons relocated to Summer Street, she writes a melodramatic letter to Lucy. Lucy responds coldly.
- Charlotte’s house in Tunbridge Wells has some plumbing problems, so Mrs. Honeychurch invites her to come and stay at Windy Corner. We can almost hear Lucy groan inwardly.
- Of course, Charlotte takes up the invitation. She shows up just as everything starts to converge in Lucy’s life.
- On the afternoon of George and Freddy’s tennis date, Charlotte does her very best to snub George (even though it doesn’t always work out for her).
- Lucy reveals to Charlotte that George has “insulted” (kissed) her a second time. When accused, Charlotte shamefacedly admits that she told Miss Lavish about the first George-Lucy kiss. Lucy asks Charlotte for help in confronting George. Charlotte, however, feels helpless and ashamed, and can’t pull it together enough to be of any assistance. She feebly asks if Lucy can talk to George herself.
- George himself comes in presently and confesses his love to Lucy. He appeals to Charlotte for help – for the time being, she is impassive.
- After Lucy’s breakup with Cecil, Charlotte appeals to Mr. Beebe for help – she thinks Lucy needs to get away. He agrees to assist with Lucy’s plan to go to Greece with the Miss Alans.
- Now, here is the mysterious part: when Lucy stops by the rectory with Charlotte to visit Mr. Beebe before she leaves for Greece, Charlotte may or may not have seen Mr. Emerson there. If she did, then surely she knew that he would convince Lucy to face her feelings. If in fact she did know that Mr. Emerson was there, then we should give her some credit for finally showing some human tenderness, albeit at the very last possible moment.