Lucy is unhappy with the way her reunion with George went off. She had rehearsed the moment over and over in her mind but, as she observes, these things rarely turn out the way we plan them to.
As Lucy ponders this dilemma, she is with Mrs. Honeychurch and Cecil, visiting an old friend, Mrs. Butterworth. Cecil hates visits like this, and makes himself quite difficult. On returning to Windy Corner, Mrs. Honeychurch reveals to Lucy that she’s not Cecil’s biggest fan – he’s always being rude to people he doesn’t like (and, as we know, he doesn’t really like anyone), and constantly stops the Honeychurches from having fun. He doesn’t even like it when Freddy sings funny songs, which sounds pretty enjoyable to us. What a spoilsport.
Lucy is confused by the clash of Cecil-world and Honeychurch-world, and it puts her in a bad mood. Freddy unfortuitously chooses this moment to come up and ask her about George, whom he likes tremendously. He intends to invite the Emersons over for tennis on Sunday.
Mrs. Honeychurch mentions Charlotte, who apparently is having troubles with her hot water boiler. This is the absolute last thing Lucy wants to hear, and she almost blows her top. Fortunately, her mother notices and calms her down.
Emotional crisis averted, the family sits down to dinner. Freddy brings up George again, but Lucy distracts everyone by bringing up Miss Lavish – it turns out that Mrs. Honeychurch hates woman novelists.
But talk of writing women can’t last forever, and the conversation eventually turns back down the disastrous path it came from. Mrs. Honeychurch proposes something terrible – she plans to ask Charlotte to come and stay, since she’s having her house’s plumbing fixed. Lucy and Cecil are opposed to this plan, but Freddy, who’s always willing to see the best in people, feebly defends Charlotte. We learn that there will be many visitors in the next week, which should be exciting…
The “ghosts” of Lucy’s tormented memories are everywhere – everything is changing for her, and even the places of her childhood are being overtaken by images of George and of Italy.
It’s decided that Charlotte will come next week. Cecil abruptly concludes the chapter by rudely asking if he and Lucy can leave the dinner table.