Study Guide

The Wings of the Dove Volume 2, Book 6, Chapter 2

By Henry James

Volume 2, Book 6, Chapter 2

  • On Thursday, it's time for Merton to head over to Lancaster Gate. Once there, he tells Kate that after running into Milly at the Gallery, he has concluded that it's impossible for them to keep their love a secret, and that there's no longer any point in delaying their marriage.
  • Kate responds that Milly is an ally because she has taken a special shining to him. In other words, Kate has figured out from Milly's behavior that the girl has a huge crush on Merton. She also advises Merton to "make something of it" or to use it to his advantage.
  • They are chatting upstairs at Lancaster Gate, alone in an old bedroom. Scandalous! Merton is even uncomfortable about the closed doors, but Kate assures him it's alright.
  • He suddenly asks if Kate will marry him exactly as he is. But Kate puts off the question by saying she has some ideas that might help them.
  • Frustrated, Merton grabs her and demands to know if she loves him. She surrenders to his grasp, which seems to be a satisfying enough answer for him.
  • Kate implies that there might be a way to make Aunt Maud accept their union. Merton wants to know how this could possibly be. Has Maud given any hints of letting up?
  • But again, Kate is elusive about what she means.
  • Kate finally tells him that he should keep trying to get into Maud's good books, but also to flatter Milly. For now, all she'll say is that Milly can be a good ally to them and she's more likely to be if Merton keeps his affection for Kate a secret.
  • Kate says she absolutely doesn't mind the idea of Merton leading Milly on. Kate says that there are many reasons for doing this, but won't get into them with Merton at this point.
  • She goes so far as to encourage Merton to go see Milly alone. He still doesn't quite understand what she's getting at. But some of us might be starting to figure it out…
  • When he leaves, Kate tells him that she'll be angry if he messes up her plan, even though he doesn't even know what it is yet.

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