Study Guide

The Wings of the Dove Volume 2, Book 9, Chapter 2

By Henry James

Volume 2, Book 9, Chapter 2

  • After leaving Milly's, Merton doesn't go back to his rooms. He sits on a bench and smokes and thinks about his life.
  • He stays away from Milly's place for three whole weeks to clear his head and think about Kate.
  • After that, he goes to the palace one day at teatime, but receives the message that Milly isn't receiving anybody. This means one of two things: she's gravely ill and nearly dead, or she's really angry with him. When it turns out that Susan isn't receiving guests either, Merton knows that it must be the second reason.
  • He calls on Eugenio the servant and finds out quickly that Eugenio thinks he's a bum who's just after Milly's money. Is Eugenio psychic, or what?
  • After an awkward staring contest with Eugenio, Merton walks away. During this walk, though, he sees Lord Mark hanging around in a nearby café. Ah-ha! The guy must have just paid a visit to Milly and must have upset her very deeply. The only thing is that Merton is too naïve to know why Lord Mark would have come back. He's been rejected by Milly once, so why come back for seconds?
  • Merton decides not to try going back to the palace for at least a day or two. During these days, he doesn't see Lord Mark in the neighborhood, which means that the guy came all the way to Venice just for one little meeting with Milly and then left for London again.
  • The more Merton thinks about it, the more he can tell that Milly wants him to leave Venice. As he hangs around in his rooms one gloomy day, the maid throws open the door and says that Mrs. Susan Stringham is there. Susan appears, and her face is soaked with tears.