Study Guide

Where Angels Fear to Tread Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

  • Philip and Harriet make the long trip by train from London to Monteriano. On their voyage, Harriet gets "smut in her eye" (smut means a small flake of soot or dirt) after she insists on keeping the train window open (because she thinks the foreigners on board are "filthy"). When they arrive in Florence, Harriet is in an even more sour mood than usual.
  • Unlike Philip, who enjoys traveling and loves Italy (at least he did until the whole Gino fiasco), Harriet is extremely suspicious of foreigners and hates leaving the security of her own home.
  • At one point, Harriet criticizes her brother for not having a solid plan on what to do about the baby, accusing him of not caring at all about the child's welfare. Philip ignores her, but he knows she's right—he doesn't care a fig for the baby, but he intends to do his duty. He hopes that Gino will accept a reasonable amount of money in exchange for the child so that the whole situation can be resolved as quickly as possible.
  • When they finally arrive at the hotel, Harriet insists that her brother go immediately to see Gino about the baby. Philip protests, saying he wants to have his afternoon tea, but Harriet stands her ground. At that very moment, Miss Abbott appears—as coincidence would have it, she's staying at the same hotel.
  • To get back at Harriet for ordering him around, Philip suggests that she and Miss Abbott should catch up with each other, knowing that Harriet considers Caroline as the enemy now.
  • Philip heads off to pay a visit to Gino, but when he arrives at the house, Perfetta informs him that Gino is out. Just his luck! Philip leaves his card with Perfetta and returns to the hotel, where he runs into Miss Abbott again.
  • Miss Abbot admits that she came to Monteriano as a "spy" because she suspects that Mrs. Herriton doesn't actually want to recover the baby. Caroline recounts to Philip that she had arrived a day before him, and yesterday, she ran into Gino (quite by coincidence) at the Rocca, which has a beautiful rooftop view of the town at sunset. Her conversation with Gino had stuck mostly to the weather, and she kept from mentioning the baby at all.
  • With nothing to do that evening, Philip proposes that they should all go to the theater to watch Lucia di Lammermoor, an opera based on Sir Walter Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor.
  • Even though the Italians in the audience are loud, Philip and Miss Abbott find them charming. Harriet, however, keeps shushing them to be quiet and at one point gets struck in the chest by a bouquet when the actress playing Lucia throws flowers into the audience. Philip picks up the bouquet and gives it to a young Italian who turns out to be… Gino! Yes, we know, this novel is full of coincidental chance meetings. Embracing Philip as his "long-lost brother" (121), Gino happily agrees to meet with him the next day.

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