Book 2, Chapter 1 Summary
Anthony and Gloria grow closer as they discuss marriage. Gloria insists on a June wedding because it matches their personalities, both “clean like streams and wind.” Mrs. Gilbert is not surprised but acts like she is. Although they often argue, Anthony and Gloria enjoy making up. Gloria tells Anthony how she became involved with Bloeckman, who tried to dissuade her when she told him that she and Anthony are engaged. One spring afternoon, Anthony and Gloria ride around the city atop a bus. They disagree whether the city is fake or glorious. Gloria observes the policemen and wonders if they think the people they help are fools. As the dusk approaches, Gloria must return home, and Anthony dreams of the day they are married and do not have to part. Over everything is the expectation that Anthony’s grandfather will die and leave them a substantial inheritance.
Before the engagement is officially announced, Anthony visits his grandfather to inform him of his approaching marriage. At first Adam Patch is dismissive of Anthony’s ability to support a wife. When Anthony gets up to leave, his grandfather suddenly decides he likes him and offers him his home as the site of the wedding. Later he also gives the couple five thousand dollars, which Anthony finds somewhat disappointing. Mrs. Gilbert is impressed, as she is with the rest of the gifts, which she places around Anthony and Gloria’s theoretical home.
Gloria has kept a diary over the years. Before her wedding, she looks over the past entries, which are mostly concerned with former loves. She becomes misty-eyed over the entry of her first kiss. She writes “FINIS” after the last entry, closes it, and puts it away. Anthony, unable to sleep, is disturbed by the unrestrained and maniacal laughter of a woman in the street below his apartment.
Anthony and Gloria are married without incident. After a six-month honeymoon, they settle down to the mundane life of married people no longer besotted with each other. They revert to enjoying the company of other people, not just each other’s. Anthony learns of Gloria’s nervous tension. Gloria sees that Anthony is a coward in many ways. Gloria is no good at everyday tasks, like sending out the laundry. Anthony resents having to do this himself to avoid a row with his new wife. Gloria resents turning historic sites, such as Robert E. Lee’s home at Arlington, into tourist attractions under the pretense of preserving them. Eventually they settle down to search for their perfect “little gray house.” Gloria is a poor driver, and during the search she wrecks the car by driving over a fire hydrant. They walk to the nearest real-estate agent and finally sign the lease on a house. They move into it in the autumn. Later that year, Mrs. Gilbert passes away.