Chapter 44 Summary
Undine and Raymond have come to an unspoken agreement—he goes his way and she goes hers. As long as they maintain the outward appearance of having a manageable marriage, everything will be all right. Thus Undine returns to her old friends, going to dinner with them on her own and inviting them over for tea. Raymond goes about his business, and sometimes they meet for family events.
The more significant change in Undine’s lifestyle is her almost constant companionship with Moffatt. Undine is pleased to see how easily incorporated and well-received Moffatt has become in her circle of friends. He is invited to most of the same parties she attends, and she takes advantage of this time to be with him. Knowing that he is interested in collecting precious art pieces, she finds ways of having him invited to private homes to which most collectors would not have access. She even studies the histories of the pieces she shows him so she can participate in conversations about the objects with him. Moffatt, who tells Undine that he is due to leave in a week, eventually delays his trip home more than once so he can linger in Undine’s company. They see one another almost on a daily basis. Raymond either does not notice or no longer cares what his wife does.
In the process of exerting her independence from her husband, Undine quickly depletes the allowance that her father has continued to provide for her. Most of this money is used to keep up appearances when dining with her rich friends. Undine knows Raymond will never extend his budget to cover her expenses, so she must provide for herself. She wishes she could go to her father as she had when she was younger and tell him of her need for more revenue, but a letter from her mother informs her that Mr. Spragg’s days of large increases in wealth are behind him. Undine’s parents have downgraded their style of living to keep themselves within their means, which is now much more limited than it was a few years ago. Undine worries about her parents’ income but only to the degree that she wishes they had more so they could enjoy the “happiness” of sending her the money she wants.
As Moffatt extends his time in Paris, Undine begins to suspect that she is becoming a less significant figure in his life. She witnesses his attention to her fade and senses that once she is out of sight he will completely forget about her. When Moffatt sets a definite date for his departure from France, Undine becomes desperate as she feels him pulling away from her. Moffatt is her last chance, she believes, of ever having the money to afford the lifestyle she thinks she deserves. As she ponders the consequences of Moffatt’s returning to the States, she decides to go to his hotel and plead with him not to abandon her.