The Golden Bowl Book 3, Chapters 5-6 Summary

Henry James

Book 3, Chapters 5-6 Summary

When Charlotte says she is acting as she used to do by doing whatever she liked, the Prince admits he does not have her courage. She replies that it is not so much her courage as her imagination and intelligence. He asks her where she has been all day. She replies that she had gone to the museum and the art gallery and would have gone to the zoo if it had not been so wet. Maggie has been with her father and her baby all day. Leaving the child with his grandfather, Maggie ran some errands for Mr. Verver, taking Charlotte’s carriage, which accounts for Charlotte’s walking in the rain and taking a cab.

The Prince asks her what she will say when asked where she has been all day. Charlotte says she will frankly tell them that she has been with the Prince, keeping him company in his solitude. Maggie and her father are content spending their time together, in effect abandoning their spouses to their own devices. Charlotte says she and the Prince must plot what they will plan to say so their stories will be in agreement should they be called into question. The Prince tells her Mrs. Assingham is on their side and would do anything for them. They agree that their relationship is “sacred,” and they seal it with a passionate kiss.

Charlotte and the Prince decide that Mrs. Assingham no longer matters because they have taken over their relationship themselves. The Prince keeps postponing a visit to Mrs. Assingham that he promised her at the party at the Foreign Office. Mrs. Assingham has turned her attention to Maggie, unhappy about the “desertion” of Charlotte.

Charlotte has taken charge of the social relations of the family because Maggie’s attention is focused on taking care of her father. Charlotte has become involved in London society more than she had thought she would, especially after her return from America. She feels that this is part of the wonderful world she has acquired through her marriage to Adam Verver. At social engagements, the Prince tries hard to avoid Charlotte’s glance, fearing detection, but Charlotte looks at him just as she looks at her husband. The Assinghams and the Ververs are at the foot of the social ladder, but the Prince gives them an entrance to higher society.