The Golden Bowl Book 4, Chapters 5-6 Summary

Henry James

Book 4, Chapters 5-6 Summary

Maggie and her father return from their walk in Regent’s Park to find that Charlotte and Amerigo have already come home. The father and daughter discuss the plan for Amerigo and Mr. Verver to go to Spain. Mr. Verver says Amerigo will have to suggest the plan; he will not. They discuss the ability of the two couples to get along well together. Mr. Verver asks Maggie about the possibility of a return to their country home, Fawns, for the summer. Maggie states that she believes she is up to it, although she felt previously that this was too much proximity. Rather than going just the four of them, they talk about the possibility of asking Lady Castledean. Maggie confesses that she does not like Lady Castledean, but she enjoys watching her in action. Maggie also suggests asking the Assinghams because Fanny has been so instrumental in their lives previously. Mr. Verver states that he is sure the Assinghams would appreciate being included because their social life can sometimes be a bit limited. He worries that the four of them are selfish in their desire to be together. They are unselfish with each other, but their exclusion from other society has a strong flavor of self-centeredness that needs to be overcome. Therefore, it is a good idea if they break through this and have a large group of guests for an extended visit at Fawns.

Maggie turns to Fanny Assingham for help, though she senses that for some reason Fanny acts as though she is afraid of Maggie. Amerigo is obviously not going to ask Mr. Verver to go with him to Spain, so Maggie makes plans for the summer gathering at Fawns. When Fanny visits her, Maggie breaks down and begs Fanny to tell her what is going on between Amerigo and Charlotte. At this outburst, Fanny turns pale and professes not to know what Maggie is talking about. Fanny asks Maggie if she is jealous of Charlotte. Maggie says she is not jealous on account of her father—but she may be jealous on account of her husband. She says she is sure that both her husband and her step-mother are aware that Maggie has taken more notice of the times they spend together. Maggie says she can bear anything for love—not just love of her husband or of her father, but for love itself. Fanny assures her that she has never considered that there is anything inappropriate going on between Charlotte and Amerigo. Maggie accepts this with relief.