Chapter 15 Summary
As Harry enters Freddy’s place, he sees three tourists (Mr. and Mrs. Laughton and Professor MacWalsey) at the bar, joking back and forth. Harry interrupts and asks to speak with Freddy privately. The woman tourist looks at him appreciatively then tells her husband that she wants to buy him. Harry tells her to shut up and calls her a whore. Freddy takes him in the back where Bee-lips is waiting. He tells Harry he cannot call a decent woman a whore, but Harry is offended by her condescension.
Harry asks Bee-lips if he has the money. He hands over $1,020. Harry tells him it should be $1,200, but Bee-lips says he subtracted his commission. He begs Freddy to take the money, but Freddy is hesitant at being short-changed. Finally he agrees to take a chance. Harry promises he will take care of Freddy’s boat as if it were his own, but Freddy points out that Harry lost his own boat. Bee-lips tells Harry that he will be at the dock at four o’clock. Harry reasons out loud that the customs officials will have to let him out of the harbor with Freddy’s boat. He decides against Bee-lips’s advice to tell Freddy what he plans to do with the boat.
Back at the bar, the tourists confront Harry for insulting Mrs. Laughton. After some argument, the tourists turn their attention elsewhere, but the woman is still obsessed with Harry’s “beauty.” Albert comes in looking for Harry, who has gone down to the dock. Freddy listens to the tourists, all the while worrying about his boat. He wonders about the tourists but appreciates that at least they are buying expensive drinks. Laughton sees a man and a girl enter, whom he greets as Richard Gordon and Helen. They ask about Professor MacWalsey, who had also been in the bar. He is on a sabbatical, and both women state that they like him. They speak of going to a party at the Bradleys’ the following day. Mrs. Laughton chides her husband for talking like a professor, and he tells her not to strut her illiteracy. Helen asks if writers go to bed with a “social phenomenon” for experience to use in their writing. Gordon says a writer must have a variety of experiences, even if they do not fit in with “bourgeois standards.” Helen asks what a writer’s wife is to do then. Mrs. Laughton mentions Harry, with whom she still is fascinated. Helen all of a sudden looks as if she is going to cry and says she is going home. Freddy hopes she will not cry in his café.