Chapter 10 Summary

Lily stays in New York during most of the fall, spending the money she got from Mr. Trenor. She continues to receive few invitations from friends aside from the Trenors, whose invitations she continues to decline. At Thanksgiving, she is invited for a week’s vacation in the Adirondacks with Mr. and Mrs. Wellington Bry, a newly rich and not very fashionable couple whose attentions she has previously ignored. Lily decides to accept the offer, and she spends a happy week at the Brys’ party. Eager to gain acceptance among Lily’s friends, the Brys work hard to please her throughout the vacation.

After Thanksgiving, Lily returns to her aunt’s home, where she receives a visit from Mr. Rosedale. He asks her to sit in his box at the opera on opening night. He mentions that Mr. Trenor will be there and hints at knowledge of the financial transactions between Mr. Trenor and Lily. Lily answers breezily, but inwardly she is terrified that Mr. Rosedale will let his knowledge slip out to the general public. She accepts his invitation, hoping that he will be discrete if she is kind enough to show her face with him on such an important occasion. Mr. Rosedale goes away happy. He is aware that she is trying to manipulate him, but he does not mind doing her a small favor as long as he gets what he wants.

At the opera, Mr. Trenor insists on talking privately with Lily. He accuses her of avoiding him and demands to know why she will not show him some attention in exchange for the large favor he did for her. He begs to spend time alone with her, and she tries to evade his suggestions. At first she tries to pacify him with a charming smile and a bit of flirtatious banter, but this approach does not work. Eventually she offers to go out with him on a private walk in the park.

Just then, Mr. Dorset comes to the box to speak to Lily. He is a self-absorbed bore, but she finds him a relief after her stressful conversation with Mr. Trenor. Mr. Dorset voices a string of complaints about his wife’s artistic and social engagements always causing her to rush meals. In the midst of his speech, he mentions that Mrs. Dorset wants Lily to come to their house on Sunday. Lily, whose anger at Mrs. Dorset is diminished because of the secret power of possessing those illicit love letters, accepts the invitation.