Chapter 17 Summary
When Lily awakes the following morning on the Dorsets’ yacht, she learns that Mr. Dorset and Ned Silverton are both gone for the day. Mrs. Dorset is still sleeping, so Lily spends a lazy couple of hours enjoying the view. Around noon, she leaves to have breakfast with the Duchess, as they have planned. The meal is enjoyable, and afterward Lily goes to the Casino. Unable to play since she lacks the funds to gamble, Lily spends time watching other people, sometimes chatting with them.
Soon Lily sees Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Bry entering the Casino. Stopping to speak with Lily, Mrs. Fisher says that someone saw Lily waiting for a train with Mr. Dorset last night. Lily explains that she and Mr. Dorset did not intend to be seen alone together, but that Mrs. Dorset and Ned Silverton never arrived to meet them. Mrs. Fisher warns that Lily's reputation stands to suffer from such an incident.
Mrs. Fisher is still helping the Brys make friends with important members of society, but she confides that they are getting annoyed at her. She urges Lily to travel with the Brys instead, but Lily refuses. After all, she already has a group of traveling companions.
Later in the day, Lily meets Mr. Dorset in the street and notices that he looks exhausted. He tells her that Mrs. Dorset and Ned Silverton failed to return to the yacht last night. They finally arrived at seven o’clock this morning. They gave Mr. Dorset a flimsy story involving missed trains and lame horses, but he thinks it is a lie. When Lily tries to console him, he breaks down in tears and says that he is going to hire a lawyer.
Lily urges Mr. Dorset to come back to the yacht and patch things up with his wife, but he refuses. She returns to the yacht alone where she is surprised to find Mrs. Dorset cheerfully serving tea to the Duchess and Lord Hubert. Lily chats amicably with the group, helping to make dinner plans and secretly marveling at Mrs. Dorset’s ability to hold herself together during a time of such extreme stress.
When the visitors leave, Lily expects Mrs. Dorset to confide what has happened with her husband. Instead, Mrs. Dorset treats Lily in a cold and angry manner, as if she has been offended. She makes a series of veiled accusations about Lily’s relationship with Mr. Dorset. Lily listens in surprise and confusion, unable to comprehend why her friend would make claims that they both know to be untrue.