Chapter 7 Summary
Mrs. Dorset sees through Lily's lies about her illness and guesses that her real plan is to spend the afternoon with Selden. This infuriates Mrs. Dorset, who wanted to spend the weekend with Selden herself. Seeking revenge, Mrs. Dorset spends all of Sunday afternoon telling Mr. Gryce scandalous stories about Lily’s gambling habits and failed love affairs.
Her revenge works out exactly as Mrs. Dorset plans. Early Monday morning, Mr. Gryce catches a train back home to his mother. Now he is afraid of Lily. There is little chance that he will ever speak to her again, let alone marry her. Those few hours of freedom with Selden have cost Lily a chance to marry a wealthy man.
Mrs. Trenor is annoyed at Lily for spoiling the chance with Mr. Gryce. Until yesterday, everyone at the party was doing their utmost to portray Lily in a good light for Mr. Gryce's benefit. Mrs. Trenor says, "We could none of us imagine you putting up with him for a moment unless you meant to marry him."
As Mrs. Trenor scolds her, Lily thinks about what she has given up. Her debts really frighten her; as Mrs. Gryce, she could have paid them off in a second. There is no escape from this painful knowledge, especially not in the presence of Mrs. Dorset, who takes every opportunity to remind Lily of the lost opportunity.
In the afternoon, Mrs. Trenor asks Lily to drive to the train station to pick up Mr. Trenor. Mrs. Fisher, the divorcee, volunteers to go instead, but Mrs. Trenor does not find her offer acceptable. She tells Lily privately that her husband has a bad habit of lending money to Mrs. Fisher. Lily goes to the station, reflecting that her present predicament would not be quite so terrible if she could borrow some money. However, doing so would be unthinkable for an unmarried girl like her. What she really needs is to make her own money stretch further.
At the station, Mr. Trenor is clearly charmed to see Lily, who rarely pays attention to married men. On the way home, Lily carefully steers the conversation to money. She explains that her income, tiny monthly dividends from her parents’ meager estate, cannot support her lifestyle. Mr. Trenor eagerly tells her that he can invest her money better, thus gaining her a greater income without any risk. Lily has no understanding of how investments work; she assumes that what Mr. Trenor has said is true. As she and Mr. Trenor return to Bellomont, he places his hand familiarly on hers.