The House in Paris

by Elizabeth Bowen

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen revolves around one day in which two children are going to meet family members. Henrietta is an eleven-year old girl who is traveling to see her grandmother by way of Paris and her grandmother’s acquaintance, Miss Fisher. Miss Fisher picks her up at the train station and brings her to her own mother’s house, Mme Fisher, who houses wealthy girls for extended visits while they study.

At Mme Fisher’s house, Henrietta meets Leopold, a nine-year-old boy who is meeting his mother for the first time that day. His mother, Karen, had him with his father, Max. He was the result of an affair—at the time of their relationship, Karen was engaged to Ray Forrestier, and Max was engaged to Miss Fisher.

Their relationship doesn’t end well—although they want to marry, ultimately Max kills himself and Karen marries Ray and gives up Leopold for adoption. On the day she is supposed to meet Leopold, she has second thoughts and sends word that she isn’t coming. Ray, who has never been comfortable with Leopold’s existence, realizes that the best thing for everyone is for Karen to meet her son. He arrives at the house and picks up Leopold to meet his mother. On the way they take Henrietta to the train so that she may continue on to her grandmother.

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