Chapter 15 Summary

The jive craze seduces Leonard and Maria just as they get engaged. Initially they had been skeptical, but with the explosion of rhythm and blues–based rock and roll, they soon are captivated and begin learning the moves. They decided to celebrate their engagement with a party, even though Leonard does not know many people. He invites Glass and Russell from work, as well as Lofting, the British agent who had first consigned Leonard to work with the Americans at the warehouse; Leonard had run into him by chance and recognized that the man was lonely. Leonard also runs into his neighbor, George Blake, who has warmed somewhat since the silence that followed their encounter on the landing. Leonard invites him and his wife, and he is surprised when Blake accepts.

The day of the party, Leonard and Maria listen to some of their new rock-and-roll favorites while setting up for the arrival of their guests. The first to arrive are Russell and Lofting, soon followed by two of Maria’s friends from work, Jenny and Charlotte. Russell, ever on the make, insists that Leonard introduce him to the girls. Soon, Russell is talking up Jenny while Charlotte is making pained small talk with Lofting. Glass and the Blakes arrive, and Glass gives a lengthy speech in which he likens Maria and Leonard’s impending union to the hopes for relations between their respective countries in the future. Mr. Blake eyes Glass and asks Leonard privately how he knows him. When Leonard says that he works with him, Blake tells him that he knows Glass works in intelligence; by admitting they work together, Leonard is revealing his line of work. Blake warns him to be more careful about mixing social functions with work, especially this line of work.

As the party winds down, Lofting and Russell leave with Charlotte and Jenny, respectively, to go to the club. Glass bids farewell, and Leonard notices that Glass and Maria avoid all contact with each other. After everyone is gone, Maria rolls her eyes about Glass’s toast. They decide to make their way from Leonard’s flat to Maria’s, where she has prepared the place for the romantic portion of their engagement celebration. When they arrive, Leonard finds the place more pleasant than usual. They retreat to her bedroom and begin to make love. When Maria whispers in Leonard’s ear, he either does not hear her or cannot comprehend what she says. She tells him that someone is in the room with them, hiding in the wardrobe behind Leonard. In a panic, Leonard tries to figure out what to do next.