Chapter 15 Summary

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The next day, Mrs. Haze takes Lolita to town to buy some clothes for camp. Lolita is angry that she is being sent away, but the shopping improves matters: she is highly susceptible to bribery. Humbert goes to his bedroom and writes letters, forming a plan to go to the seaside until Lolita comes home from camp, at which point he will return to the Haze household. He has decided that he cannot live in Ramsdale without her.

The next day, Lolita refuses dinner. She and her mother have had a fight, and Lolita has been crying. Humbert knows that the little girl hates letting him see her with a red face and swollen eyes. Her shyness on this point saddens him. He not only loves “that tinge of Botticellian pink, that raw rose about the lips, those wet, matted eyelashes,” but he also feels that he would greatly enjoy an opportunity to comfort the child.

That evening, in the garden, Mrs. Haze says she has told her daughter that Humbert is happy about the camp plan. Now Lolita is claiming that her mother and Humbert want to get rid of her. Mrs. Haze shrugs this off, saying that Lolita is only saying such things to be petulant. The girl is primarily annoyed that her mother has decided to return some pretty camp clothes in favor of sturdier and more practical options. Mrs. Haze explains:

You see, she sees herself as a starlet; I see her as a sturdy, healthy, and decidedly homely kid. This, I guess, is at the root of our troubles.

For the next couple of days, no matter how hard Humbert tries to be kind, Lolita acts surly toward him. He deeply regrets losing time with her:

I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.

He explains that a nymphet is a nymphet only for a few years. Soon Lolita’s body and personality will grow up, and then she will not be the child he wants anymore. He will continue to love her, but he will love his memory of the preteen girl with the pubescent body and immature personality. It infuriates him that he is losing “two whole months out of the two years of her remaining nymphage!” He daydreams idly of dressing up as a young woman and hanging out at the edges of her summer camp, hoping to catch occasional glimpses of her—but he knows this is impossible.

On Thursday morning, Mrs. Haze and Lolita get into the car. Lolita waves goodbye to the maid, Louise, and looks at the trees in the yard as if she will never see them again. When she sees Humbert watching from the window, she runs back inside. Mrs. Haze, furious, tries to stop her, but Lolita ignores all protests. She runs upstairs and, to Humbert’s enormous pleasure, kisses him goodbye. Then she runs back down to the car, and her mother drives her away.

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