Chapter 27 Summary

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Humbert has some car troubles in the morning, but he arrives at Lolita’s camp by early afternoon. An ugly little boy directs Humbert to the camp office. There he waits nervously. He has told the camp officials that Charlotte is gravely ill, and he hopes that they will interpret his disquiet to worry about her health. Eventually he hears Lolita behind him. When he first sees her, he thinks that he should take her and give her a good home—but this thought passes quickly.

In the car, Lolita chews gum and asks—apparently more from a sense of duty than worry—about her mother’s health. Humbert makes some vague reference to stomach problems, and Lolita moves on to more important topics. She announces that she has been “revoltingly unfaithful” to Humbert. She asks him to kiss her, and he pulls over immediately. He writes, “I touched her hot, opening lips with the utmost piety, tiny sips, nothing salacious.” He knows that this is all a game to her, and he is terrified that he will scare her if he lets her sense his deep need.

At Humbert’s prompting, Lolita cheerfully and cynically describes her time at camp. She refers to herself as a “juvenile delickwent,” and she mocks the Girl Scout motto, saying that she is “absolutely filthy in thought, word, and deed.” She hints that she had some sexual experiences over the summer, but she refuses to describe them.

All Humbert can think about is getting Lolita to the hotel, drugging her at dinner, and enjoying her body all night while she is deeply asleep. However, fate seems set against his plans, and he cannot find the hotel. He has a romantic notion about the particular inn he has chosen, and so he drives in circles for what seems like forever, passing innumerable cheap joints with names like "Komfy Kabins" in his quest for the Enchanted Hunters.

When Humbert finally finds the hotel, the manager says that the last room with twin beds is gone. Humbert asks for a room with a double bed, plus a cot for his daughter. The manager says that he has no cots left, but he assures Humbert that the double beds are large and that families often share them. Feigning dismay, Humbert says, “We’ll manage somehow."

Lolita pays no attention during this exchange, but she is surprised when she finds out that she and Humbert are going to share a room. She jokes about incest and says that her mother will be furious. Humbert tries to kiss her, but Lolita is already bored with kissing. He gives her the suitcase full of pretty clothes instead.

Next, Humbert takes Lolita to dinner. While they eat, she exclaims that a man at a nearby table looks exactly like the famous playwright Clare Quilty. During dessert, Humbert pompously gets out his vial of purple pills and pretends to take one. Lolita asks what it is, and he makes up some nonsense about vitamins. She demands to try a pill. As soon as she swallows it, she grows drowsy.

Humbert quickly takes the drooping Lolita upstairs. When they reach their room, he preserves appearances by offering to leave for a while so that she can get changed. She drowsily hints again at the sexual activities of her summer—“I’ve been such a disgusting girl”—but Humbert shushes her and tells her to go to sleep. Just to be safe, he locks her in the room. Then goes downstairs to wait for the pill to take effect.

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Chapters 25-26 Summary


Chapter 28 Summary