Chapter 47 Summary

Humbert begins sending Lolita to piano lessons twice per week. One day, her teacher calls and informs Humbert that Lolita has missed her last two lessons. When he confronts her, she seems unsurprised that he has found out. She tells him confidently that she skipped piano in order to rehearse for the play with Mona. Humbert promptly calls Mona, who politely tells him the same story. He does not believe a word of it.

In a cold fury, Humbert returns to Lolita. She stares at him defiantly, and he realizes that she has changed a great deal since he first met her. She is growing up. Her skin is beginning to look worn, and in spite of her make-up, he can see ugly red marks from a recent cold around her nose. She looks cheap, like a young prostitute who has already been used and discarded.

Humbert tells Lolita that he can take her away from her friends, her school, and her play in “the time it takes to pack a suitcase.” Lolita maintains her cool confidence, and he realizes that she is no longer moved by the threats he normally uses to keep her compliant. He grabs her by the wrist and forces her up the stairs. He demands to know where she hides her money, but she just shouts at him. She accuses him of trying to molest her even before he married her mother, and she says he probably murdered Charlotte Haze. All though this argument, Humbert hangs onto her wrist, and she fights him so hard he worries he might break her arm.

The phone rings, and Humbert goes to answer. The caller is a neighbor complaining about the noise. When it becomes clear that the woman has not heard the content of the argument, Humbert tells her that his daughter’s friends are responsible. As he speaks, the door slams. Lolita is gone.

Humbert’s car is in the shop, so he chases Lolita on foot. Eventually he finds her in a drugstore talking on a payphone. She hangs up and greets him with charming courtesy. She asks him to buy her a soda, and he does. While she drinks, she tells him that she hates her school and her play. She asks him to take her on another trip, but to let her choose where to go this time. Humbert agrees to do everything she asks. He takes her home, and she tells him to carry her upstairs. “I feel sort of romantic tonight,” she says. Humbert sobs through the sex that follows.