Chapter 69 Summary

Humbert drives slowly away, not really heading for any destination. He reflects that he did not particularly like Quilty’s house. He wonders if any doctor would be capable of saving Quilty now. He doubts it but hopes not, mainly because he wants to get on with his life and not deal with a vengeful playwright sometime in the future.

The road is long and straight, and Humbert suddenly thinks that since he is a rapist and a murderer, he might as well break traffic laws as well. He begins driving on the left side of the road. This gives him a wonderful feeling of elation, even though every passing car honks and swerves. When the police begin chasing him, he is only dimly aware of them. When two police cars pull up to block his path, he pulls off the road into a field of “surprised cows.” There his car rolls to a stop for the last time. Humbert sits and waits, feeling relieved that he will soon be captured. He plans to let them drag him out of the car; he no longer has the strength to go anywhere under his own power.

As he awaits capture, Humbert reflects on an experience he had just after Lolita left him. While driving down the road one day, he grew suddenly ill. He ended up vomiting in the bushes in a secluded spot. When he recovered, he sat listening to the sounds of the town below. He was too far away to see the people or hear individual voices, but he soon realized that the fathers were all at work, and the mothers were all in the houses. The sounds he heard were coming from the children. Suddenly he understood that it was a tragedy that Lolita was not there with the rest of the children, playing.

As Lolita ends, Humbert explains that he originally began writing this memoir in order to use it in his own defense. Now, however, he does not think he can show it to the world. If he does so, he will only hurt Lolita further. He asks that it remain unpublished until Lolita dies. Even so, he addresses his final paragraph to her, advising her to be faithful to her husband, to love her child, and to refrain from grieving for Clare Quilty. As for him, all that he is leaving behind is his memoir. Art is the only important result that can come from a human life.