Chapters 25-26 Summary
All obstacles between Humbert and Lolita are gone. “Delirious and unlimited delights” await him, but somehow he does not feel relieved. Instead, he worries that some friend of the family will rescue Lolita before he can get to her. He has led people to think that Lolita is his real daughter, but he has not made any effort to obtain legal guardianship. What if she somehow slips from his grasp?
En route to Lolita’s camp, Humbert stops at a pay phone to inform them that he is coming. It turns out that Lolita is out on a multi-day hiking trip and cannot be ready to leave until tomorrow. Humbert is devastated that he has to wait yet another day, but he is also weirdly pleased that Lolita is really out camping. He has an eerie impression that fate is manipulating his life to match his lies.
Now with time to spare, Humbert spends the afternoon shopping for beautiful new clothes for Lolita. He has a little book in which Charlotte wrote Lolita’s measurements several months ago. Charlotte was always envious of her daughter, so Humbert reasons that she probably added “an inch here, a pound there,” thus producing a result that should be fairly accurate today. He buys a beautiful set of fashionable girls' clothes, enjoying the process of choosing pretty dresses, skirts, and sweaters that will please both him and Lolita. The saleswomen are impressed by his knowledge of girls' fashion, and this strikes him as slightly dangerous. To prevent them from becoming suspicious, he asks some stupid questions about how to work the zippers. Then he buys a fancy little suitcase and has the saleswomen pack his purchases inside it.
Next, Humbert considers where to take Lolita after he picks her up. He decides on a little inn, the Enchanted Hunters, which Charlotte once wanted to visit with him. He sends a telegram asking for a room with two twin beds for himself and his daughter. In his nervousness, he agonizes over the wording and ends up misspelling his own name. Finally, his preparations are complete, and all he can do is wait for tomorrow. He tries to sleep, but he fails.
At this point, Humbert seems to struggle with the act of telling his story. He interrupts the narrative to say that the jail where he is living while he writes is a stuffy place that gives him headaches. The conditions are intolerable for writing, and he will probably be unable to finish. Instead of going on with the story, he types Lolita’s name over and over: “Lolita, Lolita, Lolita, Lolita....”