Part 11 Summary
Last Updated on April 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 378
The passage opens with a reflection on the concept of time, as Hugh Whitbread pauses to observe the world beneath a clock on his journey to Lady Bruton's. He finds contentment in what he sees, feeling self-assured and confident in his abilities and refusing to allow the ill will of others to disrupt his inner calm.
Lady Bruton evaluates her lunch guests and deems Richard to be of higher status than Hugh, who she snubs slightly. However, she is pleased to have both of them present, as she requires their assistance with a minor task. Prior to discussing business, the trio enjoys a lavish lunch. Lady Bruton frequently ponders what achievements she could have attained if she were born male, guessing that she would have outshone many of the men she knows.
During their conversation, Lady Bruton inquires about Clarissa, causing Richard to pause and reflect on her question, which he has not given much thought to recently. They also discuss Peter Walsh's recent return to London and speculate about his life and accomplishments, which they view as somewhat lacking, given his potential. Despite their disparaging comments, Hugh requests Peter's address in London with the intention of inviting him over for lunch to catch up.
After having their meal, the two men help compose a letter at the request of Lady Bruton, which she intends to publish in The London Times. Despite being competent in various aspects, Lady Bruton recognizes that the two men possess exceptional skills in letter writing, and she hopes that their literary skills might help support her cause: relocating young English families to Canada, where they might make lives for themselves.
Once they finish the task, the men make arrangements to depart, and Richard extends an invitation to Lady Bruton to attend Clarissa’s party that evening. As soon as they exit, Lady Bruton takes a nap, recalling hazily that it is Wednesday.
While standing at a street corner, Hugh proposes to visit a jeweler's store. Richard, who is feeling lethargic after the heavy luncheon and oppressive heat, reluctantly agrees. However, he quickly realizes that he enjoys neither Hugh's attitude nor his company. Despite feeling unenergetic, Richard suddenly comes up with an idea that invigorates him and decides to leave, heading home to Clarissa.