Part 11 Summary and Analysis

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 492

The section begins with a meditation on time, and the clock under which Hugh Whitbread, on his way to Lady Bruton’s, stops to watch the world around him. He is satisfied with what he sees. He feels confident, aware of his strengths, and does not allow the malice of others to affect his peace.

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Lady Bruton considers her lunch guests. She considers Richard clearly superior to Hugh, but she is glad to see them both, to ask their help with a small task. The three sit for a sumptuous lunch before business. Bruton often wonders about what she could have accomplished if only she had been born a man.

During the conversation, Lady Bruton asks about Clarissa, and Richard stops to think about her question. Peter Walsh’s return to London is commented upon, and the three take a moment to wonder about him, and how his life seems slightly inferior. Yet Hugh asks for Peter’s address in London, and plans to ask him over for lunch.

Having finished their lunch, the three write the letter that Lady Bruton wishes to have printed in The Times of London. Though a capable woman in many respects, Bruton knows that these two men have a superior talent in letter writing. Her idea is to relocate young English couples to Canada. This completed, the men prepare to leave. Richard invites her to the party that night. The moment they leave, Bruton lies down for a nap. Today is Wednesday, she thinks.

Stopping at a streetcorner, Hugh suggests going to the jeweler’s. Richard, feeling sluggish after a full lunch on a hot day, agrees. He soon regrets this decision, for he finds Hugh’s posturing distasteful. He is listless, but then he seizes on an idea that gives him
energy. Richard decides to go home to Clarissa.

This section provides insights into both Richard’s and Hugh’s minds, which are not as complex as those of Clarissa’s and Peter’s. Richard and Hugh are busy, career-oriented men, without much time for brooding on the past or imagining the worlds of others. This probably helps them to be happier, and even healthier, although not as sensitive to the world around them. Even so, Richard’s response to Hugh’s behavior at the jeweler’s, and his thoughts about seeing Clarissa, show his inner life and his complexity. We see a balance between the types of his thoughts.

Although the discussion of the letter’s contents is not included, Lady Bruton’s idea is clearly implied, and it raises many questions. Her idea to settle respectable English couples in Canada seems odd. Having lost thousands of men during the war, one might think that England needed all its youth. But if (as was the case) many of the lost men had come from the upper classes, then emigration might have been considered a way of keeping a certain balance in England.

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