Last Updated on April 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 313
Walking home, Richard makes the decision to give Clarissa a bouquet of flowers. During his journey through London, he focuses on his wife and marriage with great concentration, giving the topic more thought than perhaps he ever has. He meditates on her significance in his life and longs to approach her in a perfect manner, expressing his affection with loving words and demonstrating his appreciation for her in an eloquent, honest way.
The sound of Big Ben striking three times echoes in Clarissa's drawing room as she receives a note requesting the invitation of Ellie Henderson to her party. This request agitates Clarissa because she had purposely excluded Ellie from her guest list and resents feeling compelled to include her. Additionally, her thoughts turn to Doris Kilman, who is in another room praying with Elizabeth. All these thoughts also weigh heavily on Clarissa's mind, and she struggles to form clear opinions.
Richard brings flowers as a surprise to her, but he finds it difficult to adequately express his thoughts and feels hesitant to share his true feelings. However, Clarissa comprehends his unspoken words, as the flowers and his unplanned visit convey his emotions. During their conversation, Richard informs Clarissa about Peter's return, but she tells him that Peter had already visited her that morning. Richard talks about his interactions with Hugh during lunch and afterward, while Clarissa continues to discuss Peter. They talk past each other, failing to fully comprehend each other's words, and it appears that this disconnected dynamic defines their relationship.
Clarissa and Richard speak awkwardly with Elizabeth and Doris, then Richard decides to take a nap and excuses himself from the stilted conversation, citing medical necessity. Left alone once more, Clarissa wonders what it is that keeps her feeling entertained, fulfilled, and energized and concludes that she finds the most joy and satisfaction in the mundane luxury of life itself.