Part 14 Summary

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Last Updated April 5, 2023.

Doris Kilman stands in a state of misery and despair. She is visibly distressed and sways back and forth like a young child. When she departs from the tea house, she appears awkward and foolish. While walking on the street, she catches sight of Westminster Cathedral, which soothes and uplifts her spirits. As she stands among a group of people, her acquaintance Mr. Fletcher notices her. Although he regards her with sympathy and understanding, he does not pause to engage in conversation with her.

Elizabeth is waiting for a bus that is open to the public. Other individuals are beginning to liken her to various natural elements, which is causing her discomfort. Despite not seeking attention, her distinctive, alluring appearance and emerging maturity as a woman attract the curiosity of those around her, and the attention makes her uncomfortable. 

In a flurry of color and motion, Elizabeth conveys her thoughts about Doris, demonstrating both empathy and criticism toward the older woman. Elizabeth's primary source of pleasure comes from the sense of liberty she experiences, being free to travel wherever she pleases without any supervision. The bus ride is akin to a horse ride with its swaying motion, and as she travels to the Strand, a prominent London street that connects the western section of the city to the central part, Elizabeth contemplates her future.

Although Elizabeth is aware that her family does not typically frequent the neighborhoods around Strand—a major thoroughfare running parallel to the River Thames—her inquisitive nature turns the visit into an exciting experience. She finds the surrounding world brimming with intriguing events and enigmas. Observing the lives of the various people around her boosts her self-assurance and inspires her to consider multiple paths for her life.

Elizabeth perceives her environment as a constantly changing blend of different feelings and experiences. As the sun begins to set on the early June day, she is awed by the city and the world, in love with all that surrounds her. However, Elizabeth becomes aware that she needs to return home and tries to find a clock to check the time. Despite her reluctance to leave, she eventually boards an omnibus, which takes her back home. As she travels, a thin layer of cloud moves across the sky, gradually covering the sun.

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Part 15 Summary