Part 16 Summary

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Last Updated on April 6, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 372

While Peter strolls through the once-familiar London streets, he contemplates the differences between life in England and India. During his walk, he notices an ambulance careening toward the Smith’s house and idly wonders about what might have happened. However, his mind soon turns back toward the familiar subject of himself and Clarissa, and he begins to ponder the notion of marriage as a concept. 

Clarissa, he mulls, has played a significant role in his life, and he reflects on her impact, attempting to imagine what his life might have looked like without her influence. Eventually, he goes back to his hotel, checks his mail, and finds a letter from Clarissa inviting him to a party. However, he becomes irritated by her promptness in sending the letter, as she must have mailed it shortly after he left her home in a panic.

Peter also considers his relationship with Daisy and his life in India, considering their current separation and wondering whether this distance might lead her to reconsider their relationship. Throughout the walk, Peter’s thoughts tread a familiar path, flitting from themes of love, the women in his life, Clarissa, and himself. 

Returning to the hotel, Peter joins the other guests in the dining room for dinner. As they casually converse over their meals, he impresses the other guests around him and gains their respect, as he appears to be a knowledgeable and accomplished individual. Their approval leads Peter to feel excited about Clarissa’s party, as he looks forward to meeting and conversing with new people and considering what topics he should bring up. Despite his previous misgivings, he decides to attend, hopeful that he might impress Clarissa’s guests and, perhaps, Clarissa herself. 

The evening air is cool, and the city seems preoccupied with leisure; Londoners are enjoying outdoor dining or sedately walking in the pleasant weather. Peter notices this and comments on the transformations the city has undergone while he has been away, then continues toward Clarissa's Westminster home. He observes the hustle and bustle of the city, acknowledges the warmth and presence of people, and admires the beauty of the world. As he nears Clarissa's party, he mentally readies himself for the event, feeling hesitant but excited.

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