Excellent Women - Chapters 19-23 Summary & Analysis

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Chapters 19-23 Summary

Mildred takes great pains to handle the belongings in the Napiers' apartment as Rocky had asked. Rocky's large desk has been infested with worms and Mildred ponders calling Mrs. Bone to find out what one can do with infested furniture.

Miss Clovis invites Mildred to tea and the pair has a long conversation with Helena about her relationship with Rocky. Helena has decided to collect her things from the apartment. Mildred tells Helena about the movers and the items that Rocky had requested to be taken to the cottage. Helena is annoyed as some of those things belong to them as a couple and she wants them back. Helena asks Mildred to write a letter to Rocky asking for the return of some of the furniture. Helena confesses that Everard is out of the picture, although she does love him. Helena also asks Mildred if she cares about Rocky in a romantic sense.

Mildred writes to Rocky at the cottage. Rocky returns the letter and invites Mildred to come to the cottage for a weekend. Mildred says she would love to accept yet Rocky does not indicate a particular date and Mildred feels it is not proper for her to initiate the visit.

Helena goes to live with her mother in Devonshire. Julian, Winifred and Allegra go on holiday together. Mildred feels somewhat lonely and abandoned.

Everard waits for Mildred on the street once again and takes her to lunch. During the lunch Everard asks about Helena and if there are any plans for reconciliation or divorce. The topic of marriage comes up, and Everard is also of the opinion that excellent women are not for marrying. William stops by the table and seems to be jealous about Mildred's lunch with Everard.

Mildred and Dora go on their annual September holiday. This year, they have chosen to go to Devonshire to visit a famous abbey. Mildred loves the abbey and the religious connotations, while Dora feels the entire scene is over-commercialized. The pair goes into the village to have lunch and run into Helena. The three go to tea together, and Helena asks Mildred to write to Rocky right away because she wants him back.

Winifred comes to Mildred's apartment one evening, completely overwrought. It is pouring down rain and Winifred is in her slippers and not wearing a coat. Mildred invites her up to the apartment and learns that Winifred's relationship with Allegra has completely disintegrated. Winifred says she cannot spend another minute in the house with Allegra. When Julian was out with the boys' club, Allegra turned on Winifred and the two argued bitterly. Allegra said many terrible things to which Winifred was too shocked to reply. Winifred says as she wants to live with Mildred. Mildred stumbles, not sure how to convince her friend that everything will work out.

Julian arrives at Mildred's apartment equally upset. Julian tells Mildred and Winifred that the engagement is off. Although Julian had been previously oblivious to Allegra's ways, a huge argument broke out regarding Winifred and Allegra's expectations. Julian says Allegra has left the vicarage. Mildred does her best to comfort her friends.

Mrs. Morris arrives at Mildred's apartment and already knows the news about the breakup. Mrs. Jubbs, the Malorys' cleaner, heard the entire argument. Apparently, Allegra said many horrible things to Winifred and the opinion is that everyone is glad Allegra is gone. Everyone is now wondering if Mildred will marry Julian after an appropriate period of time.

It has been determined that Sister Blatt will move into Allegra's old room.

Mildred feels terrible and decides to go to bed early. Everard calls and invites Mildred to dinner but she declines. Later Mildred feels guilty as if no one would be there to cook for Everard. Mildred wonders who else Everard called and if she was the first person he thought of regarding dinner. Mildred wants to be the first although she is unsure why.

Mildred becomes restless, and can no longer bear the thought of staying home alone so she goes to the vicarage.

Chapters 19-23 Analysis

Mildred becomes more and more involved in the Napiers' breakup and is put in the position of acting as a go between and mediator. Although Mildred's aptitude for empathy and service serves her well, she is beginning to think that people are taking advantage of her and she finds herself in situations that make her uncomfortable. Regardless, Mildred takes care of the Napiers' belongings and finds herself in the middle of a reconciliation attempt although she is not entirely sure she wants Rocky and Helena to get back together.

Mildred feels even more isolated now at the Napiers are gone. Allegra seems to have taken over the vicarage and all the attention of Julian and Winifred. When the trio goes away together on holiday Mildred feels completely lost.

Mildred is somewhat baffled by Everard's attention. At first Mildred thought Everard simply saw her as a shoulder to cry on and someone to assist in creating a barrier between him and Helena. Although Everard says he is not in love with Helena, there is obviously some sense of affection and curiosity involved. Mildred is somewhat confused and is not sure what to think.

The breakup between Julian and Allegra is shocking and Mildred is not sure what to do to help. Winifred is all but inconsolable. Apparently, Allegra had been manipulating Julian, in order to get her own way. Mildred believes that once a woman has been married, she knows what to do and can easily find a new husband.

When Julian arrives and tells Mildred and Winifred about the breakup, Mildred finds herself torn between empathy and relief. Relationships are out of Mildred's realm of expertise, yet she knows how to care for the friends and does her best.

This section contains 976 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Excellent Women from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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