Excellent Women - Chapters 24-27 Summary & Analysis

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Chapters 24-27 Summary

Rocky visits Mildred at the apartment and says that he and Helena are back together. Mildred congratulates Rocky and says that she will be glad to have them back in the flat because she missed them terribly. Rocky says that he and Helena will be moving out of the flat and going to live at the cottage in the country. Neither of the couple ever felt comfortable in London, and perhaps that was part of the problem. All of the other issues involving work and Helena's lack of domestication seem to have fallen by the wayside.

Mildred tells Rocky about Julian's breakup and once again, Rocky says it would be appropriate for Mildred to be the one to marry the vicar after an appropriate interval of time. For once, Mildred only gives a small argument. Perhaps the marriage would be fitting for her after all.

The church holds a bazaar and everyone chooses their places at booths and stations. The bazaar is one of the main fundraisers for the church throughout the year. People must pay a small amount to get in but the bargains are well worth the price. Mildred explains to one of the other parishioners that the people who come to the bazaar are not always nice and many come from the immediate area, which is not the nicest part of the city.

There is much talk about Julian and the breakup. It seems that many people are happy Julian will not be marrying Allegra. Mildred thought that everyone liked Allegra but as it often happens after a breakup, several people come forward and voice the opposite. The topic of Mildred becoming involved with Julian comes up once again. Mildred hears this opinion so often that she barely protests. Mildred begins to question her feelings for Julian and thinks perhaps marrying the vicar would be a nice thing, especially since she is well versed in being closely related to a member of the clergy and knows exactly what would be expected of her. Additionally, Julian and Winifred have been dear friends and that would make the transition all the easier.

At the bazaar, everyone fusses over Julian and tries to make sure that he is content as possible. Julian accepts the kindnesses but obviously just wants things to return to the way they were before Allegra appeared.

Helena and Rocky invite Mildred to the flat to say goodbye and to thank her for all she has done, from taking care of Rocky to handling the furniture and prompting the reconciliation. Mildred reminds Rocky that he had promised to make a donation to the church as thanks for Julian's kindness. Rocky gives Mildred money for incense and decides against creating a stained glass window, thinking that it would be too gaudy. In honor of the Napiers' stay at the flat Rocky etches one of the windows with a quote from Dante. Helena says that no one will understand the quote, since it is written in the original Italian and Mildred says many soldiers are returning to London from serving in Italy, and surely there will be someone who understands the language.

Mildred continues to be fascinated with the Learned Society and makes a point of walking by the building one afternoon. Mildred sees Everard with Miss Clovis and remembers how he said Miss Clovis was an esteemed and respectable woman. Mildred jumps to conclusions and thinks that Everard is interested in Miss Clovis as a suitable wife, considering she would be able to help him with his anthropology and archeology work. Mildred tries to convince herself that any gentleman would take a woman's arm when crossing the street and that Everard's gesture meant no more than that. Yet she cannot shake the image of Everard with Miss Clovis.

Mildred pretends not to see the pair and continues walking. Everard catches up and takes Mildred to lunch. Mildred asks if Miss Clovis will be joining them and Everard is surprised and says that she has other plans.

Mildred runs into Miss Statham, who discusses Allegra and her new station out in the country. Allegra has moved into another parish where there are more single men although Allegra insists she is through with being married to a member of the clergy. Miss Statham, as a longtime member of the church, is glad that things will return to normal.

Mildred runs into William and the two exchange polite conversation. William asks about Everard and assumes that Mildred is involved with him.

New tenants arrive at the flat and Mildred is somewhat discouraged to learn that they are two female teachers. While they seem nice enough, Mildred was hoping for another couple or single men. The women are both fluent in Italian and critique Rocky's quote from Dante.

Mildred visits the vicarage and things seem to have returned to normal since Allegra has gone. Julian tells Mildred that he learned the identity of the church's anonymous donor and reveals that it was Allegra. Apparently, the donation was a way to get Julian's attention and was cleverly crafted to appear as a simple gesture of charity. Mildred cannot help but wonder if making such a donation would ingratiate her to Julian. Does a simple donation ensure that an unmarried vicar will marry the donor? As ridiculous as it seems, Mildred wishes she would have thought of it first.

There is much conversation among the congregants about Julian's future and if he should ever marry. Many people think Mildred should become his wife since they are friends and completely compatible. Others believe that Julian should never marry and instead, continue to run the vicarage with Winifred at his side. The engagement did dispel some of the rumors about Julian's sexuality, a topic that completely offended Mildred.

Everard calls Mildred and invites her to dinner at his flat. Mildred is prepared to cook for Everard, thinking that men routinely do not cook for themselves. All the way to the flat Mildred wonders who else will be present at the dinner. Mildred expects to see Miss Clovis, as she is now convinced Everard is interested in the woman. When Mildred arrives at the flat, Everard is alone. She expects that they will wait for Miss Clovis, who must be running late. When Mildred asks if Miss Clovis will be joining them Everard is surprised and attempts to convince Mildred that while Miss Clovis is an esteemed and respectable woman there is no relationship and he is not interested in her in that way. Mildred is still unsure as Miss Clovis would be the perfect person to help Everard with his work. Reading proofs and creating indices for a book is the perfect position for a wife.

Everard talks about the book and asks Mildred if she would be interested in reading the proofs and creating the indices. Mildred is thrilled, yet unsure that she will be appropriate to do the job since she knows nothing about anthropology. Mildred explains that the topic is completely foreign to her. Everard insists that she is capable and he can teach her how to the work. Although it is a great deal to ask, Mildred readily agrees.

Although the relationships with Julian and Everard are unclear, Mildred realizes that her life has become full and worthwhile. Mildred is happy that she will be a part of Everard's work and will spend much of her free time caring for and protecting Julian. Perhaps being an excellent woman is not the worst thing in the world after all.

Chapters 24-27 Analysis

Mildred is glad for Rocky and Helena, although there is a sense of regret. The reconciliation shows Mildred that she is not the right woman for someone of Rocky's caliber and although Helena does not seem well suited to him either, the couple obviously loves each other enough to overlook the differences.

Mildred is surprised that Allegra would show her face in London ever again, even if for a short time. Miss Stratham seems incensed at Allegra's behavior and is sure that the woman is out seeking another husband. After all, once a woman learns how to catch a man, it is not a difficult process to repeat.

Mildred's reaction to Everard and Miss Clovis is somewhat surprising. At first, Mildred did not like Everard at all, yet over time she began to respect him and his work. It all seemed so important and Mildred wanted to become more learned in that area.

Everard is unclear about his intentions toward Mildred at first but asking her to read proofs and create indices is a big step toward establishing a lasting relationship.

This section contains 1,447 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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Excellent Women from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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