The Golden Bowl - Study Guide Volume One, Book Second, Chapters 5-7 Summary & Analysis

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Volume One, Book Second, Chapters 5-7 Summary

Charlotte arrives at Fawns and the other female company, including Mrs. Rance, leaves. In the opening of chapter 5, Mr. Verver and Fanny visit a final time before Fanny and her husband also leave the Fawns. Fanny tells Mr. Verver it is because of Charlotte that the other women left. Fanny claims it was Charlotte's plan to disperse this female company, and that these other females saw that Charlotte was the real one intended to marry Mr. Verver.

Soon after the Assinghams leave Fawns, Maggie and the Prince leave also for a trip to Italy. It is at this point that Mr. Verver is alone with Charlotte. Maggie also leaves her son in the care of her father, Charlotte and the baby's nurse. Mr. Verver and Charlotte often meet in the nursery on their trips to see the baby, just as he and Maggie did in times past. Charlotte takes over Mr. Verver's responsibility of writing to Maggie each day. In light of this action, Mr. Verver decides to see in what other ways Charlotte can be of use to him. Charlotte plays for him his favorite songs on the piano. After an evening of music, Mr. Verver spends a restless evening pacing on the terrace before he realizes he must marry Charlotte. Charlotte not only contributes to his household, she will also loosen the stress on his relationship with Maggie.

In Chapter 6 Charlotte and Mr. Verver spend several days together in Brighton. It is during this time that Mr. Verver feels more and more strongly that asking Charlotte for her hand in marriage would be the right thing to do. Following their exploration of Mr. Gutermann-Seuss's collection, Mr. Verver asks Charlotte to marry him. Charlotte accepts the idea and admits she would like to be attached to someone. She does not like being single, she tells him. Even so, Charlotte questions Mr. Verver to be sure he is sincere about his affection for her. She even asks him how he believes Maggie will react to the knowledge that he is marrying one of her friends from school. After Mr. Verver convinces Charlotte he has thought all possibilities through, he suggests they go to Paris to tell Maggie of their news face to face. Charlotte appears uncomfortable at this suggestion and insists they wait until they have Maggie's blessing before moving forward with their plans.

In Chapter 7 Mr. Verver has written to his daughter concerning the change in his relationship with Charlotte. He, like Charlotte, now waits for Maggie's reply. Maggie's telegram states that she shares in their joy and excitement. She also notes she and the Prince will be leaving for Fawns immediately. Mr. Verver and Charlotte debate the actual meaning of the telegram. Charlotte now wonders how the Prince feels about her intended marriage to Mr. Verver. Mr. Verver finally decides Charlotte's anxiety comes from not hearing from the Prince himself. He proposes she send a telegram to the Prince. He will ask to see neither Charlotte's telegram to the Prince nor the Prince's return message. Upon the receipt of the Prince's telegram, Charlotte asks Mr. Verver again if he does not want to read the message which she calls grave. Mr. Verver declines and Charlotte wads the note into her pocket.

Volume One, Book Second, Chapters 5-7 Analysis

Trouble looms in this section where both Maggie, who is unaware that the Prince and Charlotte have had a past relationship, and Fanny, who is aware of the past relationship, encourage Mr. Verver to consider Charlotte as a marriage companion. It is only after Mr. Verver learns how useful Charlotte will be to him and how pleasant she makes life that he decides to propose to her. Note that he still does not seem to want to get married but feels he must to make Maggie feel better.

Notice that even after he proposes to her, Charlotte procrastinates, waiting first for Maggie's response, then later for the Prince's response. After much debate and working over the impression the marriage would make on all of those who will be involved, Charlotte's final action is to send the Prince a telegram. She calls his response "grave" and offers to let Mr. Verver see it but he refuses. By agreeing to marry Mr. Verver, Charlotte puts herself in a very interesting situation where she will become the step-mother-in-law of her former lover. It is suspected this close proximity could lead to problems later on in the relationship.

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