Babylon Revisited : Part 4
Summary Part 4
Charlie awakes happy, with plans for himself and Honoria. He calls Lincoln, who tells him that he can take Honoria with him when he leaves for Prague. Marion wants to retain legal guardianship, however, for one more year. Charlie agrees to this.
He has lunch with Lincoln, who explains that he thinks Marion might have resented the fact that Charlie and Helen had had so much money while she and Lincoln lived on more modest means.
When Charlie returns to the hotel, he finds a note there from Lorraine. In the note she recalls the good times she and Charlie had had, such as an incident in which one night in Paris they stole a butcher’s tricycle. She wants to see him again, and writes that she would like him to come to the Ritz at five that evening.
Charlie recalls the tricycle incident, in which he had pedaled Lorraine all over Paris in the small hours of the morning. He regrets the irresponsibility of his actions. He does not want to see Lorraine. Instead, he thinks of Honoria.
Charlie buys gifts for all the Peters family and goes to their apartment at five, planning to stay for dinner. Marion greets him more warmly than previously. Honoria has been told she is going with her father, and Charlie tells Marion he plans to take her the day after tomorrow, but Marion insists she needs a few days longer to prepare.
The doorbell rings. It is Lorraine and Duncan, who come in laughing and boisterous. They have likely been drinking and have come to invite Charlie for dinner. Charlie is annoyed by their intrusion and says he cannot come to dinner. He will telephone them later, he says. Lorraine and Duncan are angered by his refusal, and they leave.
Charlie expresses his outrage to Lincoln and Marion that Lorraine and Duncan would burst in on them like that. Marion is furious and leaves the room. Lincoln says she is not well and cannot cope with such a sudden shock. She does not like people like Lorraine and Duncan. Charlie protests that he did not invite them.
Lincoln talks to Marion and then returns and tells Charlie that it is better if they call off the dinner. Marion is angry and bitter. Lincoln tells him to call him the next day at the bank where he works.
In this section, the success of Charlie’s mission to the Peters is suddenly put into jeopardy by the rude and drunken intrusion of Duncan and Lorraine, flesh-and-blood symbols of Charlie’s dissolute past. They could not have come at a worse time, although Charlie, in his annoyance with them, seems to have forgotten that when he arrived in Paris he had wanted to see Duncan, and had written out the Peters’ address as a way for Duncan to contact him and given it to the doorman at the Ritz. So when Charlie says to Lincoln, “they wormed your name out somebody,” he is either speaking a deliberate untruth or has forgotten that it was he who provided the address. He is also not being wholly truthful when he says he has not seen Duncan and Lorraine for two years, since actually he had seen them twice just a day before. Perhaps he can be forgiven for not being truthful because he sees immediately how dangerous this intrusion is to his plans for Honoria. It also shows that the past will not lie down and be quiet so easily. It is still something he has to deal with in the present. Although those frenzied days of drink, fun, and laughter, and extravagant spending are over, their legacy in his life is not.