Breakfast at Tiffany's: Pages 82-100
Summary, pp. 82-100
That evening there are more dramatic events. The headlines of the evening newspapers announce that Holly has been arrested in a narcotics scandal. There is also a picture of Holly being ushered into police headquarters. The caption explains that Holly is linked to a drug smuggling operation run by Sally Tomato. The newspaper story explains that O’Shaughnessy, the man who pretended to be a lawyer, had also been arrested. It turns out that he is not a lawyer but a defrocked priest with a long criminal record. The article states that Holly is accused of carrying coded messages from Tomato to O’Shaughnessy. Using this method, Tomato was able to stay in charge of an international narcotics syndicate. Holly has claimed that she knows nothing about it.
The narrator already knows some of this story since Holly was arrested in his own bathroom. He was lying in the bath recovering from the earlier incident with the horse, and Holly was with him. Two detectives, one of them a woman, arrive and arrest her. The female detective puts her hand on Holly’s shoulder, to which Holly objects. The detective slaps her face hard, and then both detectives take her downstairs.
That evening, Joe Bell says that Holly could get ten years in prison. However, the narrator does not believe that Holly knew she was involved in the scheme, although he admits that she did carry the messages. The narrator contacts O. J. Berman in Beverly Hills, who arranges for a top New York lawyer to represent Holly. He says Holly will be out on bail shortly.
The next day the narrator goes to feed Holly’s cat. He finds José’s cousin there, packing José’s clothes. José is about to desert Holly, and he has left her a letter. Two days later, the narrator visits Holly in the hospital; she has had a miscarriage. He reads the letter from José to her. José writes that he has his family to protect as well as his good name, so he can no longer be associated with a woman in her position, although he does not condemn her. Holly takes the news quite well. She also tells the narrator, whom she now calls Buster, that she has told the police that she miscarried because the detective slapped her. She plans to sue the police. She also explains that as soon as she gets bail, she intends to catch her flight to Rio, not to be with José, but because she has never been to Brazil and does not want to waste a good plane ticket. The narrator is alarmed and tells her that jumping bail is a serious offense. But she does not listen. She says she refuses to testify against Sally Tomato, who has always been decent to her. She adds that even if a jury were to acquit her, she would not be welcome in her old New York haunts. Then she asks the narrator to find her a list of the fifty richest men in Brazil.
The night Holly’s flight is scheduled to depart, the narrator receives a message from Joe Bell. Holly has asked that he meet her at the bar, bringing her guitar, toothbrush, brandy, and other necessaries. She also asks him to bring the cat. The narrator packs a suitcase full of her belongings and carries the rest in grocery bags. Joe Bell orders a limousine to take them to the airport. Holly orders the driver to stop in Spanish Harlem, where she turns the cat out, leaving him to fend for himself. But before they have traveled another block, Holly regrets her actions. They stop, get out of the car and look for the cat but cannot find him. The narrator promises that he will come back, find the cat and look after him.
After Holly flies to Rio, the authorities make no attempt to recover her. Months go by and the narrator hears nothing from Holly. Then in the spring he receives a postcard from Holly. She is no longer in Brazil but in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she is involved with a married man and is looking for somewhere to live. She promises to send her address when she has one, but the narrator does not hear from her again. The narrator is disappointed because he wants to tell her that he found the cat in the window of a house, looking well looked after, as if he belonged there. The narrator hopes that Holly has also found somewhere she belongs.
The rousing comic conclusion shows the heroine, in true romantic fashion, eluding the net that is closing in on her and flying off to freedom. This is a woman who cannot be constrained by the rules of society, and she will always come out on top. She thinks nothing of thumbing her nose at the legal system by skipping bail, and she does not seem to take the situation seriously at all. Given her character, she does what she has to do. She listens to the call of her adventurous spirit, as her comment “I’ve never been to Brazil” shows. It is just as she said to Doc, when he asked her to marry him; she agreed because she had never been married before (she was only thirteen at the time). Holly is not closed down to a routine that might be approved by others. She responds to the impulse of life wherever it might lead her.
In this section Capote turns his satire on the media in a way that also shows up Holly’s basic honesty and good sense. The media is interested only in sensationalizing events and distorting them. The subheading in the newspaper reads, of Holly, “ADMITS OWN DRUG ADDICTION,” but the actual quotation of Holly’s words shows nothing of the sort. She says, “I’ve had a little go at marijuana. It’s not half as destructive as brandy. Cheaper, too. Unfortunately, I prefer brandy.” The media would punish her for her honesty and ignore the point she makes, which once again shows her unconventional nature: society outlaws marijuana but permits the use of alcohol, which, it could be argued, causes far more damage to society.