A Room with a View

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A Room with a View Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day, Mr. Beebe comes to Windy Corner “with a piece of gossip,” unaware of what has happened with Lucy and Cecil. Mr. Beebe’s gossip is that the Alans are planning a trip to Greece, and he thinks that Lucy will find this news amusing. He is curious as to whether Lucy will see “anything beautiful in the desire of two old ladies to visit Athens,” thinking that since Lucy plays the piano, she must have some appreciation of beauty.
Mr. Beebe thinks that Lucy shares some of his sensibilities because she has an appreciation for beauty in music. Again, opinions on beauty and taste have the potential to bring like-minded people together.
Themes
Beauty Theme Icon
When Mr. Beebe arrives at Windy Corner, he runs into Cecil, who is just leaving. He notices that Cecil seems kinder than usual. They discuss the Alans, and then Cecil leaves. Freddy tells Mr. Beebe about the broken-off engagement, and Mr. Beebe is relieved, saying “what a glorious riddance!” He is glad that Lucy is now “cut off forever from Cecil’s pretentious world.”
Mr. Beebe had noticed Cecil’s rude and snobbish behavior, and so is relieved to hear that Lucy will not be marrying him. However, while he is glad that Lucy is no longer under Cecil’s influence, it is unclear whether he wants her to be truly independent, or just under a better influence.
Themes
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Education and Independence Theme Icon
Mr. Beebe goes into the house and sees Lucy playing Mozart on the piano. He decides to let her be, and goes to find Mrs. Honeychurch at work in her garden with Minnie, Charlotte and a servant. He goes inside and invites Lucy to join all of them at tea. Mr. Beebe tells Lucy that he has heard what has happened, and says that he is sure she did the right thing. He tells her about the Alans, and Lucy wishes she could go along with them on the trip. Rather abruptly, she decides, “I simply must go away. I have to.” Mr. Beebe is sympathetic to Lucy’s desire to escape Windy Corner.
Playing the piano and entering into the world of music offers Lucy some privacy and a brief escape from her social world, which is full of trouble now. Lucy’s immediate desire to go to Greece is a desire to escape her local society, through which rumors of her split with Cecil will surely soon spread, but is also an attempt to run away from George and from her feelings for him. It’s like running into a picture to escape from the real world.
Themes
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
Mr. Beebe talks with Charlotte, who is worried about gossip spreading regarding Lucy and Cecil. She says that Freddy shouldn’t even have told him about the matter, and begs Mr. Beebe to keep “absolute secrecy.” He agrees, and then comments on how funny it is that so many guests from the Pension Bertolini keep encountering each other. Over tea, Mr. Beebe tells Charlotte about Lucy’s desire to go to Greece with the Alans. Charlotte thinks that such a trip would be an excellent idea. She says that it is “absolutely necessary,” for her to go, and the two of them agree to help Lucy go to Greece.
Charlotte attempts to keep the news of Cecil and Lucy’s broken engagement a secret. While this does not necessarily involve lying, it is an example of how telling the absolute truth may not always be the best course of action, despite Lucy’s earlier insistence on being absolutely honest and truthful.
Themes
Honesty Theme Icon
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Mr. Beebe doesn’t “quite understand the situation,” but nonetheless feels compelled to help Lucy, and feels “spurred . . . into knight-errantry,” to help “place her out of danger.” He and Charlotte go back to Windy Corner and convince Mrs. Honeychurch to let Lucy go to Greece with the Alans. Mr. Beebe then sees Lucy playing the piano and singing a song that Cecil taught her.
Mr. Beebe is helpful to Lucy, but he does so out of a false sense of masculine bravado, of “knight-errantry,” as if Lucy is a damsel in distress. Lucy continues to try to use music as a kind of escape—or at least distraction—from her current problems.
Themes
Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
Mrs. Honeychurch goes to Lucy and tells her that she will allow her to go to Greece. Lucy is glad, and continues to sing. Looking around at Lucy’s friends and family, Mr. Beebe is puzzled as to why she should want to leave home for Greece. Lucy keeps singing; the song lyrics tout the benefits of safely avoiding love and passion.
Mr. Beebe does not understand Lucy’s decision, because he doesn’t realize that she is suppressing her love for George and is desperate not to be near him. Lucy’s song sadly touts the benefits of avoiding passion: she is committed to ignoring and stifling her love.
Themes
Love Theme Icon