To Lucy’s distress, Charlotte accepts the invitation to Windy Corner, and George Emerson accepts Freddy’s invitation for tennis, as well. The narrator says that Lucy faces “the situation bravely,” but does not deal with her inner feelings. George makes her nervous, but she is convinced that this does not mean anything significant. The narrator says that it may seem obvious to the reader that Lucy loves George, but that it is easier to come to such a conclusion from an external perspective. As far as Lucy knows, she loves Cecil and is only made nervous by George.
Lucy still does not realize that she loves George, and her effort to convince herself that she loves Cecil instead can be seen as a form of lying to herself. Through Lucy’s experience, Forster shows that love can be unconscious, or at least unintentional, but still exert a powerful force on someone, as Lucy’s suppressed feelings make her nervous around George.
After the encounter near the Sacred Lake, Lucy had run into George again along with Mr. Beebe at the rectory. She feels that she managed the meeting well, and at the time noted to Mr. Beebe that George seemed “in better spirits,” than when she saw him in Italy.
The very fact that a meeting with George is something Lucy feels she has to manage carefully shows that she is wary of what might happen between them, and is maybe aware on some level of her true feelings toward him.
When she finally arrives, Charlotte goes to the wrong station, and has to pay for a cab. She offers to pay for the cab, but Lucy and Freddy try to tell her not to, as she is a guest. She insists, but then finds that she needs change. A long, confusing exchange of coins ensues, and everyone disagrees over who should give whom what coins. Lucy is irritated—and even more so when Charlotte asks if Lucy has told Cecil about her past with George.
The scene with the exchange of coins as Charlotte tries to pay for the cab and make correct change is a comic example of the potential absurdity of manners. Charlotte is so concerned about doing the right, polite thing that the minor issue of paying for a cab turns into a complicated operation.
Lucy tells Charlotte that she has promised not to tell anyone about the kiss with George, and plans to keep her promise. Charlotte says that it would be even more dreadful if Cecil should find out about the incident from someone else. Lucy says that there is no one else who could tell George, and says that Cecil probably wouldn’t mind anyway. Charlotte concedes, “perhaps gentlemen are different to what they were when I was young.”
In Florence, Charlotte had to tell Lucy what to do about George. Now, the tables are turned and Lucy insists on her own plan of action, disregarding her former guardian. Charlotte comments on how the behavior of not only women, but gentlemen as well is changing with the times. Again it is worth noting that Charlotte appears to be trying to help Lucy act “properly” but is in fact trying to protect herself from the consequences of her own un-generous actions toward Lucy (as it will be revealed that Charlotte actually told Miss Lavish about the kiss after telling Lucy to keep it secret).
Fed up, Lucy says Charlotte was the one who told her to keep quiet about the kiss, and now is saying she should tell people. Charlotte apologizes for interfering with Lucy in Florence, and tells Lucy that she is “so well able” to look after herself. Charlotte calls George a cad (a bad man), and Lucy says that Cecil told her there are two kinds of cads—conscious and subconscious. She says that George “lost his head” amid the violets that day in Florence and didn’t consciously decide to kiss her. She tells Charlotte that she doesn’t want to talk about Italy anymore.
Not only is Lucy no longer under Charlotte’s influence and control, but she is almost rude to her, and clear in her dislike of her. Lucy insists on her ability to look after herself now, but to what degree is she really in control of her life, as she is engaged to a patronizing, somewhat controlling man? Lucy defends George not as someone who tries to harm others but as someone who was moved by passion, though it’s interesting that Lucy uses Cecil’s definitions of a cad to make this distinction.