The story now jumps forward in time. The Alans ended up going to Greece by themselves, touring Athens and Delphi before going to Constantinople. The novel turns to Florence, and the Pension Bertolini, where George and Lucy are in the very room that Lucy stayed in so long ago. They are happy together, and look out the window onto a pleasant view. George thinks of all “the forces that had swept him into this contentment,” thinking of “the people who had not meant to help,” but nevertheless did, like Miss Lavish, Charlotte, and even Cecil.
George and Lucy have found their happy ending together, and it is fitting that they have found it in Italy (away from the constraints of British society) and in a room with a view onto the expansive, open outside world. After so many hurdles and so much denial, the power of love has at last won out. It is interesting that this scene takes place in a room with a view and not out in nature, though, which suggests that Lucy and George’s love—now made official through marriage—is one of both passion and society, and perhaps which also captures the way that Lucy is now both independent and dependent on George as her husband and love.
The narrator notes that while George is absolutely happy, Lucy’s happiness is not complete, as her family has not forgiven her for eloping with George. George reads an upset letter from Freddy, and wishes that Freddy and Mr. Beebe would forgive Lucy and him. He also comments that he wishes “Cecil had not turned so cynical about women.” He asks, “why will men have theories about women?” Lucy and George look out the window together, and the narrator comments, “Ah! it was worth while.”
While true love has triumphed, Lucy is not absolutely happy. She has achieved joy to a large degree, but at a significant cost (though one the narrator thinks is worth it): the society for which she is now too “radical” has not accepted her choices. Meanwhile, losing Lucy has intensified Cecil’s tendencies to hold forth theories about women, as if they are mysterious creatures to be studied.
Lucy says that the room reminds her of Charlotte, and she shudders at the thought of “how horrible” it would be to grow old alone like her. She comments on how lucky she was to wait in Mr. Beebe’s office when Charlotte wanted to attend the church service.
Now that she has found love, Lucy shudders to think of living without it, even though not too long ago she was determined to run away from it and live on her own, by fleeing George.
George, though, thinks that Charlotte planned the event intentionally, so that Lucy would run into Mr. Emerson. He wonders if Charlotte had actually always hoped that Lucy and him would end up together, from the very beginning. Lucy doesn’t think this is possible, but then admits, “it is just possible.” The two rejoice in their “passion requited, love attained,” but are both somehow “conscious of a love more mysterious than this,” as they listen to the river flowing along out beyond their window.
There have been many hints in the novel that Charlotte may have thrown away love in her youth, in contrast to Lucy. Here George suggests that Charlotte had—either consciously or subconsciously—actually wanted Lucy and George to end up together, that Charlotte was in fact moved by the possibility of love just as George and Lucy were. The novel ends with the happy conclusion of Lucy and George’s love story, but also expands out to consider the “love more mysterious” that binds all people together.