Babylon Revisited

Helen is Charlie’s deceased wife. She and Charlie drank, travelled, and partied excessively together in the ‘20s. Her marriage to Charlie was strained during their time in Paris, marred by infidelities and arguments, and it ended, according to Charlie, in “disaster.” While Charlie’s mental health deteriorated because of the turbulence of their lifestyle, Helen’s physical health fell apart. She contracted and almost died of pneumonia one night when Charlie locked her out in a snowstorm, and she died shortly afterward of “heart troubles.” Fitzgerald leaves some ambiguity surrounding the extent to which Charlie may have been responsible for Helen’s death. Before she died, Helen put her sister Marion in charge of caring for her daughter Honoria, since neither she nor Charlie (who was in a sanatorium) were able to care for her themselves.

Helen Wales Quotes in Babylon Revisited

The Babylon Revisited quotes below are all either spoken by Helen Wales or refer to Helen Wales . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Babylon Revisited published in 1995.
Section 1 Quotes

He remembered thousand-franc notes given to an orchestra for playing a single number, hundred-franc notes tossed to a doorman for calling a cab.
But it hadn't been given for nothing.
It had been given, even the most wildly squandered sum, as an offering to destiny that he might not remember the things most worth remembering, the things that now he would always remember—his child taken from his control, his wife escaped to a grave in Vermont.

Page Number: 620
Explanation and Analysis:
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Section 2 Quotes

"Daddy, I want to come and live with you," she said suddenly.
His heart leaped; he had wanted it to come like this.
"Aren't you perfectly happy?"
"Yes, but I love you better than anybody. And you love me better than anybody, don't you, now that mummy's dead?"
"Of course I do. But you won't always like me best, honey. You'll grow up and meet somebody your own age and go marry him and forget you ever had a daddy."
"Yes, that's true," she agreed tranquilly.

Related Characters: Charlie Wales (speaker), Honoria Wales (speaker), Helen Wales
Page Number: 623
Explanation and Analysis:
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Section 3 Quotes

Marion shuddered suddenly; part of her saw that Charlie's feet were planted on the earth now, and her own maternal feeling recognized the naturalness of his desire; but she had lived for a long time with a prejudice—a prejudice founded on a curious disbelief in her sister's happiness, and which, in the shock of one terrible night, had turned to hatred for him. It had all happened at a point in her life where the discouragement of ill health and adverse circumstances made it necessary for her to believe in tangible villainy and a tangible villain.
"I can't help what I think!" she cried out suddenly. "How much you were responsible for Helen's death, I don't know. It's something you'll have to square with your own conscience."

Related Characters: Marion Peters (speaker), Charlie Wales, Helen Wales
Page Number: 626-627
Explanation and Analysis:
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Section 4 Quotes

His first feeling was one of awe that he had actually, in his mature years, stolen a tricycle and pedaled Lorraine all over the Étoile between the small hours and dawn. In retrospect it was a nightmare. Locking out Helen didn't fit in with any other act of his life, but the tricycle incident did--it was one of many. How many weeks or months of dissipation to arrive at that condition of utter irresponsibility?

Page Number: 629
Explanation and Analysis:
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He tried to picture how Lorraine had appeared to him then—very attractive; Helen was unhappy about it, though she said nothing. Yesterday, in the restaurant, Lorraine had seemed trite, blurred, worn away. He emphatically did not want to see her, and he was glad Alix had not given away his hotel address. It was a relief to think, instead, of Honoria, to think of Sundays spent with her and of saying good morning to her and of knowing she was there in his house at night, drawing her breath in the darkness.

Page Number: 629-630
Explanation and Analysis:
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Section 5 Quotes

There wasn't much he could do now except send Honoria some things; he would send her a lot of things tomorrow. He thought rather angrily that this was just money—he had given so many people money. . . .
"No, no more," he said to another waiter. "What do I owe you?"

Related Characters: Charlie Wales (speaker), Honoria Wales , Helen Wales
Page Number: 633
Explanation and Analysis:
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Helen Wales Character Timeline in Babylon Revisited

The timeline below shows where the character Helen Wales appears in Babylon Revisited. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
...dinner, Charlie wonders to himself whether Honoria is more similar to him or her mother, Helen. He hopes she does not combine whatever qualities had led him and Helen to disaster.... (full context)
Section 2
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Back when Charlie had lived with Helen, and Honoria had been taken care of by a nurse, he was a stricter father,... (full context)
Section 3
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
...house, and he wants Honoria. He reminds Marion and Lincoln that even when he and Helen were not getting along, they didn’t let it influence Honoria. Then he asks them what... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
...his job and moved to Paris with nothing to do, at which point he and Helen — but Marion interjects again, telling Charlie to leave Helen out of it, and that... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
Marion states that her duty is to Helen, and that ever since the night Charlie “did that terrible thing,” he hasn’t existed for... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
...flat on his back in the sanitarium, willing to do anything he thought might make Helen happy. But now, he says, he’s behaving “damn well.” (full context)
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
Marion admits that Charlie can give Honoria “more luxuries,” recalling that while Charlie and Helen were “throwing away money,” she and Lincoln were “watching every ten francs.” She supposes Charlie... (full context)
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
...against him for a long time, thinking him responsible for her sister’s unhappiness. The night Helen was locked out, her prejudice turned to hatred—in a moment when the adverse circumstances of... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
...Charlie, but he controls himself. Lincoln asserts that he never thought Charlie was responsible for Helen’s death, and Charlie states that Helen died of heart trouble. Marion repeats Charlie’s words as... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
On the street, Charlie is still shaking. The image of Helen haunts him. On the night that he locked her out, they had gotten into a... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
In a half-asleep state in his hotel room, Charlie imagines himself talking to Helen. She says she wants Honoria to be with him, and that she’s glad he’s doing... (full context)
Section 4
Home and Family Theme Icon
...up feeling happy. He begins imagining life with Honoria, but becomes sad when he remembers Helen, who had not planned to die. He calls Lincoln Peters at the bank where he... (full context)
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
...fact that Marion has held such a grudge against him since the night he locked Helen out. Lincoln hesitates before suggesting that the root of Marion’s dislike of Charlie is that... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
...person to behave that way. Lorraine had always been very attractive to him—which had bothered Helen—but now she seems “trite, blurred, worn away.” He has no desire to see her and... (full context)
Section 5
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
...met—like a nightmare. Along with the detestable people he met, he thinks of himself locking Helen out in the snow “because the snow of twenty-nine wasn’t real snow. If you didn’t... (full context)
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
...matters to him now is getting Honoria back. He’s not young anymore, and he’s sure Helen wouldn’t have wanted him to be so alone. (full context)