Humbert Humbert fixes up the car for a long trip, telling Lolita’s school that he’s been called away to an important job in Hollywood. As they drive away on this second road-trip—which Lolita has carefully planned—a car pulls up alongside them. The drama coach of the school, Edusa Gold, shouts that it’s a shame Lolita is leaving the play; the author was raving about her after the special rehearsal. Humbert asks Lolita who the author is, and she responds that it’s some old woman, someone with the first name Clare.
Quilty's name has been appearing, with little explanation, since the beginning of the novel. We later learn that Lolita met Quilty and planned her escape at the special rehearsal. Now Lolita is beginning to tell manipulative stories that hide the truth, saying Clare is a woman. The encounter with Miss Gold lets us know what a good actress Lolita has become. These acting skills help her to deceive Humbert..
Humbert tells Lolita how happy he is that she’s given up the play. Nevertheless, he can’t help but wonder why. He worries that she’s too quick to change her mind about what she likes, noting the “abrupt changes in [her] disposition,” since he’s known her. He doesn’t wait for an answer, but warns her that “There are things that should never be given up.”
Humbert mistakes Lolita’s plan to escape for a harmless inclination for changing her mind. His conception of her as a mischievous nymphet—rather than a thinking, planning, maybe even revengeful (justifiably) human being—keeps him from seeing what she’s up to.