Mrs Dalloway

Clarissa’s closest friend who was once passionately in love with her. They are intellectually very similar, but always critical of each other. Clarissa rejected Peter’s proposal of marriage, which has haunted him all his life. He lived in India for years and often has romantic problems with women. Peter is critical of everyone, indulges in long fantasies and musings, and constantly plays with his pocketknife.

Peter Walsh Quotes in Mrs Dalloway

The Mrs Dalloway quotes below are all either spoken by Peter Walsh or refer to Peter Walsh. 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:
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt edition of Mrs Dalloway published in 1990.
Section 1 Quotes

How he scolded her! How they argued! She would marry a Prime Minister and stand at the top of a staircase; the perfect hostess he called her (she had cried over it in her bedroom), she had the makings of the perfect hostess, he said.

Related Characters: Clarissa Dalloway (speaker), Peter Walsh (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Prime Minister
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

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Section 6 Quotes

It was awful, he cried, awful, awful!
Still, the sun was hot. Still, one got over things. Still, life had a way of adding day to day.

Related Characters: Peter Walsh (speaker)
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

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Her emotions were all on the surface. Beneath, she was very shrewd – a far better judge of character than Sally, for instance, and with it all, purely feminine; with that extraordinary gift, that woman’s gift, of making a world of her own wherever she happened to be. She came into a room; she stood, as he had often seen her, in a doorway with lots of people round her. But it was Clarissa one remembered. Not that she was striking; not beautiful at all; there was nothing picturesque about her; she never said anything specially clever; there she was, however; there she was.

Related Characters: Peter Walsh (speaker), Clarissa Dalloway, Sally Seton
Page Number: 75-76
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proide

She enjoyed practically everything… She had a sense of comedy that was really exquisite, but she needed people, always people, to bring it out, with the inevitable result that she frittered her time away, lunching, dining, giving these incessant parties of hers, talking nonsense, saying things she didn’t mean, blunting the edge of her mind, losing her discrimination.

Related Characters: Peter Walsh (speaker), Clarissa Dalloway
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

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Section 7 Quotes

All the same, that one day should follow another; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; that one should wake up in the morning; see the sky; walk in the park; meet Hugh Whitbread; then suddenly in came Peter; then these roses; it was enough. After that, how unbelievable death was! – that it must end; and no one in the whole world would know how she had loved it all…

Related Characters: Clarissa Dalloway (speaker), Peter Walsh
Related Symbols: Flowers
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Section 9 Quotes

“How delightful to see you!” said Clarissa. She said it to every one. How delightful to see you! She was at her worst – effusive, insincere. It was a great mistake to have come. He should have stayed at home and read his book, thought Peter Walsh; should have gone to a music hall; he should have stayed at home, for he knew no one.

Related Characters: Clarissa Dalloway (speaker), Peter Walsh (speaker)
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:

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Nobody looked at him. They just went on talking, yet it was perfectly plain that they all knew, felt to the marrow of their bones, this majesty passing; this symbol of what they stood for, English society. Old Lady Bruton… swam up, and they withdrew into a little room which at once became spied upon, guarded, and a sort of stir and rustle rippled through every one, openly: the Prime Minister!
Lord, lord, the snobbery of the English! thought Peter Walsh, standing in the corner. How they loved dressing up in gold lace and doing homage!

Related Characters: Peter Walsh (speaker), Lady Bruton
Related Symbols: The Prime Minister
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:

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…and the words came to her, Fear no more the heat of the sun. She must go back to them. But what an extraordinary night! She felt somehow very like him – the young man who had killed himself. She felt glad that he had done it; thrown it away. The clock was striking. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. He made her feel the beauty; made her feel the fun. But she must go back. She must assemble. She must find Sally and Peter. And she came in from the little room.

Related Characters: Clarissa Dalloway (speaker), Septimus Warren Smith, Peter Walsh, Sally Seton
Related Symbols: Big Ben
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing eLorem ipsumLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“I will come,” said Peter, but he sat on for a moment. What is this terror? what is this ecstasy? he thought to himself. What is it that fills me with extraordinary excitement?
It is Clarissa, he said.
For there she was.

Related Characters: Peter Walsh (speaker), Clarissa Dalloway
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Peter Walsh Character Timeline in Mrs Dalloway

The timeline below shows where the character Peter Walsh appears in Mrs Dalloway. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...about how she has always liked Hugh, though her husband Richard and her old friend Peter Walsh do not. Clarissa thinks again of Bourton years earlier, when Peter was making fun... (full context)
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Clarissa then thinks more about Peter Walsh, who has been in India for years but is returning soon. She imagines him... (full context)
Section 2
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...with Hugh Whitbread and his like, and she feels slightly guilty that she is fulfilling Peter’s old insult – throwing a party and waiting at the top of the stairs. (full context)
Section 3
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Time Theme Icon
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Death Theme Icon
...die ‘twere now to be most happy.” There were other people there that day too, Peter Walsh and her own father, but Clarissa had eyes only for Sally. (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
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Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
One night Clarissa, Sally, Peter, and another friend were out walking. Clarissa and Sally fell behind, and “Sally stopped; picked... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Clarissa now thinks more of Peter, and how she owes much of her intellectual life to conversations with him. She and... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
The front doorbell rings, breaking Clarissa’s reverie. She is surprised to hear that it is Peter Walsh, who has just returned from India. They greet each other and Peter kisses Clarissa’s... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
The two make small talk and Peter feels irritated with Clarissa for her society lifestyle and for choosing to marry the Conservative... (full context)
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Peter feels a judgment in Clarissa’s wealth and happiness, as if he has been a failure,... (full context)
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Clarissa is disappointed that Peter has succumbed to falling in love again, but she asks Peter about it. He says... (full context)
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Peter is suddenly overcome by his memories and his perceived struggle against Clarissa, and he bursts... (full context)
Section 4
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Time Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
The narrative now follows Peter Walsh as he leaves Clarissa’s house. He criticizes Clarissa angrily to himself, thinking that she... (full context)
Social Criticism Theme Icon
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Death Theme Icon
The St. Margaret’s bell rings (a few minutes after Big Ben) and it makes Peter think of Clarissa’s illness and the fact that she will die someday. He reassures himself... (full context)
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Peter recognizes that he has been a failure in some sense, as he was expelled from... (full context)
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Peter stands in Trafalgar Square and feels a sudden sense of freedom, as if he was... (full context)
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Time Theme Icon
The woman finally reaches her house, takes out her keys, and goes inside. Peter’s fantasy disappears, but he isn’t upset. He recognizes that “one makes up the better part... (full context)
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Peter comes to Regent’s Park and observes the London life passing by. He is proud of... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Peter sits down on a bench next to a gray-haired nurse with a baby in a... (full context)
Section 5
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Peter dreams about a solitary traveler who imagines visions of women. The traveler, who seems to... (full context)
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Time Theme Icon
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Death Theme Icon
Peter wakes up suddenly saying “The death of the soul” to himself. He immediately links these... (full context)
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Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Clarissa was shocked to hear this, which was not so strange at the time, but Peter associated her prudish reaction with “the death of her soul.” It seemed to show her... (full context)
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
That same night Richard Dalloway had come to Bourton for the first time. Peter saw him sitting with Clarissa’s Aunt Helena, and he knew instinctively that Clarissa would marry... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
After this burst of anger Peter felt love and passion for Clarissa again whenever she showed him kindness, but he knew... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
In his passion Peter had often written to Sally Seton about Clarissa, and finally he confronted Clarissa by a... (full context)
Section 6
Time Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Peter feels awful all over again at this memory, but he is comforted by the progression... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
...unhappy, and the clock strikes eleven forty-five. The man Septimus thought was Evans is actually Peter Walsh, who watches the couple and wonders what their trouble is. (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
To Peter, Septimus and Lucrezia’s quarrel is just a part of the bustle and beauty of London.... (full context)
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Peter remembers Sally in her wild younger days and how she hated Hugh Whitbread. Clarissa and... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...had married Evelyn, and now he had great wealth and a collection of tasteful objects. Peter still hates Hugh, but envies his money and success. Peter finds Richard Dalloway a “thorough... (full context)
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Peter does object to Richard’s views on poetry though, and he wonders how Clarissa can stand... (full context)
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Peter thinks of Clarissa as having a special gift of being, that wherever she is “there... (full context)
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Social Criticism Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Peter thinks that Clarissa has a special genius for bringing people together, especially intellectuals and artists.... (full context)
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Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...bitter after her sister’s death, but continued to enjoy life and nearly everything in it. Peter praises her cleverness to himself, but laments that she is always throwing parties and “blunting... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Peter realizes that he will never suffer for love again in the way that Clarissa made... (full context)
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Social Criticism Theme Icon
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Death Theme Icon
Peter’s thoughts are interrupted by singing coming from opposite the Regent’s Park Tube Station. The voice... (full context)
Section 7
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
...who sees the same old woman singing. At first she pities the woman just as Peter did, but when she hears “if some one should see, what matter they?” she suddenly... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Hugh interrupts to say that he met Clarissa that morning. Lady Bruton says that Peter Walsh is back in town, and they all remember how passionately Peter had loved Clarissa,... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...in love with Richard once. Richard, Lady Bruton, and Hugh all feel vaguely flattered that Peter Walsh has returned to England unsuccessful. They all want to help him but feel it... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...she never wears it, which pains him to remember. Richard thinks about Elizabeth and about Peter Walsh’s passionate love for Clarissa. He notes that Hugh is being even more pompous than... (full context)
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Death Theme Icon
Richard heads home to see Clarissa, feeling especially affectionate because of his thoughts of Peter Walsh. He buys a bouquet of red and white roses to bring to her, and... (full context)
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Richard thinks of Peter Walsh and how he used to be jealous of Peter. Now he agrees with Clarissa... (full context)
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...for her roses than for the Armenians,” but she grows suddenly unhappy because Richard and Peter criticize and trivialize her love of throwing parties. Clarissa realizes that she just likes life,... (full context)
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Time Theme Icon
Love seems just as bad as religion to Clarissa, and she thinks of Peter Walsh as an example – he is a wonderful man intellectually and by himself, but... (full context)
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Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Rezia is making a hat for Mrs. Peters, the large, married daughter of Mrs. Filmer, the Smith’s neighbor. Rezia talks aloud about her... (full context)
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Septimus says the hat is too small for Mrs. Peters, and he starts to speak in a lucid way for the first time in weeks.... (full context)
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Rezia returns, talking about Mrs. Peters. She feels happy and comfortable with Septimus now, like she can be honest with him.... (full context)
Section 8
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Social Criticism Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Peter Walsh hears the ambulance rush by to pick up Septimus’s body, and he thinks of... (full context)
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Time Theme Icon
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Peter remembers how he and Clarissa used to ride the omnibus and explore London together. Clarissa... (full context)
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Peter reminisces about his thirty-year-long friendship with Clarissa. They have fought often, but overall Clarissa has... (full context)
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Peter goes to his room and finds a letter from Clarissa, saying how “heavenly” it was... (full context)
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Peter imagines the moments after their meeting that afternoon – he pictures Clarissa regretting her refusal... (full context)
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Peter has been successful with women recently, and the narrator muses about why this is –... (full context)
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Peter thinks about his situation and wonders if marrying Daisy would be a good idea. She... (full context)
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Peter dislikes the idea of staying devoted to Daisy, but he knows he would be furious... (full context)
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Peter makes up his mind to go to Clarissa’s party. He tells himself that he wants... (full context)
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Peter sits down in a wicker chair on the hotel steps and watches the city wake... (full context)
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Peter muses that the past and tradition can enrich experience, and then he sets off for... (full context)
Section 9
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...helping the family for forty years. Clarissa greets everyone with “How delightful to see you!” Peter Walsh arrives and finds her “at her worst – effusive, insincere.” He wishes he had... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Clarissa sees Peter in the corner, criticizing her with his eyes, and she worries that the party will... (full context)
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...stood for, English society.” He makes his rounds and then goes off with Lady Bruton. Peter watches this and criticizes the “snobbery of the English.” (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Peter then sees Hugh Whitbread and mocks him mercilessly in his thoughts, watching Hugh patronizing and... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
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...Helena, who is over eighty now. She talks about Burma and orchids, and Clarissa sends Peter to talk to her. (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
...women respect each other, but they have little to say. Lady Bruton then talks to Peter Walsh and Aunt Helena about India. The narrator describes Lady Bruton’s love of the British... (full context)
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Social Criticism Theme Icon
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Sally catches Clarissa by the arm, but Clarissa is still busy entertaining. She asks Peter and Sally to stay, meaning that they will talk after the other guests have left.... (full context)
Privacy, Loneliness, and Communication Theme Icon
Psychology and Perception Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...joy of life all the more precious. She goes back to the party, looking for Peter and Sally. (full context)
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Meanwhile Peter and Sally are reminiscing about the past and wondering where Clarissa is. They discuss their... (full context)
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...affection for Clarissa though, and declares her pure of heart. She flaunts her sentimentality to Peter, saying that it is best to just say what one feels. Peter says he doesn’t... (full context)
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Peter tells Sally that his relationship with Clarissa had “spoilt his life,” as he could not... (full context)