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Chapters 29-30


In these two chapters, we find Maurice tackling with his reactions to two events: news of Clive's engagement, and the visit of Dickie Barry, now a handsome young man.

Engagement ring by ladybugbkt on flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence

News of Clive's engagement come in a letter from Mrs Durham to Mrs Hall, and Maurice has no time to rehearse his reaction as the exciting news are eagerly discussed at breakfast by the women of the house. He is hurt that Clive didn't write to him, but proud enough not to want to admit it to his mother and sisters. In ch29, he hears from Clive himself, about a week later, and gets the chance to speak to Anne on the phone. Neither of them can think of much to say and Anne reveals Maurice is the 8th friend of Clive she's spoken to that morning. Talk about adding insult to injury. But as the conversation with Clive that follows reveals, Maurice has reached the stage where he can engage in polite chit-chat with Clive.

Sunkissed by Arno Arno on flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence

It might be worth asking if Maurice's reaction to the sleeping body of Dickie Barry in the morning sunlight would have been as strong as it is if it hadn't been for the news about Clive's engagement. But it's clear that for that day, he's head over the heels in lust. The moment when Dickie returns home late in the evening is not one of Maurice's best moments. It takes him a few days to admit to himself it was pure lust. There's also a French client of his who's very charming, but he takes a step back.

And it's finally the act of buying a wedding present for Clive and Anne that makes him see the contradiction between his outward appearance and behaviour conforming to social expectations and the desires bubbling underneath.

Where can he go from here?

Questions:

  • What do you think of the Dickie Barry episode?

  • Is it cowardly of Clive not to write to Maurice himself about the engagement?



Photo credits:
Engagement ring by ladybugbkt on Flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence
Sunkissed, Arno Arno on Flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence
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