The final chapter is dominated by relationships. Jenkins announces his engagement but it is overshadowed by the news that his fiancé’s brother Erridge has run off to China with Quiggin’s partner Mona. There is no time to absorb that news because the next bombshell is the discovery that Widmerpool’s engagement has been called off.
Widmerpool did attempt to prove himself sexually on a weekend away that was witnessed by the General, a friend of Jenkins’s family introduced at the start of the book. The general tells him that after Widmerpool’s hasty departure Mildred had informed them that her engagement was off because her fiancé was not up to satisfying her.
Back in the formal surroundings of his engagement party Jenkins meets Widmerpool who informs him of his broken engagement but puts a completely different spin on it.
As I posted yesterday most of this book is set at night and the nocturnal feeling invades the narrative. Time is loosely defined and the hours that most people seem to keep are entirely flexible.
But this volume is also about love. In the case of Jenkins love at first sight. For Mona love of a type caused by boredom and for Widmerpool the lesson of how the flipside of success in a relationship is always failure.
A review ill follow after I have waded my way through the queue…