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SHORT PLOT/CHAPTER SUMMARY (Synopsis)
In chapter six, Lily is visiting the construction site of the Gormerís new country house. She takes a walk and runs into George Dorset who begs her to be kind to him and also to tell him what his wife has been doing so he can have some definite proof. She refuses to tell him anything. When she returns, she sees that Bertha Dorset has been visiting Mrs. Gormer. Since Bertha Dorset never associates with the new people or pays neighborly visits, Lily knows she is scheming to get Lily ousted even from the Gormersí patronage. Back in New York, Lily spends the weekend with Carrie Fisher. At her house, she sees Simon Rosedale. She thinks more kindly of him, but is still repulsed by him. Carrie tells her she must marry soon. In chapter seven, Lily tells Simon Rosedale she is ready to marry him, but he is no longer interested in marrying her since her reputation has been so tarnished. He tells her he will marry her if she uses the letters she bought from the charwoman to coerce Mrs. Dorset into taking her back into society. She considers the plan only for a moment and then refuses it.
In chapter eight, Lily has begun to sink under the weight of poverty and ostracism. Gerty Farish is greatly worried about her and asks Lawrence Selden to go and see her. He is reluctant, but agrees. When he gets to her hotel, he finds that she has moved. When he finds out that the forwarding address is to Mrs. Norma Hatchís rooms at the Emporium Hotel, he turns on his heel and returns to his own home. In chapter nine, Lily is at the Emporium Hotel acting as adviser to Mrs. Hatch. Mrs. Hatch is even further from the inner circle of New York society. She has no sense of constraint, discipline, distinction, or even schedule. Lily is having trouble remaining with her when she finds that Ned Silverton and another man are scheming to get the young Freddy Van Osburgh to marry Mrs. Hatch. This scheme is so horrifying to Lily, that she decides to leave Mrs. Hatchís employ to distance herself from it. Before she does so, Lawrence Selden calls on her. He is so abrupt in insisting that she leave Mrs. Hatchís employ, that Lily acts proudly and tells him she is doing fine.
Chapter ten finds Lily working in a millinery shop trying to learn how to sew and decorate hats for society women. She is confused and cannot concentrate. Carrie Fisher and Gerty Farish had gotten her the position, but she feels as if it wonít last. She hasnít told them that she plans to give all the money she will get from Mrs. Penistonís estate--ten thousand dollars--to Gus Trenor to repay her debt to him. When she gets off work, she goes to a chemist and gets a prescription filled for sleeping medicine. The chemist warns her not to take any more than the prescribed amount since the drug is dangerous and can kill her with only a few more drops. As she leaves, she runs into Mr. Rosedale who is horrified at her tired appearance and her new residence. She is touched by his kindness, but still refuses to use Bertha Dorsetís letters to get back into society. When she returns home, she realizes how lonely she is. She has nightmares about Lawrence Selden coming to her in kindness and she worries that when she gets her legacy she will not be strong enough to pay it all to Mr. Trenor.
In chapters eleven and twelve Lily has been fired from the millinery shop and she is now on her last dollars. She returns to her rooms and finds Mr. Rosedale waiting for her. He is again horrified that she is having to work for a living and is living in such a poor place. He volunteers to let her borrow money, but she refuses. When she goes to her room that evening, she decides not to take sleeping drops. The next morning, she goes out for tea at a restaurant then comes back home and gets Bertha Dorsetís letters. On her way to see her, she goes past Lawrence Seldenís rooms. She decides to go up and see him. She tells him she is sorry for having been rude to him. She tells him she will no longer be the same person she once was and asks him to keep her old self in safe keeping. Then she changes her mind. She asks him to build up his fire and goes to it and acts as if she is warming her hands. She throws in the packet of letters. Then she kisses his forehead and leaves.
In chapter thirteen, Lily is on her way home. She is so exhausted that she sits on a park bench to rest. One of the women from Gerty Farishís charitable society, Nettie Struthers, a woman whom Lily had helped send to a sanitarium with a large donation, recognizes her. Lily goes home with her for a cup of tea. She is warmed by Nettieís kindness and she holds Nettieís infant child. She goes home and finds a check for ten thousand dollars from Mrs. Penistonís lawyer. She writes out all her bills, leaving only a few dollars left for herself. Then she cleans the room and puts all her things in order. Then she goes to bed and takes her sleeping drops. She hasnít slept for two days and fears nightmares, so she takes extra drops. As she is falling asleep, she imagines that she is holding Nettie Struthersí child in her arms. She thinks of starting over the next day as she goes to sleep.
In chapter fourteen, Lawrence Selden is hurrying to Lily Bartís rooming house to ask her to marry him. When he gets there he finds Gerty Farish and realizes that Lily is dead. Upstairs in her room, he goes through her papers to set things in order before the coroner gets there to make sure there is nothing that would cause harm to her reputation. He finds the bills paid and realizes what her connection to Gus Trenor had been all along. He goes to her bedside and weeps for her, realizing as he does that they would never have been able to be together.