Current book: The Wings of the Dove
Pages read: 505 (288) - 585 (368)
So, Milly goes gallivanting off around the Continent again in order to follow her doctor's advice. We skip over a lot (which I'm just tragically upset about), but eventually she ends up in Venice, where she's sort of bored, crushed by the pressure of society, and lonely. During one of her lonely moments, Lord Mark shows up, and, because she's vulnerable and emotional, she confesses her terminal illness to him. He offers to marry her, which is precisely the kind of pity she's hoped to avoid by leaving everyone (except Kate) in the dark about things, and she flips out at him and sends him away. Next to visit (and I mean next, because they run into each other in Milly's Venetian foyer) is Merton, newly committed to the idea of paying Milly lots of attention. He does just that, and then continues to visit for the next several days.
We're treated, also, to a couple of conversations between Merton and Kate that finally make it clear that Kate actually wants Merton to marry Milly and inherit her money when she dies. Merton pretty much agrees, which makes him more mercenary than I was expecting, but demands that Kate prove her love to him by "coming to him" later at his hotel. I'm going to go ahead and interpret this as "having sex with him," which makes him yet more mercenary. He's turning into a regular bounder. I mean, really, it's kind of awful to demand a woman's chastity as a guarantee that she won't leave you. Anyway, so that's about where we are. Merton's holding off on proposing to Milly until he gets his guarantee from Kate, and it's looking like Milly will say yes to him, though Lord Mark has raised doubts for her about Kate and Merton's mutual honesty. Milly, after all, is still under the impression that Kate doesn't care for Merton, but she is, due to the aforesaid doubts, beginning to reconsider that idea.
What will happen next? I'm trying really hard to care! No, actually, it's a bit better since things started to happen, though clearly it's not going to end well for the people involved. These things never do. More analysis will be forthcoming when we reach the thrilling conclusion. I'm guessing there'll be morals. Consider yourselves warned.
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