'Suddenly', writes Edith, 'I had the uncanny feeling that this was all for show, that everything was a pretence, that this had been a dinner of masks, that no one was ever, ever going to tell the truth again.' The lightly comic ironic tone of much of the novel so far begins here to be undermined. 'Unsound elements seemed to have crept into [Edith's] narrative,' comments Brookner. David, we are told, likes to be amused by Edith's 'news from Cranford', a reference to one of the most charming and delightful works in the whole of English literature.
The chapter finishes on a note of true sobriety. Edith is at last ready to review in her mind the events that led to her exile at the Hotel du Lac. The novel's revels, it seems, are at an end.
The careful pretence of her days here, the almost successful tenor of this artificial and meaningless life which had been decreed for her own good by others who had no real understanding of what her own good was, suddenly appeared to her in all their futility.