Book three of the Dance
takes place in the early 1930s, a few
years after the events of the preceding novel. Narrator Nicholas
Jenkins, while visiting his Uncle Giles, meets the dramatic Mrs.
Erdleigh and has his fortune told, with a special emphasis on his so-far
unfulfilling romantic life. Later, Jenkins attempts to solicit an
introduction for a book through Quiggins, a collegiate acquaintance. At
that appointment, Jenkins bumps into another old friend, Peter Templer,
and meets Templer’s wife Mona for the first time.This leads to a
reconnection with Templer’s sister Jean; the torch Jenkins has carried
for her on and off since his teen years is rekindled and he embarks on a
secretive relationship with her. Meanwhile, Mona leaves Templer,
seduced by Quiggins’ literary prospects and exciting radical politics.
Mrs. Erdleigh makes a surprising appearance on the arm of the obnoxious
Jimmy Stripling, and Jean reveals an old affair with him to Jenkins.
Pondering these various domestic complications, Jenkins attends a
reunion dinner honoring his former headmaster Le Bas, along with
Templer, the now-divorced Charles Stringham, and others. Widmerpool,
once an object of scorn but fast becoming a force in business and
politics, there launches into a tedious speech that concludes only when
Le Bas collapses of a stroke....Read More