Summary, pp. 74-82
Over the next couple of months, Holly stays most of the time in her apartment. José moves in, but he is away in Washington D. C. on business three days a week. Following the death of her brother, Holly stops calling the narrator “Fred.” She seems happy, though, and buys some things for the apartment as well as books and classical records. She learns how to cook, dreaming up some eccentric recipes, and tries to learn Portuguese from records. She is expecting to marry José (even though he has never formally proposed to her) and move to Rio. She is also pregnant. José may not be her ideal man, she says, but she is happy enough with him and does love him.
Summer turns to fall, and on the last day of September there is a dramatic incident. Holly invites the narrator to go horseback riding in Central Park. She tells him that she is to fly to Rio with José in just over a week. They collect the horses and get on a riding path. The horses are at a trot when a gang of boys emerge from the bushes and throw rocks at the horses and beat at them with switches. The horse the narrator is riding rears up and then bolts, with the narrator clinging on. With Holly in pursuit, the horse runs onto Fifth Avenue against the traffic. Holly finally catches up, and the pincer movement she forms with a mounted policeman finally brings the runaway horse to a stop, at which point the narrator falls off the horse. The policeman arranges for the horses to be returned to the stable. Holly bundles the narrator into a taxi, and as they ride in it he thanks her for saving his life. Then, suffering from blurred vision, he faints.
Once again Holly reveals the complexity of her nature in which opposites seem to happily coexist. She is in many ways a cynical, worldly-wise young woman who knows how to use her men for what she can get out of them. But she also, in this section and elsewhere, shows that she is at heart a romantic, and in that sense she retains her innocence. She wants to love. She even tries to convince herself that she feels something for the men who are really no more than a meal ticket for her. She believes that she really does love José (even though she has a long list of his little faults and failings), and entertains the thoroughly romantic notion of becoming his wife in Brazil and having many children. She also says she would have liked to have been a virgin for José, another romantic touch that belies the impression she gives to others. She does not listen when the narrator expresses skepticism about whether the marriage will actually happen. For a street-smart woman, Holly can be surprisingly naïve. She has a dream of love in an exotic land and is unwilling to question it.
This section also shows how much the narrator is in love with Holly, even though she regards him as only a friend and does not appear to take him all that seriously. He is jealous of José, but he also has sufficient maturity to learn something valuable about love. For example, as they go horseback riding together he realizes that he “loved her enough to forget myself, my self-pitying despairs, and be content that something she thought happy [i.e., the wedding] was going to happen.” The narrator is yet another man who is caught in the spell that Holly casts over her admirers, but at least in this moment he learns that love is not just about desiring happiness for oneself but also being happy with the happiness of the loved one.