In this orderly and spotless flat, Gertrude is not her own person. She is dominated by Guy’s extended family and a few others who gather regularly. Peter Szczepanski, who is known as the “Count, is not a real count but a disappointed Polish emigre; he is a good friend of Guy’s and has been accepted in the Openshaw circle. His role in the London flat is that of Guy’s admirer and pupil, although they are of the same generation. He is painfully formal in all his relationships. Guy dies in the flat, and together with Anne, Gertrude changes the pictures and ornaments which have not been moved for years.
Tim’s studio. Studio apartment over a garage on London’s Chiswick High Road in which Guy’s protégé, the unsuccessful artist Tim Reede, lives. From the studio can be heard the frequent hum of motors from downstairs; a sloping roof and gray boards hold the mattress upon which Tim sleeps. The studio contains stores of wood and painting material, as well as Tim’s own favorite drawings: crucifixion pictures, old men, young men drinking, and painted girls waiting. Tim wakes up in his studio every morning knowing he is free.
Les Grandes Saules (lay grahnd sohl). Gertrude’s towered gray stone house in southern France. The house stands over a valley through which runs a stream bordered by olive trees and large silvery willows, for which the house is named. Beyond these are a vineyard, undulating rocks, a cliff with a rock that resembles an awful human face, and at the foot of the cliff a circular, clear pool that seems to have no source. Tim and Gertrude fall in love with each other at the place and spend three days lost in a dream of planning their future and making love. However, Tim cannot see how they could establish a life together at Ebury Street.
Later, after Tim and Gertrude have a falling out in London, they marry, only to have another falling out. Tim later tries to catch up with Gertrude and her friends in France. When he approaches her house from the valley and sees her sitting with the Count, he flees. He then falls into the canal, which sweeps him through a drainage pipe and deposits him on a sandy bank. Battered, tired, and hungry, Tim creeps back to the house, where Gertrude welcomes him with joy.