With the help of Humbert’s acquaintance Gaston Godin, Humbert and Lolita move to 14 Thayer Street, an unimpressive house in Beardsley. Humbert is disappointed in the Beardsley School for Girls, which emphasizes social skills rather than intellectual achievement. The headmistress, Pratt, believes that Beardsley girls must focus on the “four D’s”: Dramatics, Dance, Debating, and Dating. Humbert is appalled, but some teachers reassure him that the girls do some good, solid schoolwork. The Thayer Street house has a view of the school playground, which pleases Humbert, since he believes he will be able to watch Lolita and, he hopes, other nymphets. Unfortunately, builders arrive to make changes and block his view.
Humbert describes Beardsley and his neighbors, with whom he is on civil yet distant terms. He constantly worries that they might snoop on his arrangement. Humbert also worries that Lolita might confide in their cook, Mrs. Holigan, and tries to make sure that they are never left alone together.
Humbert’s friendship with Gaston Godin, a popular man regarded as a French sophisticate and genius scholar, smoothes his arrival in the new town of Beardsley. Gaston knows all of the small boys in the neighborhood and has portraits of them, as well as famous artists, in his home. Humbert enjoys their occasional chess games but finds Gaston to be a mediocre scholar and somewhat dim-witted.
Humbert and Lolita’s relationship has become more strained. Despite her allowance and many small presents, Lolita wants more money, and she starts to demand it before performing sexual favors. Humbert periodically breaks into her room to steal back her savings so she cannot run away from him.
Humbert worries about Lolita attracting boys, and he reads the local paper’s teen advice column for instruction. He allows Lolita to interact with some boys in groups, but never alone, a rule that upsets Lolita. Despite his attempt to control every aspect of Lolita’s life, Humbert can’t be sure that she hasn’t stolen away with a boy. However, he has no particular boy to suspect. Humbert imagines how others see him and wonders how he has managed to fool everyone. He still lives in a constant state of anxiety.
Humbert finds himself disappointed by Lolita’s friends, few of whom are nymphets. He talks to Lolita’s friend Mona to discover if Lolita has any boyfriends, but Mona, rather than supplying Humbert with details, seems attracted to him instead.