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Suspense and mystery.
I think this is very well done and could be a topic of discussion.
Humbert gets more and more paranoid about losing Lolita, and there are two false alarms before she does vanish.
p 253:" I looked up from the letter and was about to-- There was no Lo to behold."
He mentions that possibility so often that the whole thing becomes clouded while we feel a strong feeling of anticipation.
"It had happened at last. She had gone forever."
The mysterious car following them seems to be everywhere: "The gray car slowing up before us, the gray car catching up with us."
Did Lolita plan her escape with Quilty before she and Humbert started the trip?
p 254: "In later years, I have often wondered why she did not go forever that day (...).
"Was it some unripe particle in some general plan? Was it simply because, all things considered, I might as well be used to convey her to Elphinstone-- the secret terminus, anyway?"
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