The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
Contributed by Marinda Dreiling
Chapter 23

Holden makes a call to a favorite ex-teacher of his, Mr. Antolini, who, after hearing that Holden’s been kicked out of Pencey, invites him over to his apartment. It’s very late, and Holden’s getting nervous again that his parents will come home.

When he returns to Phoebe, she’s got the radio on and is in a better mood. She asks Holden to dance. The two dance a few numbers, and Holden explains that Phoebe’s an excellent dancer, especially for a kid. The two are sitting around, joking with each other, when Phoebe shoots to attention--she’s heard the front door open. Holden hides in the closet and Phoebe flicks the light off, but their mother can tell she’s been awake. Phoebe lies honorably on Holden’s behalf, even going so far as to take the blame for Holden’s cigarette smoke, saying she took a fugitive puff herself.

After their mother leaves, Holden is ready to make his own exit. Phoebe gives him all of her Christmas money, and all of the sudden, Holden is overwhelmed and starts to cry. He gets himself together, though, gives Phoebe a hug and his favorite red hunting hat, and heads out again into the cold night.

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