The next chapter indicates that Jim, apart from going out with Lena to theatre, also meets her at her shop, visits her apartment and spends a considerable amount of time, since the time he met her. Chapter three of book three seems to be an account of the play and their experience watching it, but it is significant to the entire book as it brings out the pain in Jim with his separation from Antonia and his sudden realization of the compelling similarity between the play and real life. This realization is the heart of the chapter.
When we reached the door of the theatre, the streets were shining with rain. I had prudently brought along Mrs. Harlings useful Commencement present, and I took Lena home under its shelter. After leaving her, I walked slowly out into the country part of the town where I lived. The lilacs were all blooming in the yards, and the smell of them after the rain, of the new leaves and the blossoms together, blew into my face with a sort of bitter sweetness. I tramped through the puddles and under the showery trees, mourning for Marguerite Gauthier as if she had died only yesterday, sighing with the spirit of 1840, which had sighed so much, and which had reached me only that night, across long years and several languages, through the person of an infirm old actress. The idea is one that no circumstances can frustrate. Wherever and whenever that piece is put on, it is April (p. 201).
After his account of how Jim and Lena were able to navigate through the rain, he slides into his version of his experience of his walk back home after leaving Lena at her house. Unlike Lena, he stays in the country side.
Jim describes the things in nature as he finds his way back home through the country side in which he lives. It is spring and the rain has left the blossoming lilacs fresh and fragrant. However, the words “bitter sweetness”, juxtaposes two opposites forming an oxymoron