The Da Vinci Code: Chapter 54

Summary: Inside Sir Teabing’s ornately decorated salon, Langdon wraps Saunière’s deposit box inside his coat in order to smuggle it into the house past Teabing’s manservant, Rémy Legaludec. When alone in the room, Langdon hides the box under Teabing’s antique divan. Teabing receives his visitors, intrigued (as Langdon knew he would be) that they claim to bring new information about the Priory of Sion and the Grail.

Analysis: This chapter further develops Teabing’s character, both through dialogue—for example, we glimpse Teabing’s risqué side through such comments as “My only carnal pleasures these days seem to be culinary” (p. 247) and “the unseemly metaphor” (p. 249) of Sophie as a “Grail virgin” because she has not heard the Grail’s true story: “Robert, I thought you were a gentleman. You’ve robbed her of the climax!” (p. 248). We can also draw inferences from Teabing’s physical appearance: “Portly and ruby-faced, Sir Leigh Teabing had bushy red hair and jovial hazel eyes that seemed to twinkle as he spoke” (p. 246). Teabing seems pleasant enough, then, but we are aware of an undercurrent of sensuality and, perhaps, danger: after all, red hair, through the centuries, has had symbolic connotations not only of fiery tempers but also of the demonic (although readers should also recall that Sophie Neveu herself has a shade of red hair, described as “burgundy” at Ch. 9, p. 55). Taken together, then, what we know of Teabing thus far may incline readers to believe Langdon that the old researcher can be trusted—but they may also have a measure of sympathy, given Teabing’s ambiguous nature, for Sophie’s misgivings: “Sophie’s grandfather’s final words had instructed her to find Robert Langdon. He had said nothing about involving anyone else” (p. 246).