Cecil Vyse in Forster's A Room With a View
: closet case, do you think?
Forster's having to be subtle in his novels apart from the posthumously-published Maurica
(though his definition of "subtle" in the libretto he co-wrote for Billy Budd
is questionable), there's that line in the same book about how "Mr Beebe, from rather profound reasons, was distinctly chilly in his attitude towards the fairer sex, and preferred to be interested rather than enthralled" (quoted from memory and doubtless wrong). Cecil is a bit of a dandy, certainly a toff, who's rather crap at social interaction and a dreadful snob. George Emerson correctly spots that he wants Lucy as a possession, rather like a painting he could keep and look at. Lucy doesn't accept Cecil until the third proposal, is never terribly keen on the idea (obvious rebound from the George situation), and drops him for the obviously more manly George, having stopped bothering about social class. The one time when Cecil tries to kiss Lucy is a raving disaster. He's also in need of awakening, just as Lucy experiences her sexual awakening during the course of the novel, between Beethoven and her experiences in Italy and the Love of a Manly Man.