The Portrait of a Lady

Henry James

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The Portrait of a Lady

Chapter 1
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. There are circumstances in which, whether you partake of the tea or not—some people of course never do—the situation is in itself delightful. Those that I have in mind in beginning to unfold this simple history offered an admirable setting to an innocent pastime. The implements of the little feast had been disposed upon the lawn of an old English countryhouse, in what I should call the perfect middle of a splendid summer afternoon. Part of the afternoon had waned, but much of it was left, and what was left was of the finest and rarest quality. Real dusk would not arrive for many hours; but the flood of summer light had begun to ebb, the air had grown mellow, the shadows were long upon the smooth, dense turf. They lengthened slowly, however, and the scene expressed that sense of leisure still to come which is perhaps the chief source of one’s enjoyment of such a scene at such an hour. From five o’clock to eight is on certain occasions a little eternity; but on such an occasion as this the interval could be only an eternity of pleasure. The persons concerned in it were 2 of 1056

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taking their pleasure quietly, and they were not of the sex which is supposed to furnish the regular votaries of the ceremony I have mentioned. The shadows on the perfect lawn were straight and angular; they were the shadows of an old man sitting in a deep wicker-chair near the low table on which the tea had been served, and of two younger men strolling to and fro, in desultory talk, in front of him. The old man had his cup in his hand; it was an unusually large cup, of a different pattern from the rest of the set and painted in brilliant colours. He disposed of its contents with much circumspection, holding it for a long time close to his chin, with his face turned to the house. His companions had either finished their tea or were indifferent to their privilege; they smoked cigarettes as they continued to stroll. One of them, from time to time, as he passed, looked with a certain attention at the elder man, who, unconscious of observation, rested his eyes upon the rich red front of his dwelling. The house that rose beyond the lawn was a structure to repay such consideration and was the most characteristic object in the peculiarly English picture I have attempted to sketch. It stood upon a low hill, above the river—the river being the Thames at some forty miles from London. A long gabled front of red brick, with the complexion of 3 of 1056

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which time and the weather had played all sorts of pictorial tricks, only, however, to improve and refine it, presented to the lawn its patches of ivy, its clustered chimneys, its windows smothered in creepers. The house had a name and a history; the old gentleman taking his tea would have been delighted to tell you these things: how it had been built under Edward the Sixth, had offered a night’s hospitality to the great Elizabeth (whose august person had extended itself upon a huge, magnificent, and terribly angular bed which still formed the principal honour of the sleeping apartments), had been a good deal bruised and defaced in Cromwell’s wars, and then, under the Restoration, repaired and much enlarged; and how, finally, after having been remodelled and disfigured in the eighteenth century, it had passed into the careful keeping of a shrewd American banker, who had bought it originally because (owing to circumstances too complicated to set forth) it was offered at a great bargain: bought it with much grumbling at its ugliness, its antiquity, its incommodity, and who now, at the end of twenty years, had become conscious of a real aesthetic passion for it, so that he knew all its points and would tell you just where to stand to see them in combination and just the hour when the shadows of its various 4 of 1056

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protuberances—which fell so softly upon the warm, weary brickwork—were of the right measure. Besides this, as I have said, he could have counted off most of the successive owners and occupants, several of whom were known to general fame; doing so, however, with an undemonstrative conviction that the latest phase of its destiny was not the least honourable. The front of the house overlooking that portion of the lawn with which we are concerned was not the entrance-front; this was in quite another quarter. Privacy here reigned supreme, and the wide carpet of turf that covered the level hill-top seemed but the extension of a luxurious interior. The great still oaks and beeches flung down a shade as dense as that of velvet curtains; and the place was furnished, like a room, with cushioned seats, with rich-coloured rugs, with the books and papers that lay upon the grass. The river was at some distance; where the ground began to slope, the lawn, properly speaking, ceased. But it was none the less a charming walk down to the water. The old gentleman at the tea-table, who had come from America thirty years before, had brought with him, at the top of his baggage, his American physiognomy; and he had not only brought it with him, but he had kept it in the best order, so that, if necessary, he might have taken it 5 of 1056

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back to his own country with perfect confidence. At present, obviously, nevertheless, he was not likely to displace himself; his journeys were over, and he was taking the rest that precedes the great rest. He had a narrow, clean-shaven face, with features evenly distributed and an expression of placid acuteness. It was evidently a face in which the range of representation was not large, so that the air of contented shrewdness was all the more of a merit. It seemed to tell that he had been successful in life, yet it seemed to tell also that his success had not been exclusive and invidious, but had had much of the inoffensiveness of failure. He had certainly had a great experience of men, but there was an almost rustic simplicity in the faint smile that played upon his lean, spacious cheek and lighted up his humorous eye as he at last slowly and carefully deposited his big tea-cup upon the table. He was neatly dressed, in well-brushed black; but a shawl was folded upon his knees, and his feet were encased in thick, embroidered slippers. A beautiful collie dog lay upon the grass near his chair, watching the master’s face almost as tenderly as the master took in the still more magisterial physiognomy of the house; and a little bristling, bustling terrier bestowed a desultory attendance upon the other gentlemen. 6 of 1056

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One of these was a remarkably well-made man of fiveand-thirty, with a face as English as that of the old gentleman I have just sketched was something else; a noticeably handsome face, fresh-coloured, fair and frank, with firm, straight features, a lively grey eye and the rich adornment of a chestnut beard. This person had a certain fortunate, brilliant exceptional look—the air of a happy temperament fertilized by a high civilization—which would have made almost any observer envy him at a venture. He was booted and spurred, as if he had dismounted from a long ride; he wore a white hat, which looked too large for him; he held his two hands behind him, and in one of them—a large, white, well-shaped fist—was crumpled a pair of soiled dog-skin gloves. His companion, measuring the length of the lawn beside him, was a person of quite a different pattern, who, although he might have excited grave curiosity, would not, like the other, have provoked you to wish yourself, almost blindly, in his place. Tall, lean, loosely and feebly put together, he had an ugly, sickly, witty, charming face, furnished, but by no means decorated, with a straggling moustache and whisker. He looked clever and ill—a combination by no means felicitous; and he wore a brown velvet jacket. He carried his hands in his pockets, and 7 of 1056

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there was something in the way he did it that showed the habit was inveterate. His gait had a shambling, wandering quality; he was not very firm on his legs. As I have said, whenever he passed the old man in the chair he rested his eyes upon him; and at this moment, with their faces brought into relation, you would easily have seen they were father and son. The father caught his son’s eye at last and gave him a mild, responsive smile. ‘I’m getting on very well,’ he said. ‘Have you drunk your tea?’ asked the son. ‘Yes, and enjoyed it.’ ‘Shall I give you some more?’ The old man considered, placidly. ‘Well, I guess I’ll wait and see.’ He had, in speaking, the American tone. ‘Are you cold?’ the son enquired. The father slowly rubbed his legs. ‘Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell till I feel.’ ‘Perhaps some one might feel for you,’ said the younger man, laughing. ‘Oh, I hope some one will always feel for me! Don’t you feel for me, Lord Warburton?’ ‘Oh yes, immensely,’ said the gentleman addressed as Lord Warburton, promptly. ‘I’m bound to say you look wonderfully comfortable.’ 8 of 1056

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‘Well, I suppose I am, in most respects.’ And the old man looked down at his green shawl and smoothed it over his knees. ‘The fact is I’ve been comfortable so many years that I suppose I’ve got so used to it I don’t know it.’ ‘Yes, that’s the bore of comfort,’ said Lord Warburton. ‘We only know when we’re uncomfortable.’ ‘It strikes me we’re rather particular,’ his companion remarked. ‘Oh yes, there’s no doubt we’re particular,’ Lord Warburton murmured. And then the three men remained silent a while; the two younger ones standing looking down at the other, who presently asked for more tea. ‘I should think you would be very unhappy with that shawl,’ Lord Warburton resumed while his companion filled the old man’s cup again. ‘Oh no, he must have the shawl!’ cried the gentleman in the velvet coat. ‘Don’t put such ideas as that into his head.’ ‘It belongs to my wife,’ said the old man simply. ‘Oh, if it’s for sentimental reasons-’ And Lord Warburton made a gesture of apology. ‘I suppose I must give it to her when she comes,’ the old man went on.

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‘You’ll please to do nothing of the kind. You’ll keep it to cover your poor old legs.’ ‘Well, you mustn’t abuse my legs,’ said the old man. ‘I guess they are as good as yours.’ ‘Oh, you’re perfectly free to abuse mine,’ his son replied, giving him his tea. ‘Well, we’re two lame ducks; I don’t think there’s much difference.’ ‘I’m much obliged to you for calling me a duck. How’s your tea?’ ‘Well, it’s rather hot.’ ‘That’s intended to be a merit.’ ‘Ah, there’s a great deal of merit,’ murmured the old man, kindly. ‘He’s a very good nurse, Lord Warburton.’ ‘Isn’t he a bit clumsy?’ asked his lordship. ‘Oh no, he’s not clumsy—considering that he’s an invalid himself. He’s a very good nurse—for a sick-nurse. I call him my sick-nurse because he’s sick himself.’ ‘Oh, come, daddy!’ the ugly young man exclaimed. ‘Well, you are; I wish you weren’t. But I suppose you can’t help it.’ ‘I might try: that’s an idea,’ said the young man. ‘Were you ever sick, Lord Warburton?’ his father asked. 10 of 1056

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Lord Warburton considered a moment. ‘Yes, sir, once, in the Persian Gulf.’ He’s making light of you, daddy,’ said the other young man. ‘That’s a sort of joke.’ ‘Well, there seem to be so many sorts now,’ daddy replied, serenely. ‘You don’t look as if you had been sick, any way, Lord Warburton.’ ‘He’s sick of life; he was just telling me so; going on fearfully about it,’ said Lord Warburton’s friend. ‘Is that true, sir?’ asked the old man gravely. ‘If it is, your son gave me no consolation. He’s a wretched fellow to talk to—a regular cynic. He doesn’t seem to believe in anything.’ ‘That’s another sort of joke,’ said the person accused of cynicism. ‘It’s because his health is so poor,’ his father explained to Lord Warburton. ‘It affects his mind and colours his way of looking at things; he seems to feel as if he had never had a chance. But it’s almost entirely theoretical, you know; it doesn’t seem to affect his spirits. I’ve hardly ever seen him when he wasn’t cheerful—about as he is at present. He often cheers me up.’ The young man so described looked at Lord Warburton and laughed. ‘Is it a glowing eulogy or an 11 of 1056

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accusation of levity? Should you like me to carry out my theories, daddy?’ ‘By Jove, we should see some queer things!’ cried Lord Warburton. ‘I hope you haven’t taken up that sort of tone,’ said the old man. ‘Warburton’s tone is worse than mine; he pretends to be bored. I’m not in the least bored; I find life only too interesting.’ ‘Ah, too interesting; you shouldn’t allow it to be that, you know!’ ‘I’m never bored when I come here,’ said Lord Warburton. ‘One gets such uncommonly good talk.’ ‘Is that another sort of joke?’ asked the old man. ‘You’ve no excuse for being bored anywhere. When I was your age I had never heard of such a thing.’ ‘You must have developed very late.’ ‘No, I developed very quick; that was just the reason. When I was twenty years old I was very highly developed indeed. I was working tooth and nail. You wouldn’t be bored if you had something to do; but all you young men are too idle. You think too much of your pleasure. You’re too fastidious, and too indolent, and too rich.’

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‘Oh, I say,’ cried Lord Warburton, ‘you’re hardly the person to accuse a fellow-creature of being too rich!’ ‘Do you mean because I’m a banker?’ asked the old man. ‘Because of that, if you like; and because you have— haven’t you?- such unlimited means.’ ‘He isn’t very rich,’ the other young man mercifully pleaded. ‘He has given away an immense deal of money.’ ‘Well, I suppose it was his own,’ said Lord Warburton; ‘and in that case could there be a better proof of wealth? Let not a public benefactor talk of one’s being too fond of pleasure.’ ‘Daddy’s very fond of pleasure—of other people’s.’ The old man shook his head. ‘I don’t pretend to have contributed anything to the amusement of my contemporaries.’ ‘My dear father, you’re too modest!’ ‘That’s a kind of joke, sir,’ said Lord Warburton. ‘You young men have too many jokes. When there are no jokes you’ve nothing left.’ ‘Fortunately there are always more jokes,’ the ugly young man remarked. ‘I don’t believe it—I believe things are getting more serious. You young men will find that out.’ 13 of 1056

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‘The increasing seriousness of things, then—that’s the great opportunity of jokes.’ ‘They’ll have to be grim jokes,’ said the old man. ‘I’m convinced there will be great changes; and not all for the better.’ ‘I quite agree with you, sir,’ Lord Warburton declared. ‘I’m very sure there will be great changes, and that all sorts of queer things will happen. That’s why I find so much difficulty in applying your advice; you know you told me the other day that I ought to ‘take hold’ of something. One hesitates to take hold of a thing that may the next moment be knocked sky-high.’ ‘You ought to take hold of a pretty woman,’ said his companion. ‘He’s trying hard to fall in love,’ he added, by way of explanation, to his father. ‘The pretty women themselves may be sent flying!’ Lord Warburton exclaimed. ‘No, no, they’ll be firm,’ the old man rejoined; ‘they’ll not be affected by the social and political changes I just referred to.’ ‘You mean they won’t be abolished? Very well, then, I’ll lay my hands on one as soon as possible and tie her round my neck as a life-preserver.’

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‘The ladies will save us,’ said the old man; ‘that is the best of them will—for I make a difference between them. Make up to a good one and marry her, and your life will become much more interesting.’ A momentary silence marked perhaps on the part of his auditors a sense of the magnanimity of this speech, for it was a secret neither for his son nor for his visitor that his own experiment in matrimony had not been a happy one. As he said, however, he made a difference; and these words may have been intended as a confession of personal error; though of course it was not in place for either of his companions to remark that apparently the lady of his choice had not been one of the best. ‘If I marry an interesting woman I shall be interested: is that what you say?’ Lord Warburton asked. ‘I’m not at all keen about marrying- your son misrepresented me; but there’s no knowing what an interesting woman might do with me.’ ‘I should like to see your idea of an interesting woman,’ said his friend. ‘My dear fellow, you can’t see ideas—especially such highly ethereal ones as mine. If I could only see myself— that would be a great step in advance.’

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‘Well, you may fall in love with whomsoever you please; but you mustn’t fall in love with my niece,’ said the old man. His son broke into a laugh. ‘He’ll think you mean that as a provocation! My dear father, you’ve lived with the English for thirty years, and you’ve picked up a good many of the things they say. But you’ve never learned the things they don’t say!’ ‘I say what I please,’ the old man returned with all his serenity. ‘I haven’t the honour of knowing your niece,’ Lord Warburton said. ‘I think it’s the first time I’ve heard of her.’ ‘She’s a niece of my wife’s; Mrs. Touchett brings her to England.’ Then young Mr. Touchett explained. ‘My mother, you know, has been spending the winter in America, and we’re expecting her back. She writes that she has discovered a niece and that she has invited her to come out with her.’ ‘I see—very kind of her,’ said Lord Warburton. ‘Is the young lady interesting?’ ‘We hardly know more about her than you; my mother has not gone into details. She chiefly 16 of 1056

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communicates with us by means of telegrams, and her telegrams are rather inscrutable. They say women don’t know how to write them, but my mother has thoroughly mastered the art of condensation. ‘Tired America, hot weather awful, return England with niece, first steamer decent cabin.’ That’s the sort of message we get from her—that was the last that came. But there had been another before, which I think contained the first mention of the niece. ‘Changed hotel, very bad, impudent clerk, address here. Taken sister’s girl, died last year, go to Europe, two sisters, quite independent.’ Over that my father and I have scarcely stopped puzzling; it seems to admit of so many interpretations.’ ‘There’s one thing very clear in it,’ said the old man; ‘she has given the hotel-clerk a dressing.’ ‘I’m not sure even of that, since he has driven her from the field. We thought at first that the sister mentioned might be the sister of the clerk; but the subsequent mention of a niece seems to prove that the allusion is to one of my aunts. There there was a question as to whose the two other sisters were; they are probably two of my late aunt’s daughters. But who’s ‘quite independent,’ and in what sense is the term used?—that point’s not yet settled. Does the expression apply more particularly to the 17 of 1056

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young lady my mother has adopted, or does it characterize her sisters equally?—and is it used in a moral or in a financial sense? Does it mean that they’ve been left well off, or that they wish to be under no obligations? or does it simply mean that they’re fond of their own way?’ ‘Whatever else it means, it’s pretty sure to mean that,’ Mr. Touchett remarked. ‘You’ll see for yourself,’ said Lord Warburton. ‘When does Mrs. Touchett arrive?’ ‘We’re quite in the dark; as soon as she can find a decent cabin. She may be waiting for it yet; on the other hand she may already have disembarked in England.’ ‘In that case she would probably have telegraphed to you.’ ‘She never telegraphs when you would expect it—only when you don’t,’ said the old man. ‘She likes to drop in on me suddenly; she thinks she’ll find me doing something wrong. She has never done so yet, but she’s not discouraged.’ ‘It’s her share in the family trait, the independence she speaks of.’ Her son’s appreciation of the matter was more favourable. ‘Whatever the high spirit of those young ladies may be, her own is a match for it. She likes to do everything for herself and has no belief in any one’s power 18 of 1056

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to help her. She thinks me of no more use than a postagestamp without gum, and she would never forgive me if I should presume to go to Liverpool to meet her.’ ‘Will you at least let me know when your cousin arrives?’ Lord Warburton asked. ‘Only on the condition I’ve mentioned—that you don’t fall in love with her!’ Mr. Touchett replied. ‘That strikes me as hard. Don’t you think me good enough?’ ‘I think you too good—because I shouldn’t like her to marry you. She hasn’t come here to look for a husband, I hope; so many young ladies are doing that, as if there were no good ones at home. Then she’s probably engaged; American girls are usually engaged, I believe. Moreover I’m not sure, after all, that you’d be a remarkable husband.’ ‘Very likely she’s engaged; I’ve known a good many American girls, and they always were; but I could never see that it made any difference, upon my word! As for my being a good husband,’ Mr. Touchett’s visitor pursued, ‘I’m not sure of that either. One can but try!’ ‘Try as much as you please, but don’t try on my niece,’ smiled the old man, whose opposition to the idea was broadly humorous. 19 of 1056

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‘Ah, well,’ said Lord Warburton with a humour broader still, ‘perhaps after all, she’s not worth trying on!’

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Chapter 2
While this exchange of pleasantries took place between the two Ralph Touchett wandered away a little, with his usual slouching gait, his hands in his pockets and his little rowdyish terrier at his heels. His face was turned toward the house, but his eyes were bent musingly on the lawn; so that he had been an object of observation to a person who had just made her appearance in the ample doorway for some moments before he perceived her. His attention was called to her by the conduct of his dog, who had suddenly darted forward with a little volley of shrill barks, in which the note of welcome, however, was more sensible than that of defiance. The person in question was a young lady, who seemed immediately to interpret the greeting of the small beast. He advanced with great rapidity and stood at her feet, looking up and barking hard; whereupon, without hesitation, she stooped and caught him in her hands, holding him face to face while he continued his quick chatter. His master now had had time to follow and to see that Bunchie’s new friend was a tall girl in a black dress, who at first sight looked pretty. She was bareheaded, as if she were staying in the house—a

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‘Dear me. smiling. but you’ve suddenly acquired a remarkable air of property in him. from the way she handles the dog.’ ‘Couldn’t we share him?’ asked the girl.The Portrait of a Lady fact which conveyed perplexity to the son of its master. Touchett had asked. ‘I think she must be. and he trotted toward the young lady in the doorway. who’s that strange woman?’ Mr.’ The collie. she was unexpectedly pretty. ‘Perhaps it’s Mrs.’ Lord Warburton suggested. too.’ Ralph looked at her a moment. ‘You may have him altogether.’ The girl spoke to Ralph. sir?’ ‘He was mine a moment ago. slowly setting his tail in motion as he went.’ he then replied. ‘But where’s my wife then?’ murmured the old man. 22 of 1056 . conscious of that immunity from visitors which had for some time been rendered necessary by the latter’s illhealth. ‘He’s such a perfect little darling. had now allowed his attention to be diverted. ‘Is this your little dog. ‘I suppose the young lady has left her somewhere: that’s a part of the independence. Meantime the two other gentlemen had also taken note of the new-comer. Touchett’s niece—the independent young lady. while she still held up the terrier.

as the collie came up. she went straight to her room. I was to say to you that you must come to her there at a quarter to seven. at the two dogs.’ And then he looked at his cousin. I’m delighted to see you. ‘Probably?’ the young man exclaimed.’ She was looking at everything. I shall be punctual. putting down the dog. both in herself and in others. ‘I’ve never seen anything so lovely as this place. but this abrupt generosity made her blush.’ The young man looked at his watch. half an hour ago.’ 23 of 1056 . I’ve been all over the house. ‘And here’s another!’ she added quickly. ‘I ought to tell you that I’m probably your cousin.’ she brought out.’ ‘And has she deposited you and departed again?’ ‘No. ‘You’re very welcome here. at the two gentlemen under the trees. with an eye that denoted clear perception—at her companion. ‘Thank you very much. it’s too enchanting. and she told me that. at the beautiful scene that surrounded her.The Portrait of a Lady The young lady seemed to have a great deal of confidence. if I should see you. ‘I supposed it was quite settled! Have you arrived with my mother? ‘Yes. laughing.

so I thought it was all right. slim and charming. She remained standing where they had met. ‘Won’t you come and make acquaintance with my father?’ he nevertheless ventured to ask. ‘He’s old and infirm—he doesn’t leave his chair. making no offer to advance or to speak to Mr. and it had been intimated that this one had a high spirit. American girls were used to a great deal of deference. it’s just like a novel!’ And then.’ 24 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘I"m sorry you should have been here so long without our knowing it.’ ‘Oh. stooping down and picking up the small dog again. Touchett. Is one of those gentlemen your father?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Your mother told me that in England people arrived very quietly. The girl gave a laugh. ‘I don’t suppose it’s the other. Ralph could see that in her face. I hoped there would be a lord. and while she lingered so near the threshold. ‘Oh you adorable creature!’ she suddenly cried. Indeed. Who’s the other?’ ‘He’s a friend of ours—Lord Warburton. her interlocutor wondered if she expected the old man to come and pay her his respects.’ said Ralph. the elder one—the one sitting down.

he has a lovely place to sit.’ ‘Well. ‘but don’t tell him I asked you.’ Ralph Touchett was silent a moment. and he slowly got up from his chair to introduce himself. ‘My father’s name?’ ‘Yes.’ said the young lady with amusement. Come along. ‘She hasn’t seen him for a year. little hound. ‘I got the impression from your mother that he was rather—rather intensely active. Touchett was sitting. immediately moving forward. ‘It’s a great pleasure to me to see you here. but I wish you had given us a chance to receive you.’ The old man placed his two hands on her shoulders. ‘and this is Miss Archer.’ said Ralph. I’m very sorry!’ the girl exclaimed. looking sidewise at his neighbour. ‘My mother has arrived.’ ‘It’s a dear old place. looked at her a moment with extreme benevolence and then gallantly kissed her.’ said the young man. poor man. They had come by this time to where old Mr.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah.’ 25 of 1056 . ‘What’s his name?’ she asked. her attention having again reverted to the terrier.

‘They gave me some tea in my room the moment I got there. resting her eyes upon her venerable host.’ this young lady answered. ‘She’s coming down to dinner—at eight o’clock. ‘I’m sorry you’re out of health. 26 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh. turning with a smile to Ralph. Touchett’s husband slowly resumed his former posture.’ said Ralph. Don’t you forget a quarter to seven.’ And Mrs.’ she added.’ he observed to his wife’s niece. Touchett doesn’t like receptions. ‘What’s to happen at a quarter to seven?’ ‘I’m to see my mother. ‘You must sit down—you must have some tea. Well.’ said Miss Archer. ‘But Mrs. ‘Ah. ‘Before that. She always does that. rubbing his hands and slowly shaking his head at her. And there was an old woman curtseying at the gate. happy boy!’ the old man commented. we were received. I suppose I shall see her next week.’ ‘We can do better than that—if we have notice!’ And the old man stood there smiling.’ she added.’ ‘Yes—and locked herself in.’ ‘She went straight to her room.’ said the girl. ‘There were about a dozen servants in the hall.

‘I know the way it strikes you. were folded upon her black dress. She had seated herself and had put away the little dog. her head was erect. Download the free trial version.’ ‘It’s looking very well. and they were all reflected in a clear. and edit PDF. still smile. the reedy. I’m an old man. in sympathy with the alertness with which she evidently caught impressions. her eye lighted.’ he added with a politeness by no means crudely jocular and with the happy consciousness that his advanced age gave him the privilege of saying such things—even to young persons who might possibly take alarm at them. ‘Oh. her white hands. Her impressions were numerous. ‘I’ve never seen anything so beautiful as this. and while engaged in this survey she had made room in it for her companions. I’ve been through all that.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. But I shall be the better for having you here. view. the beautiful old house. a comprehensiveness of observation easily conceivable on the part of a young woman who was evidently both intelligent and excited. it’s time for me to be old.’ said Mr. 27 of 1056 . the great trees. in her lap.’ She had been looking all round her again—at the lawn. But you’re very beautiful yourself. my dear. silvery Thames. her flexible figure turned itself easily this way and that. Touchett.

’ cried the old man. with a blush which was not a refutation.’ said Ralph Touchett.’ said Lord Warburton.’ 28 of 1056 .’ ‘There are many much better ones. ‘Early Tudor? How very delightful! And I suppose there are a great many others. She turned toward him.’ he added. however. ‘I should like very much to show it to you. she instantly rose. The girl appreciated it in an instant.’ ‘I’ve got a very good one. watching his face. she had not forgotten that this was Lord Warburton.The Portrait of a Lady What degree of alarm this young person took need not be exactly measured. who as yet had not spoken.’ ‘Don’t say that. ‘Don’t believe him. He slightly inclined himself. I think in some respects it’s rather better. ‘How old is your house? Is it Elizabethan?’ ‘It’s early Tudor. ‘don’t look at it! It’s a wretched old barrack—not to be compared with this. ‘Oh yes. smiling. ‘There’s nothing better than this. he had an excellent manner with women. of course I’m lovely!’ she returned with a quick laugh. but who had kept an attentive eye upon Miss Archer. my son!’ the old man protested.

‘Very fond of them indeed.’ ‘I shall settle this as I like it. you know.’ ‘That will be for a long time. still awkwardly. My aunt must settle that. with pleasure. ‘I’m glad to be here at all.’ ‘I’ll settle it with her—at a quarter to seven.’ ‘You must keep the terrier. I hardly know.’ ‘You’re very kind.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t know—I can’t judge.’ ‘There? Where do you mean?’ 29 of 1056 . ‘I don’t believe you allow things to be settled for you.’ And Ralph looked at his watch again.’ said the girl. looking greatly as if he should like to renew his conversation with his new-found cousin.’ said Ralph. He seemed to recognize that it was an awkward beginning for a clever man. if they’re settled as I like them. I hope. ‘Are you very fond of dogs?’ he enquired by way of beginning. smiling at Lord Warburton.’ ‘I was there—you had only to come and see me. he stood with his hands in his pockets.’ said the girl. ‘It’s most unaccountable that we should never have known you.’ ‘Oh yes. In this discussion Ralph Touchett took no interest whatever.’ he went on. ‘I’ll keep him while I’m here.

‘She has adopted you.The Portrait of a Lady ‘In the United States: in New York and Albany and other American places. but I never saw you. ‘Oh no.’ ‘Adopted me?’ The girl stared. Lord Warburton. After that my aunt was very kind to me. I’m not a candidate for adoption. she has not adopted me.’ ‘I’ve been there—all over. but I don’t embrace all my mother’s quarrels— heaven forbid!’ the young man cried. ‘Yes.’ said Ralph. ‘It was because there had been some disagreement between your mother and my father. and her blush came back to her. who appeared constantly desirous of a nearer view of Miss Archer.’ Miss Archer just hesitated. ‘You’ve lately lost your father?’ he went on more gravely. she came to see me and proposed that I should come with her to Europe. more than a year ago. strolled toward the two cousins at the moment. and as he did so she rested her wider eyes on him. which took place when I was a child.’ 30 of 1056 . I can’t make it out. after my mother’s death.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘I see. In consequence of it we never expected to see you. He had underestimated the effect of his words. together with a momentary look of pain which gave her interlocutor some alarm.

‘I’m very fond of my liberty. ‘You meant she has taken me up. and tell me about her.’ she added with a certain visible eagerness of desire to be explicit.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I beg a thousand pardons. Yes. after which she went over to her uncle. ‘She’s really very benevolent. smiling. ‘I meant—I meant-’ He hardly knew what he meant.’ she answered. whose mirth was excited by her words. she likes to take people up.’ Ralph murmured. Touchett?’ the old man called out from his chair. my dear.’ The girl hesitated again. I’m always thankful for information. to whom in a moment he said: ‘You wished a while ago to see my idea of an interesting woman.’ ‘Are you talking about Mrs. but. Lord Warburton was left standing with Ralph Touchett. ‘Come here. There it is!’ 31 of 1056 . She has been very kind to me.

She had her own way of doing all that she did. This way of her own. postponing the more sentimental ceremony until she had repaired the disorder of dress with a completeness which had the less reason to be of high 32 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 3 Mrs. rarely succeeded in giving an impression of suavity. Mrs. and this is the simplest description of a character which. Touchett was certainly a person of many oddities. Mrs. under circumstances in which it might have seemed that her first act would have been to exchange greetings with her husband and son. always retired on such occasions into impenetrable seclusion. Touchett might do a great deal of good. was not intrinsically offensive— it was just unmistakeably distinguished from the ways of others. The edges of her conduct were so very clear-cut that for susceptible persons it sometimes had a knife-like effect. but she never pleased. of which she was so fond. for reasons which she deemed excellent. Touchett. of which her behaviour on returning to her husband’s house after many months was a noticeable specimen. although by no means without liberal motions. That hard fineness came out in her deportment during the first hours of her return from America.

and saw no reason why either 33 of 1056 . that they should never desire the same thing at the same moment. She was a plain-faced old woman. at an early stage of their community. This arrangement greatly pleased her. without graces and without any great elegance. She was virtually separated from her husband. She was usually prepared to explain these—when the explanation was asked as a favour. To agree to disagree had cost him an effort. It had become clear. where it was at times the most definite fact he discerned. he was ready to agree to almost anything but that. but he would have preferred that such unnatural things should have a greater vagueness. in a foggy square in London. and in such a case they proved totally different from those that had been attributed to her. but she appeared to perceive nothing irregular in the situation. and this appearance had prompted her to rescue disagreement from the vulgar realm of accident. but with an extreme respect for her own motives. where she bought a house and established herself. and by leaving her husband to take care of the English branch of his bank. it was so felicitously definite. It struck her husband in the same light. She did what she could to erect it into a law—a much more edifying aspect of it—by going to live in Florence.The Portrait of a Lady importance as neither beauty nor vanity were concerned in it.

a period during which she apparently took pains to convince him that she had adopted the right system.The Portrait of a Lady assent or dissent should be so terribly consistent. she objected to the consumption of beer by her maid-servants. At fixed intervals she paid a visit to her own country. a want of fresh taste in her situation which the arrival of an 34 of 1056 . they bore upon minor points of that ancient order. some four months earlier than the occurrence lately narrated. but for Mrs. as she said. which. for her love of knowledge had a fertilizing quality and her imagination was strong. She was not fond of the English style of life. Touchett indulged in no regrets nor speculations. however. but this last had been longer than any of its predecessors. One wet afternoon. and had three or four reasons for it to which she currently alluded. this young lady had been seated alone with a book. Mrs. looked like a poultice and tasted like soap. Touchett was very particular about the appearance of her linen) was not a mistress of her art. To say she was so occupied is to say that her solitude did not press upon her. She had taken up her niece—there was little doubt of that. There was at this time. and she affirmed that the British laundress (Mrs. Touchett they amply justified non-residence. She detested bread-sauce. and usually came once a year to spend a month with her husband.

as a child. The two houses together formed a single dwelling. 35 of 1056 . in a yellowish white which had grown sallow with time. There were two entrances. These rooms. which Isabel and her sisters used in their childhood to call the tunnel and which. square. Then there had been an absence of ten years. above-stairs. followed by a return to Albany before her father’s death. though it was short and well-lighted. a large. with a notice of sale in the windows of one of the lower apartments. always seemed to the girl to be strange and lonely. at different periods. were extremely numerous. especially on winter afternoons. the girl heard her at last walking about the adjoining room. It was in an old house at Albany. On the third floor there was a sort of arched passage. with an arched frame and wide side-lights. They were exactly alike—large white doors. double house.The Portrait of a Lady unexpected visitor did much to correct. one of which had long been out of use but had never been removed. connecting the two sides of the house. She had been in the house. The visitor had not been announced. which descended sidewise to the brick pavement of the street. the party-wall having been removed and the rooms placed in communication. and were painted all over exactly alike. in those days her grandmother lived there. perched upon little ‘stoops’ of red stone.

a large hospitality in the early period. chiefly within the limits of the family. and the little girls often spent weeks under her roof—weeks of which Isabel had the happiest memory. but even as a child she thought her grandmother’s home romantic. Isabel had stayed with her grandmother at various seasons. so that the house offered to a certain extent the appearance of a bustling provincial inn kept by a gentle old landlady who sighed a great deal and never presented a bill.The Portrait of a Lady Her grandmother. more plentiful. her grandmother’s sons and daughters and their children appeared to be in the enjoyment of standing invitations to arrive and remain.larger. old Mrs. There was a covered piazza behind it. and beyond this was a long garden. the discipline of the nursery was delightfully vague and the opportunity of listening to the conversation of one’s elders (which with Isabel was a highly-valued pleasure) almost unbounded. Archer. The manner of life was different from that of her own home. had exercised. sloping down to the stable and containing peach-trees of barely credible familiarity. practically more festal. On 36 of 1056 . but somehow all her visits had a flavour of peaches. Isabel of course knew nothing about bills. furnished with a swing which was a source of tremulous interest. There was a constant coming and going.

she had uncontrolled use of a library full of books with frontispieces. defended by a rickety wooden paling and standing sidewise to the street. which she used to climb upon a chair to take 37 of 1056 . she had protested against its laws and had been allowed to stay at home. in the September days. It was occupied by a primary school for children of both sexes. The little girl had been offered the opportunity of laying a foundation of knowledge in this establishment. across the street.The Portrait of a Lady the other side. The foundation of her knowledge was really laid in the idleness of her grandmother’s house. when the windows of the Dutch House were open. where. she used to hear the hum of childish voices repeating the multiplication-table—an incident in which the elation of liberty and the pain of exclusion were indistinguishably mingled. but having spent a single day in it. where. by a demonstrative lady of whom Isabel’s chief recollection was that her hair was fastened with strange bedroomy combs at the temples and that she was the widow of some one of consequence. was an old house that was called the Dutch House—a peculiar structure dating from the earliest colonial time. kept or rather let go. crowned with a gable that was pointed out to strangers. as most of the other inmates were not reading people. composed of bricks that had been painted yellow.

When she had found one to her taste—she was guided in the selection chiefly by the frontispiece—she carried it into a mysterious apartment which lay beyond the library and which was called. she never learned. and that it was secured by bolts which a particularly slender little girl found it impossible to slide. to which she had confided a hundred childish sorrows. She knew that this silent. in the manner of children. certainly dramatic.The Portrait of a Lady down. But she had no wish to look out. for this would have interfered with her 38 of 1056 . if the sidelights had not been filled with green paper she might have looked out upon the little brown stoop and the well-worn brick pavement. The place owed much of its mysterious melancholy to the fact that it was properly entered from the second door of the house. she had established relations almost human. the office. it was enough for her that it contained an echo and a pleasant musty smell and that it was a chamber of disgrace for old pieces of furniture whose infirmities were not always apparent (so that the disgrace seemed unmerited and rendered them victims of injustice) and with which. no one knew why. Whose office it had been and at what period it had flourished. motionless portal opened into the street. traditionally. There was an old haircloth sofa in especial. the door that had been condemned.

to halt. She had never opened the bolted door nor removed the green paper (renewed by other hands) from its sidelights. to perform even more complicated manoeuvres. It was in the ‘office’ still that Isabel was sitting on that melancholy afternoon of early spring which I have just mentioned. gave as little heed as possible to cosmic treacheries.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. and the room she had selected was the most depressed of its scenes. to retreat. according to its different moods. however. A crude. at the word of command. and edit PDF. a region of delight of terror. theory that there was a strange. cold rain fell heavily. Suddenly she became aware of a step very 39 of 1056 . she had never assured herself that the vulgar street lay beyond. view. unseen place on the other side—a place which became to the child’s imagination. insincere appeal—to patience. It had lately occurred to her that her mind was a good deal of a vagabond. and she had spent much ingenuity in training it to a military step and teaching it to advance. Isabel. Just now she had given it marching orders and it had been trudging over the sandy plains of a history of German Thought. Download the free trial version. At this time she might have had the whole house to choose from. she kept her eyes on her book and tried to fix her mind. the spring-time was indeed an appeal—and it seemed a cynical.

’ she began. ‘Not when I have visitors. dressed in a comprehensive waterproof mantle.The Portrait of a Lady different from her own intellectual pace. ‘Oh. It had an inquisitive. and in fact the doorway of this apartment was presently occupied by a lady who paused there and looked very hard at our heroine. experimental quality which suggested that it would not stop short of the threshold of the office.’ 40 of 1056 . which communicated with the office.’ said Isabel. It struck her first as the step of a person from whom she was looking for a visit. She was a plain. ‘You seem to have plenty of other rooms. she listened a little and perceived that some one was moving in the library. ‘The servant will show it to you. she had a face with a good deal of rather violent point. elderly woman. they’re in rather better condition. getting up to receive the intruder. ‘is that where you usually sit?’ She looked about at the heterogeneous chairs and tables. But everything’s immensely worn.’ ‘Have you come to look at the house?’ Isabel asked. then almost immediately announced itself as the tread of a woman and a stranger—her possible visitor being neither. She directed their course back to the library while the visitor continued to look about her.

since the girl stood there hesitating and wondering. this unexpected critic said to her abruptly: ‘I suppose you’re one of the daughters?’ Isabel thought she had very strange manners. and my name’s Isabel.’ ‘Yes. after the death of her sister. She has probably gone to look for you and is wandering about upstairs. she didn’t seem at all intelligent. ‘I think you must be.’ And in this way the aunt and the niece made friends. but I’m not at all crazy: I haven’t a delusion! And which of the daughters are you?’ ‘I’m the youngest of the three.’ said the girl.’ said Isabel slowly. ‘It depends upon whose daughters you mean. I don’t want to buy it.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Send her away. the others are Lilian and Edith.’ ‘Ah. taking him to task for the manner in which he brought up his three girls. ‘you must be our crazy Aunt Lydia!’ ‘Is that what your father told you to call me? I’m your Aunt Lydia. You had better tell her it’s no matter. The aunt had quarrelled years before with her brother-in-law.’ ‘The late Mr. Being a high-tempered man he had requested her to mind her own business. Archer’s—and my poor sister’s.’ And then. And are you the prettiest?’ ‘I haven’t the least idea. and she had 41 of 1056 .

but that the house in Albany. Isabel found. as usual. that Edmund Ludlow. perfectly deliberate. in spite of his great financial position. for she should attach no importance to any account of them she should elicit by letter. Archer’s illness. Mrs. occupying the old place. she believed. and knew about the marriage of the two elder girls. had nothing to do) and would take advantage of this opportunity to enquire into the condition of her nieces. had taken upon himself to attend to this matter. knew that their poor father had left very little money. in seeing for one’s self. that she knew a good deal about them. finally. There was no need of writing. Touchett’s behaviour was. knew. For many years she held no communication with him and after his death had addressed not a word to his daughters. were remaining there for the present and. who had been bred in that disrespectful view of her which we have just seen Isabel betray. She intended to go to America to look after her investments (with which her husband. as well as Isabel herself. was to be sold for their benefit. however. ‘How much money do you expect for it?’ Mrs. who had brought her 42 of 1056 . who had come to Albany during Mr. in consideration of which the young couple. which had passed into his hands.The Portrait of a Lady taken him at his word. Lilian’s husband. always. Touchett asked of her companion.

’ she said. the idea of letting shops was new to her. What have you in point of fact inherited?’ ‘I really can’t tell you. they’ll be back in half an hour. The position’s of value. I dare say. It ought to make a considerable sum for each of you. ‘but here. You must ask Edmund and Lilian.’ said Mrs.’ 43 of 1056 . it’s most extraordinary your not knowing. ‘I’m extremely fond of it.’ ‘I’m not stupid. Touchett. but I don’t know anything about money.The Portrait of a Lady to sit in the front parlour. it will bring a high price. I wonder you don’t do that yourself.’ her aunt rejoined.’ Isabel stared. ‘I hope they won’t pull it down. In addition to that you must have something else. which she had inspected without enthusiasm. that’s the way you were brought up—as if you were to inherit a million. you might let the shops to great advantage. ‘I haven’t the least idea.’ ‘In Florence we should call it a very bad house. ‘That’s the second time you have said that to me.’ said the girl. ‘And yet you don’t look at all stupid. and they’ll probably pull it down and make a row of shops.’ ‘Yes.

‘Yes.’ the girl rather strangely returned. And not of their sorrows only.’ Isabel felt some emotion. for she had always thought highly of her grandmother’s house. 44 of 1056 . I live in an old palace in which three people have been murdered.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t see what makes you fond of it.’ ‘Well. my dear.’ ‘Yes. and do everything I tell you I’ll take you there. the place has been full of life. a very different affair from this.’ Mrs.’ ‘Is that what you call being full of life?’ ‘I mean full of experience—of people’s feelings and sorrows. This is very bourgeois.’ ‘You should go to Florence if you like houses in which things have happened—especially deaths. three that were known and I don’t know how many more besides. Touchett declared. if you’ll be very good. your father died here. A great many people have died here. but I don’t dislike it for that.’ ‘In an old palace?’ Isabel repeated. But the emotion was of a kind which led her to say: ‘I should like very much to go to Florence. for I’ve been very happy here as a child. ‘I like places in which things have happened—even if they’re sad things.

’ the girl exclaimed in a moment. whenever the girl had heard people described as eccentric.’ ‘No. you don’t look like a person of that sort. who found her a strange and interesting figure: a figure essentially—almost the first she had ever met.The Portrait of a Lady Our young woman’s emotion deepened. to go to Florence. which was all she had known. and Mrs.’ ‘And yet. talked with striking familiarity of the courts of Europe. The term had always suggested to her something grotesque and even sinister. bright-eyed. but it’s not for me to blame you. Touchett had an hour’s uninterrupted talk with her niece. who retrieved an insignificant appearance by a distinguished manner and. or comedy. had ever been as interesting. You’re fond of your own way. she flushed a little and smiled at her aunt in silence. There was nothing flighty about Mrs. and led her to ask herself if the common tone. But her aunt made it a matter of high but easy irony. No one certainly had on any occasion so held her as this little thin-lipped. foreignlooking woman. 45 of 1056 . and hitherto. sitting there in a wellworn waterproof. She was as eccentric as Isabel had always supposed. she had thought of them as offensive or alarming. ‘Do everything you tell me? I don’t think I can promise that. ‘I’d promise almost anything!’ Edmund and Lilian were slow to return.

but as at six o’clock Mrs. Tell her at any rate that she must come and see me this evening at that horrid hotel. Isabel at first had answered a good many questions. enjoyed the consciousness of making an impression on a candid and susceptible mind. and it was from her answers apparently that Mrs. she appeared to enjoy a bold retort and to be disposed to be gracious.’ 46 of 1056 . ‘Perhaps she hasn’t had so good an excuse as I. and. whatever turn they took. Touchett waited for the return of her other niece as long as she thought reasonable. Touchett derived a high opinion of her intelligence. and her aunt’s answers. Touchett looked at the girl without resentment.’ Isabel replied. struck her as food for deep reflexion. ‘Your sister must be a great gossip.’ Mrs. She may bring her husband if she likes. but she needn’t bring you. judging the great ones of the earth in a way that spoke of this. Mrs. ‘she can have left the house but a short time before you came in. Ludlow bad not come in she prepared to take her departure.The Portrait of a Lady Touchett. I shall see plenty of you later. But after this she had asked a good many. Is she accustomed to staying out so many hours?’ ‘You’ve been out almost as long as she. but she recognized no social superiors.

She was short and solid. She was. to her deep chagrin. seemed to exult in her condition as in a bold escape. and her claim to figure was questioned. the second of the group. to which. the classification being in general that Lilian was the practical one. Edith the beauty and Isabel the ‘intellectual’ superior. and now.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 4 Mrs. the match was not brilliant. and was usually thought the most sensible. however. any more than Edith’s. a young man with a loud voice and an enthusiasm for his profession. and as our history is not further concerned with her it will suffice that she was indeed very pretty and that she formed the ornament of those various military stations. Keyes. Mrs. very happy. Ludlow was the eldest of the three sisters. but she was 47 of 1056 . Lilian had married a New York lawyer. was the wife of an officer of the United States Engineers. her husband was successively relegated. but Lilian had occasionally been spoken of as a young woman who might be thankful to marry at all—she was so much plainer than her sisters. as the mother of two peremptory little boys and the mistress of a wedge of brown stone violently driven into Fifty-third Street. chiefly in the unfashionable West.

’ Mr. Touchett’s appearance and in the evening prepared 48 of 1056 . watching her as a motherly spaniel might watch a free greyhound. Ludlow had more than once replied. I don’t see what you’ve against her except that she’s so original. however. she had moreover. ‘I know you say that for argument. in spite of which.’ Edmund Ludlow was accustomed to answer in an extremely audible tone. you always take the opposite ground.’ ‘That’s just what I’m afraid she’ll do!’ cried Lilian. ‘Isabel’s written in a foreign tongue. ‘Well. though not majesty. ‘I’ve never kept up with Isabel— it would have taken all my time. who thought Isabel capable of anything. I don’t like originals. and the two things in life of which she was most distinctly conscious were her husband’s force in argument and her sister Isabel’s originality. I can’t make her out.’ ‘Well.’ she frequently noted to her husband. She ought to marry an Armenian or a Portuguese.The Portrait of a Lady conceded presence. she held her rather wistfully in sight. improved since her marriage. I must say I should have no particular desire to marry her. ‘I want to see her safely married—that’s what I want to see.’ she had often remarked. as people said. She listened with great interest to the girl’s account of Mrs. I like translations.

’ ‘And you want the old lady to take her. nothing of the sort. she ought to go abroad.’ ‘What is it you wish her to do?’ Edmund Ludlow asked. eh? Don’t you think she gets enough at home?’ ‘Well.’ 49 of 1056 . is that it?’ ‘She has offered to take her—she’s dying to have Isabel go. Of what Isabel then said no report has remained. She has lived so much in foreign society.sympathize with her. But take an interest in her.’ said Mrs. ‘She’s just the person to go abroad. But what I want her to do when she gets her there is to give her all the advantages. but her sister’s words had doubtless prompted a word spoken to her husband as the two were making ready for their visit.’ ‘You want her to give her a little foreign sympathy. she told Isabel all about it. ‘I do hope immensely she’ll do something handsome for Isabel.’ ‘A chance for what?’ ‘A chance to develop. Ludlow. ‘is to give her a chance. You know you’ve always thought Isabel rather foreign. she has evidently taken a great fancy to her. She’s evidently just the sort of person to appreciate her.The Portrait of a Lady to comply with their aunt’s commands.’ said Mrs. ‘Make her a big present?’ ‘No indeed. Ludlow. I’m sure all we’ve got to do.

she feels so grand since Mrs. jocosely. ‘You must not say that.’ his wife replied. Moses!’ Edmund Ludlow exclaimed.’ Whether she felt grand or no. her 50 of 1056 . Lily. she at any rate felt different.’ ‘I’m sure there’s no harm. But Isabel challenged this assertion with a good deal of seriousness. were less haughty than her words. Touchett’s visit. ‘it will be for a better reason.’ ‘Do you know I love you?’ the young man said. ‘she’s grander than ever!’ ‘Whenever I feel grand. ‘Ah. whose voice and smile. ‘I hope she isn’t going to develop any more!’ ‘If I were not sure you only said that for argument I should feel very badly. but there’s nothing in Mrs.’ said her sister. I don’t feel grand at all. Left to herself for the evening she sat a while under the lamp. ‘But you know you love her.’ said the girl. to Isabel a little later.’ said the conciliatory Lily.’ ‘Oh.’ exclaimed Ludlow. while he brushed his hat. felt as if something had happened to her.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh. ‘I’m sure I don’t care whether you do or not!’ exclaimed the girl. ‘Oh. however. Touchett’s visit to make one feel grand.

view. hands empty. and at important moments. at moments she trembled a little.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. and from one room to another. there had really been a change in her life. to begin afresh. she paid the penalty of having given undue encouragement to the faculty of 51 of 1056 . when she would have been thankful to make use of her judgement alone. but it was not with a desire for dozing forgetfulness. What it would bring with it was as yet extremely indefinite. The importance of what had happened was out of proportion to its appearance. and edit PDF. Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active. It was on the contrary because she felt too wide-eyed and wished to check the sense of seeing too many things at once. She was not accustomed indeed to keep it behind bolts. Download the free trial version. She closed her eyes as she sat in one of the dusky corners of the quiet parlour. her usual avocations unheeded. but Isabel was in a situation that gave a value to any change. This desire indeed was not a birth of the present occasion. preferring the places where the vague lamplight expired. when the door was not open it jumped out of the window. as she said to herself. Then she rose and moved about the room. it was as familiar as the sound of the rain upon the window and it had led to her beginning afresh a great many times. She had a desire to leave the past behind her and. She was restless and even agitated.

Since his death she had seemed to see him as turning his braver side to his children and as not having managed to ignore the ugly quite so much in practice as in aspiration. it was scarcely even painful to have to suppose him too generous. It had been a very happy life and she had been a very fortunate person—this was the truth that seemed to emerge most vividly. who always had such an aversion to it. 52 of 1056 . in a stillness broken only by the ticking of the big bronze clock. and for a long time. for she had gathered from her acquaintance with literature that it was often a source of interest and even of instruction. much-loved father. Isabel rose even to pride in her parentage. The years and hours of her life came back to her. At present.The Portrait of a Lady seeing without judging. It appeared to Isabel that the unpleasant had been even too absent from her knowledge. It was a great felicity to have been his daughter. and in a world in which the circumstances of so many people made them unenviable it was an advantage never to have known anything particularly unpleasant. Her father had kept it away from her—her handsome. She had had the best of everything. But this only made her tenderness for him greater. came gradually a host of images of the things she was leaving behind her. she passed them in review. with her sense that the note of change had been struck.

but it may interest the reader to know that. Of their opinions Isabel was never very definitely informed. they had lived with nursemaids and governesses (usually very bad ones) or had been sent to superficial schools. Even when her father had left his daughters for three months at Neufchatel with a French bonne who had eloped with a Russian nobleman staying at the same hotel—even in this irregular situation 53 of 1056 . for to her own sense her opportunities had been large. they had declared that he was making a very poor use of his life. at the end of a month. They had had no regular education and no permanent home. especially the large number of those to whom he owed money.The Portrait of a Lady too good-natured. while they had recognized in the late Mr. he was always taking something). Many persons had held that he carried this indifference too far. kept by the French. he was known to have gambled freely. A few very harsh critics went so far as to say that he had not even brought up his daughters. from which. This view of the matter would have excited Isabel’s indignation. too indifferent to sordid considerations. they had been at once spoiled and neglected. they had been removed in tears. Archer a remarkably handsome head and a very taking manner (indeed. He had squandered a substantial fortune. he had been deplorably convivial. as one of them had said.

The Portrait of a Lady

(an incident of the girl’s eleventh year) she had been neither frightened nor ashamed, but had thought it a romantic episode in a liberal education. Her father had a large way of looking at life, of which his restlessness and even his occasional incoherency of conduct had been only a proof. He wished his daughters, even as children, to see as much of the world as possible; and it was for this purpose that, before Isabel was fourteen, he had transported them three times across the Atlantic, giving them on each occasion, however, but a few months’ view of the subject proposed: a course which had whetted our heroine’s curiosity without enabling her to satisfy it. She ought to have been a partisan of her father, for she was the member of his trio who most ‘made up’ to him for the disagreeables he didn’t mention. In his last days his general willingness to take leave of a world in which the difficulty of doing as one liked appeared to increase as one grew older had been sensibly modified by the pain of separation from his clever, his superior, his remarkable girl. Later, when the journeys to Europe ceased, he still had shown his children all sorts of indulgence, and if he had been troubled about money-matters nothing ever disturbed their irreflective consciousness of many possessions. Isabel, though she danced very well, had not the recollection of 54 of 1056

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having been in New York a successful member of the choregraphic circle; her sister Edith was, as every one said, so very much more fetching. Edith was so striking an example of success that Isabel could have no illusions as to what constituted this advantage, or as to the limits of her own power to frisk and jump and shriek—above all with rightness of effect. Nineteen persons out of twenty (including the younger sister herself pronounced Edith infinitely the prettier of the two; but the twentieth, besides reversing this judgement, had the entertainment of thinking all the others aesthetic vulgarians. Isabel had in the depths of her nature an even more unquenchable desire to please than Edith; but the depths of this young lady’s nature were a very out-of-the-way place, between which and the surface communication was interrupted by a dozen capricious forces. She saw the young men who came in large numbers to see her sister; but as a general thing they were afraid of her; they had a belief that some special preparation was required for talking with her. Her reputation of reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic; it was supposed to engender difficult questions and to keep the conversation at a low temperature. The poor girl liked to be thought clever, but she hated to be thought bookish; 55 of 1056

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she used to read in secret and, though her memory was excellent, to abstain from showy reference. She had a great desire for knowledge, but she really preferred almost any source of information to the printed page; she had an immense curiosity about life and was constantly staring and wondering. She carried within herself a great fund of life, and her deepest enjoyment was to feel the continuity between the movements of her own soul and the agitations of the world. For this reason she was fond of seeing great crowds and large stretches of country, of reading about revolutions and wars, of looking at historical pictures—a class of efforts as to which she had often committed the conscious solecism of forgiving them much bad painting for the sake of the subject. While the Civil War went on she was still a very young girl; but she passed months of this long period in a state of almost passionate excitement, in which she felt herself at times (to her extreme confusion) stirred almost indiscriminately by the valour of either army. Of course the circumspection of suspicious swains had never gone the length of making her a social proscript; for the number of those whose hearts, as they approached her, beat only just fast enough to remind them they had heads as well, had kept her unacquainted with the supreme discipline of her sex and age. She had 56 of 1056

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had everything a girl could have: kindness, admiration, bonbons, bouquets, the sense of exclusion from none of the privileges of the world she lived in, abundant opportunity for dancing, plenty of new dresses, the London Spectator, the latest publications, the music of Gounod, the poetry of Browning, the prose of George Eliot. These things now, as memory played over them, resolved themselves into a multitude of scenes and figures. Forgotten things came back to her; many others, which she had lately thought of great moment, dropped out of sight. The result was kaleidoscopic, but the movement of the instrument was checked at last by the servant’s coming in with the name of a gentleman. The name of the gentleman was Caspar Goodwood; he was a straight young man from Boston, who had known Miss Archer for the last twelvemonth and who, thinking her the most beautiful young woman of her time, had pronounced the time, according to the rule I have hinted at, a foolish period of history. He sometimes wrote to her and had within a week or two written from New York. She had thought it very possible he would come in—had indeed all the rainy day been vaguely expecting him. Now that she learned he was there, nevertheless, she felt no eagerness to 57 of 1056

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receive him. He was the finest young man she had ever seen, was indeed quite a splendid young man; he inspired her with a sentiment of high, of rare respect. She had never felt equally moved to it by any other person. He was supposed by the world in general to wish to marry her, but this of course was between themselves. It at least may be affirmed that he had travelled from New York to Albany expressly to see her; having learned in the former city, where he was spending a few days and where he had hoped to find her, that she was still at the State capital. Isabel delayed for some minutes to go to him; she moved about the room with a new sense of complications. But at last she presented herself and found him standing near the lamp. He was tall, strong and somewhat stiff; he was also lean and brown. He was not romantically, he was much rather obscurely, handsome; but his physiognomy had an air of requesting your attention, which it rewarded according to the charm you found in blue eyes of remarkable fixedness, the eyes of a complexion other than his own, and a jaw of the somewhat angular mould which is supposed to bespeak resolution. Isabel said to herself that it bespoke resolution to-night; in spite of which, in half an hour, Caspar Goodwood, who had arrived hopeful as well as resolute, took his way back to his lodging with the 58 of 1056

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feeling of a man defeated. He was not, it may be added, a man weakly to accept defeat.

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Chapter 5
Ralph Touchett was a philosopher, but nevertheless he knocked at his mother’s door (at a quarter to seven) with a good deal of eagerness. Even philosophers have their preferences, and it must be admitted that of his progenitors his father ministered most to his sense of the sweetness of filial dependence. His father, as he had often said to himself, was the more motherly; his mother, on the other hand, was paternal, and even, according to the slang of the day, gubernatorial. She was nevertheless very fond of her only child and had always insisted on his spending three months of the year with her. Ralph rendered perfect justice to her affection and knew that in her thoughts and her thoroughly arranged and servanted life his turn always came after the other nearest subjects of her solicitude, the various punctualities of performance of the workers of her will. He found her completely dressed for dinner, but she embraced her boy with her gloved hands and made him sit on the sofa beside her. She enquired scrupulously about her husband’s health and about the young man’s own, and, receiving no very brilliant account of either, remarked that she was more than ever convinced of her

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wisdom in not exposing herself to the English climate. In this case she also might have given way. Ralph smiled at the idea of his mother’s giving way, but made no point of reminding her that his own infirmity was not the result of the English climate, from which he absented himself for a considerable part of each year. He had been a very small boy when his father, Daniel Tracy Touchett, a native of Rutland, in the State of Vermont, came to England as subordinate partner in a banking-house where some ten years later he gained preponderant control. Daniel Touchett saw before him a life-long residence in his adopted country, of which, from the first, he took a simple, sane and accommodating view. But, as he said to himself, he had no intention of disamericanizing, nor had he a desire to teach his only son any such subtle art. It had been for himself so very soluble a problem to live in England assimilated yet unconverted that it seemed to him equally simple his lawful heir should after his death carry on the grey old bank in the white American light. He was at pains to intensify this light, however, by sending the boy home for his education. Ralph spent several terms at an American school and took a degree at an American university, after which, as he struck his father on his return as even redundantly native, 61 of 1056

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he was placed for some three years in residence at Oxford. Oxford swallowed up Harvard, and Ralph became at last English enough. His outward conformity to the manners that surrounded him was none the less the mask of a mind that greatly enjoyed its independence, on which nothing long imposed itself, and which, naturally inclined to adventure and irony, indulged in a boundless liberty of appreciation. He began with being a young man of promise; at Oxford he distinguished himself, to his father’s ineffable satisfaction, and the people about him said it was a thousand pities so clever a fellow should be shut out from a career. He might have had a career by returning to his own country (though this point is shrouded in uncertainty) and even if Mr. Touchett had been willing to part with him (which was not the case) it would have gone hard with him to put a watery waste permanently between himself and the old man whom he regarded as his best friend. Ralph was not only fond of his father, he admired him—he enjoyed the opportunity of observing him. Daniel Touchett, to his perception, was a man of genius, and though he himself had no aptitude for the banking mystery he made a point of learning enough of it to measure the great figure his father had played. It was not this, however, he mainly relished; it was the fine ivory 62 of 1056

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surface, polished as by the English air, that the old man had opposed to possibilities of penetration. Daniel Touchett had been neither at Harvard nor at Oxford, and it was his own fault if he had placed in his son’s hands the key to modern criticism. Ralph, whose head was full of ideas which his father had never guessed, had a high esteem for the latter’s originality. Americans, rightly or wrongly, are commended for the ease with which they adapt themselves to foreign conditions; but Mr. Touchett had made of the very limits of his pliancy half the ground of his general success. He had retained in their freshness most of his marks of primary pressure; his tone, as his son always noted with pleasure, was that of the more luxuriant parts of New England. At the end of his life he had become, on his own ground, as mellow as he was rich; he combined consummate shrewdness with the disposition superficially to fraternize, and his ‘social position,’ on which he had never wasted a care, had the firm perfection of an unthumbed fruit. It was perhaps his want of imagination and of what is called the historic consciousness; but to many of the impressions usually made by English life upon the cultivated stranger his sense was completely closed. There were certain differences he had never perceived, certain habits he had never formed, 63 of 1056

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certain obscurities he had never sounded. As regards these latter, on the day he had sounded them his son would have thought less well of him. Ralph, on leaving Oxford, had spent a couple of years in travelling; after which he had found himself perched on a high stool in his father’s bank. The responsibility and honour of such positions is not, I believe, measured by the height of the stool, which depends upon other considerations: Ralph, indeed, who had very long legs, was fond of standing, and even of walking about, at his work. To this exercise, however, he was obliged to devote but a limited period, for at the end of some eighteen months he had become aware of his being seriously out of health. He had caught a violent cold, which fixed itself on his lungs and threw them into dire confusion. He had to give up work and apply, to the letter, the sorry injunction to take care of himself. At first he slighted the task; it appeared to him it was not himself in the least he was taking care of, but an uninteresting and uninterested person with whom he had nothing in common. This person, however, improved on acquaintance, and Ralph grew at last to have a certain grudging tolerance, even an undemonstrative respect, for him. Misfortune makes strange bedfellows, and our young man, feeling that he 64 of 1056

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had something at stake in the matter—it usually struck him as his reputation for ordinary wit- devoted to his graceless charge an amount of attention of which note was duly taken and which had at least the effect of keeping the poor fellow alive. One of his lungs began to heal, the other promised to follow its example, and he was assured he might outweather a dozen winters if he would betake himself to those climates in which consumptives chiefly congregate. As he had grown extremely fond of London, he cursed the flatness of exile: but at the same time that he cursed he conformed, and gradually, when he found his sensitive organ grateful even for grim favours, he conferred them with a lighter hand. He wintered abroad, as the phrase is; basked in the sun, stopped at home when the wind blew, went to bed when it rained, and once or twice, when it had snowed overnight, almost never got up again. A secret hoard of indifference—like a thick cake a fond old nurse might have slipped into his first school outfit— came to his aid and helped to reconcile him to sacrifice; since at the best he was too ill for aught but that arduous game. As he said to himself, there was really nothing he had wanted very much to do, so that he had at least not renounced the field of valour. At present, however, the 65 of 1056

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fragrance of forbidden fruit seemed occasionally to float past him and remind him that the finest of pleasures is the rush of action. Living as he now lived was like reading a good book in a poor translation—a meagre entertainment for a young man who felt that he might have been an excellent linguist. He had good winters and poor winters, and while the former lasted he was sometimes the sport of a vision of virtual recovery. But this vision was dispelled some three years before the occurrence of the incidents with which this history opens: he had on that occasion remained later than usual in England and had been overtaken by bad weather before reaching Algiers. He arrived more dead than alive and lay there for several weeks between life and death. His convalescence was a miracle, but the first use he made of it was to assure himself that such miracles happen but once. He said to himself that his hour was in sight and that it behoved him to keep his eyes upon it, yet that it was also open to him to spend the interval as agreeably as might be consistent with such a preoccupation. With the prospect of losing them the simple use of his faculties became an exquisite pleasure; it seemed to him the joys of contemplation had never been sounded. He was far from the time when he had found it hard that he should be obliged to give up the 66 of 1056

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idea of distinguishing himself; an idea none the less importunate for being vague and none the less delightful for having had to struggle in the same breast with bursts of inspiring self-criticism. His friends at present judged him more cheerful, and attributed it to a theory, over which they shook their heads knowingly, that he would recover his health. His serenity was but the array of wild flowers niched in his ruin. It was very probably this sweet-tasting property of the observed thing in itself that was mainly concerned in Ralph’s quickly-stirred interest in the advent of a young lady who was evidently not insipid. If he was consideringly disposed, something told him, here was occupation enough for a succession of days. It may be added, in summary fashion, that the imagination of loving—as distinguished from that of being loved—had still a place in his reduced sketch. He had only forbidden himself the riot of expression. However, he shouldn’t inspire his cousin with a passion, nor would she be able, even should she try, to help him to one. ‘And now tell me about the young lady,’ he said to his mother. ‘What do you mean to do with her?’ Mrs. Touchett was prompt. ‘I mean to ask your father to invite her to stay three or four weeks at Gardencourt.’ 67 of 1056

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‘You needn’t stand on any such ceremony as that,’ said Ralph. ‘My father will ask her as a matter of course.’ ‘I don’t know about that. She’s my niece; she’s not his.’ ‘Good Lord, dear mother; what a sense of property! That’s all the more reason for his asking her. But after that—I mean after three months (for it’s absurd asking the poor girl to remain but for three or four paltry weeks)— what do you mean to do with her?’ ‘I mean to take her to Paris. I mean to get her clothing.’ ‘Ah yes, that’s of course. But independently of that?’ ‘I shall invite her to spend the autumn with me in Florence.’ ‘You don’t rise above detail, dear mother,’ said Ralph. ‘I should like to know what you mean to do with her in a general way.’ ‘My duty!’ Mrs. Touchett declared. ‘I suppose you pity her very much,’ she added. ‘No, I don’t think I pity her. She doesn’t strike me as inviting compassion. I think I envy her. Before being sure, however, give me a hint of where you see your duty.’ ‘In showing her four European countries—I shall leave her the choice of two of them—and in giving her the

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opportunity of perfecting herself in French, which she already knows very well.’ Ralph frowned a little. ‘That sounds rather dry—even allowing her the choice of two of the countries.’ ‘If it’s dry,’ said his mother with a laugh, ‘you can leave Isabel alone to water it! She is as good as a summer rain, any day.’ ‘Do you mean she’s a gifted being?’ ‘I don’t know whether she’s a gifted being, but she’s a clever girl- with a strong will and a high temper. She has no idea of being bored.’ ‘I can imagine that,’ said Ralph; and then he added abruptly: ‘How do you two get on?’ ‘Do you mean by that that I’m a bore? I don’t think she finds me one. Some girls might, I know; but Isabel’s too clever for that. I think I greatly amuse her. We get on because I understand her; I know the sort of girl she is. She’s very frank, and I’m very frank: we know just what to expect of each other.’ ‘Ah, dear mother,’ Ralph exclaimed, ‘one always knows what to expect of you! You’ve never surprised me but once, and that’s to-day—in presenting me with a pretty cousin whose existence I had never suspected.’ ‘Do you think her so very pretty?’ 69 of 1056

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‘Very pretty indeed; but I don’t insist upon that. It’s her general air of being some one in particular that strikes me. Who is this rare creature, and what is she? Where did you find her, and how did you make her acquaintance?’ ‘I found her in an old house at Albany, sitting in a dreary room on a rainy day, reading a heavy book and boring herself to death. She didn’t know she was bored, but when I left her no doubt of it she seemed very grateful for the service. You may say I shouldn’t have enlightened her—I should have let her alone. There’s a good deal in that, but I acted conscientiously; I thought she was meant for something better. It occurred to me that it would be a kindness to take her about and introduce her to the world. She thinks she knows a great deal of it—like most American girls; but like most American girls she’s ridiculously mistaken. If you want to know, I thought she would do me credit. I like to be well thought of, and for a woman of my age there’s no greater convenience, in some ways, than an attractive niece. You know I had seen nothing of my sister’s children for years; I disapproved entirely of the father. But I always meant to do something for them when he should have gone to his reward. I ascertained where they were to be found and, without any preliminaries, went and introduced myself. There are two 70 of 1056

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others of them, both of whom are married; but I saw only the elder, who has, by the way, a very uncivil husband. The wife, whose name is Lily, jumped at the idea of my taking an interest in Isabel; she said it was just what her sister needed—that some one should take an interest in her. She spoke of her as you might speak of some young person of genius—in want of encouragement and patronage. It may be that Isabel’s a genius; but in that case I’ve not yet learned her special line. Mrs. Ludlow was especially keen about my taking her to Europe; they all regard Europe over there as a land of emigration, of rescue, a refuge for their superfluous population. Isabel herself seemed very glad to come, and the thing was easily arranged. There was a little difficulty about the moneyquestion, as she seemed averse to being under pecuniary obligations. But she has a small income and she supposes herself to be travelling at her own expense.’ Ralph had listened attentively to this judicious report, by which his interest in the subject of it was not impaired. ‘Ah, if she’s a genius,’ he said, ‘we must find out her special line. Is it by chance for flirting?’ ‘I don’t think so. You may suspect that at first, but you’ll be wrong. You won’t, I think, in any way, be easily right about her.’ 71 of 1056

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‘Warburton’s wrong then!’ Ralph rejoicingly exclaimed. ‘He flatters himself he has made that discovery.’ His mother shook her head. ‘Lord Warburton won’t understand her. He needn’t try.’ ‘He’s very intelligent,’ said Ralph; ‘but it’s right he should be puzzled once in a while.’ ‘Isabel will enjoy puzzling a lord,’ Mrs. Touchett remarked. Her son frowned a little. ‘What does she know about lords?’ ‘Nothing at all: that will puzzle him all the more.’ Ralph greeted these words with a laugh and looked out of the window. Then, ‘Are you not going down to see my father?’ he asked. ‘At a quarter to eight,’ said Mrs. Touchett. Her son looked at his watch. ‘You’ve another quarter of an hour then. Tell me some more about Isabel.’ After which, as Mrs. Touchett declined his invitation, declaring that he must find out for himself, ‘Well,’ he pursued, ‘she’ll certainly do you credit. But won’t she also give you trouble?’ ‘I hope not; but if she does I shall not shrink from it. I never do that.’ ‘She strikes me as very natural,’ said Ralph. 72 of 1056

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‘Natural people are not the most trouble.’ ‘No,’ said Ralph; ‘you yourself are a proof of that. You’re extremely natural, and I’m sure you have never troubled any one. It takes trouble to do that. But tell me this; it just occurs to me. Is Isabel capable of making herself disagreeable?’ ‘Ah,’ cried his mother, ‘you ask too many questions! Find that out for yourself.’ His questions, however, were not exhausted. ‘All this time,’ he said, ‘you’ve not told me what you intend to do with her.’ ‘Do with her? You talk as if she were a yard of calico. I shall do absolutely nothing with her, and she herself will do everything she chooses. She gave me notice of that.’ ‘What you meant then, in your telegram, was that her character’s independent.’ ‘I never know what I mean in my telegrams—especially those I send from America. Clearness is too expensive. Come down to your father.’ ‘It’s not yet a quarter to eight,’ said Ralph. ‘I must allow for his impatience,’ Mrs. Touchett answered. Ralph knew what to think of his father’s impatience; but, making no rejoinder, he offered his mother his arm. 73 of 1056

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This put it in his power, as they descended together, to stop her a moment on the middle landing of the staircase—the broad, low, wide-armed staircase of timeblackened oak which was one of the most striking features of Gardencourt. ‘You’ve no plan of marrying her?’ he smiled. ‘Marrying her? I should be sorry to play her such a trick! But apart from that, she’s perfectly able to marry herself. She has every facility.’ ‘Do you mean to say she has a husband picked out?’ ‘I don’t know about a husband, but there’s a young man in Boston-!’ Ralph went on; he had no desire to hear about the young man in Boston. ‘As my father says, they’re always engaged!’ His mother had told him that he must satisfy his curiosity at the source, and it soon became evident he should not want for occasion. He had a good deal of talk with his young kinswoman when the two had been left together in the drawing-room. Lord Warburton, who had ridden over from his own house, some ten miles distant, remounted and took his departure before dinner; and an hour after this meal was ended Mr. and Mrs. Touchett, who appeared to have quite emptied the measure of their 74 of 1056

She was really tired. Download the free trial version. floated. under the valid pretext of fatigue. withdrew. though she had been travelling half the day she appeared in no degree spent. The light was insufficient to show the pictures to advantage. ‘She doesn’t take suggestions. however—and said: ‘If you please I should like to see them just a little. and knew she should pay for it on the morrow. The best were arranged in an oaken gallery. view. but Isabel looked disappointed. and edit PDF. to their respective apartments.’ She was eager. forms.’ Ralph said to himself. This suggestion Ralph had ventured to make. The young man spent an hour with his cousin. but it was her habit at this period to carry exhaustion to the furtherest point and confess to it only when dissimulation broke down.smiling still. there were a great many in the house. most of them of his own choosing.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. she knew it. as she said to herself. at intervals. she was interested. her pressure amused and even pleased him. she knew she was eager and now seemed so. She asked Ralph to show her the pictures. and the visit might have stood over to the morrow. which had a sitting-room at either end of it and which in the evening was usually lighted. The lamps were on brackets. but he said it without irritation. A fine hypocrisy was for the present possible. of charming proportions. she was. she couldn’t help it. and if the light was 75 of 1056 .

and then she said: ‘Well. he was struck with that. had an enchanting range of concession. Isabel. indulged in little exclamations and murmurs. had been an object of envy to many women. She took a candlestick herself and held it slowly here and there. in truth. It fell upon the vague squares of rich colour and on the faded gilding of heavy frames. a little too firm perhaps in her graver moments. Her hair. she lifted it high. her light grey eyes.The Portrait of a Lady imperfect it was genial. He lost nothing. She was undeniably spare. for she was better worth looking at than most works of art. when people had wished to distinguish her from the other two Miss Archers they had always called her the willowy one. by these wandering glances. and proveably tall. which was dark even to blackness. and as she did so he found himself pausing in the middle of the place and bending his eyes much less upon the pictures than on her presence. She was evidently a judge. Ralph took a candlestick and moved about. inclining to one picture after another. it made a sheen on the polished floor of the gallery. now I know more than I did when I began!’ 76 of 1056 . They walked slowly up one side of the gallery and down the other. pointing out the things he liked. and ponderably light. she had a natural taste.

Then in a moment.’ her cousin returned. a thing that appears. ‘Please tell me—isn’t there a ghost?’ she went on. there’s no romance here but what you may have brought with you. who preferred not to dilate just yet on herself. It’s a dismally prosaic one. ‘Is there never any one here but your father and you?’ 77 of 1056 . in this romantic old house. We call them ghosts in America. but it seems to me I’ve brought it to the right place.’ said Ralph.’ ‘It’s not a romantic old house. nothing will ever happen to it here.’ ‘I’ve brought a great deal. ‘You’ll be disappointed if you count on that.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You apparently have a great passion for knowledge.’ Isabel looked at him a moment.’ ‘So we do here. ‘A ghost?’ ‘A castle-spectre. between my father and me.’ ‘Ah. ‘I think I have. when we see them. some of them would—but the way they’re talked to!’ murmured Isabel.’ ‘You do see them then? You ought to. most girls are horridly ignorant. certainly. to change the subject.’ ‘To keep it out of harm.’ ‘You strike me as different from most girls.

I like him all the same. I know your mother. she’s not romantic.’ ‘You can’t do better than that. ‘Who was the gentleman on the lawn when I arrived?’ ‘A county neighbour.’ ‘I don’t think I am. I’m said to have too many theories. ‘You must help me to nurse him. immensely. I like your father too. it seemed to me that you barely spoke to him.’ said Isabel. I like so much to see people.’ ‘I’m so sorry he is ill. of course. you ought to be a good nurse. He’s the dearest of the dear.’ ‘Oh.’ the girl answered rather gravely. ‘Never mind.’ ‘I’m sorry for that. ‘Why. I liked him.’ said Ralph. 78 of 1056 . Haven’t you other people?’ ‘Very few. he doesn’t come very often.’ said Isabel. ‘Now you’re making fun of me. we’ll invite all the county to amuse you.’ ‘I’m sorry for that. I’ve been told I’m not.The Portrait of a Lady ‘My mother. But you haven’t told me about the ghost.’ Ralph objected.’ ‘Oh.’ she added.

we never know why!’ said her companion. ‘It’s because she doesn’t expect one to like her. She doesn’t care whether one does or not.’ ‘Good heavens.’ the girl answered.’ his cousin went on. because—because-’ And Isabel found herself attempting to assign a reason for her affection for Mrs. You wish people to like you.’ Ralph shook his head sadly. it’s not enviable. innocent person like you. laughing. It has never been seen by a young. happy. ‘I might show it to you.’ said Ralph.’ ‘So you adore her—out of perversity? Well. have gained some miserable 79 of 1056 .’ ‘I like your mother very much. The privilege isn’t given to every one. Touchett. however. ‘You like my father and you like Lord Warburton. ‘But I like you all the same. how you see through one!’ he cried with a dismay that was not altogether jocular. ‘The way to clinch the matter will be to show me the ghost. and you try to make them do it. have suffered greatly. I infer also that you like my mother. ‘I always know why. gave no heed to this observation. but you’d never see it. I take greatly after my mother.The Portrait of a Lady Ralph. ‘Ah. You must have suffered first. ‘I don’t believe you do at all.

’ ‘You were not. And I think people suffer too easily.The Portrait of a Lady knowledge. we were not made for that.’ she added.’ Isabel answered. In that way your eyes are opened to it.’ she said: which seemed quite presumptuous enough.’ ‘I’m not speaking of myself. with a smile on her lips. Charming as he found her. and you’re not made to suffer. But you haven’t suffered. ‘You’re not afraid of suffering?’ ‘Yes. ‘I’m not afraid. ‘Yes. I hope you’ll never see the ghost!’ She had listened to him attentively. she had struck him as rather presumptuous— indeed it was a part of her charm. 80 of 1056 . I’m afraid of suffering. but with a certain gravity in her eyes. But I’m not afraid of ghosts. ‘I don’t believe you do. you know. ‘It’s not absolutely necessary to suffer.’ said Ralph. and he wondered what she would say. ‘I told you just now I’m very fond of knowledge. looking at her with his hands in his pockets.’ And she wandered off a little.’ she answered. I saw it long ago. ‘I don’t think that’s a fault. certainly. of happy knowledge—of pleasant knowledge.’ said Ralph.

at the foot of the staircase. and paused in the hall. Then. Good-night.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No.’ ‘Good-night! I wish you all success. ‘that’s what I came to Europe for. he went back to the empty drawing-room. When you do suffer they call you an idiot. Here Ralph presented his companion with her bedroom candle. and shall be very glad to contribute to it!’ She turned away.’ said her cousin. into which they had returned from the gallery.’ she said. ‘It’s a merit to be strong.’ Isabel remarked. 81 of 1056 . if you don’t suffer they call you hard.’ ‘Only. ‘Well. she had taken her candle and placed her foot on the oaken stair. The great point’s to be as happy as possible.’ She looked at him a little. to be as happy as possible. and he watched her as she slowly ascended. it isn’t a fault. which he had taken from a niche. They passed out of the smaller drawing-room. ‘Never mind what they call you. with his hands always in his pockets.

for which she entertained that esteem that is connected with a sense of privation. was unfurnished with a library. and averred that the girl would distinguish herself in print. a creature reported to have read the classic authors—in translations. Varian having a reverence for books. remarkable for its assortment of mosaic tables and decorated ceilings. Varian thought highly of literature. Her paternal aunt. Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 6 Isabel Archer was a young person of many theories. once spread the rumour that Isabel was writing a book—Mrs. to have a larger perception of surrounding facts and to care for knowledge that was tinged with the unfamiliar. Varian. It had been her fortune to possess a finer mind than most of the persons among whom her lot was cast. for these excellent people never withheld their admiration from a reach of intellect of which they themselves were not conscious. her imagination was remarkably active. and spoke of Isabel as a prodigy of learning. Her own large house. It is true that among her contemporaries she passed for a young woman of extraordinary profundity. and in the way of printed volumes contained nothing but half a dozen novels in 82 of 1056 . Mrs.

the girl had never attempted to write a book and had no desire for the laurels of authorship. as she very justly said. she was determined to bring them up properly.The Portrait of a Lady paper on a shelf in the apartment of one of the Miss Varians. Her tendency. she treated herself to occasions of homage. Mrs. for it seemed to her often that her mind moved more quickly than theirs. after you had read the Interviewer you had lost all faith in culture. people were right in admiring her if they thought her so. she was in the habit of taking for granted. that she was right. and this encouraged an impatience that might easily be confounded with superiority. Varian’s acquaintance with literature was confined to The New York Interviewer. on scanty evidence. and they read nothing at all. Practically. she only had a general idea that people were right when they treated her as if she were rather superior. It may be affirmed without delay that Isabel was probably very liable to the sin of self-esteem. was rather to keep the Interviewer out of the way of her daughters. she often surveyed with complacency the field of her own nature. Her impression with regard to Isabel’s labours was quite illusory. Whether or no she were superior. She had no talent for expression and too little of the consciousness of genius. with this. Meanwhile her errors and delusions were frequently such 83 of 1056 .

should be conscious of a fine organization (she couldn’t help knowing her organization was fine). and it had led her into a thousand ridiculous zigzags. that one should be one of the best. Her thoughts were a tangle of vague outlines which had never been corrected by the judgement of people speaking with authority. in this manner. The girl had a certain nobleness of imagination which rendered her a good many services and played her a great many tricks. of natural wisdom. and then she treated herself to a week of passionate humility. She had a theory that it was only under this provision life was worth living. distinguished company. for it was of no use.The Portrait of a Lady as a biographer interested in preserving the dignity of his subject must shrink from specifying. of inspiration gracefully chronic. of happy impulse. She spent half her time in thinking of beauty and bravery and magnanimity. In matters of opinion she had had her own way. At moments she discovered she was grotesquely wrong. After this she held her head higher than ever again. It was almost as unnecessary to cultivate doubt of one’s self as to cultivate doubt of one’s best friend: one should try to be one’s own best friend and to give one’s self. she had an unquenchable desire to think well of herself. she had a fixed determination to regard the world as a place of 84 of 1056 . should move in a realm of light.

she was in no uncertainty about the things that were wrong. flattered herself that such contradictions 85 of 1056 . it seemed indecent not to scorn them. but when she fixed them hard she recognized them. who knew little of the sorts of artillery to which young women are exposed. It was wrong to be mean. caused her at moments to hold her breath. she had seen very little of the evil of the world. She had resented so strongly. But Isabel. but she had seen women who lied and who tried to hurt each other.The Portrait of a Lady brightness. to be cruel. after discovering them. Of course the danger of a high spirit was the danger of inconsistency—the danger of keeping up the flag after the place has surrendered. to be false. of irresistible action: she held it must be detestable to be afraid or ashamed. She had an infinite hope that she should never do anything wrong. That always struck her as the worst thing that could happen to her. She had no love of their look. presented only as a contingency. a sort of behaviour so crooked as to be almost a dishonour to the flag. reflectively. On the whole. her mere errors of feeling (the discovery always made her tremble as if she had escaped from a trap which might have caught her and smothered her) that the chance of inflicting a sensible injury upon another person. of free expansion. to be jealous. Seeing such things had quickened her high spirit.

of vivacity and indifference. much less of singleness.The Portrait of a Lady would never be noted in her own conduct. besides. desultory. with her meagre knowledge. her mixture of curiosity and fastidiousness. She never called it the state of solitude. It was one of her theories that Isabel Archer was very fortunate in being independent. she thought such descriptions weak. Sometimes she went so far as to wish that she might find herself some day in a difficult position. her temper at once exacting and indulgent. She had a 86 of 1056 . and that she ought to make some very enlightened use of that state. Altogether. so that she should have the pleasure of being as heroic as the occasion demanded. her inflated ideals. to know. her confidence at once innocent and dogmatic. her determination to see. she would be what she appeared. Her life should always be in harmony with the most pleasing impression she should produce. her combination of the delicate. flame-like spirit and the eager and personal creature of conditions: she would be an easy victim of scientific criticism if she were not intended to awaken on the reader’s part an impulse more tender and more purely expectant. her desire to look very well and to be if possible even better. and. her sister Lily constantly urged her to come and abide. and she would appear what she was. to try.

thinking. had adopted three of the children of an infirm and widowed sister and was paying their schoolbills out of the proceeds of her literary labour. however. Download the free trial version. she was thoroughly launched in journalism. without parents and without property.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. to postpone this enterprise. naturally. friend whose acquaintance she had made shortly before her father’s death. Henrietta Stackpole had the advantage of an admired ability. She thought Isabel a glorious creature. energy and good-humour of the writer. Newport. the White Mountains and other places. and her letters to the Interviewer. who offered so high an example of useful activity that Isabel always thought of her as a model. Isabel pronounced them with confidence ‘ephemeral. from Washington. her cherished desire had long been to come to Europe and write a series of letters to the Interviewer from the radical point of view—an enterprise the less difficult as she knew perfectly in advance what her opinions would be and to how many objections most European institutions lay open.’ but she esteemed the courage. view. When she heard that Isabel was coming she wished to start at once. were universally quoted. who. that it would be delightful the two should travel together. and edit PDF. and had 87 of 1056 . She had been obliged. Henrietta was in the van of progress and had clear-cut views on most subjects.

and resign one’s self to being frivolous and hollow. was chiefly a proof that a woman might suffice to herself and be happy. The first on the list was a conviction of the vulgarity of thinking too much of it. what the public was going to want. The girl’s prayer was very sufficiently answered. in the absence of exceptional flimsiness. From lapsing into eagerness on this point she earnestly prayed she might be delivered.The Portrait of a Lady spoken of her covertly in some of her letters. though she never mentioned the fact to her friend. this young lady was not without a collection of views on the subject of marriage. among her theories. she held that a woman ought to be able to live to herself. and that it was perfectly possible to be happy without the society of a more or less coarse-minded person of another sex. one was not therefore to conclude that one had no vocation. who would not have taken pleasure in it and was not a regular student of the Interviewer. Isabel was stoutly determined not to be hollow. Of course. but even if one had not the journalistic talent and a genius for guessing. If one should wait with the right patience one would find some happy work to one’s hand. as Henrietta said. no beneficent aptitude of any sort. Henrietta. for Isabel. Her resources were of the obvious kind. something pure and proud that there was in her—something cold and 88 of 1056 .

a suggestion of perfume and murmuring boughs. It often seemed to her that she thought too much about herself. She was always planning out her development. desiring her perfection. Her nature had. of shady bowers and lengthening vistas. after a little it ended in alarms. was too formidable to be attractive. but this image. you could have made her colour. Few of the men she saw seemed worth a ruinous expenditure. and that a visit to the recesses of one’s spirit was harmless when one returned from it with a lapful of roses. after all. on the whole. in her conceit.The Portrait of a Lady dry an unappreciated suitor with a taste for analysis might have called it—had hitherto kept her from any great vanity of conjecture on the article of possible husbands. which made her feel that introspection was. observing her progress. But she was often reminded that there were other gardens in the world than those of her remarkable soul. Deep in her soul—it was the deepest thing there—lay a belief that if a certain light should dawn she could give herself completely. a certain garden-like quality. and it made her smile to think that one of them should present himself as an incentive to hope and a reward of patience. an exercise in the open air. but they seldom rested on it long. and that there were moreover a great 89 of 1056 . Isabel’s thoughts hovered about it. any day in the year. by calling her a rank egoist.

This impression was necessary to prevent mistakes. planted thick with ugliness and misery. too unacquainted with pain. England was a revelation to her. full consciousness appear a kind of immodesty. and into many of his interests 90 of 1056 . She always returned to her theory that a young woman whom after all every one thought clever should begin by getting a general impression of life. and she found herself as diverted as a child at a pantomime. Paris. What should one do with the misery of the world in a scheme of the agreeable for one’s self? It must be confessed that this question never held her long. and seen it from the nursery window. which had conveyed her to this beautiful old England and might carry her much further still. too impatient to live. She was too young.The Portrait of a Lady many places which were not gardens at all. In her infantine excursions to Europe she had seen only the Continent. In the current of that repaid episode on curiosity on which she had lately been floating. and after it should be secured she might make the unfortunate condition of others a subject of special attention. not London. she often checked herself with the thought of the thousands of people who were less happy than herself—a thought which for the moment made her fine. was her father’s Mecca.only dusky pestiferous tracts.

and often sat by his chair when he had had it moved out to the lawn. sitting with folded hands like a placid. the rich perfection of Gardencourt at once revealed a world and gratified a need.The Portrait of a Lady there his children had naturally not entered. where the tread was muffled by the earth itself and in the thick mild air all friction dropped out of contact and all shrillness out of talk. the deep greenness outside. no refinement of the agreeable was lost upon Isabel. Isabel amused him more than she suspected—the effect she 91 of 1056 . the sense of well-ordered privacy in the centre of a ‘property’—a place where sounds were felicitously accidental. a god of service.these things were much to the taste of our young lady. homely household god. The large. Her uncle’s house seemed a picture made real. who had done his work and received his wages and was trying to grow used to weeks and months made up only of off-days. She formed a fast friendship with her uncle. low rooms. and the old-world quality in everything that she now saw had all the charm of strangeness. polished panels. the quiet light on dark. He passed hours in the open air. that seemed always peeping in. whose taste played a considerable part in her emotions. the deep embrasures and curious casements. The images of that time moreover had grown faint and remote. with brown ceilings and dusky corners.

The old man was full of kindness for her. Like the mass of American girls Isabel had been encouraged to express herself. Touchett. to speak—so many characteristics of her niece—that he had fallen in love with Mrs. He never expressed this analogy to the girl herself. Touchett had once been like Isabel. Many of her opinions had doubtless but a slender value. It was because she was fresh and natural and quick to understand. but they had left a trace in giving her the habit of seeming at least to feel and think. many of her emotions passed away in the utterance. it was a long time. as he said. It was by this term that he qualified her conversation. her remarks had been attended to. Isabel was not at all like Mrs. which had much of the ‘point’ observable in that of the young ladies of her country. and in imparting moreover to her words when she was really moved that prompt vividness which so many people had regarded as a sign of superiority. Touchett. however. Touchett used to think that she reminded him of his wife when his wife was in her teens. she had been expected to have emotions and opinions. for if Mrs. Mr. to whom the ear of the world is more directly presented than to their sisters in other lands. since 92 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady produced upon people was often different from what she supposed—and he frequently gave himself the pleasure of making her chatter.

quickly-moving. and in begging to be enlightened on these points she usually enquired whether they corresponded with the descriptions in the books. about the British constitution. the peculiarities of the aristocracy. the state of politics. it is true that of these she asked a quantity. He wanted to do something for her and wished she would ask it of him. ‘well. ‘The books?’ he once said.The Portrait of a Lady they had had any young life in the house. The old man always looked at her a little with his fine dry smile while he smoothed down the shawl spread across his legs. the English character. Of course I’ve had very good opportunities—better than what a young lady would naturally have. though 93 of 1056 . She would ask nothing but questions. the way of living and thinking of his neighbours. the manners and customs of the royal family. She questioned him immensely about England. I’m of an inquisitive disposition. Her uncle had a great fund of answers. though her pressure sometimes came in forms that puzzled him. I’ve always ascertained for myself—got my information in the natural form. clear-voiced heroine was as agreeable to his sense as the sound of flowing water. I never asked many questions even. I don’t know much about the books. You must ask Ralph about that. and our rustling. I just kept quiet and took notice.

but they seem to feel pretty comfortable about waiting till then. but the necessity of them doesn’t seem to be generally felt as yet. and you certainly will be successful. I certainly feel more at home among them than I expected to when I first came over. There are several improvements I should like to see introduced.’ ‘Do you suppose that if I’m successful I shall feel at home?’ Isabel asked. I suppose it’s because I’ve had a considerable degree of success. and I don’t hesitate to say that I’ve acquired considerable information. But you mustn’t feel too much at home. I’ve been watching these people for upwards of thirty-five years.’ 94 of 1056 . you know. ‘I should think it very probable.The Portrait of a Lady you mightn’t think it if you were to watch me: however much you might watch me I should be watching you more. When you’re successful you naturally feel more at home. They like American young ladies very much over here. It’s a very fine country on the whole—finer perhaps than what we give it credit for on the other side. When the necessity of a thing is generally felt they usually manage to accomplish it. they show them a great deal of kindness.

but Ralph just handed me the book with the principal passages marked. especially if you like them. they’re not nice to them in the novels. ‘I believe the novels have a great deal of ability. 95 of 1056 . Touchett. ‘but are they pleasant in society? They won’t rob me nor beat me. I didn’t read it.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh. because I always appreciate it. I don’t hesitate to say so.’ said Mr. she was a friend of Ralph’s and he asked her down. but will they make themselves agreeable to me? That’s what I like people to do. as you might say—of my unworthy self. She was very positive. It was understood to be a description of my conversation. I don’t believe they’re very nice to girls.’ ‘I don’t know about the novels.’ Isabel rejoined. but she was not the sort of person you could depend on for evidence. We once had a lady who wrote novels staying here. I’m by no means sure it will satisfy me.’ Isabel judicially emphasized. ‘I like the place very much.’ ‘I’ve no doubt they’re good. She afterwards published a work of fiction in which she was understood to have given a representation— something in the nature of a caricature.’ ‘The people are very good people. but I don’t suppose they’re very accurate. but I’m not sure I shall like the people. quite up to everything. Too free a fancy—I suppose that was it.

‘Imagine one’s belonging to an English class!’ 96 of 1056 . as I’ve no daughters. if she liked. Well. I just mention that fact to show you that they’re not always accurate.’ said Isabel. and as Mrs. I suppose. I don’t know that I ever counted them. ‘how many classes have they? About fifty. we wouldn’t have him over there at any price. I’ve made them understand me pretty well over here. But I don’t talk like the old gentleman in that lady’s novel.’ ‘Gracious.’ ‘I hope so. I had no objection to her giving a report of my conversation. Of course I talk like an American—I can’t talk like a Hottentot. she couldn’t have listened very attentively. nasal twang. I haven’t had much chance to notice about the young ladies. Touchett resides in Florence. That’s the advantage of being an American here. I never took much notice of the classes. but I guess their position is better in the upper and even to some extent in the middle. it was not at all accurate.The Portrait of a Lady American peculiarities. stars and stripes. you don’t belong to any class. He wasn’t an American. Of course.’ Isabel exclaimed. However I talk. It sometimes appears as if the young women in the lower class were not very well treated. but I didn’t like the idea that she hadn’t taken the trouble to listen to it. Yankee notions.’ ‘Well.

‘I’m sure the English are very conventional.’ Mr. she was thought insensible to them. But as regards this she was sometimes misjudged. I’m just the contrary. Touchett admitted.’ Her uncle seemed amused at her distinctness of preference. she got rid of them as rapidly as possible. ‘It’s all settled beforehand—they don’t leave it to the last moment. I’m not in the least stupidly conventional. But for me there are only two classes: the people I trust and the people I don’t. it’s settled beforehand that you’ll have great success.’ she added.’ ‘I shall not have success if they’re too stupidly conventional. you belong to the first.’ ‘I’m much obliged to you. Of those two. To show that was to show too much. my dear Isabel. I guess some of them are pretty comfortable— especially towards the top. ‘They’ve got everything pretty well fixed.’ said the girl quickly. ‘Well.’ said the girl.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Well. whereas in fact she was simply unwilling to show how infinitely they pleased her.’ ‘I don’t like to have everything settled beforehand.’ 97 of 1056 . ‘I like more unexpectedness. That’s what they won’t like. ‘I suppose you’ll like that. Her way of taking compliments seemed sometimes rather dry.’ he rejoined.

you’re all wrong. standing before her uncle with her hands clasped about the belt of her black dress and looking up and down the lawn—‘that will suit me perfectly!’ 98 of 1056 . that’s their principal interest.’ said the old man.’ said Isabel. no.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No.’ ‘Ah well. ‘You can’t tell what they’ll like. They’re very inconsistent.

and edit PDF. Chapter 7 The two amused themselves. Download the free trial version. For what is usually called social intercourse she had very little relish. She flattered herself that she was a very just woman. but in fact the British public remained for the present profoundly indifferent to Miss Isabel Archer. however. time and again. a peculiar taste. Her gouty uncle received very little company. not having cultivated relations with her husband’s neighbours. view. whose fortune had dropped her. She had. Touchett. and it was not to be supposed that. but nothing pleased her more than to find her hall-table whitened with oblong morsels of symbolic pasteboard. and Mrs. with talking of the attitude of the British public as if the young lady had been in a position to appeal to it. in the surrounding country. and had mastered the sovereign truth that nothing in this world is got for nothing. She had played no social part as mistress of Gardencourt. But it is by no means certain that she did not feel it to be wrong that so little notice was 99 of 1056 .eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. a minute account should be kept of her comings and goings. into the dullest house in England. was not warranted in expecting visits from them. she liked to receive cards. as her cousin said.

not that she imagined they inflicted any damage on the tough old parchment. ‘there are as many points of view in the world as there are people of sense to take them. Isabel presently found herself in the singular situation of defending the British constitution against her aunt. her sex and her nationality.’ said Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady taken of them and that her failure (really very gratuitous) to make herself important in the neighbourhood had. ‘Now what’s your point of view?’ she asked of her aunt. but she was very sentimental as well. Isabel always felt an impulse to pull out the pins. Touchett. She was very critical herself. Touchett having formed the habit of sticking pins into this venerable instrument. Yours doesn’t seem to be American—you thought everything over there so disagreeable. not much to do with the acrimony of her allusions to her husband’s adopted country. When I criticize I have mine. ‘When you criticize everything here you should have a point of view. You may say that doesn’t make them 100 of 1056 . and there was something in Mrs. but because it seemed to her aunt might make better use of her sharpness. Touchett’s dryness that set her own moral fountains flowing. it’s thoroughly American!’ ‘My dear young lady. was incidental to her age.

She risked it nevertheless in talking with Ralph. his friends (Lord Warburton in especial). She accused him of an odious want of seriousness. his useless life.The Portrait of a Lady very numerous! American? Never in the world. On the lips of a person less advanced in life and less enlightened by experience than Mrs. as the phrase is. of laughing at all things. he exercised his wit indifferently upon his father’s son. it was a tolerable description of her own manner of judging. and he was not a man to neglect the privileges such a reputation conferred. Such slender faculty of reverence as he possessed centred wholly upon his father. even of arrogance. that’s shockingly narrow. his fantastic mother. and his native country. for the rest. this gentleman’s weak lungs. is personal!’ Isabel thought this a better answer than she admitted. ‘I keep a band of music in my ante101 of 1056 . with whom she talked a great deal and with whom her conversation was of a sort that gave a large license to extravagance. Touchett such a declaration would savour of immodesty. his adopted. My point of view. beginning with himself. but it would not have sounded well for her to say so. thank God. Her cousin used. to chaff her. his charming new-found cousin. he very soon established with her a reputation for treating everything as a joke.

It was but half-hospitality to let her remain outside. it renders me two excellent services. ‘It has orders to play without stopping. the liveliest waltzes seemed to float upon the air.The Portrait of a Lady room. she would have liked to pass through the ante-room. It keeps the sounds of the world from reaching the private apartments. and enter the private apartments. to punish him for which Isabel administered innumerable taps with the ferule of her straight young wit. on the lines of the prevailing fashion.’ It was dance-music indeed that you usually heard when you came within ear-shot of Ralph’s band. Isabel often found herself irritated by this perpetual fiddling. she would have been glad to undertake to sweep them and set them in order. what she feared next afterwards was that she 102 of 1056 . for her cousin amused himself with calling her ‘Columbia’ and accusing her of a patriotism so heated that it scorched.’ he said once to her. It mattered little that he had assured her they were a very dismal place. Isabel’s chief dread in life at this period of her development was that she should appear narrowminded. and it makes the world think that dancing’s going on within. in the folds of the national banner. as her cousin called it. He drew a caricature of her in which she was represented as a very pretty young woman dressed. It must be said that her wit was exercised to a large extent in self-defence.

who had not been used to being so crudely addressed. the quality of this small ripe country seemed as sweet to her as the taste of an October pear. ‘I don’t know what’s the matter with you. If her good-humour flagged at moments it was not because she thought herself ill-used. I don’t think you care for anything. But she nevertheless made no scruple of abounding in her cousin’s sense and pretending to sigh for the charms of her native land.The Portrait of a Lady should really be so.’ she observed to him once.’ ‘That’s your privilege. and if he chose to laugh at her she would give him plenty of occupation. but because she suddenly felt sorry for Ralph. In fact.’ Ralph answered. and her satisfaction was at the root of the good spirits which enabled her to take her cousin’s chaff and return it in kind. but when Ralph sang its praises on purpose. she found herself able to differ from him on a variety of points. She defended England against his mother. It seemed to her he was talking as a blind and had little heart in what he said. She would be as American as it pleased him to regard her. ‘but I suspect you’re a great humbug. to work her up. ‘I don’t know what you care for. You don’t really care for England when you 103 of 1056 . as she said.

his outlook. dear cousin. had refreshed and quickened them. habitually sombre. I should hope so!’ the young man exclaimed. ‘If I could believe even that. and the doctors had whispered to Ralph that another attack would be less easy to deal with. I should be very glad.’ ‘Ah well. she was constantly present to his mind. you don’t care for America even when you pretend to abuse it. had begun to ascend into regions more vital. but Ralph could not rid himself of a suspicion that this was a subterfuge of the enemy. given them wings and something to fly for. who was waiting to take him off his guard.’ ‘I care for nothing but you.The Portrait of a Lady praise it.’ said Ralph. Just now he appeared disburdened of pain. The old man had been gravely ill in the spring. Isabel might have believed it and not have been far from the truth. lay under the shadow of a deeper cloud. He thought a great deal about her. At a time when his thoughts had been a good deal of a burden to him her sudden arrival. hitherto confined to his legs. Poor Ralph had been for many weeks steeped in melancholy. If the manoeuvre should succeed there would be little hope of any great resistance. He had grown anxious about his father. whose gout. Ralph had always 104 of 1056 . which promised nothing and was an openhanded gift of fate.

and the idea of being left alone with the remnant of a tasteless life on his hands was not gratifying to the young man. At the prospect of losing his great motive Ralph lost indeed his one inspiration. The father and son had been close companions. He bethought himself of course that it had been a small kindness to his father to wish that. he enjoyed. But of the two triumphs. If they might die at the same time it would be all very well. which he should be delighted to discredit so far as he might by dying first.The Portrait of a Lady taken for granted that his father would survive him—that his own name would be the first grimly called. with all abatements. 105 of 1056 . Ralph deemed it no sin to hope the latter might be vouchsafed to Mr. but without the encouragement of his father’s society he should barely have patience to await his own turn. of the two. it was a rule with his mother to have no regrets. he remembered that the old man had always treated his own forecast of an early end as a clever fallacy. the active rather than the passive party should know the felt wound. that of refuting a sophistical son and that of holding on a while longer to a state of being which. He had not the incentive of feeling that he was indispensable to his mother. who had always and tacitly counted upon his elder’s help in making the best of a poor business. Touchett.

she was a really interesting little figure.—‘a real little passionate force to see at play is the finest thing in nature. than a Gothic cathedral. If his cousin were to be nothing more than an entertainment to him.The Portrait of a Lady These were nice questions. and then he said it was only another proof of his friend’s high abilities.’ It’s finer than the finest work of art—than a Greek basrelief. but Isabel’s arrival put a stop to his puzzling over them. After he had known her for a week he quite made up his mind to this. ‘A character like that. than a great Titian. He wondered whether he were harbouring ‘love’ for this spontaneous young woman from Albany. than for a week before she came. It’s very pleasant to be so well treated where one had least looked for it. which he had always greatly admired. It even suggested there might be a compensation for the intolerable ennui of surviving his genial sire.’ he said to himself. I had never been more blue. Ralph was conscious she was an entertainment of a high order. Lord Warburton had been right about her. Suddenly I receive a Titian. by the post. I had never expected less that anything pleasant would happen. Ralph wondered how their neighbour had found it out so soon. but he judged that on the whole he was not. and every day he felt a little more sure. more bored. to hang on my wall—a Greek bas106 of 1056 .

The key of a beautiful edifice is thrust into my hand. but it was not exactly true that Ralph Touchett had had a key put into his hand. and I’m told to walk in and admire. was not judicial. His cousin was a very brilliant girl. for a man to come that way and furnish them with a destiny. but what was she going to do with herself? This question was irregular. though it was contemplative and critical. for with most women one had no occasion to ask it. you’ve been sadly ungrateful. a good deal of knowing. but she needed the knowing. He surveyed the edifice from the outside and admired it greatly. he looked in at the windows and received an impression of proportions equally fair. who would take. The door was fastened. it was a fine free nature.The Portrait of a Lady relief to stick over my chimney-piece. Most women did with themselves nothing at all. they waited. and his attitude with regard to her. But he felt that he saw it only by glimpses and that he had not yet stood under the roof. and though he had keys in his pocket he had a conviction that none of them would fit.’ The sentiment of these reflexions was very just. My poor boy. and now you had better keep very quiet and never grumble again. attitudes more or less gracefully passive. She was intelligent and generous. as he said. Isabel’s originality was that she gave one an impression of 107 of 1056 .

and his wife’s position was that of rather a grim visitor.The Portrait of a Lady having intentions of her own.’ said Ralph. so that in the line of conduct that opened itself to Ralph duty and inclination were harmoniously mixed. Mr. of which the length was but the measure of her gratified eagerness. past ale-houses latticed 108 of 1056 . but he strolled about the grounds with his cousina pastime for which the weather remained favourable with a persistency not allowed for in Isabel’s somewhat lugubrious prevision of the climate. He was not a great walker. Isabel enjoyed it largely and. thick-wheeled phaeton formerly much used by Mr. Touchett was confined to his chair. where the opposite shore seemed still a part of the foreground of the landscape. the dear little river. Touchett.’ was never weary of driving her uncle’s capital horses through winding lanes and byways full of the rural incidents she had confidently expected to find. ‘Whenever she executes them. as Isabel called it. ‘may I be there to see!’ It devolved upon him of course to do the honours of the place. past cottages thatched and timbered. and in the long afternoons. they took a boat on the river. handling the reins in a manner which approved itself to the groom as ‘knowing. capacious. but which he had now ceased to enjoy. or drove over the country in a phaeton—a low.

One day. seeing him for half an hour on the day of her arrival. strolled back to the house and perceived Lord Warburton sitting under the trees and engaged in conversation. however. past patches of ancient common and glimpses of empty parks. between hedgerows made thick by midsummer. his wife occupied with her knitting and wearing that appearance of rare profundity with which some ladies consider the movement of their needles. Gardencourt was not dull. But the two for the most part sat silent. Touchett. with Mrs. He had driven over from his own place with a portmanteau and had asked. The two young persons. She had hoped she should see him again—hoped too that she should see a few others. of which even at a distance the desultory character was appreciable. for a dinner and a lodging. he had indeed rather sharply registered himself on her fine sense and she had thought of him several times. had discovered in this brief space that she liked him. the old man with his head back and his eyes closed. When they reached home they usually found tea had been served on the lawn and that Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady and sanded. a visitor had arrived. as the father and son often invited him to do. after spending an hour on the river. Touchett had not shrunk from the extremity of handing her husband his cup. the 109 of 1056 . Isabel.

because we have really got a few. she had 110 of 1056 . Then her impressions were still so fresh and so quickly renewed that there was as yet hardly a hint of vacancy in the view. and Ralph was unlike any cousin she had ever encountered—her idea of cousins having tended to gloom. and it may be confided to the reader that if the young man delayed to carry them out it was because he found the labour of providing for his companion by no means so severe as to require extraneous help. Isabel had spoken to him very often about ‘specimens". her uncle was more and more a sort of golden grandfather. But Isabel had need to remind herself that she was interested in human nature and that her foremost hope in coming abroad had been that she should see a great many people. though you would never suppose it’—when he offered to invite what he called a ‘lot of people’ and make her acquainted with English society. it was a word that played a considerable part in her vocabulary. however.The Portrait of a Lady place itself was sovereign. had come of his offers. she encouraged the hospitable impulse and promised in advance to hurl herself into the fray. ‘I wonder you find this endurable. Little. for the present. as he had done several times. When Ralph said to her. you ought to see some of the neighbours and some of our friends.

‘He has a good excuse for his laziness. ‘But I needn’t ask that. ‘A specimen of what?’ asked the girl.’ he said to her as they walked up from the riverside and he recognized Lord Warburton.’ said his lordship. indicating Ralph Touchett with a laugh.’ ‘Do you mean they’re all like him?’ ‘Oh no. still with his sonorous mirth. view. ‘Well now.’ said Isabel. And he’s very fortunate.’ Isabel answered.’ ‘Yes. and edit PDF.’ ‘I’ve been rowing a little. he has a good excuse for everything!’ cried Lord Warburton. they’re not all like him. he’s too lazy. he’s very nice. ‘Ah.’ ‘He’s a favourable specimen then. given him to understand that she wished to see English society illustrated by eminent cases.’ The fortunate Lord Warburton exchanged a handshake with our heroine and hoped she was very well. Download the free trial version. 111 of 1056 . ‘A specimen of an English gentleman.’ Isabel rejoined.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. lowering her voice a little. there’s a specimen. I know he doesn’t row.’ he said. ‘but how should you know it?’ ‘Oh. ‘because I’m sure he’s nice. ‘since you’ve been handling the oars.

who. but he was persuaded to remain over the second day. She retired to rest with a sense of 112 of 1056 .’ Lord Warburton declared. but at the end of an evening spent in his society she scarce fell short of seeing him—though quite without luridity— as a hero of romance.’ said Isabel. She found herself liking him extremely. Miss Archer. During this period he addressed many of his remarks to Isabel. if it pleased her to hear it said that her accomplishments were numerous. Her desire to think well of herself had at least the element of humility that it always needed to be supported by proof. who accepted this evidence of his esteem with a very good grace.The Portrait of a Lady ‘My excuse for not rowing is that my cousin rows so well. the first impression he had made on her had had weight. was happily able to reflect that such complacency was not the indication of a feeble mind. ‘She does everything well. and when the second day was ended he determined to postpone his departure till the morrow. ‘Be touched in the right sense and you’ll never look the worse for it. inasmuch as there were several things in which she excelled.’ said Ralph. Lord Warburton not only spent the night at Gardencourt. She touches nothing that she doesn’t adorn!’ ‘It makes one want to be touched.

It must be added moreover that an incident had occurred which might have seemed to put her good-humour to the test.’ Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady good fortune. ‘Only I beg it shall not be before midnight.’ ‘It’s impossible I should wait for you. you needn’t wait! Ralph will light my candle. with a quickened consciousness of possible felicities. Touchett went to bed at half-past nine o’clock. observed to Isabel that it was time they should bid the gentlemen good-night. ‘Ah. but his wife remained in the drawing-room with the other members of the party. do let me light your candle. the occasion wore.’ 113 of 1056 . She prolonged her vigil for something less than an hour. So. rising. dear aunt? I’ll come up in half an hour. Mr. she replied. ‘It’s very nice to know two such charming people as those. a festive character. to her sense. Touchett answered. Miss Archer!’ Lord Warburton exclaimed. meaning by ‘those’ her cousin and her cousin’s friend. ‘I’ll light your candle.’ Isabel gaily engaged.’ she said. very simply‘Need I go. and then. Isabel had as yet no desire to go to bed. without further thought. and feasts were not in the habit of terminating so early.

Touchett said majestically.’ Mrs. 114 of 1056 .’ ‘Can’t I stay with my own cousin?’ Isabel enquired. For himself he was annoyed at his mother. ‘Oh. if it’s necessary I’ll stay up till midnight. He had been watching her. ‘I didn’t make your country. my dear. But if he had expected anything of a flare he was disappointed.’ she said. ‘I’m not aware that Lord Warburton is your cousin. for the girl simply laughed a little.’ Isabel rose. ‘Oh. ‘I wish I were. ‘That will arrange it.The Portrait of a Lady Mrs. my lord. blushing.’ ‘Perhaps I had better go to bed!’ the visitor suggested.’ Mrs. Touchett fixed her bright little eyes upon him a moment and transferred them coldly to her niece. ‘I must take it as I find it. Touchett!’ Lord Warburton murmured. I say. Touchett’s door. it had seemed to him her temper was involved—an accident that might be interesting. Touchett gave a little look of despair and sat down again. mother!’ Ralph broke out. Above-stairs the two ladies separated at Mrs. You’re not—you’re not at your blest Albany. ‘My dear Mrs. though he thought she was right. ‘You can’t stay alone with the gentlemen. Isabel had said nothing on her way up.’ Ralph meanwhile handed Isabel her candlestick. nodded good-night and withdrew accompanied by her aunt.

Wasn’t it proper I should remain in the drawing-room?’ ‘Not in the least. but I’m very glad to know it.’ said Mrs.’ ‘Very likely not.’ ‘Yes.’ her aunt answered. I think I’m very fond of them. Isabel considered. You’re too fond of your own ways.’ said Isabel.’ ‘I shall always tell you. But I always want to know the things one shouldn’t do. 115 of 1056 . Touchett.’ ‘Pray do.’ ‘You were very right to tell me then. but I don’t say I shall always think your remonstrance just. ‘So as to choose.’ said Isabel. ‘I don’t understand it.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Of course you’re vexed at my interfering with you. but I’m surprised— and a good deal mystified. ‘I’m not vexed.’ ‘So as to do them?’ asked her aunt. Young girls here—in decent houses— don’t sit alone with the gentlemen late at night. ‘whenever I see you taking what seems to me too much liberty.

that of Lockleigh.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 8 As she was devoted to romantic effects Lord Warburton ventured to express a hope that she would come some day and see his house. ‘but very decent and pleasant". sprawling parish. When Isabel was interested she asked a great many questions. during the hours they spent together while he was at Gardencourt. and he was so good as to hope Miss Archer might know them well. Touchett a promise that she bring her niece to Lockleigh. and Ralph signified his willingness to attend the ladies if his father should be able to spare him. The brothers and sisters were very good people—‘not particularly clever. settled in the family living. which was a heavy.’ he said. on many points connected with his family. and was an excellent 116 of 1056 . having sounded him. He told her he had four sisters and two brothers and had lost both his parents. She knew something about his sisters. a very curious old place. would come and see her. He extracted from Mrs. you know. Lord Warburton assured our heroine that in the mean time his sisters. One of the brothers was in the Church. and as her companion was a copious talker she urged him on this occasion by no means in vain.

that she had doubtless imagined she entertained them. When she answered that she had already thought several of the questions involved over very attentively he declared that she was only another example of what he had often been struck with—the fact that. And then Lord Warburton mentioned some of the opinions held by his brother. till he assured her she was quite mistaken.The Portrait of a Lady fellow in spite of his thinking differently from himself on every conceivable topic. she would find there was nothing in them. Many of them indeed she supposed she had held herself. if she thought them over a little. every one of them. nothing could be more mediaeval than many of their views. the Americans were the most grossly superstitious. said his lordship. laughing. They were rank Tories and bigots. and they had the impudence moreover. Her uncle and her cousin were there to prove it. of all the people in the world. there were no conservatives like American conservatives. that it was really impossible. but that she might depend that. which were opinions Isabel had often heard expressed and that she supposed to be entertained by a considerable portion of the human family. they had ideas that people in England nowadays were ashamed to confess to. to pretend they knew more about the needs and dangers of this poor dear stupid old England 117 of 1056 .

Isabel 118 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady than he who was born in it and owned a considerable slice of it—the more shame to him! From all of which Isabel gathered that Lord Warburton was a nobleman of the newest pattern. The husband of the elder. but unfortunately a horrid Tory. was worse than her husband. like all good English wives. The other had espoused a smallish squire in Norfolk and. was a very good fellow. the second and fourth. were married. as they said.’ said her friend. taking pains to make many things clear and to lay bare to her apprehension the peculiarities of English life. one of them having done very well. and his wife. ‘he lives a monstrous deal better than I do. I don’t go in for the superiority of the younger brothers. a contemner of ancient ways. a reformer. was rather wild and pig-headed and had not been of much use as yet but to make debts for Warburton to payone of the most precious privileges of an elder brother. enjoys unheard-of luxuries and thinks himself a much finer gentleman than I. As I’m a consistent radical I go in only for equality. This information and much more Lord Warburton imparted to his young American listener. the other only so-so. His other brother.’ Two of his four sisters. ‘I don’t think I shall pay any more. Lord Haycock. a radical. had already five children. though married but the other day. who was in the army in India.

‘He thinks I’m a barbarian. in fact I was quite bewildered. he was so good as to say that America was the most charming country in the world.’ There was no mistake at least about his being very intelligent and cultivated and knowing 119 of 1056 . ‘and that I’ve never seen forks and spoons". ‘if I had known how kind you are to the poor savages I would have brought over my native costume!’ Lord Warburton had travelled through the United States and knew much more about them than Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady was often amused at his explicitness and at the small allowance he seemed to make either for her own experience or for her imagination. ‘If I had only had you to explain things to me in America!’ he said. You know I think they often gave me the wrong ones on purpose. ‘I was rather puzzled in your country. and she used to ask him artless questions for the pleasure of hearing him answer seriously. ‘It’s a pity you can’t see me in my war-paint and feathers. But when I explain you can trust me.’ she said. Then when he had fallen into the trap.’ she remarked. and the trouble was that the explanations only puzzled me more. they’re rather clever about that over there. but his recollections of it appeared to encourage the idea that Americans in England would need to have a great many things explained to them. about what I tell you there’s no mistake.

Although he gave the most interesting and thrilling glimpses Isabel felt he never did it to exhibit himself. He had enjoyed the best things of life. ‘Why. to know everything. ‘I like him too—I love him well.’ Ralph returned. He appears to have everything. to be everything. he was as far as possible from making a merit of it.The Portrait of a Lady almost everything in the world. that seems to me his only fault. as she put it. so easily come by!—with a modesty at times almost boyish. and though he had had rare chances and had tumbled in.’ Isabel said to Ralph after Lord Warburton had gone.’ Isabel looked at him askance. ‘I like your specimen English gentleman very much. for high prizes.’ ‘Oh. His quality was a mixture of the effect of rich experienced. he’s in a bad way!’ Ralph insisted.that one can’t pity him a little. but they had not spoiled his sense of proportion. ‘But I pity him more. the sweet and wholesome savour of which—it was as agreeable as something tasted—lost nothing from the addition of a tone of responsible kindness. ‘I suppose you don’t mean in health?’ 120 of 1056 .

Great responsibilities. He’s the victim of a critical age. and indeed about everything in the world. selfconscious abuse planted by other hands. great wealth. in his place. But in that case what’s more pitiable than a sentient.’ ‘Does he regard himself as a joke?’ ‘Much worse. But he’s all in a muddle about himself. who can neither 121 of 1056 . he has ceased to believe in himself and he doesn’t know what to believe in. He doesn’t take himself seriously. When I attempt to tell him (because if I were he I know very well what I should believe in) he calls me a pampered bigot. What I mean is that he’s a man with a great position who’s playing all sorts of tricks with it. deeply rooted but aching with a sense of its injustice? For me. his power. great consideration. I understand it certainly better than he. he regards himself as an imposition—as an abuse. great power. ‘Perhaps he is—though on the whole I don’t think so. great opportunities. he says I don’t understand my time. I could be as solemn as a statue of Buddha.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No. his position.’ said Isabel.’ ‘Well. perhaps he is. a natural share in the public affairs of a great country. He occupies a position that appeals to my imagination. I believe he seriously thinks me an awful Philistine. as to that he’s detestably sound.

’ said Isabel. but you must remember that Ralph must talk.’ Isabel added. though.’ ‘Oh. ‘Well. ‘but I don’t recommend you to fall in love with him. I shall never fall in love but on your recommendation.The Portrait of a Lady abolish himself as a nuisance nor maintain himself as an institution.’ ‘I shall not do it then. In the course of conversation he asked her what she thought of their late visitor. ‘if he isn’t he ought to be!’ In the afternoon she spent an hour with her uncle on the lawn. ‘I think he’s charming. I think he often has uncomfortable hours.’ 122 of 1056 . as usual. ‘my cousin gives me rather a sad account of Lord Warburton.’ her cousin rejoined.’ ‘I don’t. where the old man sat.’ Isabel observed. with his shawl over his legs and his large cup of diluted tea in his hands.’ said Mr. I believe he is. ‘Possibly not. being a man of a good deal of charming taste. But what is it to say of a being of his opportunities that he’s not miserable? Besides. Isabel was prompt.’ ‘He’s a nice person.’ ‘He doesn’t look very wretched. Touchett. Moreover. indeed? I don’t know what there may be to say.

but he seems to want to remain himself. ‘I guess he’ll stay and amuse his friends. I don’t know what they’re trying to do. but rather inconsistent. but I’m a pretty big landowner here.’ ‘Oh.whether they’re trying to get up a revolution. smiled and put down his cup. He always amuses me when he comes over.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. I should certainly miss him very much here at Gardencourt.’ said Isabel. He seems to want to do away with a good many things. and I don’t want to be disestablished. I wouldn’t have come over if I had thought they were going to behave like that. He goes very far. I hope he’ll remain himself. There’s a considerable number like him. Touchett went 123 of 1056 . Download the free trial version. I hope at any rate they’ll put it off till after I’m gone.’ said the old man. ‘He thinks your friend’s too subversive—or not subversive enough! I don’t quite understand which. ‘If he were to be done away with his friends would miss him sadly. and I think he amuses himself as well. The old man shook his head slowly.’ ‘Well. I suppose that’s natural. view. and edit PDF.’ said Isabel. round in society. they’re very fashionable just now.’ Mr. ‘I don’t know which either. You see they want to disestablish everything. but it’s quite possible he doesn’t go far enough.

if I could believe that!’ the girl interrupted. proud loyalist. you lovely man. ‘If you want to see a big outbreak you 124 of 1056 . after all. Touchett went on. I do hope they’ll make a revolution!’ Isabel exclaimed ‘I should delight in seeing a revolution. and they’ve a chance to behave so exquisitely.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘I don’t know that I understand what you mean by behaving picturesquely. with a humorous intention. you won’t have the pleasure of going gracefully to the guillotine here just now. ‘I came over because I thought England was a safe country.’ said her uncle. ‘I’m afraid. In a revolution—after it was well begun—I think I should be a high. I mean so picturesquely.’ ‘Oh.’ Mr. I call it a regular fraud if they are going to introduce any considerable changes. ‘I forget whether you’re on the side of the old or on the side of the new. I guess I’m a little on the side of everything. I’ve heard you take such opposite views. One sympathizes more with them. my dear. there’ll be a large number disappointed in that case.The Portrait of a Lady on with expanding hilarity. but it seems to me that you do that always.’ ‘Let me see.’ ‘I’m on the side of both.

Their radical views are a kind of amusement. ‘but it seems as if they took it out in theories mostly. They talk about the changes. but I don’t think they quite realize. Of course if they want to try. Of course I only know the way it strikes me. They make them feel moral and yet don’t 125 of 1056 . You and I. my dear. they’ve got to have some amusement.’ ‘Of whom are you speaking?’ ‘Well. You see. but I expect they won’t try very hard. it’s their own business. It’s a matter of every day and every hour. you know. I mean Lord Warburton and his friends—the radicals of the upper class. and I don’t think many of them would find it as pleasant as what they’ve got. Now over here I don’t think it quite comes home to them. but I ain’t a lord. but I was used to them from the first.’ ‘Don’t you think they’re sincere?’ Isabel asked. ‘Well. you’re a lady. they want to feel earnest. and they might have coarser tastes than that. when you come to the point it wouldn’t suit them to be taken at their word. Touchett allowed. and these progressive ideas are about their biggest luxury.’ Mr. And then I ain’t a lord.The Portrait of a Lady must pay us a long visit. we know what it is to have lived under democratic institutions: I always thought them very comfortable. You see they’re very luxurious.

His old house over there— what does he call it. I should like to see Lord Warburton put to the test. for art. I don’t care what the others are. They think a great deal of their position. Lockleigh?—is very attractive. He has a seat in Parliament as I have one at my own dinner-table. for charming young ladies. But she felt moved to put in a protest on Lord Warburton’s behalf. but I 126 of 1056 . for science. He has half a dozen houses to live in. The most elegant is his taste for the new views. ‘Lord Warburton’s a very amiable young man— a very fine young man.’ ‘Heaven deliver me from my friends!’ Mr.’ Isabel followed her uncle’s argument. He has elegant tastes—cares for literature. for if you were to proceed on that basis you’d be pulled up very short. ‘I don’t believe Lord Warburton’s a humbug. He owns fifty thousand acres of the soil of this little island and ever so many other things besides. Touchett answered. except the young ladies. which he unfolded with his quaint distinctness. don’t let one of them ever persuade you he doesn’t. It affords him a great deal of pleasure—more perhaps than anything else.The Portrait of a Lady damage their position. most attentively. and though she wag unacquainted with the British aristocracy she found it in harmony with her general impressions of human nature. He has a hundred thousand a year.

‘Yes.The Portrait of a Lady don’t think it’s as pleasant as this. ‘That’s a very poor position. But you don’t pity Lord Warburton then as Ralph does? Her uncle looked at her a while with genial acuteness. they certainly don’t hurt himself. they’d leave him as he is: he’s too much liked. I do. Isabel shook her head. That doesn’t matter. ‘I shall never make any one a martyr. I hope. however—he has so many others.’ said the old man. there might have been something laughable in the fact that she did it with a touch of melancholy. after all!’ 127 of 1056 .’ ‘You’ll never be one.’ ‘I hope not. His views don’t hurt any one as far as I can see. They wouldn’t touch him. he couldn’t be a martyr even if he wished!’ Isabel sighed. And if there were to be a revolution he would come off very easily.’ ‘He’ll never be a martyr unless you make him one.’ ‘Ah.

eyes like the balanced basins. and of having. which Isabel admired. since there were fifty thousand young women in England who exactly resembled them. as she thought. at any rate. were 128 of 1056 . Deprived of this advantage. for two or three of the friends of her girlhood had been regrettably open to the charge (they would have been so nice without it). but they had bright. and Isabel took a fancy to the young ladies. to say nothing of Isabel’s having occasionally suspected it as a tendency of her own. The Misses Molyneux were not in their first youth. however.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 9 The two Misses Molyneux. among the geraniums. the circles of ‘ornamental water. ‘They’re not morbid.’ set. and she deemed this a great charm. fresh complexions and something of the smile of childhood. whatever they are. their eyes.’ our heroine said to herself. who appeared to her to show a most original stamp. in parterres. Yes. Isabel’s visitors retained that of an extreme sweetness and shyness of demeanour. came presently to call upon her. this nobleman’s sisters. It is true that when she described them to her cousin by that term he declared that no epithet could be less applicable than this to the two Misses Molyneux.

also of a generous roundness. very often.’ ‘I shall find you delightful. quiet and contented. ‘I think it’s lovely to be so quiet and reasonable and satisfied. so great that they were almost embarrassed to show it. But they made it clear to her that they hoped she would come to luncheon at Lockleigh. and her cousin told her. where they lived with their brother. ‘I can’t help it. ‘but I dare say you’ll take us as you find us.’ said the elder sister.’ Isabel answered. They wondered if she wouldn’t come over some day and sleep: they were expecting some people on the twenty-ninth. I think you’re enchanting just as you are. were encased in sealskin jackets. after they were gone. Her visitors flushed. so perhaps she would come while the people were there. and their figures. free manner practising on them: he was sure it was the first time they had been called enchanting. that if she said such things to those poor girls they would think she was in some wild. Their friendliness was great. ‘I’m afraid it isn’t any one very remarkable.’ replied Isabel. and then they might see her very. who often praised profusely. they seemed somewhat afraid of the young lady from the other side of the world and rather looked than spoke their good wishes.The Portrait of a Lady round.’ 129 of 1056 . I should like to be like that.

she drove over to Lockleigh. It had seemed to her before that if they had a fault it was a want of play of mind. on one side of the room. She knew it was true. ‘Oh dear. yes. ‘I mean to try and imitate them. he’s immensely advanced. Before luncheon she was alone with them for some time. when. Isabel liked them even better at home than she had done at Gardencourt. with Ralph and his mother. She found the Misses Molyneux sitting in a vast drawing-room (she perceived afterwards it was one of several) in a wilderness of faded chintz. ‘At the same time Warburton’s very reasonable. ‘I want very much to see them at home. and was more than ever struck with the fact that they were not morbid. at a distance.’ said Mildred. but she presently saw they were capable of deep emotion. and she had a desire to draw the Misses Molyneux out.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Heaven forbid!’ cried Ralph with ardour. but we have seen that her interest in human nature was keen.’ Miss Molyneux observed.’ said Isabel. 130 of 1056 . talked to Mrs. they were dressed on this occasion in black velveteen. ‘Is it true your brother’s such a great radical?’ Isabel asked. the younger sister. Touchett.’ She had this pleasure a few days later. while Lord Warburton.

’ said Miss Molyneux. 131 of 1056 . ‘I can’t fancy his giving up his property. he was clearly trying hard to make himself agreeable to Mrs. while the elder sister gazed at our heroine in silence. ‘Oh. had not made an impertinence.’ ‘Having to give up Lockleigh?’ said Miss Molyneux. you know!’ Mildred exclaimed quickly. ‘Do you think he would stand the test?’ ‘The test?’ ‘I mean for instance having to give up all this.’ said the other. ‘Do you mean. he must be. and the other places. ‘I dare say he might let one or two of his houses.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel watched him a moment at the other side of the room. Ralph had met the frank advances of one of the dogs before the fire that the temperature of an English August. ‘Yes. in the ancient you mean on account of the expense?’ the younger one asked. ‘Do you suppose your brother’s sincere?’ Isabel enquired with a smile. Touchett. what are they called?’ The two sisters exchanged an almost frightened glance. ‘Let them for nothing?’ Isabel demanded. finding her voice.

‘Don’t you think it’s a false position?’ Her companions. ‘We’ve always been so. ‘If you do that he must be very good—because you. evidently.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah.’ ‘His ability is known. I’m afraid he is an impostor!’ Isabel returned. are beautifully good. I can see that.’ ‘I dare say you think me very irreverent. ‘It’s the first position in this part of the country. evidently. It will never be known.’ Mildred argued gently.’ ‘Oh.’ Isabel took occasion to remark.’ said the younger sister. I should hold it tight. ‘But if I were he I should wish to fight to the death: I mean for the heritage of the past.’ ‘Of course one looks up to one’s brother. even from the earliest times. ‘My brother position?’ Miss Molyneux enquired.’ ‘I think one ought to be liberal. the good he does.’ said Miss Molyneux simply. ‘every one thinks it’s immense. had lost themselves.’ Mildred added. ‘It’s thought a very good position.’ said Isabel.’ ‘He’s most kind.’ 132 of 1056 . ‘I suppose you revere your brother and are rather afraid of him.

rising from a broad. seemed to her a matter of course that it should be a noble picture. in places tenderly chosen. it affected the young visitor as a castle in a legend. after luncheon. and the watery sunshine rested on the walls in blurred and desultory gleams. it had been a good deal modernized—some of its best points had lost their purity. Isabel learned afterwards from her cousin that before taking orders he had been a mighty wrestler and that he was still. the Vicar. a stout grey pile. where the ache of antiquity was keenest.’ When Lord Warburton showed her the house.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah well. a candid. a capacious appetite and a tendency to indiscriminate laughter. athletic figure. I don’t wonder you like it. most weather-fretted hue. still moat. washing them. ‘you’ve made a great success of it. on occasion—in the privacy of the family circle as it were— 133 of 1056 . the first note of autumn had been struck. but as they saw it from the gardens. had come to luncheon. and Isabel had had five minutes’ talk with him—time enough to institute a search for a rich ecclesiasticism and give it up as vain. The marks of the Vicar of Lockleigh were a big. deepest. Within. I see you’re very fond of crewels. as it were. Her host’s brother. natural countenance.’ said Isabel. of the softest. The day was cool and rather lustreless.

The whole party.The Portrait of a Lady quite capable of flooring his man. which had a very curious history) was not purely archaeological. he reverted at intervals to matters more personal—matters personal to the young lady as well as to himself. ‘but I’m afraid I can’t make engagements.’ he said. went to walk in the grounds. I wish you could see more of it—that you could stay here a while. returning for a moment to their ostensible theme.’ 134 of 1056 . But at last. I’m quite in my aunt’s hands.’ ‘There’s no want of inducements. ‘I wish you to see the place properly. Isabel liked him—she was in the mood for liking everything. ‘You can’t do so if your attention is distracted by irrelevant gossip.’ Isabel answered. seriously. but her imagination was a good deal taxed to think of him as a source of spiritual aid.’ he said. My sisters have taken an immense fancy to you—if that would be any inducement. after a pause of some duration. on leaving lunch. ‘Ah. well. but Lord Warburton exercised some ingenuity in engaging his least familiar guest in a stroll apart from the others.’ His own conversation (though he told Isabel a good deal about the house. ‘I’m very glad indeed you like the old barrack.

‘Ah.’ the girl rejoined.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. pardon me if I say I don’t exactly believe that. I nevertheless don’t think he’d like me to keep coming to Gardencourt. I’ve heard him speak very highly of you.’ ‘Now that’s what I like to hear you say.’ ‘Doubtless not. I don’t think it’s a nice impression to make.’ said Lord Warburton. at the same time.’ ‘I’m sorry if I make that impression on you. But for myself I shall be very glad to see you. my lord. I’m charmed when you say that. view.’ ‘I can’t answer for my uncle’s tastes.’ ‘It has the merit of permitting me to hope.’ ‘Ah. ‘to enjoy that pleasure I needn’t be so terribly emancipated. Download the free trial version.’ ‘You’re very much mistaken.’ said Isabel. and edit PDF. I’m pretty sure you can do whatever you want.’ And Lord Warburton paused a moment. ‘But. 135 of 1056 . ‘though I ought as far as possible to take them into account. and yet. ‘To hope what?’ ‘That in future I may see you often. I don’t think your uncle likes me.’ said Isabel.’ ‘I’m glad you have talked about me.’ ‘You’re easily charmed.

that for the moment such a prelude should have a sequel.’ ‘It’s very kind of you to say so. But with you I never feel safe.’ These words were uttered with an indefinable sound which startled the girl. it struck her as the prelude to something grave: she had heard the sound before and she recognized it.’ ‘You don’t of necessity lose by that. Is Mrs. She had no wish. ‘But you’ve charmed me. Miss Archer. I want to see as many countries as I can. What is there to prevent it?’ ‘Nothing tangible. I’ve a sort of sense that you’re always summing people up.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No. but. and she said as gaily as possible and as quickly as an appreciable degree of agitation would allow her: ‘I’m afraid there’s no prospect of my being able to come here again.’ 136 of 1056 .’ ‘May I come and see you then some day next week?’ ‘Most assuredly. ‘I won’t say ‘never’. it doesn’t deserve an answer. Touchett going to take you abroad?’ ‘I hope so. I’m not easily charmed!’ And then he stopped a moment.’ ‘Is England not good enough for you?’ ‘That’s a very Machiavellian speech. however.’ ‘Never?’ said Lord Warburton. even if I gain. I should feel very melodramatic. stern justice is not what I most love.

it despises us. I hope. Is there anything mysterious in a purpose entertained and executed every year. by fifty thousand of my fellowcountrymen—the purpose of improving one’s mind by foreign travel?’ ‘You can’t improve your mind. I won’t be thought ‘quaint. ‘You strike me as having mysterious purposes—vast designs.’ he said presently. I suppose. I’m not so in the least.’ Isabel answered with a smile.’ ‘You’re so good as to have a theory about me which I don’t at all fill out. It looks down on us all.’ ‘Enjoying.’ ‘Yes. in the most public manner. you think us ‘quaint’—that’s the same thing.’ said Isabel seriously. ‘Well.’ her companion don’t care. ‘You only care to amuse yourself. Miss Archer. I can’t make out what you’re up to.’ to begin with. ‘You judge only from the outside. ‘It’s already a most formidable instrument. that’s what you enjoy most.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Then you’ll go on judging.’ ‘Despises you? You’re making fun of me. I protest. too.’ The note she had heard in 137 of 1056 . Lord Warburton was briefly silent.’ said Lord Warburton.’ ‘That protest is one of the quaintest things I’ve ever heard.

Was Lord Warburton suddenly turning romantic—was he going to make her a scene. which was not impaired by the fact that he had already touched the furthest limit of good taste in expressing his admiration of a young lady who had confided in his hospitality. ‘I should find in my own nation entertainment for a lifetime. for he presently went on. and mixed with it now was an audible strain of bitterness—a bitterness so abrupt and inconsequent that the girl was afraid she had hurt him. You select great materials. in his own house. She had often heard that the English are a highly eccentric people.The Portrait of a Lady his voice a moment before reappeared.’ said Isabel. But we’ve a long drive. the afflictions of human nature. She was right in trusting to his good manners. the peculiarities of nations!’ ‘As regards that. the foibles. only the third time they had met? She was reassured quickly enough by her sense of his great good manners. laughing a little and without a trace of the accent that had discomposed her: ‘I don’t mean of course that you amuse yourself with trifles.’ She turned back toward the others and Lord Warburton walked 138 of 1056 . and she had even read in some ingenious author that they are at bottom the most romantic of races. and my aunt will soon wish to start.

’ And her coldness was not the calculation of her effect—a game she played in a much smaller degree than would have seemed probable to many critics.The Portrait of a Lady beside her in silence.’ he said. ‘I shall come and see you next week. but as it died away she felt that she couldn’t pretend to herself that it was altogether a painful one. coldly enough. 139 of 1056 . Nevertheless she made answer to his declaration. ‘Just as you please. But before they reached the others. It came from a certain fear. She had received an appreciable shock.

I almost hope you have.’ Miss Stackpole wrote.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 10 The day after her visit to Lockleigh she received a note from her friend Miss Stackpole—a note of which the envelope. and came down to the steamer in a street-car. I decided only the night before I left New York—the Interviewer having come round to my figure. ‘I managed to get off at last. The Interviewer wants some light on the nobility. for I want some introductions to the first people and shall count on you for a few. and you know that. My first impressions (of the people at large) are not rose-coloured. whatever I am. exhibiting in conjunction the postmark of Liverpool and the neat calligraphy of the quick-fingered Henrietta. my lovely friend. at least I’m not superficial. Do appoint a meeting as quickly as you can. but I wish to talk them over with you. I put a few things into a bag. come to London (I should like so much to visit 140 of 1056 . caused her some liveliness of emotion. I’ve also something very particular to tell you. ‘Here I am. Where are you and where can we meet? I suppose you’re visiting at some castle or other and have already acquired the correct accent. like a veteran journalist. Perhaps even you have married a lord.

‘Though she’s a literary lady. in his name. She had gone up to London. however. and this alert young woman lost no time in announcing her prompt approach. 141 of 1056 . as that other one did. being an American. that he should be delighted to receive her at Gardencourt. she won’t show me up. ‘I suppose that. where Isabel and Ralph were in waiting to receive her. and it was from that centre that she took the train for the station nearest to Gardencourt. as she expected.’ Isabel judged best not to show this letter to her uncle. Touchett’s roof. which belonged to that side of her friend’s character which she regarded with least complacency. that she would be very welcome under Mr. She wrote to Miss Stackpole. but she acquainted him with its purport. ‘Shall I love her or shall I hate her?’ Ralph asked while they moved along the platform.’ ‘She has seen no other so delightful!’ Isabel answered. but she was not altogether at ease about Henrietta’s reproductive instincts.The Portrait of a Lady the sights with you) or else let me come to you. wherever you are. he begged her instantly to assure Miss Stackpole.’ he said. and. I will do so with pleasure. She has seen others like me. for you know everything interests me and I wish to see as much as possible of the inner life.

Do you suppose she’ll interview me?’ ‘Never in the world. crimes of violence and attacks on the person require more or less pluck.’ Ralph conceded.’ ‘You’ll see. She must be a kind of monster.’ said Ralph. including Bunchie.’ 142 of 1056 .’ ‘I shall ask her not to.’ said Ralph.’ ‘A female interviewer—a reporter in petticoats? I’m very curious to see her.’ ‘I should think not. ‘She’ll send a description of us all. ‘It’s very easy to laugh at her but it is not easy to be as brave as she.’ ‘Ah well.’ Isabel answered. ‘She doesn’t care a straw what men think of her. She’ll not think you of enough importance. Is she very ugly?’ ‘No. but I like her in spite of her faults. ‘I’m afraid I shall dislike her in spite of her merits. to her newspaper.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Whichever you do will matter very little to her. ‘You think she’s capable of it then?’ ‘Perfectly.’ ‘As a man I’m bound to dislike her then.’ said Isabel.’ ‘And yet you’ve made her your bosom-friend?’ ‘I’ve not made her my bosom-friend. she’s decidedly pretty.

yet after she had taken her place with her 143 of 1056 . which hinted that it wouldn’t be so easy as he had assumed to disapprove of her. and Ralph saw at a glance that she was as crisp and new and comprehensive as a first issue before the folding. promptly descending. a small mouth. proved. From top to toe she had probably no misprint. but as if in conscientious exercise of a natural right. She spoke in a clear. She was a neat.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You’ll probably fall in love with her at the end of three days. of medium stature. The most striking point in her appearance was the remarkable fixedness of this organ. in fresh. a bunch of light brown ringlets at the back of her head and a peculiarly open. with a round face. a delicate complexion. quite delicately. dove-coloured draperies. as Isabel had promised. The train presently arrived. high voice—a voice not rich but loud. plump person. It rested in this manner upon Ralph himself. a little arrested by Miss Stackpole’s gracious and comfortable aspect. she shimmered. fair. even though rather provincially.’ ‘And have my love-letters published in the Interviewer? Never!’ cried the young man. surprised-looking eye. upon every object it happened to encounter. and Miss Stackpole. She rustled. which rested without impudence or defiance.

than he liked. This sensation. and in which the young man ventured to join. and there was something in their character that reminded him of large polished buttons—buttons that might have fixed the elastic loops of some tense receptacle: he seemed to see the reflection of surrounding objects on the pupil. however.The Portrait of a Lady companions in Mr.’ ‘Talk to us anyhow and we shall be thankful. ‘Well.’ that he had expected. in the library at Gardencourt. She answered the enquiries made of her by Isabel. when she had made the acquaintance of Mr. as a very modest man. She fixed her eyes on him. Touchett (his wife not having thought it necessary to appear) did more to give the measure of her confidence in her powers. but there was something in Miss Stackpole’s gaze that made him. it must be added. feel vaguely embarrassed—less inviolate. the type of horrid ‘headings.’ Ralph liberally answered. Touchett’s carriage she struck him as not all in the large type. 144 of 1056 . after he had spent a day or two in her company. and later. The expression of a button is not usually deemed human. with copious lucidity.’ she broke out. I should like to know whether you consider yourselves American or English. ‘If once I knew I could talk to you accordingly. more dishonoured.

though it never wholly lapsed.The Portrait of a Lady sensibly diminished. ‘I don’t suppose that you’re going to undertake to persuade me that you’re an American. ‘Do you mean the foreign languages?’ ‘The languages are nothing.’ Ralph went on. but where does home begin.’ Isabel suggested. ‘That means he’s a little of everything and not much of any.’ 145 of 1056 .’ she said. ‘I don’t know where it begins. if you can change about that way you’re very welcome. I’ll be a Turk!’ ‘Well. ‘but I expect I shall before I leave. ‘I’m sure you understand everything and that differences of nationality are no barrier to you.’ ‘He’s what’s called a cosmopolite. It ended a long time before I got here. but I know where it ends.’ said the correspondent of the Interviewer.’ ‘I’m not sure that I understand you.’ ‘Ah. I mean the spirit—the genius.’ Miss Stackpole returned. Miss Stackpole gazed at him still. Miss Stackpole?’ Ralph enquired. I must say I think patriotism is like charity—it begins at home. ‘To please you I’ll be an Englishman.

Arkansas. In spite of that I felt cramped—I felt something pressing upon me. sir. in fact defied.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Don’t you like it over here?’ asked Mr. Isabel speedily found 146 of 1056 . but in spite of this Isabel spent many hours with her friend. I feel a good deal cramped. isolation. But I suppose I shall make my own atmosphere. I haven’t quite made up my mind what ground I shall take. ‘Yes. ‘Well. Your surroundings seem very attractive. once her daily task performed. I couldn’t tell what it was. She occupied herself in the mornings with literary labour. Miss Stackpole showed every disposition to wait and evidently was prepared to make a considerable stay at Gardencourt. we too are a lovely group!’ said Ralph. I felt at the very commencement as if I were not going to accord with the atmosphere. who.’ ‘Perhaps you were in a crowded carriage. but it was crowded with friends—a party of Americans whose acquaintance I had made upon the steamer. ‘Wait a little and you’ll see. I felt it on the journey from Liverpool to London. Touchett with his aged.’ Ralph suggested.’ ‘Ah. innocent voice. deprecated. That’s the true way—then you can breathe. a lovely group from Little Rock.

’ ‘It’s too lovely to be put in the newspapers. in her exquisitely neat and legible hand (exactly that of the copybooks which our heroine remembered at school) was ‘Americans and Tudors— Glimpses of Gardencourt. I don’t think you ought to describe the place. and it’s a lovely place.’ Miss Stackpole showed no sense of confusion. and it’s not what my uncle wants. it’s just what the people want. very neatly.’ ‘My uncle won’t be delighted—nor my cousin either. having discovered. that she was engaged on a letter to the Interviewer. occasion to desire her to desist from celebrating the charms of their common sojourn in print.’ ‘Don’t you believe that!’ cried Henrietta.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. offered to read her letter to Isabel. ‘Why. upon an elegant little implement which she kept for the purpose. and put away 147 of 1056 . ‘I don’t think you ought to do that. view.’ Miss Stackpole.’ Henrietta gazed at her as usual. They’ll consider it a breach of hospitality. with the best conscience in the world. of which the title. who immediately put in her protest. Download the free trial version. ‘They’re always delighted afterwards. on the second morning of Miss Stackpole’s visit. and edit PDF. she simply wiped her pen.

who seems to me a much nobler type—the American faithful still.’ she said. We’ll take some drives. ‘Of course if you don’t approve I won’t do it. and your cousin’s a beautiful specimen.’ 148 of 1056 . There’s a great demand just now for the alienated American. I don’t see how he can object to my paying him honour. there are subjects all round you.’ ‘He would have died of it!’ Isabel exclaimed.The Portrait of a Lady her manuscript. but of the publicity. ‘you’ve no sense of privacy. ‘Not of the severity. I’ll show you some charming scenery.’ ‘There are plenty of other subjects. I always was. I should have liked to kill him a little.’ ‘Scenery’s not my department. but I sacrifice a beautiful subject. ‘My poor Henrietta. Isabel. And I should have delighted to do your uncle.’ Isabel looked at her companion in much wonderment. it struck her as strange that a nature in which she found so much to esteem should break down so in spots. You know I’m deeply human.’ ‘Well.’ Miss Stackpole rejoined. ‘I was going to bring in your cousin—the alienated American. I should have handled him severely. I always need a human interest. He’s a grand old man.

’ ‘I can’t take you. ‘I’ve never written a word about myself!’ ‘I’m very sure of that. and you’ll have a chance to see him and 149 of 1056 .’ said Miss Stackpole with dignity. that’s very good!’ cried Henrietta. ‘Ah.’ She was a thoroughly good-natured woman.The Portrait of a Lady Henrietta coloured deeply.’ she said to Isabel. while Isabel found her more than ever inconsequent. and the next day. in conversation with her friend. but it seems to me one should be modest for others also!’ ‘Ah. ‘but Lord Warburton’s coming here. ‘Just let me make a note of it and I’ll put it in somewhere. ‘I’ve promised to do the social side. she happened to mention her visit to Lord Warburton’s ancient house.’ said Isabel. ‘I must get a glimpse of the nobility. and half an hour later she was in as cheerful a mood as should have been looked for in a newspaper-lady in want of matter. ‘and how can I do it unless I get ideas? If I can’t describe this place don’t you know some place I can describe?’ Isabel promised she would bethink herself. and for a moment her brilliant eyes were suffused. you must take me there—that’s just the place for me!’ Miss Stackpole cried. ‘You do me great injustice. seizing her pen again.

and in the afternoon. and he had long since decided that the crescendo of mirth should be the flower of his declining days. Only if you intend to repeat his conversation I shall certainly give him warning. for the correspondent of the Interviewer prompted mirth in him. ‘I want him to be natural.The Portrait of a Lady observe him.’ Isabel declared. Henrietta.’ ‘Don’t do that. for poor Ralph appeared to have presented himself to her as an 150 of 1056 .’ ‘An Englishman’s never so natural as when he’s holding his tongue. It was not apparent. lost his heart to their visitor. when it was delightful to float along the Thames. that her cousin had. though he had spent a good deal of time in her society. They strolled about the park together and sat under the trees. on her side. Miss Stackpole occupied a place in the boat in which hitherto Ralph had had but a single companion. failed a little to justify Isabel’s declaration with regard to her indifference to masculine opinion. according to her prophecy.’ her companion pleaded. Her presence proved somehow less irreducible to soft particles than Ralph had expected in the natural perturbation of his sense of the perfect solubility of that of his cousin. at the end of three days.

you do torture me. I’ve some delicious ones.’ Isabel urged.’ ‘Well. when she stepped into the boat on joining the water-party. And you’d be such an interesting one!’ ‘Well. ‘I keep my victims for a slower torture. ‘he’s a gentleman of large leisure.’ said Ralph.’ smiled Isabel. ‘Does he go round all day with his hands in his pockets?’ ‘He does nothing.The Portrait of a Lady irritating problem.’ ‘He’s in wretched health. which it would be almost immoral not to work out. I work when I’m sick. ‘Ah no.’ ‘The more shame to you. she remarked to Ralph that she supposed he hated her and would like to drown her. 151 of 1056 .’ cried her friend. I may say that. There’s intellectual poverty for you. that’s one comfort. Later. he’s quite unfit for work.’ ‘My prejudices? I haven’t a prejudice to bless myself with. Of course I spoil your flirtation.’ Miss Stackpole replied. I call that a shame—when I have to work like a car-conductor. But I shock all your prejudices. ‘I should like to show him up. ‘Pshaw! don’t you believe it. or whatever it is you call it. ‘What does he do for a living?’ she asked of Isabel the evening of her arrival.

as I render her the service of drawing you out. whenever the opportunity offered. in this undertaking. committing herself to no opinion. offered to show her the pictures. On the following day the weather was bad. This young lady indeed. Miss Stackpole looked at the pictures in perfect silence. ‘So few people will take the trouble. and Ralph was gratified by the fact that she delivered herself of none of the little ready-made ejaculations of delight of which the visitors to Gardencourt were so frequently lavish. while he pointed out its principal ornaments and mentioned the painters and subjects. by way of providing indoor amusement.’ ‘Ah. in its strained deliberation. to the natural expedient of interrogation. but I don’t care for that. was but little addicted to the use of conventional terms. Henrietta strolled through the long gallery in his society.’ Miss Stackpole. She’ll see how thin you are. and in the afternoon the young man. appeared to shrink from no effort. resorting largely. to do her justice. Ralph Touchett subsequently learned 152 of 1056 . which at times.The Portrait of a Lady with your cousin. suggested a person of high culture speaking a foreign language. do draw me out!’ Ralph exclaimed. there was something earnest and inventive in her tone.

’ 153 of 1056 . but she appeared. she turned and looked at him as if he himself had been a picture. just after he had called her attention to a charming Constable. ‘I don’t see how you can reconcile it to your conscience. in spite of this fact.’ Miss Stackpole directed her gaze to the Constable again. She was thinking of something much more serious. ‘That’s my ideal of a regular occupation. ‘I seldom spend it so agreeably.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Ah. though her eyes had rested upon the picture.’ said Ralph. leaning against the pedestal of the statue of a nymph in a garden and playing the guitar to two ladies seated on the grass. Miss Stackpole turned to him again.’ he said. which represented a gentleman in a pink doublet and hose and a ruff. and Ralph bespoke her attention for a small Lancret hanging near it. to carry in her pocket none of the small change of admiration. ‘Do you always spend your time like this?’ she demanded. and. ‘I’m the idlest man living. you know what I mean—without any regular occupation. he saw she had missed the subject. Suddenly.The Portrait of a Lady that she had at one time officiated as art-critic to a journal of the other world.

The Portrait of a Lady ‘My dear lady. It’s a charm that I 154 of 1056 . ‘Do you consider it right to give up your country?’ ‘Ah. They’re both antecedent to choice—elements of one’s composition that are not to be eliminated. living over here. one doesn’t give up one’s country any more than one gives up one’s grandmother. It’s wholly acquired—or at least you’ve tried hard to acquire it.’ ‘I suppose that means that you’ve tried and been worsted. I don’t say you’ve succeeded. If you’ve got any charm it’s quite unnatural.’ ‘That’s because you truckle to them.’ ‘Ah. I have no conscience!’ ‘Well. What do they think of you over here?’ ‘They delight in me. ‘I suppose that if one has no conscience one has no shame.’ ‘Are you ashamed to show yourself?’ Ralph meditated with a mild smile. set it down a little to my natural charm!’ Ralph sighed. you’ve got plenty of assurance.’ Henrietta declared. ‘I don’t know anything about your natural charm.’ ‘I shall probably never go again. I advise you to cultivate one. You’ll need it the next time you go to America.’ ‘Well.

my heart.The Portrait of a Lady don’t appreciate.’ ‘I thought so till I knew you. Make yourself useful in some way.’ ‘Yes. ‘I know what’s the matter with you. Some new idea. Mr. to begin with. now.’ Ralph answered.’ said Ralph.’ ‘You’re not serious. some big work.’ ‘Well. ‘that’s what’s the matter with you.’ Miss Stackpole remarked.’ But for all this. so long as you take hold. Touchett.’ ‘Is it very difficult to take hold?’ Ralph enquired. ‘Not if you put your heart into it.’ ‘Ah. now. ‘Go right home. she again permitted him to fix her attention and on the later occasion assigned a different cause to her mysterious perversity. ‘and then I suddenly changed my mind. in a day or two. Miss Stackpole. what sort of thing?’ ‘Anything you please.’ 155 of 1056 . tell me what I shall do. and then we’ll talk about it.’ ‘Well. And then?’ ‘Take right hold of something.’ said Ralph. but I’ve lost it since. anyway. ‘You think you’re too good to get married.’ she said. ‘If it depends upon my heart-!’ ‘Haven’t you got a heart?’ ‘I had one a few days ago. I see.

it’s your duty. as Isabel had said. there’s a good deal to be said about that.’ Ralph meditated a moment. as if 156 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh pshaw!’ Henrietta groaned. he was disappointed. she was brave: she went into cages. but that’s the principal thing. ‘that I was not good enough. she flourished lashes. ‘Ah. He had not supposed her to be capable of vulgar arts. going round all alone. ‘Then it seemed to me.’ ‘Ah.’ said Ralph.’ Ralph rejoined. I must say I think it looks very exclusive. like a spangled lion-tamer. it seemed to him that if she was not a charming woman she was at least a very good ‘sort. ‘There may be.’ ‘It would improve you. Besides.’ She was wanting in distinction. but these last words struck him as a false note. well now. When a marriageable young woman urges matrimony on an unencumbered young man the most obvious explanation of her conduct is not the altruistic impulse. but. ‘one has so many duties! Is that a duty too?’ ‘Of course it is—did you never know that before? It’s every one’s duty to get married.’ cried the young man. There was something in Miss Stackpole he had begun to like.

‘though we talked some time this morning about it.’ ‘Shall you not believe me to be so on the day I tell you I desire to give up the practice of going around alone?’ Miss Stackpole looked at him for a moment in a manner which seemed to announce a reply that might technically be called encouraging.The Portrait of a Lady you thought no woman was good enough for you. ‘is it not.’ Ralph asked.’ Ralph said that evening to Isabel.’ she answered dryly. yours as well?’ Miss Stackpole’s ocular surfaces unwinkingly caught the sun.’ ‘You’re not serious yet.’ said Ralph. You never will be. After which she walked away.’ ‘If it’s my duty. ‘I won’t say it vexes me to see you single.’ 157 of 1056 . ‘I’ve not conceived a passion for your friend. Do you think you’re better than any one else in the world? In America it’s usual for people to marry. not even then. by analogy.’ ‘Well then. But to his great surprise this expression suddenly resolved itself into an appearance of alarm and even of resentment. ‘Have you the fond hope of finding a flaw in my reasoning? Of course I’ve as good a right to marry as any one else. ‘No. It delights me rather.

‘It was unkind to me. Was that unkind?’ Isabel smiled. She told me you had said to her something that an American never would have said. in general.’ ‘Does she call me a European?’ ‘One of the worst.The Portrait of a Lady ‘And you said something she didn’t like.’ ‘My dear cousin.’ Ralph treated himself to a luxury of laughter.’ ‘I thought she was proposing marriage to me and I accepted her. Did she think I was making love to her?’ ‘No. and put an unkind construction on it. But she didn’t repeat it. to see I do mine!’ 158 of 1056 . ‘Miss Stackpole tells me it’s my bounden duty. I believe even Americans do that. ‘She’s an extraordinary combination. Ralph stared. and that it’s hers. what’s one to do among you all?’ Ralph demanded. ‘Has she complained of me?’ ‘She told me she thinks there’s something very low in the tone of Europeans towards women. But she apparently thought you mistook the intention of something she had said.’ the girl replied. I don’t want you to marry.

That’s what I like her for. view.’ ‘It’s true it was an odd way. ‘She has indeed. you were very wrong.’ said Isabel gravely. She walks in without knocking at the door. But I persist in liking her. and edit PDF. Forgive my depravity. ‘But it’s a very strange type. She’s too personal—considering that she expects other people not to be.’ Ralph rejoined. She had no interested views. and indeed I’m not sure that she doesn’t think them rather a pretentious ornament.’ ‘One must be very modest then to talk with such women. ‘She has a great sense of duty.’ Ralph said humbly.’ Isabel admitted. That’s what she wanted to express.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You’re very conceited.’ ‘I persist in thinking her too familiar. and it’s the motive of everything she says. 159 of 1056 . naturally somewhat uncomfortable under the sense of having been doubly deceived in Miss Stackpole.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. If you thought she was trying to—to attract you. ‘she doesn’t sufficiently recognize the existence of knockers. She thinks it’s unworthy of you to keep so many things to yourself. and never supposed you would think she had. but I did think she was trying to attract me. Download the free trial version. She thinks one’s door should stand ajar.

’ said Isabel. smiling.’ ‘What do you know about the people? and what does she. I don’t want to swagger. the nation. but I suppose I’m rather versatile. for that matter?’ ‘She knows a great deal. I don’t say that she sums it all up. But she suggests it. I like people to be totally different from Henrietta—in the style of Lord Warburton’s sisters for instance. she vividly figures it. Then Henrietta presents herself. not 160 of 1056 . ‘I’m afraid it’s because she’s rather vulgar that I like her. that would be too much to ask of her. So long as I look at the Misses Molyneux they seem to me to answer a kind of ideal. I should say it’s because there’s something of the ‘people’ in her. the country.’ said Isabel with a kind of joyous sigh.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Well. I’m afraid it is on those very grounds I object to her. and I’m straightway convinced by her.’ ‘She would be flattered by your reason!’ ‘If I should tell her I wouldn’t express it in that way.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘You like her then for patriotic reasons. and I know enough to feel that she’s a kind of emanation of the great democracy—of the continent. ‘I like so many things! If a thing strikes me with a certain intensity I accept it.

however. you mean the back view of her. ‘you’ll never be serious.’ his cousin answered. together with the momentary ardour she had thrown into it. I like the great country stretching away beyond the rivers and across the prairies.’ Ralph suggested. ‘I’m not sure the Pacific’s so green as that.’ Isabel blushed a little as she concluded this speech. fresh odour seems to rise from it. ‘What she says is true. ‘but you’re a young woman of imagination. blooming and smiling.’ he said. and the blush.’ ‘Ah. and spreading till it stops at the green Pacific! A strong. Henrietta. sweet.The Portrait of a Lady so much in respect to herself as in respect to what masses behind her. was so becoming to her that Ralph stood smiling at her for a moment after she had ceased speaking. and Henrietta—pardon my simile—has something of that odour in her garments. does smell of the Future—it almost knocks one down!’ 161 of 1056 .

and the young lady found in renewed contact with him no obstacle to the exercise of her genius for unshrinking enquiry. was too perverted a representative of the nature of man to have a right to deal with her in strict reciprocity. in truth. He carried out his resolve with a great deal of tact. that this obligation was of the lightest and that 162 of 1056 . and of the easy venerableness of Mr.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 11 He took a resolve after this not to misinterpret her words even when Miss Stackpole appeared to strike the personal note most strongly. rendered Isabel’s character a sister-spirit. as she said. to her sense. Her situation at Gardencourt therefore. whose noble tone. the general application of her confidence. He bethought himself that persons. appreciated as we have seen her to be by Isabel and full of appreciation herself of that free play of intelligence which. met with her full approval—her situation at Gardencourt would have been perfectly comfortable had she not conceived an irresistible mistrust of the little lady for whom she had at first supposed herself obliged to ‘allow’ as mistress of the house. and that he. She presently discovered. Touchett. for his own part. were simple and homogeneous organisms. in her view.

Touchett had defined her to Isabel as both an adventuress and a bore—adventuresses usually giving one more of a thrill. she talks so much too loud and looks at one as if one wanted to look at her—which one doesn’t. She’d like Gardencourt a great deal better if it were a boarding-house. because she thinks it the highest in the world. my dear. Mrs. I’m sure she has lived all her life in a boarding-house. and she detests me for detesting it. yet had immediately added that she knew Isabel’s friends were her own affair and that she had never undertaken to like them all or to restrict the girl to those she liked. ‘If you could see none but the people I like. Touchett frankly admitted. If you ask me if I prefer my own manners. When it comes to recommending it’s a serious affair.The Portrait of a Lady Mrs. I’ll tell you that I prefer them immensely.’ Mrs. you’d have a very small society. I don’t like Miss Stackpole—everything about her displeases me. For me. she had expressed some surprise at her niece’s having selected such a friend. ‘and I don’t think I like any man or woman well enough to recommend them to you. which you doubtless think very bad. and I detest the manners and the liberties of such places. Touchett cared very little how Miss Stackpole behaved. Miss Stackpole knows I detest boarding-house civilization. I find it almost too much of one! 163 of 1056 .

fresh from a renewed struggle with them. that the truth lay between the two extremes and that the establishments in question ought to be described as fair middling. but there was nothing middling about an American hotel. recorded a conviction that they were the worst. but she had not quite put her finger on the reason.The Portrait of a Lady We shall never get on together therefore. Touchett was right in guessing that Henrietta disapproved of her. Touchett. Touchett. with every form of caravansary. with his experimental geniality. Ralph. Miss Stackpole rejected with scorn. A day or two after Miss Stackpole’s arrival she had made some invidious reflexions on American hotels. ‘We judge from different points of view. in the western world. ‘I like to be treated as an individual.’ said Mrs. however. by way of healing the breach. who in the exercise of her profession had acquainted herself. and Mrs. and there’s no use trying. Henrietta expressed the opinion that American hotels were the best in the world. evidently. This contribution to the discussion.’’ 164 of 1056 . which excited a vein of counterargument on the part of the correspondent of the Interviewer. Middling indeed! If they were not the best in the world they were the worst. suggested.’ Mrs. you like to be treated as a ‘party.

’ ‘I don’t see what you want with five. no wonder you don’t like America.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t know what you mean. ‘If that’s the way you desire to treat them.’ ‘Do you call the domestics in an American household ‘slaves’?’ Miss Stackpole enquired. but I’ve five perfect ones in Florence.’ ‘They&#x2019.’ Henrietta retorted. ‘They’re the companions of their servants—the Irish chambermaid and the negro waiter.’ 165 of 1056 .’ ‘Poor American ladies!’ cried the companions of freemen.’ ‘I like them in that position better than in some others. Touchett with much meaning. ‘They’re very bad in America.’ Henrietta couldn’t help observing. ‘Should you like me better if I were your butler. ‘I like to be treated as an American lady. Touchett with a laugh. They share their work.’ Mrs.’ ‘If you’ve not good servants you’re miserable. ‘They’re the slaves of slaves. dear?’ her husband asked. ‘I don’t think I should like to see five persons surrounding me in that menial position. Touchett serenely said.’ proclaimed Mrs.’ Henrietta replied. ‘I don’t think I should: you wouldn’t at all have the tenue.

You’ve never asked me what it is. but I confess I had forgotten it. but it’s not that. It was perhaps because her mind was oppressed with this image that she suffered some days to elapse before she took occasion to say to Isabel: ‘My dear friend. that I hope will never be.The Portrait of a Lady ‘The companions of freemen—I like that. ‘You don’t ask that right—as if you thought it 166 of 1056 . When I wrote to you from Liverpool I said I had something particular to tell you. Miss Stackpole. and her steady gaze betrayed it. that would be a great pain. I wonder if you’re growing faithless. Miss Stackpole was baffled.’ ‘When I said freemen I didn’t mean you.’ ‘Faithless? Faithless to you. Is it because you’ve suspected?’ ‘Suspected what? As a rule I don’t think I suspect. ‘I remember now that phrase in your letter. Touchett’s appreciation of a class which she privately judged to be a mysterious survival of feudalism. she evidently thought there was something treasonable in Mrs. Henrietta?’ ‘No. ‘It’s a beautiful description. sir!’ And this was the only reward that Ralph got for his compliment.’ said Isabel.’ ‘Faithless to my country then?’ ‘Ah. What have you to tell me?’ Henrietta looked disappointed.’ said Ralph.

so that our heroine added at last: ‘Do you mean that you’re going to be married?’ ‘Not till I’ve seen Europe!’ said Miss Stackpole.The Portrait of a Lady important.’ said Isabel.’ ‘Tell me what you mean. ‘I’m very sorry you did that. I had a good deal of talk with him. in silence.’ ‘Will you really think of it? That’s what I wish to be sure of. Goodwood’s name she had turned a little pale.’ ‘Did he tell you so?’ ‘No. 167 of 1056 . he told me nothing. and I’ll think of that. ‘You say that right. but I’ll do my best. You’re changed—you’re thinking of other things. At the mention of Mr.’ she observed at last. but I spoke of you a good deal. Goodwood came out in the steamer with me. Henrietta gazed at her.’ ‘Ah!’ Isabel responded. ‘What are you laughing at?’ she went on.’ ‘I’ve not much control of my thoughts. he has come after you. ‘What I mean is that Mr.’ said Henrietta cleverly. for a period which tried Isabel’s patience. ‘He said very little about you. that’s how I knew it.’ Isabel waited.

‘He’ll find you changed. I’m very sure it’s not that. I see his face now.’ the latter pursued.’ ‘There’s nothing so simplifying as a grand passion.’ ‘He’s dying for a little encouragement.’ ‘He’s very simple-minded. and I liked the way he listened. Isabel offered no answer to this assertion. ‘And he’s not so ugly. I’m affected by everything. and his earnest absorbed look while I talked. ‘I shall say it better to Mr. ‘I said you were on the whole the finest creature I know.’ Isabel gave rather a cold smile. so intense.’ ‘You don’t say that as if you were sure. ‘You’ve been affected by your new surroundings.’ ‘I’m very sorry for that. Goodwood himself.’ ‘What did you say about me?’ Isabel asked.’ ‘Very likely.The Portrait of a Lady ‘It was a pleasure to me. which her companion made with an air of great confidence.’ 168 of 1056 . he oughtn’t to be encouraged.’ said Henrietta. he was so quiet. I could have talked a long time to such a listener. He thinks too well of me already.’ ‘It’s not a grand passion. I never saw an ugly man look so handsome. he drank it all in.’ ‘He’ll soon give you a chance.’ said Isabel.

Goodwood-!’ But she faltered before her friend’s implacable glitter. Isabel failed even to smile back and in a moment she said: ‘Did he ask you to speak to me?’ ‘Not in so many words. you’re changed. ‘My dear child. when he bade me good-bye.’ Isabel made for the moment as if to deny this charge. you’ve got new ideas over here.’ ‘Yes.’ said Isabel.’ her friend continued.’ And Isabel turned away.The Portrait of a Lady ‘By everything but Mr. ‘If you mean that I had any idea with regard to Mr. But his eyes asked it—and his handshake. I did encourage him.’ And then she asked if her companion had learned from Mr. she presently answered: ‘It’s very true. for she disliked discussing the subject and found Henrietta wanting in delicacy. but they shouldn’t interfere with the old ones when the old ones have been the right ones. ‘I hope so. ‘Yes. It was a concession to her curiosity. ‘one should get as many new ideas as possible. instead of which.’ Isabel turned about again. Goodwood what he intended to do. Goodwood!’ Miss Stackpole exclaimed with a slightly harsh hilarity. 169 of 1056 . you certainly encouraged him. however.’ ‘Thank you for doing so.

and Mr. He is a man of high.’ said Isabel with a cold smile. You’re not the girl you were a few short weeks ago. what it matters to me—that’s not what we’re discussing. and whatever he does will always be right.’ Isabel repeated. ‘I believe you hope it about as much as I believe him capable of it. to hear this declaration. he’s not a man to do nothing. ‘But I don’t believe that.’ ‘I hope he’ll hate me then. Whatever happens to him he’ll always do something. I expect him here any day.’ To this observation our heroine made no return. ‘When a man’s of that infallible mould what does it matter to him what one feels?’ ‘It may not matter to him.’ Miss Stackpole answered. but it matters to one’s self. ‘Well. bold action. I don’t care. ‘Ah. This time her companion was grave. you have changed. she was absorbed in the alarm given her by Henrietta’s 170 of 1056 . but it touched the girl. and he said he meant to do nothing. all the same.’ Henrietta might be wanting in delicacy.’ said Isabel.’ ‘Ah. you do care for him!’ her visitor rang out. ‘Whatever he does will always be right. Goodwood will see it.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I asked him.’ ‘I quite believe that.

and after strolling about for some time. She had walked into the park in company with the sociable Bunchie. The feeling pressed upon her. had seated herself on a garden bench. hitherto she had 171 of 1056 . But she was notified for the first time. and the weather. she communicated her disbelief to her friend. that she thought the event impossible. beneath a spreading beech. it made the air sultry.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. however. as if there were to be a change of weather. within sight of the house. had been so agreeable during Isabel’s stay at Gardencourt that any change would be for the worse. view. of the finite character of Bunchie’s intellect. nevertheless. socially speaking. in a manner at once listless and restless. and edit PDF. Her suspense indeed was dissipated the second day. she formed among the flickering shadows a graceful and harmonious image. Download the free trial version. She entertained herself for some moments with talking to the little terrier. She pretended to herself. For the next forty-eight hours. where. she stood prepared to hear the young man’s name announced. as to whom the proposal of an ownership divided with her cousin had been applied as impartially as possible—impartially as Bunchie’s own somewhat fickle and inconstant sympathies would allow. later. in a white dress ornamented with black ribbons. intimation that Caspar Goodwood would present himself at Gardencourt. on this occasion. and.

she had been able. with the help of some well-chosen volume. already so held by him. literature had seemed a fading light. It seemed to her at last that she would do well to take a book. MY DEAR MISS ARCHER—I don’t know whether you will have heard of my coming to England. I protested against it. it was not to be denied. I had come to see you 172 of 1056 . to transfer the seat of consciousness to the organ of pure reason. Of late. her eyes bent on the cool green turf of the lawn. This document proved short and may be given entire. she sat motionless and empty-handed. and even after she had reminded herself that her uncle’s library was provided with a complete set of those authors which no gentleman’s collection should be without. You will remember that when you gave me my dismissal at Albany. when heavy-hearted. You in fact appeared to accept my protest and to admit that I had the right on my side. The letter bore the London postmark and was addressed in a hand she knew—that came into her vision. with the vividness of the writer’s voice or his face. Her meditations were presently interrupted by the arrival of a servant who handed her a letter. formerly. I did not accept it.The Portrait of a Lady been mainly struck with its extent. but even if you have not it will scarcely be a surprise to you. three months ago.

and it was the only concession you would make. you are not. and you were able to give me no reason for the change. I have been to England before. If I like this country at present it is only because it holds you. You told me that I’m not disagreeable to you. my reasons for entertaining this hope had been of the best. but it was a very cheap one. however. arbitrary or capricious. But you disappointed it. but have never enjoyed it much. I shall always think of you. I came to England simply because you are here. as she mechanically folded it she saw Lord Warburton standing before her. and I believe it. I shall never think of any one else.The Portrait of a Lady with the hope that you would let me bring you over to my conviction. I found you changed. I couldn’t stay at home after you had gone: I hated the country because you were not in it. and you never will be. because that’s not your character. 173 of 1056 . Looking up. You admitted that you were unreasonable. Therefore it is that I believe you will let me see you again. for I don’t see why that should be. No. May I not come and see you for half an hour? This at present is the dearest wish of yours faithfully CASPAR GOODWOOD Isabel read this missive with such deep attention that she had not perceived an approaching tread on the soft grass.

and his whole person seemed to emit that radiance of good-feeling and good fare which had formed the charm of the girl’s first impression of him. ‘They told me you were out here. it’s a lovely day.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 12 She put the letter into her pocket and offered her visitor a smile of welcome. It had flashed upon her 174 of 1056 . ‘and as there was no one in the drawing-room and it’s really you that I wish to see. I came out with no more ado.’ His smile was peculiarly friendly and pleasing. ‘I was just going indoors. ‘We’ll walk about a little then.’ ‘Please don’t do that.’ said Isabel. who could not divest herself of the sense of an intention on the part of her visitor and who wished both to elude the intention and to satisfy her curiosity about it. she felt a wish. that he should not sit down beside her. for the moment.’ said Lord Warburton. exhibiting no trace of discomposure and half surprised at her coolness. I’ve ridden over from Lockleigh. It surrounded him like a zone of fine June weather.’ Isabel had got up. it’s much jollier here.

and it had given her on that occasion. she had indeed spent some days in analyzing them and had succeeded in separating the pleasant part of the idea of Lord Warburton’s ‘making up’ to her from the painful. It may appear to some readers that the young lady was both precipitate and unduly fastidious. not all of which were disagreeable. quite to the degree of an inconvenience. in her life. as she had heard Lord Warburton called. At the risk of adding to the evidence of her self-sufficiency it must be said that there had been moments when this possibility of admiration by a personage represented to her an aggression almost to the degree of an affront. if the charge be true. was smitten with her charms. there were probably none such at all in her native land. may serve to exonerate her from the discredit of the former. a certain alarm. She had never yet known a personage. the fact of a declaration from such a source carrying with it really more questions than it would answer.The Portrait of a Lady vision once before. in this sense. but the latter of these facts. She had received a strong impression of his being a ‘personage. She was not eager to convince herself that a territorial magnate. there had been no personages. 175 of 1056 . as we know. This alarm was composed of several elements.’ and she had occupied herself in examining the image so conveyed.

told her to resist—murmured to her that virtually she had a system and an orbit of her own. felt she lacked patience to bestow. She herself was a character—she couldn’t help being aware of that. and hitherto her visions of a completed consciousness had connected themselves largely with moral images— things as to which the question would be whether they pleased her sublime soul. What she felt was that a territorial. A certain instinct. a political. as it were.The Portrait of a Lady When she had thought of individual eminence she had thought of it on the basis of character and wit—of what one might like in a gentleman’s mind and in his talk. not imperious.things which both contradicted and confirmed each other. Lord Warburton loomed up before her. but which demanded a different sort of appreciationan appreciation that the girl. had presumed to do. but persuasive. with her habit of judging quickly and freely. as a collection of attributes and powers which were not to be measured by this simple rule. a social magnate had conceived the design of drawing her into the system in which he rather invidiously lived and moved. largely and brightly. that a girl might do much worse than trust herself to such a man and that it would be very interesting to see something of his system 176 of 1056 . It told her other things besides. He appeared to demand of her something that no one else.

I venture to repeat. 177 of 1056 . and if there was a great deal of folly in her wisdom those who judge her severely may have the satisfaction of finding that. later. she became consistently wise only at the cost of an amount of folly which will constitute almost a direct appeal to charity. and that even in the whole there was something stiff and stupid which would make it a burden. Lord Warburton seemed quite ready to walk. there was evidently a great deal of it which she should regard only as a complication of every hour. however. She was a person of great good faith. But he was.The Portrait of a Lady from his own point of view. but who had a character of which it was useless for her to try to persuade herself that the impression on her mind had been light. Smile not. Furthermore there was a young man lately come from America who had no system at all. at this simple young woman from Albany who debated whether she should accept an English peer before he had offered himself and who was disposed to believe that on the whole she could do better. and he gave her this assurance with his usual air of being particularly pleased to exercise a social virtue. The letter she carried in her pocket all sufficiently reminded her of the contrary. to sit or to do anything that Isabel should propose. that on the other hand. however.

there was something embarrassed in his glance and his misdirected laughter. not in command of his emotions. and he calculated that he had spent about twenty-six hours in her company. looking at her without letting her know it. and in this sense they showed as distinct and unimportant. and as he strolled beside her for a moment. in silence. as exemplified particularly in the more quickly-judging half of it: he had looked these things well in the face and then had dismissed them from 178 of 1056 . Yes. and the judgement of mankind. and which had superficially nothing to recommend it. He had summed up all this—the perversity of the impulse. The young lady who trod the turf beside him had come from a queer country across the sea which he knew a good deal about. her antecedents. assuredly—as we have touched on the point. her associations were very vague to his mind except in so far as they were generic. Miss Archer had neither a fortune nor the sort of beauty that justifies a man to the multitude.The Portrait of a Lady nevertheless. He was about to take a step which would astonish all his friends and displease a great many of them. which had declined to avail itself of the most liberal opportunities to subside. we may return to it for a moment again—the English are the most romantic people in the world and Lord Warburton was about to give an example of it.

who observed her companion’s hesitancy. 179 of 1056 . on careful inspection. wishing not to challenge him if he hesitated.The Portrait of a Lady his thoughts. more and more sure that he meant to make some appeal to her.’ ‘Are you so fond of Gardencourt?’ the girl asked. should be found to present remarkable analogies with herself.’ said Isabel. that when the need comes for such a course it is not discredited by irritating associations. He cared no more for them than for the rosebud in his buttonhole. But if she was now the heroine of the situation she succeeded scarcely the less in looking at it from the outside. It is the good fortune of a man who for the greater part of a lifetime has abstained without effort from making himself disagreeable to his friends. ‘I hope you had a pleasant ride. with the foreground embellished by a ‘great’ (as she supposed) nobleman in the act of making love to a young lady who. and yet to keep all the quietness of her reason if he proceeded. ‘It would have been pleasant if for nothing else than that it brought me here. It suddenly came upon her that her situation was one which a few weeks ago she would have deemed deeply romantic: the park of an old English country-house.

of which she was perfectly aware. Those two days I spent here settled it. I shall not be more sure of what I mean than I am to-day. Miss Archer. the tone in which he replied would quite have served the purpose. I fell in love with you then. I know now that’s not a fancy-phrase. that those he had just uttered would have excited surprise on the part of a vulgar world. for she had no doubt whatever that he himself was. They were simply a tribute to the fact. ‘One’s right in such a matter is not measured by the time. I don’t know whether you suspected I was doing so.’ These words of Isabel’s were not perfectly sincere. I lost no time. it’s measured by the feeling itself.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I care nothing for Gardencourt. moreover. but I paid—mentally speaking I mean— 180 of 1056 . It was at first sight.’ said her companion. ‘You’ve known me too short a time to have a right to say that. if anything beside the sense she had already acquired that Lord Warburton was not a loose thinker had been needed to convince her. And. but my impression dates from the very first hour we met. ‘I care only for you. and I shall think better of novels for evermore. If I were to wait three months it would make no difference. as the novels say. and I can’t believe you’re serious. Of course I’ve seen you very little.

Lord Warburton. I’ve done so. nothing you did. But that’s what I want. Gently too she drew her hand away. how little you know me!’ Isabel said very gently. and it seems to me I’m taking the best way. all these days I’ve done nothing else. that I don’t know you better makes me unhappy enough already. the unreason—and that burned as steadily as a lamp in a windless place. it’s for life.’ Lord Warburton repeated in the kindest. When you came to Lockleigh the other day—or rather when you went away—I was perfectly sure. and at last they stopped and he took her hand. was lost upon me. but when I’m touched. pleasantest voice Isabel had ever heard. I don’t go off easily. Miss Archer. It’s for life. Nevertheless I made up my mind to think it over and to question myself narrowly. it’s all my loss. and looking at her with eyes charged with the light of a passion that had sifted itself clear of the baser parts of emotion—the heat. it’s for life. tenderest. they had walked more and more slowly. I’m a very judicious animal. and 181 of 1056 . the violence. I don’t make mistakes about such things.The Portrait of a Lady the greatest possible attention to you. ‘Ah. If you’ll be my wife. Nothing you said. as he talked. then I shall know you. By tacit consent. ‘Don’t taunt me with that.

’ Isabel declared. But think. ‘Ah now. She quite glowed there. it shows you don’t regard me as a stranger. and at this moment she liked him immensely. I really believe I’ve filled all the other relations of life very creditably. to speak to you as I do.’ said Isabel. You believe in me yourself. of course that’s very possible. how determined I must be to try and give satisfaction! You do like me rather. inwardly.’ ‘Completely.The Portrait of a Lady when I tell you all the good I think of you you’ll not be able to say it’s from ignorance. I’ve friends who’ll speak for me.’ ‘I don’t need the recommendation of your friends. unlike yourself. ‘I thank you for saying that. and I don’t see why I shouldn’t fill this one—in which I offer myself to you— seeing that I care so much more about it. that’s delightful of you. ‘You mean that.’ she answered. 182 of 1056 .’ said Isabel. with the pleasure of feeling she did. don’t you?’ ‘I like you very much.’ ‘If you know me little I know you even less. I may not improve on acquaintance? Ah. Lord Warburton. Ask the people who know me well.

to indulge in this incidental criticism. I must tell you 183 of 1056 . Download the free trial version. ‘It does me great honour. I don’t see what you’ve to do with that sort of thing. had she asked herself? Her foremost wish was to say something if possible not less kind than what he had said to her. and her mind was tranquil enough. What she should say. especially of one to whom he was offering his hand. matter to him. as he would have said himself. Isabel had prayed that she might not be agitated. even while she listened and asked herself what it was best she should say. don’t say that!’ he broke out. on the instant. The light in her companion’s eyes turned into a smile. all so mysteriously. Miss Archer. view. and he gave a long exhalation of joy. I don’t see why you should thank me—it’s I who ought to thank you for listening to me: a man you know so little coming down to you with such a thumper! Of course it’s a great question. ‘I thank you more than I can say for your offer. ‘If you’re mistaken.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create.’ she returned at last. He was sinking that. let me lose all I possess!’ She wondered whether he meant this for a reminder that he was rich. and edit PDF. ‘I was afraid you’d say something like that. felt sure that he didn’t. and. she felt she did.’ ‘Ah. and indeed he might safely leave it to the memory of any interlocutor. His words had carried perfect conviction with them.

’ ‘I’m willing to risk it. in his seriousness. my opinion of you. the exuberance of elation. ‘Surprised? I don’t know what you mean by surprise.’ Isabel walked on again. And I say that not in the least out of conventional modesty.’ Isabel said. as if such a warning might perhaps be taken but as the play of high spirits. it would be a feeling very much worse. Miss Archer. as you say. it’s perfectly sincere.’ ‘I don’t expect you of course to answer it outright. ‘It’s a great question. would only rise. ‘Oh. ‘I’m very sure that. Think it over as long as may be necessary. If I can gain by 184 of 1056 .’ ‘Don’t hope too much.’ her companion replied. Miss Archer!’ her companion murmured. if I should know you well. But the way you’ve listened—or at least your having listened at all—gives me some hope. smiling again. ‘Should you be greatly surprised if I were to beg you not to hope at all?’ Isabel asked. highly as I already think of you.The Portrait of a Lady that I’d rather ask it than have it to answer myself. she was silent for some minutes. It wouldn’t be that. But I’m by no means sure that you wouldn’t be disappointed. It’s a very difficult question.

‘Oh. don’t mind.’ ‘You needn’t worry about that. that’s because they want to be!’ And Isabel lightly laughed. I’d much rather have a good answer six months hence than a bad one to-day.’ ‘But it’s very probable that even six months hence I shouldn’t be able to give you one that you’d think good.’ said Isabel.’ said Isabel. be it averred. That’s my affair. ‘but I’m not sure I wish to marry any one. I’ve no doubt a great many women begin that way. 185 of 1056 . Only remember that in the end my dearest happiness depends on your answer. who.’ ‘I should be very sorry to keep you in suspense.’ said Isabel. it’s what I can give. did not in the least believe in the axiom he thus beguiled his anxiety by uttering.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘Very likely you don’t. You needn’t be a better royalist than the king. since you really like me?’ ‘Ah.The Portrait of a Lady waiting I’ll gladly wait a long time. you must never doubt that. I really don’t think I should.’ ‘Why not. I don’t think I should suit you. I don’t see what more you ask!’ ‘It’s not what I ask.’ said his lordship.’ ‘It’s not only that. ‘But they’re frequently persuaded. ‘Well then.

leave it alone. ‘I know your uncle thinks you ought to marry in your own country.The Portrait of a Lady Her suitor’s countenance fell. if you like it. I like it this way.’ 186 of 1056 . He spoke perhaps of Americans generally. ‘Well then.’ ‘He appears himself to have found it very pleasant to live in England. my dear Miss Archer. Lord Warburton. it had never occurred to her that Mr. ‘I’m afraid it’s my being an Englishman that makes you hesitate.’ Isabel spoke in a manner that might have seemed a little perverse. but which expressed both her constant perception of her uncle’s outward felicity and her general disposition to elude any obligation to take a restricted view. and he looked at her for a while in silence. It gave her companion hope. and he immediately cried with warmth: ‘Ah. ‘Has he told you that?’ ‘I remember his making the remark.’ Isabel listened to this assertion with some interest. old England’s a very good sort of country.’ he said presently. you know! And it will be still better when we’ve furbished it up a little. I’m more and more unable to see your objection to what I propose. don’t furbish it.’ ‘Oh. Touchett was likely to discuss her matrimonial prospects with Lord Warburton.

than commit myself. even as some wild.’ ‘You ought at least to try. what charged airs. The ‘splendid’ security so offered her was not the greatest she could conceive. You can pick out your climate. I’ve a fair intelligence. caught creature in a vast cage. the whole world over. ‘Don’t think me unkind if I ask you to say no more about this to-day. breathing lips. certainly!’ her companion cried. very gratefully. you know. ‘I wouldn’t bore you for the world.’ These words were uttered with a breadth of candour that was like the embrace of strong arms—that was like the fragrance straight in her face.’ ‘Certainly. What she finally bethought herself of saying was something very different—something that deferred the need of really facing her crisis. of she knew not what strange gardens. and by his clean.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I’m afraid I can’t make you understand. to your loyalty. She would have given her little finger at that moment to feel strongly and simply the impulse to answer: ‘Lord Warburton. it’s impossible for me to do better in this wonderful world.’ 187 of 1056 . I think. Are you afraid—afraid of the climate? We can easily live elsewhere.’ But though she was lost in admiration of her opportunity she managed to move back into the deepest shade of it.

‘That’s fair to neither of us. I shall not die of it.’ ‘That’s all I ask of you. ‘You’ll live to marry a better woman than I. Miss Archer.’ ‘There’s no way to do that. I won’t say that if you refuse me you’ll kill me. but she said after a minute: ‘I must tell you that what I shall think about is some way of letting you know that what you ask is impossible. of course—and that you’ll remember how absolutely my happiness is in your hands. ‘I’ll speak to you myself—very soon.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You’ve given me a great deal to think about. please. ‘There’s no accounting for tastes.letting you know it without making you miserable.’ he went on with the same earnestness.’ ‘To marry a worse one then. But I shall do worse.’ 188 of 1056 .’ His gravity made her feel equally grave. Perhaps I shall write to you. That’s all I can say.’ ‘Don’t say that. and I promise you to do it justice.’ ‘If there are better women than you I prefer the bad ones.’ Isabel listened with extreme respect to this admonition. and she showed it by again requesting him to drop the subject for the present. I shall live to no purpose.’ said Lord Warburton very gravely.

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‘At your convenience, yes,’ he replied. ‘Whatever time you take, it must seem to me long, and I suppose I must make the best of that.’ ‘I shall not keep you in suspense; I only want to collect my mind a little.’ He gave a melancholy sigh and stood looking at her a moment, with his hands behind him, giving short nervous shakes to his hunting-crop. ‘Do you know I’m very much afraid of it—of that remarkable mind of yours?’ Our heroine’s biographer can scarcely tell why, but the question made her start and brought a conscious blush to her cheek. She returned his look a moment, and then with a note in her voice that might almost have appealed to his compassion, ‘So am I, my lord!’ she oddly exclaimed. His compassion was not stirred, however; all he possessed of the faculty of pity was needed at home. ‘Ah! be merciful, be merciful,’ he murmured. ‘I think you had better go,’ said Isabel. ‘I’ll write to you.’ ‘Very good; but whatever you write I’ll come and see you, you know.’ And then he stood reflecting, his eyes fixed on the observant countenance of Bunchie, who had the air of having understood all that had been said and of pretending to carry off the indiscretion by a simulated fit 189 of 1056

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of curiosity as to the roots of an ancient oak. ‘There’s one thing more,’ he went on. ‘You know, if you don’t like Lockleigh—if you think it’s damp or anything of that sort—you need never go within fifty miles of it. It’s not damp, by the way; I’ve had the house thoroughly examined; it’s perfectly safe and right. But if you shouldn’t fancy it you needn’t dream of living in it. There’s no difficulty whatever about that; there are plenty of houses. I thought I’d just mention it; some people don’t like a moat, you know. Good-bye.’ ‘I adore a moat,’ said Isabel. ‘Good-bye.’ He held out his hand, and she gave him hers a moment—a moment long enough for him to bend his handsome bared head and kiss it. Then, still agitating, in his mastered emotion, his implement of the chase, he walked rapidly away. He was evidently much upset. Isabel herself was upset, but she had not been affected as she would have imagined. What she felt was not a great responsibility, a great difficulty of choice; it appeared to her there had been no choice in the question. She couldn’t marry Lord Warburton; the idea failed to support any enlightened prejudice in favour of the free exploration of life that she had hitherto entertained or was now capable of entertaining. She must write this to him, she 190 of 1056

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must convince him, and that duty was comparatively simple. But what disturbed her, in the sense that it struck her with wonderment, was this very fact that it cost her so little to refuse a magnificent ‘chance.’ With whatever qualifications one would, Lord Warburton had offered her a great opportunity; the situation might have discomforts, might contain oppressive, might contain narrowing elements, might prove really but a stupefying anodyne; but she did her sex no injustice in believing that nineteen women out of twenty would have accommodated themselves to it without a pang. Why then upon her also should it not irresistibly impose itself? Who was she, what was she, that she should hold herself superior? What view of life, what design upon fate, what conception of happiness, had she that pretended to be larger than these large, these fabulous occasions? If she wouldn’t do such a thing as that then she must do great things, she must do something greater. Poor Isabel found ground to remind herself from time to time that she must not be too proud, and nothing could be more sincere than her prayer to be delivered from such a danger: the isolation and loneliness of pride had for her mind the horror of a desert place. If it had been pride that interfered with her accepting Lord Warburton such a betise was singularly misplaced; and she 191 of 1056

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was so conscious of liking him that she ventured to assure herself it was the very softness, and the fine intelligence, of sympathy. She liked him too much to marry him, that was the truth; something assured her there was a fallacy somewhere in the glowing logic of the proposition—as he saw it- even though she mightn’t put her very finest finger-point on it; and to inflict upon a man who offered so much a wife with a tendency to criticize would be a peculiarly discreditable act. She had promised him she would consider his question, and when, after he had left her, she wandered back to the bench where he had found her and lost herself in meditation, it might have seemed that she was keeping her vow. But this was not the case; she was wondering if she were not a cold, hard, priggish person, and, on her at last getting up and going rather quickly back to the house, felt, as she had said to her friend, really frightened at herself.

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Chapter 13
It was this feeling and not the wish to ask advice—she had no desire whatever for that—that led her to speak to her uncle of what had taken place. She wished to speak to some one; she should feel more natural, more human, and her uncle, for this purpose, presented himself in a more attractive light than either her aunt or her friend Henrietta. Her cousin of course was a possible confidant; but she would have had to do herself violence to air this special secret to Ralph. So the next day, after breakfast, she sought her occasion. Her uncle never left his apartment till the afternoon, but he received his cronies, as he said, in his dressing-room. Isabel had quite taken her place in the class so designated, which, for the rest, included the old man’s son, his physician, his personal servant, and even Miss Stackpole. Mrs. Touchett did not figure in the list, and this was an obstacle the less to Isabel’s finding her host alone. He sat in a complicated mechanical chair, at the open window of his room, looking westward over the park and the river, with his newspapers and letters piled up beside him, his toilet freshly and minutely

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made, and his smooth, speculative face composed to benevolent expectation. She approached her point directly. ‘I think I ought to let you know that Lord Warburton has asked me to marry him. I suppose I ought to tell my aunt; but it seems best to tell you first.’ The old man expressed no surprise, but thanked her for the confidence she showed him. ‘Do you mind telling me whether you accepted him?’ he then enquired. ‘I’ve not answered him definitely yet; I’ve taken a little time to think of it, because that seems more respectful. But I shall not accept him.’ Mr. Touchett made no comment upon this; he had the air of thinking that, whatever interest he might take in the matter from the point of view of sociability, he had no active voice in it. ‘Well, I told you you’d be a success over here. Americans are highly appreciated.’ ‘Very highly indeed,’ said Isabel. ‘But at the cost of seeming both tasteless and ungrateful, I don’t think I can marry Lord Warburton.’ ‘Well,’ her uncle went on, ‘of course an old man can’t judge for a young lady. I’m glad you didn’t ask me before you made up your mind. I suppose I ought to tell you,’ he 194 of 1056

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added slowly, but as it were not of much consequence, ‘that I’ve known all about it these three days.’ ‘About Lord Warburton’s state of mind?’ ‘About his intentions, as they say here. He wrote me a very pleasant letter, telling me all about them. Should you like to see his letter?’ the old man obligingly asked. ‘Thank you; I don’t think I care about that. But I’m glad he wrote to you; it was right that he should, and he would be certain to do what was right.’ ‘Ah well, I guess you do like him!’ Mr. Touchett declared. ‘You needn’t pretend you don’t.’ ‘I like him extremely; I’m very free to admit that. But I don’t wish to marry any one just now.’ ‘You think some one may come along whom you may like better. Well, that’s very likely,’ said Mr. Touchett, who appeared to wish to show his kindness to the girl by easing off her decision, as it were, and finding cheerful reasons for it. ‘I don’t care if I don’t meet any one else. I like Lord Warburton quite well enough.’ She fell into that appearance of a sudden change of point of view with which she sometimes startled and even displeased her interlocutors.

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Her uncle, however, seemed proof against either of these impressions. ‘He’s a very fine man,’ he resumed in a tone which might have passed for that of encouragement. ‘His letter was one of the pleasantest I’ve received for some weeks. I suppose one of the reasons I like it was that it was all about you; that is all except the part that was about himself. I suppose he told you all that.’ ‘He would have told me everything I wished to ask him,’ Isabel said. ‘But you didn’t feel curious?’ ‘My curiosity would have been idle—once I had determined to decline his offer.’ ‘You didn’t find it sufficiently attractive?’ Mr. Touchett enquired. She was silent a little. ‘I suppose it was that,’ she presently admitted. ‘But I don’t know why.’ ‘Fortunately ladies are not obliged to give reasons,’ said her uncle. ‘There’s a great deal that’s attractive about such an idea; but I don’t see why the English should want to entice us away from our native land. I know that we try to attract them over there, but that’s because our population is insufficient. Here, you know, they’re rather crowded. However, I presume there’s room for charming young ladies everywhere.’ 196 of 1056

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‘There seems to have been room here for you,’ said Isabel, whose eyes had been wandering over the large pleasure-spaces of the park. Mr. Touchett gave a shrewd, conscious smile. ‘There’s room everywhere, my dear, if you’ll pay for it. I sometimes think I’ve paid too much for this. Perhaps you also might have to pay too much.’ ‘Perhaps I might,’ the girl replied. That suggestion gave her something more definite to rest on than she had found in her own thoughts, and the fact of this association of her uncle’s mild acuteness with her dilemma seemed to prove that she was concerned with the natural and reasonable emotions of life and not altogether a victim to intellectual eagerness and vague ambitions- ambitions reaching beyond Lord Warburton’s beautiful appeal, reaching to something indefinable and possibly not commendable. In so far as the indefinable had an influence upon Isabel’s behaviour at this juncture, it was not the conception, even unformulated, of a union with Caspar Goodwood; for however she might have resisted conquest at her English suitor’s large quiet hands she was at least as far removed from the disposition to let the young man from Boston take positive possession of her. The sentiment in which she sought refuge after 197 of 1056

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reading his letter was a critical view of his having come abroad; for it was part of the influence he had upon her that he seemed to deprive her of the sense of freedom. There was a disagreeably strong push, a kind of hardness of presence, in his way of rising before her. She had been haunted at moments by the image, by the danger, of his disapproval and had wondered—a consideration she had never paid in equal degree to any one else—whether he would like what she did. The difficulty was that more than any man she had ever known, more than poor Lord Warburton (she had begun now to give his lordship the benefit of this epithet), Caspar Goodwood expressed for her an energy—and she had already felt it as a power— that was of his very nature. It was in no degree a matter of his ‘advantages’- it was a matter of the spirit that sat in his clear-burning eyes like some tireless watcher at a window. She might like it or not, but he insisted, ever, with his whole weight and force: even in one’s usual contact with him one had to reckon with that. The idea of a diminished liberty was particularly disagreeable to her at present, since she had just given a sort of personal accent to her independence by looking so straight at Lord Warburton’s big bribe and yet turning away from it. Sometimes Caspar Goodwood had seemed to range 198 of 1056

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himself on the side of her destiny, to be the stubbornest fact she knew; she said to herself at such moments that she might evade him for a time, but that she must make terms with him at last- terms which would be certain to be favourable to himself. Her impulse had been to avail herself of the things that helped her to resist such an obligation; and this impulse had been much concerned in her eager acceptance of her aunt’s invitation, which had come to her at an hour when she expected from day to day to see Mr. Goodwood and when she was glad to have an answer ready for something she was sure he would say to her. When she had told him at Albany, on the evening of Mrs. Touchett’s visit, that she couldn’t then discuss difficult questions, dazzled as she was by the great immediate opening of her aunt’s offer of ‘Europe,’ he declared that this was no answer at all; and it was now to obtain a better one that he was following her across the sea. To say to herself that he was a kind of grim fate was well enough for a fanciful young woman who was able to take much for granted in him; but the reader has a right to a nearer and a clearer view. He was the son of a proprietor of well-known cottonmills in Massachusetts—a gentleman who had accumulated a considerable fortune in the exercise of this industry. 199 of 1056

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Caspar at present managed the works, and with a judgement and a temper which, in spite of keen competition and languid years, had kept their prosperity from dwindling. He had received the better part of his education at Harvard College, where, however, he had gained renown rather as a gymnast and an oarsman than as a gleaner of more dispersed knowledge. Later on he had learned that the finer intelligence too could vault and pull and strain—might even, breaking the record, treat itself to rare exploits. He had thus discovered in himself a sharp eye for the mystery of mechanics, and had invented an improvement in the cotton-spinning process which was now largely used and was known by his name. You might have seen it in the newspapers in connection with this fruitful contrivance; assurance of which he had given to Isabel by showing her in the columns of the New York Interviewer an exhaustive article on the Goodwood patent—an article not prepared by Miss Stackpole, friendly as she had proved herself to his more sentimental interests. There were intricate, bristling things he rejoiced in; he liked to organize, to contend, to administer; he could make people work his will, believe in him, march before him and justify him. This was the art, as they said, of managing men—which rested, in him, further, on a bold 200 of 1056

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though brooding ambition. It struck those who knew him well that he might do greater things than carry on a cotton-factory; there was nothing cottony about Caspar Goodwood, and his friends took for granted that he would somehow and somewhere write himself in bigger letters. But it was as if something large and confused, something dark and ugly, would have to call upon him: he was not after all in harmony with mere smug peace and greed and gain, an order of things of which the vital breath was ubiquitous advertisement. It pleased Isabel to believe that he might have ridden, on a plunging steed, the whirlwind of a great war—a war like the Civil strife that had overdarkened her conscious childhood and his ripening youth. She liked at any rate this idea of his being by character and in fact a mover of men—liked it much better than some other points in his nature and aspect. She cared nothing for his cotton-mill—the Goodwood patent left her imagination absolutely cold. She wished him no ounce less of his manhood, but she sometimes thought he would be rather nicer if he looked, for instance, a little differently. His jaw was too square and set and his figure too straight and stiff: these things suggested a want of easy consonance with the deeper rhythms of life. Then she 201 of 1056

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viewed with reserve a habit he had of dressing always in the same manner; it was not apparently that he wore the same clothes continually, for, on the contrary, his garments had a way of looking rather too new. But they all seemed of the same piece; the figure, the stuff, was so drearily usual. She had reminded herself more than once that this was a frivolous objection to a person of his importance; and then she had amended the rebuke by saying that it would be a frivolous objection only if she were in love with him. She was not in love with him and therefore might criticize his small defects as well as his great—which latter consisted in the collective reproach of his being too serious, or, rather, not of his being so, since one could never be, but certainly of his seeming so. He showed his appetites and designs too simply and artlessly; when one was alone with him he talked too much about the same subject, and when other people were present he talked too little about anything. And yet he was of supremely strong, clean make—which was so much: she saw the different fitted parts of him as she had seen, in museums and portraits, the different fitted parts of armoured warriors—in plates of steel handsomely inlaid with gold. It was very strange: where, ever, was any tangible link between her impression and her act? Caspar 202 of 1056

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Goodwood had never corresponded to her idea of a delightful person, and she supposed that this was why he left her so harshly critical. When, however, Lord Warburton, who not only did correspond with it, but gave an extension to the term, appealed to her approval, she found herself still unsatisfied. It was certainly strange. The sense of her incoherence was not a help to answering Mr. Goodwood’s letter, and Isabel determined to leave it a while unhonoured. If he had determined to persecute her he must take the consequences; foremost among which was his being left to perceive how little it charmed her that he should come down to Gardencourt. She was already liable to the incursions of one suitor at this place, and though it might be pleasant to be appreciated in opposite quarters there was a kind of grossness in entertaining two such passionate pleaders at once, even in a case where the entertainment should consist of dismissing them. She made no reply to Mr. Goodwood; but at the end of three days she wrote to Lord Warburton, and the letter belongs to our history. DEAR LORD WARBURTON—A great deal of earnest thought has not led me to change my mind about the suggestion you were so kind as to make me the other day. I am not, I am really and truly not, able to regard you 203 of 1056

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in the light of a companion for life; or to think of your home—your various homes—as settled seat of my existence. These things cannot be reasoned about, and I very earnestly entreat you not to return to the subject we discussed so exhaustively. We see our lives from our own point of view; that is the privilege of the weakest and humblest of us; and I shall never be able to see mine in the manner you proposed. Kindly let this suffice you, and do me the justice to believe that I have given your proposal the deeply respectful consideration it deserves. It is with this very great regard that I remain sincerely yours, ISABEL ARCHER While the author of this missive was making up her mind to despatch it Henrietta Stackpole formed a resolve which was accompanied by no demur. She invited Ralph Touchett to take a walk with her in the garden, and when he had assented with that alacrity which seemed constantly to testify to his high expectations, she informed him that she had a favour to ask of him. It may be admitted that at this information the young man flinched; for we know that Miss Stackpole had struck him as apt to push an advantage. The alarm was unreasoned, however; for he was clear about the area of her indiscretion as little as advised of its vertical depth, and he made a very civil 204 of 1056

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profession of the desire to serve her. He was afraid of her and presently told her so. ‘When you look at me in a certain way my knees knock together, my faculties desert me; I’m filled with trepidation and I ask only for strength to execute your commands. You’ve an address that I’ve never encountered in any woman.’ ‘Well,’ Henrietta replied good-humouredly, ‘if I had not known before that you were trying somehow to abash me I should know it now. Of course I’m easy game—I was brought up with such different customs and ideas. I’m not used to your arbitrary standards, and I’ve never been spoken to in America as you have spoken to me. If a gentleman conversing with me over there were to speak to me like that I shouldn’t know what to make of it. We take everything more naturally over there, and, after all, we’re a great deal more simple. I admit that; I’m very simple myself. Of course if you choose to laugh at me for it you’re very welcome; but I think on the whole I would rather be myself than you. I’m quite content to be myself; I don’t want to change. There are plenty of people that appreciate me just as I am. It’s true they’re nice fresh freeborn Americans!’ Henrietta had lately taken up the tone of helpless innocence and large concession. ‘I want you to assist me a little,’ she went on. ‘I don’t care in the least 205 of 1056

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whether I amuse you while you do so; or, rather, I’m perfectly willing your amusement should be your reward. I want you to help me about Isabel.’ ‘Has she injured you?’ Ralph asked. ‘If she had I shouldn’t mind, and I should never tell you. What I’m afraid of is that she’ll injure herself.’ ‘I think that’s very possible,’ said Ralph. His companion stopped in the garden-walk, fixing on him perhaps the very gaze that unnerved him. ‘That too would amuse you, I suppose. The way you do things! I never heard any one so indifferent.’ ‘To Isabel? Ah, not that!’ ‘Well, you’re not in love with her, I hope.’ ‘How can that be, when I’m in love with Another?’ ‘You’re in love with yourself, that’s the Other!’ Miss Stackpole declared. ‘Much good may it do you! But if you wish to be serious once in your life here’s a chance; and if you really care for your cousin here’s an opportunity to prove it. I don’t expect you to understand her; that’s too much to ask. But you needn’t do that to grant my favour. I’ll supply the necessary intelligence.’ ‘I shall enjoy that immensely!’ Ralph exclaimed. ‘I’ll be Caliban and you shall be Ariel.’

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‘You’re not at all like Caliban, because you’re sophisticated, and Caliban was not. But I’m not talking about imaginary characters; I’m talking about Isabel. Isabel’s intensely real. What I wish to tell you is that I find her fearfully changed.’ ‘Since you came, do you mean?’ ‘Since I came and before I came. She’s not the same as she once so beautifully was.’ ‘As she was in America?’ ‘Yes, in America. I suppose you know she comes from there. She can’t help it, but she does.’ ‘Do you want to change her back again?’ ‘Of course I do, and I want you to help me.’ ‘Ah,’ said Ralph, ‘I’m only Caliban; I’m not Prospero.’ ‘You were Prospero enough to make her what she has become. You’ve acted on Isabel Archer since she came here, Mr. Touchett.’ ‘I, my dear Miss Stackpole? Never in the world. Isabel Archer has acted on me—yes; she acts on every one. But I’ve been absolutely passive.’ ‘You’re too passive then. You had better stir yourself and be careful. Isabel’s changing every day; she’s drifting away—right out to sea. I’ve watched her and I can see it. She’s not the bright American girl she was. She’s taking 207 of 1056

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different views, a different colour, and turning away from her old ideals. I want to save those ideals, Mr. Touchett, and that’s where you come in.’ ‘Not surely as an ideal?’ ‘Well, I hope not,’ Henrietta replied promptly. ‘I’ve got a fear in my heart that she’s going to marry one of these fell Europeans, and I want to prevent it.’ ‘Ah, I see,’ cried Ralph; ‘and to prevent it you want me to step in and marry her?’ ‘Not quite; that remedy would be as bad as the disease, for you’re the typical, the fell European from whom I wish to rescue her. No; I wish you to take an interest in another person—a young man to whom she once gave great encouragement and whom she now doesn’t seem to think good enough. He’s a thoroughly grand man and a very dear friend of mine, and I wish very much you would invite him to pay a visit here.’ Ralph was puzzled by this appeal, and it is perhaps not to the credit of his purity of mind that he failed to look at it at first in the simplest light. It wore, to his eyes, a tortuous air, and his fault was that he was not quite sure that anything in the world could really be as candid as this request of Miss Stackpole’s appeared. That a young woman should demand that a gentleman whom she 208 of 1056

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described as her very dear friend should be furnished with an opportunity to make himself agreeable to another young woman, a young woman whose attention had wandered and whose charms were greater—this was an anomaly which for the moment challenged all his ingenuity of interpretation. To read between the lines was easier than to follow the text, and to suppose that Miss Stackpole wished the gentleman invited to Gardencourt on her own account was the sign not so much of a vulgar as of an embarrassed mind. Even from this venial act of vulgarity, however, Ralph was saved, and saved by a force that I can only speak of as inspiration. With no more outward light on the subject than he already possessed he suddenly acquired the conviction that it would be a sovereign injustice to the correspondent of the Interviewer to assign a dishonourable motive to any act of hers. This conviction passed into his mind with extreme rapidity; it was perhaps kindled by the pure radiance of the young lady’s imperturbable gaze. He returned this challenge a moment, consciously, resisting an inclination to frown as one frowns in the presence of larger luminaries. ‘Who’s the gentleman you speak of?’ ‘Mr. Caspar Goodwood—of Boston. He has been extremely attentive to Isabel—just as devoted to her as he 209 of 1056

’ said Ralph reflectively. ‘What a rage you have for marrying people! Do you remember how you wanted to marry me the other day?’ ‘I’ve got over that.’ 210 of 1056 .’ ‘Is she very fond of him?’ ‘If she isn’t she ought to be.’ Ralph continued—‘it’s rather a striking name. He’s simply wrapped up in her. I don’t know his address.’ ‘Caspar Goodwood. ‘It would be an act of true hospitality.’ said Ralph. and Isabel knows it. and that’s what I like about him. You don’t know how to take such ideas. He has followed her out here and he’s at present in London. I don’t believe he has ever heard of you. I suppose you haven’t heard of every one.’ ‘I’ve never heard of him.The Portrait of a Lady can live. but I guess I can obtain it. He’s a splendid man and a perfect gentleman. but that’s no reason why Isabel shouldn’t marry him. however. Mr.’ Ralph gave a mild ambiguous laugh. ‘Well.’ ‘And you wish me to ask him here. Goodwood does.

Goodwood. He’s at the head of a cotton-factory. a very fine one.’ ‘I assure you I’m very serious. In a moment his companion understood it. You won’t invite Mr.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t care anything about his name.’ ‘I don’t say it to pour scorn on you.’ ‘I don’t know. ‘Splendid manners—in the American style. Goodwood. you’re very serious indeed. I’m very much struck with it. He’s the only man I have ever seen whom I think worthy of Isabel.’ 211 of 1056 .’ said Ralph. If you say that to pour scorn on me I don’t care.’ said Ralph. What’s he like?’ ‘He’s just the opposite of you. you ought to understand that. ‘I believe you are.’ ‘You’re difficult to please.’ ‘You’re a very devoted friend.’ ‘Has he pleasant manners?’ asked Ralph.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘You’re more satiric than ever. Tell me a little about Mr. and I should say the same. but I advise you not to laugh at Mr. ‘Of course I am. It might be Ezekiel Jenkins.’ said Ralph. Goodwood. now you’re too serious. ‘I’m capable of strange things.

’ ‘Call them back—from where?’ ‘From foreign parts and other unnatural places. I know her well enough to know that she would never be truly happy over here. and it’s not worthy of Isabel to go back on a real friend simply because she has changed the scene. He’d concentrate on Isabel. It will call back her thoughts.’ 212 of 1056 .’ ‘Aren’t you perhaps a little too much in a hurry?’ Ralph enquired. But it will be good for her. and I wish her to form some strong American tie that will act as a preservative. ‘Don’t you think you ought to give her more of a chance in poor old England?’ ‘A chance to ruin her bright young life? One’s never too much in a hurry to save a precious human creature from drowning. Three months ago she gave Mr. I’ve changed the scene too. and the effect of it has been to make me care more for my old associations than ever. Goodwood every reason to suppose he was acceptable to her. It’s my belief that the sooner Isabel changes it back again the better.’ ‘And how would my cousin like that?’ ‘Very possibly not at all.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Would he be an agreeable member of our little circle?’ ‘I don’t think he’d care much about our little circle.

It must be of course as a friend of yours.’ ‘You certainly are doing your best to make me hate him! I really don’t think I can ask him. him. ‘it would be to quarrel with him.’ ‘Do you really believe that?’ the young man asked with lifted eyebrows.’ ‘It’s just as you please. it proves how much she thinks of him.’ Miss Stackpole ingeniously said. he’d prove the better man. Goodwood overboard after her. and he surrendered to thought while his companion watched him askance. I should be afraid of being rude to. Do you know.’ he added. ‘Well.The Portrait of a Lady ‘As I understand it then. ‘you wish me to push Mr. Goodwood.’ ‘Don’t do that. ‘I’m delighted to hear that. ‘that I’ve never heard her mention his name?’ Henrietta gave a brilliant smile.’ 213 of 1056 . ‘I had no idea you were in love with her yourself.’ Henrietta returned. ‘That’s the most natural speech I’ve ever heard you make! Of course I believe it.’ Ralph concluded.’ he finally said. ‘If I should invite Mr.’ said Ralph.’ Ralph appeared to allow that there was a good deal in this. ‘to prove to you that you’re wrong I’ll invite him.

the native admiration of which his cousin was the object had become more concrete. Touchett the elder that he should join a little party at Gardencourt. Now. in spite of his suspecting it would be rather more indiscreet to keep than to break his promise. it took the form of a young man who had followed her to London. who was interested in a cotton-mill and had manners in 214 of 1056 . expressing the pleasure it would give Mr. Goodwood a note of six lines. He had heard this fresh formidable figure named for the first time. the idea had seemed deficient in reality and he had taken no pains to ask questions the answers to which would involve only the vague or the disagreeable.The Portrait of a Lady ‘It will not be as a friend of mine that he’ll come. for when his mother had mentioned on her arrival that there was a story about the girl’s having an ‘admirer’ at home. however. he wrote Mr. but it so far took the edge from too sharp a recognition that. and it will not be to prove to me that I’m wrong that you’ll ask him—but to prove it to yourself!’ These last words of Miss Stackpole’s (on which the two presently separated) contained an amount of truth which Ralph Touchett was obliged to recognize. Having sent his letter (to the care of a banker whom Henrietta suggested) he waited in some suspense. of which Miss Stackpole was a valued member.

‘he must regard her as a thorn on the stem of his rose. who. or else he would accept the invitation and in this event prove himself a creature too irrational to demand further consideration. ‘On this supposition. but it embodied his conviction that if Mr.’ said Ralph. regretting that other engagements made a visit to Gardencourt impossible and presenting many compliments to Miss Stackpole. thanking him for it. Goodwood were interested in Isabel in the serious manner described by Miss Stackpole he would not care to present himself at Gardencourt on a summons from the latter lady. Either his passion was a sentimental fiction of Miss Stackpole’s (there was always a sort of tacit understanding among women. The latter clause of Ralph’s argument might have seemed incoherent. that they should discover or invent lovers for each other). in which case he was not to be feared and would probably not accept the invitation. when she had read it. I never have heard of anything so stiff!’ 215 of 1056 . born of the solidarity of the sex. as an intercessor he must find her wanting in tact. exclaimed: ‘Well. Ralph had two theories about this intervener. Ralph handed the note to Henrietta.The Portrait of a Lady the most splendid of the American styles.’ Two days after he had sent his invitation he received a very short note from Caspar Goodwood.

Mr. Goodwood’s stiffness—a curiosity for the present ungratified. they were not rivals of his and were perfectly welcome to act out their genius. inasmuch as when he asked her three days later if she had written to London she was obliged to confess she had written in vain. Goodwood had not replied. ‘If I must tell the truth.’ She presently proposed to Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I’m afraid he doesn’t care so much about my cousin as you suppose.’ His refusal of Ralph’s overtures was vaguely disconcerting.’ she said. at all events. he’s not really at all impetuous. it’s not that. Nevertheless he felt much curiosity as to the result of Miss Stackpole’s promised enquiry into the causes of Mr. that they should make an excursion to London together. it’s some subtler motive.’ she observed. and I shall write to him to know what he means. ‘he thinks everything over. ‘I’m not seeing much at this 216 of 1056 . ‘No. But I’m accustomed to having my letters answered the same day. from the moment he declined to come to Gardencourt our friend began to think him of importance. His nature’s very deep.’ Ralph observed. He asked himself what it signified to him whether Isabel’s admirers should be desperadoes or laggards. But I’m determined to fathom it. ‘I suppose he’s thinking it over.

You may say what you please. I must go back to London and get some impressions of real life. They turned over their schemes together and indulged in visions of romantic hours. it appeared a happy suggestion of Henrietta’s that the two should go thither on a visit of pleasure.’ ‘Well. and I shouldn’t think you were either. scenery doesn’t make a vital letter.’ As Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady place. who had received a note from the master of Lockleigh in answer to her own letter. They would stay at some picturesque old inn—one of the inns described by 217 of 1056 . and that’s hardly time to get in touch. I’ve not even seen that aristocrat—what’s his name?—Lord Washburton. but what’s one letter when you want to write fifty? I’ve described all the scenery in this vicinity and raved about all the old women and donkeys. she was curious of the thick detail of London. had seen even less of the British capital than this. He seems to let you severely alone. I was there but three days before I came away. ‘You’ll have every opportunity of turning him inside out. I happen to know. which had always loomed large and rich to her.’ replied her friend. he may do for one letter.’ ‘Lord Warburton’s coming to-morrow. on her journey from New York to Gardencourt. The idea struck Isabel as charming.

‘let me take advantage of her protection to go up to town as well. ‘It’s a delightful plan. an easy. ‘I advise you to go to the Duke’s Head in Covent Garden. who burst into a fit of laughter which scarce expressed the sympathy she had desired. she isn’t hampered in that way. She has travelled over the whole American continent and can at least find her way about this minute island. informal. and Goldsmith and Addison. Henrietta was a literary woman. Isabel grew eager and presently unveiled the bright vision to Ralph.’ ‘Ah then. isn’t anything proper here? With Henrietta surely I may go anywhere.’ he said. oldfashioned place.The Portrait of a Lady Dickens—and drive over the town in those delightful hansoms.’ said Ralph. ‘Dear me. I may never have a chance to travel so safely!’ 218 of 1056 . they would frequent the Abbey and the British Museum and find out where Doctor Johnson had lived. They would dine at a coffee-house and go afterwards to the play.’ ‘Do you mean it’s improper?’ Isabel asked. and I’ll have you put down at my club. and the great advantage of being a literary woman was that you could go everywhere and do everything.

This was by no means an act of vigilance on his part. Download the free trial version. Isabel told her uncle she had written to him. in consequence. then he had written. and she believed it her duty to remain there and see him. There was something in these delays and postponements that touched the girl and renewed her sense of his desire to be considerate and patient. had been notified that Lord Warburton would come again to Gardencourt. and the old man. and edit PDF. very briefly. mentioning also his intention of coming. a measure 219 of 1056 .eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. That personage drove over from Lockleigh and brought the elder of his sisters with him. left his room earlier than usual and made his appearance at the two o’clock repast. Chapter 14 Miss Stackpole would have prepared to start immediately. For four or five days he had made no response to her letter. as we have seen. to say he would come to luncheon two days later. but Isabel. but the fruit of a benevolent belief that his being of the company might help to cover any conjoined straying away in case Isabel should give their noble visitor another hearing. not to appear to urge her too grossly. view. a consideration the more studied that she was so sure he ‘really liked’ her.

The Portrait of a Lady presumably dictated by reflexions of the same order as Mr. and the only sign of his emotion was that he avoided meeting her eyes. She wondered what Miss Molyneux would 220 of 1056 . nun-like forehead and wore a large silver cross suspended from her neck. He had plenty of talk for the others. who. and he appeared to eat his luncheon with discrimination and appetite. could not help admiring his goodhumoured self-possession. there was such a world of hereditary quiet in her. Touchett’s. Miss Molyneux. He neither looked at her nor spoke to her. was evidently preoccupied with Henrietta Stackpole. Isabel was sure moreover that her mild forehead and silver cross referred to some weird Anglican mystery— some delightful reinstitution perhaps of the quaint office of the canoness. at luncheon. Of the two ladies from Lockleigh she was the one Isabel had liked best. occupied a seat adjoining Lord Warburton’s. who was nervous and had no relish for the prospect of again arguing the question he had so prematurely opened. upon whom her eyes constantly rested in a manner suggesting a conflict between deep alienation and yearning wonder. The two visitors were introduced to Miss Stackpole. however. who had a smooth. Isabel. which quite disguised the symptoms of that preoccupation with her presence it was natural she should suppose him to feel.

but on the whole he told her little. or no. she was not occupied in conversation she was usually occupied in forming theories about her neighbours. and then she felt sure that Miss Molyneux would never know. Whatever Isabel might have made of her opportunities. According to Isabel. when. at all events. 221 of 1056 .’ ‘You’ve escaped seeing some very ugly men. was Isabel’s theory. at table. at least. Henrietta Stackpole was by no means disposed to neglect those in which she now found herself immersed. ‘I suppose you think I’m awfully benighted.’ Lord Warburton answered. if Miss Molyneux should ever learn what had passed between Miss Archer and Lord Warburton she would probably be shocked at such a girl’s failure to rise. He was fond of her and kind to her.The Portrait of a Lady think of her if she knew Miss Archer had refused her brother.that Lord Warburton never told her such things. Such. looking a trifle absently about the table. ‘Do you know you’re the first lord I’ve ever seen?’ she said very promptly to her neighbour. rather (this was our heroine’s last position) she would impute to the young American but a due consciousness of inequality.

I don’t approve of you.’ her neighbour allowed.’ ‘I’m sorry for that.’ ‘Don’t approve of me?’ ‘Yes. ‘If it’s not that. I don’t suppose any one ever said such a thing to you before.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Are they very ugly? They try to make us believe in America that they’re all handsome and magnificent and that they wear wonderful robes and crowns. it isn’t much. ‘like your tomahawks and revolvers.’ said Lord Warburton. ‘I’ve had hardly any appetite since I’ve been here. ‘I don’t see how you manage to get on without potatoes. ‘Won’t you have a potato?’ ‘I don’t care much for these European potatoes. there was a chance he was not sincere. at the best. you know. the robes and crowns are gone out of fashion. you know.’ Henrietta was silent a little.’ said Lord Warburton. did they? I don’t approve of lords as an 222 of 1056 . you must find so few things to eat over here. I shouldn’t know you from an ordinary American gentleman.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘Do talk to me as if I were one.’ she went on at last. I think an aristocracy ought to be splendid. what is it?’ ‘Oh.’ Henrietta declared. I feel as if I ought to tell you that. ‘so it doesn’t much matter.

I think the world has got beyond them—far beyond. as you see!’ 223 of 1056 . I don’t approve of a privileged class. I do think of giving it up.’ ‘Why don’t you give it up then?’ Miss Stackpole enquired.The Portrait of a Lady institution.’ ‘Oh. ‘Give up—a-?’ asked Lord Warburton. I don’t approve of myself in the least.’ ‘I should like to see you do it!’ Henrietta exclaimed rather grimly. I’m so little of one! One would really forget all about it if you wretched Americans were not constantly reminding one. Sometimes it comes over me—how I should object to myself if I were not myself.’ said Miss Stackpole. but I like to hear what they have to say for themselves.’ ‘Mighty little. the little there is left of it. ‘I’ll invite you to the ceremony. ‘I like to see all sides. ‘Give up being a lord.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Oh. meeting her harsh inflexion with a very mellow one. However. by the way—not to be vainglorious. don’t you know? But that’s rather good. we’ll have a supper and a dance. one of these days. so do I.

you see one takes life easily. she looks so different.’ said Lord Warburton. Is her position inferior to yours?’ ‘We neither of us have any position to speak of. I see you want to escape me.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I should like to draw you out a little more.’ ‘No. she doesn’t look as if she had much bother. ‘But you’re always looking away. because she has none of the bother. ‘And then you know we’re very dull. I’m only looking for those despised potatoes. whatever else you may do. but she’s better off than I. Is she a Lady?’ ‘She’s a capital good girl.’ he 224 of 1056 . we can be dull when we try!’ ‘I should advise you to try something else. on the whole.’ ‘I don’t like the way you say that—as if you wanted to change the subject. You’re afraid of meeting my eye. I wish I had as little bother as that. I shouldn’t know what to talk to your sister about. Is that silver cross a badge?’ ‘A badge?’ ‘A sign of rank.’ ‘Ah. You do produce quiet people over here. ‘Oh yes.’ Henrietta continued. I don’t understand about her.’ Lord Warburton’s glance had wandered a good deal. Ah.’ ‘Yes. but at this it met the gaze of his neighbour.’ ‘Please explain about that young lady—your sister— then.

staring at its contents and saying nothing. ‘the women go in for those things.’ ‘It was the only way. and then he suddenly broke out: ‘I hoped you wouldn’t write to me that way. and I confess I don’t understand. The silver cross is worn by the eldest daughters of Viscounts.’ ‘What have I admitted?’ Isabel interrupted. turning slightly pale. and though she knew he had seen the pictures twenty times she complied without criticizing this pretext.’ said the girl. I could understand your disliking me.’ ‘If I could believe it of course I should let you alone.The Portrait of a Lady answered in a moment. ‘Do try and believe that. He walked slowly to the end of the gallery. 225 of 1056 . After luncheon he proposed to Isabel to come into the gallery and look at the pictures.’ Which was his harmless revenge for having occasionally had his credulity too easily engaged in America. But we can’t believe by willing it. ever since she sent him her letter she had felt particularly light of spirit. that I could understand well. Lord Warburton. Her conscience now was very easy. But that you should admit you do.

Will you kindly answer me a question?’ Isabel made no audible assent. and she cried out: ‘You’re mistaken! I don’t. ‘Do you prefer some one else?’ ‘That’s a question I’d rather not answer. ‘I should like very much to know it.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘You make me very unhappy.’ She said it in a tone that made his heart contract.’ ‘I’ll tell you some day when there’s more to show for it. leaning his elbows on his knees and staring at the floor.’ he said at 226 of 1056 . but he apparently saw in her eyes something that gave him courage to go on.The Portrait of a Lady ‘That you think me a good fellow. ‘I can’t even be glad of that. like a man in trouble. The bitterness touched her. you do then!’ her suitor murmured with bitterness. Lord Warburton. ‘I’m not sorry for that.’ He sat down on a bench. isn’t that it?’ She said nothing. doggedly. and that gives me a sense of injustice. and he went on: ‘You don’t seem to have any reason.’ ‘Excuse my saying that in the mean time I must doubt of it.’ ‘I have a reason.’ said Isabel. unceremoniously. it may help you to know how I feel.

however. Her eyes. throwing himself back against the wall. It’s that I can’t escape my fate. and the density of her dark braids. getting up. Isabel walked to the other side of the gallery and stood there showing him her charming back.The Portrait of a Lady last. they had suddenly been suffused with tears. ‘That reason that I wouldn’t tell you—I’ll tell it you after all. ‘for that would be an excuse. no answer to the question.’ ‘You don’t care what I think!’ he cried. and by this time she had brushed her tears away. In a moment he followed her. because I don’t understand them. but when she turned round her face was pale and the expression of her eyes strange. ‘An excuse? Must I excuse myself?’ He paid. and there was something so young and free in her movement that her very pliancy seemed to mock at him. saw nothing.’ She raised her eyebrows in surprise. ‘It’s all the same to you. ‘Is it my political opinions? Do you think I go too far?’ ‘I can’t object to your political opinions. her light slim figure. the length of her white neck as she bent her head. however. Another idea had come into his head. She stopped in front of a small picture as if for the purpose of examining it.’ 227 of 1056 .

’ her companion observed. ‘Do you call marrying me giving up?’ ‘Not in the usual sense. Why should not that be your fate as well as anything else?’ ‘Because it’s not. but you certainly would: that I must in candour admit!’ he exclaimed with an anxious laugh.’ said Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Your fate?’ ‘I should try to escape it if I were to marry you.’ ‘I don’t understand. ‘In marrying you I shall be trying to. And then she stopped. looking down with a deep frown. It’s not my fate to give up—I know it can’t be.’ said Isabel femininely. ‘I don’t think it presumptuous in me to suggest that you’ll gain more than you’ll lose. But it’s giving up other chances.’ ‘I don’t know whether you’d try to. ‘I know it’s not. her colour quickly coming back to her.’ Poor Lord Warburton stared. ‘I mustn’t—I can’t!’ cried the girl.’ ‘Other chances for what?’ ‘I don’t mean chances to marry. ‘I can’t escape unhappiness. an interrogative point in either eye. as if it were hopeless to attempt to make her meaning clear. 228 of 1056 . It’s getting—getting—getting a great deal.’ said Isabel.

‘I’ve always been intensely determined to be happy.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Well.’ he began to explain with the most considerate eagerness. ‘I don’t offer you any exoneration from life or from any chances or dangers whatever. pray? Heaven help me. it has none for me. and I’ve often believed I should be. But it comes over me every now and then that I can never be happy in any extraordinary way. I’ve told people that. From the usual chances and dangers. by separating myself.’ Lord Warburton broke into a smile that almost denoted hope. The common lot? Why. I wish I could. You shall separate from nothing whatever—not even from your friend Miss Stackpole. from what most people know and suffer. ‘Why. my dear Miss Archer. and I promise you that you shall have plenty of it. you can ask them.’ said Isabel. depend upon it I would! For what do you take me. not by turning away. if you’re bent on being miserable I don’t see why you should make me so.’ ‘By separating yourself from what?’ ‘From life. Whatever charms a life of misery may have for you. I’m not the Emperor of China! All I offer you is the chance of taking the common lot in a comfortable sort of way.’ 229 of 1056 .’ ‘I’m not bent on a life of misery. I’m devoted to the common lot! Strike an alliance with me.

I never. trying to smile and take advantage of this side-issue. for doing so. If I wanted my brother to do a thing he’d have to do it. ‘I never saw a person judge things on such theoretic grounds. ‘If I wanted to go he’d have to go. despising herself too. accompanied by Henrietta and by Ralph. Lord Warburton’s sister addressed him with a certain timidity and reminded him she ought to return home in time for tea. Miss Molyneux!’ said Henrietta Stackpole. ‘Well. 230 of 1056 . he was preoccupied.’ ‘Oh.’ Miss Molyneux answered with a quick. ‘Are we speaking of Miss Stackpole?’ his lordship asked impatiently. Warburton does everything one wants. as she was expecting company to partake of it. ‘How very many pictures you have!’ she went on. for she saw Miss Molyneux enter the gallery. Miss Molyneux—as if he had been Royalty—stood like a ladyin-waiting. He made no answer—apparently not having heard her. not a little. turning to Ralph. shy laugh.’ said Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady ‘She’d never approve of it.’ said Isabel with humility. and she turned away again.’ ‘Now I suppose you’re speaking of me. and with good reason.

‘Very good.’ ‘I’m sorry you’re going away.’ Miss Molyneux went on.’ said this young lady. I think it’s so nice. Henrietta appeared at once to fascinate and to frighten her. Download the free trial version.’ ‘I never do anything.’ ‘I’m afraid we have some people to tea.’ the young lady continued. I’m so very fond of pictures. I wish we had a gallery at Lockleigh. who appeared to know better what style of reflexion was acceptable to her.’ said Henrietta.’ ‘Oh. to Ralph. ‘But it’s really a bad way. ‘Your sister says you must.’ said Ralph. as if she were afraid Miss Stackpole would address her again. view. because they’re all put together. 231 of 1056 . In America the gentlemen obey the ladies. my dear. ‘They look a good many. ‘I wanted to get a great deal more out of you. We’ll go. persistently. Lord Warburton. ‘I wanted to see what Miss Molyneux would do. looking at her brother.’ Lord Warburton answered.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. and edit PDF. ‘It has rained of late so very often.’ said Ralph. ‘They’re so very pleasant when it rains. pictures are very convenient.’ ‘I’m not going away.’ ‘I hoped you would resist!’ Henrietta exclaimed. ‘Ah yes.’ said Miss Molyneux.

She kissed Miss Molyneux and then she said: ‘I’m afraid I can never come again.’ ‘You must come to Lockleigh again. the honour.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I suppose in your position it’s sufficient for you to exist!’ Miss Stackpole returned. to Isabel. the kindness. whom Lord Warburton found beside him. leaning against the rail before the picture with his hands in his pockets.’ ‘Oh. Isabel looked into her quiet eyes a moment. ‘I think that’s so very wrong of you.’ Lord Warburton watched this little passage.’ said Miss Molyneux.’ said Henrietta. ‘I should like 232 of 1056 . I’m so very sorry.’ said Miss Molyneux. ignoring this remark of Isabel’s friend. and for that moment seemed to see in their grey depths the reflexion of everything she had rejected in rejecting Lord Warburton—the peace. Ralph. had for the moment been watching him. very sweetly. ‘I should like to see you at home. then he turned away and stared at a picture. the possessions.’ ‘Never again?’ ‘I’m afraid I’m going away. ‘I should like very much to see you at home. a deep security and a great exclusion.

She won’t come to Lockleigh. When will you come?’ ‘Whenever Miss Archer will take me. ‘Would you make that remark to an English lady?’ she enquired with soft asperity. Lord Warburton stared. Henrietta straightened herself. and her large eyes expanded. ‘She won’t come. I know what she thinks of me. If Miss Archer won’t visit your place again it’s because she doesn’t want to take me. We’re thinking of going to London.’ ‘I shall be delighted to see you. Lord Warburton hesitated. I’m determined to get some satisfaction out of you. ‘Yes. all the same. but we’ll go and see you first.The Portrait of a Lady an hour’s talk with you. he had not been made acquainted with Miss Stackpole’s professional 233 of 1056 .’ ‘You’d be careful not to like her enough. she doesn’t like the place.’ Lord Warburton was at a loss.’ he added. if I liked her enough. You had better come alone. ‘but I’m certain not to be able to answer many of your questions.’ ‘If it depends upon Miss Archer I’m afraid you won’t get much.’ the proprietor of Lockleigh answered.’ ‘She told me it was lovely!’ said Henrietta. there are a great many questions I wish to ask you. and I suppose you think the same—that I oughtn’t to bring in individuals.

‘but for you it wasn’t necessary. You have been warned. ‘Miss Stackpole takes notes. I must say I never have had such a collection of had material!’ Henrietta declared. I suppose it’s natural to you. too. ‘There’s something the matter with you all.The Portrait of a Lady character and failed to catch her allusion. she sees through us all and she works us up. you’re as dismal as if you had got a bad cable.’ ‘Well.’ said Ralph in a low tone. anyway.’ ‘Well.’ ‘I hope not. ‘Miss Archer has been warning you!’ she therefore went on. ‘She’s a great satirist. no. ‘our talk had no such solemn character as that.’ said Lord Warburton brazenly.’ ‘You do see through us. ‘Warning me?’ ‘Isn’t that why she came off alone with you here—to put you on your guard?’ ‘Oh dear. addressing this young lady.’ said Miss Molyneux vaguely.’ Henrietta continued.’ Ralph soothingly explained. Miss Molyneux—she wouldn’t commit herself. And so. giving her a little intelligent nod as he led the 234 of 1056 . that’s just what I wanted to observe. Miss Stackpole. you’ve been on your guard—intensely. looking from Isabel to Lord Warburton and from this nobleman to his sister and to Ralph.

’ Isabel came behind these two. who had 235 of 1056 .’ said Isabel. ‘Is it true you’re going to London?’ he asked. had taken her arm.The Portrait of a Lady party out of the gallery. then he stopped and put out his hand. I’m going to Paris with my aunt. I hope.’ ‘And when shall you come back?’ ‘In a few days. ‘But some day or other. to walk beside her over the polished floor.’ ‘When. but probably for a very short time. Miss Molyneux. shall I see you again?’ ‘Not for a good while. before dinner.’ ‘Do you really hope it?’ ‘Very much. Miss Molyneux kissed her again.’ said Isabel. and she let the two depart.’ He went a few steps in silence. she was found by Mrs. Lord Warburton strolled on the other side with his hands behind him and his eyes lowered. For some moments he said nothing. in which apartment. ‘I believe it has been arranged.’ ‘Good-bye. ‘There’s something the matter with us all. then. ‘Good-bye. and then. After it. she retreated to her own room. Touchett. who decidedly liked her immensely. without rejoining Henrietta and Ralph.

after all.’ said that lady. One would think you were awfully pleased with yourself and had carried off a prize! I suppose that when you refuse an offer like Lord Warburton’s it’s because you expect to do something better. Touchett dispassionately asked. but I know you better.’ said Isabel. That’s the strange part of it: he has seen me but three or four times. ‘I may as well tell you.’ Isabel considered.’ ‘I’m not sure of that.’ ‘Why did you tell your uncle rather than me?’ Mrs. my uncle didn’t say that!’ cried Isabel. smiling still. especially when you give me that rather conceited look. smiling. ‘Because he knows Lord Warburton better. ‘Neither am I. ‘Relations? They’re hardly relations. Again the girl hesitated.’ ‘Ah.The Portrait of a Lady stopped on her way to the saloon. 236 of 1056 .’ ‘Yes. ‘that your uncle has informed me of your relations with Lord Warburton.

‘That’s what we’re going to London for. It was just the sort of plan. but it’s all the greater reason for making use of them.’ ‘I thought you disliked the English so much.’ 237 of 1056 . ‘I don’t care where she takes us to stay. she said.’ her aunt rejoined.’ ‘Should you have liked me to marry Lord Warburton?’ Isabel enquired. Touchett looked with little favour on the plan. that Miss Stackpole would be sure to suggest.’ ‘So I do.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 15 It had been arranged that the two young ladies should proceed to London under Ralph’s escort. though Mrs. ‘Of course I should.’ ‘I suppose that after a girl has refused an English lord she may do anything. and she enquired if the correspondent of the Interviewer was to take the party to stay at a boardinghouse. so long as there’s local colour. ‘After that one needn’t stand on trifles.’ said Isabel.

However. 238 of 1056 .’ ‘I’ll do whatever Ralph says is right.’ ‘Do you think Lord Warburton could make me any better than I am?’ the girl asked with some animation.’ ‘You did right to refuse him then.’ said Mrs. sparest voice. the next great offer you get.’ ‘His mother’s much obliged to you!’ this lady dryly laughed. I mean—I mean that I don’t love Lord Warburton enough to marry him. ‘though even if he had been I should still probably have taken up my residence in Florence. They upset me completely. ‘Your uncle’s not an English nobleman. Touchett in her smallest. Touchett. I hope you’ll manage to come up to your standard. Touchett.’ ‘You probably won’t be troubled with them if you adopt permanently the Bohemian manner of life. I hope very much I may have no more offers for the present.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Is that your idea of marriage?’ And Isabel ventured to add that her aunt appeared to her to have made very little use of Mr. ‘I’ve unbounded confidence in Ralph. ‘I don’t mean I’m too good to improve.’ Isabel returned.’ ‘We had better wait till the offer comes before we talk about it.’ said Mrs. I’ve promised Ralph not to criticize. ‘Only.

The Portrait of a Lady ‘It seems to me indeed she ought to feel it!’ Isabel irrepressibly answered. but Mrs. Ralph. against the liberty allowed to young persons beyond the seas. had fallen into gratuitous and exaggerated scruples. Ralph accompanied their visitors to town and established them at a quiet inn in a street that ran at right angles to Piccadilly. dull mansion which at this period of the year was shrouded in silence and brown holland. there was no one in the house to get them their meals. His first idea had been to take them to his father’s house in Winchester Square. and in her reaction. but he bethought himself that. Ralph had assured her that there would be no violation of decency in their paying a visit—the little party of three—to the sights of the metropolis. found quarters in Winchester Square. the cook being at Gardencourt. having a ‘den’ there of which he was very fond and being familiar with deeper fears than that of a cold kitchen. not in itself deplorable. on his side. who had Mr. a large. 239 of 1056 . she had completely lost her native tact on such points. Like many ladies of her country who had lived a long time in Europe. He availed himself largely indeed of the resources of Pratt’s Hotel. Touchett took a different view. and Pratt’s Hotel accordingly became their resting-place. beginning his day with an early visit to his fellow travellers.

Ralph turned up. after breakfast. As London wears in the month of September a face blank but for its smears of prior service.’ Henrietta answered. and that’s of no consequence.’ Ralph declared that for him the aristocracy left no void that Miss Stackpole herself didn’t fill. What is it you call them—the lower-middle class? They’re only the population of London. that there wasn’t a creature in town. When he went home at night to the empty house in 240 of 1056 . as he said. was obliged to remind his companion. to Miss Stackpole’s high derision. of course. It seems to me the place is about as full as it can be.The Portrait of a Lady Pratt in person. had a charm wrapped in them as a coloured gem might be wrapped in a dusty cloth. ‘I suppose you mean the aristocracy are absent. but three or four millions of people. and that a more contented man was nowhere at that moment to be found. in a large bulging white waistcoat. and the little party made out a scheme of entertainment for the day. ‘but I don’t think you could have a better proof that if they were absent altogether they wouldn’t be missed. There’s no one here. In this he spoke the truth. for the stale September days. to remove their dishcovers. in the huge half-empty town. who occasionally took an apologetic tone. the young man.

in the empty place. This hint of the supernatural perhaps had something to do with the fact that his imagination took a flight and that he remained in his chair a long time beyond the hour at which he should have been in bed. To think of Isabel could only be for him an idle pursuit. doing nothing. all of them very brown. he wandered into the big dusky dining-room. There was a ghostly presence as of dinners long since digested. He sat down in one of the armchairs.The Portrait of a Lady Winchester Square. and whenever he moved he roused a melancholy echo. the house was still. the big dark dining table twinkled here and there in the small candle-light. when he raised one of the windows of the dining-room to let in the air he heard the slow creak of the boots of a lone constable. of table-talk that had lost its actuality. and I maintain the phrase in the face of the fact that he thought at these moments of Isabel. The square was still. His own step. constituted the only illumination. some of the carpets had been raised. looked vague and incoherent. not even reading the evening paper. after a chain of hours with his comparatively ardent friends. His cousin had not yet 241 of 1056 . seemed loud and sonorous. leading to nothing and profiting little to any one. the pictures on the wall. after letting himself in. I say he did nothing. where the candle he took from the hall-table.

She asked more questions than he could answer. and launched brave theories. tourist-fashion. if she had come in search of local colour she found it everywhere. as to historic cause and social effect. she was not in her element. as she said herself. The party went more than once to the British Museum and to that brighter palace of art which reclaims for antique variety so large an area of a monotonous suburb. they looked at pictures both in public and private collections and sat on various occasions beneath the great trees in Kensington Gardens. that he was equally unable to accept or to refute. The truth was that. and London at large suffered from her vivid remembrance of the strong points of the American civic idea. the deeps and shallows of the metropolitan element.’ she remarked to Isabel at the National 242 of 1056 . Henrietta proved an indestructible sight-seer and a more lenient judge than Ralph had ventured to hope. emotions. conclusions.The Portrait of a Lady seemed to him so charming as during these days spent in sounding. ‘I’ve not a sympathy with inanimate objects. She had indeed many disappointments. Isabel was full of premises. they spent a morning in the Abbey and went on a penny-steamer to the Tower. but she made the best of its dingy dignities and only heaved an occasional sigh and uttered a desultory ‘Well!’ which led no further and lost itself in retrospect.

and edit PDF. that I had heard a great deal about him and had come to see for myself. Download the free trial version. view. where are your men and women of intellect?’ she enquired of Ralph. But I gather from what you say that this is not the custom here. ‘and tell the gentleman. and she continued to suffer from the meagreness of the glimpse that had as yet been vouchsafed to her of the inner life. ‘That’s one of them on the top of the column. a state of things which appeared to Miss Stackpole to indicate a deplorable want of enterprise. You seem to 243 of 1056 . you say— Lord Nelson? Was he a lord too? Wasn’t he high enough. standing in the middle of Trafalgar Square as if she had supposed this to be a place where she would naturally meet a few. that they had to stick him a hundred feet in the air? That’s the past—I don’t care about the past. whoever he might be. Landscapes by Turner and Assyrian bulls were a poor substitute for the literary dinner-parties at which she had hoped to meet the genius and renown of Great Britain. Gallery. ‘Where are your public men. because I don’t believe much in your future.’ she said. I won’t say of the future. I want to see some of the leading minds of the present.’ Poor Ralph had few leading minds among his acquaintance and rarely enjoyed the pleasure of button-holing a celebrity.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. ‘If I were on the other side I should call.

The incident that had preceded Isabel’s departure from Gardencourt left a painful trace in our young woman’s mind: when she felt again in her face.The Portrait of a Lady have plenty of meaningless customs. as she wandered through the great city with her ill-matched companions. Mixed with this imperfect pride. as from a recurrent wave. this was certainly true. though she went about with her guidebook and pencil and wrote a letter to the Interviewer about the Tower (in which she described the execution of Lady Jane Grey). the cold breath of her last suitor’s surprise. was a feeling of freedom which in itself was sweet and which. She could not have done less than what she did. had a sad sense of falling below her mission. When she walked in Kensington Gardens she stopped the children (mainly of the poorer sort) whom she saw playing on the grass. We are in advance. kissed them. I suppose I shall have to give up the social side altogether". certainly. Ralph noticed 244 of 1056 . But her necessity. occasionally throbbed into odd demonstrations. and she felt no desire to take credit for her conduct. had been as graceless as some physical act in a strained attitude. and Henrietta. she asked them their names and gave them sixpence and. all the same. when they were pretty. nevertheless. she could only muffle her head till the air cleared. but none of those that would help along.

universally informed and incoherently amused. laughed immoderately at everything Henrietta said. Touchett’s very bad. Naturally there’s not much going on there when there’s such a lot of illness about. and he had the house set in order as much as possible for their visit. of which Ralph had a considerable collection. walked round the limited enclosure several times with her and. smiling man of forty. wonderfully dressed. One afternoon. examined in her society the bric-abrac. at a dozen turns of their talk. Mr. Bantling. an old friend of Ralph’s who happened to be in town and for whom prompt commerce with Miss Stackpole appeared to have neither difficulty nor dread. you know. an amiable bachelor. There was another guest to meet them. I dare say you found it very quiet at Gardencourt. that his companions might pass the time. he invited them to tea in Winchester Square. the doctors have forbidden his being in England at her remarks upon the inner life. and he has only come back to take care of 245 of 1056 . he noticed everything she did. a stout. sleek. gave her several cups of tea.The Portrait of a Lady these quaint charities. when the host proposed they should go out into the square and pretend it was a fete-champetre. bounded responsive—as with a positive passion for argument. I see. ‘Oh. and afterwards.

she lives away from her husband. you know. Lady Pensil. The old man. I’m sure she’ll ask you down by return of post: she’s tremendously fond of distinguished people and writers. but to my certain knowledge he has organic disease so developed that you may depend upon it he’ll go. Then I believe Mr. I recommend you to go down and stay with my sister. I suppose you think a great deal of Byron in America. They call it gout. Bantling continued. It’s usually poetry. but I haven’t read everything she has written. expanding in the stimulating air of Miss 246 of 1056 . quite quickly. has half a dozen things the matter with him. she’s always getting up something or other and she’s always glad to have the sort of people who help her. in Bedfordshire. I’ll write to her tomorrow and I’m sure she’ll be delighted to ask you. She writes herself. I wonder they have people when they can do so little for them. I believe.’ Mr. and I don’t go in much for poetry—unless it’s Byron.The Portrait of a Lady his father. My sister’s just that sort of woman. in that extraordinary American way of yours. some day soon. you know. If you want a house where there’s always something going on. Touchett’s always squabbling with his wife. Of course that sort of thing makes a dreadfully dull house. I know just what you want—you want a house where they go in for theatricals and picnics and that sort of thing.

if your sister should ask 247 of 1056 . and she valued the opportunity he offered her. their own language. you know.’ In this manner Mr. you want to see some genuine English sport. I believe.The Portrait of a Lady Stackpole’s attention. You must get down to my sister’s in time for the theatricals. which. The Touchetts aren’t English at all. I know you’re very clever. a very agreeable man. they have their own habits. dazzling to Henrietta. bringing up his sequences promptly and changing his topic with an easy turn of hand. Of course you needn’t act if you don’t want to. Plain as she is she makes up awfully well—I will say for her. Henrietta thought her blooming. but she’s going to play the principal part. easy-voiced bachelor. although it had been peppered by the London soot. and I’m sure she’ll be glad to give you a part. My sister’s forty years old and has seven children. of her going to stay with Lady Pensil in Bedfordshire. their own food—some odd religion even. The old man thinks it’s wicked to hunt. ‘I don’t know but I would go. of their own. I’m sure you act well. ‘I understand what you want. I’m told. with his impressibility to feminine merit and his splendid range of suggestion. Bantling delivered himself while they strolled over the grass in Winchester Square. Yet he none the less gracefully kept in sight of the idea. invited the tread to linger.

but I dare say you won’t mind it. and she was sorry to be obliged to separate from Lady Pensil’s obliging brother.The Portrait of a Lady me. who had been travelling on the Continent and were now preparing to re-embark. and though the three ladies all talked at once they had not exhausted their store. Henrietta had had a long interview with them on the Piccadilly pavement. Delaware.’ ‘I don’t know but what she’d be too fine for me. What do you call the place she lives in—Bedfordshire?’ ‘She lives away in the northern corner of it. But it happened that she had met the day before. but it isn’t a bad one. I think it would be my duty. But what’s her rank?’ ‘Oh. What do you call her name?’ ‘Pensil.’ ‘I think one name’s as good as another. a convenient sort of rank. some friends whom she had not seen for a year: the Miss Climbers. It’s a tiresome country. You’re fine enough and you’re not too fine. I’ll try and run down while you’re there. in Piccadilly.’ All this was very pleasant to Miss Stackpole. It’s an odd name. she’s a baron’s wife. It had been agreed therefore that Henrietta should come and dine with them in their lodgings in Jermyn Street at six o’clock on 248 of 1056 . two ladies from Wilmington.

Bantling went on. Bantling. When it had been settled between Isabel and her friend that they should be reunited at some reputable hour at Pratt’s Hotel.’ 249 of 1056 .’ Mr.’ said Isabel. and she now bethought herself of this engagement.The Portrait of a Lady the morrow. Ralph remarked that the latter must have a cab. She couldn’t walk all the way to Jermyn Street. taking leave first of Ralph Touchett and Isabel. have I come to this?’ ‘There’s not the slightest need of your walking alone. She prepared to start for Jermyn Street. ‘I’ll get you a hansom if you’ll trust me. ‘Merciful powers. Henrietta.’ ‘I simply meant that you’d be late for dinner. who. ‘We might walk a little till we meet one.’ ‘You had better have a hansom. to spare you. ‘I should be greatly pleased to go with you. at the last. ‘I suppose you mean it’s improper for me to walk alone!’ Henrietta exclaimed. seated on garden chairs in another part of the enclosure. Bantling gaily interposed.’ Mr. were occupied—if the term may be used—with an exchange of amenities less pointed than the practical colloquy of Miss Stackpole and Mr. ‘Those poor ladies may easily believe that we refuse.’ Ralph returned.

The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t see why I shouldn’t trust him. the pavements were a vacant expanse. and. the wide quadrangle of dusky houses showed lights in none of the windows.’ Isabel obligingly answered. who. ‘but. we’ll walk with you till you find your cab.’ Ralph observed. the most vivid object within sight was the big red pillar-post on the southeast corner. ‘I don’t see what Mr. and take care you get me a good one. ‘Henrietta will ask him to get into the cab and go with her to Jermyn Street. Bantling promised to do his best. Bantling could do to you. over which a clear September twilight had now begun to gather. It was perfectly still. where the shutters and blinds were closed. He always spoke of Miss Stackpole as Henrietta. attracted by symptoms of abnormal animation in the interior.’ ‘Never mind. leaving the girl and her cousin together in the square. Mr. do you?’ Henrietta enquired of Isabel. if you like.’ Mr. ‘Very possibly. Come on. we’ll go alone. Bantling. 250 of 1056 . and the two took their departure. putting aside two small children from a neighbouring slum. poked their faces between the rusty rails of the enclosure.’ said his companion.

It may go far.’ ‘She has made a conquest. They would never really know each other. in which the limited landscape-gardening of the square took on a large and effective appearance.’ ‘Very likely again. what am I to do?’ Isabel asked. He has not the least idea what she really is. but Henrietta’s a simpler one still. Bantling. Isabel was briefly silent. and she has no just comprehension of Mr. pray. I’m very glad they’re such good friends. and if you permit it I’ll light a cigarette. ‘I call Henrietta a very brilliant woman.’ 251 of 1056 .’ ‘Yes. she won’t.’ ‘There’s no more usual basis of union than a mutual misunderstanding.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Or rather. ‘I don’t imagine that you’ll propose that you and I. but I don’t think it will go far. ‘He is a very simple organism. It’s very warm. there will be half an hour yet before dark. He thinks her a brilliant woman. But it ought not to be so difficult to understand Bob Bantling.’ ‘There’s no reason we shouldn’t stay here—if you don’t dislike it.’ said Ralph. looking about her through the fading light.’ he went on. for our amusement. And.’ Ralph added. no. shall drive about London in a hansom. ‘But Bantling will ask leave to get in.

’ ‘I suppose you’re tired of me. I propose at that hour to go back and partake of a simple and solitary repast—two poached eggs and a muffin—at Pratt’s Hotel. in the centre of the multitudinous town. the best exercise of it was to accept her decisions submissively—which indeed there was already an emotion in doing. This power he could exert but vaguely. ‘No. ‘Why won’t you let me dine with you?’ he demanded after a pause.’ said Isabel. in the thickening dusk. For the moment.’ ‘I shall be an hour hence. he liked immensely being alone with her. It would have given him extreme pleasure to be present in person at the modest little feast she had sketched. it made her seem to depend upon him and to be in his power. you’ll dine at your club.’ They had wandered back to their chairs in the centre of the square again. but in default of this he liked even being forbidden. ‘if you’ll amuse me till seven o’clock. ‘Because I don’t care for it. however.’ 252 of 1056 . and Ralph had lighted his cigarette.’ ‘Mayn’t I dine with you?’ Ralph asked. You see I have the gift of foreknowledge.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You may do what you please.

The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh. Caspar Goodwood had crossed to Paris.’ And Ralph lighted another cigarette and reflected that Isabel probably meant she had received news that Mr. But he said nothing more. and as she made no rejoinder they sat sometime in a stillness which seemed to contradict his promise of entertainment. since your future is seated beside you. and then he resumed. there were two or three very possible subjects. which made his question seem to himself silly as well as brutal. fair eyes. At last he spoke again. It seemed to him she was preoccupied. ‘You’ve a great many friends that I don’t know. ‘I promised just now to be very amusing. ‘Is your objection to my society this evening caused by your expectation of another visitor?’ She turned her head with a glance of her clear. There’s none of it here in London. Capital thing to have your future so handy. but you see I don’t 253 of 1056 . then.’ ‘Very good. I shall be delightful meanwhile.’ said Ralph. ‘Another visitor? What visitor should I have?’ He had none to suggest. You’ve a whole past from which I was perversely excluded. and he wondered what she was thinking about. After he had lighted his cigarette he puffed it a while. You must remember that my past is over there across the water.’ ‘You were reserved for my future.

‘and I’ll try to satisfy you.’ ‘I assure you I’m very serious. and in another ten minutes I shall begin to laugh. It’s a question I wish to ask.’ said Ralph.’ 254 of 1056 . because I’ve a kind of interest in the answer. ‘You do really ask a great deal.’ said Ralph.’ ‘Ask what you will. and the fact is there’s a good deal of temerity in one’s undertaking to amuse a person like you. It seems to me I’ve a right to ask it.’ ‘I don’t know what you mean. What do you care for my feeble attempts? You’ve grand ideas—you’ve a high standard in such matters. and now suddenly it seemed to her that she guessed his meaning.’ Isabel replied gently. and you do very well.’ ‘Well then. I hope you won’t mind my saying that Warburton has told me of something that has passed between you. I ought at least to bring in a band of music or a company of mountebanks.’ ‘One mountebank’s enough. Pray go on. But why should he speak to her of such things? He hesitated a little and then he continued: ‘There’s something I should like very much to say to you.The Portrait of a Lady come up to the mark. I ask nothing!’ ‘You accept nothing. She coloured.

‘Do you know how often he had seen me?’ she enquired. ‘Five or six times.’ ‘Pray. For some moments Isabel said nothing. not that. I suppose it was natural he should tell you.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create.’ ‘That’s to your glory. But he told me it was a neat refusal. Download the free trial version. He has some hope still. did he ask you to talk to me?’ ‘No.’ ‘I don’t believe he has any now. ‘Very good.’ ‘Did he show you the letter?’ asked Isabel with momentary loftiness. he’s such an honest man. he had just got a letter from you. ‘I’m very sorry for him then.’ ‘I have his leave to let you know he has done so. I was very sorry for him. view.’ ‘It’s not for that I say it. He sent me a line asking me to come and see him. ‘Still?’ ‘He had it a few days ago.’ said the girl. and edit PDF.’ said Ralph.’ Ralph repeated. then at last. Isabel suppressed a start. he sat looking at her open fan. He was very heavy-hearted. We’re old friends. and he was greatly disappointed. and I drove over to Lockleigh the day before he and his sister lunched with us. ‘By no means.’ 255 of 1056 . But he told me because he couldn’t help it.

‘If you’ve not been requested by Lord Warburton to argue with me. then you’re doing it disinterestedly—or for the love of argument.The Portrait of a Lady ‘What then do you say it for? Not to prove that poor Warburton’s state of mind’s superficial. I only wish to leave you alone.’ ‘I’m greatly obliged to you!’ cried Isabel with a slightly nervous laugh. I’m simply greatly interested in your own sentiments. because I’m pretty sure you don’t think that.’ Isabel certainly was unable to say she thought it but presently she said something else.’ Ralph went on while she listened to him with quickened 256 of 1056 .’ ‘I’ve no wish to argue with you at all. ‘Of course you mean that I’m meddling in what doesn’t concern me. But why shouldn’t I speak to you of this matter without annoying you or embarrassing myself? What’s the use of being your cousin if I can’t have a few privileges? What’s the use of adoring you without hope of a reward if I can’t have a few compensations? What’s the use of being ill and disabled and restricted to mere spectatorship at the game of life if I really can’t see the show when I’ve paid so much for my ticket? Tell me this.

and his wife would be thought a superior being.’ said Ralph. then answered with a question of her own. It’s really nothing. as a man. And then he’s what they call here no end of a swell. He unites the intrinsic and the extrinsic advantages. Besides. I consider he has hardly a fault.’ Isabel watched her cousin as to see how far he would go.’ ‘That’s ingenious rather than candid.The Portrait of a Lady attention. He has immense possessions. I’m not perfect myself. ‘What had you in mind when you refused Lord Warburton?’ ‘What had I in mind?’ ‘What was the logic—the view of your situation—that dictated so remarkable an act?’ ‘I didn’t wish to marry him—if that’s logic. ‘As a fact you think nothing in the world too perfect for you. ‘I refused him because he was too perfect then. ‘Why do you call it a remarkable act? That’s what your mother thinks too.’ ‘No.’ ‘Do you think I’m so good?’ 257 of 1056 . and he’s too good for me. you know. What was it you said to yourself? You certainly said more than that?’ Isabel reflected a moment. ‘Warburton’s such a thorough good sort. that’s not logic—and I knew that before. his perfection would irritate me.

but you’re exacting. I think I said that as regards that position he was rather a sceptic.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No. would have managed to do with Warburton.’ 258 of 1056 . the things I spoke of: they were simply peculiarities of his position. You’re evidently disappointed.’ ‘I don’t wish to know.’ Isabel added. and I’m not conscious of any mission of that sort. without the excuse of thinking yourself good. Nineteen women out of twenty.’ ‘I think not. I don’t understand the matter.’ said Isabel. It would have been in your power to make him a believer. for they were not faults. Perhaps you don’t know how he has been stalked. But it seems to me. ‘You’d have liked me to make such a marriage. I don’t pretend to advise you. looking at her cousin with rueful gentleness.with the deepest interest. and I content myself with watching you. I’m absolutely without a wish on the subject. ‘I hope that what I said then had no weight with you. even of the most exacting sort. all the same.’ Ralph smokingly considered. If I had known he wished to marry you I’d never have alluded to them. however. ‘that one day when we talked of him you mentioned odd things in him.’ ‘Not in the least.

But relatively speaking it would be a little prosaic. I shall not see all of it. ‘I wish I could be as interesting to myself as I am to you!’ ‘There you’re not candid again.The Portrait of a Lady She gave rather a conscious sigh. I’m glad for myself. I should kill the goose that supplies me with the material of my inimitable omelettes. but I shall probably see the most interesting years.’ ‘Are you thinking of proposing to me?’ ‘By no means. You know I’m extremely fond of the 259 of 1056 . Of course if you were to marry our friend you’d still have a career—a very decent. it would be wanting in the unexpected. What I mean is that I shall have the thrill of seeing what a young lady does who won’t marry Lord Warburton. there will be plenty of spectators! We shall hang on the rest of your career. ‘that if you’ve really given Warburton his final answer I’m rather glad it has been what it was.’ said Isabel. in fact a very brilliant one. you’re extremely interesting to yourself. ‘Ah. I don’t mean I’m glad for you. Do you know. It would be definitely marked out in advance.’ said Ralph. and still less of course for him. I use that animal as the symbol of my insane illusions. From the point of view I speak of that would be fatal.’ ‘That’s what your mother counts upon too. however.

‘You’re the most charming of polygons!’ her companion broke out. ‘but I do so well enough to be able to say that if you look for grand examples of anything from me I shall disappoint you. he became grave. and now that you’ve kept the game in your hands I depend on your giving us some grand example of it. At a glance from his companion. At last she said abruptly: ‘I don’t see what harm there is in my wishing not to tie myself. There are other things a woman can do.’ ‘You’ll do so only by disappointing yourself—and that will go hard with you!’ To this she made no direct reply.’ said Isabel. But you’re of course so many-sided.’ ‘If one’s two-sided it’s enough.’ said Isabel. ‘I don’t think I want to see it as the young men want to see it. however. as the young men say.’ ‘There’s nothing she can do so well.’ ‘I don’t understand you very well. there was an amount of truth in it that would bear consideration.’ 260 of 1056 . and to prove it went on: ‘You want to see life—you’ll be hanged if you don’t. But I do want to look about me.’ ‘You want to drain the cup of experience.The Portrait of a Lady unexpected. I don’t want to begin life by marrying.

The Portrait of a Lady ‘No.’ 261 of 1056 . and they exchanged a gaze that was full on either side. As he remained there she stopped.’ Ralph remarked. The other day when I asked her if she wished to marry she said: ‘Not till I’ve seen Europe!’ I too don’t wish to marry till I’ve seen Europe. It’s a poisoned drink! I only want to see for myself.’ ‘It seems to me I’ve told you very little.’ She rose from her place. ‘and I must go home. that would be worse than marrying Lord Warburton. ‘I don’t think that if one’s a sentient being one can make the distinction.’ ‘You evidently expect a crowned head will be struck with you. ‘You’ve answered my question. but Ralph only sat still and looked at her. ‘I never said that.’ Her silvery eyes shone a moment in the dusk. But it’s getting very dark. I’m greatly obliged to you.’ he said at last. ‘You’ve told me what I wanted. of utterances too vague for words. but not to feel.’ ‘You want to see.’ Isabel continued.’ ‘You’ve told me the great thing: that the world interests you and that you want to throw yourself into it. but especially on Ralph’s. I’m a good deal like Henrietta. I don’t wish to touch the cup of experience.’ ‘No.

’ she answered. and as they turned toward a neighbouring street in which this quest might avail he asked her again if he mightn’t see her safely to the inn. standing a moment at the door.’ he said. ‘No. ‘women rarely boast of their courage. You’ve a great deal. but not more.’ The cab was found.’ he said.’ ‘Men have it to boast of! ‘Women have it too.’ ‘Enough to go home in a cab to Pratt’s Hotel.’ Ralph slowly rose from his seat and they walked together to the gate of the square. and after they had passed out he fastened it. and he helped her into it. ‘But it’s worse when they remember it!’ 262 of 1056 . It’s so fine!’ ‘I don’t know what you’re trying to fasten upon me. Don’t repudiate it. ‘When people forget I’m a poor creature I’m often incommoded. ‘We’ll find your cab. you must go home and go to bed. Men do so with a certain frequency.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I think you meant it. Women are not like men.’ he said. ‘you’re very tired. ‘By no means. for I’m not in the least an adventurous spirit.’ Ralph unlocked the gate.

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 16 She had had no hidden motive in wishing him not to take her home. and the independent spirit of the American girl whom extravagance of aid places in an attitude that she ends by finding ‘affected’ had made her decide that for these few hours she must suffice to herself. Suddenly the well-muffled knuckle of the waiter was 263 of 1056 . it simply struck her that for some days past she had consumed an inordinate quantity of his time. It was a luxury she could always command at home and she had wittingly missed it. That evening. Seated toward nine o’clock in the dim illumination of Pratt’s Hotel and trying with the aid of two tall candles to lose herself in a volume she had brought from Gardencourt. she succeeded only to the extent of reading other words than those printed on the page—words that Ralph had spoken to her that afternoon. She had moreover a great fondness for intervals of solitude. an incident occurred which—had there been a critic to note it—would have taken all colour from the theory that the wish to be quite by herself had caused her to dispense with her cousin’s attendance. however. which since her arrival in England had been but meagrely met.

’ ‘Where did she see you—to tell you that?’ 264 of 1056 . ma’am?’ he asked with a slightly encouraging inflexion. which presently gave way to his exhibition. When this memento had offered to her fixed sight the name of Mr. Caspar Goodwood she let the man stand before her without signifying her wishes. and waited for him not so much smoothing her hair as girding her spirit. but saying nothing till the servant had left the room.The Portrait of a Lady applied to the door. of the card of a visitor. Caspar Goodwood was accordingly the next moment shaking hands with her. ‘She told me you would probably be at home alone this evening and would be willing to see me. full. ‘Shall I show the gentleman up. ‘Why didn’t you answer my letter?’ he then asked in a quick. ‘He may come in. ‘How did you know I was here?’ ‘Miss Stackpole let me know.’ she said at last. even as a glorious trophy. slightly peremptory tone—the tone of a man whose questions were habitually pointed and who was capable of much insistence. Isabel hesitated still and while she hesitated glanced at the mirror. She answered by a ready question.’ said Caspar Goodwood.

she wrote to me. I don’t like such surprises.’ ‘It was apparently repugnant to you even to write to me.’ ‘I suppose I’m not a model either—of those virtues or of any others.’ ‘Do you call this meeting? I hoped I shouldn’t see you. but she took a different turn. the sense of Henrietta Stackpole’s treachery. was strong within her. Isabel made no reply. or at least of contention.’ As Isabel looked at him it seemed to her that his jaw had never been more square. ‘Henrietta’s certainly not a model of all the delicacies!’ she exclaimed with bitterness: ‘It was a great liberty to take. In so big a place as London it seemed very possible. The fault’s mine as much as hers.The Portrait of a Lady ‘She didn’t see me. ‘No. it’s not your fault 265 of 1056 . ‘Henrietta never told me she was writing to you. ‘This is not kind of her.’ her visitor went on.’ ‘Is it so disagreeable to you to see me?’ asked the young man. ‘I didn’t expect it. it was natural we should meet.’ she said at last. This might have displeased her. they stood there with an air of defiance. neither had sat down.’ Isabel was silent. as she momentarily qualified it.’ ‘But you knew I was in town.

then he lowered them and attached them to a spot in the carpet as if he were making a strong effort to say nothing but what he ought.’ Isabel said. ‘I’ve been hoping every day for an answer to my letter. mayn’t I stay?’ ‘You may sit down. and though little desirous to flaunt it in his face she could 266 of 1056 . while her visitor took the first place that offered. and he was acute enough to see that an uncompromising exhibition of his strength would only throw the falsity of his position into relief. He was a strong man in the wrong.’ ‘It was indeed!’ cried Caspar Goodwood with a voluntary laugh.’ She went back to her chair again. Isabel was not incapable of tasting any advantage of position over a person of this quality. certainly.The Portrait of a Lady so much as hers. for you. ‘I thought it the best thing. But my silence was an intention. I suppose.’ He sat with his eyes fixed on hers while she spoke. I could as easily have written you four pages as one. in the manner of a man accustomed to pay little thought to that sort of furtherance.’ ‘It wasn’t the trouble of writing that prevented me. at any rate. You might have written me a few lines. ‘And now that I’ve come. What you’ve done was inevitable.

Her eyes. view. I can imagine that at the end of ten years we might have a very pleasant correspondence.’ ‘I didn’t say I hoped never to hear from you. Caspar Goodwood raised his eyes to her own again. for ten years.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create.’ She looked away while she spoke these words. I know that. ‘Not for five years then.’ said Isabel. ‘You said you hoped never to hear from me again. at last came back to him. Download the free trial version. It’s the same thing. knowing them of so much less earnest a cast than the countenance of her listener. just as he said very irrelevantly: ‘Are you enjoying your visit to your uncle?’ 267 of 1056 . and edit PDF. twenty years. enjoy being able to say ‘You know you oughtn’t to have written to me yourself!’ and to say it with an air of triumph. I shall have matured my epistolary style. they seemed to shine through the vizard of a helmet. I warned you that you should hear very soon.’ ‘Do you find it so? It seems to me there’s a great difference. He had a strong sense of justice and was ready any day in the year—over and above this—to argue the question of his rights. But I never accepted any such rule as my own. however.

’ It wasn’t certainly as if his nature had been soft. who would grasp at everything of every sort 268 of 1056 . as one might do from a man who had barred the way less sturdily—this. and from the first of her acquaintance with him. not in any way. but then she broke out. you don’t at all delight me. just now. in dealing with Caspar Goodwood. and of her having to defend herself against a certain air that he had of knowing better what was good for her than she knew herself. and the worst is that your putting it to the proof in this manner is quite unnecessary.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Very much indeed.’ ‘You’ve no right to talk of losing what’s not yours. she had recognized the fact that perfect frankness was her best weapon. ‘What good do you expect to get by insisting? ‘The good of not losing you. To attempt to spare his sensibility or to escape from him edgewise. you don’t fit in.’ She dropped.’ ‘I disgust you very much. ‘Yes. And even from your own point of view. so that pin-pricks would draw blood from it.’ said Caspar Goodwood gloomily.’ Isabel added. but as if to set it well before himself. ‘you ought to know when to let one alone. so that he might endeavour to act with his eyes on it. not as if to provoke her to compassion for a man conscious of this blighting fact.

‘I can’t reconcile myself to it either. himself. If I should cease to think of you at all for a prescribed time. armed essentially for aggression.’ he simply said. ‘I can’t reconcile myself to that.’ ‘I see. and he might always be trusted to dress his wounds.’ ‘Indefinitely is more than I ask. 269 of 1056 . It was not that he had not susceptibilities. but his passive surface.’ said the young man. was large and hard. There was a dangerous liberality about it. I should find I could keep it up indefinitely. to her old sense that he was naturally plated and steeled.’ ‘You know that what you ask is impossible. even for her measure of possible pangs and aches in him. so far as they required it. If you’d only try to banish me from your mind for a few months we should be on good terms again. as well as his active. and it’s not the state of things that ought to exist between us. for she felt how open it was to him to make the point that he had not always disgusted her. She came back. was wasted agility.The Portrait of a Lady that one might give him. It’s more even than I should like. taking his adjective for granted in a manner she found irritating.

’ ‘There’s a good deal in that". when it involves a great sacrifice.’ he went on. only leave me alone. If one’s strong one loves only the more strongly.’ 270 of 1056 .’ ‘And what will be my reward?’ ‘Do you need a reward for an act of generosity?’ ‘Yes. and indeed our young lady felt the force of it—felt it thrown off. for a year or two. ‘I’m capable of nothing with regard to you. ‘And what shall I gain by that?’ her friend asked with no sign of wincing. ‘but just of being infernally in love with you. into the vast of truth and poetry. ‘You’re strong for everything else.’ ‘Until when?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Which do you mean? Between one year and two there’s all the difference in the world. ‘Think of me or not. But she promptly came round. ‘You’ll have obliged me greatly.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Aren’t you capable of making a calculated effort?’ she demanded. as practically a bait to her imagination. why shouldn’t you be strong for that?’ ‘An effort calculated for what?’ And then as she hung fire.’ ‘Call it two then.’ said Isabel with a studied effect of eagerness. as you find most possible.

If you make the sacrifice you’ll have all my admiration. When will you marry me? That’s the only question. she could see her sharpness had at last penetrated. ‘I only want to be gentle—to be thoroughly kind. as much as you can be. ‘the strong man in pain’ was one of the categories of the human appeal.’ ‘Never—if you go on making me feel only as I feel at present. A deep flush overspread his face. what did she know?—for her. ‘Why do you make me say such things to you?’ she cried in a trembling voice. This immediately had a value—classic.’ ‘What do I gain then by not trying to make you feel otherwise?’ ‘You’ll gain quite as much as by worrying me to death!’ Caspar Goodwood bent his eyes again and gazed a while into the crown of his hat. you’ve 271 of 1056 . Men don’t understand such things. I know you’re considerate. with nothing to show for it. redeeming. we have each to judge for ourselves. little charm as he might exert in the given case. It’s not delightful to me to feel people care for me and yet to have to try and reason them out of it. I think others also ought to be considerate.’ ‘I don’t care a cent for your admiration—not one straw.The Portrait of a Lady ‘There’s no generosity without some sacrifice. romantic.

’ he heavily said. ‘Do you think that a generous charge?’ ‘Why not? Plenty of men will try to make you. I shall probably never do it—no.’ ‘You’ll marry some one else. and it was not until some time after she had ceased speaking that he raised them.The Portrait of a Lady good reasons for what you do. or to talk about it at all now.’ he brought out at last. I’ve a perfect right to feel that way. But I really don’t want to marry. in these situations. I shall do no harm. as sure as I sit here. lovely eagerness in Isabel’s face threw some confusion into his attempt to analyze her words. But try me some day. it passes. It’s not my fault.’ Caspar Goodwood declared. I won’t say that I shall always remain your friend. ‘I hate to lose sight of you!’ ‘Never fear. had kept his eyes fixed upon the name of his hatter.I’ll leave you alone. never. I believe. When he did so the sight of a rosy.’ Caspar Goodwood. ‘Only. because when women say that. ‘I’ll go home—I’ll go to-morrow. to urge her against her will. and it’s no kindness to a woman to press her so hard. I can’t marry you simply to please you. during this speech.’ 272 of 1056 . If I give you pain I can only say I’m very sorry. for a sort of mockery.

‘No—I don’t.’ ‘I know you did.’ said Caspar Goodwood. Do you accuse me of lying to shake you off? You say very delicate things. Have it as you please. and I like your ‘almost certainly’! I put no faith in what you say. I shall try to console myself with that. that’s all that would be wanting!’ ‘You may perhaps even believe you’re safe—from wishing to be.’ ‘Thank you very much.’ ‘I don’t know. no doubt.’ ‘Don’t you indeed? I’m after all very much afraid of you. however. ‘that my keeping you in sight would prevent it.’ ‘Why should I not say that? You’ve given me no pledge of anything at all. You’ll be sure to take no one who isn’t dazzling. The most dazzling of all will make straight for you.’ ‘No. We’ll put it that I’m not safe. Do you think I’m so very easily pleased?’ she asked suddenly.’ 273 of 1056 . and if there were only one it would be enough.’ the young man went on as if preparing himself for the worst. ‘Very well then. changing her tone. But you’re not.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I told you just now that I don’t wish to marry and that I almost certainly never shall. But there are a certain number of very dazzling men in the world.

you ought to marry!’ she said. ‘I refused a proposal of marriage last week. ‘Oh.’ And she paused a moment. and after a moment she felt the need to right herself.’ 274 of 1056 . to me. when you have. ‘I shouldn’t be an easy victim—I’ve proved it.The Portrait of a Lady ‘If you mean by dazzling brilliantly clever. you’d teach me!’ She looked at him a moment.’ Isabel said—‘and I can’t imagine what else you mean—I don’t need the aid of a clever man to teach me how to live. perfectly. He oughtn’t to stride about lean and hungry.’ ‘Oh. ‘You do me great injustice—you say what you don’t know!’ she broke out. The easiest way to do it was to place him where she had been. then with a quick smile. I can find it out for myself. and it is not on record that her motive for discharging such a shaft had been of the clearest.’ ‘Find out how to live alone? I wish that. ‘God forgive you!’ he murmured between his teeth as he turned away. Her accent had put her slightly in the wrong. He might be pardoned if for an instant this exclamation seemed to him to sound the infernal note.’ ‘I’ve proved it to others as well.a dazzling one. however—she certainly felt that for him. what they call—no doubt.

now she had begun.’ 275 of 1056 . he’s an Englishman.’ said the girl. the satisfaction of speaking it out and doing herself justice took possession of her.’ said Caspar grimly. those people? They’re not of my humanity. ‘Is he an Englishman?’ ‘He’s an English nobleman.’ ‘You’re very angry. it had everything to recommend it.’ said the young man gravely. and I don’t care what becomes of them.’ said Isabel. Her visitor received this announcement at first in silence. ‘Why not—since I declined his offer absolutely?’ ‘That doesn’t make him my companion.’ Isabel had not proposed to herself to tell this story. but at last said: ‘I’m glad he’s disappointed. but.’ ‘And pray isn’t an Englishman a human being?’ Isabel asked. ‘I was offered a great position and a great fortune—by a person whom I like extremely.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I’m very glad to hear it. as you have companions in misfortune. ‘We’ve discussed this matter quite enough. make the best of it.’ ‘Well then. Besides.’ ‘I don’t call him a companion. ‘It was a proposal many girls would have accepted.’ Caspar watched her with intense interest. ‘Oh.

She had virtually requested him to go—he knew that. and he had crossed the sea all to wring from her some scrap of a vow. I’m very angry. Presently she left the window and stood again before him.’ cried the young man.’ ‘Ah.’ 276 of 1056 . She was too nursed a need to be easily renounced. calling it a ‘little’ is a poor account of it.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh yes. If the knowledge of what I feel for you had any weight with you at all. I’m sorry I told you—since it matters so little to you.’ said Isabel. For some time neither of these young persons spoke. ‘if you were thinking of me when you did it!’ And then he paused with the fear that she might contradict so happy a thought. ‘A little? I don’t understand. but at the risk of making himself odious he kept his ground. where a turbid gaslight alone represented social animation. I plead guilty to that!’ She turned away from him. ‘You do me very little justice—after my telling you what I told you just now. walked to the open window and stood a moment looking into the dusky void of the street. Caspar lingered near the chimney-piece with eyes gloomily attached. ‘I was thinking of you a little.

The Portrait of a Lady

Isabel shook her head as if to carry off a blunder. ‘I’ve refused a most kind, noble gentleman. Make the most of that.’ ‘I thank you then,’ said Caspar Goodwood gravely. ‘I thank you immensely.’ ‘And now you had better go home.’ ‘May I not see you again?’ he asked. ‘I think it’s better not. You’ll be sure to talk of this, and you see it leads to nothing.’ ‘I promise you not to say a word that will annoy you.’ Isabel reflected and then answered: ‘I return in a day or two to my uncle’s, and I can’t propose to you to come there. It would be too inconsistent.’ Caspar Goodwood, on his side, considered. ‘You must do me justice too. I received an invitation to your uncle’s more than a week ago, and I declined it.’ She betrayed surprise. ‘From whom was your invitation?’ ‘From Mr. Ralph Touchett, whom I suppose to be your cousin. I declined it because I had not your authorization to accept it. The suggestion that Mr. Touchett should invite me appeared to have come from Miss Stackpole.’

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‘It certainly never did from me. Henrietta really goes very far,’ Isabel added. ‘Don’t be too hard on her—that touches me.’ ‘No; if you declined you did quite right, and I thank you for it.’ And she gave a little shudder of dismay at the thought that Lord Warburton and Mr. Goodwood might have met at Gardencourt: it would have been so awkward for Lord Warburton. ‘When you leave your uncle where do you go?’ her companion asked. ‘I go abroad with my aunt—to Florence and other places.’ The serenity of this announcement struck a chill to the young man’s heart; he seemed to see her whirled away into circles from which he was inexorably excluded. Nevertheless he went on quickly with his questions. ‘And when shall you come back to America?’ ‘Perhaps not for a long time. I’m very happy here.’ ‘Do you mean to give up your country?’ ‘Don’t be an infant!’ ‘Well, you’ll be out of my sight indeed!’ said Caspar Goodwood.

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‘I don’t know,’ she answered rather grandly. ‘The world—with all these places so arranged and so touching each other—comes to strike one as rather small.’ ‘It’s a sight too big for me!’ Caspar exclaimed with a simplicity our young lady might have found touching if her face had not been set against concessions. This attitude was part of a system, a theory, that she had lately embraced, and to be thorough she said after a moment: ‘Don’t think me unkind if I say it’s just that— being out of your sight—that I like. If you were in the same place I should feel you were watching me, and I don’t like that—I like my liberty too much. If there’s a thing in the world I’m fond of,’ she went on with a slight recurrence of grandeur, ‘it’s my personal independence.’ But whatever there might be of the too superior in this speech moved Caspar Goodwood’s admiration; there was nothing he winced at in the large air of it. He had never supposed she hadn’t wings and the need of beautiful free movements—he wasn’t, with his own long arms and strides, afraid of any force in her. Isabel’s words, if they had been meant to shock him, failed of the mark and only made him smile with the sense that here was common ground. ‘Who would wish less to curtail your liberty than I? What can give me greater pleasure than to see you 279 of 1056

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perfectly independent—doing whatever you like? It’s to make you independent that I want to marry you. ‘That’s a beautiful sophism,’ said the girl with a smile more beautiful still. ‘An ummarried woman—a girl of your age—isn’t independent. There are all sorts of things she can’t do. She’s hampered at every step.’ ‘That’s as she looks at the question,’ Isabel answered with much spirit. not in my first youth—I can do what I choose—I belong quite to the independent class. I’ve neither father nor mother; I’m poor and of a serious disposition; I’m not pretty. I therefore am not bound to be timid and conventional; indeed I can’t afford such luxuries. Besides, I try to judge things for myself; to judge wrong, I think, is more honourable than not to judge at all. I don’t wish to be a mere sheep in the flock; I wish to choose my fate and know something of human affairs beyond what other people think it compatible with propriety to tell me.’ She paused a moment, but not long enough for her companion to reply. He was apparently on the point of doing so when she went on: ‘Let me say this to you, Mr. Goodwood. You’re so kind as to speak of being afraid of my marrying. If you should hear a rumour that I’m on the point of doing so—girls are liable to have 280 of 1056

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such things said about them—remember what I have told you about my love of liberty and venture to doubt it.’ There was something passionately positive in the tone in which she gave him this advice, and he saw a shining candour in her eyes that helped him to believe her. On the whole he felt reassured, and you might have perceived it by the manner in which he said, quite eagerly: ‘You want simply to travel for two years? I’m quite willing to wait two years, and you may do what you like in the interval. If that’s all you want, pray say so. I don’t want you to be conventional; do I strike you as conventional myself? Do you want to improve your mind? Your mind’s quite good enough for me; but if it interests you to wander about a while and see different countries I shall be delighted to help you in any way in my power.’ ‘You’re very generous; that’s nothing new to me. The best way to help me will be to put as many hundred miles of sea between us as possible.’ ‘One would think you were going to commit some atrocity!’ said Caspar Goodwood. ‘Perhaps I am. I wish to be free even to do that if the fancy takes me.’ ‘Well then,’ he said slowly, ‘I’ll go home.’ And he put out his hand, trying to look contented and confident. 281 of 1056

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Isabel’s confidence in him, however, was greater than any he could feel in her. Not that he thought her capable of committing an atrocity; but, turn it over as he would, there was something ominous in the way she reserved her option. As she took his hand she felt a great respect for him; she knew how much he cared for her and she thought him magnanimous. They stood so for a moment, looking at each other, united by a hand-clasp which was not merely passive on her side. ‘That’s right,’ she said very kindly, almost tenderly. ‘You’ll lose nothing by being a reasonable man.’ ‘But I’ll come back, wherever you are, two years hence,’ he returned with characteristic grimness. We have seen that our young lady was inconsequent, and at this she suddenly changed her note. ‘Ah, remember, I promise nothing- absolutely nothing!’ Then more softly, as if to help him to leave her: ‘And remember too that I shall not be an easy victim!’ ‘You’ll get very sick of your independence.’ ‘Perhaps I shall; it’s even very probable. When that day comes I shall be very glad to see you.’ She had laid her hand on the knob of the door that led into her room, and she waited a moment to see whether her visitor would not take his departure. But he appeared 282 of 1056

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unable to move; there was still an immense unwillingness in his attitude and a sore remonstrance in his eyes. ‘I must leave you now,’ said Isabel; and she opened the door and passed into the other room. This apartment was dark, but the darkness was tempered by a vague radiance sent up through the window from the court of the hotel, and Isabel could make out the masses of the furniture, the dim shining of the mirror and the looming of the big four-posted bed. She stood still a moment, listening, and at last she heard Caspar Goodwood walk out of the sitting-room and close the door behind him. She stood still a little longer, and then, by an irresistible impulse, dropped on her knees before her bed and hid her face in her arms.

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Chapter 17
She was not praying; she was trembling—trembling all over. Vibration was easy to her, was in fact too constant with her, and she found herself now humming like a smitten harp. She only asked, however, to put on the cover, to case herself again in brown holland, but she wished to resist her excitement, and the attitude of devotion, which she kept for some time, seemed to help her to be still. She intensely rejoiced that Caspar Goodwood was gone; there was something in having thus got rid of him that was like the payment, for a stamped receipt, of some debt too long on her mind. As she felt the glad relief she bowed her head a little lower; the sense was there, throbbing in her heart; it was part of her emotion, but it was a thing to be ashamed of—it was profane and out of place. It was not for some ten minutes that she rose from her knees, and even when she came back to the sitting-room her tremor had not quite subsided. It had had, verily, two causes: part of it was to be accounted for by her long discussion with Mr. Goodwood, but it might be feared that the rest was simply the enjoyment she found in the exercise of her power. She sat down in the same

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chair again and took up her book, but without going through the form of opening the volume. She leaned back, with that low, soft, aspiring murmur with which she often uttered her response to accidents of which the brighter side was not superficially obvious, and yielded to the satisfaction of having refused two ardent suitors in a fortnight. That love of liberty of which she had given Caspar Goodwood so bold a sketch was as yet almost exclusively theoretic; she had not been able to indulge it on a large scale. But it appeared to her she had done something; she had tasted of the delight, if not of battle, at least of victory; she had done what was truest to her plan. In the glow of this consciousness the image of Mr. Goodwood taking his sad walk homeward through the dingy town presented itself with a certain reproachful force; so that, as at the same moment the door of the room was opened, she rose with an apprehension that he had come back. But it was only Henrietta Stackpole returning from her dinner. Miss Stackpole immediately saw that our young lady had been ‘through’ something, and indeed the discovery demanded no great penetration. She went straight up to her friend, who received her without a greeting. Isabel’s elation in having sent Caspar Goodwood back to America 285 of 1056

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presupposed her being in a manner glad he had come to see her; but at the same time she perfectly remembered Henrietta had had no right to set a trap for her. ‘Has he been here, dear?’ the latter yearningly asked. Isabel turned away and for some moments answered nothing. ‘You acted very wrongly,’ she declared at last. ‘I acted for the best. I only hope you acted as well.’ ‘You’re not the judge. I can’t trust you,’ said Isabel. This declaration was unflattering, but Henrietta was much too unselfish to heed the charge it conveyed; she cared only for what it intimated with regard to her friend. ‘Isabel Archer,’ she observed with equal abruptness and solemnity, ‘if you marry one of these people I’ll never speak to you again!’ ‘Before making so terrible a threat you had better wait till I’m asked,’ Isabel replied. Never having said a word to Miss Stackpole about Lord Warburton’s overtures, she had now no impulse whatever to justify herself to Henrietta by telling her that she had refused that nobleman. ‘Oh, you’ll be asked quick enough, once you get off on the Continent. Annie Climber was asked three times in Italy—poor plain little Annie.’ ‘Well, if Annie Climber wasn’t captured why should I be?’ 286 of 1056

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‘I don’t believe Annie was pressed; but you’ll be.’ ‘That’s a flattering conviction,’ said Isabel without alarm. ‘I don’t flatter you, Isabel, I tell you the truth!’ cried her friend. ‘I hope you don’t mean to tell me that you didn’t give Mr. Goodwood some hope.’ ‘I don’t see why I should tell you anything; as I said to you just now, I can’t trust you. But since you’re so much interested in Mr. Goodwood I won’t conceal from you that he returns immediately to America.’ ‘You don’t mean to say you’ve sent him off? ‘ Henrietta almost shrieked. ‘I asked him to leave me alone; and I ask you the same, Henrietta.’ Miss Stackpole glittered for an instant with dismay and then passed to the mirror over the chimneypiece and took off her bonnet. ‘I hope you’ve enjoyed your dinner,’ Isabel went on. But her companion was not to be diverted by frivolous propositions. ‘Do you know where you’re going, Isabel Archer?’ ‘Just now I’m going to bed,’ said Isabel with persistent frivolity. ‘Do you know where you’re drifting?’ Henrietta pursued, holding out her bonnet delicately. 287 of 1056

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‘No, I haven’t the least idea, and I find it very pleasant not to know. A swift carriage, of a dark night, rattling with four horses over roads that one can’t see—that’s my idea of happiness.’ ‘Mr. Goodwood certainly didn’t teach you to say such things as that- like the heroine of an immoral novel,’ said Miss Stackpole. ‘You’re drifting to some great mistake.’ Isabel was irritated by her friend’s interference, yet she still tried to think what truth this declaration could represent. She could think of nothing that diverted her from saying: ‘You must be very fond of me, Henrietta, to be willing to be so aggressive.’ ‘I love you intensely, Isabel,’ said Miss Stackpole with feeling. ‘Well, if you love me intensely let me as intensely alone. I asked that of Mr. Goodwood, and I must also ask it of you.’ ‘Take care you’re not let alone too much.’ ‘That’s what Mr. Goodwood said to me. I told him I must take the risks.’ ‘You’re a creature of risks—you make me shudder!’ cried Henrietta. ‘When does Mr. Goodwood return to America?’ ‘I don’t know—he didn’t tell me.’ 288 of 1056

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‘Perhaps you didn’t enquire,’ said Henrietta with the note of righteous irony. ‘I gave him too little satisfaction to have the right to ask questions of him.’ This assertion seemed to Miss Stackpole for a moment to bid defiance to comment; but at last she exclaimed: ‘Well, Isabel, if I didn’t know you I might think you were heartless!’ ‘Take care,’ said Isabel; ‘you’re spoiling me.’ ‘I’m afraid I’ve done that already. I hope, at least,’ Miss Stackpole added, ‘that he may cross with Annie Climber!’ Isabel learned from her the next morning that she had determined not to return to Gardencourt (where old Mr. Touchett had promised her a renewed welcome), but to await in London the arrival of the invitation that Mr. Bantling had promised her from his sister Lady Pensil. Miss Stackpole related very freely her conversation with Ralph Touchett’s sociable friend and declared to Isabel that she really believed she had now got hold of something that would lead to something. On the receipt of Lady Pensil’s letter—Mr. Bantling had virtually guaranteed the arrival of this document—she would immediately depart for Bedfordshire, and if Isabel cared to look out for her impressions in the Interviewer she would certainly find 289 of 1056

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them. Henrietta was evidently going to see something of the inner life this time. ‘Do you know where you’re drifting, Henrietta Stackpole?’ Isabel asked, imitating the tone in which her friend had spoken the night before. ‘I’m drifting to a big position—that of the Queen of American Journalism. If my next letter isn’t copied all over the West I’ll swallow my pen-wiper!’ She had arranged with her friend Miss Annie Climber, the young lady of the continental offers, that they should go together to make those purchases which were to constitute Miss Climber’s farewell to a hemisphere in which she at least had been appreciated; and she presently repaired to Jermyn Street to pick up her companion. Shortly after her departure Ralph Touchett was announced, and as soon as he came in Isabel saw he had something on his mind. He very soon took his cousin into his confidence. He had received from his mother a telegram to the effect that his father had had a sharp attack of his old malady, that she was much alarmed and that she begged he would instantly return to Gardencourt. On this occasion at least Mrs. Touchett’s devotion to the electric wire was not open to criticism.

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‘I’ve judged it best to see the great doctor, Sir Matthew Hope, first,’ Ralph said; ‘by great good luck he’s in town. He’s to see me at half-past twelve, and I shall make sure of his coming down to Gardencourt—which he will do the more readily as he has already seen my father several times, both there and in London. There’s an express at twoforty-five, which I shall take; and you’ll come back with me or remain here a few days longer, exactly as you prefer.’ ‘I shall certainly go with you,’ Isabel returned. ‘I don’t suppose I can be of any use to my uncle, but if he’s ill I shall like to be near him.’ ‘I think you’re fond of him,’ said Ralph with a certain shy pleasure in his face. ‘You appreciate him, which all the world hasn’t done. The quality’s too fine.’ ‘I quite adore him,’ Isabel after a moment said. ‘That’s very well. After his son he’s your greatest admirer.’ She welcomed this assurance, but she gave secretly a small sigh of relief at the thought that Mr. Touchett was one of those admirers who couldn’t propose to marry her. This, however, was not what she spoke; she went on to inform Ralph that there were other reasons for her not remaining in London. She was tired of it and wished to 291 of 1056

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leave it; and then Henrietta was going away—going to stay in Bedfordshire. ‘In Bedfordshire?’ ‘With Lady Pensil, the sister of Mr. Bantling, who has answered for an invitation.’ Ralph was feeling anxious, but at this he broke into a laugh. Suddenly, none the less, his gravity returned. ‘Bantling’s a man of courage. But if the invitation should get lost on the way?’ ‘I thought the British post-office was impeccable.’ ‘The good Homer sometimes nods,’ said Ralph. ‘However,’ he went on more brightly, ‘the good Bantling never does, and, whatever happens, he’ll take care of Henrietta.’ Ralph went to keep his appointment with Sir Matthew Hope, and Isabel made her arrangements for quitting Pratt’s Hotel. Her uncle’s danger touched her nearly, and while she stood before her open trunk, looking about her vaguely for what she should put into it, the tears suddenly rose to her eyes. It was perhaps for this reason that when Ralph came back at two o’clock to take her to the station she was not yet ready. He found Miss Stackpole, however, in the sitting-room, where she had just risen from her

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luncheon, and this lady immediately expressed her regret at his father’s illness. ‘He’s a grand old man,’ she said; ‘he’s faithful to the last. If it’s really to be the last—pardon my alluding to it, but you must often have thought of the possibility—I’m sorry that I shall not be at Gardencourt.’ ‘You’ll amuse yourself much more in Bedfordshire.’ ‘I shall be sorry to amuse myself at such a time,’ said Henrietta with much propriety. But she immediately added: ‘I should like so to commemorate the closing scene.’ ‘My father may live a long time,’ said Ralph simply. Then, adverting to topics more cheerful, he interrogated Miss Stackpole as to her own future. Now that Ralph was in trouble she addressed him in a tone of larger allowance and told him that she was much indebted to him for having made her acquainted with Mr. Bantling. ‘He has told me just the things I want to know,’ she said; ‘all the society-items and all about the royal family. I can’t make out that what he tells me about the royal family is much to their credit; but he says that’s only my peculiar way of looking at it. Well, all I want is that he should give me the facts; I can put them together quick enough, once I’ve got them.’ And she added that Mr. 293 of 1056

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Bantling had been so good as to promise to come and take her out that afternoon. ‘To take you where?’ Ralph ventured to enquire. ‘To Buckingham Palace. He’s going to show me over it, so that I may get some idea how they live.’ ‘Ah,’ said Ralph, ‘we leave you in good hands. The first thing we shall hear is that you’re invited to Windsor Castle.’ ‘If they ask me, I shall certainly go. Once I get started I’m not afraid. But for all that,’ Henrietta added in a moment, ‘I’m not satisfied; I’m not at peace about Isabel.’ ‘What is her last misdemeanour?’ ‘Well, I’ve told you before, and I suppose there’s no harm in my going on. I always finish a subject that I take up. Mr. Goodwood was here last night.’ Ralph opened his eyes; he even blushed a little—his blush being the sign of an emotion somewhat acute. He remembered that Isabel, in separating from him in Winchester Square, had repudiated his suggestion that her motive in doing so was the expectation of a visitor at Prates Hotel, and it was a new pang to him to have to suspect her of duplicity. On the other hand, he quickly said to himself, what concern was it of his that she should have made an appointment with a lover? Had it not been 294 of 1056

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thought graceful in every age that young ladies should make a mystery of such appointments? Ralph gave Miss Stackpole a diplomatic answer. ‘I should have thought that, with the views you expressed to me the other day, this would satisfy you perfectly.’ ‘That he should come to see her? That was very well, as far as it went. It was a little plot of mine; I let him know that we were in London, and when it had been arranged that I should spend the evening out I sent him a word— the word we just utter to the ‘wise.’ I hoped he would find her alone; I won’t pretend I didn’t hope that you’d be out of the way. He came to see her, but he might as well have stayed away.’ ‘Isabel was cruel?’—and Ralph’s face lighted with the relief of his cousin’s not having shown duplicity. ‘I don’t exactly know what passed between them. But she gave him no satisfaction—she sent him back to America.’ ‘Poor Mr. Goodwood!’ Ralph sighed. ‘Her only idea seems to be to get rid of him,’ Henrietta went on. ‘Poor Mr. Goodwood!’ Ralph repeated. The exclamation, it must be confessed, was automatic; it failed

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exactly to express his thoughts, which were taking another line. ‘You don’t say that as if you felt it. I don’t believe you care.’ ‘Ah,’ said Ralph, ‘you must remember that I don’t know this interesting young man—that I’ve never seen him.’ ‘Well, I shall see him, and I shall tell him not to give up. If I didn’t believe Isabel would come round,’ Miss Stackpole added- ‘well, I’d give up myself. I mean I’d give her up!’

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Chapter 18
It had occurred to Ralph that, in the conditions, Isabel’s parting with her friend might be of a slightly embarrassed nature, and he went down to the door of the hotel in advance of his cousin, who, after a slight delay, followed with the traces of an unaccepted remonstrance, as he thought, in her eyes. The two made the journey to Gardencourt in almost unbroken silence, and the servant who met them at the station had no better news to give them of Mr. Touchett—a fact which caused Ralph to congratulate himself afresh on Sir Matthew Hope’s having promised to come down in the five o’clock train and spend the night. Mrs. Touchett, he learned, on reaching home, had been constantly with the old man and was with him at that moment; and this fact made Ralph say to himself that, after all, what his mother wanted was just easy occasion. The finer natures were those that shone at the larger times. Isabel went to her own room, noting throughout the house that perceptible hush which precedes a crisis. At the end of an hour, however, she came downstairs in search of her aunt, whom she wished to ask about Mr. Touchett. She went into the library, but

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toward the source of the harmony. though her back was presented to the door. and the musician was therefore probably Ralph. Isabel was on the point of ringing to send a question to her room. This back—an ample and well-dressed one—Isabel viewed for some moments with surprise. The lady was of course a visitor who had arrived during her absence and who had not been mentioned by either of the servants— 298 of 1056 . which had been damp and chill. almost with restored cheer. her arrival was not noticed by the person seated before the instrument. when this purpose quickly yielded to an unexpected sound—the sound of low music proceeding apparently from the saloon. it was not probable she had gone for her usual walk in the grounds. This person was neither Ralph nor his mother. She knew her aunt never touched the piano. The drawing-room at Gardencourt was an apartment of great distances. who played for his own amusement. so that the girl took her way. it was a lady whom Isabel immediately saw to be a stranger to herself.The Portrait of a Lady Mrs. was now altogether spoiled. as the piano was placed at the end of it furthest removed from the door at which she entered. and as the weather. That he should have resorted to this recreation at the present time indicated apparently that his anxiety about his father had been relieved. and. Touchett was not there.

with what treasures of reserve the function of receiving orders may be accompanied. through whose hands she had slipped perhaps a little too mistrustfully and with an effect of plumage but the more lustrous.The Portrait of a Lady one of them her aunt’s maid—of whom she had had speech since her return. By the time she had made these reflexions she became aware that the lady at the piano played remarkably well. When it was finished she felt a strong desire to thank the player. Isabel had already learned. but recognized Schubert—and she touched the piano with a discretion of her own. Isabel sat down noiselessly on the nearest chair and waited till the end of the piece. It showed skill. while at the same time the stranger turned quickly round. and rose from her seat to do so. 299 of 1056 . it showed feeling. She was playing something of Schubert’s—Isabel knew not what. The advent of a guest was in itself far from disconcerting. as if but just aware of her presence. she had not yet divested herself of a young faith that each new acquaintance would exert some momentous influence on her life. however. and she was particularly conscious of having been treated with dryness by her aunt’s maid.

‘I should think that to hear such lovely music as that would really make him feel better. ‘The house is so large and his room so far away that I thought I might venture.’ The lady smiled and discriminated. while Isabel sat down nearer the instrument.’ said Isabel.’ Isabel said to herself. however.The Portrait of a Lady ‘That’s very beautiful.’ ‘If it will give you pleasure—delighted. that they are our worst. ‘she says that as if she were French. We must admit.’ And this obliging person took her place again and struck a few chords. ‘I’m afraid there are moments in life when even Schubert has nothing to say to us.’ And this supposition made the visitor more interesting to our speculative heroine. ‘On the contrary I should be so glad if you would play something more. especially as I played just—just du bout des doigts.’ ‘I’m not in that state now then. and your playing makes it more beautiful still. ‘I hope my uncle’s doing well.’ said Isabel with all the young radiance with which she usually uttered a truthful rapture. ‘You don’t think I disturbed Mr. Touchett then?’ the musician answered as sweetly as this compliment deserved.’ ‘She’s a Frenchwoman. Suddenly the new-comer stopped with her hands on the 300 of 1056 .’ Isabel added.

casting her air of interest over her shoulder. I’ve heard a great deal about you. and as the opposite supposition had made her romantic it might have seemed that this revelation would have marked a drop.’ Isabel murmured. At last. when the music had ceased. The lady played in the same manner as before.’ And then she began to play. But such was not the fact. The autumn twilight gathered in. softly and solemnly. ‘Ah then she’s not French. before Isabel had time to thank her again. said: ‘I’m very glad you’ve come back. half-turning and looking over her shoulder. we’re compatriots. ‘That’s very well. and while she played the shadows deepened in the room.The Portrait of a Lady keys.’ Isabel replied with simplicity.’ she said. rarer even than to be French seemed it to be American on such interesting terms. her companion got up and. ‘but are you the niece— the young American?’ ‘I’m my aunt’s niece. ‘Pardon me. which had now begun in earnest. coming nearer with a smile. though her expression charmed. washing the cold-looking lawn and the wind shaking the great trees.’ 301 of 1056 . and from her place Isabel could see the rain. She was forty years old and not pretty. The lady at the piano sat still a moment longer.

Her greeting to her niece did not differ materially from her manner of raising the lid of this receptacle in order to glance at the contents: in neither act was it becoming to make a show of avidity. Touchett—I’ve been quite alone and have got rather tired of my own society. and the first day he let me come and pay him a visit in his room.’ A servant had come in with lamps and was presently followed by another bearing the tea-tray.’ ‘It made me want to know you. Questioned about her husband she was unable to say he was better. but nevertheless spoke with a certain abruptness in reply to this speech. for she now arrived and addressed herself to the tea-pot. ‘I’ve been here three days. I’ve not chosen a good moment for my visit.’ ‘As you didn’t know me that must rather have bored you. but the local doctor was with him.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel thought her a very attractive person. On the appearance of this repast Mrs. Touchett had apparently been notified. Then he talked constantly of you.’ she answered. and much light was 302 of 1056 . ‘From whom have you heard about me?’ The stranger hesitated a single moment and then. All the more that since then—your aunt being so much with Mr. ‘From your uncle.

Touchett’s bed you’re not likely to have much society but each other. I’m Madame Merle.’ 303 of 1056 .’ she pursued. ‘She’s not a foreigner in spite of her name. however. I’ve lived much in Florence. will content Miss Archer!’ the lady exclaimed with a light laugh.’ ‘I know nothing about you but that you’re a great musician. Download the free trial version.’ She made this last announcement as if she were referring to a person of tolerably distinct identity. expected from this gentleman’s consultation with Sir Matthew Hope. it represented little. ‘She was born—I always forget where you were born. view. Touchett affirmed in her little dry tone. ‘I’m an old friend of your aunt’s. Touchett.’ Isabel said to the visitor. For Isabel. ‘A very little of it. I am sure.’ said Mrs. she could only continue to feel that Madame Merle had as charming a manner as any she had ever encountered. for so long as we continue—Ralph and I—to cluster about Mr. ‘I suppose you two ladies have made acquaintance. ‘There’s a good deal more than that to know. ‘If you haven’t I recommend you to do so.’ Mrs.’ ‘It’s hardly worth while then I should tell you. and edit PDF.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create.

Touchett’s characterization of her visitor. but I hate it.’ said Mrs. who rarely missed a logical point. fair. ‘that’s her great fault. was in the highest degree engaging and attaching. Madame Merle was a tall. I came into the world in the Brooklyn navy-yard. My father was a high officer in the United States Navy. the great thing is to love something. a thing that over-reached frontiers. ‘I’ve great faults. 304 of 1056 . though it had no regular beauty. Touchett. it certainly isn’t the greatest. who had an expressive. to Isabel’s mind. ‘if I remembered your telling me would be quite superfluous. I suppose I ought to love the sea.’ Isabel. ‘I was born under the shadow of the national banner. That’s why I don’t return to America. I love the land. as a dispassionate witness.’ Madame Merle glanced at Isabel with a sort of worldwide smile.’ ‘Ah. responsive face.’ ‘She’s too fond of mystery.’ exclaimed Madame Merle. Touchett. It was a face that told of an amplitude of nature and of quick and free motions and.’ said Mrs. suggested a secretive disposition.The Portrait of a Lady ‘On the contrary. by no means of the sort which. had not been struck with the force of Mrs. communicative. but I don’t think that’s one of them. and had a post—a post of responsibility—in that establishment at the time.

The Portrait of a Lady smooth woman. everything in her person was round and replete. according to some people. she had a liberal. It was true that the national banner had 305 of 1056 . arranged somehow ‘classically’ and as if she were a Bust. though without those accumulations which suggest heaviness. for a Frenchwoman. Isabel had taken her at first. Her features were thick but in perfect proportion and harmony. of a perfect shape. perhaps an Austrian. full-rimmed mouth which when she smiled drew itself upward to the left side in a manner that most people thought very odd. fair hair. and her complexion had a healthy clearness. a baroness. Madame Merle had thick. some very affected and a few very graceful. Isabel inclined to range herself in the last category. wore no jewelled rings. preferring to leave them unadorned. a countess. Isabel judged—a Juno or a Niobe. It would never have been supposed she had come into the world in Brooklyn—though one could doubtless not have carried through any argument that the air of distinction marking her in so eminent a degree was inconsistent with such a birth. a shape so perfect that their possessor. but extended observation might have ranked her as a German—a German of high degree. and large white hands. a princess. as we have seen. even of tears. Her grey eyes were small but full of light and incapable of stupidity—incapable.

and then Madame Merle and Isabel parted. had not quenched her youth. Experience. but in the course of a moment Ralph arrived. Mrs. The idea of seeing more of this interesting woman did much to mitigate Isabel’s sense of the sadness now settling on Gardencourt. and the breezy freedom of the stars and stripes might have shed an influence upon the attitude she there took towards life. her manner expressed the repose and confidence which come from a large experience. His anxiety about his father had been lightened. Touchett took him off to the library for a private talk. to meet again at dinner. The girl made these reflections while the three ladies sat at their tea. however. When she came into the drawing-room before dinner she found the place empty. This commended itself to Isabel as an ideal combination.The Portrait of a Lady floated immediately over her cradle. who had been immediately ushered into the drawing-room. flapping quality of a morsel of bunting in the wind. it had simply made her sympathetic and supple. She was in a word a woman of strong impulses kept in admirable order. Sir Matthew Hope’s view of his condition was 306 of 1056 . And yet she had evidently nothing of the fluttered. but that ceremony was interrupted before long by the arrival of the great doctor from London.

and when we came back from London I didn’t know she was here.’ ‘I was sure you’d think her very pleasant. and asked leave to come down for a few days. who was standing before the fireplace. she’s the one person in 307 of 1056 . though she has first and last spent a good deal of time here). and just after you and I went to town my mother got a note from her. Madame Merle was the last. She’s a friend of my mother’s. she’s so welcome wherever she goes. Mrs.’ said Ralph. not excepting yourself. Before she came Isabel spoke of her to Ralph. No one invited her. Touchett and Sir Matthew appeared. She’s a woman who can make such proposals with perfect confidence. ‘I thought she seemed very pleasant. She had arrived in England (she usually lives abroad.The Portrait of a Lady less depressed than his own had been. his mother and the great physician himself were free to dine at table.’ ‘Is that why you invited her?’ ‘I didn’t invite her. ‘Pray who is this Madame Merle?’ ‘The cleverest woman I know. The doctor recommended that the nurse alone should remain with the old man for the next three or four hours. And with my mother there could be no question of hesitating. so that Ralph.

If she were not herself (which she after all much prefers).’ ‘And she didn’t care for you. because the statement agrees with the probabilities. and that’s why you don’t like her.’ Isabel looked at her cousin a moment. What was Monsieur Merle?’ ‘The husband of Madame.’ ‘How can we have discussed such things? Monsieur Merle was then living. ‘I don’t know what you mean.’ ‘She does everything beautifully.’ ‘Is he dead now?’ ‘So she says. You mean something—that you don’t mean. she’s very charming.’ ‘Well. It would indeed be a great change.’ ‘On the contrary.The Portrait of a Lady the world whom my mother very much admires. she would like to be Madame Merle.’ ‘Don’t you believe her?’ ‘Yes.’ 308 of 1056 . I was once in love with her. The husband of Madame Merle would be likely to pass away.’ said Isabel. ‘And she plays beautifully. She’s complete.’ Isabel gazed at her cousin again. ‘You don’t like her.

apologizing for being late. She came rustling in quickly. Has she any children?’ ‘Not the least little child—fortunately. On the day following Sir Matthew Hope reappeared at Gardencourt. dressed in dark blue satin. Even if this had still been his condition. concurred in Ralph’s desire that he should see the patient again on the day following. Ralph offered her his arm with the exaggerated alertness of a man who was no longer a lover.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You’re very odious. after another consultation with Mr. Ralph had other things to think about. returning to London on the morrow. fastening a bracelet. however. His feebleness was extreme. but the discussion was interrupted by the arrival of the lady who was the topic of it.’ ‘Fortunately?’ ‘I mean fortunately for the child. and 309 of 1056 . She’d be sure to spoil it. Touchett’s own medical adviser. which exposed a white bosom that was ineffectually covered by a curious silver necklace. and now took a less encouraging view of the old man.’ Isabel was apparently on the point of assuring her cousin for the third time that he was odious. The great doctor spent the night at Gardencourt and. who had grown worse in the twenty-four hours.

my boy. much to his son’s satisfaction.’ said Mr. Touchett. it often seemed that his end must be at hand. but on this occasion Ralph only was with him. but when she went to him. he slept a great deal. ‘Suppose he should die while I’m sitting here". ‘No. Mr. in whom Ralph had secretly more confidence than in his distinguished colleague. The local doctor. He never seemed to know her. who assured him that they should presently have him sitting up. and Sir Matthew Hope came back several times. Isabel had a great desire to be useful to him and was allowed to watch with him at hours when his other attendants (of whom Mrs. The day after this. Once he opened his eyes for a while and fixed them upon her intelligently.The Portrait of a Lady to his son. he closed them and relapsed into stupor. The old man began to talk. Touchett was not the least regular) went to take rest. an idea which excited her and kept her awake. he revived for a longer time. Touchett was much of the time unconscious. was constantly in attendance. hoping he would recognize her. he rarely spoke. a very sagacious man. who constantly sat by his bedside.’ 310 of 1056 . as some of the ancients—was it the ancients?—used to do. and she always said to herself. ‘not unless you bury me in a sitting posture. however.

’ Mr.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah. who had been on guard since dinner. I hope you don’t want to prove that I shall ever be worse than this? That would be too bad. The room was lighted only by the flickering fire. ‘I want to talk a little. having just relieved Mrs.’ he went on.’ the old man answered. don’t talk about that.’ Ralph murmured. ‘Why should we prevaricate just at the last? We never prevaricated before. and then. and Ralph’s tall shadow was projected over wall and ceiling with an outline constantly varying but always grotesque. it’s your son. ‘Who’s that with me—is it my son?’ the old man asked. Touchett.’ ‘And is there no one else?’ ‘No one else. ‘Yes. 311 of 1056 . daddy. which of late had become necessary. and it’s better to die when one’s sick than when one’s well. You don’t? Well then. sick as I shall ever be.’ ‘There will be no need of my denying it if you don’t say it. but the next time that Ralph was with him he again addressed himself to conversation. I’m very sick.’ Having made this excellent point he became quiet. ‘You mustn’t deny that you’re getting better. I’ve got to die some time. Touchett said nothing for a while. The nurse had gone to her supper and Ralph was alone in charge.

‘You’ll take care of her.’ 312 of 1056 . He seemed to be reckoning over Ralph’s interests. he sat leaning forward with his hand on his father’s.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Won’t it tire you?’ Ralph demurred. I should like so much to think you’d do something. I want to talk about you. I shall have a long rest. I have more old ones than I know what to do with. ‘Well. ‘perhaps as she grows older she’ll need a little help.’ ‘You were always bright. You must get a new interest. it’s what I want to talk about.’ Ralph returned. ‘It won’t matter if it does.’ ‘That’s just what I don’t want.’ ‘If you leave us. but his eyes were the eyes of Daniel Touchett. ‘I shall do nothing but miss you. ‘Of course you have your mother.’ ‘I don’t want a new interest.’ The old man lay there looking at his son. daddy. his face was the face of the dying. ‘You had better select a brighter topic.’ ‘My mother will always take care of herself. Ralph had drawn nearer to the bed.’ said his father.’ he said at last.’ said Ralph. I used to be proud of your brightness.

Touchett. Touchett let his phrase die away in a helpless but not quite querulous sigh and remained silent again. but that’s no reason-!’ Mr.’ ‘You get on by always being apart.’ ‘Very likely she will. ‘My mother and I get on very well together.’ Mr. according to her own theory.’ said Mr. daddy. that’s not natural. you know. she’ll have more money.’ ‘If you leave us we shall probably see more of each other.’ the old man observed with wandering irrelevance. I presume she knows I’ve noticed it.what shall I call it? less out of the way since I’ve been ill.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘I shall certainly tell her so. But your mother has been less—less. ‘Don’t trouble yourself about us. I’m so glad you mention it. She’ll outlive me.’ said his son.’ ‘She has been one. She has never troubled you. ‘Those you’ve given me for instance. Touchett murmured. some troubles are pleasant. ‘I’ve left her a good wife’s portion.’ 313 of 1056 .’ ‘Well.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I shall not see that. just as if she had been a good wife. ‘it can’t be said that my death will make much difference in your mother’s life.’ ‘It will probably make more than you think.’ ‘Well.

She does it to please—to please-’ And he lay a while trying to think why she did it. and enough is as good as a feast.The Portrait of a Lady ‘It won’t make any difference to her. But that’s not what I want to talk about.’ he added.’ said Ralph. ‘I know that. you’ll have enough—and something over. ‘It would be against me to have a large property to take care of. There will be more than enough for one—there will be enough for two. will be to marry. ‘She does it because it suits her.’ said Ralph. she doesn’t do it to please me. ‘It’s about you. I suppose it was the first time such a thing had happened—a young man trying to get a will made against him. The best thing you can do. when I’m gone.’ said Ralph.’ ‘Yes. I made a new will—in a few days. don’t say that. yes.’ 314 of 1056 . But I hope you’ve not forgotten the talk we had a year ago—when I told you exactly what money I should need and begged you to make some good use of the rest.’ ‘Yes. ‘Ah.’ ‘Well. I remember. You’ll be very well off.’ ‘It is not against me.’ ‘That’s too much. It’s impossible for a man in my state of health to spend much money.

Touchett. Download the free trial version. and edit PDF. ‘what a life mightn’t you have if you should marry a person different from Mrs. have had a very happy life. Ralph had foreseen what his father was coming to. There are more different from her than there are like her. that’s what it comes to in the end. He stood before it an instant and then he stooped and stirred it mechanically. ‘Do I understand you to propose that I should marry Isabel?’ ‘Well.’ And Ralph got up from his chair and wandered over to the fire. Don’t you like Isabel?’ ‘Yes. very much.’ Ralph still said nothing. but present circumstances proscribed the facetious. He simply fell back in his chair and returned his father’s appealing gaze.’ he repeated.’ said the old man. and this suggestion was by no means fresh. carrying his ingenuity further still. Touchett’s most ingenious way of taking the cheerful view of his son’s possible duration. ‘If I. and after a pause his father resumed softly: ‘What do you think of your cousin?’ At this Ralph started. ‘I like Isabel very much. 315 of 1056 . Ralph had usually treated it facetiously. with a wife who hasn’t been very fond of me. meeting the question with a strained smile.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. It had long been Mr. view.

’ 316 of 1056 . I don’t know whether you know. but she can’t have anything against you. and she wouldn’t have him. It’s as if she came over on purpose.’ ‘Somebody else took his chance the other day in London—and got nothing by it. I’m not in love with her. She has told me how much she likes you.’ ‘Well.’ said the old man. ‘If you wait for them to change you’ll never do anything. And she would be good to you.’ ‘Ah.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Well. things are always different from what they might be.’ ‘No.’ ‘I know she refused Warburton: he told me himself. ‘I know she likes you.’ said his father. coming back to the bedside again.’ ‘So have I.’ ‘You are in love with her then? I should think you would be. And she’s the most charming young lady I’ve ever seen.’ he went on.’ ‘Did she remark that she would like to marry me?’ ‘No.’ said Ralph. ‘but I suppose there’s no harm in my alluding to it at such an hour as this: there was some one wanted to marry Isabel the other day. I have thought a great deal about it. that proves there’s a chance for somebody else. but I should be if—if certain things were different. ‘I don’t mind telling you that.

But it only proves what I say—that the way’s open to you.’ ‘Well. One is that people. but I have three or four that I hold strongly. it’s all the greater pity that I’m unable to tread it. ‘What do you mean by that? You look at things in a way that would make everything wrong. and if we stopped at that the human race would die out. Another is that people in an advanced stage of pulmonary disorder had better not marry at all. whoever he was. dear father. a poor gentleman who came over from America to see about it.’ The old man raised his weak hand and moved it to and fro before his face. Touchett eagerly asked. on the whole.’ said Ralph. All you want is to lead a natural life. ‘No. It’s just the same with your bad lung. I haven’t many convictions. 317 of 1056 . I’m sorry for him. it was an older friend. What sort of a cousin is a cousin that you had never seen for more than twenty years of her life? We’re all each other’s cousins. You’re a great deal better than you used to be.’ ‘If it is. had better not marry their cousins.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Was it you?’ Mr. It is a great deal more natural to marry a pretty young lady that you’re in love with than it is to remain single on false principles.’ ‘I’m not in love with Isabel.

’ ‘What do you mean by that?’ ‘I should like to put it into her power to do some of the things she wants.’ ‘It will only tire you. She’s entirely independent of me. with the air of a man fairly mustering courage. dear daddy. I want to prove to you that it isn’t wrong. I can exercise very little influence upon her life.’ he said. She wants to see the world for instance. You say you’ve so many interests. who marvelled at his father’s tenacity and at his finding strength to insist. but I can’t make them out. ‘Then where shall we all be?’ ‘Where shall you be if I don’t provide for you? You won’t have anything to do with the bank.’ Ralph leaned back in his chair with folded arms. and you won’t have me to take care of. ‘but not the sort of interest you desire. but I hope I shall live long enough to see what she does with herself. his eyes were fixed for some time in meditation. ‘I take a great interest in my cousin. But I should like to do something for her. At last. I should like to put money in her purse. I shall not live many years.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You said just now that you would be if you didn’t think it wrong.’ ‘What should you like to do?’ ‘I should like to put a little wind in her sails.’ 318 of 1056 .’ said Ralph.

Divide my inheritance into two equal halves and give her the second. Isabel has a great deal of imagination.’ ‘That’s capital. listening very attentively but a little confusedly. ‘I shall be happy to consider it.’ ‘To do what she likes with?’ 319 of 1056 . Touchett. ‘Isabel’s poor then.’ ‘What do you mean by rich?’ ‘I call people rich when they’re able to meet the requirements of their imagination.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah.’ Something of that veiled acuteness with which it had been on Daniel Touchett’s part the habit of a lifetime to listen to a financial proposition still lingered in the face in which the invalid had not obliterated the man of happiness.’ said the old man. I should like to make her rich. What I want is that you should kindly relieve me of my superfluity and make it over to Isabel. ‘But I’ve thought of it too. But I should like to do a little more. ‘You tell me I shall have money enough for two.’ he said softly. My mother tells me that she has but a few hundred dollars a year. my son.’ said Mr. it’s very kind of you. I’m glad you’ve thought of that. I’ve left her a legacy—five thousand pounds.’ ‘So have you.

dear father.’ said Mr.’ ‘Her marrying—some one or other? It’s just to do away with anything of that sort that I make my suggestion. and you can easily give it to her yourself. I’ll do nothing without my solicitor. Touchett. The money will be yours. and your bequest will make her free. ‘Don’t tell me you’re not in love with her! Do you want me to have the credit of it?’ ‘Entirely.’ ‘Well. That’s what I want cannily to prevent.’ ‘You must telegraph to Mr. ‘But I don’t see why you appeal to me. I should like it simply to be a clause in your will. I can’t offer Isabel money!’ The old man gave a groan.’ 320 of 1056 .’ Ralph openly stared.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Absolutely what she likes. If she has an easy income she’ll never have to marry for a support.’ ‘And without an equivalent?’ ‘What equivalent could there be?’ ‘The one I’ve already mentioned. ‘Ah. Hilary then. you seem to have thought it out. you can attend to it the next time you feel a little lively. She wishes to be free.’ ‘Do you want me to make a new will then?’ ‘A few words will do it. without the slightest reference to me.

‘Very probably. and that her being rich will keep her from marrying for money. ‘You speak as if it were for your mere amusement. and you’ve ideas that I shouldn’t have had either. You say Isabel wants to be free. ‘but I’m not sure it’s right. ‘and. You say you want to put wind in her sails. ‘I’ll do anything you like.’ ‘He’ll think we’ve quarrelled. You’ve scruples that I shouldn’t have had. you and I.’ Mr.’ said the old man.’ ‘So it is. smiling. Do you think that she’s a girl to do that?’ 321 of 1056 . quite horrid and strange. Touchett said at last.’ said Ralph. I shall like him to think it. to carry out the idea. a good deal. Touchett with a sigh. I don’t think I understand. ‘Young men are very different from what I was.’ ‘Well. who lay a little while taking it in. but aren’t you afraid of putting too much?’ ‘I should like to see her going before the breeze!’ Ralph answered.’ said Mr.’ The humour of this appeared to touch his father.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You shall see Mr. When I cared for a girl—when I was young—I wanted to do more than look at her. Hilary to-morrow. with you. I give you notice that I shall be very sharp.

Poor Mr. and it would be very painful to me to think of her coming to the consciousness of a lot of wants she should be unable to satisfy. My mother has told me all about it. But she has less money than she has ever had before.’ 322 of 1056 . Her father then gave her everything. her spending the larger sum?’ ‘No—though at first I think she’d plunge into that pretty freely: she’d probably make over a part of it to each of her sisters. remember she has still a lifetime before her. Touchett’s acuteness was rapidly giving place to pure confusion. and live within her means. She has nothing but the crumbs of that feast to live on. She can satisfy a good many wants with that. and she doesn’t really know how meagre they are—she has yet to learn it. But after that she’d come to her senses. Isabel will learn it when she’s really thrown upon the world.’ ‘She can indeed. ‘It would merely be a question of time then.The Portrait of a Lady ‘By no means.’ ‘I’ve left her five thousand pounds.’ ‘You think she’d be extravagant then?’ ‘Most certainly. smiling serenely. But she would probably spend it in two or three years. because he used to spend his capital.’ said Ralph.

I don’t know that it’s right to make everything so easy for a person.’ said the old man. Touchett declared. ‘she ought to get a great many opportunities for sixty thousand pounds. ‘I only want to understand it a little.’ ‘It surely depends upon the person. When the person’s good.’ ‘Well. certainly.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Well. Touchett answered.’ Ralph returned. dear daddy?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Of course I’ll do what you want. ‘I don’t think I enter into your spirit. At last he said: ‘Isabel’s a sweet young thing. ‘You do take an interest in her. what can be a nobler act?’ This was a little difficult to follow.’ Mr. It seems to me immoral. ‘Well. but do you think she’s so good as that?’ ‘She’s as good as her best opportunities. You wished me to go further. your making things easy is all to the credit of virtue. Touchett considered it for a while.’ ‘You can’t consistently say I go too far. I don’t know.’ said the old man helplessly. To facilitate the execution of good impulses.’ ‘I’ve no doubt she will. and Mr. you have worked it out.’ 323 of 1056 .’ ‘Immoral.’ Mr.

But it’s scandalous. Touchett lay a long time still. That’s a risk. dear daddy. Doesn’t it occur to you that a young lady with sixty thousand pounds may fall a victim to the fortune-hunters?’ ‘She’ll hardly fall a victim to more than one.’ Ralph leaned over his father’s pillows and gently smoothed them.’ ‘Well. ‘Tell me this first. Touchett’s acuteness had passed into perplexity. But at last.’ Mr. he began again. Ralph supposed he had given up the attempt to follow.’ Poor Mr. quite lucidly. one’s too many. he was aware their talk had been unduly prolonged. We’ll leave it alone. don’t you understand it now?’ his son caressingly asked. and his perplexity now passed into admiration. ‘If you don’t we won’t take any more trouble about it. ‘But I don’t see what good you’re to get of it. you have gone into it!’ he repeated. ‘Well. but I think it’s small.that of having met the requirements of my imagination. the way I’ve taken advantage of you!’ 324 of 1056 . and I’m prepared to take it. and it has entered into my calculation. ‘I shall get just the good I said a few moments ago I wished to put into Isabel’s reach. I think it’s appreciable.’ ‘Decidedly.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Well.

and the part of wisdom was to 325 of 1056 . or ever could be. but in addition to this they happened to please each other. but tacitly at least they called the future to witness. not of experience. though she would have hesitated to admit she was intimate with her new friend in the high sense she privately attached to this term. Touchett had foretold. however. She often wondered indeed if she ever had been. might supply us with very creditable imitations of it. Isabel and Madame Merle were thrown much together during the illness of their host. which it failed to seem to her in this case—it had not seemed to her in other cases—that the actual completely expressed. It was a thing to believe in. But she often reminded herself that there were essential reasons why one’s ideal could never become concrete. so that if they had not become intimate it would have been almost a breach of good manners. Experience. Isabel did so with a perfectly good conscience. intimate with any one. not to see—a matter of faith. Their manners were of the best. It is perhaps too much to say that they swore an eternal friendship.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 19 As Mrs. She had an ideal of friendship as well as of several other sentiments.

These spiritual gems were the only ones of any magnitude that Isabel possessed. superior and preeminent. the stale. on the whole. cultivated. intelligent. sympathetic. Isabel had never encountered a more agreeable and interesting figure than Madame Merle. There was no doubt she had great merits—she was charming. There are many amiable people in the world. and Madame Merle was far from being vulgarly 326 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady make the best of these. she was rare. Certainly. The gates of the girl’s confidence were opened wider than they had ever been. Afterwards. so much the worse for Madame Merle. the too-familiar parts of one’s own character. but there was all the greater reason for their being carefully guarded. however. Sometimes she took alarm at her candour: it was as if she had given to a comparative stranger the key to her cabinet of jewels. More than this (for it had not been Isabel’s ill-fortune to go through life without meeting in her own sex several persons of whom no less could fairly be said). she said things to this amiable auditress that she had not yet said to any one. she had never met a person having less of that fault which is the principal obstacle to friendship—the air of reproducing the more tiresome. she always remembered that one should never regret a generous error and that if Madame Merle had not the merits she attributed to her.

thanks to having been rather violently tapped at one period. Of course. she had felt it strongly. But every gain’s a loss of some kind.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. good natured and restlessly witty. too cruel. she freely admitted that of old she had been a little mad. before that we’re too eager. she made no secret of the fact that the fount of passion. Isabel couldn’t have spent a week with her without being sure of that. She proposed moreover. had become with her rather historic. ‘I judge more than I used to. didn’t flow quite so freely as of yore. She knew how to think—an accomplishment rare in women. it will be a long time before you’re forty. One can’t judge till one’s forty. the quickness have 327 of 1056 . and it was part of the satisfaction to be taken in her society that when the girl talked of what she was pleased to call serious matters this lady understood her so easily and quickly. Life had told upon her. it is true. I’m sorry for you. and in addition much too ignorant. her most perfect gift. I often think that after forty one can’t really feel. too. too hard. The freshness. and now she pretended to be perfectly sane. and edit PDF. as well as expected. view. she knew how to feel. Download the free trial version. Emotion. and she had thought to very good purpose. This was indeed Madame Merle’s great talent. to cease feeling.’ she said to Isabel. ‘but it seems to me one has earned the right.

it was disconcertingly difficult to surprise her. It may pull you about horribly. they dropped from her like cold confessions. it will be a great satisfaction to me to see you some years hence.’ Isabel received this assurance as a young soldier. it passes. A period of bad weather had settled upon Gardencourt. too interested in her judicious companion. like everything else. might receive a pat on the shoulder from his colonel. ‘Oh. And then moreover Madame Merle never said such things in the tone of triumph or of boastfulness. still panting from a slight skirmish in which he has come off with honour. Like such a recognition of merit it seemed to come with authority. I want to see what life makes of you. How could the lightest word do less on the part of a person who was prepared to say. One thing’s certain—it can’t spoil you. But our young woman had long 328 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady certainly gone. my dear.’ On many of her interlocutors Madame Merle might have produced an irritating effect. of almost everything Isabel told her. I’ve been in that. She was too sincere. But Isabel. the days grew shorter and there was an end to the pretty tea-parties on the lawn. but I defy it to break you up. You’ll keep them longer than most people. though by no means incapable of desiring to be effective. had not at present this impulse.

The Portrait of a Lady indoor conversations with her fellow visitor. and she used to lift the sleeve of her British overcoat and bury her nose in it. became almost a prisoner. however odd it might sound. equipped with the defensive apparatus which the English climate and the English genius have between them brought to such perfection. and was most agreeable to the nostril.’ she said. from a countenance half-rueful. fine scent of the wool. The roads about Gardencourt were so firm.’ She declared that in England the pleasures of smell were great—that in this inimitable island there was a certain mixture of fog and beer and soot which. looking at 329 of 1056 . as soon as the autumn had begun to define itself. and he used sometimes to stand at one of the windows with his hands in his pockets and. inhaling the clear. was the national aroma. in bad weather he was unable to step out of the house. half-critical. Madame Merle liked almost everything. even in the worst weather. Poor Ralph Touchett. and in spite of the rain the two ladies often sallied forth for a walk. watch Isabel and Madame Merle as they walked down the avenue under a pair of umbrellas. that the two ladies always came back with a healthy glow in their cheeks. ‘There’s always a little of it and never too much at once. including the English rain. ‘and it never wets you and it always smells good.

I shall always do. ‘so long as it’s a good one? The more one’s under a good influence the better. ‘What’s the harm. more than once. Madame Merle was engaged. Before luncheon. and if Isabel was sometimes moved to gape at her friend aspiringly and despairingly it was not so much because she desired herself 330 of 1056 . Isabel admired and envied her rigid possession of her morning. stout boots and declaring that their walk had done them inexpressible good. as one after another of her friend’s fine aspects caught the light. aptitudes of Madame Merle. isn’t it my fault that I’m not pliable enough?’ It is said that imitation is the sincerest flattery. no doubt. always. I needn’t be afraid of becoming too pliable. Our heroine had always passed for a person of resources and had taken a certain pride in being one. ‘I should like awfully to be so!’ Isabel secretly exclaimed. The only thing is to see our steps as we take them—to understand them as we go. and before long she knew that she had learned a lesson from a high authority. but she wandered. under an influence. round the enclosed talents. and in twenty such ways this lady presented herself as a model. She found herself desiring to emulate them. That. accomplishments. It took no great time indeed for her to feel herself. as by the wrong side of the wall of a private garden.’ she wondered.The Portrait of a Lady the soles of their neat. as the phrase is.

and had a conviction that it would be severely judged. one should aim at the aristocratic situation. but was even more dazzled than attracted. should the occasion offer. and on becoming acquainted with her would probably give the measure of a tact which Miss Stackpole couldn’t hope to emulate. ‘that’s the supreme good fortune: to be in a better position for appreciating people than they are for appreciating you. She sometimes asked herself what Henrietta Stackpole would say to her thinking so much of this perverted product of their common soil.’ Isabel solemnly pondered.The Portrait of a Lady to shine as because she wished to hold up the lamp for Madame Merle. was simply the essence of the aristocratic situation. if in none other.’ And she added that such. She liked her extremely. not to do justice to Henrietta. On the other hand she was equally sure that. In this light. ‘That’s the great thing. 331 of 1056 . Henrietta would not at all subscribe to Madame Merle. She appeared to have in her experience a touchstone for everything. her new friend would strike off some happy view of her old: Madame Merle was too humorous. too observant. for reasons she could not have defined this truth came home to the girl. when one considered it. and somewhere in the capacious pocket of her genial memory she would find the key to Henrietta’s value.

She had encountered many of the fortunate few and was perfectly aware of those points at which their fortune differed from hers. so wise and so easy. but she had never played a great part. To be so cultivated and civilized. and all the arts and graces it practised—or was the effect rather that of charming uses found for her. But if by her informed measure she was no figure for a high scene. It was as if somehow she had all society under contribution.The Portrait of a Lady I may not count over all the links in the chain which led Isabel to think of Madame Merle’s situation as aristocratic—a view of it never expressed in any reference made to it by that lady herself. She was one of the small ones of the earth. she knew the world too well to nourish fatuous illusions on the article of her own place in it. even from a distance. as those arriving for her appeared innumerable: her correspondence was a source of surprise to Isabel when they sometimes walked together to the village post-office 332 of 1056 . and still make so light of it— that was really to be a great lady. subtle service rendered by her to a clamorous world wherever she might be? After breakfast she wrote a succession of letters. especially when one so carried and presented one’s self. She had known great things and great people. she had yet to Isabel’s imagination a sort of greatness. she had not been born to honours.

and it was evidence of the fact that when she seated herself at the piano. She knew more people. felt ashamed of her own facility. That she was a brave musician we have already perceived. as she always did in the evening. and indeed. for when engaged in none of the ways I have 333 of 1056 . she was usually employed upon wonderful tasks of rich embroidery. Isabel. nor painting. free invention was as noted as the agility of her needle. though she had been thought rather a prodigy at home. When Madame Merle was neither writing. and made no more of brushing in a sketch than of pulling off her gloves. decorations for the chimney-piece. She was never idle. she turned her back to the room. an art in which her bold. Of painting she was devotedly fond. the loss to society when. in taking her place upon the music-stool. her listeners resigned themselves without a murmur to losing the grace of her talk. cushions. than she knew what to do with. At Gardencourt she was perpetually taking advantage of an hour’s sunshine to go out with a camp-stool and a box of water-colours. nor touching the piano. curtains. since she had known her.The Portrait of a Lady to deposit Madame Merle’s offering to the mail. and something was always turning up to be written about. was usually deemed greater than the gain. as she told Isabel. which she now looked upon as basely inferior.

she rose from the piano or remained there. or playing patience with the cards. but that her nature had been too much overlaid by custom and her angles too much rubbed away. or walking out. or talking with her fellow inmates. and appeared to impute scant worth to anything she did. according to the convenience of her auditors. If for Isabel she had a fault it was that she was not natural. since from these vulgar vices no woman could have been more exempt. And with all this she had always the social quality. amenable person to live with. by which the girl meant. She had become too flexible. was never rudely absent and yet never too seated. was too ripe and too final. She was in a word too perfectly the social animal that man and woman are supposed to have been intended to be. She was in short the most comfortable. too useful. She laid down her pastimes as easily as she took them up.The Portrait of a Lady mentioned she was either reading (she appeared to Isabel to read ‘everything important’). She gave away her sketches and tapestries. she worked and talked at the same time. and she had rid herself of every remnant of that tonic wildness which we may assume to have belonged even to the most amiable persons in the ages before country-house life was 334 of 1056 . which she always unerringly divined. not that she was either affected or pretentious. profitable.

not she. this was an illusion in which. with her fellow mortals. she existed only in her relations. in one’s youth. however. ‘I hope I haven’t too much the droop of the misunderstood. ‘What’s language at all but a convention?’ said Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady the fashion. by feeling that a charming surface doesn’t necessarily prove one superficial. One might wonder what commerce she could possibly hold with her own spirit. ‘What makes you think that?’ Madame Merle asked with the amused smile of a person seated at a game of guesses. like some people I’ve met. Isabel found it difficult to think of her in any detachment or privacy. Madame Merle was not superficial. to express herself by original signs. direct or indirect. She was deep. but you sometimes say things that I think people who have always been happy wouldn’t have found out.’ she once found occasion to say to her friend in response to some allusion that had appeared to reach far. ‘She has the good taste not to pretend. one had but just escaped being nourished.’ ‘No.’ 335 of 1056 . One always ended.’ ‘I’m afraid you’ve suffered much. and her nature spoke none the less in her behaviour because it spoke a conventional tongue.

but if I must tell you the truth I’ve been shockingly chipped and cracked. however. I do very well for service yet. as if she were telling a child a secret. but with a mock gravity. Isabel assured her she should delight to listen to one. But you may depend on it that every one bears some mark. and at last frankly told her young companion 336 of 1056 . But when I’ve to come out and into a strong light—then. begged repeatedly for a respite.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I haven’t always been happy. there are many more iron pots certainly than porcelain. ‘Such a wonderful thing!’ But Isabel rose to the irony. dusky cupboard where there’s an odour of stale spices—as much as I can. and reminded her more than once of this engagement. because I’ve been cleverly mended.’ ‘It’s very true. ‘A great many people give me the impression of never having for a moment felt anything. I’m a horror!’ I know not whether it was on this occasion or on some other that when the conversation had taken the turn I have just indicated she said to Isabel that she would some day a tale unfold. even the hardest iron pots have a little bruise. my dear. smiling still. a little hole somewhere. I flatter myself that I’m rather stout. Madame Merle. and I try to remain in the cupboard—the quiet.’ said Madame Merle.

a long friendship so visibly lay before them. This would be sure to happen. Madame Merle had been a dweller in many lands and had social ties in a dozen different countries. on the contrary. ‘I don’t pretend to be educated. and she spoke one day of 337 of 1056 .’ she would say. Isabel assented. sentiments. you’re of the cruel age. who was struck with all the distinguished people her friend had known and with her having lived. of your taking it too much to yourself. She made her chatter and listened to her chatter infinite good nature. Isabel thought the better of herself for enjoying the favour of a person who had so large a field of comparison.The Portrait of a Lady that they must wait till they knew each other better. and exhibited the greatest interest in our heroine’s history. as Mrs. Touchett said. ‘but I think I know my Europe".’ her fellow visitor answered. opinions. You’d judge me too harshly. ‘I’m afraid. This flattered and quickened the girl. and it was perhaps partly to gratify the sense of profiting by comparison that she often appealed to these stores of reminiscence. in the best company in Europe.’ She preferred for the present to talk to Isabel of Isabel. ‘It’s not that I’m afraid of your repeating what I say. but at the same time enquired if she mightn’t be trusted—if she appeared capable of a betrayal of confidence. prospects.

were the most convenient in the world to live with. and another of proceeding to Malta to follow up a new acquaintance. she’s not in want of a shelter. Touchett. where she had often dwelt. who ‘after all.’ Isabel returned. ‘You mustn’t think it strange her remaining here at such a time as this.’ ‘If I didn’t already like her very much that description might alarm me.The Portrait of a Lady going to Sweden to stay with an old friend. It’s a favour to me that she stays. Touchett’s passing away.’ as she was fond of saying. when Mr. But I’ve asked her to put in this time because I wish you to know her.’ that gentleman’s wife remarked to her niece. she’s the most tactful woman I know. ‘She has her pick of places. she’s putting off a lot of visits at great houses.’ said Mrs.’ I’ve brought you out here and I wish to do the best for you. ‘She’s never the least little bit ‘off. who never forgot that when she herself was in England her social value sank two or three degrees in the scale. Serena Merle hasn’t a fault. and for Isabel’s benefit threw a great deal of light upon the customs of the country and the character of the people. With England. Your sister Lily 338 of 1056 . ‘She is incapable of a mistake. she was thoroughly familiar. I think it will be a good thing for you.

no aberrations that the clock-face doesn’t register. Isabel after this observed to their companion that she hoped she knew Mrs. On which ‘I’m obliged to you. You won’t discover a fault in her.’ ‘Perhaps not. I mean that having no faults. I fear my darkest sides are my tamest. She’s one of the most brilliant women in Europe.’ ‘I like her better than I like your description of her. ‘You needn’t mind me.’ Madame Merle replied.’ said Mrs. means that one’s 339 of 1056 . ‘but I’m afraid your aunt imagines. Touchett considered she hadn’t a speck on her perfection.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. told me she hoped I would give you plenty of opportunities. for your aunt. Touchett. ‘Do you flatter yourself that you’ll ever feel her open to criticism? I hope you’ll let me know when you do. or at least alludes to.’ ‘So that you mean you’ve a wild side that’s unknown to her?’ ‘Ah no. I give you one in putting you in relation with Madame Merle.’ ‘She knows absolutely everything on earth there is to know. Download the free trial version. view.’ said Isabel. But I dare say I shan’t miss it.’ Isabel persisted in saying. and edit PDF.’ ‘That will be cruel—to you.

when you came back from London. free touches of criticism. Though she referred 340 of 1056 . Touchett’s accomplished guest was abusing her. even when they had a restrictive effect. which. by the way. I was not late. and there was none of which Isabel was more sensible than of her companion’s preference for making Miss Archer herself a topic.’ Madame Merle’s own conversation. In the first place Isabel rose eagerly to the sense of her shades. in the second Madame Merle implied that there was a great deal more to say. and this for very good reasons. the clock was just at eight when I came into the drawing-room. and it was clear in the third that for a person to speak to one without ceremony of one’s near relations was an agreeable sign of that person’s intimacy with one’s self. It means that one answers a letter the day one gets it and that when one comes to stay with her one doesn’t bring too much luggage and is careful not to be taken ill. For Mrs. never struck Isabel as ill-natured. It couldn’t occur to the girl for instance that Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady never late for dinner—that is for her dinner. it’s a blessing to be able to reduce it to its elements. it will be perceived. was enriched with bold. it was the rest of you that were before the time. Touchett those things constitute virtue. the other day. These signs of deep communion multiplied as the days elapsed.

I belong to the old. But I shall never be anything but abject with the young. I speak as if I were a hundred years old. je viens de loin. I shall let it pass and horribly spoil you. I don’t know that I shall ever be ill-natured with old people—I hope not. if you please. they touch me and appeal to me too much. But it’s not of that I want to 341 of 1056 . my dear. and I really think we see it and feel it better that way. you can say nothing I shall not care to hear. I once had it—we all have it for an hour. however. I was born before the French Revolution.’ she said more than once. ‘I’m of no more interest than last week’s newspaper. If we can’t have youth within us we can have it outside. It’s a sign that I’m growing old—that I like to talk with younger people. there are certainly some old people I adore.The Portrait of a Lady frequently to the incidents of her own career she never lingered upon them. I think it’s a very pretty compensation. Of course we must be in sympathy with it. You’re young and fresh and of to-day. I am. you can even be impertinent if you like. Ah.that I shall always be. old world. you’ve the great thing—you’ve actuality. Let us talk about you then. she was as little of a gross egotist as she was of a flat gossip. You. you say? Well. I give you carte blanche then. ‘I’m old and stale and faded. will have it for longer.

what do they make of it over here? I don’t envy them trying to arrange themselves. the Americans. I don’t think you’ll crawl. Here I’ve been since I was brought here as a helpless child. Very good. my dear? you’re horrified? you declare you’ll never crawl? It’s very true that I don’t see you crawling. At least one can know it and not have illusions. je vous demande un peu. we’ve no natural place here. wherever she finds herself she has to remain on the surface and. There are a great many of us like that in these parts. A woman perhaps can get on. You must tell me more about America. you stand more upright than a good many poor creatures. or rather it’s scandalous. you never tell me enough. If we’re not good Americans we’re certainly poor Europeans. a woman. I want to talk about the new. and it’s ridiculous. more or less. You should live in your own land. it seems to me. whatever it may be you have your natural place there. we haven’t our feet in the soil. Look at poor Ralph Touchett: what sort of a figure do you call that? Fortunately he has a 342 of 1056 . how little I know about that splendid. You protest.The Portrait of a Lady talk. and I must say I think we’re a wretched set of people. funny country—surely the greatest and drollest of them all. on the whole. But the men. has no natural place anywhere. to crawl. crawling over the surface. We’re mere parasites. dreadful.

because it gives him something to do. and it’s rather a massive one. he takes care of his lungs. though I used to know him rather well. I say fortunately. you know him better than I. Touchett. a countryman of ours. is as good as anything else. I doubt it. that will do very well. I think. what would he represent? ‘Mr.’ they say: ‘he has a very pretty collection of old snuff-boxes. I think it’s grotesque. However. Ralph Touchett: an American who lives in Europe. he knows a great deal about climates. is a friend of mine. at any rate. For an American. I’m tired of the sound of the word. ‘He’s very cultivated. I don’t think he’s at all fond of the house.’ That signifies absolutely nothing—it’s impossible anything should signify less.’ The collection is all that’s wanted to make it pitiful. If he weren’t ill.The Portrait of a Lady consumption. You can say: ‘Oh Mr. The worst case. it’s a kind of position. he has his identity. and that.’ But without that who would he be. With the poor old father it’s different. But I persist in thinking your cousin very lucky to have a chronic malady so long as he doesn’t die of it. It’s much better than the snuff-boxes. My poor child. you say. and he may have the benefit of the doubt. he’d do something?—he’d take his father’s place in the house. in our day. who lives in Italy (where he 343 of 1056 . His consumption’s his carriere. He represents a great financial house.

perhaps not even so good. a man made to be distinguished. he paints. Fortunately he’s very indolent. ‘Oh. and if it were a career to be an excellent father he’d be very distinguished. he does speak of her. only better than I. I’m too deadly lazy. you exhaust the description when you say he’s Mr. He’s exceedingly clever. no position. so indolent that it amounts to a sort of position. He never speaks of his painting—to people at large. if you please— paints in water-colours. like me. I’ll bring you together and then you’ll see what I mean. and who is one of the most delightful men I know. No career. He can say. Osmond who lives tout betement in Italy.’ pursued 344 of 1056 . You can do nothing to-day unless you get up at five o’clock in the morning. He’s devoted to her. Oh yes.’ In that way he becomes a sort of exception. but. Tell me what they do in America. Some day you must know him. I do nothing. that’s all one can say about him or make of him. as I tell you. you feel he might do something if he’d only rise early. he’s too clever for that. no fortune. no anything. no past. But he has a little girl—a dear little girl. no name. no future. He’s Gilbert Osmond—he lives in Italy. But I’m afraid that’s no better than the snuff-boxes. His painting’s pretty bad. on the whole I’m rather glad of that.The Portrait of a Lady also was brought before he knew better).

it must be observed parenthetically. discriminating. where Mr. as the phrase is. He makes himself very agreeable. But he says such things with great tact. near the fire. She talked of Florence.’ Wasn’t that a very delicate way of saying both that poor Mr. Osmond lived and where Mrs. ‘Sir Matthew Hope told me so as plainly as was proper. it seemed to me so indiscreet—it wasn’t as if I could nurse. which are presented in a cluster for the convenience of the reader. you must remain.’ she said. From the first she had thought this prospect small. Touchett would go and that I might be of some 345 of 1056 . ‘standing there. before dinner. where she herself had a little pied-aterre with some rather good old damask. who. Touchett occupied a mediaeval palace. I don’t mean his saying that has anything to do with it. did not deliver herself all at once of these reflexions. One evening she announced definitely that he wouldn’t live. and from time to time she talked of their kind old host and of the prospect of his recovery. ‘your office will come later. I had told him I felt ill at my ease. staying here at such a time. competent way in which she took the measure of his remainder of life. the great doctor.The Portrait of a Lady Madame Merle. She talked of places. and Isabel had been struck with the positive.’ he answered. of ‘subjects". of people and even. ‘You must remain. she talked of Rome.

she.’ ‘What have you done to him?’ ‘Nothing whatever. Ralph. but he doesn’t like me. I shall not be of the slightest use. however. But I should never presume to condole with Mr. With your cousin it will be different. Your aunt will console herself. ‘Perfectly. because if you do you’ll never end. It’s an antipathy of nature—if I can call it that when it’s all on his side. and she alone.’ Madame Merle had alluded more than once to some undefined incongruity in her relations with Ralph Touchett.’ ‘You’re very kind. we’re not on those terms.’ ‘Begin to dislike you? I shall never begin. so Isabel took this occasion of asking her if they were not good friends. Be sure you have one ready for the day you begin.’ ‘For not liking you? I think one has need of a very good reason. It would be a very delicate matter for another person to undertake to administer the dose. he doesn’t get over it.’ ‘I hope not.The Portrait of a Lady use as a consoler? In fact. But one has no need of a reason for that. knows just how much consolation she’ll require. he’ll miss his father immensely. That’s the way with your cousin. I’ve nothing whatever against him and don’t bear 346 of 1056 .

’ said Isabel. The love of knowledge coexisted in her mind with the finest capacity for ignorance. though diluted in her customary amplitude of ease.’ she broke out once with a bitterness which. 347 of 1056 . Cartes sur table. that on her first asking him about Madame Merle he had answered her in a manner which this lady might have thought injurious without being explicit. but she said nothing more than this. If it were something of importance it should inspire respect.’ ‘I hope not indeed. made her raise her clear eyebrows at the time and think of the words afterwards. however.The Portrait of a Lady him the least little grudge for not doing me justice. There was something between them. Justice is all I want. However. ‘I’d give a great deal to be your age again.’ Madame Merle subjoined in a moment. She remembered. ‘I’m not afraid of him. if it were not it was not worth her curiosity. Isabel said to herself. With all her love of knowledge she had a natural shrinking from raising curtains and looking into unlighted corners. one feels that he’s a gentleman and would never say anything underhand about one. But Madame Merle sometimes said things that startled her. who added something about his being the kindest creature living.

‘What have my talents brought me? Nothing but the need of using them still. ‘If I could only begin again—if I could have my life before me!’ ‘Your life’s before you yet.’ But Madame Merle interrupted her. of unconsciousness. 348 of 1056 .’ said Isabel. nor child. You have memories.’ ‘I’m not so sure!’ cried Madame Merle. to cheat myself with some pretence of movement. ‘Yes. the best part’s gone. you’re wrong. nor the traces of a beauty that I never had. I would make an effort to keep you. the years.The Portrait of a Lady was imperfectly disguised by it.’ ‘You have many friends. and gone for nothing. ‘Ah.’ And her companion looked at her gravely. for she was vaguely awe-struck.’ ‘It will be for you to see that I don’t then.’ Isabel answered gently. nor position. As for my graces and memories the less said about them the better. You’ll be my friend till you find a better use for your friendship. to get through the hours. dear lady. graces. ‘No. ‘Why not—what have I got? Neither husband. ‘When I say I should like to be your age I mean with your qualities—frank. talents-. nor fortune.’ said Isabel.’ ‘Surely not for nothing.

I should make myself ridiculous by talking of them. ‘What’s your idea of success?’ ‘You evidently think it must be a very tame one.’ ‘They were great. sincere like you. ‘I don’t know what your idea of success may be.’ Madame Merle tossed away the music with a smile. ‘And your ambitions have not been satisfied? They must have been great.’ ‘What should you have liked to do that you’ve not done?’ Madame Merle took a sheet of music—she was seated at the piano and had abruptly wheeled about on the stool when she first spoke. ‘that I’ve never seen! But my dreams were so great—so preposterous. To me indeed you’re a vivid image of success. Heaven forgive me.’ ‘Ah.and mechanically turned the leaves.’ Isabel wondered what they could have been—whether Madame Merle had aspired to wear a crown. I’m dreaming now!’ And she turned back to 349 of 1056 .’ Madame Merle exclaimed. but you seem to me to have been successful. It’s to see some dream of one’s youth come true. In that case I should have made something better of my life. ‘I’m very ambitious!’ she at last replied.The Portrait of a Lady generous.

The Portrait of a Lady the piano and began grandly to play. He’s the inevitable young man.’ ‘I began to dream very young. he doesn’t count. Madame Merle appeared to note this eagerness. who had succeeded? The dreams of one’s youth. Measured in that way. yet frightfully sad.’ 350 of 1056 . why they were enchanting. nor that either. ‘Ah. ‘Why shouldn’t he count? There are young men and young men. ‘I suspect that’s what you do mean.’ Isabel smiled. if you mean the aspirations of your childhood— that of having a pink sash and a doll that could close her eyes. On the morrow she said to Isabel that her definition of success had been very pretty. I don’t mean that. ‘Already? They must have been dreams of yesterday.’ ‘No.’ ‘No. We’ve all had the young man with the moustache. they were divine! Who had ever seen such things come to pass? ‘I myself—a few of them.’ Isabel declared with still more emphasis.’ Isabel was silent a little but then spoke with extreme and characteristic inconsequence.’ Isabel ventured to answer.’ ‘Or a young man with a fine moustache going down on his knees to you.

’ ‘I don’t care anything about his house. ‘That’s very crude of you.’ said Isabel. ‘If you’ve had the identical young man you dreamed of. When you’ve lived as long as I you’ll see that every human being has his shell and that you must take the shell into account. and I congratulate you with all my heart. ‘And yours was a paragon—is that what you mean?’ asked her friend with a laugh. I’ve a great respect for things! One’s self—for other people. I refuse to recognize that as an ideal. one’s furniture. What shall we call our ‘self’? Where does it begin? where does it end? It overflows into everything that belongs to us—and then it flows back again. and one’s house.’ 351 of 1056 . one’s garments. I know a large part of myself is in the clothes I choose to wear. and edit PDF.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady one’s expression of one’s self.’ ‘What has he? An ugly brick house in Fortieth Street? Don’t tell me that. we’re each of us made up of some cluster of appurtenances. then that was success. view. Only in that case why didn’t you fly with him to his castle in the Apennines?’ ‘He has no castle in the Apennines. the company one keeps—these things are all expressive. By the shell I mean the whole envelope of circumstances. the books one reads. There’s no such thing as an isolated man or woman. Download the free trial version.

The Portrait of a Lady This was very metaphysical. and a perfectly arbitrary one. as you say. ‘Possibly. but they don’t express me. Isabel was fond of metaphysics.’ Madame Merle lightly interposed. I don’t know whether I succeed in expressing myself. To begin with it’s not my own choice that I wear them. I choose to wear. a barrier. but I know that nothing else expresses me. though it may cast some discredit on the sketch I have given of the youthful loyalty practiced by our heroine toward this accomplished woman. I am bound to confess. than several observations Madame Merle had already made.’ ‘Should you prefer to go without them?’ Madame Merle enquired in a tone which virtually terminated the discussion. they’re imposed upon me by society. but I don’t care to be judged by that. don’t express me. not more so. but was unable to accompany her friend into this bold analysis of the human personality. I think just the other way. Certainly the clothes which. that Isabel had said nothing whatever to her about 352 of 1056 . My clothes may express the dressmaker. ‘I don’t agree with you. everything’s on the contrary a limit. however. and heaven forbid they should!’ ‘You dress very well. Nothing that belongs to me is any measure of me.

It so happened that during this lady’s previous visits to Gardencourt. but she felt sure that if he had come to Gardencourt he would have seen Madame Merle. Touchett’s health the girl was not liable to the embarrassment of such enquiries as.each of them much shorter than the present—he had either not been at Lockleigh or had not called at Mr.’ she had said to Isabel in return for the mutilated confidences which our young woman made her and which didn’t pretend to be perfect. she had no cause to suspect him as a suitor of Mrs. however. he would probably have felt bound to make in person. concealed the fact that she had had opportunities of marrying and had even let her friend know of how advantageous a kind they had been. Touchett’s. She had not. though 353 of 1056 . had he still been in the neighbourhood.The Portrait of a Lady Lord Warburton and had been equally reticent on the subject of Caspar Goodwood. and that if he had seen her he would have liked her and betrayed to her that he was in love with her young friend. ‘You’ve plenty of time. and though he had written to Ralph more than once to ask about Mr. He had excellent ways. Lord Warburton had left Lockleigh and was gone to Scotland. Touchett’s freshly-imported niece. taking his sisters with him. though she knew him by name as the great man of that country. Therefore.

and I should like to see you married to a prime minister. There’s always the danger of refusing once too often. but accepting’s after all an exercise of power as well. but from what I can make out you’re not embarrassed with an income. You’re an exquisite creature. You appear to have the vaguest ideas about your earthly possessions. simply. But speaking strictly. It was not the one I fell into—I didn’t refuse often enough. apparently forgetting for the moment that her poverty had been a venial fault for two gallant gentlemen. Pardon me if my tone seems horribly corrupt. It’s a pleasant exercise of power. It’s a very good thing for a girl to have refused a few good offers—so long of course as they are not the best she’s likely to have. You’re extremely good-looking and extremely clever. I wish you had a little money. in yourself you’re quite exceptional. In spite of Sir Matthew Hope’s benevolent recommendation Madame Merle did not remain to the 354 of 1056 . ‘I’m glad you’ve done nothing yet—that you have it still to do. one must take the worldly view sometimes. you know. Only don’t keep on refusing for the sake of refusing.’ ‘I wish I had!’ said Isabel. you’re not what is technically called a parti.The Portrait of a Lady we have seen that at moments the girl had compunctions at having said so much.

Our young lady. She was under pledges to other people which had at last to be redeemed. she saw her aunt and cousin only at meals. She spent the rest in her own apartments. and this embrace was satisfactory to Madame Merle. apparently occupied there with mysterious and inscrutable exercises. and she left Gardencourt with the understanding that she should in any event see Mrs. as the issue of poor Mr. however. though some women kiss with facility. At table she was grave and silent. but her solemnity was not an attitude— 355 of 1056 . Touchett was invisible only a minor portion was now devoted to nursing her husband. there are kisses and kisses.The Portrait of a Lady end. Her parting with Isabel was even more like the beginning of a friendship than their meeting had been. You must remember that and must think as well of me as possible. one doesn’t make new friends at my age. You must reward me by believing in me. after this. and.’ By way of answer Isabel kissed her. They’ll all be old friends. but I shall see no one I like so well as you. Touchett there again. Touchett’s malady had now come frankly to be designated. was much alone. or else in town. before quitting England. and discovered that of the hours during which Mrs. ‘I’m going to six places in succession. to which access was not allowed even to her niece. I’ve made a great exception for you.

no sighs. Isabel liked her friend’s private epistolary 356 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady Isabel could see it was a conviction. no exaggeration of a zeal always to its own sense adequate. but. But it was not that you might know your uncle that I brought you to Europe. Mrs. She took a solitary walk every day and spent vague hours in turning over books in the library.’ A perfectly veracious speech. but there was no visible evidence of this—no tears. She had leisure to think of this and other matters. as Isabel thought. a practical ring. Touchett seemed simply to feel the need of thinking things over and summing them up.’ ‘That’s very well.’ ‘So that perhaps I should never have known my uncle? It’s a great happiness to me to have come now. she had a little moral account-book—with columns unerringly ruled and a sharp steel clasp—which she kept with exemplary neatness. Among the subjects that engaged her attention were the adventures of her friend Miss Stackpole. ‘I’d have waited and sent for you next year. not as perfectly timed. Uttered reflection had with her ever. with whom she was in regular correspondence. ‘If I had foreseen this I’d not have proposed your coming abroad now. She wondered if her aunt repented of having taken her own way so much.’ she said to Isabel after Madame Merle had left the house. at any rate.

had never arrived. that view of the inner life of Great Britain which she was so eager to take appeared to dance before her like an ignis fatuus. had been unable to explain so grave a dereliction on the part of a missive that had obviously been sent. however. He wants to know why I don’t take a view of French life. Mr. Henrietta’s career.The Portrait of a Lady style better than her public. and you should see how that pleases him. I must say he’s quite as attentive as I could wish. Bantling doesn’t care much about the Republic. and at least I shall have seen one polite Englishman. with all his friendly ingenuity. and believed that he owed her a set-off to this illusory visit to Bedfordshire. The invitation from Lady Pensil. Whenever I say so he always breaks out with 357 of 1056 . Bantling that he ought to have been an American. but he thinks of going over to Paris anyway. for mysterious reasons. ‘He says he should think I would go to the Continent. He had evidently taken Henrietta’s affairs much to heart. and poor Mr.’ Henrietta wrote. and as he thinks of going there himself I suppose his advice is sincere. I keep telling Mr. and it’s a fact that I want very much to see the new Republic. as might have been wished even in the interest of her private felicity. was not so successful. that is she felt her public letters would have been excellent if they had not been printed. Bantling himself.

Oh. ‘going over to Paris with an ex-Lancer! If she wants something to write about she has only to describe that episode. but really.’ he said. certainly. ‘but if you mean that—as far as Henrietta is concerned—it’s not perfectly innocent. I understand her perfectly. come now!’’ A few days later she wrote that she had decided to go to Paris at the end of the week and that Mr. our heroine communicated several passages from this correspondence to Ralph. ‘It seems to me she’s doing very well.’ Isabel answered. She would wait in Paris till Isabel should arrive.The Portrait of a Lady the same exclamation—’Ah. you’re very much mistaken. he may have some surprises.’ ‘Pardon me.’ ‘It’s not conventional. but now I’ve the point of view. I’m afraid. however. Henrietta added. Bantling had promised to see her off perhaps even would go as far as Dover with her. who followed with an emotion akin to suspense the career of the representative of the Interviewer. I understand Henrietta as well as if I had made her!’ 358 of 1056 . Bearing in mind his interest in their late companion. I didn’t at all at first. You’ll never understand Henrietta. Touchett. speaking quite as if Isabel were to start on her continental journey alone and making no allusion to Mrs. that Bantling hasn’t.

for she was disposed in these days to extend a great charity to her cousin. but at last she saw him appear in the portico.’ said Ralph. It was so great that when she at last heard a soft. She turned quickly away from the window and saw Ralph Touchett standing there with his hands still in his pockets. stand a moment slowly drawing on his gloves and looking at the knees of his horse. She was struck with his remaining so long. from which she looked out into the dull. and as the library stood at right angles to the entrance-front of the house she could see the doctor’s brougham. but with a face absolutely void of its usual latent smile. ‘It’s all over. She had placed herself in a deep window-bench. there was a great stillness in the house. Isabel kept her place for half an hour. 359 of 1056 . slow step on the deep carpet of the room she was almost startled by the sound.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel was by no means sure of this. and then get into the vehicle and roll away. which had been waiting for the last two hours before the door. but she abstained from expressing further doubt. damp park. One afternoon less than a week after Madame Merle’s departure she was seated in the library with a volume to which her attention was not fastened. She got up and her movement and glance were a question.

my poor Ralph!’ she gently wailed. ‘My dear father died an hour ago.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Do you mean that my uncle-?’ And Isabel stopped. 360 of 1056 . putting out her two hands to him.’ ‘Ah.

she perceived numerous signs of abdication. Touchett presently received her and intimated in a few words that condolences might be taken for granted. she waited to be admitted. as she ascended to the drawing-room.’ Mrs. Touchett added that at the end her husband apparently recognized this fact. with the name of the agent to whom application should be made. ‘He has treated me most 361 of 1056 . neat. suspended between the dining-room windows. ‘it’s a practical country!’ And within the house. pictures removed from the walls and placed upon sofas. As she descended from her vehicle she observed. wooden tablet.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 20 Some fortnight after this Madame Merle drove up in a hansom cab to the house in Winchester Square. In that I think I was a good wife. Mrs. after sounding the big brass knocker. because I gave him more chance to show it. But I know it better than any one. ‘They certainly lose no time. ‘I know what you’re going to say—he was a very good man. on whose fresh black ground were inscribed in white paint the words—‘This noble freehold mansion to be sold".’ said the visitor as. a large. windows undraped and floors laid bare.

The Portrait of a Lady liberally.’ Madame Merle mentally observed. to recognize the fact that though I lived much abroad and mingled—you may say freely—in foreign life.’ ‘For any one but yourself. Touchett’s history. The truth is that the moment she had crossed the threshold she received an impression that Mr. Touchett’s death had had subtle consequences and that these consequences had been profitable to a little circle of 362 of 1056 . because I didn’t expect. ‘Oh no. too. ‘you never did anything for another!’ There was a certain cynicism in these mute comments which demands an explanation.’ thought Madame Merle. You know that as a general thing I don’t expect. I never exhibited the smallest preference for any one else. the more so. But he chose. but the reflexion was perfectly inaudible. ‘I never sacrificed my husband to another. ‘I won’t say more liberally than I expected. the more so as they are not in accord either with the view—somewhat superficial perhaps—that we have hitherto enjoyed of Madame Merle’s character or with the literal facts of Mrs.’ she said. I presume. Touchett continued with her stout curtness. as Madame Merle had a well-founded conviction that her friend’s last remark was not in the least to be construed as a side-thrust at herself.’ Mrs.

’ she would have said. Download the free trial version. but we have already learned of her having desires that had never been satisfied. ‘There was never that. I hasten to add. Touchett’s gain as for her losses.’ the newly-made widow said. poor man!’—with a fillip of her thumb and her third finger. persons among whom she was not numbered. and edit PDF. ‘There was never anything in the world between us. view. If she had been questioned. Of course it was an event which would naturally have consequences.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. Touchett’s relics. she would of course have admitted—with a fine proud smile—that she had not the faintest claim to a share in Mr. I am far from wishing to picture her as one of the hungry mouths or envious hearts of the general herd. She had after all as much sympathy for Mrs. The will was opened only three days 363 of 1056 . her imagination had more than once rested upon this fact during her stay at Gardencourt. I’ve a much better one in Florence. moreover. The idea of a distribution of property—she would almost have said of spoils—just now pressed upon her senses and irritated her with a sense of exclusion. But it had been one thing to foresee such a matter mentally and another to stand among its massive records. ‘but of course I shall not live in it. that if she couldn’t at the present moment keep from quite perversely yearning she was careful not to betray herself. ‘He has left me this house.

‘What do you mean by that?’ 364 of 1056 . There’s one remarkable clause in my husband’s will. has Gardencourt. a little dilated.’ she cried. of course. but I’ve already offered the house for sale. ‘Ah.’ Madame Merle’s hands were clasped in her lap. Touchett added. ‘He has left my niece a fortune. but his father has given away an immense deal of money. there are bequests to a string of third cousins in Vermont. is very fond of Gardencourt and would be quite capable of living there—in summer— with a maid-of-all-work and a gardener’s boy.The Portrait of a Lady since. ‘the clever creature!’ Mrs. Ralph. I’ve also a share in the bank. fixed themselves on those of her friend. If not I shall certainly take it out. He’s naturally left very well off. however. but I don’t yet understand if I’m obliged to leave it there. ‘Isabel steps into something like seventy thousand pounds. but I’m not sure that he’ll have means to keep up the place. still clasped. Touchett gave her a quick look. Ralph. at this she raised them.’ Mrs.’ ‘A fortune!’ Madame Merle softly repeated. and held them a moment against her bosom while her eyes.

I’m sure.’ ‘She never dreamed. I don’t deny that. Her charm includes great cleverness. and I never dreamed of it either. her wisdom was shown rather in maintaining it and placing it in a favourable light. Isabel would certainly not have had seventy thousand pounds left her if she had not been the most charming girl in the world.The Portrait of a Lady For an instant Madame Merle’s colour rose and she dropped her eyes. ‘those are the greatest strokes!’ Mrs. of my husband’s doing anything for her.’ Madame Merle was seldom guilty of the awkwardness of retracting what she had said. Touchett said. ‘The girl’s fortunate.’ Mrs. Whatever she achieved she achieved unconsciously. it was no great recommendation to him that she was my niece. Touchett reserved her opinion. ‘My dear friend.’ 365 of 1056 . ‘It certainly is clever to achieve such results—without an effort!’ ‘There assuredly was no effort.’ rejoined Madame Merle. for he never spoke to me of his intention. But for the present she’s simply stupefied. ‘She had no claim upon him whatever. Don’t call it an achievement.’ ‘Ah.

’ ‘Didn’t you say his own share had been cut down?’ 366 of 1056 . She doesn’t know what to think about the matter at all. It’s but three days since she received a visit from the principal executor. ‘How very delicious! After she has done that two or three times she’ll get used to it. He’s on his way to the Riviera and I’ve not yet heard from him. she’s feeling herself to see if she be hurt. ‘He left England before the will was read—used up by his fatigue and anxiety and hurrying off to the south.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Do you mean that she doesn’t know what to do with the money?’ ‘That. I think. very gallantly. The money’s to remain in the affairs of the bank. It has been as if a big gun were suddenly fired off behind her.’ Madame Merle shook her head with a wise and now quite benignant smile. and she’s to draw the interest. ‘What does your son think of it?’ she abruptly asked.’ Then after a silence. But it’s not likely he’ll ever object to anything done by his father. who came in person. she has hardly considered. He told me afterwards that when he had made his little speech she suddenly burst into tears. to notify her.

made for the present to her young friend’s inheritance. He’s not in the least addicted to looking after number one. Isabel came in shortly after the footman had been sent to call her. laid her hand on our heroine’s shoulder and. her eyes bent on the floor. but you’ll not be struck with her being happy. that Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Only at his wish. And she remained thoughtful a moment. these three days. Touchett’s comparison had its force. after looking at her a moment. in her great good taste. I know that he urged his father to do something for the people in America. The girl was pale and grave—an effect not mitigated by her deeper mourning. but the smile of her brightest moments came into her face as she saw Madame Merle. ‘Am I not to see your happy niece?’ she asked at last as she raised them. as she appeared. 367 of 1056 . kissed her as if she were returning the kiss she had received from her at Gardencourt. Touchett rang for a servant. who went forward. as a Cimabue Madonna!’ And Mrs. She has looked as solemn. This was the only allusion the visitor. and Madame Merle thought. ‘You may see her.’ ‘It depends upon whom he regards as number one!’ said Madame Merle.

Isabel thought very often of the fact of her accession of means. Touchett had no purpose of awaiting in London the sale of her house. but we shall not now attempt to follow her train of thought or to explain exactly why her new consciousness was at first oppressive. Just now. It was the graceful contrary of the stupid side of weakness—especially the feminine variety. there was not much to do—once she had sent off a cheque to Lily. To be weak was. looking at it in a dozen different lights. who now had plenty of leisure to measure and weigh and otherwise handle the windfall on which Madame Merle had covertly congratulated her. she left the rest of its contents to be disposed of by the auctioneer and took her departure for the Continent. as Isabel said to herself.The Portrait of a Lady Mrs. there was a larger grace than that. and that to do could only be sweet. it is true. for a delicate young person. but. but she was thankful for the quiet months which her mourning robes and her aunt’s fresh 368 of 1056 . After selecting from among its furniture the objects she wished to transport to her other abode. the girl presently made up her mind that to be rich was a virtue because it was to be able to do. and another to poor Edith. after all. This failure to rise to immediate joy was indeed but brief. She was of course accompanied on this journey by her niece. rather graceful.

having intended before her husband’s death to spend a part of the winter in Paris. They were the ways most naturally imposed in a city in which the shops are the admiration of the world. Though they 369 of 1056 . The acquisition of power made her serious.of this advantage.’ she went on. but for the present her imagination was not kindled. but you must learn. this was Isabel’s second duty. who took a rigidly practical view of the transformation of her niece from a poor girl to a rich one. Mrs. Isabel submitted. ‘Now that you’re a young woman of fortune you must know how to play the part—I mean to play it well. Touchett rarely changed her plans.’ she said to Isabel once for all. ‘You don’t know how to take care of your things. and. and that were prescribed unreservedly by the guidance of Mrs. but was not eager to exercise it. but these were not the opportunities she meant. she longed for opportunities. and she added that the girl’s first duty was to have everything handsome. She began to do so during a stay of some weeks which she eventually made with her aunt in Paris.The Portrait of a Lady widowhood compelled them to spend together. though in ways that will inevitably present themselves as trivial. she scrutinized her power with a kind of tender ferocity. saw no reason to deprive herself—still less to deprive her companion. Touchett.

With many of these amiable colonists Mrs. which was generally admitted. Though her listeners passed for people kept exemplarily genial by their cooks and dressmakers.’ Mrs. though luxurious. inferior to that of the new theatrical pieces. ‘It doesn’t seem to lead to anything. she shared their expatriation. ‘You all live here this way. when the American absentees were engaged in calling on each other. She made up her mind that their lives were. their convictions. their ennui. Touchett was intimate. and Isabel constantly saw her. and incurred some disfavour by expressing this view on bright Sunday afternoons. their pastimes.The Portrait of a Lady would live in great retirement she might still present her niece. so that Mrs. Touchett thought the question worthy of Henrietta Stackpole. Touchett had some reason for saying to herself that if her 370 of 1056 . two or three of them thought her cleverness. informally. to the little circle of her fellow countrymen dwelling upon the skirts of the Champs Elysees. The two ladies had found Henrietta in Paris. and pronounced on them with a trenchancy doubtless to be accounted for by the temporary exaltation of her sense of human duty. but what does it lead to?’ she was pleased to ask. inane. and I should think you’d get very tired of it. Isabel saw them arrive with a good deal of assiduity at her aunt’s hotel.

where he found 371 of 1056 . In fact she was at home at all times. her worthy husband. The first occasion on which Isabel had spoken was that of a visit paid by the two ladies to Mrs. lean. One of them was that he went every day to the American banker’s. When it failed Mrs. Luce. This reduced Mr. Luce used to explain—‘Oh yes.The Portrait of a Lady niece were not clever enough to originate almost anything. a tall. to mere platonic praise of the ‘distractions’ of Paris—they were his great word—since you would never have guessed from what cares he escaped to them. wellbrushed gentleman who wore a gold eye-glass and carried his hat a little too much on the back of his head. usually the same. Luce. grizzled. Touchett’s and the only person in Paris she now went to see. her French had never become quite perfect. she used to say jocosely that she was one of the generation of 1830—a joke of which the point was not always taken. Mrs. She was always at home on Sunday afternoons and surrounded by sympathetic compatriots. Luce had been living in Paris since the days of Louis Philippe. I’m one of the romantics". she might be suspected of having borrowed that style of remark from her journalistic friend. and reproduced with wondrous truth in her well-cushioned little corner of the brilliant city. the domestic tone of her native Baltimore. an old friend of Mrs.

He had no faith in its duration 372 of 1056 . and gave no countenance to the government lately established in France. Luce flatter himself that he was enjoying life. He passed an hour (in fine weather) in a chair in the Champs Elysees. for they were doubtless the animating principle of many hours that superficially seemed vacant. These were his only known pastimes. and he dined uncommonly well at his own table. Like many of his fellow colonists Mr. There was nothing like Paris. seated above a waxed floor which it was Mrs. Luce thought less highly of this scene of his dissipations than in earlier days. Occasionally he dined with a friend or two at the Cafe Anglais.The Portrait of a Lady a post-office that was almost as sociable and colloquial an institution as in an American country town. Luce was a high—or rather a deep— conservative. and they doubtless justified his frequent declaration that there was no place like Paris. on these terms. but it must be confessed that Mr. In no other place. but they had beguiled his hours for upwards of half a century. could Mr. where his talent for ordering a dinner was a source of felicity to his companions and an object of admiration even to the headwaiter of the establishment. Luce’s happiness to believe had a finer polish than any other in the French capital. In the list of his resources his political reflections should not be omitted.

‘Why. I’ve seen the court-carriages from the Tuileries pass up and down as many as seven times a day. madam. and there’ll be a dark cloud over Paris. till they get the Empire back again.’ Mr. Edward Rosier—Ned Rosier as he was called—was native to New York and had been brought up 373 of 1056 . the style’s all gone. ‘They want to be kept down. I remember one occasion when they went as high as nine. Touchett. to be kept down. he knew how to make a city pleasant. Luce had often remarked to Mrs. Mr. Napoleon knew what the French people want. nothing but the strong hand—the iron heel—will do for them. What do you see now? It’s no use talking. sitting in the Champs Elysees. sir. Luce’s visitors on Sunday afternoons was a young man with whom Isabel had had a good deal of conversation and whom she found full of valuable knowledge.’ he would frequently say of the French people. our Paris. and his ideal of a fine showy clever rule was that of the superseded Empire.The Portrait of a Lady and would assure you from year to year that its end was close at hand. who was quite of his own way of thinking and wished to know what one had crossed that odious Atlantic for but to get away from republics. ‘Paris is much less attractive than in the days of the Emperor.’ Among Mrs. opposite to the Palace of Industry.

Archer’s whereabouts remained for some days a mystery. as when Edward told her that he was ‘defended’ by his bonne to go near the 374 of 1056 . living there under the eye of his father who. Archer. it had been his father who came to the rescue of the small Archers at the inn at Neufchatel (he was travelling that way with the boy and had stopped at the hotel by chance). for she had a very definite conception of a type of features which she supposed to be angelic and which her new friend perfectly illustrated. expressing the properest sentiments. A small pink face surmounted by a blue velvet bonnet and set off by a stiff embroidered collar had become the countenance of her childish dreams. had been an early and intimate friend of the late Mr. after their bonne had gone off with the Russian prince and when Mr. and she had firmly believed for some time afterwards that the heavenly hosts conversed among themselves in a queer little dialect of French-English. Isabel took a walk with the pair beside the lake and thought little Edward as pretty as an angel—a comparison by no means conventional in her mind. Isabel remembered perfectly the neat little male child whose hair smelt of a delicious cosmetic and who had a bonne all his own. warranted to lose sight of him under no provocation. as it happened. Edward Rosier remembered Isabel as a little girl.The Portrait of a Lady in Paris.

He usually. and had once passed a couple of months in the United States. with the best shops. with good wine. He was a very gentle and gracious youth. with what are called cultivated tastes—an acquaintance with old china.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. Ned Rosier’s English had improved. edge of the lake. with the bindings of books. when she would persist 375 of 1056 . the hours of railway-trains. Download the free trial version. with the Almanach de Gotha. who declared that his chimney-piece was better draped than the high shoulders of many a duchess. He could order a dinner almost as well as Mr. He had some charming rooms in Paris. and it was probable that as his experience accumulated he would be a worthy successor to that gentleman. but the young man still conformed to the spirit of their teaching—he never went to the edge of the lake. view. the best hotels. and that one must always obey to one’s bonne. at least it exhibited in a less degree the French variation. whose rather grim politics he also advocated in a soft and innocent voice. however. and edit PDF. the envy of his female friends. His father was dead and his bonne dismissed. He took a great interest in Isabel and remembered perfectly the walk at Neufchatel. There was still something agreeable to the nostrils about him and something not offensive to nobler organs. decorated with old Spanish altar-lace. spent a part of every winter at Pau. Luce.

You can’t go anywhere unless you come here first. Don’t you go anywhere without asking me first. if you know the right places.The Portrait of a Lady in going so near the edge. now. I want you to promise me that. but I keep them to myself. Miss Archer? Why Paris leads everywhere. but you wouldn’t. only you mustn’t tell any one else. as a particular favour. You think you would. I’ll tell you. I know plenty of places. I like the road. Where can you get such things as you can here? In spite of all they say I maintain they’re cheaper too. You can’t get tired of it—you can’t if you try. Every one that comes to Europe has got to pass through. Miss Archer. As a general thing avoid the Boulevards. how can you penetrate futurity? How can you tell what lies ahead? If it’s a pleasant road I don’t care where it leads. Speaking conscientiously—sans blague—I 376 of 1056 . Take the Hotel Drouot. there’s always something new and fresh. if you like. they sometimes have three and four sales a week. He seemed to recognize this same tendency in the subversive enquiry that I quoted a moment ago. and set himself to answer our heroine’s question with greater urbanity than it perhaps deserved. I like the dear old asphalte. there’s very little to be done on the Boulevards. You don’t mean it in that sense so much? You mean what good it does you? Well. ‘What does it lead to.

I can’t 377 of 1056 . I can tell by the expression of your face.The Portrait of a Lady don’t believe any one knows Paris better than I. But when you come to the point you see you have to stop. and so do I. ‘Oh no. But there’s nothing in it—you can’t do anything in London. nothing but their eternal Queen Anne. Queen Annefor one’s washing-room. but I can’t sell. Miss Archer. you overrate me. You and Mrs. the people who make me buy! Ah no. I haven’t the means. When I think how clever they must be. You think I’m a mere trifler. It’s good for one’s bed-room. You think I ought to do something. je ne vous dis que ca! There has been a great deal of talk about London of late. I can’t go home and be a shopkeeper. Rosier pursued in answer to another question of Isabel’s. so long as you leave it vague. Touchett must come and breakfast with me some day. I mean it as a kind of warning. I wish I had. No Louis Quinze— nothing of the First Empire. you should see when I sometimes try to get rid of my things. it’s the fashion to cry up London. I can buy very’ve got a wonderfully expressive face. and I’ll show you my things. I hope you don’t mind my saying that. Do I spend my life at the auctioneer’s?’ Mr. You think I’m very well fitted? Ah. but it isn’t proper for a salon. I couldn’t be a shopkeeper. It takes much more ability to make other people buy than to buy yourself.

however. I haven’t got convictions. coming to pay his compliments late in the afternoon. I should like to be a diplomatist. usually interrupted the young man at this point and read him a lecture on the duties of the American citizen. he was worse than poor Ralph Touchett.’ she frankly asserted.’ Henrietta Stackpole. for her conscience had been freshly alarmed as regards do you call it?—the American procedure. who was often with her friend when Mr. She thought him most unnatural. ‘I’d have said to him ‘Never!’ 378 of 1056 . Henrietta. but American diplomacy—that’s not for gentlemen either. ‘If Mr. I can’t be a lawyer. in the Old Testament particularly. was at this time more than ever addicted to fine criticism.The Portrait of a Lady be a doctor. I can’t be a clergyman. I don’t understand. They’re very difficult. Touchett had consulted me about leaving you the money. And then I can’t pronounce the names right in the Bible. I’m sure if you had seen the last min-. Rosier. it’s a repulsive business. She had not congratulated this young lady on her augmentations and begged to be excused from doing so. Is there anything else? There’s nothing for a gentleman in America. expressed himself after the fashion I have sketched.

’ 379 of 1056 . ‘I mean your exposure on the moral side. I’ve seen nothing over here to compare with it. but I’m not afraid of that.’ Isabel had answered.’ ‘Leave it to some one you care less for—that’s what I should have said. but it will certainly confirm your dangerous tendencies.’ ‘To yourself for instance?’ Isabel suggested jocosely. The peril for you is that you live too much in the world of your own dreams. Perhaps it will. suffering. ‘I hope it won’t ruin you. You’re not enough in contact with reality. world that surrounds you. I approve of luxury. I may even say sinning. You’re too fastidious. Look at the luxury of our western cities. And then.’ said Henrietta. you’ve too many graceful illusions.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I see. ‘You think it will prove a curse in disguise. striving. I hope you’ll never become grossly sensual.’ ‘Do you mean the love of luxury—of extravagance?’ ‘No. ‘Do you really believe it will ruin me?’ she asked in quite another tone. I think we ought to be as elegant as possible. Your newly-acquired thousands will shut you up more and more to the society of a few selfish and heartless people who will be interested in keeping them up. no.with the toiling.

‘I try so hard not to have any. You think we can escape disagreeable duties by taking romantic views—that’s your great illusion. You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all.’ she said. you’re very ready to do. but there’s another thing that’s still more important— you must often displease others. Henrietta. you like to be thought well of. you must sometimes please other people. I admit. ‘What are my illusions?’ she asked. which had been professionally more 380 of 1056 . I assure you: it becomes grim reality! And you can’t always please yourself.’ ‘Well. she looked troubled and frightened. Whatever life you lead you must put your soul in it—to make any sort of success of it. during her visit to Paris.’ Isabel shook her head sadly.not even yourself.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel’s eyes expanded as she gazed at this lurid scene.’ said Henrietta. that you can live by pleasing yourself and pleasing others. You’ll find you’re mistaken. and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance. But we can’t. That doesn’t suit you at all—you’re too fond of admiration. my dear. ‘must be one of those occasions!’ It was certainly true that Miss Stackpole. ‘you think you can lead a romantic life. for you. ‘This. You must always be ready for that—you must never shrink from it. That.

and she had never supposed that she could like any Englishman so well.The Portrait of a Lady remunerative than her English sojourn. shown her everything. He had explained everything. But this simplicity was on either side none the less honourable. and about Mr. Isabel couldn’t rid herself of a suspicion that they were playing somehow at crosspurposes—that the simplicity of each had been entrapped. Isabel learned from her friend that the two had led a life of great personal intimacy and that this had been a peculiar advantage to Henrietta. dined together. Isabel could not have told you why. Henrietta more than once assured our heroine. Mr. He was a true friend. They had breakfasted together. who had now returned to England. but she found something that ministered to mirth in the alliance the correspondent of the Interviewer had struck with Lady Pensil’s brother. really in a manner quite lived together. was her companion for the first four weeks of her stay. owing to the gentleman’s remarkable knowledge of Paris. her amusement moreover subsisted in face of the fact that she thought it a credit to each of them. Bantling there was nothing dreamy. supped together. been her constant guide and interpreter. had not been living in the world of dreams. It was as graceful on Henrietta’s part to 381 of 1056 . Bantling. gone to the theatre together.

who was of rather a slow and a discursive habit. and in the press of 382 of 1056 . but the cause of Miss Stackpole’s need of demonstrative affection. in his way. Each of these groping celibates supplied at any rate a want of which the other was impatiently conscious. if subtly analyzed (a task to which Mr. relished a prompt. and whose leisured state. and who kindled a perception of raciness in a mind to which the usual fare of life seemed unsalted. by expensive. challenging eye and a kind of bandbox freshness. keen. traditional. answer to almost any social or practical question that could come up. Bantling took an interest in the diffusion of lively journalism and in consolidating the position of lady-correspondents as it was on the part of his companion to suppose that the cause of the Interviewer—a periodical of which he never formed a very definite conception— was. enjoyed the society of a gentleman who appeared somehow. Bantling’s answers very convenient. almost ‘quaint’ processes. was a decided boon to a breathless mate.The Portrait of a Lady believe that Mr. who charmed him by the influence of a shining. on the other hand. Bantling felt himself quite equal). Bantling. She often found Mr. and who was furnished with an easy. made. though by no means exhaustive. for her use. roundabout. Henrietta. though generally indefensible. positive woman. Mr.

She would say: ‘Oh.The Portrait of a Lady catching the American post would largely and showily address them to publicity. for opprobrium. Bantling. she used to abound in the sense of Isabel’s irony and to enumerate with elation the hours she had spent with this perfect man of the world—a term that had ceased to make with her. as previously. would find permanent rest in any adoption of the views of a class pledged to all the old abuses. but it was scarcely to be hoped that Miss Stackpole. an object of irreverent and facetious allusion. a few moments later. Lady Pensil’s obliging brother was sometimes. she would forget that they had been talking jocosely and would mention with impulsive earnestness some expedition she had enjoyed in his company. I was bound to see it thoroughly—I warned him when we went out there that I was thorough: so we spent three days at the hotel and wandered all over the place. wishing for a good-humoured retort. could exceed Henrietta’s amiability on this point. Nothing. I went there with Mr. however. Then. There might be danger in store for Isabel. on our heroine’s lips. It was lovely weather—a kind 383 of 1056 . Isabel continued to warn her good-humouredly. I know all about Versailles. had warned her. on her side. It was to be feared that she was indeed drifting toward those abysses of sophistication as to which Isabel.

Oh yes. you can’t tell me anything about Versailles.The Portrait of a Lady of Indian summer.’ Henrietta appeared to have made arrangements to meet her gallant friend during the spring in Italy. 384 of 1056 . We just lived in that park. only not so good.

‘Now. though Mrs. had laid before her a pair of alternatives. but you’re at present on a different footing—property erects a kind of barrier. You can go and come. on the Italian shore of the Mediterranean. Isabel went with her aunt as a matter of course. I only want you to understand how much you’re at liberty. who paints on velvet. You might take 385 of 1056 . with a darned cashmere and dyed hair. You don’t think you’d like that? Of course you can do as you please. had fixed the day for her departure and by the middle of February had begun to travel southward. Touchett. you can travel alone. with homely. before arriving in Paris.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 21 Mrs. you’re completely your own mistress and are as free as the bird on the bough. who at San Remo. Touchett. You can do a great many things if you’re rich which would be severely criticized if you were poor. of course. had been spending a dull. I don’t mean you were not so before. bright winter beneath a slow-moving white umbrella. you can have your own establishment: I mean of course if you’ll take a companion—some decayed gentlewoman. She interrupted her journey to pay a visit to her son. customary logic.

when she sat in her damp waterproof and sketched the opportunities that Europe would offer to a young person of taste. in spite of eccentric impulses. was in a great measure the girl’s own fault. quite apart from your liking it. she 386 of 1056 . Isabel remained for the present with her aunt. however. narrow-minded old woman. she’d keep people off very well. It’s better for several reasons.The Portrait of a Lady Miss Stackpole as your dame de compagnie. This. obstinate. It was true that Mrs. ‘But you do think I’m obstinate and narrow-minded? I told you so!’ said Mrs. Touchett’s conversation had never again appeared so brilliant as that first afternoon in Albany. but I recommend you to make the sacrifice. I shouldn’t think you’d like it. that it’s a great deal better you should remain with me. she had a great regard for what was usually deemed decent. however.’ Isabel had replied to this. I think. because. and you see me as I am—a dull.’ ‘I don’t think you’re at all dull. in spite of there being no obligation. and a young gentlewoman without visible relations had always struck her as a flower without foliage. Of course whatever novelty there may have been at first in my society has quite passed away. Touchett with much elation at being justified.

She was learning to sacrifice consistency to considerations of that inferior order for which the excuse must be found in the particular case. and edit PDF. in other words. Isabel had reason to believe none the less that as she advanced in life she made more of those concessions to the sense of something obscurely distinct from convenience—more of them than she independently exacted. Isabel came at last to have a kind of undemonstrable pity for her. On her own ground she was perfectly present. had got a glimpse of her aunt’s experience. Touchett had a great merit. Apart from this. no familiar softening moss. There was a comfort in her stiffness and firmness. and her imagination constantly anticipated the judgements and emotions of a woman who had very little of the same faculty. Her offered. nothing sympathetic.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. but was never over-inquisitive as regards the territory of her neighbour. as it were. Download the free trial version. there seemed something so dreary in the condition of a person whose nature had. you knew exactly where to find her and were never liable to chance encounters and concussions. Nothing tender. Mrs. she was as honest as a pair of compasses. so little surface—offered so limited a face to the accretions of human contact. her passive extent. was about that of a knife-edge. had ever had a chance to fasten upon it—no wind-sown blossom. view. It was not to the 387 of 1056 .

Face to face. since in former years it had been one of her most definite convictions that when Ralph wished to see her he was at liberty to remember that Palazzo Crescentini contained a large apartment known as the quarter of the signorino. my dear Isabel.’ said the girl. ‘Why.’ ‘A compliment on what?’ ‘On your so beautifully existing. ‘What does it matter. whether I knew? My father was very obstinate.’ Isabel said to this young man the day after her arrival at San Remo—‘something I’ve thought more than once of asking you by letter. nevertheless.’ ‘What did he do it for?’ asked Isabel abruptly.The Portrait of a Lady credit of her absolute rectitude that she should have gone the longest way round to Florence in order to spend a few weeks with her invalid son.’ 388 of 1056 . he told me. but that I’ve hesitated on the whole to write about.’ ‘Yes. ‘you did know. my question seems easy enough. We even talked it over a little. ‘I want to ask you something. Did you know your father intended to leave me so much money?’ Ralph stretched his legs a little further than usual and gazed a little more fixedly at the Mediterranean. as a kind of compliment.’ ‘So.

’ ‘If I believed that I should be very unhappy.’ Isabel looked at him with serious eyes. How can you say that.’ ‘I’m not a lovely being.’ she presently declared.’ ‘About what?’ For a moment she answered nothing. But you must remember that justice to a lovely being is after all a florid sort of sentiment.’ said Ralph.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘Is that why your father did it—for your amusement?’ ‘I differ with Miss Stackpole.’ ‘Very good. then she broke out: ‘Do you think it good for me suddenly to be made so rich? Henrietta doesn’t.’ 389 of 1056 . at the very moment when I’m asking such odious questions? I must seem to you delicate!’ ‘You seem to me troubled. ‘That’s a way we all have. hang Henrietta!’ said Ralph coarsely. ‘I think it very good for you to have means. ‘I wonder whether you know what’s good for me—or whether you care. I want to be treated with justice. I want nothing but that. ‘I am troubled.’ Ralph went on more gravely.The Portrait of a Lady ‘He liked me too much. Fortunately I don’t believe it. ‘If you ask me I’m delighted at it.

and it was her nature to understand quickly. Shall I tell you what it is? Not to torment yourself. Don’t ask yourself so much whether this or that is good for you. the exceptions are very rare. Diet your fever. Keep it for great occasions. I’m proof. Isabel had listened quickly. It’s never wrong to do that.’ said Ralph.The Portrait of a Lady ‘If I know depend upon it I care. the number of things you think wrong. ‘It’s out of all reason. 390 of 1056 .’ She had listened eagerly. ‘I wonder if you appreciate what you say. Live as you like best. smiling. Most things are good for you. Don’t question your conscience so much—it will get out of tune like a strummed piano. Spread your wings.’ ‘You frighten me a little. Don’t try so much to form your character—it’s like trying to pull open a tight.’ Ralph paused. If you do. I suppose you mean. and your character will take care of itself.’ ‘You can’t do that.’ ‘Not to torment you. Put back your watch. but I think I’m right.’ Ralph added. tender young rose. ‘You’ve too much power of thought. as I say. you take a great responsibility. Take things more easily. rise above the ground. and a comfortable income’s not one of them. persisting in cheer.above all too much conscience.

A large fortune means freedom. It’s such a fine thing. Why indeed should we perpetually be thinking whether things are good for us. ‘you take the wind out of my sails!’ She looked at him as if she had not heard him—though she was following out the train of reflexion which he himself had kindled. If one shouldn’t one would be ashamed. and one should make such a good use of it. For weak people the effort not to be contemptible must be great. It’s because I’m afraid.’ said Ralph. and I’m afraid of that. ‘I try to care more about the world than about myself—but I always come back to myself.’ Isabel pursued. 391 of 1056 . ‘You could say nothing more true. I can’t tell you. her voice had trembled a little.’ ‘For weak people I’ve no doubt it’s a greater happiness. ‘Yes.The Portrait of a Lady ‘All the same what you say is very true.’ She stopped. And one must keep thinking. I’m not sure it’s not a greater happiness to be powerless. as if we were patients lying in a hospital? Why should I be so afraid of not doing right? As if it mattered to the world whether I do right or wrong!’ ‘You’re a capital person to advise.’ ‘And how do you know I’m not weak?’ Isabel asked. it’s a constant effort. I’m absorbed in myself—I look at life too much as a doctor’s prescription. I’m afraid.

the gate of admirations.’ Ralph answered with a flush that the girl noticed. but which nevertheless she was constantly picturing to herself by the light of her hopes. and the event 392 of 1056 . as a hush of the drum and fife in a career which she had little warrant as yet for regarding as agitated. a land in which a love of the beautiful might be comforted by endless knowledge. Italy. her predilections. and which reflected these subjective accidents in a manner sufficiently dramatic. her fears.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah. to where she knew that Genoa lay. there was such a thrill even in the preliminary hovering. She was glad to pause. Touchett that after their young friend had put her hand into her pocket half a dozen times she would be reconciled to the idea that it had been filled by a munificent uncle. as yet imperfectly seen and felt. stretched before her as a land of promise. however. Whenever she strolled upon the shore with her cousin—and she was the companion of his daily walk—she looked across the sea. with longing eyes. ‘if you are I’m awfully sold!’ The charm of the Mediterranean coast only deepened for our heroine on acquaintance. Madame Merle had predicted to Mrs. her ambitions. her fancies. It affected her moreover as a peaceful interlude. on the edge of this larger adventure. for it was the threshold of Italy.

but at times. The visions I have just spoken of were mixed with other debates. a certain ideal beauty. It rested upon two figures which. and often it was by no means the least agreeable. in spite of increasing distance. and on this point we must also touch in time. The consciousness in question found a proper place in rather a dense little group of ideas that she had about herself. independent. as she listened to the murmur of the Mediterranean waves. gave her even. that is for being quick to take a hint that was meant as good advice. His advice had perhaps helped the matter. generous girl who took a large human view of occasions and obligations were sublime in the mass. to her own imagination. Ralph Touchett had praised his cousin for being morally inflammable.The Portrait of a Lady justified. What it did for her in the imagination of others is another affair. It took perpetually for granted a thousand good intentions. she had at any rate before leaving San Remo grown used to feeling rich. Her fortune therefore became to her mind a part of her better self. that lady’s perspicacity. She lost herself in a maze of visions. it gave her importance. her glance took a backward flight. they were recognizable without 393 of 1056 . the fine things to be done by a rich. Isabel liked better to think of the future than of the past. as it had so often justified before. were still sufficiently salient.

either to Caspar Goodwood or to Lord Warburton. she had not the smallest 394 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady difficulty as those of Caspar Goodwood and Lord Warburton. She had of course reminded herself that she was to hear from Mr. but this was not to be for another year and a half. The past was apt to look dead and its revival rather to show the livid light of a judgement-day. and in that time a great many things might happen. in case of need. She was capable of being wounded by the discovery that she had been forgotten. she could summon back her faith. She had indeed failed to say to herself that her American suitor might find some other girl more comfortable to woo. Goodwood again. though it was certain many other girls would prove so. sentimentally speaking. The girl moreover was not prone to take for granted that she herself lived in the mind of others—she had not the fatuity to believe she left indelible traces. with an effort. It was in her disposition at all times to lose faith in the reality of absent things. but the effort was often painful even when the reality had been pleasant. and yet couldn’t but feel them appreciably in debt to her. It was strange how quickly these images of energy had fallen into the background of our young lady’s life. because. but of all liberties the one she herself found sweetest was the liberty to forget. She had not given her last shilling.

But she reflected that she herself might know the humiliation of change. might really. and she couldn’t wait for it with folded hands. 395 of 1056 . That Lord Warburton should continue to cherish her image seemed to her more than a noble humility or an enlightened pride ought to wish to reckon with. This was not. Isabel candidly believed that his lordship would. come to the end of the things that were not Caspar (even though there appeared so many of them). but it was absurd that a man both so intelligent and so honourably dealt with should cultivate a scar out of proportion to any wound. merely a theory tinged with sarcasm. as it may seem. It was conceivable that these impediments should some day prove a sort of blessing in disguise—a clear and quiet harbour enclosed by a brave granite breakwater. and find rest in those very elements of his presence which struck her now as impediments to the finer respiration. and she was still capable of deriving pleasure from the belief. She had so definitely undertaken to preserve no record of what had passed between them that a corresponding effort on his own part would be eminently just. in the usual phrase. for that matter. But that day could only come in its order. He had been deeply affected— this she believed.The Portrait of a Lady belief that this merit would attract him. get over his disappointment.

said Isabel. That alone was grateful to her pride.The Portrait of a Lady Englishmen liked moreover to be comfortable. she should receive the news without a pang even of surprise. It would have proved that he believed she was firm—which was what she wished to seem to him. should she hear from one day to another that he had married some young woman of his own country who had done more to deserve him. and there could be little comfort for Lord Warburton. She flattered herself that. in brooding over a self-sufficient American girl who had been but a casual acquaintance. 396 of 1056 . in the long run.

definite cypresses that usually rise in groups of three or four beside it. make so harmonious a rectangle with the straight. dark. The villa was a long. for some reason or other. with the far-projecting roof which Tuscany loves and which. rather blank-looking structure. a small group that might have been described by a painter as composing well was gathered in one of the many rooms of an ancient villa crowning an olive-muffled hill outside of the Roman gate of Florence. some six months after old Mr. yet imposing front had a somewhat incommunicative 397 of 1056 . rural piazza which occupied a part of the hill-top. weather-worn. when considered from a distance. Touchett’s death. empty. and this front.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 22 On one of the first days of May. solid. The house had a front upon a little grassy. pierced with a few windows in irregular relations and furnished with a stone bench lengthily adjusted to the base of the structure and useful as a lounging-place to one or two persons wearing more or less of that air of undervalued merit which in Italy. always gracefully invests any one who confidently assumes a perfectly passive attitude—this antique. on the hills that encircle Florence.

were. not the face of the house. but their function seemed less to offer communication with the world than to defy the world to look in. into splendid openness and the range of the afternoon light. with the outside of the place that we are concerned. but no eyes. hazy with Italian colour. mossy and sun-warmed. as you saw them from the piazza. on this bright morning of ripened spring its tenants had reason to prefer the shady side of the wall. the house in reality looked another way—looked off behind. productive chiefly of tangles of wild roses and other old stone benches. They were massively cross-barred. in the manner of a terrace. however. The parapet of the terrace was just the height to lean upon. It had heavy lids. extremely architectural. and placed at such a height that curiosity. in their noble proportions. The windows of the ground-floor. It was the mask.The Portrait of a Lady character. In that quarter the villa overhung the slope of its hill and the long valley of the Arno. and beneath it the ground declined into the vagueness of olive-crops and vineyards. It is not. It had a narrow garden. expired before it reached them. even on tiptoe. In an apartment lighted by a row of three of these jealous apertures—one of the several distinct apartments into which the villa was divided and which were mainly occupied by foreigners of random race long 398 of 1056 .

These things kept terms with articles of modern furniture in which large allowance had been made for a lounging generation. less sombre than our indications may have represented. however. high door. for it had a wide. and edit PDF. which now stood open into the tangled garden behind. chiefly in watercolour. those angular specimens of pictorial art in frames as pedantically primitive. resident in Florence—a gentleman was seated in company with a young girl and two good sisters from a religious house. indeed of luxury. those chests and cabinets of carved and timepolished oak. It was moreover a seat of ease. Download the free trial version. There were books in profusion and magazines and newspapers. those perverse looking relics of mediaeval brass and pottery. of which Italy has long been the not quite exhausted storehouse. and containing a variety of those faded hangings of damask and tapestry. it was to be noticed that all the chairs were deep and well padded and that much space was occupied by a writing-table of which the ingenious perfection bore the stamp of London and the nineteenth century. The room was. One of these productions stood on a drawing399 of 1056 . view. elaborate pictures.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. telling of arrangements subtly studied and refinements frankly proclaimed. and the tall iron lattices admitted on occasion more than enough of the Italian sunshine. odd. and a few small.

too short for her years. They were plain.The Portrait of a Lady room easel before which. with a kind of business-like modesty to which the impersonal aspect of their stiffened linen and of the serge that draped them as if nailed on frames gave an advantage. with a fresh complexion and a full cheek. had a more discriminating manner than her colleague. but their talk had an appearance of embarrassed continuity. in spectacles.’ The gentleman who might have been supposed to be entertaining the two nuns was perhaps conscious of the difficulties of his function. She was looking at the picture in silence. At the same time he was 400 of 1056 . a person of a certain age. their attitude expressed a final reserve and their faces showed the glaze of prudence. mild-featured women. the young girl I have mentioned had placed herself. ample. though it must already have been ‘let out. Silence—absolute silence—had not fallen upon her companions. as well as the responsibility of their errand. which apparently related to the young girl. One of them. This object of interest wore her hat—an ornament of extreme simplicity and not at variance with her plain muslin gown. The two good sisters had not settled themselves in their respective chairs. at the moment we begin to be concerned with her. it being in its way as arduous to converse with the very meek as with the very mighty.

The Portrait of a Lady clearly much occupied with their quiet charge. He had a fine. traditionary look and suggested that he was a gentleman who studied style. His conscious. of which the ends had a romantic upward flourish. would have assured you that he studied it only within wellchosen limits. You would have been much at a loss to determine his original clime and country. he had none of the superficial signs that usually render the answer to this question an insipidly easy one. however. but prematurely grizzled. expressive of the observer as well as of the dreamer. This beard. had been cropped close. small figure. of which the only fault was just this effect of its running a trifle too much to points. an appearance to which the shape of the beard contributed not a little. narrow. fine gold coin as he was. gave its wearer a foreign. eyes at once vague and penetrating. with a high but well-shaped head. no stamp nor 401 of 1056 . still dense. If he had English blood in his veins it had probably received some French or Italian commixture. and that in so far as he sought it he found it. but he suggested. and while she turned her back to him his eyes rested gravely on her slim. intelligent and hard. curious eyes. on which the hair. He was a man of forty. cut in the manner of the portraits of the sixteenth century and surmounted by a fair moustache. extremely modelled and composed face.

‘Ce n’est pas ma partie. he was the elegant complicated medal struck off for a special occasion. lean. I teach nothing.’ the elder of the nuns remarked. ‘Well. ‘You should have brought me a specimen of your powers. He had a light. and was apparently neither tall nor short. Don’t you think I’m clever?’ ‘Yes. I leave that to those 402 of 1056 . papa. I also have learned to make pictures. Is it you who have instructed her?’ ‘Happily no. and used it with perfect ease. very clever. but this would not have convinced you he was Italian.’ ‘She draws very—very carefully.’ said the good sister. The child turned her head earnestly to one side and the other. fair face painted with a fixed and intensely sweet smile.’ And she turned round and showed a small.The Portrait of a Lady emblem of the common mintage that provides for general circulation. what do you think of it?’ he asked the young girl. ‘I’m glad to hear it. papa. speaking in French.’ ‘I’ve brought a great many. He used the Italian tongue. they’re in my trunk. Did you make it yourself?’ ‘Certainly I made it. blushing a little. my dear. He was dressed as a man dresses who takes little other trouble about it than to have no vulgar things. rather languid-looking figure. ‘It’s very pretty.

—what is his name?’ she asked of her companion. ‘Yes. We’ve everything.The Portrait of a Lady who are wiser. ‘he’s a German.’ the visitor gently replied. We’ve an excellent drawing-master. Irish. my sister.’ The young girl. Her companion looked about at the carpet. But we have sisters of other countries. sir. ‘I speak to the pupils in my own tongue.’ 403 of 1056 . as he saw that his visitors suspected a joke. I know no other.’ he instantly added. yes.’ the other went on. ‘Yes. ‘It’s a German name.English. ‘You’re very complete. who was not heeding the conversation. ‘But not dangerous. ‘Oh. as if it needed to be translated. They all speak their proper language. ‘Has my daughter been under the care of one of the Irish ladies?’ And then. and we’ve had him many years.’ the Italian sister ventured to remark. had wandered away to the open door of the large room and stood looking into the garden. German. we’re complete.’ she said in Italian. Mr. though failing to understand it. and everything’s of the best. are French.’ ‘We have gymnastics. ‘And you.’ said the gentleman.’ The gentleman gave a smile.— Mr.

‘I see many flowers. small voice and with an accent as good as his own.’ said the French sister. on the subsidence of which their entertainer. ‘May I truly?’ ‘Ah. Is that your branch?’ A question which provoked much candid hilarity on the part of the two ladies. ‘Yes. I prefer women like books—very good and not too long. that’s the best thing. ma mere?’ 404 of 1056 . ‘May I. ‘I’m not sorry. remarked that she had grown. ‘Yes. as if to intimate that such things might be beyond our knowledge.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I hope not. but I think she has finished.’ The child turned to him with her smile heightened by pleasure. ‘What do you see in the garden?’ he asked in French. But I know.’ The nun gave a temperate shrug.’ And the young girl’s father watched her a moment. However. glancing at his daughter. she looks sound.’ ‘Yes.’ the gentleman said. truly.’ she replied in a sweet. go out and gather some for ces dames. but not many good ones. such as they are.’ said her father. ‘She’s in very good health. ‘no particular reason why my child should be short. She’ll remain—not big. The girl glanced at the elder of the nuns. when I tell you.

’ said her father gaily.’ ‘Oh. ‘For everything they must ask leave. I sent you my daughter to see what you’d make of her. ‘A charming young lady—a real little woman—a 405 of 1056 .’ said the sister. I don’t quarrel with your system. ‘You don’t spoil them. I’ve no doubt it’s excellent. Leave is freely granted. probably thinking she would say that a good Christian was everything. ‘A good Christian. blushing again. ‘Well. That’s our system. my child. but it was probable that the movement had in each case a different spring. gazing through her spectacles. has my faith been rewarded? What have you made of her?’ The sister dropped her eyes a moment. but they must ask it.’ Her host dropped his eyes as well. descended from the threshold and was presently lost to sight. satisfied with this authorization.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Obey monsieur your father.’ ‘One must have faith. but for all her simplicity she was not so crude as that. ‘Yes. monsieur. The child. and what else?’ He watched the lady from the convent. I had faith.’ the sister blandly rejoined.

while her companion.’ And at this the good sister appeared to find her spectacles dim.The Portrait of a Lady daughter in whom you will have nothing but contentment. ‘We shall hold her up to the new ones. but in the tone of a man saying what was most agreeable to himself. nothing’s settled yet. ‘And as for faults.’ their host rejoined quickly. ‘Ah.’ ‘She’s perfect.’ said the other.’ ‘Of all those we shall lose this year she’s the one we shall miss most. not as if to anticipate their tears. presently drew forth a pocket-handkerchief of durable texture. We’ve had her since she was so small. we shall talk long of her. She has no faults. monsieur.’ ‘She seems to me very gentille. She’s our daughter. ‘She’s really pretty. ‘It’s not certain you’ll lose her.’ ‘She never had any as a child. after fumbling a moment.’ the younger woman murmured deferentially.’ said the spectacled sister with dignity.’ said the father. and I’m glad you have given her none. 406 of 1056 . yes. as you may say. how can we give what we have not? Le couvent n’est pas comme le monde.’ ‘We love her too much.

rising also. I wish you could keep her always!’ ‘Ah. monsieur. the other red. Mamman 407 of 1056 . Mamman Catherine.’ said the elder sister. ‘it is not I who wish to take her away. ‘It’s only the colour that’s different. For this extravagant sally his simple visitors had no answer.’ ‘If all the good people were hidden away in convents how would the world get on?’ her companion softly enquired. Le monde y gagnera.The Portrait of a Lady ‘We should be very happy to believe that.’ exclaimed the gentleman with more vivacity than he had yet used. This was a question of a wider bearing than the good woman apparently supposed. Fifteen is very young to leave us. she’s made for the world. and they simply looked at each other in decent deprecation. but their confusion was speedily covered by the return of the young girl with two large bunches of roses—one of them all white. smiling and getting up.’ her host remarked gallantly. and the lady in spectacles took a harmonizing view by saying comfortably: ‘Fortunately there are good people everywhere.’ ‘If you’re going there will be two less here. ‘I give you your choice.’ ‘Oh.’ said the child. ‘good as she is.

‘And do you go back to Rome to-night?’ her father enquired.’ ‘Ah. Que Dieu vous garde. ‘Yes. smiling and hesitating. my sister. it’s for you to choose.’ 408 of 1056 . ‘I wish I could give you something that would last!’ ‘You’ve given us a good memory of yourself. I’m so red myself.’ the child went on.’ ‘Ah. That will last!’ ‘I wish nuns could wear pretty things. we take the train again.The Portrait of a Lady Justine. they won’t last. We have rested too well here.’ said mother Catherine in the spectacles. my daughter. sometimes. I would give you my blue beads.’ ‘I’ll take the red.’ murmured the junior votaress.’ cried the young girl. at any rate. They’ll comfort us on our way back to Rome.’ ‘Are you not tired?’ ‘We are never tired. with ‘Which will you take?’ and ‘No. ma fille. We’ve so much to do labas. thank you. ‘Not to-day.’ The two sisters turned to each other. there are just as many roses in one bunch as in the other.

and into this ante-chamber a lady had just been admitted by a servant. while they exchanged kisses with his daughter. it’s 409 of 1056 . At the sight of the new visitor they all paused. between them.The Portrait of a Lady Their host. with a hand in the arm of each. but her manner the next instant was none the less gracious. The gentleman at the door. as high as a chapel and paved with red tiles. The door opened into a vaulted ante-chamber. after dropping his exclamation. went forward to open the door through which they were to pass. remained silent. a lad in shabby livery. who was now ushering her toward the apartment in which our friends were grouped. and the lady. The young girl gave a little soft cry: ‘Ah. but stood aside to let her pass into the saloon. who had also stopped. who was coming forward. and stood looking beyond.’ She went in and found herself confronted with the two nuns and their pupil. ‘Yes. ‘Some one you may see. ‘Is there any one?’ she asked. Madame Merle!’ The visitor had been slightly startled. At the threshold she hesitated. in silence too the lady advanced. but as he did so he gave a slight exclamation. He gave her no further audible greeting and offered her no hand. stood looking at them.

‘Ah. Pansy. ‘She came to see me at the convent. come to welcome you home. accepted this statement uncritically. you go back to Rome? I’ve lately come from there. and now they return to the convent. They acknowledged her smile with a decent obeisance.’ said Madame Merle.’ And she held out two hands to the girl. standing with their hands folded into their sleeves. brilliant woman. Madame Merle saluted this portion of her charming little person and then stood smiling at the two nuns. presenting her forehead to be kissed. ‘because you told me I should come away. who seemed to bring in with her something of the radiance of the outer world. ‘These ladies have brought my daughter home.’ the gentleman explained.’ said the young girl before the lady addressed had time to reply.’ Madame Merle declared.The Portrait of a Lady Madame Merle.’ ‘Did you tell her that?’ the child’s father asked. and the master of the house asked his new visitor how long it was since she had left Rome. It’s very lovely now. ‘Am I not your great friend in Rome?’ ‘I remember the last time best. who immediately came up to her. but permitted themselves no direct scrutiny of this imposing. ‘I’ve been more than once. 410 of 1056 .’ said Pansy. The good sisters.

You had better sit down. ‘This lady’s a great friend of ours. I hoped you would come to see me. as if to dismiss them. I’ve been in Florence a week.’ ‘I should have done so if I had known you were there. and she’ll help me to decide whether my daughter shall return to you at the end of the holidays. but as from habit rather than from any definite need. view. ‘I hardly remember. choosing her seat.’ she added. I decide nothing. but Miss Osmond’s friends 411 of 1056 . to the nuns. Download the free trial version. madame. One doesn’t know such things by inspiration—though I suppose one ought. ‘You’re going to the door with these women? Let me of course not interrupt the ceremony. ‘That’s Mr.’ ‘I hope you’ll decide in our favour. and edit PDF. in French. Je vous salue.’ the sister in spectacles ventured to remark. you will have seen her at the convent. ‘I believe you’ve a very good school. Madame Merle looked about her.’ said their entertainer.’ said Madame Merle. but also as in pleasantry. ‘We’ve much faith in her judgement. mesdames. I told her what I thought would please her. Osmond’s pleasantry.’ These two speeches were made in a particular tone of voice—a tone half-lowered and carefully quiet.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create.

attentive to Madame Merle’s elegant apparel. glancing at Pansy. Pansy.’ Pansy returned. The child fixed him an instant with her pure young eyes. my daughter.’ she said. light laugh. disappointed. ‘while your father takes the good ladies to the door. ‘It’s precisely to fit her for the world. which was due to any one who took the tone of authority. ‘Stay with me. 412 of 1056 . which were presently interrupted by Madame Merle. who stood. ‘Am I not meant for you. dear child. ‘Be good and wise and happy in any case.The Portrait of a Lady must remember that she’s very naturally meant for the world.’ ‘Kindly permit us to retire. yet not protesting. ‘That doesn’t prevent it! I’m of the world. papa?’ Papa gave a quick.’ ‘That’s what I’ve told monsieur.’ Pansy stared. recommencing her embraces.’ sister Catherine answered. at a little distance. and she was a passive spectator of the operation of her fate.’ said Pansy’s father. ‘Do you hear that. Pansy? You’re very naturally meant for the world.’ ‘I shall certainly come back and see you.’ she murmured.’ said sister Catherine. She was evidently impregnated with the idea of submission.

passed into the ante-chamber.’ said Madame Merle. but I like them now. ‘I hope they always see that you wear gloves. 413 of 1056 . The gaze was critical. I’ll stay.’ ‘I used to dislike them. She stared out of the window. almost with boastfulness.’ she said in a moment. ‘That’s what good little girls should do. while Mr. ‘Little girls usually dislike them. surrendering her little hand. drew it across her own fine palm and looked at it. Osmond and his companions. Madame Merle.’ the child made answer.’ Pansy answered.’ said Madame Merle. but it found nothing to deprecate. holding her hand. ‘Oh yes. as if she had been speaking of her piano-playing.’ cried Pansy with soft eagerness. the child’s small hand was delicate and fair. I obey very well. and she stood near Madame Merle. ‘It would please me better if you’d remain with me.’ ‘Oh yes. which this lady took. And then she gave a faint. her eyes had filled with tears. just audible sigh. who had bowed low again to the other visitor. ‘I’m glad they’ve taught you to obey.The Portrait of a Lady ‘May I not see Mamman Catherine get into the carriage?’ she nevertheless asked very gently.

‘Useful colours.’ ‘I don’t think that’s necessary. Osmond came in and closed the door. looking at her a moment. She took the child’s other hand and drew her nearer. ‘Shall you miss mother Catherine?’ she went on.’ said Pansy with a trace of asceticism.’ Madame Merle returned with a laugh. and Madame Merle got up.’ ‘Try then not to think of her.’ added Madame Merle.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Very good. ‘Yes—when I think of her. ‘you’ll have another mother. after which. without looking at Madame Merle. repeating her little soft conciliatory sigh. then. His visitor waited a moment for him to speak.’ Her father’s step sounded again in the ante-chamber.’ ‘I thank you very much. ‘Well. Perhaps some day. he pushed one or two chairs back into their places. releasing the child. Madame Merle meditated. they won’t be too pretty.’ ‘But very pretty?’ ‘Are you very fond of pretty things?’ ‘Yes.’ Pansy said. Then at 414 of 1056 . watching him as he moved about. I’ll make you a present of a dozen. What colours will they be?’ Pansy demanded with interest. Mr. but—but not too fond. ‘I had more than thirty mothers at the convent.

’ said Pansy. Pansy hesitated a moment. ‘Ah.’ Mr. bent forward a little. his elbows on the edge of the arms and his hands interlocked. ‘She’s going to give me some gloves. With which he dropped into a chair and sat looking at Madame Merle. 415 of 1056 . ‘Why didn’t you come and see the last of Mamman Catherine?’ he asked of her abruptly in French. ‘I asked her to stay with me.’ ‘Yes.’ said this lady.’ ‘That was a natural supposition. there was nothing left for him—unless he took up a book—but to stand with his hands behind him looking at Pansy. however.’ Osmond conceded.The Portrait of a Lady last she said: ‘I hoped you’d have come to Rome. but I’m afraid it’s not the first time I’ve acted in defiance of your calculations. Presently. I thought it possible you’d have wished yourself to fetch Pansy away. he had exhausted his pretexts. Osmond busied himself for a moment in the room—there was plenty of space in it to move about—in the fashion of a man mechanically seeking pretexts for not giving an attention which may be embarrassing. glancing at Madame Merle. ‘I think you very perverse. who had seated herself again in another place. that was better.’ said Madame Merle.

You’re a wonderful woman.’ Pansy suggested with an appearance of candour which imposed conviction.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You needn’t tell that to every one. addressing himself to his other companion. wistful eyes.’ ‘I should think she had had enough of the nuns. into which she directed her innocent.’ Madame Merle observed.’ said Madame Merle.’ ‘If we’re going to discuss that matter she had better go out of the room. ‘You always are the same. ‘You’re very kind to her.’ 416 of 1056 .’ said Madame Merle. however. ‘You may listen.’ ‘Yes. ‘We’ll talk of something else. I think I am. within sight of the garden. You told me on your return from England that you wouldn’t leave Rome again for the present.’ said Osmond. ‘You’re looking particularly well.’ ‘Let her stay. deferentially.’ ‘I think I always look the same. and Mr. because you won’t understand. The child sat down. my dear.’ ‘You sometimes change your mind. Osmond went on irrelevantly.’ her father replied.’ ‘If you like I won’t listen. ‘She’s supposed to have everything she needs. charming child. You don’t vary. near the open door.

I don’t deserve your praise. make a crime of that.’ ‘What do you call one’s life?’ asked Madame Merle. mignonne.’ Madame Merle smiled straight at her host. 417 of 1056 . I don’t. I don’t ruin myself for my friends. Madame Merle looked a moment at Pansy. That was my intention. one’s engagements.’ said Osmond.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I’m pleased that you remember so well what I say. I care greatly for myself. one’s movements. ‘It’s less characteristic than your comment upon it—which is perfectly insincere.’ ‘That reason’s characteristic. but yourself includes so many other selves—so much of every one else and of everything. ‘Go into the garden.’ she added. ‘You see she can’t stay with us!’ And Pansy’s father gave rather a joyless smile.’ she murmured. I never knew a person whose life touched so many other lives. ‘One’s appearance. one’s society?’ ‘I call your life your ambitions. You’re always doing something for your friends. ‘because if you don’t believe what you say there’s no reason why you should. however. ‘I wonder if she understands that. But I’ve come to Florence to meet some friends who have lately arrived and as to whose movements I was at that time uncertain.’ ‘Exactly.

was one of the reasons I didn’t go to Rome. I don’t think I care much.’ Pansy exclaimed. what should I be? What epithet would properly describe me?’ ‘You’re indolent.’ he went on in French.’ said Madame Merle. Her father followed her to the open door. and then came back. I’m glad you’re not in Rome now—which you might be. I’m part of your life—I and a thousand others. or rather strolling to and from as if to cultivate a sense of freedom which in another attitude might be wanting.’ ‘It’s not of importance—to me at least—that you didn’t go. For me that’s your worst fault.’ said Madame Merle gravely. rising with promptness and noiselessly departing. but remained standing. looking up at him with a certain courage. ‘No.The Portrait of a Lady and pluck a flower or two for Madame Merle. But it was only one of them. You’re not selfish—I can’t admit that. stood a moment watching her.’ ‘I’m afraid it’s really my best. would 418 of 1056 .’ ‘You don’t care. What sort of a fault do you call that? My indolence. though I should have been glad to see you. at any rate. ‘That’s just what I wanted to do. If you were selfish. ‘That comes back to what I say. ‘My ambitions are principally for you.

’ ‘Pardon me. How long is it since you made a new acquaintance?’ ‘I don’t think I’ve made any since I made yours.’ ‘Society is all bad. for instance. coming toward her. in his walk. I’m perfectly aware.’ ‘It’s time then you should make another. Osmond.’ said Osmond. Madame Merle waited.’ said Osmond.The Portrait of a Lady probably be. In that way you’ll have both the virtue and the reward. it had been thoroughly well considered. that you know good society from bad. I believe it. ‘I do remember it. ‘What good will it do me?’ he asked with a sort of genial crudity. and it may prove a real interest.’ There was nothing crude in this rejoinder. This is not a great labour. That isn’t—the knowledge I impute to you—a common sort of wisdom. if you had gone there a month ago. had gone back to the open door again and was looking at his daughter as she moved about in the intense sunshine. ‘If you say that. but I beg you to forget it. There’s a friend of mine I want you to know.’ Mr. ‘It will amuse you. You’ve gained it in the 419 of 1056 .’ ‘Please remember my indolence. There’s something I should like you to do at present in Florence. you know. ‘There are some points in which my confidence in you is complete.

’ ‘A niece? The word niece suggests youth and ignorance. But they’re none of them probable in this poor life. It will depend on yourself. there you are! I knew something tiresome was coming.’ 420 of 1056 . you’ve compared an immense number of more or less impossible people with each other. Who then is your friend?’ ‘The person I came to Florence to see. Osmond. whom you’ll not have forgotten.’ ‘To profit? Are you very sure that I shall?’ ‘It’s what I hope. She’s a niece of Mrs. What in the world—that’s likely to turn up here—is worth an effort?’ Madame Merle flushed as with a wounded intention. I invite you to profit by my knowledge.’ said Madame Merle. I see what you’re coming to.The Portrait of a Lady right way—experimentally.’ ‘It’s the effort that makes them probable. ‘There’s something in that. Haven’t I seen you in old days?’ ‘I recognize some things. ‘Don’t be foolish. If I could only induce you to make an effort!’ ‘Ah. Touchett.’ ‘Well. No one knows better than you what is worth an effort.

I know plenty of dingy people. She fills all your requirements. She corresponds to your description. she’s young—twenty-three years old. I like her immensely. it’s for that I wish you to know her.’ Mr. generous and. quite literally. and we struck up a grand alliance. She’s beautiful. I met her for the first time in England. and she has a handsome fortune. She’s also very clever and very amiable.’ ‘More or less. well-born.’ ‘No. she’s as bright as the morning. universally intelligent and unprecedentedly virtuous? It’s only on those conditions that I care to make her acquaintance. rich. Osmond listened to this in silence. You’ll do the same. I don’t want to know any more.’ ‘Not if I can help it. and I do what I don’t do every day—I admire her. for an American. She’s a great friend of mine.’ ‘Miss Archer isn’t dingy. appearing to turn it over in his mind with his eyes on his informant.’ ‘Is she beautiful. splendid. clever. accomplished.’ ‘Precisely. several months ago. 421 of 1056 . ‘What do you want to do with her?’ he asked at last. of course. But you won’t be able to help it. You know I asked you some time ago never to speak to me of a creature who shouldn’t correspond to that description.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Yes.

‘You’re looking very well. Madame Merle of course carried off any embarrassment better than her friend. ‘I only know what I can do with them. on first meeting at any juncture.’ The two stood there face to face. she settled her mantilla. ‘You have some idea. as if they had approached each other obliquely and addressed each other by implication. You’re never so well as when you’ve got an idea. was something indirect and circumspect.’ In the manner and tone of these two persons.’ Osmond repeated still less relevantly than before. looking down at it as she did so.The Portrait of a Lady ‘What you see. they’re always becoming to you. The effect of each appeared to be to intensify to an appreciable degree the self-consciousness of the other. Put her in your way.’ ‘I’m sorry for Miss Archer!’ Osmond declared. but even Madame Merle had not on this occasion the form she would have liked to have—the perfect self422 of 1056 .’ ‘Isn’t she meant for something better than that?’ ‘I don’t pretend to know what people are meant for.’ said Madame Merle. and especially when they met in the presence of others. ‘If that’s a beginning of interest in her I take note of it. Madame Merle got up.

There are some things you’ll never understand. ‘You have more in you than almost any one.’ ‘You’ll probably understand it even less as time goes on. all the same. whatever it was. possession she would have wished to wear for her host. that at a certain moment the element between them. are the most remarkable of women. I don’t see how or why they should be. ‘I wish very much you were not so heartless.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. view. and it will be against you now. They stood there knowing each other well and each on the whole willing to accept the satisfaction of knowing as a compensation for the inconvenience—whatever it might be—of being known. always levelled itself and left them more closely face to face than either ever was with any one else. Touchett’s niece should 423 of 1056 . There’s no particular need you should. and edit PDF. I don’t understand it. This was what had happened now. I don’t see why you think Mrs. Every now and then something touches me—as for instance your saying just now that your ambitions are for me.’ Madame Merle quietly said. The point to be made is. however.’ ‘I’m not so heartless as you think.’ ‘You. But it touches me. after all. ‘It has always been against you. Download the free trial version.’ said Osmond.

’ Osmond frowned and turned away.’ ‘Why didn’t you ask me that at first simply.The Portrait of a Lady matter very much to me. ‘You could have had her there at any rate. ‘How little you must think of her to say that!’ ‘Do you suppose I’m capable of jealousy? Please answer me that. I’m staying at Mrs.’ ‘Come and see me then.’ Then in a moment he pointed out the easel 424 of 1056 .’ Madame Merle looked at him in the manner of a woman whom no question he could ever put would find unprepared.’ said Madame Merle. Her companion gave a laugh. Touchett’s—Palazzo Crescentini—and the girl will be there.’ ‘Isabel Archer’s better than I.’ ‘With regard to me? No. When I’ve known and appreciated such a woman as you. ‘Do you wish to know why? Because I’ve spoken of you to her. on the whole I don’t. ‘I’d rather not know that. without speaking of the girl?’ said Osmond. two days hence. ‘When I myself have mattered so little?’ ‘That of course is not what I meant to say. when—when-’ But he paused a moment.

You understand this sort of thing as nobody anywhere does. tapestries. But as the only thing you do— well.’ ‘I know it.’ ‘I’m sick of my adorable taste. surfaces of faded silk. ‘Have you seen what’s there—my last?’ Madame Merle drew near and considered. pictures. ‘You know I don’t care for your drawings.’ She looked about the room—at the old cabinets. then turned away.’ ‘Things that were impossible. And then in quite a different tone: ‘In itself your little picture’s very good. You’ve such adorable taste. you’ve told me many times—things that were impossible.’ ‘That may very well be. 425 of 1056 . ‘Your rooms at least are perfect. ‘Is it the Venetian Alps—one of your last year’s sketches?’ ‘Yes—but how you guess everything!’ She looked a moment longer.’ said Gilbert Osmond. I should have liked you to do so many other things: those were my ambitions.’ ‘Yes. yet I’m always surprised at it. I’m struck with that afresh whenever I come back.’ said Madame Merle. it’s so little. They’re really so much better than most people’s. I know none better anywhere.The Portrait of a Lady supporting the little water-colour drawing.

’ ‘You do it delightfully. Touchett. But that long jackanapes the son—is he about the place?’ ‘He’s there. Osmond. As cicerone of your museum you appear to particular advantage.’ ‘I can easily keep her out of the way. And if I go to see her shall I see the mother?’ ‘The mother? She has none—nor father either.’ ‘I don’t object to her. simply looked at once colder and more attentive.’ Mr. Touchett.’ ‘He’s a good deal of a donkey.’ ‘The aunt then—whom did you say?—Mrs. in return for this compliment. but he won’t trouble you. She has a sort of old-fashioned character that’s passing away—a vivid identity. I’ve told her about it.’ said Osmond. ‘I rather like Mrs.’ ‘Satisfactory woman!—I mean you.’ ‘En ecus bien comptes?’ ‘There’s no doubt whatever about her fortune. I’ve seen it.’ ‘I don’t object to showing my things—when people are not idiots.’ 426 of 1056 . ‘Did you say she was rich?’ ‘She has seventy thousand pounds.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You must nevertheless let Miss Archer come and see it. as I may say.

Suspend your judgement.’ 427 of 1056 . lest you should be disappointed in them. as she spoke. ‘Pansy has really grown pretty.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I think you’re mistaken.’ ‘But she has had enough of the convent. Have you told her that?’ ‘For what do you take me? She’s not so coarse a piece of machinery—nor am I.’ Madame Merle. Come and make a beginning. But he’s not fond of being about when I’m there. ‘I want you of course to marry her. had drawn near the open door of the garden. I’ll see for myself. that’s all I ask of you. ‘Yes.’ ‘What could be more asinine than that? Did you say she has looks?’ Osmond went on.’ ‘The beginning of the end? Well.’ ‘A beginning of what?’ Madame Merle was silent a little. ‘So it seemed to me. because he doesn’t like me. ‘I don’t understand your ambitions. He’s a very clever man.’ ‘I think you’ll understand this one after you’ve seen Miss Archer. but I won’t say it again. where she stood a moment looking out.’ ‘Really.’ she presently added.’ said Osmond after some meditation.

’ said Osmond.’ ‘We’ll go and get them. ‘She’s not in a hurry. It’s the child’s nature. She’s as pure as a pearl. I think. ‘I like what they’ve made of her.’ ‘It’s the combination.’ ‘That’s not the convent.’ ‘She doesn’t like me.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Why doesn’t she come back with my flowers then?’ Madame Merle asked. It’s very charming.’ the visitor murmured as she raised her parasol and they passed into the garden. 428 of 1056 .

she had known him these dozen years. as in England. he was one of the cleverest and most agreeable men—well. making. however. both among the natives of the country and its heterogeneous visitors. who had come to Florence on Mrs. no such point of the matter as we have seen her do in recommending the girl herself to Mr.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 23 Madame Merle. Osmond near the top of the list. She had mentioned to Isabel most of the people the girl would find it well to ‘meet’—of course. He wasn’t a professional charmer—far from it. in Europe simply. and the effect 429 of 1056 . In Italy. the lady had a multitude of friends. Touchett’s arrival at the invitation of this lady—Mrs. Osmond’s attention. The reason of this was perhaps that Isabel offered no resistance whatever to Madame Merle’s proposal. quite another affair. He was altogether above the respectable average. Isabel could know whomever in the wide world she would—and had placed Mr. He was an old friend of her own. Touchett offering her for a month the hospitality of Palazzo Crescentini—the judicious Madame Merle spoke to Isabel afresh about Gilbert Osmond and expressed the hope she might know him. she said.

He was easily bored. At any rate he was a person not to miss. who knew more about the country than any one except two or three German professors. and dull people always put him out. on his not committing or exposing himself. but a quick and cultivated girl like Isabel would give him a stimulus which was too absent from his life. One shouldn’t attempt to live in Italy without making a friend of Gilbert Osmond. When not in the right mood he could fall as low as any one. thought she could undertake that for Isabel he would be brilliant. in him. Madame Merle. And if they had more knowledge than he it was he who had most perception and taste—being artistic through and through. Isabel remembered that her friend had spoken of him during their plunge. But if he cared or was interested or rightly challenged—just exactly rightly it had to be—then one felt his cleverness and his distinction. saved only by his looking at such hours rather like a demoralized prince in exile. as in so many people. too easily. He had his perversities—which indeed Isabel would find to be the case with all the men really worth knowing—and didn’t cause his light to shine equally for all persons.The Portrait of a Lady he produced depended a good deal on the state of his nerves and his spirits. and 430 of 1056 . into the deeps of talk. at Gardencourt. Those qualities didn’t depend. however.

so as to despise them. however. she hinted at nothing but a long-established calm friendship. I mean. ‘you ought to see as many as possible. none the less. but Isabel was not alarmed. As regards her relations with Mr. the few whom you don’t despise. by the beautiful city of Florence. It was excited. and such an impression was part of the interest created by this inordinate woman.’ Madame Merle remarked.’ This was a note of cynicism that Madame Merle didn’t often allow herself to sound. Osmond.The Portrait of a Lady wondered a little what was the nature of the tie binding these superior spirits. for she had never supposed that as one saw more of the world the sentiment of respect became the most active of one’s emotions. Isabel said she should be happy to know a person who had enjoyed so high a confidence for so many years. for your society. That’s what one comes to with most of them.’ ‘Used to them?’ Isabel repeated with that solemn stare which sometimes seemed to proclaim her deficient in the sense of comedy. ‘You ought to see a great many men. which pleased her not less than 431 of 1056 .’ ‘Used to them. ‘Why. I’m not afraid of them—I’m as used to them as the cook to the butcher-boys. You’ll pick out. She felt that Madame Merle’s ties always somehow had histories. so as to get used to them.

In the clear May mornings before the formal breakfast—this repast at Mrs. Isabel listened to the discussions taking place between the two with a sense that she might derive much benefit from them and that they were among the advantages she couldn’t have enjoyed for instance in Albany.The Portrait of a Lady Madame Merle had promised. Madame Merle remained at home. She 432 of 1056 . she had seen the treasures of Florence again and again and had always something else to do. But she talked of all things with remarkable vividness of memory—she recalled the right-hand corner of the large Perugino and the position of the hands of the Saint Elizabeth in the picture next to it. for Ralph found it a joy that renewed his own early passion to act as cicerone to his eager young kinswoman. She had her opinions as to the character of many famous works of art. and if her unassisted perception had not been able to gauge its charms she had clever companions as priests to the mystery. She was in no want indeed of aesthetic illumination. differing often from Ralph with great sharpness and defending her interpretations with as much ingenuity as good-humour. Touchett’s was served at twelve o’clock—she wandered with her cousin through the narrow and sombre Florentine streets. resting a while in the thicker dusk of some historic church or the vaulted chambers of some dispeopled convent.

monumental court of the great house in which Mrs. she felt her heart beat in the presence of immortal genius and knew the sweetness of rising tears in eyes to which faded fresco and darkened marble grew dim. She performed all those acts of mental prostration in which.The Portrait of a Lady went to the galleries and palaces. the return into the wide. youth and enthusiasm so freely indulge. every day. To live in such a place was. cool rooms where the carven rafters and pompous frescoes of the sixteenth century looked down on the familiar commodities of the age of advertisement. for Isabel. Touchett. Touchett inhabited an historic building in a narrow street whose very name recalled the strife of mediaeval factions. and found compensation for the darkness of her frontage in the modicity of her rent and the brightness of a garden where nature itself looked as archaic as the rugged architecture of the palace and which cleared and scented the rooms in regular use. had established herself. Mrs. on a first visit to Italy. to hold to her ear all day a shell of the sea of the 433 of 1056 . she looked at the pictures and statues that had hitherto been great names to her. many years before. and exchanged for a knowledge which was sometimes a limitation a presentiment which proved usually to have been a blank. and into the high. But the return. was even pleasanter than the going forth.

even if more had been involved she could have made no attempt to shine. There was something in the visitor that checked her and held her in suspense. Madame Merle appealed to her as if she had been on the stage. Mrs. the Roman. They talked of the Florentine. Gilbert Osmond came to see Madame Merle. she had little skill in producing an impression which she knew to be 434 of 1056 .made it more important she should get an impression of him than that she should produce one herself. It all had the rich readiness that would have come from rehearsal. for the effect of brilliancy. but she could ignore any learnt cue without spoiling the scene—though of course she thus put dreadfully in the wrong the friend who had told Mr. Besides. This was no matter for once. all their own way.The Portrait of a Lady past. Isabel took on this occasion little part in the talk. she scarcely even smiled when the others turned to her invitingly. Touchett was not present. she sat there as if she had been at the play and had paid even a large sum for her place. and these two had it. This vague eternal rumour kept her imagination awake. who presented him to the young lady lurking at the other side of the room. and might have been distinguished performers figuring for a charity. Osmond she could be depended on. the cosmopolite world.

435 of 1056 . view. and edit PDF. Mr. It would give me much pleasure if you would come with her. but he was fine. It’s thought rather pretty. with its clearness. My daughter too would be so glad—or rather. This was the more grateful as his face. as fine as one of the drawings in the long gallery above the bridge of the Uffizi. His utterance was the vibration of glass. And his very voice was fine—the more strangely that.’ he said. for she’s too young to have strong emotions. leaving his sentence unfinished. and if she had put out her finger she might have changed the pitch and spoiled the concert. but she had a perverse unwillingness to glitter by arrangement. I should be so glad—so very glad. ‘Madame Merle. he was not handsome. Osmond paused with a slight air of embarrassment. This had had really to do with making her abstain from interference. was sensitive. Osmond. expected: nothing could be happier. Download the free trial version. than to seem dazzling.’ And Mr.there’s what they call a general view. to do him justice. a quiet ease that covered everything. had a well-bred air of expecting nothing.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. his head. even the first show of his own wit. ‘consents to come up to my hill-top some day next week and drink tea in my garden. it yet somehow wasn’t sweet. in general. Yet before he went she had to speak.

‘I’m under no obligation that I know of to charm Mr. Osmond. Isabel replied that she should be delighted to see Miss Osmond and that if Madame Merle would show her the way to the hill-top she should be very grateful. ‘That’s more than I intended. You’re never disappointing.’ 436 of 1056 . It’s not of course a question as to his liking you. but. it matters little whether he likes you or not! But I thought you liked him.’ Madame Merle perceptibly flushed. strange to say. but we know it was not her habit to retract. the words that Madame Merle actually used caused her the first feeling of displeasure she had known this ally to excite. after which Isabel fully expected her friend would scold her for having been so stupid. I spoke for yourself. I didn’t speak for him. But to her surprise that lady. said to her in a few moments: ‘You were charming.’ A rebuke might possibly have been irritating. Upon this assurance the visitor took his leave.’ he went on a moment afterwards.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I should be so happy if you could know my daughter. poor man. my dear. ‘My dear child.’ she answered coldly. who indeed never fell into the mere matter-of-course. you were just as one would have wished you. though it is much more probable that Isabel would have taken it in good part.

yes. For all I do know he may be a prince in disguise. ‘But I don’t see what that matters either.’ Madame Merle returned with her weary nobleness. I ‘know’ him.’ ‘Everything that concerns you matters to me. ‘especially when at the same time another old friend’s concerned. ‘Oh. Osmond. by the way—like a prince who has abdicated in a fit of fastidiousness and has been in a state of disgust ever since. not well. but on the whole enough. He used to live in Rome. I don’t know his antecedents. or less. but of late years he has taken up his abode here. in Italy. but she flattered herself she had learned to make allowance for that.’ said Isabel honestly. what is he? He’s a vague. his origin. Why do I call him unexplained? Only as a cover for my ignorance. I’ve never cultivated his society. I remember hearing him say that 437 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘I did. and he apparently has never found mine indispensable to his happiness. he rather looks like one. Who is he.’ Whatever Isabel’s obligations may have been to Mr. She thought Ralph’s judgements distorted by his trials. unexplained American who has been living these thirty years. ‘Do I know him?’ said her cousin. his family. it must be admitted that she found them sufficient to lead her to put to Ralph sundry questions about him.

’ ‘I don’t agree to that—it may make them dangers. He also has a sister. who’s married to some small Count or other. Our ears. I remember meeting her of old. The more information one has about one’s dangers the better. He’s a poor but honest gentleman—that’s what he calls himself. that’s his special line. He has a great dread of vulgarity. but rather impossible. our minds. which I suspect of not being vulgarly large. But meanwhile it has a certain importance. he hasn’t any other that I know of. probably. She’s nicer than he. are stuffed with 438 of 1056 .’ ‘I ask you because I want your opinion as well as hers. Osmond what will you care for that?’ ‘Not much. ‘A fig for my opinion! If you fall in love with Mr. We know too much about people in these days. He lives on his income. But why don’t you ask Madame Merle about these people? She knows them all much better than I.’ said Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady Rome has grown vulgar. and I believe he has a daughter. He married young and lost his wife. we hear too much. I remember there used to be some stories about her. our mouths. I should think. I don’t think I recommend you to know her. of these parts.

‘I’ve promised to pay him a visit.’ ‘You’re not to mind them—that’s precisely my argument. not to mind what they say about yourself any more than what they say about your friend or your enemy.’ ‘To pay him a visit?’ ‘To go and see his view. Judge every one and everything for yourself. however. Judge people as critics. his daughter—I don’t know exactly what.’ said Isabel. Madame Merle’s to take me.The Portrait of a Lady personalities.’ said Isabel.’ Isabel considered.’ Ralph added. his pictures.’ ‘That’s what I try to do. she tells me a great many ladies call on him. but there are some things I can’t help minding: for instance when my friend’s attacked or when I myself am praised. ‘She knows none but the best people. Don’t mind anything any one tells you about any one else. de confiance. ‘but when you do that people call you conceited.’ 439 of 1056 . Osmond for myself.’ said Ralph. ‘I think you’re right. with Madame Merle you may go anywhere. ‘and you’ll condemn them all!’ ‘I shall see Mr.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘Of course you’re always at liberty to judge the critic.

’ Ralph. no.’ ‘By whom. however.’ ‘Her merits are large then. ‘It seems to me you insinuate things about her.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel said no more about Mr. pray? By me? If so I do her a poor service. I protest!’ Isabel earnestly cried.’ ‘Ah.’ Ralph interrupted.’ 440 of 1056 . but she presently remarked to her cousin that she was not satisfied with his tone about Madame Merle. resented this charge with more apparent earnestness than he commonly used. I don’t know what you mean. ‘I speak of Madame Merle exactly as I speak to her: with an even exaggerated respect.’ ‘Exaggerated.’ ‘No. ‘Her modesty’s exaggerated. by herself.’ ‘I do so because Madame Merle’s merits are exaggerated. precisely. ‘If ever there was a woman who made small claims-!’ ‘You put your finger on it. You contradict yourself. but if you’ve any grounds for disliking her I think you should either mention them frankly or else say nothing at all. She has no business with small claims—she has a perfect right to make large ones. That’s what I complain of. Osmond.

gives too fine an account of herself. but the mocking spirit. I confess to you that she acts on my nerves and that I feel about her a good deal as that intensely human Athenian felt about Aristides the Just. overstates. She’s too complete. say to call her a fool! She’s the only woman I know who has but that one little fault. ‘She’s indescribably blameless. She’s much too good company. the only woman I know who never gives one a chance. too kind.’ said Ralph Touchett simply.’ ‘A chance for what?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Let me explain.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Her merits are immense. She’s too good. ‘Do you wish Madame Merle to be banished?’ ‘By no means. you’re too paradoxical for my plain mind. When I say she exaggerates I don’t mean it in the vulgar sense—that she boasts.’ Isabel turned away with impatience. I mean literally that she pushes the search for perfection too far—that her merits are in themselves overstrained. a pathless desert of virtue. too accomplished. ‘I don’t understand you. if it lurked in his words. I delight in Madame Merle. too clever.’ Isabel looked hard at her cousin. too learned. in a word. too everything.’ said Ralph. failed on this occasion to peep from his face. 441 of 1056 .

Since you wish to see the world you couldn’t have a better guide. and it may have been that. But on Madame Merle’s nothing. in spite of the administered justice she 442 of 1056 . as Isabel for the moment took it into her head to believe. I’ve no doubt I should be able to find one on yours.’ ‘She’s a capital person for you to know. I’m spotted like a leopard. And then she asked him if he knew anything that was not to the honour of her brilliant friend. There are deep-lying sympathies and antipathies. ‘she’s the great round world itself!’ It had certainly not. if I were to take half an hour to it. ‘That is why I like her so much.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You’re very odious.’ ‘I suppose you mean by that that she’s worldly?’ ‘Worldly? No. some day. For my own. and he would not have forgotten himself if he had been left wholly unbeguiled by such a mistress of the social art. nothing!’ ‘That’s just what I think!’ said Isabel with a toss of her head. been a refinement of malice in him to say that he delighted in Madame Merle. ‘Nothing whatever. Ralph Touchett took his refreshment wherever he could find it. sir!’ Isabel exclaimed.’ said Ralph. Don’t you see that’s just what I mean? On the character of every one else you may find some little black speck. of course. nothing.

to Mrs. He tasted her in sips. and there could have been nothing so ‘sustained’ to attend to as the general performance of Madame Merle. were the moments when his kindness was least demonstrative. with an opportuneness she herself could not have surpassed. There were moments when he felt almost sorry for her. he let her stand. He 443 of 1056 . the widow of a Swiss negociant. But Ralph Touchett had learned more or less inscrutably to attend.The Portrait of a Lady enjoyed at his hands. The contrast between this position and any one of some half-dozen others that he supposed to have at various moments engaged her hope had an element of the tragical. She had got herself into perfect training. but had won none of the prizes. her absence from his mother’s house would not have made life barren to him. who stayed with people a great deal and was almost as universally ‘liked’ as some new volume of smooth twaddle. Touchett’s sense two persons who dealt so largely in too-ingenious theories of conductthat is of their own—would have much in common. She was always plain Madame Merle. He was sure she had been yearningly ambitious and that what she had visibly accomplished was far below her secret measure. and these. oddly enough. with a small income and a large acquaintance. His mother thought he got on beautifully with their genial guest.

without opposition. He believed it would take care of itself. it wouldn’t last forever.The Portrait of a Lady had given due consideration to Isabel’s intimacy with her eminent friend. at least a relaxation. It was not probable that Isabel would be injured. and when each had made an important discovery or two there would be. as he had done of worse things. 444 of 1056 . Meanwhile he was quite willing to admit that the conversation of the elder lady was an advantage to the younger. keep his cousin to himself. and he made the best of it. who had a great deal to learn and would doubtless learn it better from Madame Merle than from some other instructors of the young. having long since made up his mind that he could not. if not a rupture. Neither of these two superior persons knew the other as well as she supposed.

beneath the enormous blank superstructure which crowns the fine clear arch of that portal and makes it nakedly impressive. Isabel went with her friend through a wide. and wound between high-walled lanes into which the wealth of blossoming orchards overdrooped and flung a fragrance. For Isabel. Osmond formed a principal. where the long brown wall of the villa occupied in part by Mr. you would need an act of energy to get out. of crooked shape. There was something grave and strong in the place. there was of 445 of 1056 . or at least a very imposing. however.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 24 It would certainly have been hard to see what injury could arise to her from the visit she presently paid to Mr. where a clear shadow rested below and a pair of light-arched galleries. object. caught the upper sunshine upon their slim columns and the flowering plants in which they were dressed. until they reached the small superurban piazza. The companions drove out of the Roman Gate. once you were in. high court. it looked somehow as if. Nothing could have been more charming than this occasion—a soft afternoon in the full maturity of the Tuscan spring. Osmond’s hill-top. facing each other above.

Mr. having features that suggested some tropical bird—a long beak-like nose. was 446 of 1056 . of horror and joy. Osmond indicated to Isabel as his sister. and her fair hair was neatly arranged in a net. small. thanks to various intensities of emphasis and wonder.The Portrait of a Lady course as yet no thought of getting out. however.’ he said. she wore her small shoes tied sandal-fashion about her ankles. talking with him. with her conductress. Madame Merle was in front.’ Pansy had on a scant white dress. on whom she bestowed a kiss. quickly-moving eyes and a mouth and chin that receded extremely. ‘And that’s my little girl. but only of advancing. the Countess Gemini. into the apartment to which we have already been introduced. ‘who has just come out of her convent. The Countess Gemini simply nodded without getting up: Isabel could see she was a woman of high fashion. She was thin and dark and not at all pretty. she went forward familiarly and greeted two persons who were seated in the saloon. Her expression. One of these was little Pansy. She made Isabel a little conventual curtsey and then came to be kissed. Osmond met her in the cold antechamber—it was cold even in the month of May—and ushered her. and while Isabel lingered a little. the other was a lady whom Mr.

She had a great deal of manner. voluminous and delicate. Her attire. But 447 of 1056 . and her attitudes were as light and sudden as those of a creature who perched upon twigs. Really. it was plain she understood herself and made the most of her points. I assure you I did. and edit PDF. This hill of his is impossible—I don’t see what possesses him. and if it hurts them you’ll have to give me another pair. as regards her appearance. but she was ready to acknowledge that to a casual view the Countess Gemini revealed no depths. not inhuman. She remembered that Ralph had not recommended her as an acquaintance. had the look of shimmering plumage. you’ll be the ruin of my horses some day. I don’t come and see my brother—I make him come and see me. it sounds too as if they weren’t what they should be. Her demonstrations suggested the violent waving of some flag of general truce—white silk with fluttering streamers. Osmond. bristling with elegance. I heard them wheezing today. view. ‘You’ll believe I’m glad to see you when I tell you it’s only because I knew you were to be here that I came myself. Download the free trial version. and.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. who had never known any one with so much manner. Isabel. immediately classed her as the most affected of women. It’s very disagreeable to hear one’s horses wheezing when one’s sitting in the carriage.

but I think he knows a horse. and in an accent that was as some fond recall of good English. directly addressing Isabel.’ Isabel returned. coming today. that chair’s not what it looks. for everything English. and I’m sure you’re very new.’ she went on. My husband doesn’t know much. but there are also some horrors. in adversity. ‘I’m sure you’re invaluable. I don’t think he likes to have me. ‘that Osmond doesn’t often invite me. according to his poor light.’ ‘I don’t see any horrors anywhere. or rather of good American. I like to see new people. In general Italians don’t. It was quite my own idea. looking about her.’ 448 of 1056 . But don’t sit there.The Portrait of a Lady I’ve always had good horses. There are some very good seats here. ‘Everything seems to me beautiful and precious.’ These remarks were delivered with a series of little jerks and pecks. of roulades of shrillness. my dear?’ said her brother. ‘I don’t like to have you. I must tell you. My horses are English—so it’s all the greater pity they should be ruined. whatever else I may have lacked I’ve always managed that. but my husband goes in.

stood there as if she were about to partake of her first communion. Her ejaculation had no particular object. he seemed to be thinking what he could say to Isabel: 449 of 1056 . she smiled at Isabel as she made it and looked at her from head to foot.’ said Madame Merle.’ Mr.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I’ve a few good things. But I’ve not what I should have liked. Even the little girl from the convent. He seemed to hint that nothing but the right ‘values’ was of any consequence. Osmond’s diminutive daughter had a kind of finish that was not entirely artless. with her small submissive face and her hands locked before her. Osmond allowed. with his old curtains and crucifixes!’ the Countess Gemini exclaimed: she appeared to call her brother only by his family-name. smiling and glancing about. ‘Poor Osmond. Her brother had not heard her. even Mr. Isabel made a rapid induction: perfect simplicity was not the badge of his family. ‘indeed I’ve nothing very bad.’ He stood there a little awkwardly. his manner was an odd mixture of the detached and the involved. who. ‘You’d have liked a few things from the Uffizi and the Pitti—that’s what you’d have liked. in her prim white dress.

to come to his house. she was not rendered more indulgent. the combination of people. It must be confessed that her pride was a trifle alarmed. had invited her. by perceiving that Mr. The place. ‘What a fool I was to 450 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘Won’t you have some tea?—you must be very tired. indeed. ‘No. Osmond carried his burden less complacently than might have been expected. signified more than lay on the surface. I’m not tired. Isabel was not rendered less observant. Now that she had done so the burden of the entertainment rested naturally on his wit. in her general impression of things. and for the moment. the occasion.’ he at last bethought himself of remarking. A man she had heard spoken of in terms that excited interest and who was evidently capable of distinguishing himself. a young lady not lavish of her favours. Poor Isabel was doubtless not aware that many women would have uttered graceful platitudes to cover the working of their observation. what have I done to tire me?’ Isabel felt a certain need of being very direct. of pretending to nothing.she could hardly have said what it was—that deprived her of all disposition to put herself forward. we judge. she would try to understand—she would not simply utter graceful platitudes. there was something in the air.

I don’t want to know anything more—I know too much already.’ said Mr. ‘Pansy’s a little convent-flower. ‘You’ll be tired when you go home. But my sister’s dreadfully afraid of learning anything.’ ‘Oh.’ said the child’s father. the convents!’ cried the Countess with a flutter of her ruffles. I’m a convent-flower myself. ‘I’m not afraid of that. ‘Oh. Osmond.’ ‘Very little. I don’t pretend to be good. ‘Speak to me of the convents! You may learn anything there.’ said the Countess Gemini. Isabel was not sure she saw. Don’t you see what I mean?’ she went on. and she answered that she was very bad at following arguments. if he shows you all his bibelots and gives you a lecture on each.’ Madame Merle interposed with a smile. The Countess then 451 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady have let myself so needlessly in-!’ she could fancy his exclaiming to himself. appealing to Isabel.’ ‘You should not undervalue knowledge before Pansy. the convents. The more you know the more unhappy you are. I confess to that. who has not finished her education. ‘Pansy will never know any harm. but if I’m tired I shall at least have learned something. I suspect. but the nuns do.

but I know what I like.’ she said. of course. that’s the great thing. who had shyly brushed Isabel’s fingers with her own. There are some very good feelings that may have bad reasons. one can’t like everything. He presently sat down on the other side of his daughter. If the Countess objected to argument Isabel at this moment had as little taste for it.The Portrait of a Lady declared that she herself detested arguments.’ said Isabel. he turned the conversation to another topic. ‘one should like a thing or one shouldn’t. Don’t you see what I mean? I don’t care anything about reasons. that have good reasons. but that this was her brother’s taste. Gilbert Osmond apparently took a rather hopeless view of his sister’s tone. smiling and suspecting that her acquaintance with this lightly-flitting personage would not lead to intellectual repose. don’t you know? And then there are very bad feelings. but he ended by drawing her out of her chair and making her stand between his knees. The child 452 of 1056 . and she put out her hand to Pansy with a pleasant sense that such a gesture committed her to nothing that would admit of a divergence of views.he would always discuss. leaning against him while he passed his arm round her slimness.’ ‘Ah. sometimes. ‘For me. But one shouldn’t attempt to reason it out—you never know where it may lead you.

Osmond talked of Florence. in their poverty. of the pleasure of living in that country and of the abatements to the pleasure. Madame Merle had said he could be agreeable when he chose.The Portrait of a Lady fixed her eyes on Isabel with a still. but every now and then Isabel heard the Countess. and to-day. disinterested gaze which seemed void of an intention. 453 of 1056 . as you might keep an heirloom or an inconvenient entailed place that brought you in nothing. plunge into the latter’s lucidity as a poodle splashes after a thrown stick. yet conscious of an attraction. after a little. he appeared not only to have chosen but to have determined. for the social failure—by which he meant the people who couldn’t ‘realize. Thus there were advantages in living in the country which contained the greatest sum of beauty. Mr. It met the case soothingly for the human. on their sensibility: they could keep it about them there. There were both satisfactions and drawbacks. Osmond talked of many things. of Italy. conversing in the effortless manner of persons who knew each other well enough to take their ease. It was as if Madame Merle were seeing how far she would go. Madame Merle and the Countess Gemini sat a little apart. strangers were too apt to see such a world as all romantic. Mr. the drawbacks were numerous. without ridicule. at something said by her companion.’ as they said.

You mean to stay—to settle? That would be really comfortable. It made one idle and dilettantish and second-rate. ‘and I’m perfectly aware that I myself am as rusty as a key that has no lock to fit it. and you got some that were very bad. Osmond. it had no discipline for the character. When they’re disagreeable here it’s bad enough. he was even fatuous enough to believe at times that he himself might have been a better man if he had spent less of his life there. That’s what it is to live in a country that people come to. As soon as you like them they’re off again! I’ve been deceived too often. Others. I’ve ceased to form attachments.The Portrait of a Lady Certain impressions you could get only there. you never got. the successful social and other ‘cheek’ that flourished in Paris and London.’ said Mr. Italy. Ah yes. when they’re agreeable it’s still worse. had spoiled a great many people. otherwise expressed. your aunt’s a sort of 454 of 1056 . didn’t cultivate in you. favourable to life. ‘We’re sweetly provincial. to permit myself to feel attractions. all the same. and I shall perhaps never see you after that. It polishes me up a little to talk with you—not that I venture to pretend I can turn that very complicated lock I suspect your intellect of being! But you’ll be going away before I’ve seen you three times. But from time to time you got one of a quality that made up for everything.

she’s an old Florentine. Oh. 455 of 1056 . ‘Poor Miss Archer!’ she exclaimed. began to rustle toward the door. who met her eyes with an inattentive smile in which. I believe she may be depended on.The Portrait of a Lady guarantee. Perhaps you think that’s even worse. but almost always the same one. on this occasion. she must have been present at the burning of Savonarola. I hope you don’t object to my speaking that way of your aunt. definite faces that must have had a good deal of expression. I mean literally an old one. I assure you there’s no want of respect in it. there was no infelicitous intimation that our heroine appeared to advantage. Madame Merle eventually proposed to the Countess Gemini that they should go into the garden. You know I’m a particular admirer of Mrs. Indeed I can show you her portrait in a fresco of Ghirlandaio’s. and I’m not sure she didn’t throw a handful of chips into the flame. little. Her face is very much like some faces in the early pictures. dry. and the Countess. not a modern outsider. eh? I’ve an idea you don’t. Touchett. to either of you.’ While Isabel’s host exerted himself to entertain her in this somewhat confidential fashion she looked occasionally at Madame Merle. rising and shaking out her feathers. She’s a contemporary of the Medici.

’ ‘Miss Archer can certainly have nothing but sympathy for a family to which you belong. One’s Machiavelli. ‘I don’t know what you mean by that! I’m sure she’ll see no harm in me but what you tell her. to her forehead.’ ‘I don’t think I know what Mr. pressing one of her hands. you keep him in good-humour. passing her arm into the Countess Gemini’s as if to guide her course to the garden. ‘Mr. The Countess assumed for an instant an attitude of intense meditation. who had risen to her feet. Miss Archer. the other’s Vittoria Colonna.’ 456 of 1056 . Osmond’s favourite subjects are.’ said Isabel. In that case you had better take off your bonnet. with a laugh which. Is that all he has said? Ah then.’ ‘Ah. ‘I’m only rather an idiot and a bore. ‘I’ll tell you in a moment. ‘She has been brought quite into the family.’ Mr. Osmond’s never so historical. with me. Has he opened on one of his favourite subjects? I give you notice that there are two or three that he treats a fond.’ said Madame Merle.The Portrait of a Lady surveying the other group with expressive compassion.’ the Countess went on. though it had something of a mocking ring. the next is Metastasio. had also a finer patience. I’m better than he says. with the finger-tips gathered together. Osmond answered.

his hands in the pockets of his jacket and his daughter. who had now locked her arm into one of his own. Isabel after a moment went toward one of the pictures to see it better. and her eyes wandered over the things scattered about her. clinging to him and looking up while her eyes moved from his own face to Isabel’s. but just as she had done so he said 457 of 1056 . Isabel had got up on the assumption that they too were to go into the garden. Osmond should show her his treasures. Osmond’s talk. then she turned.’ the Countess answered as they moved away. his pictures and cabinets all looked like treasures. The understanding had been that Mr. Isabel waited.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh you. but her host stood there with no apparent inclination to leave the room. the consciousness of a new relation. to have her movements directed. she liked Mr. ‘you yourself are Machiavelli—you yourself are Vittoria Colonna!’ ‘We shall hear next that poor Madame Merle is Metastasio!’ Gilbert Osmond resignedly sighed. his company: she had what always gave her a very private thrill. Through the open doors of the great room she saw Madame Merle and the Countess stroll across the fine grass of the garden. with a certain unuttered contentedness.

She has got a horrid husband. Madame Merle gives her excellent advice. in future. a horrid husband’s an awkward thing. don’t ask me that—I’ve seen your sister too little. Let me add. what do you think of my sister?’ She faced him with some surprise. I sometimes think we’ve got into a rather bad way. Of course. She’s a very honest lady— more so than she seems. that I say that much more for myself than for my sister. if you have a chance. living off here among things and people not our own. though I’m not sure she makes the best of him. with nothing to hold us together or keep us up. Of course this is only a glimpse. but you must have observed that there is not a great deal of her to see. unprejudiced mind. What do you think of our family tone?’ he went on with his cool smile. without responsibilities or attachments. ‘I should like to know how it strikes a fresh. however. though. marrying foreigners. you’ve seen her very little. But just take notice. forming artificial tastes. She’s rather unhappy. but it’s a good 458 of 1056 . and as she’s not of a serious turn she doesn’t tend to show it tragically: she shows it comically instead. ‘Ah. playing tricks with our natural mission. I know what you’re going to say— you’ve had almost no observation of it.’ ‘Yes.The Portrait of a Lady to her abruptly: ‘Miss Archer.

eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. There were one or two exceptions to this. she could think for instance of no group that would contain her aunt Lydia. as Madame Merle. 459 of 1056 . But in essentials. He can look out the words. you want more light. but he can’t put them together. as one might say. carried it toward the window. relatively speaking. Download the free trial version. but unfortunately she’s not grammatical. and he gave her such further information as might appear most acceptable to a young lady making a call on a summer afternoon. and edit PDF. He resembled no one she had ever seen. as Lord Warburton. Goodwood. most of the people she knew might be divided into groups of half a dozen specimens. my sister was very right in saying you’ve been taken into the family. by courtesy—such as Mr. thickly as they seemed to overhang him. Pardon my troubling you with these details. There were other people who were. Let me take down that picture. related some curious facts about it. his medallions and tapestries were interesting.’ He took down the picture. as her cousin Ralph. as Henrietta Stackpole. His pictures. She looked at the other works of art. and independently of them. but after a while Isabel felt the owner much more so. view. deal like giving a child a dictionary to learn a language with. My sister needs a grammar. originaloriginal.

Osmond—he was a specimen apart. that marked him for her as by one of those signs of the highly curious that he was showing her on the underside of old plates and in the corner of sixteenth-century drawings: he indulged in no striking deflections from common usage. his overdrawn. The peculiarity was physical. but what quite other power it immediately gained when sounded by a man! It was not so much what he said and did.these personal points struck our sensitive young 460 of 1056 . and it extended to impalpabilities. She had never met a person of so fine a grain. delicate hair. but they were falling into order before her. Her mind contained no class offering a natural place to Mr. these individuals belonged to types already present to her mind. ripe without being coarse. but rather what he withheld. to begin with. Madame Merle had had that note of rarity. It was not that she recognized all these truths at the hour. retouched features. and that light. His dense. the very evenness of the growth of his beard. For the moment she only said to herself that this ‘new relation’ would perhaps prove her very most distinguished. smooth slenderness of structure which made the movement of a single one of his fingers produce the effect of an expressive gesture. his clear complexion.The Portrait of a Lady when one came to look at them. he was an original without being an eccentric.

She was certainly far from understanding him completely. thinking about art and beauty and history. somehow as promises of interest. and everything was in harmony with it. in a sorted. Was it a harmless paradox. sifted.The Portrait of a Lady woman as signs of quality. If it was provincial to have that harmony. but in Ralph it was an anomaly. he was probably irritable. His sensibility had governed him—possibly governed him too much. He had consulted his taste in everything—his taste alone perhaps. a kind of humorous excrescence. as a sick man consciously incurable consults at last only his lawyer: that was what made him so different from every one else. It was hard to see what he meant for instance by speaking of his provincial side—which was exactly the side she would have taken him most to lack. He was certainly fastidious and critical. of intensity. this appearance of thinking that life was a matter of connoisseurship. his meaning was not at all times obvious. it had made him impatient of vulgar troubles and had led him to live by himself. Osmond it was the keynote. whereas in Mr. Ralph had something of this same quality. it would be very interesting to learn. arranged world. what then was the finish of the capital? And she 461 of 1056 . intended to puzzle her? or was it the last refinement of high culture? She trusted she should learn in time.

since such shyness as his—the shyness of ticklish nerves and fine perceptions—was perfectly consistent with the best breeding. Indeed it was almost a proof of standards and touchstones other than the vulgar: he must be so sure the vulgar would be first on the ground. 462 of 1056 . This was the most eccentric thing he had done.The Portrait of a Lady could put this question in spite of so feeling her host a sly personage. He wasn’t a man of easy assurance. he was critical of himself as well as of others. If he had suddenly asked her what she thought of the Countess Gemini. exacting a good deal of others. equally full of romantic objects. That he should be so interested showed an enquiring mind. There were two other rooms. that was doubtless a proof that he was interested in her. subtle. it could scarcely be as a help to knowledge of his own sister. who chatted and gossiped with the fluency of a superficial nature. to think them agreeable. successful conversion of it to which she owed both what pleased her in him and what mystified her. but it was a little singular he should sacrifice his fraternal feeling to his curiosity. probably took a rather ironical view of what he himself offered: a proof into the bargain that he was not grossly conceited. If he had not been shy he wouldn’t have effected that gradual. beyond the one in which she had been received. and.

or to 463 of 1056 . It would have annoyed her to express a liking for something he. because in the end he would be sure to find out. and from the fear (very unusual with her) of exposing—not her ignorance. who wondered why he should take so much trouble for her. for that she cared comparatively little—but her possible grossness of perception. Everything was in the last degree curious and precious.The Portrait of a Lady and in these apartments Isabel spent a quarter of an hour. cleverer in every way. There was enough for the present. A part of Isabel’s fatigue came from the effort to appear as intelligent as she believed Madame Merle had described her. Osmond continued to be the kindest of ciceroni as he led her from one fine piece to another and still held his little girl by the hand. than she was. more prepared. which was a pity. would think she oughtn’t to like. and Mr. in his superior enlightenment. she had ceased to attend to what he said. and she was oppressed at last with the accumulation of beauty and knowledge to which she found herself introduced. His kindness almost surprised our young friend. but was not thinking of what he told her. Madame Merle would have pleasantly exaggerated. she listened to him with attentive eyes. and then perhaps even her real intelligence wouldn’t reconcile him to his mistake. He probably thought her quicker.

yet ignobly. more careful than she had ever been before. Mr. She had no wish to fall into that grotesqueness—in which she had seen women (and it was a warning) serenely. and on the mountains and the plain that stretched beneath them the masses of purple shadow glowed as richly as the places that were still exposed. and as the afternoon was lovely the Countess proposed they should take their tea in the open air. Osmond directed her steps into the garden without more delay. They came back into the first of the rooms. The air was almost solemnly still. The scene had an extraordinary charm. flounder. but as the two other ladies were still on the terrace. where the tea had been served. She was very careful therefore as to what she said. and as Isabel had not yet been made acquainted with the view. as to what she noticed or failed to notice.The Portrait of a Lady pass by something at which the truly initiated mind would arrest itself. and the large expanse of the landscape. the paramount distinction of the place. Madame Merle and the Countess had had chairs brought out. with its gardenlike culture and nobleness of outline. Pansy therefore was sent to bid the servant bring out the preparations. The sun had got low. its 464 of 1056 . its teeming valley and delicately-fretted hills. the golden light took a deeper tone.

’ she returned. People ought to make it very plain to her. What was that you said about one’s natural mission? I wonder if I should forsake my natural mission if I were to settle in Florence. at any rate.’ ‘Such a matter would have to be made very plain to me. ‘I shall certainly come back.’ ‘Very true—she often wastes a great deal of time in the enquiry. lay there in splendid harmony and classic grace. to hear you talk of settling.’ ‘I’m rather ashamed of my plans.’ ‘The point’s to find out where that is. Madame Merle had given me an idea that you were of a rather roving disposition.The Portrait of a Lady peculiarly human-looking touches of habitation.’ Osmond said as he led his companion to one of the angles of the terrace. I make a new one every day. ‘You seem so well pleased that I think you can be trusted to come back.’ 465 of 1056 .’ smiled Isabel. ‘in spite of what you say about its being bad to live in Italy. ‘I’m glad.’ ‘A woman’s natural mission is to be where she’s most appreciated. I thought she spoke of your having some plan of going round the world.

and I’m acting on it today.’ ‘It seems frivolous. ‘Do you call that simple?’ she asked with mild irony. ‘Yes. and his intelligent regard was fixed on his visitor’s with the conscious air of a man who has brought himself to confess something. I made one years ago.’ ‘As quiet?’ the girl repeated.’ ‘Has your life been negative?’ 466 of 1056 .’ said Isabel.’ Isabel permitted herself to observe. I think.’ ‘By that rule then. I’ve not been frivolous. and be faithful to that. it’s the greatest of pleasures. ‘One ought to choose something very deliberately.’ He spoke these sentences slowly. because it’s negative.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t see why you should be ashamed.’ ‘Have you never made plans?’ ‘Yes. It was to be as quiet as possible. ‘It was very simple. To resign myself. ‘Not to worry—not to strive nor struggle.’ ‘It must have been a very pleasant one. with short pauses between. To be content with little.

I was poor. I could do nothing in Italy—I couldn’t even be an Italian patriot. To do that I should have had to get out of the country. not my natural indifference—I had none. and fortunately I was. I was simply the most fastidious young gentleman living. however. ‘Because I could do nothing. Why should a man who struck her as having a great fund of reserve suddenly bring himself to be so confidential? This was his affair. Mind you. I should have been delighted to be considered to that extent.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Call it affirmative if you like. to 467 of 1056 . a gentleman. for instance. though lean. and I made up my mind not to go in for honours. my wilful renunciation. and his confidences were interesting.’ She scarcely understood him. I had no talents even. and I was not a man of genius. it seemed a question whether he were joking or not. Only it has affirmed my indifference. I had no prospects. but since that couldn’t be I didn’t care for anything less. I took my measure early in life. The leanest gentleman can always consider himself. ‘I don’t see why you should have renounced. But my studied.’ she said in a moment. and the Sultan of Turkey! There were even moments when I envied the Pope of Rome—for the consideration he enjoys. There were two or three people in the world I envied—the Emperor of Russia. and I was too fond of it to leave it.

however. It was her present inclination. to wish it altered. ‘That’s a very pleasant life. For the present she abstained from provoking further revelations. So I’ve passed a great many years here on that quiet plan I spoke of. but her imagination supplied the human element which she was sure had not been wanting. on the whole. but the things I’ve cared for have been definite— limited. a sketch by Correggio on a panel daubed over by some inspired idiot. He had certainly told her quite enough. to intimate that he had not told her everything would be more familiar and less considerate than she now desired to be—would in fact be uproariously vulgar. His life had been mingled with other lives more than he admitted. ‘to renounce everything but Correggio!’ 468 of 1056 .’ This would have been rather a dry account of Mr. Osmond’s’ career if Isabel had fully believed it. of course). I don’t mean to say I’ve cared for nothing. I’ve not been at all unhappy. to express a measured sympathy for the success with which he had preserved his independence. as it then was.’ she said. getting an old silver crucifix at a bargain (I’ve never bought anything dear. as I once did. naturally she couldn’t expect him to enter into this. or discovering.The Portrait of a Lady say nothing of my being too well satisfied with it. The events of my life have been absolutely unperceived by any one save myself.

My daughter’s growing up and may very possibly not care so much for the Correggios and crucifixes as I. I lived a long time at Naples. It’s one’s own fault if one isn’t happy. I shall have to do what’s best for Pansy.’ This was large.’ cried Gilbert Osmond beautifully. and many years in Rome.’ said Isabel. I’ve no longer myself to think of. But I’ve been here a good while. ‘She’s such a dear little girl. however.’ ‘Yes. Don’t imagine I’m whining about it. I’ve made in my way a good thing of it. to do something else.’ ‘Ah. not always. she kept down to something smaller. ‘Have you lived here always?’ ‘No. Perhaps I shall have to change. ‘she’s a little saint of heaven! She is my great happiness!’ 469 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh. do that.

by waiting. practised with less success the art of disguising impatience. She might have desired for some minutes to place it.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 25 While this sufficiently intimate colloquy (prolonged for some time after we cease to follow it) went forward Madame Merle and her companion. ‘My dear. What these ladies were waiting for would not have been apparent and was perhaps not very definite to their own minds. moreover. had begun to exchange remarks. being of a more nervous temperament than her friend. and the Countess waited because Madame Merle did. They were sitting in an attitude of unexpressed expectancy. Madame Merle waited for Osmond to release their young friend from her tete-a-tete. ‘you’ll excuse me if I don’t congratulate you!’ 470 of 1056 . The Countess. found the time ripe for one of her pretty perversities.’ she then observed to her companion. an attitude especially marked on the part of the Countess Gemini. to which point her eyes followed them. breaking a silence of some duration. who. Her brother wandered with Isabel to the end of the garden.

But it will be much better that you should understand me.’ 471 of 1056 . If you mean that I’m not so clever as he you mustn’t think I shall suffer from your sense of our difference.’ ‘Why so?’ asked Madame Merle. ‘To what will it conduce?’ ‘If I don’t approve of your plan you ought to know it in order to appreciate the danger of my interfering with it.’ ‘You say things to me that no one else does.’ said Madame Merle gravely. view. ‘No one can understand better than you when you wish. a poisoned one sometimes. I see that just now you don’t wish. ‘Very willingly. ‘You mean things you don’t like? Doesn’t Osmond sometimes say such things?’ ‘What your brother says has a point. Download the free trial version. yet without bitterness. Madame Merle’s eyes took the same direction.’ ‘Haven’t you a little plan that you think rather well of?’ And the Countess nodded at the sequestered couple. ‘You know I never understand you very well.’ she smiled.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. for I don’t in the least know why you should.’ ‘Yes. and edit PDF. then she looked serenely at her neighbour.

’ she finally resumed. and with her eyes upon the violet slope of Monte Morello she gave herself up to reflection.’ ‘That indeed.’ ‘No.’ ‘You must have made extensive calculations yourself to discover that. ‘and the conviction has suddenly come to me. The matter you allude to concerns three persons much stronger of purpose than yourself. The Countess’s manner was odious. ‘I advise you not to agitate yourself. but it was an old story. ‘You’ve a strange way of showing it. I’ve not had time.’ piped the Countess. I’ve seen the girl but this once.’ said the Countess. was really low. but in a moment she said quietly: ‘You think me more calculating than I am. ‘is perhaps the best thing that could happen to her!’ Madame Merle said nothing for some time. it’s your calculating wrong.’ ‘It’s not your calculating I think ill of. ‘My dear lady.’ ‘So do I. I like her very much.’ 472 of 1056 . You’ve done so in this case.’ Madame Merle mentioned.The Portrait of a Lady Madame Merle looked as if she were ready to admit that there might be something in this.’ ‘Surely I’ve given her the advantage of making your acquaintance.

you are dangerous—even by yourself!’ 473 of 1056 .’ The Countess’s bright little eyes expanded and her face was set in a grimace. and I don’t mean you by yourself.’ Madame Merle murmured. ‘Ah.’ ‘I’m not sure of that. ‘I don’t mean to touch you—but I shall talk to that girl. you and Osmond.’ ‘You had better leave us alone then. ‘if I convince her it’s her interest to resist you she’ll do so successfully!’ ‘Resist us? Why do you express yourself so coarsely? She’s not exposed to compulsion or deception. But is Miss Archer also very strong of purpose?’ ‘Quite as much so as we.’ ‘My poor Amy.’ Madame Merle hesitated a moment. I like her.’ smiled Madame Merle. But together you’re dangerous—like some chemical combination. ‘I don’t see what has got into your head. ‘I don’t think she likes you.’ ‘Ah then.’ said the Countess radiantly. You’re capable of anything.’ ‘I take an interest in her—that’s what has got into my head.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Three persons? You and Osmond of course. I don’t mean Osmond by himself.

standing with her small hands folded together upon the front of her scanty frock. I think so!’ she pronounced. while she pressed the point of her parasol into the path. facing her.had come out with a small table and placed it on the grass. she was listening. but she had not presumed to 474 of 1056 . to return with a couple of chairs. As Madame Merle watched her she lowered her eyes. been ‘put in’ by the brush of a Longhi or a Goya. and she at present was evidently not lost in the mere impersonal view. The shabby footboy.’ Madame Merle looked a moment at Isabel and at the master of the house.The Portrait of a Lady ‘If you want her to like you don’t abuse your brother to her. summoned by Pansy—he might. persistently as she gazed at it. Pansy had watched these proceedings with the deepest interest. tarnished as to livery and quaint as to type. have issued from some stray sketch of old-time manners.’ said Madame Merle. possibly with a certain embarrassment. his arms folded. after which he had again disappeared. Madame Merle rose from her chair. ‘I don’t suppose you pretend she has fallen in love with him in two interviews. and then had gone back and fetched the tea-tray. ‘Yes. He was leaning against the parapet.

‘is that your best frock?’ ‘Ah no.’ The child sparingly stroked down her antiquated skirt. she gently approached her aunt. Then her face broke into its perfect smile. but even that one’s very simple. When the tea-table had been arranged.’ she said. ‘My poor niece. ‘I have a pretty dress. ‘Do you think papa would object to my making the tea?’ The Countess looked at her with a deliberately critical gaze and without answering her question.’ ‘Do you call it a common occasion when I come to see you?—to say nothing of Madame Merle and the pretty lady yonder. for me you must always wear the prettiest. ‘it’s just a little toilette for common occasions. Why should I expose it beside your beautiful things?’ ‘Because it’s the prettiest you have. ‘It’s a good little dress to make tea—don’t you think? Don’t you believe papa would allow me?’ 475 of 1056 .’ Pansy answered.’ Pansy reflected a moment.The Portrait of a Lady offer assistance. turning gravely from one of the persons mentioned to the other. Please put it on the next time. It seems to me they don’t dress you so well as they might. however.

your father’s ideas are unfathomable.’ Madame Merle smiled with her usual grace. It’s the proper duty of the daughter of the house— when she grows up. ‘Listen to me. Ask her. ‘I’m very happy to hear that. who.’ ‘Ah. ‘You shall see how well I’ll make it. she’s not mine—she’s papa’s. A spoonful for each.’ ‘Do you like her then?’ the Countess asked.’ said Madame Merle. my child. with Madame Merle. It seems to me it would please your father to see a careful little daughter making his tea.’ said the Countess.’ ‘So it seems to me. Pansy.’ said the Countess.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Impossible for me to say. ‘Two spoonfuls for me. ‘She’s charming—charming.’ the Countess resumed at last. ‘Miss Archer came to see you as well. remained for some moments watching her. ‘She pleases me thoroughly. Madame Merle!’ Pansy cried. Madame Merle understands them better. ‘For me.’ Pansy repeated in her little neat conversational tone. ‘It’s a weighty question—let me think. She has been very polite to me.’ Pansy objected. ‘I should like to know what you think of your visitor.’ And she began to busy herself at the table.’ 476 of 1056 .

‘Why should I.’ ‘Indeed I shan’t!’ cried the Countess. and after that she’ll begin to need a husband rather than a stepmother. I imagine you’ll do the same. ‘She’ll soon be sixteen. Osmond won’t be a good one. of all women.’ she went on to the child.’ 477 of 1056 .’ ‘And will you provide the husband as well?’ ‘I shall certainly take an interest in her marrying fortunately. ‘Go and call them to tea.’ ‘There are no good ones. ‘You’ll see if they don’t like it!’ Pansy declared. and departed to summon the others. ‘If your brother marries again it won’t be for Pansy’s sake.’ Madame Merle replied. ‘If Miss Archer’s to become her mother it’s surely interesting to know if the child likes her. When I say a husband I mean a good one. Countess!’ murmured Madame Merle dissuasively. that’s what I’m speaking of. set such a price on a husband?’ ‘You didn’t marry fortunately.’ said the Countess. who had still lingered at the end of the terrace.The Portrait of a Lady ‘And how do you think she pleases your father?’ ‘Ah really.

’ the Countess answered. I’m irritated. ‘Do you mean as most gentlemen behave? That 478 of 1056 .’ ‘Yes. and as regards Pansy I’m confident that we shall some day have the pleasure of looking for a husband for her together. ‘You’re irritated just now. ‘Do you pretend to believe he’d make her happy?’ the Countess demanded. Madame Merle shook her head as for quiet amusement. ‘If he should marry Miss Archer I suppose he’d behave like a gentleman. ‘No indeed. Osmond were now slowly coming toward them and Isabel had taken Pansy by the hand. Your own coolness is fabulous. ‘I don’t think you’ll really object either to your brother’s or to your niece’s marrying when the time comes for them to do so.’ ‘It’s much better that we should always act together. The Countess jerked herself into a succession of attitudes. you’ve not my coolness!’ Isabel and Mr. Your large acquaintance will be a great help. You’re a strange woman. I don’t know why.’ she presently said.The Portrait of a Lady Madame Merle closed her eyes a moment.’ Madame Merle went on. ‘You often irritate me. ‘Do you mean that as a threat?’ asked the Countess rising.

of course. ‘You 479 of 1056 . I’ve no doubt.The Portrait of a Lady would be much to be thankful for! Of course Osmond’s a gentleman. if you please? What has he ever done? If there had been anything particularly grand in his origin—if he were made of some superior clay—I presume I should have got some inkling of it. don’t laugh. no. never. no. we may believe. But there’s nothing. because her eye wandered away from the speaker and her hands busied themselves with adjusting the knots of ribbon on her dress. nothing.’ said Madame Merle. Even I’m a charming person. but I must say I’ve never. But does he think he can marry any girl he happens to pick out? Osmond’s a gentleman. One’s parents were charming people of course. who had listened to this quick outbreak none the less attentively. nothing. I might be supposed to know. seen any one of Osmond’s pretensions! What they’re all founded on is more than I can say. Who is he.’ ‘You may say what you please. If there had been any great honours or splendours in the family I should certainly have made the most of them: they would have been quite in my line. I’m his own sister. it has literally been said. As for Osmond. his own sister needn’t be reminded of that. but so were yours. Every one’s a charming person nowa-days. he has always appeared to believe that he’s descended from the gods.

Your brother.’ ‘I hope she’ll refuse him. but you yourself are extremely distinguished.’ the Countess declared. ‘To be sacrificed. like an intelligent man. any girl would do.’ ‘What he has done? He has done nothing that has had to be undone.’ ‘We mustn’t forget that he is one of the cleverest of men. has had the conviction of it if he has not had the proofs. Nevertheless. ‘it won’t be an easy matter for Osmond to marry Miss Archer. Yet he can try. What do you say about your niece? The child’s a little princess. but I haven’t yet discovered what he has done.’ said Madame Merle.’ ‘To wait for Miss Archer’s money? How much of it is there?’ ‘That’s not what I mean. ‘Miss Archer has seventy thousand pounds. She needn’t be superior. You’re modest about it.’ 480 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady Osmonds are a fine race—your blood must flow from some very pure source. He must have the best.’ ‘If she weren’t superior your brother would never look at her.’ Madame Merle added. It will take him down a little.’ ‘I’ve heard you say that before. And he has known how to wait.’ ‘Well. it’s a pity she’s so charming.

That makes me tremble for her happiness!’ 481 of 1056 .’ returned the Countess as they went forward a little to meet the others.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Yes. ‘he’s very hard to satisfy.

that is he came to Palazzo Crescentini. Touchett and Madame Merle he was always impartially civil. He had other friends there as well. Touchett’s worth. but of which he never divested himself. these two were old friends and he never put himself out for her. he thought Mr. but the former of these ladies noted the fact that in the course of a fortnight he called five times. Ralph was imperturbable—Ralph had a kind of loosefitting urbanity that wrapped him about like an ill-made overcoat.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 26 Gilbert Osmond came to see Isabel again. of almost periodical recurrence. when Madame Merle was under her roof. and she had never observed him select for such visits those moments. It was not for Madame Merle that he came. Osmond very good company and was willing at any time to look at him in the light of hospitality. Osmond had suddenly taken a fancy to her son. Two visits a year had hitherto constituted his regular tribute to Mrs. He was not fond of Ralph—Ralph had told her so—and it was not supposable that Mr. and to Mrs. But he didn’t flatter himself that the desire to repair a past 482 of 1056 . and compared it with another fact that she found no difficulty in remembering.

on Isabel’s part. and it was natural he should be curious of so rare an apparition. and he was recommended to her by his appearance of being as well able to do without her as she was to do without him—a quality that always. a middle-aged widower with an uncanny child 483 of 1056 . It gave her no satisfaction. As he had never been an importunate visitor he had had no chance to be offensive. and that a young lady with whom Lord Warburton had not successfully wrestled should content herself with an obscure American dilettante. and edit PDF. to think that he had taken it into his head to marry her niece. Touchett had from far back found a place on her scant list for this gentleman. Osmond was a critic. Isabel was the attraction. and in all conscience a sufficient one. though wondering dimly by what art and what process—so negative and so wise as they were—he had everywhere effectively imposed himself. Download the free trial version. would have an air of almost morbid perversity. Such an alliance. Osmond was thinking of. he read the situation more clearly. Mrs. injustice was the motive of their visitor’s calls. view. a student of the exquisite. Touchett easily remembered that the girl had refused an English peer. Mrs. however. affected her as providing ground for a relation with her. So when his mother observed to him that it was plain what Mr.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. Ralph replied that he was quite of her opinion. oddly enough.

to his mother. He had such a fanciful. but had made them listen in return. she would certainly not allow number three to come in. and fortune was serving her to her taste. He knew she had listened to several parties. Ralph looked forward to a fourth. pictorial way of saying things that he might as well address her in the deafmute’s alphabet. 484 of 1056 . but the political. it will be observed. a fifth. this answered to nothing in Mrs. She had wanted to see life. a succession of fine gentlemen going down on their knees to her would do as well as anything else. Touchett’s conception of success. a tenth besieger. He expressed this view. not the sentimental. as his father would have said. She would keep the gate ajar and open a parley. ‘I trust she won’t have the folly to listen to him. view of matrimony—a view which has always had much to recommend it. to which Ralph replied that Isabel’s listening was one thing and Isabel’s answering quite another. he had no conviction she would stop at a third.The Portrait of a Lady and an ambiguous income. She took.’ she said to her son. and he found much entertainment in the idea that in these few months of his knowing her he should observe a fresh suitor at her gate. somewhat after this fashion. who looked at him as if he had been dancing a jig.

I know very little about the young man in America. and I suspect he has got tired of waiting for her. Let her alone to find a fine one herself for anything she undertakes. She ought to marry some one of whose disinterestedness she shall herself be sure. I don’t think she spends much of her time in thinking of him. and it has acquired new charms for her since.’ she said. If Isabel wants to marry Mr.’ 485 of 1056 . The two words in the language I most respect are Yes and No. Osmond if she only looks at him in a certain way. and there would be no such proof of that as his having a fortune of his own. she’s capable of marrying Mr.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t think I know what you mean. I could never understand allegories. She wants to be disinterested: as if she were the only person who’s in danger of not being so! Will he be so disinterested when he has the spending of her money? That was her idea before your father’s death. ‘you use too many figures of speech. Osmond she’ll do so in spite of all your comparisons. That’s all very well. Osmond for the beauty of his opinions or for his autograph of Michael Angelo. no one approves more than I of one’s pleasing one’s self. But she takes her pleasure in such odd things. There’s nothing in life to prevent her marrying Mr.

‘that’s an idea!’ ‘Hadn’t it occurred to you?’ ‘You make me feel an idiot. ‘Don’t put it into her head. The thing would be to ask Mr. I shall now ask her. Madame Merle reflected.’ she exclaimed.’ Mrs. She’ll please herself.’ ‘Oh. She has started on an exploring expedition. ‘you must know this: whether that curious creature’s really making love to my niece.’ said Mrs. of course.’ she said. and I don’t think she’ll change her course. but she’ll do so by studying human nature at close quarters and yet retaining her liberty. ‘if it has occurred to Isabel. Touchett. She may have slackened speed for an hour. Excuse another metaphor. ‘She’s making fools of us all. Osmond.The Portrait of a Lady ‘My dear mother. but was not so much reassured as to withhold from Madame Merle the expression of her fears.’ she added.’ Ralph answered. ‘Heaven help us. I’m not afraid. ‘You who know everything. Touchett excused it perhaps. I wonder. at the outset. but I confess it hadn’t. with a full intelligence.’ 486 of 1056 .’ ‘Gilbert Osmond?’ Madame Merle widened her clear eyes and. but before we know it she’ll be steaming away again. at a signal from Gilbert Osmond.

’ ‘No. you wouldn’t like this.’ Her companion sounded at this the note of warning. at least I can speak to Isabel. But I’m always sure of her doing something—well.’ Again Madame Merle was silent while her thoughtful smile drew up her mouth even more charmingly than 487 of 1056 .’ ‘I’ll ask him myself. ‘But what business—for him—is it of yours?’ ‘It’s being none whatever is just why I can afford to speak. not of my kind.’ said Mrs. Touchett.’ Madame Merle observed without the point of interrogation. Don’t inflame her imagination.’ Madame Merle bravely declared. It’s so much less my business than any one’s else that he can put me off with anything he chooses. given Isabel’s situation—what business it is of mine. ‘Why in the world should I.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I can’t do that. ‘Don’t be too quick with her. Touchett.’ ‘Pray let me hear then. But it will be by the way he does this that I shall know. ‘of the fruits of your penetration.’ said Mrs. pray? Mr. ‘I won’t have him enquire of me—as he perfectly may with that air of his. Osmond has nothing the least solid to offer. If I can’t speak to him. however.’ ‘I never did anything in my life to any one’s imagination.

Touchett cried.’ ‘Another reason then for Mr. He has nothing in the world that I know of but a dozen or two of early masters and a more or less pert little daughter.’ said Madame Merle. they’re nothing to me!’ Mrs.’ ‘The early masters are now worth a good deal of money.’ ‘Don’t tell me about his probably quite cold-blooded love-affairs.’ ‘In other words she’s an insipid little chit. Osmond’s stopping at home! Otherwise. to my knowledge. He has made a great impression. Is that what you mean? Having no fortune she can’t hope to marry as they marry here. more than once. a week hence.The Portrait of a Lady usual toward the left corner.’ ‘Isabel probably wouldn’t object to being kind to her. so that Isabel will have to furnish her either with a maintenance or with a dowry. ‘Let us distinguish. Gilbert Osmond’s certainly not the first comer. I think she likes the poor child. ‘What you say’s precisely why I wish he would cease his visits. ‘and the daughter’s a very young and very innocent and very harmless person. we shall have my niece arriving at the conviction that her mission in life’s to prove 488 of 1056 . He’s a man who in favourable conditions might very well make a great impression.

to prove it. Changing the form of one’s mission’s almost as difficult as changing the shape of one’s nose: there they are.’ All this went on quite over Isabel’s head. Isabel thought him interesting—she came back to that.’ ‘She would make a charming stepmother. She had carried away an image from her visit to his hill-top which her subsequent knowledge of him did nothing to efface and which put on for her a particular harmony with other supposed and divined things. clever. she liked so to think of him. each. who now arrived in considerable numbers to pay their respects to Miss Archer’s aunt.The Portrait of a Lady that a stepmother may sacrifice herself. distinguished man. she had no suspicions that her relations with Mr. histories within histories: the image of a quiet. Madame Merle had said nothing to put her on her guard. in the middle of one’s face and one’s character—one has to begin too far back. she must first become one. she alluded no more pointedly to him than to the other gentlemen of Florence.’ smiled Madame Merle. sensitive. native and foreign. Osmond were being discussed. ‘but I quite agree with you that she had better not decide upon her mission too hastily.and that. But I’ll investigate and report to you. strolling on a moss-grown terrace above the sweet Val d’Arno and holding by the hand a little girl whose bell489 of 1056 .

The Portrait of a Lady like clearness gave a new grace to childhood. of a care for beauty and perfection so natural and so cultivated together that the career appeared to stretch beneath it in the disposed vistas and with the ranges of steps and terraces and fountains of a formal Italian garden—allowing only for arid places freshened by the natural dews of a quaint half-anxious. Mr. but she liked its lowness of tone and the atmosphere of summer twilight that pervaded it. Isabel found no difficulty in believing that a person was sincere who had so many of 490 of 1056 . Osmond’s talk was not injured by the indication of an eagerness to shine. of the choice between objects. always suggestive talk. of a lonely. Osmond’s manner remained the same. The picture had no flourishes. studious life in a lovely land. half-helpless fatherhood. but that had an element of nobleness. of an old sorrow that sometimes ached to-day. It spoke of the kind of personal issue that touched her most nearly. an effort which usually resulted in a great deal of easy. subjects. At Palazzo Crescentini Mr. of a feeling of pride that was perhaps exaggerated. contacts—what might she call them?—of a thin and those of a rich association. diffident at first. lively.oh self-conscious beyond doubt! and full of the effort (visible only to a sympathetic eye) to overcome this disadvantage. rather aggressive. very positive.

said perhaps by Miss Archer in especial. for ‘effect.The Portrait of a Lady the signs of strong conviction—as for instance an explicit and graceful appreciation of anything that might be said on his own side of the question. who. Isabel had never seen a little person of this pattern. she wore a small grenadine mantle and a pair of the useful gloves that Madame Merle had given her—little grey gloves with a single button. She was like a sheet of blank 491 of 1056 . reminded her vividly of an ingenue in a French play. and she rejoiced to renew acquaintance with the child. and yet in imagination. as she presented her forehead to be kissed by every member of the circle. as one could see. of precious substance. odd as they often appeared. that could be fitted if necessary to new walking-sticks—not switches plucked in destitution from the common tree and then too elegantly waved about. he were used to them and had lived with them. She sat on the sofa by Isabel. as she had heard people. Pansy was so formed and finished for her tiny place in the world. What continued to please this young woman was that while he talked so for amusement he didn’t talk. American girls were very different—different too were the maidens of England. so innocent and infantine.’ He uttered his ideas as if. One day he brought his small daughter with him. old polished knobs and heads and handles.

Osmond’s sister as a lady who had so mismanaged her improprieties that they had ceased to hang together at all—which was at the least what one 492 of 1056 . pronounced that a number of unmistakeable blots were to be seen upon her surface.The Portrait of a Lady paper—the ideal jeune fille of foreign fiction. in which Madame Merle (who was not such a fool as to irritate people by always agreeing with them) availed herself felicitously enough of that large licence of dissent which her hostess permitted as freely as she practised it. The Countess gave rise indeed to some discussion between the mistress of the house and the visitor from Rome. Touchett. Mrs. She was by no means a blank sheet. The Countess Gemini also came to call upon her. Isabel had been made acquainted with the estimate prevailing under that roof: it represented Mr. and Mrs. Isabel hoped that so fair and smooth a page would be covered with an edifying text. but the Countess was quite another affair. she had been written over in a variety of hands. Touchett had declared it a piece of audacity that this highly compromised character should have presented herself at such a time of day at the door of a house in which she was esteemed so little as she must long have known herself to be at Palazzo Crescentini. who felt by no means honoured by her visit.

had consoled herself outrageously. She couldn’t see why Mrs. had probably by this time thrown off. incommoding social circulation. but. In that case Mrs. but while one was about it one should draw it straight: it was a very crooked chalk-mark that would exclude the Countess Gemini. Touchett had better shut up her house. One must be fair and not make arbitrary 493 of 1056 . and the list of her excuses had now lost itself in the labyrinth of her adventures. though the Countess had made overtures of old. She had been married by her mother—a more administrative person. however. Touchett should make a scapegoat of a woman who had really done no harm. with an appreciation of foreign titles which the daughter. One must certainly draw the line. to do her justice.The Portrait of a Lady asked of such matters—and had become the mere floating fragments of a wrecked renown. Florence was not an austere city. Madame Merle defended the luckless lady with a great deal of zeal and wit. she had to draw the line somewhere. who had only done good in the wrong way. Touchett had never consented to receive her. this perhaps would be the best course so long as she remained in Florence. as Mrs. Italian nobleman who had perhaps given her some excuse for attempting to quench the consciousness of outrage. Touchett said. The Countess.

she contented herself with having given a friendly welcome to the unfortunate lady. but Madame Merle bestowed upon it a certain improving polish. Osmond had done. but since when had that been a ground of exclusion from the best society? For ever so long now one had heard nothing about her. whatever her defects.The Portrait of a Lady differences: the Countess had doubtless been imprudent. Isabel could contribute nothing to this interesting dispute. Osmond remarked that she was a respectable person? To have proceeded from Gilbert Osmond this was a crude proposition. but was thankful for an opportunity to repair the accident. She told Isabel more about the poor Countess than Mr. and related the history of her marriage and its consequences. She was a good creature. Osmond’s sister. She had not received the happiest impression of the Countess on meeting her at the villa. and there could be no better proof of her having renounced the error of her ways than her desire to become a member of Mrs. not clever at all. who. The 494 of 1056 . not even a patient attention. Had not Mr. she had not been so clever as other women. had at least the merit of being Mr. Touchett’s circle. As she liked the brother Isabel thought it proper to try and like the sister: in spite of the growing complexity of things she was still capable of these primitive sequences.

Osmond had liked to be called. as Mrs. he had given his wife every pretext. one would suppose it had been by a more sensible woman than the American Corinne. and now they were well enough off.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. having died much earlier. as Italians went. One could see this in Gilbert Osmond. lost in the grey American dawn of the situation. Count Gemini since then. the father. and edit PDF. She had brought her children to Italy after her husband’s death. but of such small estate that he had been glad to accept Amy Osmond. though Amy was horribly extravagant. in spite of the questionable beauty which had yet not hampered her career. Her mother. The Count was a low-lived brute. however. to do him justice. her mother had died three years after the Countess’s marriage. Count was a member of an ancient Tuscan family. who had bristled with pretensions to elegant learning and published descriptive poems and corresponded on Italian subjects with the English weekly journals. Madame Merle held. She had no children. Touchett remembered 495 of 1056 . but reputed originally rich and wild. view. with the modest dowry her mother was able to offer—a sum about equivalent to that which had already formed her brother’s share of their patrimony. she had lost three within a year of their birth. and Mrs.see that he had been brought up by a woman. though. had inherited money. Download the free trial version.

like Mrs. Madame Merle had always made the best of her for her brother’s sake. Touchett’s part. Osmond. how base the people in Florence were. her egotism.The Portrait of a Lady her during the year that followed her arrival. how much she should like to live somewhere else—in Paris. profaned it: the Countess indeed had given her an impression of rather silly sincerity. her violations of taste and above all of truth: she acted badly on his nerves. The Countess was very good company and not really the featherhead she seemed. a woman to whom the truth should be habitually sacred. She had talked almost exclusively about herself. how thankful she should be for a real friend. all one had to do with her was to observe the simple condition of not believing a word she said. approved of political marriages. in 496 of 1056 . she was not his sort of woman. for she. in half an hour. Isabel was unable to estimate the number of times her visitor had. but this was an irregularity of judgement on Mrs. She thought her a horrible snob. how much she should like to know Miss Archer. What was his sort of woman? Oh. the very opposite of the Countess. her shrillness. he appreciated any kindness shown to Amy. Naturally he couldn’t like her style. how tired she was of the place. because (if it had to be confessed for him) he rather felt she let down their common name.

Bantling. whom it was not. coming down from 497 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady London. even behind her back. what a life of suffering and privation she had led. She determined indeed to delight in her. who. took her in from head to foot. Isabel had meanwhile another visitor. Touchett’s departure for San Remo and had worked her way down. Madame Merle genially squeezed her into insignificance. She mightn’t be inhaled as a rose. Madame Merle listened with interest to Isabel’s account of this passage. and after a pang of despair determined to endure her. in Washington. how impossible it was to get anything nice to wear in Italy except a little old lace. and she could afford to do what was altogether best—not to appear so. how dear the world was growing everywhere. so easy a matter to patronize. but she had not needed it to feel exempt from anxiety. Henrietta Stackpole. as she said. who had left Paris after Mrs. and Isabel felt that in foreseeing this liberality she had done justice to her friend’s intelligence. On the whole she was not afraid of the Countess. Madame Merle surveyed her with a single glance. reached the banks of the Arno about the middle of May. but she might be grasped as a nettle. Henrietta’s arrival had been announced by Mr. through the cities of North Italy.

He was prepared to go as far as she—he didn’t see why he should break down first. 498 of 1056 . Miss Stackpole never cared how anything looked.The Portrait of a Lady Nice while she was at Venice. pray why should he? But his curiosity had been roused. he wanted awfully to see if she ever would care. he thought she had a wonderful head on her shoulders. if she didn’t care. The humorous view of his situation was generally taken. indulged in goodness knew what strong comedy on the subject of the alljudging one and her British backer. in the privacy of his own apartment. This gentleman took the joke in perfectly good part and candidly confessed that he regarded the affair as a positive intellectual adventure. who. Bantling an emotion amply accounted for by the fact that he had not seen her since the termination of the episode at Versailles. but it was uttered only by Ralph Touchett. and. how what they did—and they had done things!—would look. He liked Miss Stackpole extremely. called at Palazzo Crescentini to express his disappointment. Henrietta’s own advent occurred two days later and produced in Mr. which she had not yet reached. and found great comfort in the society of a woman who was not perpetually thinking about what would be said and how what she did. and expecting to find her in Florence. when Bantling smoked a cigar there.

She had indeed been obliged to sacrifice her hopes with regard to the inner life. bristled with difficulties even more numerous than those she had encountered in England. but Henrietta. the social question. She had been studying it for two months at Venice. on the Continent. Out of doors in foreign lands. out of doors in England one seemed to see the wrong side. but Henrietta was at least seeing Europe. the Bridge of Sighs. from which city she sent to the Interviewer a conscientious account of the gondolas. and more easily convertible to literary uses than the customs of those opaque islanders. as she ingeniously remarked. Her prospects had brightened on her leaving England. The admission costs her historian a pang. which was palpable and visible at every turn. the Piazza. despairing of more occult things. one seemed to see the right side of the tapestry. which gave one no notion of the figure. and she was now in the full enjoyment of her copious resources. The Interviewer was perhaps disappointed. But on the Continent there was the outer life. Her present purpose was to get down to Rome before the malaria should come on—he apparently supposed that it began on 499 of 1056 . was now paying much attention to the outer life. the pigeons and the young boatman who chanted Tasso.The Portrait of a Lady Henrietta showed no signs of breaking down.

where they study nothing but Latin and Whyte-Melville. said Miss Stackpole—he would be a most useful companion in the city of the Caesars. should make a pilgrimage to Rome. she had left Rome for the summer and wouldn’t care to return. to assent to Ralph’s proposal. Touchett. Madame Merle would remain with Mrs. she had locked up her apartment and sent her cook home to Palestrina. however. would probably not be oppressive. and she pointed out to Isabel that as he had been there before. Bantling was to go with her to Rome. Isabel would become a Romelover. She was provided with a trusty companion of her own sex. as he was a military man and as he had had a classical education—he had been bred at Eton. and with this design she was to spend at present but few days in Florence. At this juncture Ralph had the happy idea of proposing to Isabel that she also. She urged Isabel.The Portrait of a Lady a fixed day. She professed herself delighted to be left at peace in Florence. but meantime there was no harm in surveying the field. She expected to pass a portion of the next winter there—that was very well. that was a foregone conclusion. under his own escort. There were ten days left of the beautiful month of May—the most precious month of all to the true Rome lover. thanks to the fact of other calls on this lady’s attention. whose society. 500 of 1056 . Mr.

Isabel in truth needed no urging. ‘You might come then.’ ‘Ah. I think not. had resigned herself to the absence of a duenna. we have seen that she now inclined to the belief that her niece should stand alone.’ he went on at last. Touchett.’ he commented.’ ‘Ought I to dislike it because.The Portrait of a Lady and assured her that a good introduction to Rome was not a thing to be despised. One of Isabel’s preparations consisted of her seeing Gilbert Osmond before she started and mentioning her intention to him.’ She scarcely faltered. poor old dear—the Niobe of Nations. on this occasion. ‘No. ‘of course I shall not be alone. ‘You’ll like it. and the party of four arranged its little journey. They’ve spoiled it.’ Isabel admitted. ‘I should like to be in Rome with you. Mrs.’ For a moment he said nothing more. It has been spoiled so often. ‘I should like to see you on that wonderful ground.’ ‘But you’ll have a lot of people with you. you know—it has been spoiled?’ she asked. but you’ll rave about it. what should I do with my little girl?’ 501 of 1056 .’ he smiled: ‘If I were to go.

’ ‘You? Oh. Osmond didn’t explain. He had almost the air of asking advice. ‘Keep her like herself. 502 of 1056 . I can’t afford a governess. ‘She has been in Rome all winter.’ said Isabel promptly.’ ‘I might send her to my sister. because you—you were exceptional. I think young girls should be kept out of the world.’ ‘I don’t see why. Mr.’ said Isabel. at her convent.’ ‘Bring her with you then. ‘No. with you it succeeded.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Can’t you leave her at the villa?’ ‘I don’t know that I like that—though there’s a very good old woman who looks after her.’ ‘I was brought up on a different system.’ ‘Don’t make her resemble me. who. and she’s too young to make journeys of pleasure.’ Mr.’ ‘You don’t like bringing her forward?’ Isabel enquired. was not sure there was not some truth in the speech. Mr. Osmond looked grave. Osmond observed. he seemed to like to talk over his domestic matters with Miss Archer. however.’ said Isabel. he simply went on: ‘If I thought it would make her resemble you to join a social group in Rome I’d take her there tomorrow.

and the talk had been general. There were other people present.’ ‘I rejoice to hear it—but don’t cry victory too soon. But she’s encouraging—she’s very encouraging.’ ‘I suppose you mean that you proposed it and she assented.’ 503 of 1056 . half-beside Madame Merle’s chair: ‘She wants me to go to Rome with her. ‘To go with her?’ ‘To be there while she’s there.’ said Osmond. ‘it makes one work. but after a while Osmond left his place and came and sat on an ottoman half-behind. Of course you’ll go to Rome. She proposed it. ‘I think that wouldn’t do much towards making her resemble me!’ After she had left Florence Gilbert Osmond met Madame Merle at the Countess Gemini’s.’ ‘Ah.’ he remarked in a low voice.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Yes. this idea of yours!’ ‘Don’t pretend you don’t enjoy it—you’re very ungrateful. You’ve not been so well occupied these many years. the Countess’s drawing-room was usually well filled.’ ‘Of course I gave her a chance.’ she concurred.

’ said Osmond.’ ‘The girl’s not disagreeable. ‘You’re unfathomable.’ said Gilbert Osmond. You’ve not come to Mrs. She talked with her usual smile.’ He took it almost gaily. 504 of 1056 .’ ‘Very good. but you must do the rest yourself. and I’ve seen for myself that you’ve received one. during which her lips closed with a certain firmness. ‘I’m frightened at the abyss into which I shall have cast her. but still presented her talkative grace to the room. Touchett’s seven times to oblige me. ‘I ought to be grateful for that.’ she murmured at last.’ Osmond quietly conceded.’ ‘Not too much so.’ Madame Merle answered. ‘Is that all you can find to say about that fine creature?’ ‘All? Isn’t it enough? Of how many people have you heard me say more?’ She made no answer to this.The Portrait of a Lady ‘The way you take it’s beautiful. ‘You can’t draw back—you’ve gone too far.’ ‘I shall do it. leaning back in her chair and looking round the room. ‘You’ve made a very good impression. however. Madame Merle dropped her eye on him a moment.

The Portrait of a Lady Madame Merle remained silent and he changed his place again.’ ‘You’re quite unfathomable. but spoke in his own sense.’ ‘What’s that?’ ‘Too many ideas.’ said Osmond. you shouldn’t have moved when I did. glancing up at the windows of the house.’ ‘It does me good to hear you say that. She has only one fault. he passed his hand over his forehead.’ He had taken off his hat. The better you like her the better for me.’ she said rather wearily. Touchett’s victoria was awaiting her guest in the court. She’s all you described her. and into the bargain capable.’ ‘I like her very much.’ ‘I warned you she was clever.’ she repeated. I’m out of the habit. ‘She’s really very charming.’ ‘Fortunately they’re very bad ones. Mrs. but when she rose to go he also took leave. ‘You’re very indiscreet. of great devotion. ‘Why is that fortunate?’ 505 of 1056 . a modern structure in the new part of the town. and after he had helped his friend into it he stood there detaining her. I feel. He paid no heed to this remark. I’ve scarcely known any one more graceful. ‘I always forget.

506 of 1056 . looking straight before her. But her friend again detained her.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Dame. ‘If I go to Rome what shall I do with Pansy?’ ‘I’ll go and see her.’ said Madame Merle. if they must be sacrificed!’ Madame Merle leaned back. then she spoke to the coachman.

and here was history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine. but moved her all inwardly. She had an imagination that kindled at the mention of great deeds. Download the free trial version.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. It seemed to her companions that she talked less than usual. and edit PDF. was really dropping on her an intensity of observation. and wherever she turned some great deed had been acted. Her consciousness 507 of 1056 . Chapter 27 I may not attempt to report in its fulness our young woman’s response to the deep appeal of Rome. view. to analyze her feelings as she trod the pavement of the Forum or to number her pulsations as she crossed the threshold of Saint Peter’s. She had always been fond of history. she would even have been willing to take these hours for the happiest she was ever to know. By her own measure she was very happy. when he appeared to be looking listlessly and awkwardly over her head. and Ralph Touchett. It is enough to say that her impression was such as might have been expected of a person of her freshness and her eagerness. The sense of the terrible human past was heavy to her. but that of something altogether contemporary would suddenly give it wings that it could wave in the blue. These things strongly moved her.

as Ralph said. these labours having been for some time previous largely extended. On the corners of the warm. bright streets one stumbled on bundles of flowers. Rome. The sky was a blaze of blue. Henrietta Stackpole was struck with the fact that ancient Rome had been paved a good deal like New York. The sun had begun to sink. They had descended from the modern street to the level of the Sacred Way. The herd of reechoing tourists had departed and most of the solemn places had relapsed into solemnity. and yet not seeing many of the items enumerated in her Murray.The Portrait of a Lady was so mixed that she scarcely knew where the different parts of it would lead her. and she went about in a repressed ecstasy of contemplation. seeing often in the things she looked at a great deal more than was there. the air was a 508 of 1056 . Our friends had gone one afternoon—it was the third of their stay—to look at the latest excavations in the Forum. and the plash of the fountains in their mossy niches had lost its chill and doubled its music. along which they wandered with a reverence of step which was not the same on the part of each. and even found an analogy between the deep chariot-ruts traceable in the antique street and the overjangled iron grooves which express the intensity of American life. confessed to the psychological moment.

and the long shadows of broken column and vague pedestal leaned across the field of ruin. A process of digging was on view in a remote corner of the Forum. so that she admonished her companion to satisfy his curiosity while she patiently awaited his return.The Portrait of a Lady golden haze. Ralph accordingly went off with the cicerone while Isabel sat down on a prostrate column near the foundations of the Capitol. weary with much wandering. Henrietta wandered away with Mr.’ and Ralph addressed such elucidations as he was prepared to offer to the attentive ear of our heroine. The hour and the place were much to her taste—she should enjoy being briefly alone. Bantling. Keen as was her interest in the rugged relics of the Roman past that lay scattered about her and in which the corrosion of 509 of 1056 . whom it was apparently delightful to her to hear speak of Julius Caesar as a ‘cheeky old boy. and he presently remarked that if it should please the signori to go and watch it a little they might see something of interest. She wanted a short solitude. and repeated his lesson with a fluency which the decline of the season had done nothing to impair. One of the humble archaeologists who hover about the place had put himself at the disposal of the two. but she was not long to enjoy it. The proposal commended itself more to Ralph than to Isabel.

The Portrait of a Lady centuries had still left so much of individual life. by a concatenation of stages it might require some subtlety to trace. She looked up and saw a gentleman—a gentleman who was not Ralph come back to say that the excavations were a bore. I turned that corner and came upon you. My cousin’s gone to look at the work over there. he stood there baring his head to her perceptibly pale surprise. as she bent her eyes upon a row of cracked but not dislocated slabs covering the ground at her feet.’ 510 of 1056 . but my companions have just left me. that she had not heard the sound of approaching footsteps before a shadow was thrown across the line of her vision. after resting a while on these things. ‘I had no idea it was you. From the Roman past to Isabel Archer’s future was a long stride. had wandered. but her imagination had taken it in a single flight and now hovered in slow circles over the nearer and richer field. ‘Lord Warburton!’ Isabel exclaimed as she rose. to regions and objects charged with a more active appeal.’ She looked about her to explain. ‘I’m alone. This personage was startled as she was startled. She was so absorbed in her thoughts. her thoughts.

who had learned from Ralph that Lord Warburton was absent from England. I’m quite alone. or will you let me stay a little?’ She took it all humanely. ‘I’m afraid you’re tired. looking at her dejected pillar. ‘Do you wish me to leave you. I’m very glad to see you.’ And Lord Warburton’s eyes wandered vaguely in the direction she had indicated. I’ve just come from the East. I’ve nothing on earth to do. I’m rather tired. though very kindly. ‘I don’t wish you to leave me. he had recovered his balance and seemed to wish to show it. ‘Don’t let me disturb you. I had no idea you were in Rome. ‘Don’t let me interrupt you.’ ‘You’ve been making a long journey. I see.’ He managed not to be awkward. but he wasn’t easy.’ She hesitated a moment. ‘Yes. but sat down again.’ said Isabel. I’ve been in Turkey and Asia Minor.’ ‘Yes. May I sit down?’ 511 of 1056 .’ he went on.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah yes. Lord Warburton. I came abroad for six months—soon after I saw you last. ‘Oh dear. and after a longer look at the girl he came down to nature. I came the other day from Athens.’ ‘Thank you for saying that.’ she added. He stood firmly before her now. I’m only passing through.

He began abruptly to pass from the impunity of things to their solemnity. as he put some of them twice over. and with his pleasant steady eyes. and there was plenty of room even for a highly-developed Englishman. fresh beneath its seasoning.The Portrait of a Lady The fluted shaft on which she had taken her seat would have afforded a resting-place to several persons. heterogeneous garments in which the English traveller in foreign lands is wont to consult his comfort and affirm his nationality. his bronzed complexion. had given her too some information about himself which was not wasted upon her calmer feminine sense. taken rather at random and to which. He was splendidly sunburnt. and in the course of five minutes he had asked her several questions. he apparently somewhat missed catching the answer. He repeated more than once that he had not expected to meet her. his manly figure. even his multitudinous beard had been burnished by the fire of Asia. He was dressed in the loose-fitting. he was such a representative of 512 of 1056 . This fine specimen of that great class seated himself near our young lady. his minimizing manner and his general air of being a gentleman and an explorer. and it was evident that the encounter touched him in a way that would have made preparation advisable. and from their being delightful to their being impossible.

her visit to Rome.’ ‘Ah. He had kept.’ ‘Written to me? I’ve never had your letters. the way she had passed her winter. her return to Florence. movements. They talked of the matters naturally in order. and then of Lord Warburton’s own adventures. impressions and present domicile. her plans for the summer. Isabel noted these things and was glad she had always liked him. ‘it was better that you should do that than I!’ ‘I thought you wouldn’t care for them. resembling their innermost fixtures and ornaments. and it said so much more than either had said that it scarce needed his final words. Ralph’s state of health. intentions. as one might put it. her uncle’s death. every one of his merits—these properties partaking of the essence of great decent houses. evidently in spite of shocks. At last there was a silence.’ laughed Isabel. I burned them up.The Portrait of a Lady the British race as need not in any clime have been disavowed by those who have a kindness for it. ‘I’ve written to you several times. not subject to vulgar shifting and removable only by some whole break-up. ‘It seemed to me that after all I had no right to trouble you with letters.’ 513 of 1056 . the hotel she was staying at.’ he went on with a simplicity that touched her.’ ‘I never sent them.

’ This formula. ‘It’s very well you don’t try to console me. he was gallant. he was powerful.’ said the girl. because I had no fear you would attempt to make me feel I had wronged you. it wouldn’t be in your power. ‘I know what you’re going to say. You hoped we should always remain good friends. was certainly flat enough. ‘I can’t pretend to console you. a speech which hardly struck her as improvement on the other. But her answer remained. He was pleasant. 514 of 1056 . as Lord Warburton uttered it. there was no better man than he. threw herself back with a sort of inward triumph on the answer that had satisfied him so little six months before. She found herself reduced simply to ‘Please don’t talk of all that".The Portrait of a Lady ‘I should have been very glad to have news of you. all still as she sat there.’ she heard him say through the medium of her strange elation. who. ‘It’s a small consolation to allow me!’ her companion exclaimed with force. ‘I hoped we should meet again. there would be such a flatness in the utterance of her thought. You know how I hoped that—that-’ But she stopped. but then he was interested in making it appear so.

He might have been 515 of 1056 . I was. I love you just as much. They say travelling distracts the mind. as it were. systematically. to insist. I tried to take an interest in somebody else. and while he spoke it became complete. however. I tell you this because I want you to know I did my duty. It was for the same purpose I went abroad—as far away as possible. it’s only for a moment. ever since I last saw you. but it didn’t distract mine. I’ve thought of you perpetually. of course I can’t say that. I’m exactly the same.The Portrait of a Lady But when you do that—the pain’s greater than the pleasure. I couldn’t think of anything else. I felt very strongly what I expressed to you last year. I tried to forget—energetically. and everything I said to you then is just as true. upon my honour. I won’t return to the subject again. I don’t mean.’ And she got up with a small conscious majesty.’ He had recovered his self-control. I didn’t succeed. I only just want you to know one or two things—in fairness to myself. There— I can’t say less. to my great misfortune. in the very act of wishing I knew where you were. This instant at which I speak to you shows me again exactly how. I may add that when I came upon you a few minutes since. without the smallest idea of seeing you. you just insuperably charm me. looking for her companions. ‘I don’t want to make you feel that.

To pass through Rome is to stop a week or two. and on her mentioning the limit of her stay declared he was glad it was still so distant. but dipped again into shallower and safer waters. ‘Why do you say that if you yourself are only passing through?’ she enquired with some anxiety.’ They walked along together. ‘I’ve often thought of you. and she was prompt to ask about his sisters and request him to let them know she had done so. Lord Warburton. when I said I was passing through I didn’t mean that one would treat Rome as if it were Clapham Junction. would have felt the point proved.’ Isabel answered.’ And she added in a tone of which she tried to keep up the kindness and keep down the meaning: ‘There’s no harm in that on either side. ‘You may be sure I shall always do that.The Portrait of a Lady addressing a small committee—making all quietly and clearly a statement of importance. which he had not again put on. He made for the moment no further reference to their great question. But he wished to know when she was to leave Rome. And the committee. aided by an occasional look at a paper of notes concealed in his hat.’ ‘Say frankly that you mean to stay as long as I do!’ 516 of 1056 . assuredly. ‘Ah.

’ ‘Give you leave to make me unhappy?’ He hesitated.The Portrait of a Lady His flushed smile. I certainly can’t expect you to leave this delightful place on my account. ‘I’ll never say a word to displease you. seemed to sound her.’ Ralph Touchett had been joined in his visit to the excavation by Miss Stackpole and her attendant. You’re afraid you’ll see too much of me. But I confess I’m afraid of you. and these 517 of 1056 . our friendship’s at an end.’ ‘Afraid I’ll begin again? I promise to be very careful. but you shall not make me so.’ ‘Very good. for a little. ‘You won’t like that. ‘I’ll keep it down.’ ‘You may be unhappy. That I can’t allow.’ ‘It doesn’t matter what I like.’ At this she walked in advance and he also proceeded. ‘Poor Lord Warburton indeed! But I’ll be careful. ‘Poor Lord Warburton!’ she said with a compassion intended to be good for both of them. If you do.’ ‘Perhaps some day—after a while—you’ll give me leave. I’ll keep it down always.’ ‘If I believed I could make you unhappy I think I should try it. ‘To tell you again-’ But he checked himself.’ They had gradually stopped and they stood a moment face to face.

Mr.’ ‘Indeed I do remember you. ‘Ah well. Bantling had stood by without claiming a recognition.’ ‘I don’t go everywhere I’m asked. But she soon established her relation to the crisis. ‘I asked you to come and see me.’ laughed the master of Lockleigh. ‘I don’t suppose you remember me.The Portrait of a Lady three now emerged from among the mounds of earth and stone collected round the aperture and came into sight of Isabel and her companion. seemed sure enough. English neighbours greet. sir. ‘Well. after long separation. I won’t ask you again. and Henrietta exclaimed in a high voice ‘Gracious.’ Miss Stackpole answered coldly. who answered him with a friendly ‘Oh. ‘If you do I’ll go.’ said Lord Warburton.’ said Henrietta. Poor Ralph hailed his friend with joy qualified by wonder. ‘I didn’t know you knew him!’ 518 of 1056 . and you never came. you here. there’s that lord!’ Ralph and his English neighbour greeted with the austerity with which. but he now took occasion to nod to his lordship. and Miss Stackpole rested her large intellectual gaze upon the sunburnt traveller. so be sure!’ Lord Warburton. for all his hilarity. Bantling?’ and a hand-shake.

‘I guess you don’t know every one I know. and it had been agreed among our friends that they would drive together to the great church. Bantling rejoined facetiously.’ ‘Ah. The visitor seemed to have wished to give Isabel a proof of his intention to keep the promise made her the evening before. the other to Madame Merle. The next day was Sunday. Ralph Touchett and Mr.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. Download the free trial version. After lunch. Bantling having gone out together. an hour before the carriage came. I’m afraid Bantling was ashamed of me. but in neither of these epistles did she mention the fact that a rejected suitor had threatened her with another appeal. he was both discreet and frank—not even dumbly importunate or remotely intense.’ Lord Warburton laughed again. and edit PDF. she spent her morning over two long letters—one to her sister Lily. she gave a small sigh of relief as they kept their course homeward. ‘I thought that when an Englishman knew a lord he always told you. Of a Sunday afternoon all good Romans (and the best Romans are often the northern barbarians) follow the custom of going to vespers at Saint Peter’s. view.’ Mr. Isabel took pleasure in that note. Lord Warburton presented himself at the Hotel de Paris and paid a visit to the two ladies. 519 of 1056 .

the first time she passed beneath the huge leathern curtain that strains and bangs at the entrance. she was obliged to reply that he must follow his convenience. Moreover his being in Rome at all affected her as a complication of the wrong sort—she liked so complications of the right. She had not been one of the superior tourists who are ‘disappointed’ in Saint Peter’s and find it smaller than its fame. She knew the superior strain of everything about him. he was the first person she encountered. when. he might spare himself the trouble. Nevertheless. In the church. and nothing he could now do was required to light the view.The Portrait of a Lady He thus left her to judge what a mere good friend he could be. on bringing his call to a close. as she strolled over its tesselated acres. If he expected to melt her by showing what a good fellow he was. and when Miss Stackpole asked him whether it would ‘pay’ for her to visit those countries assured her they offered a great field to female enterprise. he said he too should be at Saint Peter’s and should look out for her and her friends. Isabel did him justice. about Turkey. about Persia. the first time she found herself 520 of 1056 . but she wondered what his purpose was and what he expected to gain even by proving the superior strain of his sincerity. He talked about his travels.

and as they drew 521 of 1056 . of mosaic and bronze. the different figures and groups.The Portrait of a Lady beneath the far-arching dome and saw the light drizzle down through the air thickened with incense and with the reflections of marble and gilt. After this it never lacked space to soar. She gazed and wondered like a child or a peasant. Lord Warburton walked beside her and talked of Saint Sophia of Constantinople. were guilty of none. which seems meant as much for physical as for spiritual exercise. she addressed her protest chiefly to Mr. she feared for instance that he would end by calling attention to his exemplary conduct. In that splendid immensity individual indiscretion carries but a short distance. Isabel made the circuit of the church with his lordship. Bantling’s ear and reserved it in its more accentuated form for the columns of the Interviewer. she paid her silent tribute to the seated sublime. but at Saint Peter’s there is much to observe. may follow their various intentions without conflict or scandal. her conception of greatness rose and dizzily rose. for though Henrietta was obliged in candour to declare that Michael Angelo’s dome suffered by comparison with that of the Capitol at Washington. The service had not yet begun. the mingled worshippers and spectators. and as there is something almost profane in the vastness of the place. Isabel and her companions. however.

composed in equal measure of Roman cockneys and inquisitive strangers. and while they stood there the sacred concert went forward. looking behind the dense group in front of her. Ralph. 522 of 1056 . They paused a while on the skirts of this crowd. silvered by clouds of incense that seemed to mingle with the splendid chant. who appeared to have been standing at a short distance behind her.’ she decided to say.The Portrait of a Lady near the choir on the left of the entrance the voices of the Pope’s singers were borne to them over the heads of the large number of persons clustered outside the doors. was apparently within. where Isabel. saw the afternoon light. ‘So you decided to come?’ she said as she put out her hand. Isabel could only accompany him. ‘Yes. slope through the embossed recesses of high windows. After a while the singing stopped and then Lord Warburton seemed disposed to move off with her. He now approached with all the forms—he appeared to have multiplied them on this occasion to suit the place. whereupon she found herself confronted with Gilbert Osmond.’ ‘The others are inside. and I looked about for you. I came last night and called this afternoon at your hotel. They told me you had come here. with Henrietta and Mr. Bantling.

Osmond’s words had brought the colour to her cheek. and this reminiscence had not the effect of dispelling it. He didn’t hang back. but she had already found occasion to say to Isabel that she liked him no better than her other admirers. and even than little Mr. Mr. since on perceiving the gentleman from Florence Ralph Touchett appeared to take the case as not committing him to joy. ‘but for a nice-girl you do attract the most unnatural people. Miss Stackpole had met Mr. perhaps he had heard this. with due benevolence.’ she had been pleased to remark. Touchett and Lord Warburton. cleaving the crowd with British valour and followed by Miss Stackpole and Ralph Touchett. that she would soon have all her friends about her.’ he promptly returned. She looked away. Bantling emerged from the choir. because this is perhaps a superficial view of the matter. however. Mr. I say fortunately. and fortunately at this moment Mr. Lord Warburton was watching them.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I didn’t come for the others. from civility. ‘I don’t know what it’s in you. Rosier in Paris. She repaired any betrayal by mentioning to each companion the name of the other. 523 of 1056 . Suddenly she remembered it to be just what he had said to her the morning he came to Gardencourt to ask her to marry him.than Mr. and presently observed to Isabel. Osmond in Florence.

‘It’s too large. it makes one feel like an atom.’ ‘Isn’t that the right way to feel in the greatest of human temples?’ she asked with rather a liking for her phrase. remembering something he had referred to in Florence.’ she contented herself with replying.’ ‘Has he known Miss Archer long?’ 524 of 1056 . and he’s just the one you don’t appreciate. ‘Ah. Osmond was meanwhile enquiring of our young lady.’ ‘You ought indeed to be a Pope!’ Isabel exclaimed. ‘What is he besides?’ ‘Nothing at all. ‘His name’s Gilbert Osmond—he lives in Florence. when one is nobody. But I like it in a church as little as anywhere else. he’s an American. ‘It’s very large and very bright. ‘Who’s the fellow speaking to Miss Archer?’ his lordship demanded.he’s so little of one.’ Ralph said. Lord Warburton meanwhile had joined Ralph Touchett. and the two strolled away together. I should have enjoyed that!’ said Gilbert Osmond.’ ‘What’s your opinion of Saint Peter’s?’ Mr. Oh yes. but one forgets that. ‘I suppose it’s the right way to feel everywhere.The Portrait of a Lady Goodwood’s the only one I’ve any respect for.

’ said Ralph.’ ‘Does she like him?’ ‘She’s trying to find out.’ said Lord Warburton after an instant. ‘And what else?’ ‘What more do you want?’ Ralph groaned.’ ‘Perhaps not if one does nothing to prevent it. His companion thought. His lordship stared a moment. ‘I suppose that’s what I horribly mean.’ Ralph replied. but he spoke again. And only on the chance!’ Ralph added. ‘Will she like him?’ ‘Do you mean will she accept him?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And will she?’ ‘Find out-?’ Ralph asked. but apprehended. ‘Is he awfully clever?’ ‘Awfully. ‘The chance she may?’ ‘The chance she may not?’ Lord Warburton took this at first in silence.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Three or four weeks. ‘Do you mean what more does she?’ 525 of 1056 . ‘Then we must be perfectly quiet?’ ‘As quiet as the grave.

if she won’t have You-!’ said his lordship handsomely as they went.’ ‘Ah well.The Portrait of a Lady Ralph took him by the arm to turn him: they had to rejoin the others. 526 of 1056 . ‘She wants nothing that we can give her.

An act had just terminated and he was at liberty to pursue his quest. After scanning two or three tiers of boxes he perceived in one of the largest of these receptacles a lady whom he easily recognized. was Mr. He took his way to the upper 527 of 1056 . he asked himself if he should go up and interrupt the harmony. He stood a while with his eyes on the interesting pair. At last he judged that Isabel had seen him. ill-lighted house. in the evening. Gilbert Osmond. There should be no marked holding off. and beside her. and at this establishment he learned that they had gone to the opera. leaning back in his chair. They appeared to have the place to themselves. He drove to the opera with the idea of paying them a visit in their box after the easy Italian fashion. and this accident determined him. and when he had obtained his admittance—it was one of the secondary theatres—looked about the large. and Warburton supposed their companions had taken advantage of the recess to enjoy the relative coolness of the lobby. Lord Warburton went again to see his friends at their hotel.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 28 On the morrow. Miss Archer was seated facing the stage and partly screened by the curtain of the box. bare.

I didn’t think they wanted me either.’ ‘Yes. The opera’s very bad.’ ‘Do you mean my cousin? Oh. that’s why I must watch. I feel very low. I feel lonely and want company. ‘And leave my young lady in this sad place? Ah no. ‘You’ve some that’s very good which you’ve yet deserted. his hat at the inclination of ennui and his hands where they usually were.’ ‘You had better go home.’ was Ralph’s greeting. the women look like laundresses and sing like peacocks.’ Lord Warburton said without affectation. ‘If she doesn’t want you it’s probable she doesn’t want me. I must watch over her.’ 528 of 1056 .’ ‘She seems to have plenty of friends. Then Miss Stackpole and Bantling have gone out to a cafe to eat an ice—Miss Stackpole delights in an ice.The Portrait of a Lady regions and on the staircase met Ralph Touchett slowly descending. she has a visitor and doesn’t want me. ‘I saw you below a moment since and was going down to you.’ said Ralph with the same large mock-melancholy.

what business had she then with such arts and such felicities. as if repudiating competence in the subjects of allusion now probable. Poor Lord Warburton had moments of bewilderment. Osmond. trivial opera began again. at all times a keenly-glancing.’ Lord Warburton went to the box. in operatic conditions. it expressed a kindness so ingenious and deliberate as to indicate that she was in undisturbed possession of her faculties. but why play them on him? The others came back. as she was. he may have been mistaken on this point. The box was large. She had discouraged him. even a slight exaltation. after he came in. as much as a woman could. and 529 of 1056 . quickly-moving. Her talk with him moreover pointed to presence of mind. formally. however. to whom he had been introduced the day before and who. familiar. a radiance. It struck her second visitor that Miss Archer had. you’re different. the bare. Go to the box and stay there while I walk about. He exchanged greetings with Mr. where Isabel’s welcome was as to a friend so honourably old that he vaguely asked himself what queer temporal province she was annexing. above all with such tones of reparation— preparation? Her voice had tricks of sweetness.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No. sat blandly apart and silent. completely animated young woman.

Mr.quite the wrong one—when she would have nothing to do with another. Verdi’s music did little to comfort him. while Mr. just behind Isabel. He did so for half an hour. but it didn’t prevent his being puzzled again. his elbows on his knees. and then angry for being angry.The Portrait of a Lady there was room for him to remain if he would sit a little behind and in the dark. after which he got up and bade goodnight to the ladies. and from his gloomy corner saw nothing but the clear profile of this young lady defined against the dim illumination of the house. through the tortuous. and he left the theatre and walked homeward. tragic streets of Rome. Osmond talked to Isabel. where heavier sorrows than his had been carried under the stars. which was quite the right? He was angry with himself for being puzzled. Why should she mark so one of his values. Isabel said nothing to detain him. leaning forward. When there was another interval no one moved. Lord Warburton heard nothing. however. ‘What’s the character of that gentleman?’ Osmond asked of Isabel after he had retired. ‘Irreproachable—don’t you see it?’ 530 of 1056 . Osmond remained in front. He did so but for a short time. without knowing his way. and Lord Warburton kept his corner.

Bantling. ‘He owns about half England.’ Mr.’ ‘He has very advanced stone walls. ‘Do you call that happiness—the ownership of wretched human beings?’ cried Miss Stackpole. I don’t insist on flesh and blood and minds and consciences.’ Henrietta remarked. view. Download the free trial version. Osmond. It’s pleasant to own something. ‘I wonder if Warburton orders his tenants about as you do me. ‘He has very advanced opinions. ‘He owns his tenants and has thousands of them. ‘Only to shut up wicked conservatives. Bantling suggested jocosely.’ ‘It seems to me you own a human being or two.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. and edit PDF. ‘I should like him to converse with a few of our Boston radicals.’ ‘Don’t they approve of iron fences?’ asked Mr.’ 531 of 1056 . that’s his character.’ ‘Lord Warburton’s a great radical.’ Henrietta announced for the information of Mr. I always feel as if I were talking to you over something with a neat topfinish of broken glass.’ Isabel said. His park’s enclosed by a gigantic iron fence. some thirty miles round. ‘That’s what they call a free country!’ ‘Ah. but inanimate objects are enough for me. he’s a great proprietor? Happy man!’ said Gilbert Osmond.

How detestably fortunate!—to be a great English magnate.’ ‘Of great ability?’ her friend enquired. questioning Isabel.’ ‘Do you wish to provoke me then. to enjoy your high favour! That’s a man I could envy. ‘is a very nice man. I like to like him. ‘Of excellent ability. this unreformed reformer?’ Osmond went on.’ Osmond laughed. ‘No. Lord Warburton. I don’t think I should ever dare to provoke you. Osmond. Mr.’ she more easily added.’ ‘As good as he’s good-looking do you mean? He’s very good-looking. it makes a passion!’ said Osmond. ‘No’—she considered—‘keep that for liking to dislike. and. at any rate. but then met the light question with a disproportionate gravity.’ ‘And how much of a use is that?’ ‘Well. and as good as he looks. to be clever and handsome into the bargain.’ 532 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘Do you know him well. ‘to a passion for him?’ She said nothing for a moment. by way of finishing off. ‘Well enough for all the use I have for him.’ ‘‘Liking to like’—why.

‘You seem to me to be always envying some one.’ ‘You’d like to be the Pope?’ said Isabel. the statue of the Dying Gladiator. it wouldn’t hurt a mouse. Yesterday it was the Pope.’ said Henrietta while the curtain rose for the ballet. ‘It serves him right if you have. I don’t want to destroy the people—I only want to be them. very good—sometimes pity men after they’ve hurt them. that’s their great way of showing kindness. You see it would destroy only myself. have I hurt Lord Warburton?’ Isabel asked. She had come in with 533 of 1056 . raising her eyebrows as if the idea were perfectly fresh. where he stood before the lion of the collection. ‘I should love it—but I should have gone in for it earlier. But why’—Osmond reverted—‘do you speak of your friend as poor?’ ‘Women—when they are very. today it’s poor Lord Warburton. ‘Pray. but on the second day after the visit to the opera she encountered him in the gallery of the Capitol.’ said Ralph. Isabel saw no more of her attributive victim for the next twenty-four hours.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel considered him with interest. joining in the conversation for the first time and with a cynicism so transparently ingenious as to be virtually innocent.’ ‘My envy’s not dangerous.

’ Isabel.’ she said.’ said his lordship quite dismally. ‘I’m afraid you’ll think me very ‘volatile. she was thinking of something else. ‘you’re not keeping your promise!’ 534 of 1056 . entered the first and finest of the rooms. But I hate partings. Gilbert Osmond had his place. inconsequently enough. ‘And I’m leaving Rome.’ I told you the other day I wanted so much to stop. on this occasion again.’ ‘You’re in a great hurry to get rid of me. ‘Not in the least. ‘I must bid you good-bye.’ he went on pitifully. but said in a moment that he was leaving the gallery. Isabel looked at him a moment. was now sorry to hear it. having ascended the staircase. Lord Warburton addressed her alertly enough.’ ‘Bon voyage then.’ ‘That’s what I have done. among whom.’ ‘Oh no. you could easily change your mind. This was perhaps because she had ceased to be afraid of his renewing his suit. which made him look at her rather unlightedly. She was on the point of naming her regret. but she checked herself and simply wished him a happy journey. and the party.’ he added.’ ‘You don’t care what I do. ‘Ah.The Portrait of a Lady her companions.

quite as well. as with a high door closed for the ceremony. ‘When shall I see you again?’ Isabel hesitated. It is impossible. ‘If I’m not.’ ‘Good-bye. listening. I say in Rome especially. and that’s why I’m going. however.’ He lingered still.’ ‘Good-bye then. The golden sunshine mingles with them. as it were. It will be after you are.’ ‘That will do as well. which.’ They shook hands. the deep stillness of the past. to look long at a great company of Greek sculptures without feeling the effect of their noble quietude. slowly drops on the spirit the large white mantle of peace. seems to throw a solemn spell 535 of 1056 . as if she had had a happy inspiration: ‘Some day after you’re married. Good-bye.The Portrait of a Lady He coloured like a boy of fifteen. so vivid yet. because the Roman air is an exquisite medium for such impressions.’ she smiled. ‘Yes. among the shining antique marbles. though it is nothing but a void full of names. but soon. to their eternal silence.’ ‘That will never be. resting her eyes on their beautiful blank faces. then it’s because I can’t. and he left her alone in the glorious room. regarding them vaguely. in Rome at least. She sat down in the centre of the circle of these presences.

under the charm of their motionless grace. their absent eyes were open. The blinds were partly closed in the windows of the Capitol.The Portrait of a Lady upon them. The dark red walls of the room threw them into relief. and it was all the greater because she was glad again. to our ears. and a clear. wondering to what. Isabel sat there a long time. creaking over the smooth pavement. and then passed out of the other door. however. warm shadow rested on the figures and made them more mildly human. and how. the polished marble floor reflected their beauty. ‘I’m surprised to find you alone.’ ‘So I have—the best. to be alone. of their experience. At last. He strolled toward her slowly. At the end of half an hour Gilbert Osmond reappeared. apparently in advance of his companions. I thought you had company. for the time. drawn off by a deeper tide of life. ‘Do you call them better company than an English peer?’ 536 of 1056 . An occasional tourist came in. stopped and stared a moment at the Dying Gladiator. with his hands behind him and his usual enquiring. yet not quite appealing smile. their alien lips would sound.’ And she glanced at the Antinous and the Faun. She had seen them all before. her attention lapsed. but her enjoyment repeated itself.

‘It’s not true.’ ‘That’s exactly what I mean!’ Gilbert Osmond returned. It would be 537 of 1056 . ‘I’m afraid that what I heard the other evening is true: you’re rather cruel to that nobleman. Gilbert Osmond had a high appreciation of this particular patriciate. which he thought easily surpassable.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah. not so much for its distinction. speaking with intention a little dryly. which contributed for him to the interest of his question. Mr. and with such happy hilarity that his joke needs to be explained. and now that he had seen Lord Warburton. Osmond noted her dryness. of rarities. my English peer left me some time ago. and he could measure the unexpectedness of such conduct as Isabel’s. I’m scrupulously kind. as for its solid actuality. whom he thought a very fine example of his race and order. We know that he was fond of originals.’ She got up. He had never forgiven his star for not appointing him to an English dukedom. of the superior and the exquisite.’ Isabel looked a moment at the vanquished Gladiator. he perceived a new attraction in the idea of taking to himself a young lady who had qualified herself to figure in his collection of choice objects by declining so noble a hand.

The Portrait of a Lady proper that the woman he might marry should have done something of that sort. 538 of 1056 .

as we know. Even Isabel’s invidious kinsman was obliged to admit that he was just now a delightful associate. and ended by affecting them as the easiest of men to live with. Osmond spent a portion of each day with Isabel and her companions. as convenient as the friendly flicker of a match for your cigarette. ragged 539 of 1056 . his knowledge of the right fact. It was not that his spirits were visibly high—he would never. Who wouldn’t have seen that he could command. in talk with his excellent friend. His good-humour was imperturbable. both tact and gaiety?—which perhaps was exactly why Ralph had made his old-time look of superficial sociability a reproach to him. had rather markedly qualified. and that made him almost applausive. his production of the right word. his recognition of Gilbert Osmond’s personal merits. Clearly he was amused—as amused as a man could be who was so little ever surprised.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 29 Ralph Touchett. but he might really have felt himself illiberal in the light of that gentleman’s conduct during the rest of the visit to Rome. touch the big drum by so much as a knuckle: he had a mortal dislike to the high. in the concert of pleasure. as it were.

He took his pleasures in general singly. going home to his room at the inn. she would have been as smooth to his general need of her as handled ivory to the palm. old enjoyments. the fertilizing dew of a conceivable felicity too seldom descended on his spirit. But at present he was happy—happier than he had perhaps 540 of 1056 . It was pity she had that fault. explaining to her that it was an Italian fashion to commemorate the occasions of life by a tribute to the muse. If he was not personally loud. and during these closing days of the Roman May he knew a complacency that matched with slow irregular walks under the pines of the Villa Borghese. He was pleased with everything. to what he called random ravings. renewed themselves. He thought Miss Archer sometimes of too precipitate a readiness. however. among the small sweet meadow-flowers and the mossy marbles. he was deep. something ugly.The Portrait of a Lady note. Old impressions.’ A day or two later he showed this piece of correct and ingenious verse to Isabel. he had never before been pleased with so many things at once. because if she had not had it she would really have had none. one evening. he was too often—he would have admitted that—too sorely aware of something wrong. he wrote down a little sonnet to which he prefixed the title of ‘Rome Revisited.

This was simply the sense of success—the most agreeable emotion of the human heart. I’ve not been spoiled. in this respect he had the irritation of satiety. ‘Ah no.’ He was too apt to reason as if ‘earning’ this boon consisted above all of covertly aching for it and might be confined to that exercise. he might indeed have suggested to a spectator here and there that he was resting on vague laurels. ‘If I do succeed before I die I shall thoroughly have earned it. The present one had been less arduous than might have been expected. others had been too easy. some of them. certainly I’ve not been spoiled.’ he used inwardly to repeat. and the feeling had a large foundation. like the swallowing of mugs of beer to advertise what one 541 of 1056 . but as the years went on the conditions attached to any marked proof of rarity had affected him more and more as gross and detestable. his career had not been. Osmond had never had too much of it.The Portrait of a Lady ever been in his life. Absolutely void of it. as he knew perfectly well and often reminded himself. The desire to have something or other to show for his ‘parts’—to show somehow or other—had been the dream of his youth. but had been easy—that is had been rapid—only because he had made an altogether exceptional effort. now too old. But his triumphs were. also. a greater effort than he had believed it in him to make.

he himself would loiter a little longer in the cool shadow of Saint Peter’s. and in that time she would have started for Bellaggio. But can’t wait if you dawdle in Rome. spending many of his summers as well as his winters in Italy.’ If an anonymous drawing on a museum wall had been conscious and watchful it might have known this peculiar pleasure of being at last and all of a sudden identified—as from the hand of a great master—by the so high and so unnoticed fact of style. beside herself enjoying it. She should do the thing for him. It might be months in this case before he should see her again.’ The dawdling in Rome was very pleasant. and he would not have waited in vain. This exchange took place in the large decorated sitting-room occupied by our 542 of 1056 . Shortly before the time fixed in advance for her departure this young lady received from Mrs. Touchett a telegram running as follows: ‘Leave Florence 4th June for Bellaggio. His ‘style’ was what the girl had discovered with a little help. she should publish it to the world without his having any of the trouble. and he replied that. He would not return to Florence for ten days more.The Portrait of a Lady could ‘stand. and she let her aunt know she would immediately join her. and take you if you have not other views. and now. but Isabel had different views. She told Gilbert Osmond that she had done so.

but though she held it in her lap with her finger vaguely kept in the place she was not impatient to pursue her study.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. bragging. it was late in the evening. with great freedom. lying talk. the sham splendour were like vulgar. Miss Stackpole had contracted a friendship with a delightful American family on the fourth floor and had mounted the interminable staircase to pay them a visit. Osmond had found the girl alone. 543 of 1056 . and edit PDF. the pictures had great flamboyant frames. Isabel had taken in hand a volume of Ampere. Download the free trial version. The mirrors. on their arrival in Rome. friends at the hotel. and Ralph Touchett was to take his cousin back to Florence on the morrow. by Ralph. A lamp covered with a drooping veil of pink tissue-paper burned on the table beside her and diffused a strange pale rosiness over the scene. and had formed in railway-carriages several that were among her most valued ties. the false colours. For Osmond the place was ugly to distress. and Isabel sat alone in a wilderness of yellow upholstery. view. Ralph was making arrangements for the morrow’s journey. Henrietta contracted friendships. in travelling. presented. the walls and windows were draped in purple and gilt. The chairs and sofas were orange. the ceiling was deeply vaulted and painted over with naked muses and cherubs.

fretting the edge of her book with the paper-knife. ‘I think you’re much more likely to start on your voyage round the world. Don’t put us in a parenthesis—give us a chapter to ourselves. I don’t want to see you on your travels. simply because—because it has been put into my power to do so. You think it bold and ungraceful. I’d rather see you when they’re over. you can do exactly what you choose. You don’t think a woman ought to do that. but who knows?’ Gilbert Osmond said.’ 544 of 1056 .’ Isabel answered. Ampere. though not. with her eyes bent. You’re under no obligation to come back.’ Osmond added in a moment. you can roam through space. fingered the pages of M.’ ‘Where do you find that?’ She went on in the same tone. my blunders. don’t do that. ‘I can take it on the way. I think.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You say you’ll come back. ‘On the way round the world? No. I should like to see you when you’re tired and satiated. the way I wander about as if the world belonged to me. ‘You see my ignorance. You’ve no respect for my travels—you think them ridiculous. without intending it. ‘You turn things into ridicule without seeming to do it. ‘I shall prefer you in that state. Italy’s a part of space.’ ‘Well.’ Isabel.

he had seen it before.’ said Isabel.’ ‘I would give my little finger to go to Japan.’ said Osmond. is stupid art. ‘What you despise most in the world is bad. ‘You have an imagination that startles one!’ ‘That’s exactly what I say. with my taste for old lacquer?’ ‘I haven’t a taste for old lacquer to excuse me. ‘You know my opinions—I’ve treated you to enough of them.’ she went on. You think such an idea absurd. Don’t you remember my telling you that one ought to make one’s life a work of art? You looked rather shocked at first.’ ‘If I were to go to Japan next winter you would laugh at me. Can’t you believe that. it’s one of the countries I want most to see.’ She looked up from her book. Isabel had in fact her solemnity. Osmond gave a smile—a keen one.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I think it beautiful. but then I told you that it was exactly what you seemed to me to be trying to do with your own. but not a laugh.’ ‘Possibly. 545 of 1056 . But yours seem to me very clear and very good. for the tone of their conversation was not jocose.

’ ‘The more reason why you should travel and learn. That most of the interest of the time had been owing to Mr. Happy things don’t repeat themselves. she had already done the point abundant justice. she was thinking that the pleasantest incident of her life—so it pleased her to qualify these too few days in Rome. after 546 of 1056 . and I know nothing.’ ‘It wouldn’t be remarkable if you did think it ridiculous that I should have the means to travel when you’ve not. which she might musingly have likened to the figure of some small princess of one of the ages of dress over-muffled in a mantle of state and dragging a train that it took pages or historians to hold up—that this felicity was coming to an end. But she said to herself that if there were a danger they should never meet again. ‘Besides. ‘I don’t know everything. and her adventure wore already the changed. You’re quite wrong in your theory that I laugh at you.’ he added as if it were a point to be made. the seaward face of some romantic island from which. perhaps after all it would be as well.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You’ve a better excuse—the means of going. for you know everything.’ smiled Osmond.’ Isabel was not struck with the oddity of his saying this gravely. I don’t know what has put it into your head. Osmond was a reflexion she was not just now at pains to make.

you’ll be tired some day. get everything out of life. But I’m horrid when I’m tired. he was looking at her. she was putting off while the breeze rose. ‘As I intimated just now.’ he said at last. She might come back to Italy and find him different—this strange man who pleased her just as he was. But if she was not to come the greater the pity that the chapter was closed. doing what you like. it seems to me.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘Exactly.’ ‘To triumph. The sensation kept her silent. 547 of 1056 .’ ‘What do you mean by being triumphant?’ ‘Well.’ said Osmond with his quiet quickness. ‘Go everywhere. and it would be better not to come than run the risk of that. is to fail! Doing all the vain things one likes is often very tiresome. I can’t advise you without knowing what it is. kind voice.’ He paused a moment and then he went on: ‘I don’t know whether I had better not wait till then for something I want to say to you. then. and Gilbert Osmond was silent too. in a low. she felt for a moment a pang that touched the source of tears. ‘do everything.’ Isabel added with due inconsequence. Be happy—be triumphant.The Portrait of a Lady feasting on purple grapes.

’ Osmond spoke with a noble earnestness. exchanging a long look—the large.’ She had turned away. ‘No. as if he were afraid he had been too familiar. ‘Ah. but in the movement she had stopped herself and dropped her gaze upon him. You’re angry.’ 548 of 1056 .’ She instantly rose. you may heed it now or never. looking up.’’ ‘Not even when I lose my temper?’ ‘You don’t lose it—you find it. ‘I’m not afraid. ‘They must be great moments to see. ‘What I wish to say to you. ‘I’m absolutely in love with you. I’m speaking very seriously. for some moments he bent his eyes on the floor.’ He leaned forward. But I’m sure you’re never ‘cross. conscious look of the critical hours of life. as you please.’ ‘If I could only find it now!’ Isabel nervously cried. though I’ve never seen it. ‘is that I find I’m in love with you.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t believe that. sometimes—that I can believe. and that must be beautiful. I should fold my arms and admire you. Then he got up and came near her.’ he went on at last. But after all I must say it now. The two remained a while in this situation. keep that till I am tired!’ ‘Tired of hearing it from others?’ He sat there raising his eyes to her. deeply respectful. a hand on each knee.

it would all come out. like a man who expected very little from it but who spoke for his own needed relief. morally speaking. please.’ she answered with an intensity that expressed the dread of having. ought to have banished all dread—the sense of something within herself.’ said Osmond. but it’s not enough for you. to choose and decide.which there was a terror in having to begin to spend. nor extrinsic advantages of any kind. as it would seem. ‘I’ve too little to offer you. If she touched it. but. as he stood there. forward. What I have—it’s enough for me. she retreated before them—facing him still—as she had retreated in the other cases before a like encounter. I’ve neither fortune. in this case too. So 549 of 1056 . that she supposed to be inspired and trustful passion. deep down. What made her dread great was precisely the force which. beautiful and generous. nor fame.The Portrait of a Lady He had repeated the announcement in a tone of almost impersonal discretion. she couldn’t have said which. ‘Oh don’t say that. ‘I haven’t the idea that it will matter much to you. The words he had uttered made him. invested him as with the golden air of early autumn. It was there like a large sum stored in a bank. The tears came into her eyes: this time they obeyed the sharpness of the pang that suggested to her somehow the slipping of a fine bolt—backward.

it will pass away. slowly round with a movement which had all the decent tremor of awkwardness and none of its oddity. standing there before her. because it’s perfectly simple. without being offended. It gives me pleasure. refined.’ ‘I don’t know what it may leave. But what she said was not an expression of any such complacency. and presenting to her his firm. But it was what stupidly came to her. turning his hat. troubled.’ Isabel looked at herself in this character—looked intently. but you ought to remember that. For me you’ll always be the most important woman in the world. one may be incommoded. considerately inclined to her. which he had taken up. and some day or other it may give you pleasure.’ said Isabel with rather a pale 550 of 1056 . And it will perhaps leave something that I may not be ashamed of. But if it’s nothing but that. I only tell you because I think it can’t offend you. and it struck her as a ridiculous word. Of course you’re surprised and startled. ‘I remember perfectly.The Portrait of a Lady I offer nothing. ‘You don’t offend me. slightly ravaged face.’ ‘Incommoded": she heard herself saying that.’ he went on. I assure you. You see at all events that I’m not overwhelmed. thinking she filled it with a certain grace. ‘It gives me no pain.

and then she coloured as she heard herself saying what she had said almost a year before to Lord Warburton. ‘I don’t feel so just now. Miss Archer!’ Osmond exclaimed.’ ‘Thank you very much. Good-bye.’ 551 of 1056 . I’m wise enough to think you had better go. ‘I’m not too troubled to think.’ ‘Very likely.’ ‘Of course I don’t agree with you there. If we don’t I shall be so all the same. ‘I said that because I know myself. no. I’m very easy to know.’ ‘So are you. And I think that I’m glad we’re separating—that I leave Rome to-morrow.’ she added abruptly. but you’re very wise.’ ‘No.’ he laughed.’ ‘God bless you!’ said Gilbert Osmond.’ ‘Well. but I do. After which he added: ‘If we meet again you’ll find me as you leave me. It may be a boast. no one could be less so.’ she emphatically answered—‘there you’re not sincere. taking the hand which she failed to surrender. Good-night.The Portrait of a Lady smile.’ ‘I shall do that some other time.’ ‘I don’t at all know you. Still. ‘If you were not going away you’d know me better.’ ‘I hope so. You’re not easy to know.

‘I like the way you utter that word! No. I haven’t asked anything of you—not even a thought in the future.’ ‘She doesn’t even wish it!’ Isabel broke out strangely.The Portrait of a Lady There was something quietly firm about Isabel’s visitor. Excuse my being so patronizing. ‘I should like to explain it. Osmond was apparently on the point of saying something that would match these words.’ Then with a sudden. and it’s a good place for a man in my state of mind. Oh. You don’t understand that?’ And he paused a moment. ‘There are so many things we might talk about. very proper. I go in for that. smiling. he might go of his own movement.’ he pleaded. but he changed his mind and rejoined simply: ‘Ah well. I shall not return home for several days. I know you’re sorry to leave it.’ 552 of 1056 . I’m not conventional: I’m convention itself. bright naturalness.’ ‘You’re not conventional?’ Isabel gravely asked. But there’s a little service I should like to ask. it’s proper you should go with her. but you’re right to do what your aunt wishes. Do everything that’s proper. ‘Do come back again. quick. but when you do you’ll discover what a worship I have for propriety. ‘There’s one thing more. you must do me that justice. but wouldn’t be dismissed. Rome’s delightful. You say you don’t know me.

She sat there till her companions came back. but here. What had happened was something that for a week past her imagination had been going forward to meet. with folded hands.’ Isabel answered. not hoping to make it seem altogether natural. ‘What service did you speak of just now?’ ‘Go and see my little daughter before you leave Florence. ‘It will be a great pleasure to me to go. who hasn’t at all my ideas. as I say. uncertain tract which looked ambiguous and even 553 of 1056 . when it came. Once more goodbye. now hung back: there was a last vague space it couldn’t cross— a dusky. respectful leave.’ said Gilbert Osmond gently. She’s alone at the villa.’ On this he took a rapid.The Portrait of a Lady She stood there with lowered eyes. gazing at the ugly carpet. she stopped—that sublime principle somehow broke down. and I can only give it to you as I see it. Tell her she must love her poor father very much. ‘I’ll tell her what you say. I decided not to send her to my sister. When he had gone she stood a moment looking about her and seated herself slowly and with an air of deliberation. very deep. Her imagination. Her agitation—for it had not diminished—was very still. The working of this young lady’s spirit was strange.

554 of 1056 . like a moorland seen in the winter twilight. But she was to cross it yet.The Portrait of a Lady slightly treacherous.

in the light of certain photographs of their immense crenellated dwelling which her friend was 555 of 1056 . Isabel was to have three days in Florence before the 4th of June. under her cousin’s escort. seemed for a moment likely to modify itself in deference to an idea of Madame Merle’s. thought very well of the successive hours passed in the train that hurried his companion away from the city now distinguished by Gilbert Osmond’s preference—hours that were to form the first stage in a larger scheme of travel. to be carried out with Mr. though usually restive under railway discipline. Chapter 30 She returned on the morrow to Florence. Touchett’s departure. and edit PDF. Download the free trial version. her next station being an ancient castle in the mountains of Tuscany. as she said. view. and Ralph Touchett. Miss Stackpole had remained behind.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. but she too was on the point of leaving Florence. ‘forever’) seemed to Isabel. the residence of a noble family of that country. This lady was still at Casa Touchett. Her plan. the date of Mrs. however. whose acquaintance (she had known them. she was planning a little trip to Naples. Bantling’s aid. and she determined to devote the last of these to her promise to call on Pansy Osmond.

She mentioned to this fortunate woman that Mr.’ ‘I don’t know about your going alone—to the house of a handsome bachelor. why should we both go. ‘I myself have been thinking it would be a kindness to pay the child a little visit before I go off. you see.’ ‘They? Whom do you mean?’ 556 of 1056 . I can easily go alone. He has been married—but so long ago!’ Isabel stared. ‘When Mr. so much to do during these last hours?’ ‘Very good. Osmond’s away what does it matter?’ ‘They don’t know he’s away. That personage finely meditated. each of us. but didn’t mention that he had also made her a declaration of love. comme cela se trouve!’ Madame Merle exclaimed.’ ‘We can go together then. ‘After all.The Portrait of a Lady able to show her. She was nevertheless prepared to sacrifice this mystic sentiment to her great consideration for her friend. she should like it better so.’ Isabel reasonably said: ‘reasonably’ because the proposal was not uttered in the spirit of enthusiasm. a precious privilege. having. Osmond had asked her to take a look at his daughter. ‘Ah. She had prefigured her small pilgrimage as made in solitude.

’ Madame Merle added.’ ‘If you were going why shouldn’t I?’ Isabel asked. ‘I think a great deal of my promises. whose voyaging discretion. ‘Because I’m an old frump and you’re a beautiful young woman. you’ve not promised. Does that surprise you?’ ‘You’re right. And tell her I’d have come if you hadn’t. What cared Isabel Archer for the vulgar judgements of obscure people? and did Madame Merle suppose that 557 of 1056 . she wondered what her friend had meant by no one’s being the wiser. Once in a while.’ Madame Merle audibly reflected. But perhaps it doesn’t signify.’ ‘Go and see her then. no one will be the wiser. was rather of the open sea than of the risky channel.’ ‘I wish very much to be kind to her. ‘I really think you wish to be kind to the child. at large intervals. Or rather. as a general thing. ‘don’t tell her. along the winding way which led to Mr.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Every one.’ As Isabel drove. struck a note that sounded false. She won’t care. in the publicity of an open vehicle.’ ‘How much you think of your promises!’ said the elder woman in mild mockery. this lady.’ ‘Granting all that. dropped a remark of ambiguous quality. Osmond’s hilltop.

The Portrait of a Lady she was capable of doing a thing at all if it had to be sneakingly done? Of course not: she must have meant something else—something which in the press of the hours that preceded her departure she had not had time to explain. She immediately came in. Isabel sat there half an hour. of sounding. winged fairy in the pantomime soars by the aid of the dissimulated wire—not chattering. there were sorts of things as to which she liked to be clear. said our admiring young woman. Isabel would return to this some day. and Pansy rose to the occasion as the small. Osmond’s drawing-room. how innocent she had been kept! Isabel was fond. of the question of character and quality. she had never had so directly presented to her nose the white flower of cultivated sweetness. how prettily she had been directed and fashioned. as who 558 of 1056 . ever. but conversing.’ and Isabel was pleased to think she performed this duty with rigour. how natural. smoothing down her frock. Isabel wondered at her. and yet how simple. the little girl was ‘practising. How well the child had been taught. and showing the same respectful interest in Isabel’s affairs that Isabel was so good to take in hers. She heard Pansy strumming at the piano in another place as she herself was ushered into Mr. and did the honours of her father’s house with a wide-eyed earnestness of courtesy.

Yet to be so tender was to be touching withal. I say. nor talent—only two or three small exquisite instincts: for knowing a friend. up to this time. and here and there. easily crushed: her force would be all in knowing when and where to cling. a pure white surface. successfully kept so. she would easily be mystified. no sense of her own importance. no power to resist. and it had pleased her. Pansy was really a blank page. the splendid summer day peeped in. She would have no will. Was the extremity of her candour but the perfection of self-consciousness? Was it put on to please her father’s visitor. effectually settled this question.The Portrait of a Lady should say. where Pansy gave her 559 of 1056 . through an easy crevice. nor guile. Osmond’s beautiful empty. for avoiding a mistake. to be in doubt as to whether this tender slip were not really all-knowing. who had asked leave to walk through the other rooms again. for taking care of an old toy or a new frock. the deep personal mystery. nor temper. dusky rooms—the windows had been half-darkened. or was it the direct expression of an unspotted nature? The hour that Isabel spent in Mr. lighting a gleam of faded colour or tarnished gilt in the rich gloom—her interview with the daughter of the house. She moved about the place with her visitor. she had neither art. to keep out the heat. and she could be felt as an easy victim of fate.

to make—how do you say it in English?—to make a dot. and they took her away from the convent. but felt the propriety of supplying the information so distinguished a guest would naturally expect. You don’t say it in English? I hope it isn’t wrong. ‘did papa. She spoke of her prospects. I don’t know whether it is for that that papa wishes to keep 560 of 1056 . For what I’m told. because I don’t think I’m worth it. He wished to speak about my education. for the last year or two. and I have no memory. it isn’t finished yet. Papa told me one day he thought he would finish it himself. I don’t learn quickly enough.especially when it’s pleasant. she was not egotistical. go to see Madame Catherine? He told me he would if he had time. when she was fourteen.The Portrait of a Lady judgement on several works of art. her father’s intentions. you know. at the convent. the masters that teach the tall girls are so very dear. Papa likes a great deal of time. Papa’s not rich. There was a young girl who was my best friend. in Rome. yes. I only mean they wished to keep the money to marry her. Perhaps he had not time. but it appears it’s far from finished. her occupations. I don’t know what they can do with me more. ‘Please tell me. but not for what I learn in a book.’ she said. and I should be very sorry if he were to pay much money for me.

The Portrait of a Lady the money—to marry me. for I’m really as yet only a child. but you must not tell him that. I’ve only the occupations of a child. If he were not my papa I should like to marry him! I would rather be his daughter than the wife of-of some strange person. Papa has always been principally for holidays. I go to bed very early. Papa left 561 of 1056 . Papa left directions for everything. That’s not a great compliment. yes. When did you give them up. but not so much as you might think. Oh. I mean for any but him. You shall not see him again? I’m very sorry. I don’t like to do anything that’s not expected. ‘I think papa might make that economy. and he’ll be sorry too. I myself—I should never like to be taken by surprise. Of everyone who comes here I like you the best. When the sun goes off that side I go into the garden. It was very kind of you to come to-day—so far from your house. I miss Madame Catherine almost more. for I’ve been so much away from him. I miss him very much. for there are not many people. and I don’t care for any gentleman. It costs so much to marry!’ Pansy went on with a sigh. At the convent they told us that we must never ask the age. At any rate I’m too young to think about it yet. but I don’t know whether it’s right to ask. the occupations of a child? I should like to know how old you are. it looks as if one had not been properly taught.

papa has the idea that I should hear good music. ‘Be very good. ‘He has not much pleasure. drew off her gloves and sat down to the piano. standing beside her. I don’t play very well. we saw nothing but roofs and bell-towers.’ ‘I think that’s what I live for. I practice three hours. and a certain sense of decency. held her close. from the convent.’ Isabel gratified this respectful wish. there were still other things in her head which she felt a strong impulse.The Portrait of a Lady strict orders that I was not to get scorched. there were things it would have given her 562 of 1056 .’ Isabel listened to this assertion with an interest which she felt it almost a torment to be obliged to conceal. she has great facility. In Rome. I shall never have facility. instantly checked. You play yourself? I wish very much you’d play something for me. ‘give pleasure to your father.’ she said. When she stopped she kissed the child good-bye. It was her pride that obliged her. to say to Pansy about her father. watched her white hands move quickly over the keys. looked at her long.’ Pansy answered. that’s what I like best about Madame Merle. the mountains are so graceful. Madame Merle has played for me several times. while Pansy. I always enjoy the view. he’s rather a sad man. And I’ve no voice—just a small sound like the squeak of a slate-pencil making flourishes.

however. She had come—she had come. She rose quickly from the musicstool. ‘I may go no further. But she said no other word. still holding her small companion.The Portrait of a Lady pleasure to hear the child. and there her young hostess stopped. But she no sooner became conscious of these things than her imagination was hushed with horror at the idea of taking advantage of the little girl—it was of this she would have accused herself—and of exhaling into that air where he might still have a subtle sense for it any breath of her charmed state. she only kissed Pansy once again.’ ‘You’re right to obey him. but she had stayed only an hour. to the door that opened on the court. looking rather wistfully beyond. I’m afraid. even then. he’ll never ask you anything unreasonable. They went together through the vestibule. say.’ 563 of 1056 . drawing the child’s sweet slimness closer and looking down at her almost in envy. But when will you come again?’ ‘Not for a long time. She was obliged to confess it to herself—she would have taken a passionate pleasure in talking of Gilbert Osmond to this innocent. I’ve promised papa not to pass this door. diminutive creature who was so near him. she lingered a moment. to make the child.’ ‘I shall always obey him.

‘but I shall always expect you. I hope.’ said Pansy. grey court and disappear into the brightness beyond the big portone. dark doorway.The Portrait of a Lady ‘As soon as you can. I’m only a little girl. 564 of 1056 . watching Isabel cross the clear.’ And the small figure stood in the high. which gave a wider dazzle as it opened.

She wished 565 of 1056 . shortly after her return to Palazzo Crescentini and a year from the date of the incidents just narrated. an interval sufficiently replete with incident. her hands clasped behind her. our attention is engaged again on a certain day in the late spring-time. It is not. in which stillness and privacy always reigned.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 31 Isabel came back to Florence. The tall window was open. and though its green shutters were partly drawn the bright air of the garden had come in through a broad interstice and filled the room with warmth and perfume. during this interval that we are closely concerned with her. She was alone on this occasion. Our young woman stood near it for some time. but only after several months. Touchett to social uses. Too troubled for attention she moved in a vain circle. in one of the smaller of the numerous rooms devoted by Mrs. since the entrance to the palace was not through the garden. she gazed abroad with the vagueness of unrest. however. Yet it could not be in her thought to catch a glimpse of her visitor before he should pass into the house. and there was that in her expression and attitude which would have suggested that she was expecting a visitor.

through space and surveyed much of mankind. the latter. in her own eyes.The Portrait of a Lady rather to forestall his arrival by a process of conjecture. however. would have been the more numerous. but had brought her children. These pictures would have been both landscapes and figure-pieces. She had left her husband behind her. With several of the images that might have been projected on such a field we are already acquainted. and was therefore now. Grave she found herself. she would have said. a very different person from the frivolous young woman from Albany who had begun to take the measure of Europe on the lawn at Gardencourt a couple of years before. She flattered herself she had harvested wisdom and learned a great deal more of life than this light-minded creature had even suspected. to 566 of 1056 . our heroine’s sister and Edmund Ludlow’s wife. instead of fluttering their wings nervously about the present. If her thoughts just now had inclined themselves to retrospect. and positively more weighted. they would have evoked a multitude of interesting pictures. There would be for instance the conciliatory Lily. who had come out from New York to spend five months with her relative. She had ranged. as by the experience of the lapse of the year she had spent in seeing the world. and to judge by the expression of her face this attempt gave her plenty to do.

The little Ludlows had not yet. of a phial of something pungent hidden in her handkerchief. Mrs. and they had spent a summer of fine weather in an Alpine valley where the flowers were thick in the meadows and the shade of great chestnuts made a resting place for such upward wanderings as might be undertaken by ladies and children on warm afternoons. Mr. in a hot and crowded room. Ludlow. who in these days made use of her memory of Rome as she might have done. and with costly ceremonies. even from the American point of view. and after her husband had joined her found further chagrin in his failure 567 of 1056 . Download the free trial version. whom Isabel now played with equal munificence and tenderness the part of maiden-aunt. Lily and the babies had joined her in Switzerland in the month of July. so that while her sister was with her Isabel had confined her movements to a narrow circle. reached the proper tourist-age. and edit PDF. which was worshipped. yet had doubts and wonderments not allayed at that altar. They had afterwards reached the French capital. Ludlow sacrificed.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. crossing the ocean with extreme rapidity. view. by Lily. had been able to snatch a few weeks from his forensic triumphs and. to Paris. had spent a month with the two ladies in Paris before taking his wife home. as I say. toward the last. but thought of as noisily vacant by Isabel.

but Edmund Ludlow. than Lily had thought likely—development. it had seemed to her to offer just the proper setting for her sister’s slightly meagre. Isabel had developed less. at another she couldn’t conceal her surprise at the girl’s not marrying some member of one of the great aristocracies. but scarce the less eminent figure. At one moment she thought it would be so natural for that young woman to come home and take a house in New York—the Rossiters’. They all had Isabel for subject. which had an elegant conservatory and was just round the corner from her own. at anything his sister-in-law might have done or have failed to do. being somehow mysteriously connected with morning calls and evening-parties. but she appeared to have achieved few of those social conquests of which Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady to throw himself into these speculations. Mrs. Ludlow had expected to admire 568 of 1056 . She had taken more satisfaction in Isabel’s accession of fortune than if the money had been left to herself. to Lily’s understanding. or distressed. for instance. or elated. however. Ludlow’s mental motions were sufficiently various. or mystified. as I have said. as he had always done before. Intellectually. On the whole. she had fallen from high communion with the probabilities. she had made immense strides. doubtless. declined to be surprised.

and could only pronounce her sister’s career a strange anti-climax—an impression confirmed by the fact that Isabel’s silence about Mr. But Lily knew nothing of these discriminations. As this 569 of 1056 . Ludlow appealed to her husband to know whether there was any privilege she enjoyed in Europe which the society of that city might not offer her. and she had had no better reason for her silence than that she didn’t wish to speak. We know ourselves that Isabel had made conquests—whether inferior or not to those she might have effected in her native land it would be a delicate matter to decide. Osmond’s state of mind. of romance. but this was exactly what she had expected of Isabel-to give it form and body. and. It was more romantic to say nothing. nor had she given her a hint of Mr. Osmond. drinking deep. she was as little disposed to ask poor Lily’s advice as she would have been to close that rare volume forever. for instance.The Portrait of a Lady the trophies. and it is not altogether with a feeling of complacency that I again mention that she had not rendered these honourable victories public. and Mrs. Isabel could have done as well as she had done in New York. Lily’s conception of such achievements was extremely vague. was in direct proportion to the frequency with which he occupied her thoughts. She had not told her sister the history of Lord Warburton. in secret.

neat prose—and her close correspondence with Madame Merle did much to stimulate such flights. after the departure of the train that was to convey poor Lily. her husband and her children to their ship at Liverpool.The Portrait of a Lady happened very often it sometimes appeared to Mrs. Ludlow that she had lost her courage. Paris was like smart. She would have accompanied them to Liverpool as well. of what was good for her. she was very observant. It had been good for her to regale. She could imagine braver things than spending the winter in Paris—Paris had sides by which it so resembled New York. and her effort was constantly to find something that was good enough. than when she turned away from the platform at the Euston Station on one of the last days of November. however. only 570 of 1056 . Our young lady’s courage. So uncanny a result of so exhilarating an incident as inheriting a fortune was of course perplexing to the cheerful Lily. might have been taken as reaching its height after her relations had gone home. she was very conscious of that. as we know. of the absolute boldness and wantonness of liberty. To profit by the present advantage till the latest moment she had made the journey from Paris with the unenvied travellers. She had never had a keener sense of freedom. it added to her general sense that Isabel was not at all like other people.

in the thick. and then she walked back into the foggy London street. The early dusk of a November afternoon had already closed in. so that she was disappointed when an obliging policeman easily set her right again. at her hotel. as a favour. looked weak and red. shining dampness of everything. not to do so. our heroine was unattended and Euston Square was a long way from Piccadilly. She was so fond of the spectacle of human life that she enjoyed even the aspect of gathering dusk in the London streets—the moving crowds. the lighted shops. the dark.The Portrait of a Lady Edmund Ludlow had asked her. But Isabel performed the journey with a positive enjoyment of its dangers and lost her way almost on purpose. That evening. it made Lily so fidgety and she asked such impossible questions. The world lay before her—she could do whatever she chose. but for the present her choice was tolerably discreet. brown air. a demonstrative child who leaned dangerously far out of the window of the carriage and made separation an occasion of violent hilarity. she kissed her hand to the elder of her small nephews. she chose simply to walk back from Euston Square to her hotel. There was a deep thrill in it all. in order to get more sensations. Isabel watched the train move away. the flaring stalls. she wrote to Madame Merle 571 of 1056 . the street-lamps. the hurrying cabs.

for her natural protectors were not now on the ground. This journal offered its brilliant correspondent a fresher field for her genius than the mouldering cities of Europe. but (a rare case with Mrs. Ralph Touchett was spending the winter at Corfu. in the September previous. and she herself never dealt in such articles. Isabel wrote to Mrs. Touchett intimated. One either did the thing or one didn’t. Touchett) not so frank as it pretended. She accomplished this journey without other assistance than that of her servant. She easily forgave her niece for not stopping at Florence.The Portrait of a Lady that she should start in a day or two for Rome. and Henrietta was cheered on her way by a promise from Mr. and what one ‘would’ have done belonged to the sphere of the irrelevant. and Miss Stackpole. Touchett to apologize for not presenting herself just yet in Florence. and her aunt replied characteristically enough. She made her way down to Rome without touching at Florence— having gone first to Venice and then proceeded southward by Ancona. were of no more use to her than bubbles. Bantling that he would soon come over to see her. had been recalled to America by a telegram from the Interviewer. like the idea of a future life or of the origin of things. because she took it for a sign that Gilbert Osmond was less in question there 572 of 1056 . Her letter was frank. Apologies. Mrs.

The two ladies accordingly embarked on this expedition. the scenes most calculated to suggest repose and reflexion. Isabel travelled rapidly and recklessly. panted a little in her rear. in Egypt. She watched of course to see if he would now find a pretext for going to Rome. on her side. a certain incoherence prevailed in her. but she added that she herself had always been consumed with the desire to visit Athens and Constantinople. and spent three months in Greece. She played her part with the tact that might have been expected of her. effacing herself and accepting the position of a companion whose expenses 573 of 1056 . Isabel. in Turkey. Isabel found much to interest her in these countries. Madame Merle remarked that her friend was restless. It was on Isabel’s invitation she had come. had not been a fortnight in Rome before she proposed to Madame Merle that they should make a little pilgrimage to the East. and she imparted all due dignity to the girl’s uncountenanced state.The Portrait of a Lady than formerly. and derived some comfort from learning that he had not been guilty of an absence. Madame Merle meanwhile. though Madame Merle continued to remark that even among the most classic sites. she was like a thirsty person draining cup after cup. as lady-in-waiting to a princess circulating incognita.

a positive adventurer. The situation.The Portrait of a Lady were profusely paid. of her youth and of an inexperience in which doubtless those who knew her only now would find it difficult to believe). This history was so sad a one (in so far as it concerned the late M. her character had revealed itself. had no hardships. To say that Madame Merle improved on acquaintance states meagrely the impression she made on her friend. Merle. however. as slightly mechanical. At the end of an intimacy of three months Isabel felt she knew her better. though originally so plausible. who had taken advantage. and the admirable woman had also at last redeemed her promise of relating her history from her own point of view-a consummation the more desirable as Isabel had already heard it related from the point of view of others. carried about in its case like the fiddle of the 574 of 1056 . and people who met this reserved though striking pair on their travels would not have been able to tell you which was patroness and which client. she might say. Into this freshness of Madame Merle’s she obtained a considerable insight. it abounded so in startling and lamentable incidents that her companion wondered a person so eprouvee could have kept so much of her freshness. years before. she seemed to see it as professional. who had found her from the first so ample and so easy. her interest in life.

as they said at the shops. old’ world. and there were several in her list of which our 575 of 1056 . an occasional lapse from candour. that she belonged to the ‘old. condemned to emerge only in character and in costume. marked down. that she had grown up under other stars. Of course the morality of civilized persons has always much in common. in the conversation of a person who had raised delicate kindness to an art and whose pride was too high for the narrow ways of deception. or blanketed and bridled like the ‘favourite’ of the jockey.The Portrait of a Lady virtuoso. in certain lights. She liked her as much as ever. that a morality differing from her own must be inferior to it. but our young woman had a sense in her of values gone wrong or. She had once said that she came from a distance. Her conception of human motives might. and Isabel never lost the impression that she was the product of a different moral or social clime from her own. and this conviction was an aid to detecting an occasional flash of cruelty. with the presumption of youth. it was as if she had remained after all something of a public performer. She believed then that at bottom she had a different morality. but there was a corner of the curtain that never was lifted. have been acquired at the court of some kingdom in decadence. She considered.

she doesn’t understand me!’ Absurd as it may seem this discovery operated as a shock. or as she stood among the broken columns of the Acropolis and fixed her eyes upon the point designated to her as the Strait of Salamis. The dismay of course subsided. in other words. and there were evidently things in the world of which it was not advantageous to hear. left her with a vague dismay in which there was even an element of foreboding. She had not heard of everything. A stationary affection. She had once or twice had a positive scare. that was very plain. in the light of some sudden proof of Madame Merle’s remarkable intelligence. since it so affected her to have to exclaim. However that might be. but it stood for a high-water-mark in the ebb and flow of confidence. the girl had in these days a thousand uses for her sense of the romantic. was impossible-it must move one way or the other. ‘Heaven forgive her.The Portrait of a Lady heroine had not even heard. I do not allude to the impulse it received as she gazed at the Pyramids in the course of an excursion from Cairo. which was more active than it had ever been. of her friend. deep and memorable as these emotions 576 of 1056 . Madame Merle had once declared her belief that when a friendship ceases to grow it immediately begins to decline-there being no point of equilibrium between liking more and liking less.

her cousin was still at Corfu. was expected in Florence from day to day. in whose house she had gone to lodge. She came back by the last of March from Egypt and Greece and made another stay in Rome. A few days after her arrival Gilbert Osmond descended from Florence and remained three weeks. Touchett that she should now rejoice to accept an invitation given long before. and went to pay a visit at Palazzo Crescentini. was prepared to give him the most affectionate welcome. Madame Merle on this occasion remaining in Rome. during which the fact of her being with his old friend Madame Merle. made it virtually inevitable that he should see her every day. who had not seen him for upwards of a year. and Isabel. however. Ralph. She found her aunt alone. 577 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady had remained. When the last of April came she wrote to Mrs.

and the conviction doubtless showed in the cloud on her brow. for a servant at last stood before her with a card on his tray. She only felt older-ever so much. and as if she were ‘worth more’ for it. and continued to gaze out of the window after the footman had retired.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 32 It was not of him. For the rest. however. She was not asking herself what she should say to her visitor. It could be nothing in the least soothing-she had warrant for this. that she was thinking while she stood at the window near which we found her a while ago. she had put away her mourning and she walked in no small shimmering splendour. nevertheless. It was only 578 of 1056 . She was not at any rate left indefinitely to her apprehensions. and she was not fond of scenes. What he would say to her-that was the interesting issue. She had reason to expect a scene.’ she said. but to the immediate. this question had already been answered. like some curious piece in an antiquary’s collection. and it was not of any of the matters I have rapidly sketched. She was not turned to the past. impending hour. ‘Let the gentleman come in. all clearness reigned in her.

but he meant to settle. there was nothing in his appearance that spoke positively either of youth or of age. Whether his sense of maturity had kept pace with Isabel’s we shall perhaps presently ascertain. from head to foot. Not only had he come. but a crisis like the present had in it of course something grim. dry gaze with which she rather withheld than offered a greeting. as if he had been out of breath. and edit PDF. This gave Isabel time to make a reflexion: ‘Poor fellow. so he had no practical philosophy. what great things he’s capable of.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. view. strong and hard. Straight. when she had heard the door close behind the person who presently entered that she looked round. Download the free trial version. His jaw showed the same voluntary cast as in earlier days. if he had neither innocence nor weakness.’ And he looked about him for a seat. the bright. Caspar Goodwood stood there—stood and received a moment. 579 of 1056 . he said nothing at first. He had the air of a man who had travelled hard. let me say meanwhile that to her critical glance he showed nothing of the injury of time. and what a pity he should waste so dreadfully his splendid force! What a pity too that one can’t satisfy everybody!’ It gave her time to do more-to say at the end of a minute: ‘I can’t tell you how I hoped you wouldn’t come!’ ‘I’ve no doubt of that.

Did you ever know me to be tired?’ ‘Never.’ ‘That’s in keeping—you must have felt as if you were coming to bury me!’ And she forced a smile of encouragement to an easy view of their situation. ‘I thank you immensely. an insistence in which there was such a want of tact.’ 580 of 1056 . especially when the dull dark beam in his eye rested on her as a physical weight. to give him his opportunity. These Italian trains go at about the rate of an American funeral. and generously. in a kind of snail-train they call the express. I wish I had! When did you arrive?’ ‘Last night. but for all this she was afraid of her visitor. I didn’t feel that. but she was devoutly thankful there was nothing else to be ashamed of.’ said Isabel. She was ashamed of her fear. making it perfectly clear that she broke no faith and falsified no contract. ‘No. I wish I could! he candidly declared. very late. I couldn’t think of you as dead. as she thought. He looked at her with his stiff insistence. I’m not at all tired. seating herself. ‘No. She had reasoned the matter well out.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You must be very tired.

’ 581 of 1056 . That I shall feel all my life. The tone made Isabel angry rather than touched her. after a little. which flung no atmospheric colour over propositions intrinsically crude. After what you’ve done I shall never feel anything—I mean anything but that. I don’t mind anything you can say now—I don’t feel it. Goodwood made these detached assertions with dry deliberateness. ‘Seventeen days ago. in his hard.’ ‘You must have travelled fast in spite of your slow trains.’ ‘That’s very selfish of you!’ she returned with the ardour of a real conviction. The cruellest things you could think of would be mere pin-pricks. but I don’t in the least mind your saying so.’ Mr. ‘If you’re not happy yourself others have yet a right to be.’ ‘Very likely it’s selfish. ‘When did you leave New York?’ He threw up his head as if calculating.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I’d rather think of you as dead than as married to another man. slow American tone. but her anger perhaps was fortunate. inasmuch as it gave her a further reason for controlling herself It was under the pressure of this control that she became. irrelevant.

She’ll hear it quick enough. she hears everything. ‘I guess she’ll come right out.’ Isabel declared.’ said Caspar Goodwood simply. Mr.’ ‘That’s for me to judge!’ ‘Of course. He looked as if he had not come from Boston to Florence to talk of Henrietta Stackpole.’ ‘I shall write to her. Caspar. and she called at my office.’ ‘You gain nothing that I see. she was in Boston. distinctly enough. and then she’ll write to me and scold me. ‘Oh no. to change the subject.’ ‘It wouldn’t have made any difference. trying to smile again. that this young lady had been with him just before he left America.’ she coldly smiled. ‘I didn’t want to do that.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I came as fast as I could. I’d have come five days ago if I had been able. 582 of 1056 . remained sternly grave.’ he said. But to me. but he answered. Goodwood.’ And then. ‘She came to see you?’ Isabel then demanded. It was the day I had got your letter. however. To me it seems that you only torment yourself. she asked him if he had seen Henrietta Stackpole.’ ‘Did you tell her?’ Isabel asked with a certain anxiety. ‘Not to you—no. ‘Yes.

’ Mr. I don’t marry for my friends. To which she made answer that she didn’t know yet. ‘I must prepare for her. raising them. ‘A little. Osmond’s.’ ‘I’m glad you tell me that. ‘Does she know Mr. But of course I don’t marry to please Henrietta.’ she added.’ Isabel said.’ said 583 of 1056 . but he didn’t say so.’ He went on.’ ‘Is it a marriage your friends won’t like?’ he demanded. ‘I really haven’t an idea. he only asked. doing it quite without delicacy. Goodwood fixed his eyes for a moment on the floor. I’ve told no one but yourself and one other person-an old friend of Mr. Osmond?’ he enquired. presently.The Portrait of a Lady ‘On purpose to scold me?’ ‘I don’t know. when her marriage would take place. ‘Who and what then is Mr. He’s not in business. no comment. She seemed to think she had not seen Europe thoroughly. Gilbert Osmond?’ ‘Who and what? Nobody and nothing but a very good and very honourable man. And she doesn’t like him. It would have been better for poor Caspar if she had tried a little more to gratify Miss Stackpole. then at last. making no exclamation. ‘I can only say it will be soon. only asking questions. As I say.

’ ‘Has he never gone back?’ ‘Why should he go back?’ Isabel asked.’ She disliked Mr. Doesn’t he like the United States?’ ‘He doesn’t know them. but he has forgotten it. Then he’s very quiet and very simple-he contents himself with Italy. Goodwood’s questions. He has spent most of his life in Italy. but she said to herself that she owed it to him to satisfy him as far as possible.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel.’ ‘With Italy and with you. he’s not known for anything in particular. 584 of 1056 . gazing at her.’ ‘He comes from nowhere.’ ‘You said in your letter he was American. he sat very upright. ‘What has he ever done?’ he added abruptly. He left it as a small boy. ‘He has no profession. Hasn’t he a native place?’ ‘Yes. flushing all defensively. ‘Where does he come from? Where does he belong?’ She had never been so little pleased with the way he said ‘belawng.’ ‘He might have gone back for his pleasure. however. small. Goodwood with gloomy plainness and no appearance of trying to make an epigram. ‘He’s not rich. The satisfaction poor Caspar exhibited was.’ said Mr.

And he sat there with his air of stiff helplessness.’ ‘I didn’t expect you to give me much. that’s what you mean. Mr. I’m marrying a perfect nonentity.The Portrait of a Lady ‘That I should marry him? Nothing at all. and it was certainly a proof of the aid that passion might render perceptions she had never taken for fine.’ ‘I can’t appreciate him. she felt this really acute of her companion.’ 585 of 1056 . but there were nothing else that they might discuss. ‘If he had done great things would you forgive me any better? Give me up.’ she accordingly broke out-"how little comfort or satisfaction I can give you. You think he’s grand. ‘Why do you always come back to what others think? I can’t discuss Mr. And you don’t mean in the least that he’s a perfect nonentity. as if not only this were true. ‘You see how little you gain. Don’t try to take an interest in him. though no one else thinks so.’ Isabel’s colour deepened. You can’t.’ ‘I don’t understand then why you came. Osmond with you.’ ‘Of course not.’ said Caspar reasonably. Goodwood. you think he’s great.’ Isabel replied while her patience helped itself by turning a little to hardness.

’ ‘Waited till after you’re married? That’s just what I didn’t want to do. but if you had waited a while. ‘Do you mean you came simply to look at me? That’s better for you perhaps than for me.’ said Mr. You’ll see. I shall still be a great friend of yours.’ ‘That will make it all the worse.’ ‘I appreciate that. ‘Ah. 586 of 1056 .’ ‘Not very. you’re unaccommodating! I can’t promise to dislike you in order to help you to resign yourself. She came toward him again and stopped.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I came because I wanted to see you once more even just as you are. You’ll be different then. Goodwood grimly.’ he said. sooner or later we should have been sure to meet. where she remained a moment looking out.’ ‘I shouldn’t care if you did!’ Isabel got up with a movement of repressed impatience and walked to the window.’ ‘I wished to hear the sound of your voice. resting her hand on the back of the chair she had just quitted. and our meeting would have been pleasanter for each of us than this. When she turned round her visitor was still motionless in his place.

She was not in the wrong. and she said to herself that she was angry in the way a woman is angry when she has been in the wrong. had not been expressed. it had no purpose. strangely enough. She had wished his visit would be short. She felt her agitation rising. rebuke.’ And with this he got up. remonstrance. It implied things she could never assent to-rights. and you see it says nothing very sweet. though she had sent back word by his messenger that he might come when he would. however. all the same. There was a dumb misery about him that irritated her. These things. She had felt pain and displeasure on receiving early that day the news he was in Florence and by her leave would come within an hour to see her. She had not been better pleased when she saw him. no 587 of 1056 . if implied. his being there at all was so full of heavy implications. there was a manly staying of his hand that made her heart beat faster. she wished he would denounce her a little. but. reproaches.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You’ve heard it. began to resent her visitor’s remarkable self-control. she had fortunately not that bitterness to swallow. and now our young lady. She had been vexed and distressed.’ ‘It gives me pleasure. all the same. the expectation of making her change her purpose.

but I remembered what you had said. as if she were accusing him of having accused her: ‘I’ve not deceived you! I was perfectly free!’ ‘Yes. I thought there might be some mistake. ‘No one can be more surprised than myself at my present intention.The Portrait of a Lady propriety. ‘I heard it twenty days ago from yourself. yet now that he seemed to be turning away she felt a sudden horror of his leaving her without uttering a word that would give her an opportunity to defend herself more than she had done in writing to him a month before.’ She considered this an instant. and you said it with such a manner that I pretty well believed it.’ Caspar went on. however. And if he had not meanwhile held himself hard it might have made him so to hear the tone in which she suddenly exclaimed.’ ‘You told me that if I heard you were engaged I was not to believe it. to announce her engagement.’ ‘You said you’d probably never marry. ‘I gave you full warning that I’d do as I chose. If she were not in the wrong. I know that. why should she desire to defend herself? It was an excess of generosity on Isabel’s part to desire that Mr.’ said Caspar.’ 588 of 1056 . in a few carefully chosen words. Goodwood should be angry. and that’s partly why I came.

‘Another reason why I came was that I wanted to hear what you would say in explanation of your having changed your mind. ‘I should like it better than this.’ ‘Even iron sometimes melts! If you’ll be reasonable I’ll see you again. as I said before. I did believe it.’ ‘What good would it do you that I shouldn’t marry?’ she asked with a certain fierceness. Do you think I could explain if I would?’ 589 of 1056 .’ she answered with sudden humility. I’m selfish as iron. ‘In explanation? Do you think I’m bound to explain?’ He gave her one of his long dumb looks. that’s soon done.’ the young man went on. ‘You were very positive. but he stopped. He made a step towards the door.’ ‘I know that.’ Her humbleness as suddenly deserted her.’ ‘So did I.’ ‘Don’t you call me reasonable now?’ ‘I don’t know what to say to you.The Portrait of a Lady ‘If you wish me to repeat it by word of mouth.’ ‘I saw that as soon as I came into the room. There’s no mistake whatever. ‘I shan’t trouble you for a long time.’ ‘You’re very selfish.

’ he added. no sign of parting. ‘I’ve done what I wished. this time in earnest. I’ve seen you. Five minutes after he had gone out she burst into tears.’ he said without a quaver. and no handshake.’ He turned away. Well.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No. I suppose not. ‘I’m delighted to hear it!’ she answered passionately. At the door he stopped with his hand on the knob. 590 of 1056 .’ she felt the poverty of her presently replying.’ ‘How little you make of these terrible journeys. ‘I shall leave Florence tomorrow. was exchanged between them. ‘If you’re afraid I’m knocked up-in any such way as that-you may be at your ease about it.

she broke the news to her aunt. an hour later. and the signs of it had vanished when. and she now had a somewhat angry sense of having lost time. view.’ ‘The same way that I know when the window’s openby feeling a draught. Download the free trial version. Isabel had only waited to tell her till she had seen Mr. Osmond.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. was soon smothered. however. Touchett came into the drawing-room before the mid-day breakfast.’ 591 of 1056 . Touchett would not be pleased. She had an odd impression that it would not be honourable to make the fact public before she should have heard what Mr.’ Mrs. He had said rather less than she expected. Goodwood. You’re going to marry that man.’ ‘I don’t know how you know. Touchett gave a little jump and looked at her almost fiercely: ‘You needn’t tell me.’ ‘What man do you mean?’ Isabel enquired with great dignity. Goodwood would say about it. and edit PDF. ‘Aunt Lydia. I know what it is. ‘Madame Merle’s friend-Mr. she waited till Mrs. and then she began. I use this expression because she had been sure Mrs. But she would lose no more. Chapter 33 Her fit of weeping. I’ve something to tell you.

to have made you like him so much.’ ‘Be angry with me.’ ‘He has taken a great deal for himself!’ cried Isabel with a voluntary laugh. They’re immense. your attractions. but he was not a man to take trouble. ‘I shouldn’t have expected it of her. at one time.’ Isabel declared with a sort of ardent coldness. ‘You mean that your attractions were sufficient. and that’s why I’m angry with him. Touchett. 592 of 1056 .’ ‘He did. and he would never have presumed to think of you if she hadn’t put him up to it. Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t know why you call him Madame Merle’s friend.’ said the girl. without the gentleman having had to be lashed up? You’re quite right. He has a very good opinion of himself.’ ‘If you mean that Madame Merle has had anything to do with my engagement you’re greatly mistaken.’ ‘I thought he even pleased you. Is that the principal thing he’s known by?’ ‘If he’s not her friend he ought to after what she has done for him! cried Mrs. I’m disappointed. Touchett gave a sharp nod. not with him. Madame Merle took the trouble for him. ‘I think he must. after all.

and that’s why I wish Mr. There’s nothing of him.’ said Isabel. Many other people think the same.’ ‘I shall set the fashion then. he has no name. in such doings.’ ‘Is it that Mr. Why shouldn’t I like Mr. you should know.’ Mrs. Osmond isn’t rich? Is that what you’re talking about?’ Isabel asked. since others have done so?’ ‘Others. I care very much for money.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Oh. I think they’re very precious. ‘He has no money. heaven only knows. What does one marry for?’ ‘What you will marry for. &#x2018. People usually marry as they go into partnership-to set up a house. and they show it. But they give some other reason.’ Isabel hesitated a little. ‘Then he can’t hurt me. he has no importance. Osmond. at their wildest moments. Osmond to have a little. Touchett explained.Do you think you’re going to be happy? No one’s happy. never wanted to marry him. I value such things and I have the courage to say it. ‘I think I value everything that’s valuable. I’m always angry with you.’ 593 of 1056 . But in your partnership you’ll bring everything. that’s no satisfaction! Was it for this that you refused Lord Warburton?’ ‘Please don’t go back to that.

I simply answer you: I must give some sign of intelligence. but I don’t think it’s my duty to explain to you.’ 594 of 1056 . There are only a dozen American names.’ ‘I don’t see why you keep bringing her in.’ said Mrs.’ ‘What has she done to you?’ ‘She has deceived me. She had as good as promised me to prevent your engagement. and I’m greatly obliged to you. but she has been a poor one to me. I saw it coming. Even if it were I shouldn’t be able.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Give it to him then. Do you marry him out of charity?’ ‘It was my duty to tell you.’ ‘His name’s good enough for me.’ ‘You never do. Aunt Lydia. I can’t talk about it. ‘But I shall talk to Madame Merle.’ the girl went on. She has been a very good friend to me. So please don’t remonstrate. in talking about it you have me at a disadvantage. You’ve been very considerate. Touchett.’ ‘Possibly. ‘It’s a very pretty name. I never meddle. and I said nothing.’ ‘I don’t remonstrate.’ ‘It was not considerate-it was convenient. Have I such a fine one myself?’ ‘All the more reason you should improve on it. but marry some one else.

‘To please me by deceiving me? She knows me better. and even if she had given the alarm you wouldn’t have tried to stop me. I knew she could play any part. While I waited for her to interfere you were marching away. Am I pleased to-day?’ ‘I don’t think you’re ever much pleased. as you see. and she was really beating the drum. ‘If Madame Merle knew you would learn the truth what had she to gain by insincerity?’ ‘She gained time.’ ‘That’s very well. But by your own admission you saw I was marching.’ the girl answered. of the inadequacy of the explanation. ‘that’s between yourselves.’ Isabel was obliged to reply.’ ‘Devoted. conscious. that’s what I’ve always liked her for.’ ‘She can do anything. she wished you to marry her candidate.’ ‘She said that to please you.’ 595 of 1056 . of course. I didn’t understand that she would play two at the same time.The Portrait of a Lady ‘She couldn’t have prevented it. She told me she was watching you only in order to interpose. however.’ Isabel said. but I understood that she played them one by one.’ ‘I don’t know what part she may have played to you. To me she has been honest and kind and devoted.

’ 596 of 1056 . Touchett. ‘I wish very much.’ ‘Ralph doesn’t abuse people.’ ‘He did it for the sake of argument. ‘and I shall feel the value of it now.’ ‘I know he does. ‘that when he comes you’d tell him first of my engagement.’ the girl smiled.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No.’ she presently added. ‘Would you have listened to Ralph?’ ‘Not if he had abused Mr. Osmond. I told him you were capable of it. but some one else would.’ ‘I’m glad of that!’ cried Isabel gaily. for he knows that whatever I do I do with reason. ‘I shall say nothing more to you about it.’ ‘Of course I’ll mention it. why should you accuse Madame Merle?’ ‘He never pretended he’d prevent it. Touchett’s little bright eyes.’ said Isabel. ‘You don’t accuse him of having deceived you. He cares very much for you.’ ‘He never believed you would do this. and he argued the other way.’ said Mrs.’ ‘Whom do you mean?’ Isabel asked. looking very hard at her aunt. but I give you notice I shall talk to others. sustained her gaze rather than returned it. you know that perfectly. Mrs. active as they usually were.

as good as her word.’ Isabel said with a colour in her cheek. Touchett. he was in a great hurry. he goes away this evening.’ ‘I quite agree with you.’ ‘He spends but twenty-four hours in Florence?’ Mrs. at the usual time?’ ‘He only arrived last night. made no allusion to Gilbert Osmond. but though Isabel was sure that Mrs. Two days afterward Ralph arrived. ‘An American gentleman of course. It’s only an American gentleman who calls at ten o’clock in the morning. ‘He’s an American gentleman truly. where Mrs.’ ‘It was half-past ten.The Portrait of a Lady ‘That’s as you please. Touchett had lost no time in imparting to him the great fact. ‘From an old friend-an American gentleman.’ ‘He is indeed. Touchett cried. he showed at first no open 597 of 1056 . After an interval of silence.’ said Isabel. however. thinking with perverse admiration of what Caspar Goodwood had done for her. it’s much more proper!’ And on this the aunt and the niece went to breakfast.’ ‘Couldn’t he have come yesterday. she asked her companion from whom she had received a visit an hour before. I only meant that it’s rather better the announcement should come from you than from me.

It was perhaps this whimsical gait that helped to mark his character more than ever as that of the humorous invalid-the invalid for whom even his own disabilities are part of the general joke. Poor Ralph made no nearer approach to conventional beauty as he advanced in life. his thin whisker languished upon a lean cheek. She had been shocked by his appearance when he came into the room.The Portrait of a Lady knowledge of it. his hands had fixed themselves in his pockets. and the now apparently complete loss of his health had done little to mitigate the natural oddity of his person. an accidental cohesion of relaxed angles. His brown velvet jacket had become perennial. lean and long and loosejointed. They might well indeed with Ralph have been the chief cause of the want 598 of 1056 . the exorbitant curve of his nose defined itself more sharply. Lean he was altogether. Their prompted talk was naturally of his health. he shambled and stumbled and shuffled in a manner that denoted great physical helplessness. his face was like a lighted lantern patched with paper and unsteadily held. Isabel had many questions to ask about Corfu. and she wondered if he were really worse or if she were simply disaccustomed to living with an invalid. she had forgotten how ill he looked. In spite of Corfu he looked very ill to-day. Blighted and battered. but still responsive and still ironic.

As she reflected a good deal she had allowed him a certain amount of compassion. the state of his health had seemed not a limitation. generous spirit. his awkwardness had become dear to her. free. He was a bright. The personality so resulting was delightful. it took no great sensibility to feel that poor Ralph’s tenure of life was less elastic than it should be. he had remained proof against the staleness of disease. and yet he was distressfully dying. Such had been the girl’s impression of her cousin. and when she had pitied him it was only on reflection. but a kind of intellectual advantage. worth more to the giver than to any one else. 599 of 1056 . He was so charming that her sense of his being ill had hitherto had a sort of comfort in it. They had been sweetened by association. but she always had a dread of wasting that essence-a precious article. Isabel had grown fond of his ugliness.The Portrait of a Lady of seriousness marking his view of a world in which the reason for his own continued presence was past finding out. he had all the illumination of wisdom and none of its pedantry. Now. however. he had had to consent to be deplorably ill. they struck her as the very terms on which it had been given him to be charming. yet had somehow escaped being formally sick. it absolved him from all professional and official emotions and left him the luxury of being exclusively personal.

The Portrait of a Lady Isabel noted afresh that life was certainly hard for some people. Ralph was nothing if not critical. other things being equal. but this was only because she had refused that excellent man. have been as glad to marry to please him as to please any one. and though she would certainly. classical. What were his views after all? He had pretended to believe she had better have married Lord Warburton. it was a part of one’s cousin’s always pretending to adore one. You could criticize any marriage. he always took the opposite. to resent his want of sympathy. or so she thought. it would be absurd to regard as important that her choice should square with his views. and she felt a delicate glow of shame as she thought how easy it now promised to become for herself. to let this fact spoil the situation. should she only give her mind to it. for it would be his privilege-it would be indeed his natural line-to find fault with any step she might take toward marriage. but she was not prepared. it was the essence of a marriage to be open to criticism. that was traditional. One’s cousin always pretended to hate one’s husband. She was not even prepared. How well she herself. might 600 of 1056 . If she had accepted him Ralph would certainly have taken another tone. in spite of her affection for him. She was prepared to learn that Ralph was not pleased with her engagement.

What could he do. Touchett’s maternal kiss. Ralph was shocked and humiliated. Isabel was prepared to be most patient and most indulgent. and this made it the more odd he should say nothing. After three days had elapsed without his speaking our young woman wearied of waiting. however. which had been even more sensibly chilling than Mrs. or sat in the garden of the palace on a great cane chair. may easily believe that during the hours that followed his arrival at Palazzo Crescentini he had privately gone through many forms. he might at least go through the form. he had never liked anything less. who know more about poor Ralph than his cousin. He felt cold about the heart. his head thrown back and his hat pulled over his eyes. We. dislike it as he would. his long legs extended. and Ralph was welcome to relieve her of the care. He must have seen that. To try to persuade her of anything sordid 601 of 1056 . his calculations had been false and the person in the world in whom he was most interested was lost. what could he say? If the girl were irreclaimable could he pretend to like it? To attempt to reclaim her was permissible only if the attempt should succeed.The Portrait of a Lady criticize this union of her own! She had other employment. His mother had literally greeted him with the great news. He drifted about the house like a rudderless vessel in a rocky stream.

and she drove in the morning to the Cascine. It cost him an equal effort to speak his thought and to dissemble. strolled with him a while through the grey Italian shade and listened to the nightingales. and our young lady. She had taken a carriage by the month. This suburban wilderness. he could neither assent with sincerity nor protest with hope. so as not to be indebted to her aunt for the means of pursuing a course of which Mrs. 602 of 1056 . Otherwise he should simply have damned himself. during the early hours. joined by her lover in its quietest part. Touchett disapproved. as she was free to do after their engagement had been made public. was void of all intruders.The Portrait of a Lady or sinister in the man to whose deep art she had succumbed would be decently discreet only in the event of her being persuaded. Meanwhile he knew-or rather he supposed-that the affianced pair were daily renewing their mutual vows. Osmond at this moment showed himself little at Palazzo Crescentini. but Isabel met him every day elsewhere.

upon which she sat down on a rustic chair that matched with his own. made bowers like spacious caves. and before turning away she stood for a moment looking at him. at the base of a statue of Terpsichore-a dancing nymph with taper fingers and inflated draperies in the manner of Bernini. During this instant he opened his eyes. The stillness of noontide hung over it. Her light footstep on the grass had not roused him. and the warm shade. But she had explained his air of absence partly by the languor of his increased weakness. and edit PDF. crossed the court. some halfhour before luncheon. view. the extreme relaxation of his attitude suggested at first to Isabel that he was asleep. enclosed and still. instead of ascending the great staircase. on her return from her drive. passed beneath another archway and entered the garden. Ralph was sitting there in the clear gloom. A sweeter spot at this moment could not have been imagined. she quitted her vehicle in the court of the palace and.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. Chapter 34 One morning. Download the free trial version. partly by worries connected with the 603 of 1056 . Though in her irritation she had accused him of indifference she was not blind to the fact that he had visibly had something to brood over.

he had not been there for months. I had an idea you may have found me wanting in good manners. He ought to have gone to England. But I was not asleep.The Portrait of a Lady property inherited from his father-the fruit of eccentric arrangements of which Mrs. The road’s long and I never arrive. ‘I’m sorry I waked you. ‘Do you mean that it’s none of my business?’ ‘Beyond a certain point.’ ‘I feel too tired.’ ‘What do you wish to arrive at?’ she put to him.’ ‘That’s the point I want to fix.’ 604 of 1056 . closing her parasol. Touchett disapproved and which. It leads to nothing. instead of coming to Florence. I’ve never congratulated you. I was thinking of you.’ she lightly returned. ‘At the point of expressing to myself properly what I think of your engagement.’ Isabel said.’ ‘Are you tired of that?’ ‘Very much so. now encountered opposition from the other partners in the bank. ‘you look too tired. his mother said.’ ‘Don’t think too much of it. and took no more interest in the bank than in the state of Patagonia. as she had told Isabel. yes.

’ Ralph said. Isabel said nothing.’ ‘If you’ve been thinking you may imagine how I’ve thought! I’m satisfied that I’m doing well.’ ‘I don’t know why you call it caught. He leaned back under the protection of Bernini. he hesitated long. that needn’t trouble you. then he sat looking at her. but she was determined not to help Ralph to utter a word that should not be to the honour of her high decision. I’ll tell you now. his head against his marble pedestal. when people were embarrassed she was usually sorry for them.’ ‘Because you’re going to be put into a cage. ‘That’s what I wonder at. ‘I think I’ve hardly got over my surprise.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Of course I’ve noticed that. ‘You were the last person I expected to see caught.’ 605 of 1056 .’ she answered.’ he went on at last. He pulled off his hat and laid it on the ground.’ ‘There have been a good many reasons. his hands laid upon the rests of his wide chair. that’s what I’ve been thinking of. I wondered why you were silent. his arms dropped on either side of him.’ ‘If I like my cage. He looked awkward. uncomfortable.

‘It doesn’t look to me now. ‘Where should my light have come from? From you?’ ‘I might have struck a spark or two. ‘what would you have done?’ ‘I should have said ‘Wait a little longer. and your silence put me off my guard. I knew nothing of the future.’ ‘That’s what I think. all winter.’ ‘It was not a matter I was likely to write to you about.’ 606 of 1056 . You said nothing about it.’ ‘I’ve seen it. I had an idea. Besides. that you were choosing. while I read your delightful letters. You wanted only to see life. A year ago you valued your liberty beyond everything. however.’ said Isabel. It has all come lately.’ Isabel asked. And one must choose as good a corner as possible.’ ‘I don’t pretend it is.’ ‘I’ve seen that one can’t do anything so general. such an inviting expanse. while his hands found their way into his pockets. One must choose a corner and cultivate that. If you had been on your guard.’ said Ralph with rather an absurd smile. only I had an idea that you took a genial view of it and wanted to survey the whole field. I admit.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You must have changed immensely.’ ‘Wait for what?’ ‘Well. for a little more light.

’ ‘No. and yet you’re afraid.’ She stroked out her long gloves again.’ ’Willing to wound and yet afraid to strike’? I’m willing to wound him.’ ‘And how little you trust me!’ 607 of 1056 . The mildness of this movement was accidental.’ said Isabel after a little. I’m afraid of you. If you marry him it won’t be a fortunate way for me to have spoken. ‘You’re beating about the bush. It will convince you how intensely I want you to do well.’ ‘For heaven’s sake don’t try. Ralph. You wish to say you don’t like Mr. Keep that well in sight. Osmond. not of him. I can’t get rid of that. ‘it seems to me too touching.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel had drawn off her gloves.’ ‘If I marry him! Have you had any expectation of dissuading me?’ ‘Of course that seems to you too fatuous. ‘I know you’ve a great affection for me. she smoothed them out as they lay upon her knee. yes-but not to wound you. for her expression was not conciliatory. It makes me so ridiculous that you pity me.’ ‘That’s the same thing.

You give very good advice.’ she went on. yet speaking with a kind of contained exaltation. I’ve always believed in your wisdom. You’ve nothing to gain. boasting of her quietness. It was her passionate desire to be just. She raised her eyes and gave him a wide. but I don’t trust him. he would have retracted what he had said.’ said Isabel. But you’ll suffer by it. deep look.’ ‘Not if you’re just.’ ‘I’m very just. but Mr. I’m very quiet. to reassure her. the warm noon-tide seemed to listen. I’ve never been so nice to you. Osmond wouldn’t think so. it touched Ralph to the heart.’ said Ralph. Perhaps I ought to be angry. for a moment he was absurdly inconsistent. that you should have much reason for wishing me to remain one. But she gave 608 of 1056 . and I’m glad you’ve made it so clear. affected him like a caress from a creature he had injured. that’s what I like him for. as a girl. but it has passed away. I was when you began. He wants me to know everything. ‘You’ve said it now. He wished to interrupt. No. I know that. but I’m not. you’ve often done so.The Portrait of a Lady There was a moment’s silence. ‘I trust you. ‘What better proof of it can there be than that I’m not angry with you? I don’t know what’s the matter with me.

The Portrait of a Lady him no chance.’ 609 of 1056 .’ ‘Yes. Osmond’s type. I’m sure it’s disinterested. pray?’ ‘Well.’ ‘I don’t think you ever will.’ ‘What sort of marriage was that. I can hardly say. I feel that. I shall never reproach you.’ said Ralph. I hadn’t exactly a positive view of it.’ Ralph said. and of course I ought to tell you definitely that if you expect to dissuade me you may give it up. having caught a glimpse. You’ll not move me an inch. It seems a strange thing to argue about. ‘It’s not in the least the sort of marriage I thought you’d make. I should like very much to hear it. ‘I know him very little. it’s too late. But all the same I can’t help feeling that you’re running a grave risk. but I had a negative. ‘I see you’ve some special idea. I didn’t think you’d decide forwell. I’m caught. and I confess I haven’t facts and items to prove him a villain. ‘What do you know against him? You know him scarcely at all. but your pain will be in your own thoughts. is what I most see in him.’ the girl declared. As you say. she went on. Certainly it won’t be pleasant for you to remember this. as she thought.’ ‘What’s the matter with Mr. for that type. so individual. of the heroic line and desiring to advance in that direction. if it be one? His being so independent.

let him back out. but at this a colour like a flame leaped into her face. ‘I’ll tell you in a moment what I mean. He fixed his eyes on the ground.’ Isabel reclined in her chair.’ ‘That’s his affair! If he’s afraid. But he wished also to be superlatively gentle. resting a hand on each knee. He felt agitated. then leaned forward.’ she said at last coldly. and his risk’s as grave as mine. Osmond is 610 of 1056 . her tone had been. ‘Of more importance to whom? It seems to me enough that one’s husband should be of importance to one’s self!’ Ralph blushed as well.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Marriage is always a grave risk. intensely eager.’ ‘I believed you’d marry a man of more importance. I wish to God he would. folding her arms and gazing a while at her cousin.’ he presently said.’ Cold. he had an air of the most respectful deliberation. Isabel waited a little-then she went on with majesty. he straightened himself. Physically speaking he proceeded to change it. now that he had opened the discussion he wished to discharge his mind. ‘I don’t think I understand you. his attitude embarrassed him. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I say. ‘In everything that makes one care for people Mr.

There may be nobler natures. I’m far more struck with what he has and what he represents than with what he may lack.’ Ralph observed without answering this: ‘I had amused myself with planning out a high destiny for you. he’s good enough for me. Osmond’s is the finest I know.’ ‘Come down. sailing in the bright light.’ ‘I had treated myself to a charming vision of your future.The Portrait of a Lady pre-eminent.’ 611 of 1056 .’ said Ralph audaciously. and clever enough.’ she repeated. ‘You say you amused yourself with a project for my career-I don’t understand that. You were not to come down so easily or so soon. you say?’ ‘Well. ‘hurts me as if I had fallen myself!’ The look of pain and bewilderment deepened in his companion’s face. that renders my sense of what has happened to you. and interesting enough. It hurts me. Suddenly some one tosses up a faded rosebud-a missile that should never have reached you-and straight you drop to the ground. but I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting one. Mr. or I shall think you’re doing it at my expense. ‘I don’t understand you in the least. There was to be nothing of this sort in it. over the heads of men. Don’t amuse yourself too much. You seemed to me to be soaring far up in the blue-to be.

’ said Isabel.’ ‘What do you mean by my soaring and sailing?’ she pursued. small. but everything is relative. ‘It makes one more sure to respect others. then added: ‘I can’t get over the sense that Osmond is somehow-well.’ said poor Isabel.’ He had uttered the last word with no great assurance. my dear cousin. But to his surprise she was quiet. larger. he was afraid she would flash out again. she had the air of considering. selfish. He takes himself so seriously! ‘He has a great respect for himself. I don’t blame him for that. ‘I’m not afraid of your not believing that I’ve had great ideas for you.’ Ralph for a moment felt almost reassured by her reasonable tone. ‘It’s your liking the person we speak of that I venture to criticize. freer sort of nature. There’s nothing higher for a girl than to marry a-a person she likes. ‘Yes. ‘I think he’s narrow.’ Ralph hesitated. I should have said that the man for you would have been a more active. ‘I’ve never moved on a higher plane than I’m moving on now. one ought 612 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady Ralph shook his head. ‘Small?’ She made it sound immense. wandering into the didactic.

The Portrait of a Lady to feel one’s relation to things-to others. But have you ever seen such a taste-a really exquisite one-ruffled?’ ‘I hope it may never be my fortune to fail to gratify my husband’s. I don’t think Mr. He wished to describe him impersonally. altogether by that. ‘Ah. that’s unworthy of you! You were not meant to be measured in that way-you were meant for something better than to keep guard over the sensibilities of a sterile dilettante!’ Isabel rose quickly and he did the same. since it has led him to select you as his bride. scientifically.’ ‘He’s the incarnation of taste.’ Ralph went on. so that they stood for a moment looking at each other as if he had 613 of 1056 . approves and condemns. thinking hard how he could best express Gilbert Osmond’s sinister attributes without putting himself in the wrong by seeming to describe him coarsely. indeed.’ At these words a sudden passion leaped to Ralph’s lips. ‘He judges and measures.’ ‘I’ve chiefly to do with his relation to me.’ ‘It’s exquisite.’ ‘It’s a happy thing then that his taste should be exquisite. that’s wilful. In that he’s excellent. Osmond does that.

but I love without hope. what I believe. ‘It’s very good of you to try to warn me.’ she said gently.’ said Ralph quickly. and I wouldn’t if I could.’ she simply breathed. Try and forget it yourself. I’ve only tried to listen to you. ‘I’m afraid your talk then is the wildness of despair! I don’t understand it-but it doesn’t matter. if you’re really alarmed.The Portrait of a Lady flung down a defiance or an insult. I’m not arguing with you. ‘Ah then. you’re not disinterested!’ ‘I love you. forcing a smile and feeling that in that last declaration he had expressed more than he intended.’ She paused a moment and then went on with an 614 of 1056 . it’s impossible I should. you’ve done your duty. as if the anger with which she had just sprung up had already subsided. Isabel moved away and stood looking into the sunny stillness of the garden. I’m much obliged to you for attempting to explain. and no man can do more. ‘I’ve said what I had on my mind-and I’ve said it because I love you!’ Isabel turned pale: was he too on that tiresome list? She had a sudden wish to strike him off. but I won’t promise to think of what you’ve said: I shall forget it as soon as possible. But ‘You go too far. I can’t explain to you what I feel. but after a little she turned back to him.

Osmond because he’s not rich? That’s just what I like him for.’ then he’s as small as you please.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. he’s a man to whom importance is supremely indifferent. ‘I’m not in the least concerned to defend Mr. There have been moments when I should like to go and kneel down by your father’s grave: he did perhaps a better thing 615 of 1056 . I had others once. I call that large-it’s the largest thing I know. I won’t pretend to argue with you about a person I’m going to marry. but they’ve passed away. because I see him in quite another way. view. inconsequence that Ralph observed even in the midst of his eagerness to discover some symptom of concession. Download the free trial version. He’s not important-no. ‘I can’t enter into your idea of Mr. Pray. would you wish me to make a mercenary marriage-what they call a marriage of ambition? I’ve only one ambition-to be free to follow out a good feeling. I’ve fortunately money enough. Osmond. If that’s what you mean when you call him ‘small. he’s not so weak as to need my defence.’ Isabel repeated. and edit PDF. as if he were any one else. and you. after what you’ve said-I may just answer you once for all. I wouldn’t talk of him at all to any one but you. Osmond. I should think it would seem strange even to yourself that I should talk of him so quietly and coldly. I’ve never felt so thankful for it as to-day. he’s not important. I can’t do it justice. Do you complain of Mr.

Though she paused Ralph said nothing. it regards you more than me. if that’s to be selfish. If that’s to be narrow. equally contributed. but I’m surprised that you should.’ Isabel paused a moment. he has the kindest. but I can’t help it. but she was highly solicitous. gentlest. Mr. Osmond makes no mistakes! He knows everything. You’ve got hold of some false idea. Mr. Others might have done so. with such indifference. I’m not frightened by such words. but she was all in a passion. to which the angry pain excited by his words and the wounded pride of having needed to justify a choice of which she felt only the nobleness and purity. I’m not even displeased. he saw she had more to say. she was indifferent. looking at her cousin with an eye illumined by a sentiment which contradicted the careful calmness of her manner-a mingled sentiment. I’m only sorry that you should make a mistake. Osmond has never scrambled nor struggled he has cared for no worldly prize.The Portrait of a Lady than he knew when he put it into my power to marry a poor man-a man who has borne his poverty with such dignity. he understands everything. highest spirit. then it’s very well. You might know a gentleman when you see oneyou might know a fine mind. She was grand. ‘What sort of a person should you have liked me to marry?’ she asked 616 of 1056 . It’s a pity.

a very cultivated and a very honest man-he’s not a prodigious proprietor. and she’s horrified at my contenting myself with a person who has none of his great advantages-no property. nor reputation. but if one marries at all one touches the earth. It was wonderfully characteristic of her that. nor brilliant belongings of any sort. he was for the rest simply accommodating himself to the weight of his total impression-the impression of her ardent good faith. Your mother has never forgiven me for not having come to a better understanding with Lord Warburton. and one must marry a particular individual. but she was dismally consistent. It’s the total absence of all these things that pleases me. but for his very poverties dressed out as honours.’ Ralph had listened with great attention. nor position. no houses. ‘You talk about one’s soaring and sailing. no title. but in truth he was only half thinking of the things she said. but she believed. nor lands. She was wrong. Mr. as if everything she said merited deep consideration. having invented a fine theory about Gilbert Osmond. one has a heart in one’s bosom. Ralph remembered what be had said to his father about wishing to put it into 617 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady suddenly. she loved him not for what he really possessed. she was deluded. Osmond’s simply a very lonely. One has human feelings and needs. no honours.

I want no breakfast. and she closed it formally by turning away and walking back to the house. Here he stopped and Isabel paused. Isabel had uttered her last words with a low solemnity of conviction which virtually terminated the discussion. ‘I shall never complain of my trouble to you! And she moved up the staircase. ‘No. very much. I told you last year that if you were to get into trouble I should feel terribly sold.’ said Isabel. Poor Ralph felt sick. he felt ashamed. and I shall go back into the garden and take another mouthful.’ said the girl. He had done so. turning on him a face of elationabsolutely and perversely of gratitude. I came thus far simply to say this.’ ‘Very well. That’s how I feel today.The Portrait of a Lady her power to meet the requirements of her imagination. and the girl had taken full advantage of luxury.’ ‘You ought to eat. I’m not hungry. ‘you live on air. ‘Shall you not come up to breakfast?’ she asked. and they passed into the court together and reached the big staircase.’ ‘I do.’ ‘Do you think I’m in trouble?’ ‘One’s in trouble when one’s in error. Ralph walked beside her. His opposition had made her own conception of her conduct clearer to her. 618 of 1056 .

so that he returned to the garden to breakfast on the Florentine sunshine. then the lurking chill of the high-walled court struck him and made him shiver. 619 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady Ralph. standing there with his hands in his pockets followed her with his eyes.

This dislike was not alarming to Isabel. which preceded the fulfilment of his hopes. and he had never deserved less than during these still. each of them numbered. who wrote to express a dutiful hope that she would 620 of 1056 . and Isabel’s satisfaction was confirmed by her lover’s admirable good conduct. when she strolled in the Cascine with her lover. bright days. for it served mainly to throw into higher relief the fact. that she married to please herself. she scarcely even regretted it. the moral of it was simply that they disliked Gilbert Osmond. the harsh criticism passed upon him by Ralph Touchett. One did other things to please other people. felt no impulse to tell him how little he was approved at Palazzo Crescentini. one did this for a more personal satisfaction. She felt herself disjoined from every one she had ever known before-from her two sisters. The discreet opposition offered to her marriage by her aunt and her cousin made on the whole no great impression upon her. in every way so honourable.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 35 Isabel. The chief impression produced on Isabel’s spirit by this criticism was that the passion of love separated its victim terribly from every one but the loved object. Gilbert Osmond was in love.

almost with awe. who. at her not having chosen a consort who was the hero of a richer accumulation of anecdote. she had now little free or unemployed emotion for minor needs. His disappointment made him say angry things about the man she had preferred even to him: Isabel flattered herself that she believed Ralph had been angry. and accepted as an incident. from Henrietta. Ralph apparently wished her not to marry at all-that was what it really meant-because he was amused with the spectacle of her adventures as a single woman. She tasted of the sweets of this preference. would come out. too late. who would certainly console himself. from Lord Warburton. she was sure. and they made her conscious. and a surprise. somewhat more vague. who perhaps would not. for which she was not sorry to display her contempt. who had cold. It was the more easy for her to believe this because. from her aunt. of her lot the idea that to prefer Gilbert Osmond as she preferred him was perforce to break all other ties. on purpose to remonstrate. as I say.The Portrait of a Lady be happy. and from Caspar Goodwood. in fact quite as an ornament. shallow ideas about marriage. of the invidious and remorseless tide of the charmed 621 of 1056 . whose talk about having great views for her was surely but a whimsical cover for a personal disappointment. and from Ralph.

excitement. emitted meanwhile very little smoke for so brilliant a blaze. This disposition. What could be a finer thing to live with than a high spirit attuned to softness? For would not the softness be all for one’s self. great as was the traditional honour and imputed virtue of being in love. He was immensely pleased with his young lady. made him an admirable lover. Contentment. and so he never forgot to be graceful and tender. which surely now flamed high in Osmond. one’s right was always made of the wrong of some one else. to wear the appearance-which presented indeed no difficulty-of stirred senses and deep intentions. was a kind of ecstasy of self-control. he preferred it to be 622 of 1056 . in the most self-conscious of men. Madame Merle had made him a present of incalculable value. it gave him a constant view of the smitten and dedicated state. elegant surface? Osmond hated to see his thought reproduced literally-that made it look stale and stupid. on his part. which admired the air of superiority? What could be a happier gift in a companion than a quick. however. fanciful mind which saved one repetitions and reflected one’s thought on a polished. It was the tragic part of happiness. He never forgot himself. The elation of success. as I say. took no vulgar form.The Portrait of a Lady and possessed condition. and the strenuousness for society.

to which it would give a decorative value. but he had always treated her so completely as an independent person that it hardly seemed necessary to express regret for the attitude of her family. ‘They think I’m in love with your money.’ ‘Are you speaking of my aunt-of my cousin?’ Isabel asked. He found the silver quality in this perfection in Isabel. so that talk might become for him a sort of served dessert.The Portrait of a Lady freshened in the reproduction even as ‘words’ by music. ‘It’s the difference in our fortune they don’t like.’ he said. he could tap her imagination with his knuckle and make it ring. He knew perfectly. and the fact of my being poor and you rich is the most obvious explanation of their reserve. though he had not been told. If they had been delighted I should have had some sign of it. and when I wrote to Mrs. Nevertheless. he made an abrupt allusion to it. But of course when a poor man marries a rich girl he must be 623 of 1056 . ‘How do you know what they think?’ ‘You’ve not told me they’re pleased. His egotism had never taken the crude form of desiring a dull wife. one morning. that their union enjoyed little favour with the girl’s relations. not an earthen one-a plate that he might heap up with ripe fruits. Touchett the other day she never answered my note. this lady’s intelligence was to be a silver plate.

and why should I begin to-day.The Portrait of a Lady prepared for imputations. I don’t care what people of whom I ask nothing think-I’m not even capable perhaps of wanting to know. I suppose it’s their business to suspect-that of your family. for that matter. God forgive me. and I ought to be less subject to suspicion than most of the people one sees grubbing and grabbing. but a charming thing to meet. it’s proper on the whole they should. Meanwhile my business is not to make myself bad blood.’ he said on another occasion. loving you. I only care for one thing-for your not having the shadow of a doubt. Theoretically I was satisfied. I flattered myself I had limited my wants. They’ll like me better some day. Money’s a horrid thing to follow. ‘it has made me wiser and easier and I won’t pretend to deny-brighter and nicer and even stronger. however. It seems to me. I delight in everything that’s yours-whether it be money or virtue. I’m delighted. as I once told you. when I have taken to myself a compensation for everything? I won’t pretend I’m sorry you’re rich. I don’t mind them.’ ‘It has made me better. that I’ve sufficiently proved the limits of my itch for it: I never in my life tried to earn a penny. But I 624 of 1056 . but simply to be thankful for life and love. I’ve never so concerned myself. I used to want a great many things before and to be angry I didn’t have them. so will you.

We’ve the faculty of admiration and several capital convictions.’ They made a good many plans. I used to have morbid. We’re not stupid. I can’t tell you how life seems to stretch there before us-what a long summer afternoon awaits us. but they left themselves also a good deal of latitude. and that divine delicacy in the light. and I’m remarkably wellseasoned. We’ve got what we like-to say nothing of having each other. Now I’m really satisfied. of desire. 625 of 1056 . My dear girl. It’s all soft and mellow-it has the Italian colouring. It’s the latter half of an Italian daywith a golden haze. which I have loved all my life and which you love to-day. we’re not mean. You’re remarkably fresh.The Portrait of a Lady was subject to irritation. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life and finding nothing to reward me for my pains. the air. I don’t see why we shouldn’t get on. Upon my honour. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight and suddenly the lamp comes in. it was a matter of course. because I can’t think of anything better. We’ve my poor child to amuse us. the landscape. and the shadows just lengthening. sterile. hateful fits of hunger. but now that I can read it properly I see it’s a delightful story. we’re not under bonds to any kind of ignorance or dreariness. we’ll try and make up some little life for her.

It simplified the situation at a stroke. She had told Ralph she had ‘seen life’ in a year or two and that she was already tired. it came down from above like the light of the stars. Osmond had the attachment of old acquaintance and Isabel the stimulus of new. and it needed no explanation.The Portrait of a Lady however. that they should live for the present in Italy. There was explanation enough in the fact that he was her lover. but of that of observing. her aspirations. her own. The desire for unlimited expansion had been succeeded in her soul by the sense that life was vacant without some private duty that might gather one’s energies to a point. her high estimate of her independence and her incipient conviction that she should never marry? These things had been absorbed in a more primitive need-a need the answer to which brushed away numberless questions. She could surrender to him with a kind of humility. and Italy should be a party to their happiness. her theories. and that she should be able to be of use to him. yet gratified infinite desires. not of the act of living. It was in Italy that they had met. which seemed to assure her a future at a high level of consciousness of the beautiful. What had become of all her ardours. she could marry 626 of 1056 . Italy had been a party to their first impressions of each other.

She found pleasure in walking off. short steps. Pansy wore a short dress and a long coat. There seems to me something enchantingly innocent in 627 of 1056 . Isabel approved in abundance. ‘she doesn’t guess. and then in walking back with a smile that seemed an appeal for approbation. she thinks it perfectly natural that you and I should come and walk here together simply as good friends. with quick. she was giving. and not much older. He brought Pansy with him two or three times to the Cascine-Pansy who was very little taller than a year before. That she would always be a child was the conviction expressed by her father. She watched her indications as if for herself also much depended on them-Pansy already so represented part of the service she could render. view. Download the free trial version. him with a kind of pride.’ he said to Isabel. her hat always seemed too big for her. part of the responsibility she could face. Her father took so the childish view of her that he had not yet explained to her the new relation in which he stood to the elegant Miss Archer. to the end of the alley.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. who held her by the hand when she was in her sixteenth year and told her to go and play while he sat down a little with the pretty lady. and the abundance had the personal touch that the child’s affectionate nature craved. and edit PDF. she was not only taking. ‘She doesn’t know.

in all things. of Pansy’s innocence-her own appreciation of it being more anxiously moral. she’s too fond of you on her own account. sincere notes. I’ve succeeded in two things.’ He was very fond.’ ‘I’m not afraid of that. it’s the way I like her to be. then I shall have a beautiful sister!’ She was neither surprised nor alarmed. of the ‘old way".’ Isabel was impressed by Osmond’s artistic. ‘Perhaps she had guessed it. as I wished.The Portrait of a Lady that. I’m not a failure. as it somehow appeared. who had made such a pretty little speech-"Oh. in the old way. ‘It occurs to me that you’ll not know whether you’ve succeeded until you’ve told her. as he expected. I’m to marry the woman I adore. as I used to think. She was perhaps not the less pleased when he told her a few days later that he had communicated the fact to his daughter.’ said Isabel. She may be horrified-she may be jealous.’ she said. 628 of 1056 . she had not cried. the plastic view. that had struck Isabel as one of his fine. No. I should like to leave her in the dark a little longer-to see if it will come into her head that if we’re not engaged we ought to be. quiet. ‘You must see how she takes your news. and I’ve brought up my child.

It was Isabel’s view that the little girl might have given lessons in deportment to her relative. Her father’s decision. I thought it would be just a little shock. tomorrow she shall make you her congratulations in person.’ The meeting. but after our young woman had been ushered into the Countess’s drawing-room Pansy arrived to say that her aunt would presently appear. whither Pansy had been conducted by her father. Calling at Casa Touchett the visitor had not found Isabel at home. and nothing could have justified this conviction more than the manner in which Pansy acquitted herself while they waited together for the Countess. took place at the Countess Gemini’s. I should be disgusted if I believed that.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Don’t say that. Pansy was spending the day with that lady. You shall see for yourself. That’s also what I wished. who thought her of an age to begin to learn how to carry herself in company. but the way she took it proves that her good manners are paramount. the year before. on the morrow. had finally been to send her back to the convent to receive the last graces. who knew that Isabel was to come in the afternoon to return a visit made her by the Countess on learning that they were to become sisters-in-law. and Madame Catherine had evidently carried 629 of 1056 .

The Portrait of a Lady out her theory that Pansy was to be fitted for the great world. I’ve told you already what I myself think of you.’ ‘For you too. You’ll be a delightful companion for papa. I liked you from the first. They told us at the convent it was wrong to judge our elders.’ said this excellent woman’s pupil. She’s always in motion. in agitation-to-day especially. Without you I don’t see how he could have got it. ‘Papa has told me that you’ve kindly consented to marry him. you’ll see when she comes in. He should not for instance have a wife like my aunt. but I suppose there’s no harm if we judge them favourably. ‘I speak first of him on purpose. I hope. I think you’ll suit very well. You’re both so quiet and so serious. 630 of 1056 . but you’re more quiet than many others. I’m very glad for papa-he needed something more than me.’ Isabel said. ‘It’s very delightful. but what I mean is that you and papa will suit each other. You’ll be my model. I admire you so much that I think it will be a good fortune to have you always before me. You’re not so quiet as he-or even as Madame Merle.’ ‘You think I shall suit you?’ ‘You’ll suit me beautifully. I shall try to imitate you though I’m afraid it will be very feeble.

‘If you expect me to congratulate you I must beg you to excuse me. I don’t suppose you care if I do or not. began to talk very much as if. I believe you’re 631 of 1056 .’ ‘My good little Pansy. inconsequent vision of her coming in some odd way to need it had intervened with the effect of a chill. it seemed to suggest-or what penalties for non-performance she dreaded! Her description of her aunt had not been incorrect.’ A vague. but I don’t think you’ll ever so much as pinch or even push me.’ the child returned with her note of prepared promptitude. She drew the visitor to a sofa and. I’m not afraid at all. I’ve nothing to fear. but we mustn’t use that word. she were applying a series of considered touches to a composition of figures already sketched in. seated brush in hand before an easel.’ said Isabel gently. the Countess Gemini was further than ever from having folded her wings. What teaching she had had. ‘Very well then. looking at her with a variety of turns of the head. They’re always said to be cruel. She entered the room with a flutter through the air and kissed Isabel first on the forehead and then on each cheek as if according to some ancient prescribed rite.The Portrait of a Lady You’ll be my stepmother. ‘I shall be ever so kind to you.

But I care myself if I tell fibs. but I won’t pretend I’m glad for yours. you’re an heiress and very good-looking and original. I’m very glad for my own sake that you’re to marry Osmond. Osmond will have told you that. I suppose Pansy oughtn’t to hear all this. there are ever so many things I want to talk to you about. My lampshades would be sure to take fire. I’ve great confidence in you. When first I 632 of 1056 . you know.The Portrait of a Lady supposed not to care-through being so clever-for all sorts of ordinary things. but that’s what she has come to me for-to acquire the tone of society. not banal. I think. I never tell them unless there’s something rather good to be gained. Our family’s very good. so it’s a good thing to have you in the family. But we’re dreadfully fallen. my roses and my fibs to be larger than life. You’re very brilliant-you know that’s the way you’re always spoken of. and perhaps you’ll pick us up. I think they ought to make it somehow not quite so awful a steel trap. I don’t see what’s to be gained with you— especially as you wouldn’t believe me. I never congratulate any girl on marrying. I don’t make professions any more than I make paper flowers or flouncey lampshades-I don’t know how. and my mother was rather distinguished-she was called the American Corinne. There’s no harm in her knowing what horrors she may be in for.

By the way. and I hate anything of that kind. I should like it. to recommend you. Then I thought it would be disloyal. please. and we shall never be intimate. but you won’t. not to listen to him. I’ll tell you all about him. In the first place I don’t care what he does. Besides. you won’t respect me. My husband will come and see you. Some day. if you can stand it. He’s very fond of going to see pretty women. all the same. you won’t care a straw for him. he won’t be a bit. but I’m not afraid of you. and after all I’m very selfish. In the second. we shall be better friends than you will believe at first. though. in the strongest terms. Do you think my niece ought to go out of the room? Pansy. as I say. I was enchanted for myself. not one little mite. at any time. as you probably know. ‘I would rather hear nothing that Pansy may not!’ 633 of 1056 . he’ll see you’re not his.The Portrait of a Lady got an idea that my brother had designs on you I thought of writing to you. your affair. he’s on no sort of terms with Osmond.’ ‘Let her stay.’ said Isabel. and. stupid as he is. go and practise a little in my boudoir. Some day.

‘Mr. however. but of his customary sequences. and as he was a gentleman of constituted habits he might have continued for years to pay his annual visit to this charming resort. ushered him into a diminutive drawing-room and requested the favour of his name. He passed a month in the Upper Engadine and encountered at Saint Moritz a charming young girl. an incident befell him which changed the current not only of his thoughts. toward dusk.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 36 One afternoon of the autumn of 1876. a young man of pleasing appearance rang at the door of a small apartment on the third floor of an old Roman house. with a French face and a lady’s maid’s manner. In the summer of 1876. Edward Rosier. a neat. particular 634 of 1056 .’ said the young man. on the spot. To this little person he began to pay. The reader will perhaps not have forgotten that Mr. He had spent a portion of several winters at Pau. On its being opened he enquired for Madame Merle. who sat down to wait till his hostess should appear. but it may also be remembered that he sometimes vanished from its horizon. whereupon the servant. plain woman. Rosier was an ornament of the American circle in Paris.

Mr. however. The simplest way to do so was to go in the autumn to Rome. much in wait. notoriously. favours the brave. to the poison of the Roman air. but it seemed to him when they parted-the young lady to go down into Italy and her admirer to proceed to Geneva. he was nothing if not discreet. Rosier started on his pilgrimage to the Italian capital and reached it on the first of November. she was really a consummate piece. so he forbore for the present to declare his passion. she had had the last touch. he had devoted it in vain to finding a flaw in Pansy Osmond’s composition. He thought of her in amorous meditation a good deal as he might have thought of a 635 of 1056 . He might expose himself. and this adventurer. where Miss Osmond was domiciled with her family. Fortune. which in November lay. had at the end of a month no cause to deplore his temerity. who took three grains of quinine a day. She was admirably finished. unseasoned. It was a pleasant thing to do.The Portrait of a Lady attention: she struck him as exactly the household angel he had long been looking for. He had made to a certain extent good use of his time. He was never precipitate. but for the young man there was a strain of the heroic in the enterprise. where he was under bonds to join other friends that he should be romantically wretched if he were not to see her again.

When Madame Merle came in she found him standing before the fireplace with his nose very close to the great lace flounce attached to the damask cover of the mantel. could not fail to appreciate. whose taste was predominantly for that manner. indeed. was especially rich in articles of the last two centuries.’ she said. ‘It’s old Venetian. although furnished with specimens of every style. The room was small and densely filled with furniture. she has some jolly good things!’ he had yearningly murmured. it gave an impression of faded silk and little statuettes which might totter if one moved. and then ‘By Jove. in the bloom of her juvenility. you ought to wear it.’ 636 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady Dresden-china shepherdess. Rosier got up and wandered about with his careful tread. had a hint of the rococo which Rosier. He had immediately put a glass into one eye and looked round. Miss Osmond. which. ‘it’s rather good. as if he were smelling it.’ ‘It’s too good for this. That he esteemed the productions of comparatively frivolous periods would have been apparent from the attention he bestowed upon Madame Merle’s drawing-room. bending over the tables charged with knick-knacks and the cushions embossed with princely arms. He had lifted it delicately.

Rosier as he sat there flushed with all his recognitions.’ He paused a moment and then. ‘Did you come to tell me that?’ ‘I came to ask your advice. ‘No. but I can’t wear mine.’ 637 of 1056 .’ smiled the visitor.’ said Mr.’ She looked at him with a friendly frown. ‘A man in love.’ ‘Ah. you know. nor about yours. round the room again. but I hate them.The Portrait of a Lady ‘They tell me you have some better in Paris. that I came to talk to you. with greater softness: ‘I care more for Miss Osmond than for all the bibelots in Europe!’ Madame Merle opened wide eyes.’ His eyes wandered. doesn’t ask advice. lingeringly.’ ‘Do you want to get rid of them?’ the young man quickly asked. it’s good to have something to hate: one works it off!’ ‘I love my things. ‘But it’s not about them. in the same situation. stroking her chin with her large white hand. ‘You’ve some very good things. ‘I don’t see why you shouldn’t! I’ve better lace than that to wear.’ ‘Yes.

There will be no use in my troubling Miss Osmond unless I have good reason to believe her father will consent. I should like particularly to know what you think of my prospects. literally apprehensive and consistently strenuous. ‘Ah. ‘That’s why I came.’ ‘You’ve been very kind to me.’ ‘You’re very considerate. in spite of it. But never so much as this time-really never so much.’ ‘Do you wish me to intercede?’ Madame Merle asked with her fine arms folded and her handsome mouth drawn up to the left. and there’s no telling what one may get by it. I’m afraid that for Mr. ‘If you could say a good word for me I should be greatly obliged. I’ve been in love before. Osmond I’m notwell. It’s very rare now.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Why not. But you assume in rather an off-hand way that I think you a prize. that’s in your favour. But he looked. if he’s in a difficult position? That’s often the case with a man in love. I thought you liked me for myself!’ 638 of 1056 .’ ‘I’m always kind to people who have good Louis Quatorze. and I know.’ With which the left-hand corner of Madame Merle’s mouth gave expression to the joke. a real collector’s piece.’ said the young man.

if you please. Download the free trial version. but his wife can scarcely be termed a member of her family.’ said Rosier with an amiable sigh of good faith.’ ‘Yes. Pardon me if I seem patronizing.’ ‘Mr.’ ‘Very likely-if her husband doesn’t. Mrs.’ He raised his eyebrows. we won’t analyze. Osmond would favour me. ‘Does she take the opposite line from him?’ ‘In everything. ‘I like you very much. certainly. but. ‘Whom do you call her family?’ ‘Why. I must tell you. But you’ve seemed to me intimate with her family. she’s very fond of Pansy. Osmond has nothing to do with marrying her. Osmond’s her father.’ ‘I’m sorry for that.’ Madame Merle considered. but it’s none of my business.’ ‘Well.’ said Rosier.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. She’s very fond of Pansy. ‘I think Mrs.’ ‘I didn’t suppose that. They think quite differently. but I think you a perfect little gentleman.’ 639 of 1056 . and I thought you might have influence. and edit PDF. that I’ve not the marrying of Pansy Osmond. and-how do you say it in English?her bellemere. however. ‘I’m sorry for that. view. her father.

She has told me how she loves her as if she were her own mother.’ ‘I think you’re laughing at me. after all.The Portrait of a Lady ‘And Pansy has a great affection for her. Madame Merle. I think I can help you. ‘I didn’t expect that of you. ‘Have you declared your sentiments?’ ‘Never!’ cried Rosier. ‘You don’t do me justice.’ She shook her head calmly. like a person who saw things as she saw them. ‘I’m glad. dropping back in his chair and feeling his small moustache.’ said Ned Rosier. 640 of 1056 . after all. that you’ve told me.’ ‘You must. ‘Never till I’ve assured myself of those of the parents.’ ‘I said you were the person to come to!’ her visitor cried with prompt elation. have had some very intimate talk with the poor child. that’s what I think. lifting his neatly-gloved hand. I love her too much for that.’ Madame Merle went on.’ ‘I wouldn’t agitate her-only to agitate her. I think your conduct in excellent taste and the best you could adopt.’ ‘You always wait for that? You’ve excellent principles. ‘Leave it to me a little. Yes.’ said Madame Merle. you observe the proprieties.’ the young man murmured.

on what people call vices. also. ‘It wouldn’t be famous. With the talent I have for arranging.’ Madame Merle returned more dryly. you know. we can live beautifully on such an income. Even that depends on where you live. quite cheap faience. in Paris.’ ‘All that’s negative. and they’d get broken. yes. When one’s as pretty as she one can afford-well.’ said Rosier reflectively. but I’ll say I’ve no vices.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You were very clever. ‘I won’t say I’ve no faults.’ ‘We don’t want to be famous. She ought never to wear anything but muslin-without the sprig.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Beautifully. ‘When I say I can help you I mean once assuming your cause to be good. no. If Miss Osmond should have everything pretty it would be enough. I would undertake it in Paris. Let us think a little if it is.’ ‘I’m awfully decent. Sufficiently. and it always depends.’ Madame Merle’s mouth rose to the left. you’d have to make use of the teacups.’ said Rosier earnestly. 641 of 1056 . What’s the positive side? What’s the virtuous? What have you got besides your Spanish lace and your Dresden teacups?’ ‘I’ve a comfortable little fortune-about forty thousand francs a year.

’ Madame Merle went on. and most tidy-also extremely graceful. Osmond. I can do without it.’ 642 of 1056 . she may do something. She understands all that. Osmond then is very fond of her stepdaughter. can give her nothing. but I esteem it.’ ‘It’s the correct one.’ ‘Mrs. and I’m sure she’d enter into it.’ ‘She’s a very good little girl. she brought him a large fortune.’ ‘The money’s his wife’s.’ ‘Her own children? Surely she has none. all the same.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Wouldn’t you even allow her the sprig? She’d be much obliged to you at any rate for that theory.’ ‘Mrs. that he lives like a rich man. that’s why I love her.’ Rosier scarce demurred. to the best of my belief. But her father. ‘I esteem a dot very much. But I may remark. I assure you. ‘will probably prefer to keep her money for her own children. ‘I don’t in the least desire that he should.’ ‘For a love-sick swain you have your eyes about you!’ Madame Merle exclaimed with a laugh.

’ said Madame Merle. Osmond. Others therefore may come.’ cried the young man.’ ‘You’re not so innocent as that? Seriously. about her there’s much to be said.’ Rosier added eagerly. I don’t say it’s to be jumped at. living on your innocence!’ ‘I think you underrate me.’ said Rosier quite lucidly. ‘You’ll be a touching couple. six months after his birth.The Portrait of a Lady ‘She may have yet. I think it may be. who died two years ago. ‘I said you were the person to come to. She had a poor little boy. however. but there might be a worse offer. Splendid as you like! We’ve not exactly made out that you’re a parti. will probably incline to believe he can do better. but what can his daughter do? She can’t do better than marry the man she loves. if it will make her happy.’ ‘Ah. The absence of vices is hardly a source of income. ‘Ah.’ ‘He can do so perhaps. ‘of course forty thousand francs a year and a nice character are a combination to be considered. Mr. She’s a splendid woman.’ 643 of 1056 . For she does.’ Madame Merle failed to burst into speech.’ ‘Pardon me. you know. ‘She does-I know it.’ ‘I hope they will.

if you haven’t asked her. as you say. I’ll try to make the most of your advantages. he wondered whether his hostess had been after all the right person to come to. I’ll find out for you. ‘I don’t think I understand you. we’re an innocent couple. How did you know it?’ ‘I who am not innocent? By being very crafty. Osmond. Leave it to me.’ ‘Be an old friend as much as you like. ‘In such a case there’s no need of asking and telling.’ Madame Merle went on. or you’ll spoil everything.’ Rosier gazed into his hat.The Portrait of a Lady ‘But I don’t know how you know it. Meanwhile then I’ll say a word to Mrs. but try to make it as it should be.’ ‘Thank you so very much. for she doesn’t get on very well 644 of 1056 . ‘You say that rather coldly.’ ‘Gardez-vous-en bien!’ And Madame Merle was on her feet. ‘Don’t set her going. Don’t simply find out how it is.’ ‘I’ll do my best. the more old friends she has the better. Osmond.’ Rosier got up and stood smoothing his hat. I’m an old friend of Mrs. and I think she would like me to succeed.

but you should consider her. if you’re not to heed what I say?’ 645 of 1056 .’ ‘Then be very careful. and let the matter alone till I’ve taken a few soundings. I advise you not to multiply points of difference between them.’ ‘Oh. But don’t for the present try to make her take up the cudgels for you.’ Poor Rosier’s face assumed an expression of alarm. You say you’re an old friend. ‘No. you won’t burn up! Why did you come to me. Her husband may have other views.’ ‘Let the matter alone. dear Madame Merle? Remember that I’m in love. and. Would you make her suffer?’ ‘Not for the world. a suit for the hand of Pansy Osmond was even a more complicated business than his taste for proper transitions had allowed. as a person who wishes her well. Osmond so very much!’ he exclaimed.The Portrait of a Lady with some of her new. But the extreme good sense which he concealed under a surface suggesting that of a careful owner’s ‘best set’ came to his assistance. ‘I don’t see that I’m bound to consider Mr.

He reflected constantly on what his adviser had said to him. Osmond’s pretty hard. I’ll be very good.’ ‘Ah.’ the young man promised. She had indeed shown him benevolence. Madame Merle gave a short laugh. and turned over in his mind the impression of her rather circumspect tone. a reason for assuming that she would be eager to push Pansy Osmond into his arms. when one came to look into it. and 646 of 1056 . but it certainly was true that he had known Madame Merle only for the last month. He resolved that his conduct should be worthy of an aspirant who was already a model of discretion. and that his thinking her a delightful woman was not. as they put it in Paris. ‘It has been said before. for departure. she’s a splendid woman!’ Ned Rosier repeated. He found difficulty in thinking of himself as rash-he had incurred this reproach so rarely. He had gone to her de confiance. but he saw nothing in any pledge he had given Madame Merle that made it improper he should keep himself in spirits by an occasional visit to Miss Osmond’s home. ‘But I’m afraid Mr.’ he added in his mild voice as he went to the door. gracefully arranged as these members might be to receive her. But his wife isn’t easy either.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You’re very kind. but it was possible he had been precipitate.

But possibly he had exaggerated these advantages. Had it come into her head that he might offer her two or three of the gems of his collection? If she would only help him to marry Miss Osmond he would present her with his whole museum. The object of Mr. Osmond’s. Mrs. Rosier’s well-regulated affection dwelt in a high house in the very heart of Rome. where she had a rather striking appearance (Rosier had more than once wondered how she managed it) of being intimate without being familiar. too. In a palace. it would seem too gross a bribe. Osmond having an ‘evening’-she had taken the Thursday of each week when his presence could be accounted for on general principles of civility. It was with these thoughts that he went again to Mrs. a charming woman was charming to every one. Very likelythough she had appeared to say it in joke-she was really only thinking of his bibelots. a dark and massive structure overlooking a sunny piazzetta in the neighbourhood of the Farnese Palace. But he should like her to believe it. 647 of 1056 . and Rosier felt rather a fool when he thought of his having appealed to her on the ground that she had distinguished him. He could hardly say so to her outright. There was no particular reason why she should take trouble for him.The Portrait of a Lady she was a person of consideration among the girl’s people.

disappointed and depressed. It seemed to him of evil omen that the young lady he wished to marry. but a dungeon to poor Rosier’s apprehensive mind. should be immured in a kind of domestic fortress. of crime and craft and violence. It had local colour enough. which smelt of historic deeds. But Rosier was haunted by the conviction that at picturesque periods young girls had been shut up there 648 of 1056 . a pile which bore a stern old Roman name. and which had frescoes by Caravaggio in the piano nobile and a row of mutilated statues and dusty urns in the wide. who had once told him that on settling themselves in Rome she and her husband had chosen this habitation for the love of local colour. he could have entered into the sentiment of Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady little Pansy lived-a palace by Roman measure. Osmond. In a less preoccupied frame of mind he could have done justice to the Palazzo Roccanera. which was mentioned in ‘Murray’ and visited by tourists who looked. on a vague survey. nobly-arched loggia overhanging the damp court where a fountain gushed out of a mossy niche. and whose fastidious father he doubted of his ability to conciliate. and though he knew less about architecture than about Limoges enamels he could see that the proportions of the windows and even the details of the cornice had quite the grand air.

when. to which he always did justice when once he found himself in Mrs. though he had annexed a number of fine pieces within the last three years. Osmond that her husband had made a large collection before their marriage and that. Rosier interpreted this information according to principles of his own. as a gentleman should. For ‘advice’ read ‘cash. and vanquished his envy. after asking himself for a quarter of an hour whether they had even better ‘French’ than he in Paris. and the fact that Gilbert Osmond had landed his highest prizes during his impecunious season confirmed his most cherished doctrine-the doctrine that a collector may freely 649 of 1056 . this she had told him the first time he came to the house. and then.’ It was a taste of Osmond’s own-not at all of hers. He acknowledged that these people were very strong in ‘good things.The Portrait of a Lady to keep them from their true loves. however. very much. Osmond’s warm. rich-looking reception-rooms. to the point of expressing to his hostess his pure admiration of her treasures. he had achieved his greatest finds at a time when he had not the advantage of her advice. There was one point.’ he said to himself. he was obliged on the spot to admit that they had. He learned from Mrs. under the threat of being thrown into convents. had been forced into unholy marriages. which were on the second floor.

In general. there were three or four objects his eyes really yearned for. 650 of 1056 . when he came in. when Rosier presented himself on a Thursday evening. he looked about for the daughter of the house with such eagerness as might be permitted a gentleman whose smile. always took everything comfortable for granted.The Portrait of a Lady be poor if he be only patient. and now. But after his talk with Madame Merle he felt the extreme seriousness of his position. his first recognition was for the walls of the saloon. as he crossed a threshold.

failed to attract his attention. were talking together. it contained the larger things and-almost always-an odour of flowers. he had one foot up and was warming the sole. and edit PDF. Osmond usually satthough she was not in her most customary place to-nightand that a circle of more special intimates gathered about the fire. Pansy on this occasion was presumably in the next of the series. Half a dozen persons. where tea was served. his eyes had an expression. went up to shake hands 651 of 1056 . that seemed to represent them as engaged with objects more worth their while than the appearances actually thrust upon them. Rosier. frequent with them. but he was not in the conversation. The room was flushed with subdued. the resort of younger visitors. a large apartment with a concave ceiling and walls covered with old red damask. leaning back with his hands behind him. though he was even exceptionally conscious that it was the wife. Osmond stood before the chimney. view. it was here Mrs. Chapter 37 Pansy was not in the first of the rooms. who was very punctilious. scattered near him. not the husband. diffused brightness. Download the free trial version. coming in unannounced. but the young man.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. he had come to see.

‘How d’ye do? My wife’s somewhere about. perhaps she was in one of the other rooms or would come later. having a fancy he gave himself airs. however. Osmond.’ he said. Osmond put out his left hand. without changing his attitude.’ Rosier for an instant forgot the delicacy of his position. ‘Madame Merle has told him. He looked round him and smiled. He had never especially delighted in Gilbert Osmond. I shall find her. ‘You’re not thinking of parting with a-a piece or two?’ 652 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady with him.’ ‘Never fear. but she was not in sight. ‘I don’t care a fig for Capo di Monte!’ he returned. all without help. But Rosier was not quickly resentful. but presently.’ said Rosier cheerfully. took him in.’ he privately reasoned. and then in a moment. while he warmed his boot-sole. ‘I saw a jolly good piece of Capo di Monte to-day. I’m losing my interest. Osmond answered nothing at first. He had hoped Madame Merle would be there. and where politeness was concerned had ever a strong need of being quite in the right. he had never in his life felt himself so efficiently looked at. and he doesn’t like it. ‘I hope you’re not losing your interest?’ ‘In old pots and plates? Yes.

but not to add. to Madame Merle. well. you want to keep. Rosier thought of her and the terms in which. she looked high and splendid. as he had said.’ Poor Rosier was aware he had blushed. I’m not thinking of parting with anything at all. ‘Ah. Osmond coming out of the deep doorway. The years had touched her only to enrich her. it only hung more 653 of 1056 .’ Rosier remarked brightly. She was dressed in black velvet. might well have gratified such tastes. which his devotion to brittle wares had still not disqualified him to recognize. I’ve nothing I wish to match.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No. but also on a sense for uncatalogued values. for that secret of a ‘lustre’ beyond any recorded losing or rediscovering. at present. with his eyes still on the eyes of his visitor. I have!’ was all he could murmur. the flower of her youth had not faded. He took his course to the adjoining room and met Mrs. and yet oh so radiantly gentle! We know what Mr. and he knew his murmur was partly lost as he turned away. Osmond. ‘Exactly. he had expressed his admiration. ‘Ah. Mrs.’ said Osmond. Rosier. he was distressed at his want of assurance. Like his appreciation of her dear little stepdaughter it was based partly on his eye for decorative character. his instinct for authenticity. Mr.

Now. what young lady?’ Rosier was immensely obliging. she struck our young man as the picture of a gracious lady. ‘She’s not very lively. I want to introduce you to a young lady.’ Rosier hesitated a moment. ‘She sits there by the fire in pink and has no one to speak to. I’ve known you longer than any one here. that’s hard!’ ‘I only mean that you’ve ideas for two.’ ‘No.’ ‘So is your husband.’ And Mrs. at all events.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘But she’s good enough for me? Ah now. and be doesn’t like dull people. ‘But who should be if I’m not?’ ‘Yes. 654 of 1056 . please. She had lost something of that quick eagerness to which her husband had privately taken exception-she had more the air of being able to wait. Osmond speak to her? He’s within six feet of her.’ he said. ‘Can’t Mr. he’s not-to me. Osmond also hesitated. And then you’re so obliging.The Portrait of a Lady quietly on its stem. framed in the gilded doorway. ‘You see I’m very regular. but this was not what he had come for. But we mustn’t indulge in tender reminiscences. Osmond vaguely smiled.’ Mrs.

’ ‘Ah. he sat by moodily. still smiling. however. for Pansy Osmond. he had broken the spirit of his promise to Madame Merle. in making to Mrs. If we look at her 655 of 1056 . Go and give some to my young lady. he wondered whether. looking wistfully beyond. but after that I’ll abandon her to her fate. At last. Into this mild colloquy Edward Rosier entered little. Such a question was capable of occupying this young man’s mind for a considerable time. watching his small sweetheart. ‘You see I want some tea. Osmond the profession I have just quoted.’ ‘Very good.’ Rosier went on.’ ‘So I tell him.The Portrait of a Lady ‘That’s a sign he should be doubly so to other women.’ she said. he cared little what promises he might break. whom he had conducted into the other room. The simple truth is I’m dying to have a little talk with Miss Osmond. The fate to which he had threatened to abandon the damsel in pink proved to be none so terrible. while he handed a tea-cup to the damsel in pink. who had given him the tea for his companion-Pansy was as fond as ever of making tea-presently came and talked to her.’ said Isabel. ‘I can’t help you there!’ Five minutes later. turning away. he becamecomparatively speaking-reckless. ‘That’s perfect.

and that if she is dressed with great freshness she wears her smart attire with an undisguised appearance of saving it-very much as if it were lent her for the occasion. if you couldn’t see it you had no eye. that he had not noted. 656 of 1056 . in her stiff little dress. and you may be sure that not for an instant would he have admitted to you that she was wanting in style. Only he called her qualities by names of his own-some of which indeed were happy enough. would have been just the man to note these defects. of any sort. that if she has grown very pretty she lacks in a deplorable degree the quality known and esteemed in the appearance of females as style. the small. and in point of fact there was not a quality of this young lady. It was not modern. at Florence.’ he used to say to himself. it would produce no impression in Broadway. Style? Why. it would seem. she’s unique-she’s absolutely unique. she had the style of a little princess. Edward Rosier. was sent to walk short distances in the Cascine while her father and Miss Archer talked together of matters sacred to elder people. But after a moment we shall perceive that if at nineteen Pansy has become a young lady she doesn’t really fill out the part.The Portrait of a Lady now through his eyes we shall at first not see much to remind us of the obedient little girl who. it was not conscious. serious damsel. ‘No. three years before.

as the matter stood. were as touching as a childish prayer. He was sure Pansy had never looked at a newspaper and that. and one couldn’t make of a jeune fille the enquiry requisite for throwing light on such a point.The Portrait of a Lady only looked like an Infanta of Velasquez. Her anxious eyes. and yet would not have walked alone. if she had read Sir Walter Scott it was the very most. nor have received letters from men. nor have been taken to the theatre to see the comedy of manners. Rosier could not deny that. A jeune fille was what Rosier had always dreamed of-a jeune fille who should yet not be French. This was enough for Edward Rosier. She was such a perfect jeune fille. It made him feel hot. her charming lips. it would be a breach of hospitality to appeal directly to this unsophisticated creature. in the way of novels. for he had felt that this nationality would complicate the question. He had now an acute desire to know just to what point she liked him-a desire which made him fidget as he sat in his chair. but he was now in imminent danger of asking himself if hospitality were the most sacred 657 of 1056 . her slip of a figure. he had never been so uncomfortable. An American jeune fille-what could be better than that? She would be frank and gay. so that he had to pat his forehead with his handkerchief. who thought her delightfully oldfashioned.

and all these restrictions of circumstance had ended by irritating him. and now it depended only upon him that he should be virtually alone with Pansy. He had never been alone with her before. The mother and daughter departed together. with a significant simper at Rosier. He felt extremely bold after the dull girl in so vain a disguise of rose-colour had responded to the call of her mother.The Portrait of a Lady thing in the world. even if this gentleman had been placed on his guard by Madame Merle he would not have extended the warning to Pansy. he had never been alone with a jeune fille. the prepossessing young man. There was another room beyond the one in which they stood-a small room that had been thrown open and 658 of 1056 . it would not have been part of his policy to let her know that a prepossessing young man was in love with her. but not probably to the master of the house. poor Rosier began to pat his forehead again. What had Gilbert Osmond meant by giving him two fingers of his left hand? If Osmond was rude. that she must carry her off to other triumphs. It was a great moment. There was one comfort. But he was in love with her. Was not the sentiment that he entertained for Miss Osmond of infinitely greater importance? Of greater importance to him-yes. who came in to say. surely he himself might be bold.

‘Certainly. After a supreme hesitation he asked her if he might go and look at the yellow room. ‘and if you like I’ll show you.The Portrait of a Lady lighted. For a little it occurred to him that she was frightened-too frightened perhaps to move.’ She was not in the least frightened. an immense classic structure of that period. making no motion to join a knot of visitors on the far side of the room. it was upholstered in pale yellow. ‘That’s just what I hoped you’d say. there were several lamps. you’re so very kind. but a second glance assured him she was not. the company not being numerous. and especially to admire the clock (which he didn’t really admire). It was empty yet. and felt almost capable of stretching out a hand to detain her. He had been there already with Osmond. but that.’ Rosier murmured. Rosier gazed a moment through this aperture. had remained empty all the evening. He therefore felt that he had now begun to manoeuvre. which seemed so attractive yet so virginal. 659 of 1056 . which was of the First French Empire. through the open door it looked the very temple of authorized love. he was afraid that Pansy would run away. But she lingered where the other maiden had left them. and he then reflected that she was too innocent indeed for that. to inspect the furniture.’ said Pansy. you may go.

openly. I think he knows everything. Osmond care how her rooms are done? Has she no taste? he asked. ‘Oh yes.’ she said. He looked about him. Rosier thought. Pansy stood looking at him. ‘There’s one thing I’m sure he knows!’ he broke out presently. with all respect to Mrs. and it seemed cold. he has so much. but it’s more for literature. ‘It’s not for winter evenings. ‘He knows that when I come here it’s. that’s what I come for. ‘To see you. The same idea appeared to have struck Pansy. Rosier really thought the room very ugly. Osmond. But papa cares also for those things.’ said the young man. ‘I thought it was for that.’ Rosier was silent a little. it’s for summer. with all respect to him.’ Rosier repeated. ‘Doesn’t Mrs.The Portrait of a Lady They went in together. he hardly knew what to say in such a situation. a great deal. but some of it was very bad. who’s so charming-it’s really.’ 660 of 1056 . ‘It’s papa’s taste. simply. intently. ‘to see you!’ ‘To see me?’ And Pansy raised her vaguely-troubled eyes.’ He had a good deal. feeling the intoxication of a rupture with authority. a blush was not needed to make her face more modest.’ said Pansy-"and for conversation.

If he had not spoken she would have waited for ever.’ ‘You don’t offend me. now anything might happen! She was ready-she had been ready always.The Portrait of a Lady ‘And it was not disagreeable to you?’ ‘I couldn’t tell. Pansy?’ Rosier asked very gently. ‘Yes-I like you. but when the word came she dropped like the peach from the shaken tree.’ the young girl murmured. ‘I was afraid of offending you.’ said Pansy. waiting for him to speak. in which there was something ineffably passive. trusting smile. would rest there 661 of 1056 . I didn’t know. Then he raised it to his lips. Rosier felt that if he should draw her toward him and hold her to his heart she would submit without a murmur. feeling very happy. and his only answer could be to take her hand and hold it a moment.’ They had walked to the chimney-piece where the big cold Empire clock was perched. they were well within the room and beyond observation from without. She liked him-she had liked him all the while. smiling as if an angel had kissed her. You never told me. She submitted. The tone in which she had said these four words seemed to him the very breath of nature. still with her pure. ‘You like me then.

produced an impression when she entered. whereupon she turned back to the other rooms with a little air of consistency which seemed to imply that their appeal should be immediate.’ said Pansy. trying to believe that there was after all such a thing as hospitality. for she neither spoke loud. and yet like what a perfect little lady she had carried it off! ‘You’re very dear to me. nor moved rapidly. fair. How she did it the most attentive spectator could not have told you. nor dressed with splendour. Large. She had known it was for her he came. ‘Did you say papa knows?’ ‘You told me just now he knows everything. It was true that this would be a rash experiment in a yellow Empire salottino. ‘Ah. smiling. and when people looked around it was because of a sudden quiet.’ he murmured. nor laughed profusely. serene. there was something in her very tranquillity that diffused itself. when once I’m sure of you!’ Rosier murmured in her ear.The Portrait of a Lady without a question. The other rooms meanwhile had become conscious of the arrival of Madame Merle. who. where he had kissed it. nor appealed in any appreciable manner to the audience. my dear.’ ‘I think you must make sure. She looked a moment at her hand. wherever she went. On this occasion she had done 662 of 1056 .

‘Yes.’ said Madame Merle. ‘And where’s Pansy?’ ‘In the other room. Madame Merle looked at him a moment. He’ll try to interest me morewhich is exactly what I don’t want.’ ‘Don’t tell him that. There are several people there.’ ‘But you don’t hate it. Osmond.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. asked if little Mr. ‘Do you wish to see him?’ Osmond asked in a provokingly pointless tone. after embracing Mrs. Rosier had come this evening. the quietest thing she could do. she had sat down on a small sofa to commune with the master of the house. There was a brief exchange of commonplaces between these two-they always paid. and edit PDF. a certain formal tribute to the commonplace-and then Madame Merle. Tell him I hate his proposal. view. Download the free trial version. ‘He came nearly an hour ago-but he has disappeared.’ Osmond said. and that it interests you but feebly.’ ‘He’s probably among them.’ 663 of 1056 . she knew each of his tones to the eighth of a note. in public. which was more striking. I should like to say to him that I’ve told you what he wants. whose eyes had been wandering.

‘It’s not what I’ve dreamed of for Pansy.’ 664 of 1056 .’ ‘Very good then. but in the one case he’ll try to talk and explainwhich would be exceedingly tiresome. don’t do that. he has a charming temper.’ ‘Yes. He has promised me not to speak to her. but neither do I believe she has thought of him. Rosier?’ ‘Oh. she had a faint smile. That sort of thing’s a great bore.’ ‘Is that what you call poor Mr. after all.’ Osmond broke in. I let him see that. an income of forty thousand francs!’ ‘It’s misery-’genteel’ misery. ‘He’s a gentleman. I don’t love it.’ ‘No. There’s no hurry. I was rude to him on purpose.’ ‘If I discourage him he’ll do the same. this evening. and.’ ‘I’ll tell him that you’ll take time and think it over. Pansy has thought a great deal about him. he’s a nuisance-with his eternal majolica. but I don’t suppose you consider that that matters. He’ll hang on. ‘Perfectly.’ Madame Merle dropped her eyes.’ ‘I don’t consider it matters at all.’ ‘Do you believe him?’ Osmond asked absent-mindedly. myself. I hate talking with a donkey. That will leave me quiet. In the other he’ll probably hold his tongue and go in for some deeper game.The Portrait of a Lady ‘It doesn’t signify.

It’s what I educated her for.’ Madame Merle had. ‘Has she told you she’s in love with him?’ ‘For what do you take her? And for what do you take me?’ Madame Merle added in a moment. Osmond had raised his foot and was resting his slim ankle on the other knee. Keep him on hand.The Portrait of a Lady ‘That opinion’s more convenient. I recommend you not to get rid of Mr. he may be useful. A long drop followed the last words I have quoted. and before it had ended she saw 665 of 1056 . Rosier. he clasped his ankle in his hand familiarly-his long. it was her habit in this situation. where’s the hitch?’ ‘I don’t see any. all the same. But.’ ‘I can’t keep him. I’ll put him into a corner and allow him so much a day. been glancing about her. for the most part. just as it was her habit to interpose a good many blank-looking pauses.’ ‘I’m not afraid that she’ll not do it.’ said Madame Merle quietly. fine forefinger and thumb could make a ring for it-and gazed a while before him.’ ‘Very good. It was all for this-that when such a case should come up she should do what I prefer. ‘This kind of thing doesn’t find me unprepared. while they talked.’ ‘Well then. Keep him yourself.

‘You’re very late. I’m never later than I intend to be. she moved toward Edward Rosier.’ the young creature gently said. Her companion never turned his head. ‘My dear child. as if to get it off his mind. ‘I’ve spoken to her!’ he whispered.’ ‘He intends to confess.’ Madame Merle had not got up to be gracious to Pansy. very quickly. she simply. gave her a friendly smile. ‘So much for your belief in his promises.’ he murmured. poor little man!’ Osmond got up.’ Madame Merle went on to Osmond. He ought to be horsewhipped. he had now taken a sharp look at his daughter. as she rose from the sofa. ‘I know it. ‘He has spoken to her. Rosier.The Portrait of a Lady Pansy come out of the adjoining room. ‘It doesn’t matter. Mr. This lady’s reception of her was not more intimate. He came to meet her and. Pansy after a moment came up to Madame Merle with her little manner of unfamiliar politeness. followed by Edward Rosier. turning away. The girl advanced a few steps and then stopped and stood looking at Madame Merle and at her father.’ ‘Did she tell you?’ 666 of 1056 .

The Portrait of a Lady ‘Yes. and Rosier took for granted she understood no English. after all? That’s not the way I’m usually considered. ‘Perhaps you’ll feel differently when you know-when you know-! Isabel met his hesitation.’ he began to Mrs. ‘What is there against me. it was neither the time nor the place. ‘You said just now you wouldn’t help me. she told me. a sudden flush testified to his sense of injury. the old lady was Italian. I could have married twenty times.’ ‘She’s all wrong.’ Poor Rosier gazed at her half-pleadingly. He had no intention of speaking to Osmond. ‘When I know what?’ ‘That she’s all right. who sat talking with an old lady. Osmond.’ he said.’ 667 of 1056 . But he instinctively wandered toward Isabel. ‘I’ve never been treated so. Behave properly for the rest of the evening. ‘It won’t do. and in the manner in which she turned her back to him there was a degree of contempt which caused him to mutter a decent imprecation.’ said Isabel.’ ‘What do you mean by that?’ ‘Well. that we’ve come to an understanding. He sat down on the other side of her. half-angrily.’ She was severe. and come and see me to-morrow at a quarter past five.

it was not agreeable to him to reflect that he had just said a rude thing to her-the only point that would now justify a low view of him.’ ‘No. his cheek burned. Isabel got up. and if such a fallacy had not been so pernicious he could have laughed at it. Before doing so he spoke once more to Isabel. turning away from him.The Portrait of a Lady ‘It’s a pity you didn’t. but her father does. he was too full of his sense of injury. But he looked without seeing. he was not used to being thought not good enough. I don’t mean twenty times. which were neatly arranged on a series of small velvet screens. 668 of 1056 .’ ‘Ah yes. and his main desire was now to get out of the house. ‘You’re not rich enough for Pansy. and he occupied himself for the next ten minutes in pretending to look at Gilbert Osmond’s collection of miniatures.’ Isabel added. He knew how good he was. leaving her old lady without ceremony. It was certain that he had never been treated that way before. smiling kindly. but once comfortably.’ ‘She doesn’t care a straw for one’s money. but she had disappeared. he has proved that!’ cried the young man. He searched again for Pansy.

called it.’ said Isabel gravelyinscrutably. ‘Ah.’ she answered coldly. as he afterwards. just a little.’ She was silent an instant.’ ‘I don’t remember what you said. you’re offended. and then with a change of tone: ‘It’s not that I won’t. Osmond as I shouldn’t have done. and he took himself off. I simply can’t!’ Her manner was almost passionate. a look which was also inscrutable. 669 of 1056 . straight in the eyes. and she gave him. I’d never again speak of your husband save as an angel. and yet it was keener than he liked. and now you’ll never help me.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I referred to Mr. ‘If you could. a while ago. to himself. ‘But you must remember my situation.’ ‘The inducement’s great.’ he began. It made him remember somehow that he had known her as a child.

she had learned that lesson for herself. Rosier not to take that tone. Mr. But. Osmond was not favourable to his suit. it was very true that as he had no intention of giving his daughter a portion such expectations were open to criticism or even. Mr. But she would advise Mr. but it wouldn’t be a miracle if he should gradually come round. Osmond had had higher expectations. and to his surprise she let him off rather easily. so nothing was to be gained by precipitation. if one would. he might depend on that. one couldn’t have everything one wanted. and Mad Merle assured him that she felt for him. Pansy would never defy her father.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 38 He went to see Madame Merle on the morrow. if he would possess his soul in patience he might arrive at his felicity. Rosier remarked that his own situation would be in the meanwhile the most uncomfortable in the world. and this result must come of itself-it was useless to try to force it. Mr. There would be no use 670 of 1056 . But she made him promise that he would stop there till something should have been decided. as she justly declared. Osmond needed to accustom his mind to an offer of a sort that he had not hitherto entertained. to ridicule.

’ Edward Rosier fretted about Pansy a good deal. ‘He doesn’t like your having spoken to Pansy. Go to the house. so that though he went early the company was already tolerably numerous. was in the first room. he doesn’t like it at all. near the fire. Go on Thursday evenings with the rest of the world.’ said Madame Merle.The Portrait of a Lady in his writing to Gilbert Osmond. She’s a calm little nature. as usual. as little as possible. and don’t fret about Pansy. but he did as he was advised. and leave the rest to me. Rosier to hear. for the next month. There had been a party at dinner. ‘I’m perfectly willing to give him a chance to tell me so! ‘If you do that he’ll tell you more than you care to hear.’ ‘As little as possible? Who’s to measure the possibility?’ ‘Let me measure it. Ah. and awaited another Thursday evening before returning to Palazzo Roccanera. staring straight at 671 of 1056 . He wished the matter dropped for a few weeks and would himself write when he should have anything to communicate that it might please Mr. she’ll take it quietly. but don’t go at all at odd times. who had charged her to tell him as much. I’ll see that she understands everything. Osmond.

‘I don’t see what Madame Merle has to do with it. ‘I’m glad that you can take a hint.’ 672 of 1056 .’ Pansy’s father said.’ And he flattered himself he spoke rather sternly. slightly closing his keen. and he waited a moment. not to be distinctly uncivil. Rosier had to go and speak to him.’ ‘She doesn’t know me so well as she thinks.The Portrait of a Lady the door. But I took a message. conscious eyes. ‘I set a great price on my daughter. I did so because she had seemed to me to know you very well.’ said Osmond. ‘I take no hints. Why did you apply to Madame Merle?’ ‘I asked her for an opinion-for nothing more. ‘Madame Merle gave me. because she has given me some little ground for hope. a message from you-to the effect that you declined to give me the opportunity I desire. so that.’ Osmond stared into the fire a moment. asking himself how much a true lover ought to submit to. the opportunity to explain my wishes to you. ‘I’m sorry for that. as I understood it.’ ‘You took it? Where did you take it?’ It seemed to poor Rosier he was being insulted. as I supposed it to be.

and after he had uttered these last words the master of the house turned round again to the room.’ ‘I’m not bound to accept your theories as to whom my daughter loves’-and Osmond looked up with a quick. cold smile.’ Osmond continued. in another mood. such a note attracted some attention from the company.’ Osmond went on with a dry impertinence which.’ ‘Not to me. now bending forward a little and dropping his eyes to his boot-toes. sir!’ cried Rosier with the sharpness of exasperation.’ They had been standing with their faces to the fire. She couldn’t marry a man who loves her more-or whom. Before Rosier had 673 of 1056 . Don’t I prove it by wishing to marry her?’ ‘I wish to marry her very well. all undisturbed: ‘I think she has no recollection of having given it. she loves more. ‘I have her promise. then he said. As their voices had been pitched very low before.The Portrait of a Lady ‘You can’t set a higher one than I do. I may venture to add. Your daughter has spoken. ‘I’m not theorizing. poor Rosier would have admired. Osmond waited till this little movement had subsided. ‘Of course I pretend she’d marry well in marrying me.

now I do. unannounced. but he again encountered Mrs. but somewhat blankly.’ ‘I don’t pretend to be cold. I expected so little to see you.The Portrait of a Lady time to reply he perceived that a gentleman-a stranger-had just come in. 674 of 1056 . He gave his hostess no greeting-he was too righteously indignant. fair beard.’ ‘Don’t you take any interest?’ Rosier demanded with his sense that she too was irritating. He sought her. but I’m cool. the visitor had a handsome face and a large. The latter smiled blandly.’ She gave the same mystical smile he had noticed before.’ he said with a smile that expressed more than Osmond’s.’ Rosier departed and went in direct pursuit of Pansy. and was evidently an Englishman. as usual. Osmond in his path. What has he been doing to his daughter?’ ‘I’ve no idea. in the neighbouring room. ‘You can’t expect every one to be as hot as yourself. and was about to present himself to his host. ‘Ah yes. ‘You apparently don’t recognize me. according to the Roman custom. but said to her crudely: ‘Your husband’s awfully coldblooded.

eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create.’ she said. Rosier turned away and. ‘He declares to me she has given me up.’ said her husband.’ ‘She has not given you up. ‘I bring you an old friend.’ Mrs. a little embarrassed. and became aware that Osmond was coming toward her accompanied by the gentleman who had just entered. He judged the latter. then. Where’s Miss Osmond?’ ‘In the corner. He watched her. Osmond’s face. and edit PDF. Please leave her there. view.’ Rosier instantly discovered his friend. thank you for that! Now I’ll leave her alone as long as you think proper!’ He had hardly spoken when he saw her change colour. who had been hidden by intervening groups. was. For a moment she answered nothing. making tea. ‘Ah. ‘Pardon me if I don’t believe that. like her old friend’s. though it wore a smile. ‘What on earth has he done to her?’ he asked again imploringly. not perfectly confident. 675 of 1056 . ‘Isabel. ‘No!’ she said abruptly and with a quickened light in her eyes which directly contradicted the word. Download the free trial version. in spite of the advantage of good looks and evident social experience. but her own attention was entirely given to her occupation.’ Isabel said in a low tone and without looking at him. ‘I’m very happy to see Lord Warburton.

‘Ah well. She had been startled. however. was plainly quite sure of his own sense of the matter. He had a quick impression that Mrs. ‘I suppose you didn’t expect to see me. to do him justice. it’s better than stopping in one of those horrible inns.The Portrait of a Lady now that his talk with her had been interrupted. ‘It’s very kind of Lord Warburton to come so soon. You see I’ve lost no time in coming to pay you my respects. felt absolved from the little pledge he had just taken. ‘I’ve but just arrived. I only got here this evening. for some time quite ceased to observe him. we’re greatly flattered.’ Osmond remarked to his wife. Lord Warburton. though his grey eyes had still their fine original property of keeping recognition and attestation strictly sincere. I knew you were at home on Thursdays. now that he was face to face with her.’ Isabel said.’ ‘You see the fame of your Thursdays has spread to England.’ he said. Literally. He was ‘heavier’ than of yore and looked older. Isabel in fact. Osmond wouldn’t notice what he did. he stood there very solidly and sensibly. she hardly knew if she felt a pleasure or a pain.’ Osmond went on. 676 of 1056 .

with her rare capacity for such inward feats. round him. at her established home. ‘We should have been glad to see you at any time. I was very sorry to leave Rome-so sorry that.’ he added with a look.’ her old friend went on to Isabel. You know it was here in Rome that we first met. it became almost a dismal memory. ‘and I assure you I’ve often thought of you. taken the measure of what meeting him again meant for her. and I’ve never cared to come back till to-day. Do you remember where I bade you good-bye?’ his lordship asked of his hostess.’ said Osmond. ‘Thank you very much.’ ‘I remember that myself.The Portrait of a Lady ‘The hotel seems very good.’ ‘I’ve heard of you from time to time. in which she might have caught the dim ghost of his old ruefulness. who had already. I think it’s the same at which I saw you four years since. It must be a charming place to live in. I remember you there. 677 of 1056 . somehow or other. Till a month ago I really supposed my travels over. in the first room. it’s a long time ago.’ said Isabel. ‘I was there at the time.’ ‘Yes.’ Osmond observed with propriety. But I knew you were living here. ‘It was in the Capitol. I haven’t been out of England since then.

’ ‘Like the good reigns in history. which gradually became more serious. My life has been a remarkably complete blank. He appeared to think his duties as a host now terminatedhe had performed them so conscientiously. in a tone which perhaps betrayed overmuch an appreciation of his generosity. it was everything but natural-a deficiency which Lord Warburton. had on the whole a good deal of nature. the deepest. ‘I’ll leave you and Mrs. of course. Nothing could have been more adequate. may be supposed to have perceived. ‘Yes-a good deal.’ he added.’ ‘I’m afraid you lose a good deal!’ Lord Warburton called after him. than his courtesy to his wife’s old friend. ‘You have reminiscences into which I don’t enter. You’re very kind. Then the visitor turned on Isabel the deeper.’ Osmond suggested. it was explicit. more nicely measured. ‘I’m really very glad to see you. It was punctilious.’ ‘I don’t mean for the worse.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I hope you’ve heard no harm.’ ‘Do you know that you’re changed-a little?’ She just hesitated. himself. Osmond together.’ ‘It’s very pleasant. consciousness of his look. and yet how can I say for the better?’ 678 of 1056 . who. as he moved away.

or like her at least.’ They sat down and she asked him about his sisters. Her friend’s manner was certainly that of a contented man. ‘Ah well. one who would rather like people. for me-it’s a long time. ‘That’s exactly what I hoped you’d do. It would be a pity there shouldn’t be something to show for it.’ she immediately said. that in 679 of 1056 . He answered her questions as if they interested him.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I think I shall have no scruple in saying that to you. Time had breathed upon his heart and. Isabel felt her usual esteem for Time rise at a bound. he was too tired to come out and has gone to bed.’ ‘I’ll go to see him. and in a few moments she saw-or believed she saw-that he would press with less of his whole weight than of yore.’ she bravely returned. ‘I’ve brought Ralph Touchett with me. with other enquiries of a somewhat perfunctory kind.’ ‘Brought him with you?’ Isabel’s surprise was great. given it a relieved sense of having taken the air. ‘He’s at the hotel.’ he resumed. to know him for such. ‘There’s something I must tell you without more delay. without chilling it. I had an idea you hadn’t seen much of him since your marriage.

could make himself comfortable. Mrs. the house was as hot as Calcutta. but in point of fact he hasn’t brought anything. He smokes no more cigarettes! He had got up an artificial climate indeed. Osmond.’ Isabel answered. and found him thoroughly ill. is in America. and now he has no strength left.’ ‘Rome then is no place for him. ‘But why has he come to Rome?’ The declaration was very gentle. Nevertheless he had suddenly taken it into his head to start for Sicily. That’s why I hesitated-like an awkward Briton.The Portrait of a Lady fact your relations were a-a little more formal. I heard from him that he had determined to give up his custom of wintering abroad and to remain in England. so there was no one to prevent him. at Gardencourt. His mother. He said he could take servants and furniture. I didn’t believe in it-neither did the doctors. as I suppose you know. indoors. in what he called an artificial climate. ‘Because he’s very far gone. he doesn’t succeed with the artificial! I went to see him three weeks ago. He stuck to his idea that it would be the saving of him to spend the winter at Catania.’ ‘I’m as fond of Ralph as ever.’ ‘Poor fellow. I wanted him at least to go by 680 of 1056 . the question a little sharp. He has been getting worse every year. nor any of his friends.

her face was full of pain and wonder. I’m acting as-what do you call it in America? a kind of moderator. to-day. If you don’t mind my saying so. I made up my mind to come with him. We left England a fortnight ago. in the train. He has got rather a good man.’ He checked her. ‘My aunt does that at fixed periods and lets nothing turn her aside. ‘I don’t mean I thought so tonight. I think she’d have started if Ralph had been dying. to save fatigue. Isabel sprang up. I wanted him to take with him some clever fellow-=I mean some sharp young doctor. he was a little disconcerted at the quick effect of his words.’ Lord Warburton said. He can’t keep warm. and he has been very bad on the way. he seemed particularly well.’ ‘I sometimes think he is dying. When the date comes round she starts. you know-gave him strength. Poor Ralph’s very moderate now. ‘I’ll go to him then now. but he wouldn’t hear of it. but I’m afraid he’s beyond human help. and the further south we come the more he feels the cold. Touchett to decide on going to America. I think it was a most extraordinary time for Mrs.’ Isabel had listened eagerly. though I thought it all rubbish. An hour 681 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady sea. but he said he hated the sea and wished to stop at Rome. the idea of our reaching Rome-he’s very fond of Rome. After that. On the contrary.

‘Let alone that I wanted to see you myself. on the contrary. he told me he was very tired. I didn’t decide to till after we had separated. It occurred to me to come in and tell you he’s here. ‘I don’t understand Ralph’s plan. and let you know you had perhaps better not wait for him to call. the thick walls were his only company. I didn’t tell him I was coming here.’ said Lord Warburton. Then I remembered he had told me you had an evening.’ she said. by 682 of 1056 .’ her visitor gallantly added.’ There was no need of Isabel’s declaring that she would act upon Lord Warburton’s information.’ ‘You went to see him. I had nothing to do. ‘I was glad to think of him between those thick walls at Gardencourt. you’ve been extremely kind.’ ‘Oh dear. and I’m perpetually seeing your name in the Times. it seems to me very wild. she looked. and that it was this very Thursday. that you’re doing great things. like a winged creature held back.The Portrait of a Lady ago. when I bade him good-night.’ ‘He was completely alone there. as she sat there. Go to him in the morning. but very happy. which. Every one speaks of you as a great statesman. I think he said he hadn’t written to you. ‘We hear. that’s all I mean.

every sign of the brute. that she was to understand he had forgiven her and was incapable of the bad taste of making pointed allusions. that his reappearance at first menaced her with a new trouble. This was not a form of revenge.’ ‘I don’t feel nearly so wild. what is more to the point.’ Isabel had many questions to ask about Ralph. and he calls me the King of the Goths-says I have. She would see for herself on the morrow. of insistence. But she was now reassured. She perceived that after a little Lord Warburton would tire of that subject-he had a conception of other possible topics. He had been for her. but she abstained from asking them all. She was more and more able to say to herself that he had recovered. she had no suspicion of his wishing 683 of 1056 . So you see there’s life in him yet. Touchett and I have kept up a sort of parliamentary debate all the way from London. she was able to say it without bitterness. down to the details of my personal appearance. you know the world has come round to me.The Portrait of a Lady the way. of old. such an image of urgency. I tell him he’s the last of the Tories. she could see he only wished to live with her on good terms. of something to be resisted and reasoned with. and. doesn’t appear to hold it in reverence. You’re apparently as wild a radical as ever. of course.

as he looked about him. in which sentimental wounds could never fester. Lord Warburton of course spoke of the past. like a person amused. at a provincial entertainment. suddenly. She gave an envious thought to the happier lot of men. It was the resignation of a healthy. He had not written to her at the time of that passage in her history. intimate friends. Osmond’s acquaintance-since he could hardly be said to have made it on the other occasion. he even went so far as to allude to their former meeting in Rome as a very jolly time. after a short pause which he had occupied in smiling. It was very much as an intimate friend that he said to her.The Portrait of a Lady to punish her by an exhibition of disillusionment. who are always free to plunge into the healing waters of action. but he didn’t apologize to her for this. she had known they would. by some innocent game of guesses 684 of 1056 . but he spoke of it without implications. British politics had cured him. manly nature. The only thing he implied was that they were old friends. she did him the justice to believe it had simply occurred to him that she would now take a good-natured interest in knowing he was resigned. And he told her he had been immensely interested in hearing of her marriage and that it was a great pleasure for him to make Mr.

the tone of his remark struck her almost as the accent of comedy.’ ‘He must be very clever. however.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I enjoy things when they’re done. it was nothing when we came. I suppose you’re very happy and all that sort of thing?’ Isabel answered with a quick laugh. I’m very happy. ‘Do you suppose if I were not I’d tell you?’ ‘Well. But that’s not my merit-it’s my husband’s. but I’ve no ideas.’ ‘You’ve got an awfully good house. ‘There’s a great rage for that sort of thing now. I don’t see why not. it’s very pleasant.’ ‘He has a genius for upholstery.’ ‘That’s a good thing to know. I shall propose to you something.The Portrait of a Lady -"Well now. Fortunately. I don’t know.’ ‘You mean he has arranged it?’ ‘Yes.’ 685 of 1056 .’ ‘Do you mean you accept what others propose?’ ‘Very willingly.’ said Isabel. But you must have a taste of your own. I can never propose anything.’ ‘I do then. for the most part.

‘You seem to me. She has a charming face.The Portrait of a Lady ‘It will be very kind. please don’t.’ he added more simply. ‘It affects most people more than it has affected you. ‘Do you know I was wrong just now in saying you had changed?’ he presently went on.’ He ceased to look at her. with a pang perhaps too visible. very soon. rising-after which she reflected. Unless it be to that young lady in the blue dress. that I’ve in a few small ways a certain initiative. What a dear little maid! ‘You must make her acquaintance. however.’ ‘In a moment-with pleasure. I like looking at her from here. very much the same. ‘It ought to be very easy. But I do want to marry. I must say. your husband. Osmond. I prefer sitting here. You see I haven’t gone in for that.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘And yet I find it a great change to be married.’ said Isabel with mild gaiety. that she was 686 of 1056 . I should like for instance to introduce you to some of these people. after all. his eyes constantly reverted to Mrs. however. Mrs.’ ‘Lucky man.’ ‘The one talking to the rosy young man? That’s my husband’s daughter.’ Isabel said.’ ‘You ought to understand it. Osmond.’ ‘It rather surprises me.

‘He’s an English lord. How can a young girl do that? But I mean what I say to you. ‘I don’t know more. view. The English are so fond of tea.’ ‘I wonder if he’ll have some tea. He pretended at first to talk to her about trifles.’ said Pansy. Download the free trial version. hardly the person to say this.’ ‘It has just been filled. the servants never know!’-she sighed with the weight of her responsibility. ‘They won’t hear if you continue to look that way.’ said Rosier.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create.’ ‘Never mind that.’ 687 of 1056 . as if your only thought in life was the wish the kettle would boil. It was perhaps because Lord Warburton divined the pang that he generously forbore to call her attention to her not having contributed then to the facility. and she asked him who was the new gentleman conversing with her stepmother. I’ve something particular to say to you.’ ‘Don’t speak so loud-every one will hear. and edit PDF. Edward Rosier had meanwhile seated himself on an ottoman beside Pansy’s tea-table. ‘Do you know what your father said to me just now? That you didn’t mean what you said a week ago.’ ‘I don’t mean everything I say.

’ said Pansy. ‘Please don’t talk any more. vague eyes.’ ‘Ah no. gazing into this vessel for a moment. and I told him everything.’ 688 of 1056 .’ ‘You needn’t mind that. Papa has been terribly severe. raising her sweet. ‘Then everything’s just the very same?’ ‘Ah no.’ ‘What good will that do me?’ ‘Ah. and whom you pretend to love?’ She raised the lid of the tea-pot.The Portrait of a Lady ‘He told me you had forgotten me.’ ‘What has he done to you?’ ‘He asked me what you had done to me. Then he forbade me to marry you. then she dropped six words into its aromatic depths. ‘I love you just as much.’ groaned poor Rosier. I don’t forget.’ ‘You disappoint me. showing her pretty teeth in a fixed smile.’ ‘Is this to be all my satisfaction?’ ‘Papa said I was not to talk with you. I must indeed. ‘I don’t know that.’ ‘Oh yes. I can’t disobey papa. she handed a tea-cup to a servant.’ ‘Not for one who loves you as I do. She was silent a little.’ said Pansy. not the very same.

sat staring at the carpet. supporting it with a melancholy grace. ‘He’ll try and make you marry some one else. he was deeply disconcerted.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Do you sacrifice me like that? Ah.’ It was in this manner that she for the most part designated her stepmother. he dropped his head into his hands and. Osmond and she’ll help us.’ Rosier groaned. saw Pansy making a curtsey-it was still her little curtsey of the 689 of 1056 . Oblivious of the customs of good society. it’s too much! ‘I wish you’d wait a little. as he looked up. We must have patience.’ Pansy shook her little head.’ ‘I’ll never do that.’ said the girl in a voice just distinct enough to betray a quaver. ‘She won’t help us much. that’s an awful word. ‘Of course I’ll wait if you’ll give me hope. But you take my life away.’ ‘Ah. She’s afraid.’ ‘I’ll not give you up-oh no!’ Pansy went on. ‘She’s not afraid of any one.’ ‘Afraid of what?’ ‘Of your father. Presently he became aware of a good deal of movement about him and.’ ‘What then are we to wait for?’ She hesitated again. I suppose. ‘I’ll speak to Mrs.

690 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady convent-to the English lord whom Mrs. Osmond had introduced.

she believed she didn’t care. as we know. But whether or no the event 691 of 1056 . she never would forgive him: that was all he had gained. She had not forgiven him. but it had come dangerously near to spoiling a friendship. and after this had held his peace. That discussion had made a difference-the difference he feared rather than the one he hoped. No reference was ever again made between them to Ralph’s opinion of Gilbert Osmond. He had uttered his thought. as Ralph often said to himself-there was a difference. and by surrounding this topic with a sacred silence they managed to preserve a semblance of reciprocal frankness. It had not chilled the girl’s zeal in carrying out her engagement. But there was a difference.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 19 It will probably not surprise the reflective reader that Ralph Touchett should have seen less of his cousin since her marriage than he had done before that event of which he took such a view as could hardly prove a confirmation of intimacy. and as she was both very generous and very proud these convictions represented a certain reality. She thought she had forgiven him. Isabel not having invited him to resume a discussion which marked an era in their relations.

The 692 of 1056 . and if his meditations appear morbid we must remember he was not in the bloom of health. and was present at the ceremony by which Isabel was united to Mr. and the wrong was of the sort that women remember best. Osmond. in spite of Osmond’s professed willingness to make a journey of any length. during the year that followed his cousin’s marriage. and if on the other hand his warning should be justified the vow she had taken that he should never know it would lay upon her spirit such a burden as to make her hate him. and which was performed in Florence in the month of June. she would have nothing but contempt for the man who had attempted. to undermine a blessing so dear. So dismal had been. Ralph’s prevision of the future. As Osmond’s wife she could never again be his friend. He consoled himself as he might by behaving (as he deemed) beautifully. If in this character she should enjoy the felicity she expected. in advance.The Portrait of a Lady should justify him he would virtually have done her a wrong. but that as simplicity was what she chiefly desired to secure she had finally decided. that this characteristic would be best embodied in their being married by the nearest clergyman in the shortest time. He learned from his mother that Isabel at first had thought of celebrating her nuptials in her native land.

as her departure from America. had she been able to cross the Atlantic. who was chiefly the subject of it. less gracious than Madame Merle’s. on a very hot day. had written a gracious letter of excuses. in the presence only of Mrs. was in fact frustrated by the duties of her profession. had protested so sharply that Henrietta was obliged to declare to Isabel that she had taken a step which put a barrier between them. intimating that. in Paris. ‘It isn’t in the least that you’ve married-it is that you have married him. Madame Merle had been invited. Henrietta Stackpole had not been invited. who was unable to leave Rome. Touchett and her son. That severity in the proceedings of which I just spoke was in part the result of the absence of two persons who might have been looked for on the occasion and who would have lent it a certain richness.’ she had deemed it her duty to remark. it will be seen. but she had sent a letter. but Madame Merle.The Portrait of a Lady thing was done therefore at the little American chapel. she would have been present not only as a witness but as a critic. agreeing. and she had effected a meeting with Isabel in the autumn. Her return to Europe had taken place somewhat later. Poor Osmond. of Pansy Osmond and the Countess Gemini. much 693 of 1056 . announced to Isabel by Mr. when she had indulged-perhaps a trifle too freely-her critical genius. Goodwood.

he couldn’t imagine what they had in common. Henrietta’s second visit to Europe. though she had few of his hesitations and compunctions. however. Against this 694 of 1056 . and Isabel had answered that it seemed to her he took Henrietta too hard. Henrietta’s letters from Spain had proved the most acceptable she had yet published. Bantling’s fellow tourist was simply the most vulgar of women. or of the funny-which would be his sense of humour. Bantling had appeared upon the scene and proposed that they should take a run down to Spain. Isabel had been secretly disappointed at her husband’s not seeing his way simply to take the poor girl for funny. She even wondered if his sense of fun. Of course she herself looked at the matter as a person whose present happiness had nothing to grudge to Henrietta’s violated conscience. and he had also pronounced her the most abandoned. the good Mr.’ which generally passed for her masterpiece.The Portrait of a Lady more with Ralph Touchett than she suspected. For him. and there had been one in especial. Mr. for just at the moment when Osmond had declared to Isabel that he really must object to that newspaper-woman. wouldn’t it?-were by chance defective. dated from the Alhambra and entitled ‘Moors and Moonlight. Osmond had thought their alliance a kind of monstrosity. was not apparently to have been made in vain.

Ralph had seen nothing of her for the greater part of the two years that had followed her marriage. ‘Why then don’t you make the acquaintance of your washerwoman?’ Osmond had enquired. but her letters told him nothing he wanted to know. She had written to him from time to time. the winter that formed the beginning of her residence in Rome he had spent again at San Remo. Ralph had taken a lease of his house at San Remo. to which Isabel had answered that she was afraid her washerwoman wouldn’t care for her. Now Henrietta cared so much. where he had been joined in the spring by his mother. to see what they were doing at the bankan operation she couldn’t induce him to perform. Isabel could explain it only by saying that she liked to know people who were as different as possible from herself. He had asked his mother what she was making of 695 of 1056 . but late in the month of April of this second year he had come down to Rome.The Portrait of a Lady latter clause of the verdict Isabel had appealed with an ardour that had made him wonder afresh at the oddity of some of his wife’s tastes. who afterwards had gone with him to England. a small villa which he had occupied still another winter. It was the first time since her marriage that he had stood face to face with Isabel. his desire to see her again was then of the keenest.

Touchett and showing no symptom of 696 of 1056 . for several years with Mrs. which she was sure was a very lame business. and who had performed the miracle of living. and his mother had simply answered that she supposed she was making the best of it. Touchett still remained of the opinion that her marriage had been a shabby affair. doing her best always to minimize the contact. but Mrs. This young woman appeared to be living in a sufficiently honourable way. There was a more direct suggestion of Isabel in the person of Madame Merle. The Countess was less talked of in these days. she rubbed against the Countess Gemini. that she had played too ingenious a part. Isabel’s aunt had told her. and Madame Merle. Mrs. but Mrs. and the Countess reminded her of Osmond. without circumlocution. who appeared to think no one worth it. and she now pretended to no intimacy with her niece. but Madame Merle’s relations with Mrs. who made her think of Isabel. It had given her no pleasure to think of Isabel’s establishment. whom she rarely encountered. From time to time. Touchett had undergone a perceptible change. in Florence. who never quarrelled with any one.The Portrait of a Lady her life. Touchett augured no good of that: it only proved how she had been talked of before. Touchett had not the imagination that communes with the unseen. more or less.

he was boring himself to death on his hill-top and he came merely for amusement). there are some things that can’t be forgiven. however (without stooping). Mrs. Madame Merle accepted the event-she was unprepared to think of it as a scandal. that she saw Isabel was not eager to marry and Osmond not eager to please (his repeated visits had been nothing. but that she had played any part in it. chosen to pass many months in England. She added. that Madame Merle had. But Madame Merle suffered in silence. Touchett’s attitude. after this. double or single. and her journey to Greece and Egypt had effectually thrown dust in her companion’s eyes. that she had believed only what she saw. 697 of 1056 . Isabel had kept her sentiments to herself. It was doubtless in consequence of Mrs. Touchett had done her a wrong. where her credit was quite unimpaired. was an imputation against which she proudly protested. there was always something exquisite in her dignity. that her behaviour had been only too simple. and of the injury it offered to habits consecrated by many charming seasons.The Portrait of a Lady irritation-Madame Merle now took a very high tone and declared that this was an accusation from which she couldn’t stoop to defend herself.

that was a sorrow. as Ralph phrased it. His true line would have been to profess delight in her union.The Portrait of a Lady Ralph. she might have the pleasure of saying to him that he had been a goose. the bottom should fall out of it. it was even an advertisement. he should learn nothing. she neither taunted him with his fallacies nor pretended that her own confidence was justified. had wished to see for himself. It belonged to the past. it had occurred six months before and she had already laid aside the tokens of mourning. moreover. this was not an expression. There was something fixed and mechanical in the serenity painted on it. however. He had played the wrong card. She had lost her child.’ He observed that she produced the impression 698 of 1056 . so that later. At present. for him she would always wear a mask. if she wore a mask it completely covered her face. and now he had lost the game. when. as I say. there was more to say about it than she could say to Ralph. but it was a sorrow she scarcely spoke of. Ralph said-it was a representation. She appeared to be leading the life of the world. He would gladly have consented to pass for a goose in order to know Isabel’s real situation. but while engaged in this pursuit he had yet felt afresh what a fool he had been to put the girl on her guard. Ralph heard her spoken of as having a ‘charming position. He should see nothing.

to see people who were talked about. to make acquaintances. nothing even to admire. view. but you needed to be a member of her circle to perceive it. which took him by surprise: it seemed to him that she even spoke faster. an eagerness to be entertained. for there was nothing to gape at. Download the free trial version. Osmond. and edit PDF. to explore the neighbourhood of Rome. to be a privilege even to know her. recognized the hand of the master.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. that it was supposed. nothing to criticize. and she had an evening in the week to which people were not invited as a matter of course. and Mrs. of fatigue. She lived with a certain magnificence. to enter into relation with certain of the mustiest relics of its old society. Her house was not open to every one. In all this there was much less discrimination than in that desire for comprehensiveness of development on which he had been used to exercise his wit. She struck him as having a great love of movement. even to be bored. than before her marriage. of late hours. of gaiety. to be interested. in the daily proceedings of Mr. of being peculiarly enviable. Ralph. for he knew that Isabel had no faculty for producing studied impressions. among many people. There was a kind of violence in some of her impulses. Certainly she had fallen 699 of 1056 . in all this. moved faster. of long rides. of crudity in some of her experiments. breathed faster.

she appeared now to think there was nothing worth people’s either differing about or agreeing upon. what a function!’ he then woefully exclaimed. The free. her intelligent head sustained a majesty of ornament. and yet in spite of her indifference her activity was greater than ever. Poor human-hearted Isabel. He was lost in wonder at the mystery of things. Of old she had been curious. she had gained no great maturity of aspect. 700 of 1056 . and now she was indifferent. and whereas of old she had a great delight in good-humoured argument. what perversity had bitten her? Her light step drew a mas of drapery behind it. ‘Good heavens. What did Isabel represent? Ralph asked himself. keen girl had become quite another person. but lovelier than before. Slender still.The Portrait of a Lady into exaggerations-she who used to care so much for the pure truth. yet there was an amplitude and a brilliancy in her personal arrangements that gave a touch of insolence to her beauty. what he saw was the fine lady who was supposed to represent something. in intellectual play (she never looked so charming as when in the genial heat of discussion she received a crushing blow full in the face and brushed it away as a feather). and he could only answer by saying that she represented Gilbert Osmond.

He saw how he kept all things within limits. ‘it’s rich abundance compared with his former resources.’ Ralph was a clever man. animated their manner of life.The Portrait of a Lady He recognized Osmond. Everything he did was pose-pose so subtly considered that 701 of 1056 . and the world was so stupid it never suspected the trick. as I say. and his effects were deeply calculated. but Ralph had never-to his own sense-been so clever as when he observed. He always had an eye to effect. Far from being its master as he pretended to be. he was its very humble servant. to tantalize society with a sense of exclusion. regulated. To surround his interior with a sort of invidious sanctity. and the degree of its attention was his only measure of success. in petto. he recognized him at every turn. He lived with his eye on it from morning till night. to impart to the face that he presented to the world a cold originality-this was the ingenious effort of the personage to whom Isabel had attributed a superior morality.’ Ralph said to himself. ‘He works with superior material. to make people believe his house was different from every other. but the motive was as vulgar as the art was great. that under the guise of caring only for intrinsic values Osmond lived exclusively for the world. how he adjusted. at last he had material to work with. They were produced by no vulgar means. Osmond was in his element.

Ralph had never met a man who lived so much in the land of consideration. but to please himself by exciting the world’s curiosity and then declining to satisfy it. His life on his hilltop at Florence had been the conscious attitude of years. his bad manners. His ambition was not to please the world. his good manners. His tastes. though in this case indeed the gullible world was in a manner embodied in poor Isabel. to play the world a trick. were all for a purpose. his love for his daughter. and as he had suffered for it he could not in honour forsake it. were so many features of a mental image constantly present to him as a model of impertinence and mystification. Ralph of course found a fitness in being consistent. his collections. It had made him feel great. ever. his accomplishments. The thing he had done in his life most directly to please himself was his marrying Miss Archer. I give this little sketch of its articles for what they may at the time have been worth. who had been mystified to the top of her bent. he had embraced a creed. his studies. It was certain that he was very skilful in fitting the facts to his theory-even the fact that during the month he spent in Rome at this period the husband of the 702 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady if one were not on the lookout one mistook it for impulse. his ennui. His solitude.

He addressed him.The Portrait of a Lady woman he loved appeared to regard him not in the least as an enemy. asked about his health. He was not jealous-he had not that excuse. on the few occasions of their meeting. he had taken himself off. Ralph had had. For Gilbert Osmond Ralph had not now that importance. It was not that he had the importance of a friend. She had decided that it was his 703 of 1056 . For all this. Touchett. toward the end. so when his suspicion had become sharp. But he made Isabel pay for her old-time kindness. it was rather that he had none at all. no one could be jealous of Ralph. Touchett. whether he were comfortable at his hotel. He was Isabel’s cousin and he was rather unpleasantly ill-it was on this basis that Osmond treated with him. but his manner had always the urbanity proper to conscious success in the presence of conscious failure. of which so much was still left. a sharp inward vision of Osmond’s making it of small ease to his wife that she should continue to receive Mr. not a word that was not necessary. He made the proper enquiries. about Mrs. about his opinion of winter climates. and as Ralph had no idea of her paying too much. In doing so he had deprived Isabel of a very interesting occupation: she had been constantly wondering what fine principle was keeping him alive.

not scrupled to embark for a distant land. and the reader may therefore be given the key to the mystery. it had kept him going some eighteen months more. had not his talk been highly contemplative. Touchett. he couldn’t make up his mind to lose that. He had given up walking. and was so dependent on what you would do for him that. What kept Ralph alive was simply the fact that he had not yet seen enough of the person in the world in whom he was most interested: he was not yet satisfied. It had given him indeed such an air of intending to live indefinitely that Mrs. you might have thought he was blind. as we have learned. If Ralph 704 of 1056 . unremunerative. There was more to come. This was only the first act of the drama.and unremunerated—son of hers than she had ever been before. He sat all day in a chair-almost any chair would serve. and he was determined to sit out the performance. his conversation had been better than ever. His determination had held good. till the time of his return to Rome with Lord Warburton. The reader already knows more about him than Isabel was ever to know. He wanted to see what she would make of her husband-or what her husband would make of her. though more accessible to confusions of thought in the matter of this strange. had. he was no longer a humorous stroller.The Portrait of a Lady love of conversation.

was lighting a cigar.The Portrait of a Lady had been kept alive by suspense it was with a good deal of the same emotion-the excitement of wondering in what state she should find him-that Isabel mounted to his apartment the day after Lord Warburton had notified her of his arrival in Rome. and Warburton. See how well I’ve been.’ ‘Rome won’t do for you. I guess I won’t go anywhere. and on their sending their carriage for him Ralph came more than once to Palazzo Roccanera. I’ll make it do.’ 705 of 1056 . Rome’s not warm enough. it was the first of several visits. ‘Won’t go to Sicily? Where then will you go?’ ‘Well. all shamelessly. I’ll stay in Rome.’ said Ralph. Gilbert Osmond called on him punctually. which he instantly removed from his lips. The two men had been dining together after a day spent by the latter in ranging about the Campagna. before the chimney. from the sofa. at the end of which Ralph announced to Lord Warburton that he thought after all he wouldn’t go to Sicily. A fortnight elapsed. She spent an hour with him. ‘Do you mean you’ll return to England?’ ‘Oh dear no.’ ‘It will have to do. They had left the table.

I recommend you to try Sicily. I haven’t a single cousin in Sicily-much less a married one. certainly. Osmond will bury me. But what does the doctor say?’ ‘I haven’t asked him. I can’t move further. and I don’t care a fig. As I’m here I’ll stay. ‘You’ve been better than you were on the journey. to the Plutonian shades. I’ve swallowed all climates. ‘Well. like Proserpine in the same locality. puffing a cigar and as if trying to see it. I can’t face that journey. If I die here Mrs. I wonder how you lived through that.’ ‘What the deuce then did you come for?’ his lordship enquired.’ ‘I hope not. I see it won’t do. ‘for myself I’m 706 of 1056 . I must say.’ he resumed.’ said poor Ralph. But I don’t understand your condition.The Portrait of a Lady Lord Warburton looked at him a while. Fancy me between Scylla and Charybdis! I don’t want to die on the Sicilian plains-to be snatched away. It really doesn’t matter where I am now.’ Lord Warburton continued to smoke reflectively.’ ‘I can’t try. ‘I’ve done trying. ‘Because the idea took me. I’ve exhausted all remedies.’ ‘Your cousin’s certainly an inducement. But I shall not die here.

‘You’re a very good Christian. I never expected you to come further than this.’ said Lord Warburton. I wanted to come abroad.’ ‘My dear Warburton. looking up.’ ‘And then you’d have gone to England. I had a horror of that journey.’ ‘Well.’ ‘No. no. ‘I say. I had no idea of dragging you in my train.’ 707 of 1056 .’ Ralph cried.’ ‘I certainly didn’t mean to let you go alone. Did you come with me quite-platonically?’ ‘I don’t know what you mean by that.’ he broke out.’ said Ralph.’ ‘Ah. he sat staring at the fire. vous m’en demandez trop! Let me put a question first. At last. You’re a very kind man. tell me this. I should have stayed. I don’t see where Sicily comes in!’ His companion was silent. ‘did you really mean to go to Sicily when we started?’ ‘Ah.The Portrait of a Lady very glad you don’t insist on Sicily.’ ‘Then I should have come back here. but for you it needn’t have mattered. ‘if that’s what we are both up to. ‘I should have gone with you and seen you settled.

’ said Ralph. they had kept the same half-diffident.’ ‘Yes. There was an old subject they had once discussed.’ his companion answered rather gravely. I remember you said you wished to see the Minister of Foreign Affairs. ‘I recommend you to get the doctor’s consent. halfconfident silence.’ ‘Speak for yourself. all the same.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I suspect we’ve each been playing our little game. where many things led back to it. after an interval. and they had travelled together from London to Rome without an allusion to matters that were uppermost in the mind of each. but it had lost its recognized place in their attention. He’s very amusing. and even after their arrival in Rome. abruptly.’ ‘I think you’ve forgotten what you came for.’ ‘I’ve seen him three times. ‘The doctor’s consent will spoil it.’ Lord Warburton went on.’ 708 of 1056 . I made no secret whatever of my desiring to be here a while. ‘Perhaps I have. These two were gentlemen of a race which is not distinguished by the absence of reserve. I never have it when I can help it.

and then I thought it my duty to disappear.’ ‘Then of course he’d make a row. Osmond think?’ Ralph’s friend demanded. ‘Is there so much already?’ ‘There’s complete preparation for it. ‘I’ve not told her. She’ll probably say that Rome’s too cold and even offer to go with me to Catania.’ said Ralph. But won’t he make a row if you stop here?’ ‘That’s what I want to see. But he saw something in his companion’s face that checked him.’ ‘My dear Touchett.’ ‘In your place I should like it. Now I think it’s my duty to stop and defend her. 709 of 1056 . Her going off with me would make the explosion.’ ‘I don’t want to make any more trouble between them.The Portrait of a Lady ‘What then does Mrs. Osmond isn’t fond of his wife’s cousin. She’s capable of that. They’re his affair. though it seems to me you’re not bound to mind his likings. He made one the last time I was in Rome.’ ‘Ah well.’ ‘Her husband won’t like it. your defensive powers-!’ Lord Warburton began with a smile. I can fancy that.

I don’t know. ‘Well.’ he observed instead. She has done itwhat she has done-and she knows it. in these premises.’ ‘Complained? She’ll never complain.’ ‘You’re sacrificing your health to your curiosity then?’ ‘I’m not much interested in my health. ‘I don’t know that.’ Ralph exclaimed. At any rate. This was one of the allusions he had not hitherto found occasion to make.’ 710 of 1056 . But not as I once was. She’s very careful. ‘It’s true my defensive powers are small.’ he added. ‘but as my aggressive ones are still smaller Osmond may after all not think me worth his gunpowder. Osmond.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Your duty. I’ve hardly thought.’ he returned at last. It seems to me I was rather the sort of person she might have complained to. she told you. seems to me rather a nice question.’ ‘So am I. emboldened by this confidence. smiling. ‘there are things I’m curious to see. and I’m deeply interested in Mrs. ‘Does she strike you as very happy?’ Ralph enquired. She’ll complain to you least of all.’ Lord Warburton added quickly.’ ‘Ah. of course. She told me the other night she was happy. Ralph for a short time answered nothing.

’ ‘I’m delighted to hear it. ‘Does that strike you as very ridiculous?’ ‘Ridiculous? Not in the least.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. ‘none!’ ‘Permit me to ask. ‘are you serious?’ ‘Perfectly serious-as far as I’ve got. Download the free trial version.’ ‘Of course there’s the difference in our ages-more than twenty years. looking at it hard. And. and edit PDF.’ Ralph went on. he got up and stood before the fire. There can be no doubt at least of your duty.’ 711 of 1056 .’ ‘She’s a charming creature.’ ‘My dear Warburton.’ said Ralph.’ ‘Ah no. ‘whether it’s to bring out the fact that you don’t mean to make love to her that you’re so very civil to the little girl?’ Lord Warburton gave a slight start. heaven help us. if you really like her. view.’ cried Ralph. ‘how cheered-up old Osmond will be!’ His companion frowned. don’t spoil it. Ah.’ said Lord Warburton gravely. ‘She needn’t be. ‘I say.’ ‘I think her a delightful little person. I don’t know when a girl of that age has pleased me more.’ ‘I’m very glad. I shouldn’t propose for his daughter to please him. she at least is genuine.’ ‘He’ll have the perversity to be pleased all the same. I don’t mean to make love to her again.

with me in such a case. I mean Mrs. that you’re very-very sure. ‘I hope.The Portrait of a Lady ‘He’s not so fond of me as that.’ Lord Warburton seemed scarcely in the mood for doing justice to general axioms-he was thinking of a special case.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Very true-very true. Osmond. ‘Do you judge she’ll be pleased?’ ‘The girl herself? Delighted. you know. ‘It’s an interesting question-how far her fondness for Pansy will carry her. ‘As that? My dear Warburton. Now.’ And Ralph slowly got up.’ ‘No. the drawback of your position is that people needn’t be fond of you at all to wish to be connected with you.’ He stood there a moment with his hands in his pockets and rather a clouded brow.’ ‘Well. ‘My dear fellow. no. The deuce!’ he broke off. it’s awkward. surely. what has she to do with it?’ ‘Whatever she chooses. I hope you’re sure that among Miss Osmond’s merits her being-a-so near her stepmother isn’t a leading one?’ 712 of 1056 .’ Ralph looked at him a moment. She’s very fond of Pansy.’ said his lordship. you do. you know how to say everything. ‘I don’t know how to say it. I should have the happy confidence that they loved me.

The Portrait of a Lady ‘Good heavens. ‘for what do you take me?’ 713 of 1056 . Touchett!’ cried Lord Warburton angrily.

a danger which Isabel at one period had been much inclined to deplore. She had made numerous visits to distant friends and gave countenance to the idea that for the future she should be a less inveterate Roman than in the past. it was a pleasure to see a character so completely equipped for the social battle. at another she had passed a portion of a winter in Paris. She carried her flag discreetly. there was still much wonder of admiration in it. As she had been inveterate in the past only in the sense of constantly having an apartment in one of the sunniest niches of the Pincian—an apartment which often stood empty-this suggested a prospect of almost constant absence.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 20 Isabel had not seen much of Madame Merle since her marriage. never overcome with disgust. this lady having indulged in frequent absences from Rome. At one time she had spent six months in England. She was never weary. That personage was armed at all points. she never 714 of 1056 . Familiarity had modified in some degree her first impression of Madame Merle. but her weapons were polished steel. but it had not essentially altered it. and she used them with a skill which struck Isabel as more and more that of a veteran.

As a younger person she had been used to proceed from one little exaltation to the other: there were scarcely any dull places between.The Portrait of a Lady appeared to need rest or consolation. But her will was mistress of her life. She had become aware more than before of the advantage of being like that-of having made one’s self a firm surface. a sort of corselet of silver. There were hours when Isabel would have given anything for lessons in this art. she fell in love now-a-days with nothing. there were days when the world looked black and she asked herself with some sharpness what it was that she was pretending to live for. who knew also that under an appearance of extreme self-control her highly-cultivated friend concealed a rich sensibility. 715 of 1056 . Her old habit had been to live by enthusiasm. if her brilliant friend had been near she would have made an appeal to her. to fall in love with suddenly-perceived possibilities. she had of old exposed a great many of them to Isabel. became acquainted with revulsions. as she herself grew older. with disgusts. It was as if she had learned the secret of it-as if the art of life were some clever trick she had guessed. with the idea of some new adventure. But Madame Merle had suppressed enthusiasm. there was something gallant in the way she kept going. She had her own ideas. Isabel. she lived entirely by reason and by wisdom.

It was not at present to Madame Merle that she would have applied for instruction. determined for the fiftieth time to brush aside her own. to forcing the note-was apt. If she had troubles she must keep them to herself. it was not till the winter during which we lately renewed acquaintance with our heroine that the personage in question made again a continuous stay in Rome. Isabel now saw more of her than she had done since her marriage. we know. had been of the opinion that she was prone to exaggeration. and if life was difficult it would not make it easier to confess herself beaten. Madame Merle was doubtless of great use to herself and an ornament to any circle. on the renewal of an intercourse which had virtually been interrupted. as I say. was almost detached-pushing to the extreme a certain rather artificial fear of being indiscreet. to be as firm and bright as she. and Isabel. but by this time Isabel’s needs and inclinations had considerably changed. but was she-would she be-of use to others in periods of refined embarrassment? The best way to profit by her friend-this indeed Isabel had always thought-was to imitate her. that her old ally was different. considering this fact. She recognized no embarrassments. Ralph Touchett. It seemed to her too.The Portrait of a Lady But. in the 716 of 1056 . she had lost the desire to know this lady’s clever trick.

was always ‘quiet. always bore the stamp of good taste. that she had now other interests. she had a dread of seeming to meddle. even if my intention should have been of the purest.’ she said. I must not forget that I knew your husband long before you did. That of course was not the best taste. You would be right to be offended. offend you. I know that perfectly. ‘I must be on my guard. to overdo it.The Portrait of a Lady vulgar phrase. to her perception. had known Gilbert Osmond and his little Pansy very well. Madame Merle was as candid as we know. I must not let that betray me. she never spoke of their affairs till she was asked.’ But in this matter of not wishing to intrude upon the inner life of the Osmond family it at last occurred to our young woman that she overdid a little. ‘I might so easily. even pressed when her opinion was wanted. better almost than any one. She was on her guard. But neither am I. A little harm’s 717 of 1056 . You’re not a silly woman. Isabel had never admitted this charge-had never indeed quite understood it. If you were a silly woman you might be jealous. that was rather violent. Madame Merle’s conduct. Madame Merle. she was not after all of the inner circle. without suspecting it. She remembered too much that Isabel was married. therefore I’m determined not to get into trouble. that though she. and one day she candidly expressed this dread to Isabel.

so it isn’t likely I shall begin to-day. you’d simply say I was forgetting certain differences. providence. one doesn’t suspect one’s friends of injustice. and nothing to prevent. I don’t suspect you. but I suspect human nature. All I wish to say is. I’m not always watching myself. fortune. you wouldn’t make that reflection. my dear. of the eternal mystery of 718 of 1056 . a mistake’s made before one knows it. We know how she had at first received it. Certainly a good friend isn’t always thinking of that. It certainly wouldn’t be your husband’s. however.The Portrait of a Lady very soon done. in the least. But if I were to annoy you by seeming to take a place that doesn’t belong to me.’ Isabel had had three years to think over Mrs. I think I sufficiently prove it in talking to you as I do now. Touchett’s theory that Madame Merle had made Gilbert Osmond’s marriage. that if you were to be jealous-that’s the form it would take-I should be sure to think it was a little my fault. when I’m so much less attractive than I was. I’m determined not to forget them. Madame Merle might have made Gilbert Osmond’s marriage. Of course if I had wished to make love to your husband I had ten years to do it in. but she certainly had not made Isabel Archer’s. Don’t think I make myself uncomfortable. That was the work of-Isabel scarcely knew what: of nature.

after her little discussion with her aunt and at a time when she was still capable of that large inward reference. It was true her aunt’s complaint had been not so much of Madame Merle’s activity as of her duplicity: she had brought about the strange event and then she had denied her guilt. she couldn’t make a crime of Madame Merle’s having been the producing cause of the most important friendship she had ever formed. ‘She thinks a great deal of you. to her scant young annals.’ ‘I’ll tell you once for all. he seldom consented to finger. After their union Isabel discovered that her husband took a less convenient view of the matter. With her. she had never concealed her high opinion of Gilbert Osmond. and I’m rather ashamed of it. this roundest and smoothest bead of their social rosary. She’s so almost unnaturally 719 of 1056 . ‘Don’t you like Madame Merle?’ Isabel had once said to him. in talk. I’m tired of her. This had occurred to her just before her marriage. If Madame Merle had desired her change of state she could only say it had been a very happy thought. to Isabel’s mind. moreover.The Portrait of a Lady things.’ Osmond had answered. she had been perfectly straightforward. ‘I liked her once better than I do to-day. Such guilt would not have been great. the tone almost of the philosophic historian.

The fact of Madame Merle’s having had a hand in Gilbert Osmond’s marriage ceased to be one of her titles to consideration. eventually. it seems to bring her back.The Portrait of a Lady good! I’m glad she’s not in Italy. But meantime. That reflection indeed was instantly stifled. Don’t talk of her too much. to recover whatever advantage she might have lost. they bloom as thick as buttercups in June. that there was not so much to thank her for. As time went on there was less and less. A dissatisfied mind. She’ll come back in plenty of time. but it was much less satisfying. as I have said. I mean. in fact.’ she said. she was sensibly different.’ Madame Merle. ‘Whatever happens to me let me not be unjust. had come back before it was too late-too late. it makes for relaxationfor a sort of moral detente. is rarely in want of reasons. it might have been written. ‘Let me bear my burdens myself and not shift them upon others!’ This disposition was tested. Isabel’s feelings were also not quite the same. and Isabel once said to herself that perhaps without her these things would not have been. if. Her consciousness of the situation was as acute as of old. whatever else it may miss. she knew an immediate horror at having made it. by that ingenious apology for her present conduct which Madame Merle 720 of 1056 . after all.

they might have been summed up in the determination that if she was to be unhappy it should not be by a fault of her own. but at no period had they flourished (in the privacy of her heart) more richly than to-day. It is true that they all had a family likeness. She almost wished jealousy had been possible. jealous of her-jealous of her with Gilbert? The idea just then suggested no near reality. however. was wise. it would have made in a manner for refreshment. a complication of fears. In Isabel’s mind to-day there was nothing clear. who had just made the statements I have quoted: Madame Merle knew so little what she was thinking of! She was herself moreover so unable to explain. Wasn’t it in a manner one of the symptoms of happiness? Madame Merle. and it had not as 721 of 1056 . She felt helpless as she turned away from her friend. for there was something irritating-there was almost an air of mockery-in her neat discriminations and clear convictions. Her poor winged spirit had always had a great desire to do its best.The Portrait of a Lady saw fit to make and of which I have given a sketch. there was a confusion of regrets. so wise that she might have been pretending to know Isabel better than Isabel knew herself. This young woman had always been fertile in resolutions-many of them of an elevated character.

It was not only a part of her general determination to be just that she was at present very thankful for Pansy-it was also a part of her tenderness for things that were pure and weak. It wished. with the highest grandeur! to accept it. In this vow of reticence there was a certain nobleness which kept Isabel going. especially when it was to last for ever. 722 of 1056 . A girl in love was doubtless not a free agent. if ever a girl was a free agent she had been. she had looked and considered and chosen. When a woman had made such a mistake. One day about a month after Ralph Touchett’s arrival in Rome Isabel came back from a walk with Pansy. for all that. in taking her precautions. therefore. there was only one way to repair it-just immensely (oh. It might feed her sense of bitterness. One folly was enough. to hold fast to justice-not to pay itself by petty revenges. There had been no plot. It was impossible to pretend that she had not acted with her eyes open. but Madame Merle had been right.The Portrait of a Lady yet been seriously discouraged. a second one would not much set it off. but it would not loosen her bonds. To associate Madame Merle with its disappointment would be a petty revenge-especially as the pleasure to be derived from that would be perfectly insincere. no snare. but the sole source of her mistake had been within herself.

Pansy was dear to her. for she now perceived that Pansy’s ambiguities were simply her own grossness of vision.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. On her own side her sense of the girl’s dependence was more than a pleasure. in general. it operated as a definite reason when motives threatened to fail her. on Pansy’s part it was more than an affection-it was a kind of ardent coercive faith. Download the free trial version. and there was nothing else in her life that had the rightness of the young creature’s attachment or the sweetness of her own clearness about it. it seemed to say that here was an opportunity. She had been unable to believe any one could care so much-so extraordinarily much-to please. She had said to herself that we must take our duty where we find it. Pansy’s sympathy was a direct admonition. It was the whole creature-it was a sort of genius. Pansy had no pride to interfere with it. It was like a soft presence-like a small hand in her own. But since then she had seen this delicate faculty in operation. and though she was constantly 723 of 1056 . and edit PDF. but unmistakeable. to remember that her little companion had once been ambiguous. and now she knew what to think of it. in these days. and that we must look for it as much as possible. to be more for the child than the child was able to be for herself. not eminent perhaps. view. Isabel could have smiled. Yet an opportunity for what Isabel could hardly have said.

it had the effect of one’s carrying a nosegay composed all of the same flower. The two were constantly together. The young girl had every appearance of being happier in Isabel’s society than in that of any one save her father. he had always been luxuriously mild. She never interrupted. Isabel liked her company. never asked social questions. And then not to neglect Pansy. not under any provocation to neglect her-this she had made an article of religion. and consisted in not giving her trouble-a conviction which certainly could have had no reference to trouble already existing. never held out her hand for it. Isabel knew how Pansy liked to be with her and how she studied the means of pleasing her. to the point of turning pale when it came to her. whom she admired with an intensity justified by the fact that. She was therefore ingeniously passive and almost imaginatively docile. Mrs. Osmond was rarely seen without her stepdaughter. she was careful even to moderate the eagerness with which she assented to Isabel’s propositions and which might have implied that she could have thought otherwise. as paternity was an exquisite pleasure to Gilbert Osmond. She had decided that the best way of pleasing her was negative.The Portrait of a Lady extending her conquests she took no credit for them. and though she delighted in approbation. She only looked 724 of 1056 .

the dulness of dinners. for she knew her little companion had a passionate pleasure in this exercise. appreciative posture. as if she had been taken to drive for the first time. in this vehicle. at a reasonable hour. beside her stepmother. the awkward waiting for the carriage. During the day. who was fond of a walk and had a swift length of step. moreover. bending forward and faintly smiling. had no drawbacks for her. which even in the winter months is sprinkled with delicate flowers. On the day I speak of they had been driven out of one of the gates of the city and at the end of half an hour had left the carriage to await them by the roadside while they walked away over the short grass of the Campagna. When during the second winter at Palazzo Roccanera she began to go to parties. though not so swift a one as on her first coming to Europe. lest Mrs. as she grew older. was the first to propose departure. Isabel appreciated the sacrifice of the late dances. Society. to dances.The Portrait of a Lady toward it wistfully-an attitude which. This was almost a daily habit with Isabel. she liked even the tiresome parts-the heat of ball-rooms. taking her steps to the music like a conscientious fairy. the crush at the door. made her eyes the prettiest in the world. she sat in a small fixed. Osmond should be tired. she always. It was not 725 of 1056 .

paid a tribute to her preferences by making the circuit of the Pincian or the Villa Borghese. who afterwards. on their return to Rome. certainly. nothing unprecedented. She had gathered a handful of flowers in a sunny hollow. the second in order from the large ante-chamber which was entered from the staircase and in which even Gilbert Osmond’s rich devices had not been able to correct a look of rather grand nudity. for a minute they were unaware she had come in. was that their colloquy had for the moment 726 of 1056 . Isabel passed into the drawing-room. far from the walls of Rome. and she moved with a shorter undulation beside her father’s wife. The impression had. and Gilbert Osmond was talking to her. to put them into water. but she liked it. Madame Merle was there in her bonnet. just beyond the threshold of the drawing-room she stopped short. and on reaching Palazzo Roccanera she went straight to her room. but she felt it as something new.The Portrait of a Lady the form of exercise that Pansy loved best. and the soundlessness of her step gave her time to take in the scene before she interrupted it. because she liked everything. the one she herself usually occupied. or at least had not noticed. but what she had not seen. the reason for her doing so being that she had received an impression. in strictness. Isabel had often seen that before.

as usual. What struck Isabel first was that he was sitting while Madame Merle stood. face to face. thinking you would have come in. lasting only a moment. her husband. There was nothing to shock in this. like a sudden flicker of light. left the room. But it was all over by the time she had fairly seen it. they were old friends in fact. after having asked their visitor to excuse him. 727 of 1056 . but her eyes were bent on his. and as you hadn’t I waited for you. Her head was erect.’ Madame Merle said. But the thing made an image. on the other hand. Osmond was in a deep chair. Madame Merle was standing on the rug. He presently murmured something about wanting a walk and. Madame Merle had seen her and had welcomed her without moving. a little way from the fire. with the freedom of old friends who sometimes exchange ideas without uttering them. from which she instantly perceived that her entrance would startle them. had instantly jumped up.The Portrait of a Lady converted itself into a sort of familiar silence. struck her as something detected. ‘I came to see you. Their relative positions. leaning back and looking at her. Then she perceived that they had arrived at a desultory pause in their exchange of ideas and were musing. their absorbed mutual gaze. there was an anomaly in this that arrested her.

’ ‘You must stay now.’ ‘You look just now as if you didn’t believe it.’ ‘I’ve told you that before. it’s quite another affair.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Didn’t he ask you to sit down?’ Isabel asked with a smile. I was going away. ‘Ah.’ Isabel answered.’ ‘As often as you would let me.’ Isabel said-"that it takes something extraordinary to bring you to this house. then one has to let you alone.’ ‘And you know what I’ve told you. ‘Ah. that I’ve come to-day. it’s very true. You don’t always take it. ‘the profundity of your motives. you’ve told me that. I’ve come to get rid of a trouble of my 728 of 1056 . I’ve always the same motive-the affection I bear you. It’s not to do you a kindness. I came for a reason.’ ‘Certainly. I’ve something on my mind.’ Isabel shook her head gravely. ‘I know you’ve always been kind to me. Madame Merle looked about her. however. that whether I come or whether I stay away.’ ‘Yes.’ said Madame Merle. that’s the last thing I doubt!’ ‘You doubt sooner of the sincerity of my words.

He comes to see me ten times a week.’ ‘How should he know what I know? He has never spoken to me of the matter. I know very well.’ ‘He has succeeded in saddling me with it.’ ‘Yes. he wants to marry her.The Portrait of a Lady own-to make it over to you.’ ‘It’s nevertheless the sort of question in which he’s rarely at fault.’ ‘I’m surprised at that. ‘I gathered from your husband that perhaps you didn’t. To-day he doesn’t. But neither do you. he doesn’t like troubles. to talk about Pansy.’ ‘Yes. you must help me. I know all about it.’ ‘Ah. ‘it’s his trouble then.’ ‘Haven’t you been telling him?’ Isabel asked. At any rate. I suppose.’ ‘It’s probably because he doesn’t know how to speak of it. Rosier.’ ‘Especially other people’s. not yours. I’ve been talking to your husband about it.’ Madame Merle hesitated.’ said Isabel reflectively. It’s about poor Mr. 729 of 1056 . because as a general thing he knows perfectly well what to think. whether you do or not.

Rosier has also talked to me. Mr. I don’t know what mysterious connection he may have discovered between me and Pansy.The Portrait of a Lady Madame Merle gave a bright. You’re so near the child. you might say as well. Rosier’s not unlimited.’ ‘You can do more at least than I.’ ‘She ought to be all the easier for Mr.’ 730 of 1056 . but he came to me from the first.’ ‘He’s very much in love. voluntary smile.’ ‘I believe he thinks you can do more than you have done.’ said Isabel. Rosier to love. ‘Don’t you think she’s attractive?’ ‘The dearest little person possible-but very limited. as if I held his fortune in my hand. to know what hope there is. Mr. I wonder what he thinks.’ ‘Ah. ‘for all the comfort I’ve given him! If you think me dry. Now he keeps coming back.’ ‘In that there’s some reason. to spur me up.’ said Isabel.’ ‘I can do nothing. I can’t help it. ‘Do you know you’re a little dry?’ ‘Yes. ‘Very much-for him.’ Madame Merle dropped her eyes a moment.’ ‘Very much for Pansy. to pour out his feelings.

‘I don’t know.’ ‘Ah. very honest. that I wash my hands of the love-affairs of Miss Pansy and Mr. at any rate. you’re too literal!’ said Madame Merle.’ ‘To help me?’ said Isabel very seriously.The Portrait of a Lady ‘No. ‘He’s very kind.’ 731 of 1056 . as I notified Osmond. Don’t you see how wise I am to be careful? I notify you. Especially. ‘What do you mean?’ ‘It’s easy to displease you.’ ‘You’ve never sounded her a little?’ ‘It’s not my place. I’ve not asked her. ‘he has about the extent of one’s pocket-handkerchief-the small ones with lace borders.’ Madame Merle gave her smile again. but in a moment she was ashamed of exercising it on so innocent an object as Pansy’s suitor. Edward Rosier.’ said Madame Merle. ‘I must judge for myself.’ she presently added. ‘and he’s not such a fool as he seems. ‘It isn’t easy to help you. ‘as I don’t think him a paragon of husbands. Je n’y peux rien.’ ‘He assures me that she delights in him.’ Her humour had lately turned a good deal to sarcasm. it’s her father’s.’ added Madame Merle. moi! I can’t talk to Pansy about him.’ said Isabel.

and you’ll see. he has ceased to come to the house. and had evidently more to say. smiling.’ she answered. ‘Ask him the next time. she had given Isabel a look as rapid as the intimation that had gleamed before our heroine a few moments before. ‘I forgot that-though it’s the burden of his lamentation.’ ‘Ah yes. but she lingered. have said that his case isn’t desperate if he’ll only hold his tongue and be 732 of 1056 . if you’ve told him. Only this time the latter saw nothing.’ said Madame Merle. ‘Osmond doesn’t dislike him so much as he thinks.’ ‘I can’t ask him. with a smile.The Portrait of a Lady Isabel reflected a little. looking about her. ‘You don’t wash your hands then!’ she said. He says Osmond has insulted him. Gilbert has let him know that he’s not welcome.’ She had got up as if to close the conversation. ‘That must have pleased him. as far as that goes I’ve encouraged him. Isabel perceived this and even saw the point she had in view. After which again she added in another tone: ‘You can’t-you’re too much interested.’ she went on.’ Madame Merle slowly rose. All the same. after which. ‘Certainly I’ve told him. but Isabel also had her own reasons for not opening the way. I’ve preached patience.

Rosier keeps saying there’s nothing impossible in Lord Warburton’s falling in love with Pansy. is always here. who was tired. ‘Pardon me.’ Isabel.’ she returned at last. had remained sitting.’ Madame Merle went on. ‘you’ve had infinitely more observation of Lord Warburton’s behaviour than I. gravely and more gently. who. too. I forgot you had pointed that out. ‘It’s true-there’s nothing impossible. she turned away from the glass. ‘Poor Mr. moving slowly to the fireplace. Rosier. Isabel was silent a little.’ ‘Ask him and you’ll see. your husband thinks.’ ‘Jealous? ‘Jealous of Lord Warburton. Unfortunately he has taken it into his head to be jealous.The Portrait of a Lady quiet. but at this she also rose.’ said Isabel. So.’ ‘That I don’t know.’ Madame Merle added.’ 733 of 1056 . he says. ‘Ah!’ she exclaimed simply. Of course. Madame Merle observed her as she passed and while she stood a moment before the mantel-glass and pushed into its place a wandering tress of hair. ‘So I’ve had to admit to Mr.’ ‘I shall not ask him.

’ 734 of 1056 .’ ‘It would be very delightful. She gave the treacherous impulse time to subside and then said as if she had been thinking it over a little: ‘That would be better than marrying poor Mr. Rosier means?’ ‘I don’t know how Mr. precipitate. it almost burst from Madame Merle’s lips. ‘Likes her. It’s really very kind of him. Isabel’s eyes rested on her. you mean-Mr. I think. Rosier. it would be a great marriage. and the reflection brought the colour to her cheek. Lord Warburton has a tongue and knows how to express himself. Rosier means.’ ‘Very kind of him?’ ‘To drop his eyes on a simple little girl.’ Madame Merle instantly became conscious that she had spoken more quickly than usual. ‘I suppose he’ll know in time.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I see no reason why I shouldn’t tell you that he likes my stepdaughter very much.’ ‘Much better. but Lord Warburton has let me know that he’s charmed with Pansy.’ ‘And you’ve never told Osmond?’ This observation was immediate.’ Madame Merle gave one of her quick looks again.

view.’ ‘It’s very good of you. ‘I quite agree with you. you know. and I’m delighted to know that I’m not expected to feed his flame. And so she is. And so’s Lord Warburton. For the future. a moment ago I thought you seemed rather to disparage her. by an inconsequent request from Isabel. ‘All the same.’ And gathering her mantle together Madame Merle prepared to depart. and edit PDF.’ ‘After all. Rosier’s a nuisance!’ Isabel cried abruptly. ‘I don’t see that. and indeed she was justly bewildered.’ ‘Mr. when he calls on me.’ She lifted her shoulders and eyebrows and stood looking at her friend. if you come to that.’ ‘So are we all. ‘I don’t understand your contradictions! Decidedly I shan’t be kind to him. That will be too perverse. ‘Ah. She was checked. be kind to him. however. on her progress to the door.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. Download the free trial version. for it 735 of 1056 .’ ‘I said she was limited. If it’s no more than Pansy deserves. Pansy Osmond’s the most attractive person he has ever known!’ Isabel exclaimed. all the better. Pansy Osmond-. my door shall be closed to him. Rosier I won’t admit that she deserves it. But after all. But if she fixes her affections on Mr. Madame Merle stared.

’ Isabel had thought so too. But she didn’t admit it now-perhaps because she wished not to appear to exult in it. Not you-never!’ said Madame Merle. smiling.The Portrait of a Lady will be a false kindness. because she was greatly vexed and was full of the subject.’ ‘If I make him?’ ‘It’s quite in your power.’ Isabel frowned a little. I want to see her married to Lord Warburton. and sometimes with a certain satisfaction. ‘She let me know you had declined an offer of marriage from Lord Warburton. ‘if you make him. ‘You seem to have had an excellent informant in my aunt. ‘I certainly never told you anything of the sort. I’ve often thought so since. ‘Where did you learn that?’ ‘Mrs. But you really told me very little. Especially. Of course I think you’ve done 736 of 1056 . Touchett told me. You’ve great influence with him.’ said Madame Merle in a moment.’ ‘If what you say’s true. he’ll ask her.’ ‘You might have done far as opportunity went-when we were by way of being confidential with each other.’ ‘You had better wait till he asks her.’ she simply returned.

’ Isabel listened to this with a face that persisted in not reflecting the bright expressiveness of Madame Merle’s. But if you wouldn’t marry Lord Warburton yourself. 737 of 1056 . But in a moment she said. it could be arranged. embraced her more tenderly than might have been expected and triumphantly withdrew. who seemed to regard this as a speech of good omen.’ Upon which her companion. make him the reparation of helping him to marry some one else. reasonably and gently enough: ‘I should be very glad indeed if.The Portrait of a Lady better in doing as you did. as regards Pansy.

she wished him to talk with her stepdaughter. She pretended to read. on purpose. Madame Merle. said very little to him. They had spent the evening at home. she even went after a little to the piano. 738 of 1056 . though at first it had not presented itself in a manner to excite her enthusiasm. At ten o’clock Lord Warburton had come in. that afternoon. Isabel. When Isabel was unhappy she always looked about her-partly from impulse and partly by theory-for some form of positive exertion. he himself had been sitting since dinner in a small apartment in which he had arranged his books and which he called his study. had applied the match to an accumulation of inflammable material. after asking him for news of Ralph. as he always did when he knew from Isabel that she was to be at home. She had come little by little to think well of the idea of Pansy’s becoming the wife of the master of beautiful Lockleigh. she asked herself if she mightn’t leave the room. he was going somewhere else and he sat for half an hour. and Pansy had gone to bed. coming very late into the drawing-room. where she was sitting alone.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 41 Osmond touched on this matter that evening for the first time.

Isabel would have thought her too small. and if she could really amuse herself she perhaps might be saved. Besides. Then such an undertaking had other recommendations. It was a little ‘weird’ he should-being what he was. and she desired occupation. but there was no accounting for such impressions.The Portrait of a Lady She could never rid herself of the sense that unhappiness was a state of disease-of suffering as opposed to doing. perhaps in some degree a remedy. and with proof of it. It seemed to Isabel that if she could make it her duty to bring about such an event she should play the part of a good wife. To ‘do’-it hardly mattered what-would therefore be an escape. It would please him greatly to see Pansy married to an English nobleman. she wanted to be able to believe sincerely. who evidently pleased himself greatly with the charming girl. she was determined not to be haunted by visions of his wife’s limpness under appeal. and justly please him. too slight. It would even amuse her. There was 739 of 1056 . Lastly. perhaps even too artificial for that. she wished to convince herself that she had done everything possible to content her husband. Pansy might captivate any one-any one at least but Lord Warburton. It would occupy her. since this nobleman was so sound a character. She wanted to be that. it would be a service to Lord Warburton. that she had been that.

and nothing was more unaccountable or more natural than anything else. Still. Rosier the nicest of all the young men sure as if she had held an interview with her on the subject. It was a pity. and it was natural that. as I say. It was astonishing what happiness she could still find in the idea of procuring a pleasure for her husband. however. when she had carefully abstained from informing herself. Isabel was unfortunately as sure that Pansy thought Mr. he had completely got over it. but he had not cared for her so much as he had supposed. as that affair had failed. and that was not what he had been looking for.The Portrait of a Lady always a little of the doll about her. that Edward Rosier had crossed their path! At this reflection the light that had suddenly gleamed upon that path lost something of its brightness. had not come at first to Isabel. they knew what pleased them only when they saw it. Enthusiasm. 740 of 1056 . If he had cared for her it might seem odd he should care for Pansy. he should think something of quite another sort might succeed. Or if he had. who could say what men ever were looking for? They looked for what they found. It was very tiresome she should be so sure. almost as tiresome as that poor Mr. who was so different. No theory was valid in such matters. but it came to-day and made her feel almost happy.

she would cling. but it really mattered to her very little what she clung to. Isabel was perfectly aware that she had not taken the measure of Pansy’s tenacity. yes. It was not the difference in fortune so much as the difference in the men. He was much more of the type of the useless fine gentleman than the English nobleman. under suggestion. Rosier-especially as 741 of 1056 . than as clutching under deprecation-since she had certainly the faculty of assent developed in a very much higher degree than that of protest. that was his affair. Osmond had grown of a sudden strangely cynical. He was certainly very inferior to Lord Warburton. still. if a statesman admired her. and she would make a perfect little pearl of a peeress. Lord Warburton would do as well as Mr. It was true that there was no particular reason why Pansy should marry a statesman. but she inclined to see her as rather letting go. for she ended by saying to herself that this difficulty could probably be arranged. there were always means of levelling secondary obstacles. She would cling. which might prove to be inconveniently great.The Portrait of a Lady Rosier should have taken it into his own head. An impediment that was embodied in poor Rosier could not anyhow present itself as a dangerous one. It may seem to the reader that Mrs. the young American was really so light a weight.

later. but about the state of Italy. her acceptance of Osmond had been. she had expressed this sentiment to Isabel without a single reservation. and said to herself that if she had been as simple as Pansy the impression would have been deeper still. but quite as if she understood his subjects with that sufficiency with which she followed those of the fashionable operas. as she also observed that he talked to her not in the least in a patronizing way. in spite of her simplicity. she had said she thought his conversation most interesting-he had told her all about India. not about her partners and bouquets. the condition of the peasantry. reminding himself of her youth and simplicity. as she 742 of 1056 . His manner to Pansy had been of the rightest and easiest-Isabel noticed that for herself. She had not been simple when she refused him. She looked at him. she remembered how she herself had been touched. however. really did understand. and was glad that Lord Warburton should talk to her. Pansy. This went far enough for attention to the music and the barytone. He was careful only to be kind-he was as kind as he had been to another fluttered young chit at Gardencourt.The Portrait of a Lady she seemed quite to like him. A girl might well be touched by that. his impressions of Roman society. the pellagra. that operation had been as complicated as. the famous grist-tax.

Even his person. and when she lowered them she gave little quiet oblique glances at his person. his clothes. something held her and made this impossible. she had been on the point of taking the great step of going out of the room and leaving her companions alone. the hold it had taken of her-the idea of assisting her husband to be pleased. for women as a general thing practise such manoeuvres with a perfectly good conscience. as I say. and Isabel was instinctively much more true than false to the common genius of her sex. It was surprising for a variety of reasons which I shall presently touch upon. But Isabel contented herself at such moments with wondering where this gentleman was. She succeeded after a fashion. his hands. There 743 of 1056 . with sweet submissive eyes. and Isabel was trying as much as possible to take her husband’s view. as if she were considering him. while Lord Warburton sat there. I say the great step. Rosier’s. because it was in this light that Gilbert Osmond would have regarded it. On the evening I speak of. It was surprising. his feet. was better than Mr. he came no more at all to Palazzo Roccanera. It was not exactly that it would be base or insidious. After all she couldn’t rise to it. but she fell short of the point I mention. Isabel might have reminded her.The Portrait of a Lady drew her needle through her tapestry.

He was a little longer in coming to this than might seem to accord with the description he had given Isabel of his feelings. After he had gone she wondered if she had prevented something which would have happened if she had absented herself for a quarter of an hour. and Isabel had to admit that she could not now guess what her stepdaughter was thinking of. She remained alone. as she had taken a vow of reserve until after he should have declared himself. But she now had transferred her eyes from the flickering flame in the chimney to Osmond’s 744 of 1056 . and after a while Lord Warburton went off to his party. looking at the fire. Pansy said nothing whatever about him after he had gone. at the end of half an hour. Pansy went to bed. of which he promised to give Pansy a full account on the morrow. So she remained in the drawing-room. her husband came in.The Portrait of a Lady was a vague doubt that interposed-a sense that she was not quite sure. and then she pronounced-always mentally-that when their distinguished visitor should wish her to go away he would easily find means to let her know it. he looked at the fire like herself. He moved about a while in silence and then sat down. and Isabel studiously said nothing. Her transparent little companion was for the moment not to be seen through. until.

to know what he would say. so that she might prepare her answer. she had rarely in this respect got further than thinking afterwards of clever things she might have said.The Portrait of a Lady face.’ ‘It seems to me he’s attentive. beforehand. but less penetrating. might strike one as very distinguished. and she watched him while he kept his silence. ‘Has Lord Warburton been here?’ he presently asked. however. She wished as much as possible to know his thoughts. of which it is not an exaggeration to say that it was allied to that of self-defence. he sat on the sofa beside her. on the terrace of a Florentine villa. he stayed half an hour. It was the same face she had looked into with eyes equally earnest perhaps. He still. Preparing answers had not been her strong point of old.’ ‘Did he see Pansy?’ ‘Yes. had made it habitual. But she had learned caution-learned it in a measure from her husband’s very countenance. Covert observation had become a habit with her.’ ‘Did he talk with her much?’ ‘He talked almost only to her. an instinct. except that Osmond had grown slightly stouter since his marriage. Isn’t that what you call it?’ 745 of 1056 . ‘Yes.

’ ‘Nothing’s more easy.’ She pushed away the book she had been reading and took up the band of tapestry Pansy had left on the table.’ ‘No-it’s not good. ‘That’s partly why I’ve not spoken to you about this business of my daughter’s. to try and act as you’d like. this time. Moreover I’m not in the least trying now. ‘It doesn’t matter. I’m trying to live at peace. looking at her. if I’ve done so it has been the most natural thing in the world. I’ve determined never to be angry again. designating 746 of 1056 . I’ve so often failed of that.’ Osmond turned his head slowly. ‘Are you trying to quarrel with me?’ ‘No.’ ‘What do you call it when you try to make me angry?’ Isabel asked.’ ‘That’s a consideration you don’t always show. ‘I’ve determined. you know I don’t quarrel myself. Your temper isn’t good.’ ‘That’s an excellent resolve.’ Osmond answered after a moment.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I don’t call it anything. ‘I don’t try.’ Isabel smiled. ‘I’ve waited for you to give it a name.’ said Isabel.’ Osmond said.

’ 747 of 1056 . view.’ ‘You were afraid I’d plead for Mr. they were in themselves insignificant. ‘I was afraid I should encounter opposition-that you too would have views on the subject. Download the free trial version. I suppose you mean. he’s an old friend of mine. ‘I’ve given him no encouragement. She sometimes felt a sort of passion of tenderness for memories which had no other merit than that they belonged to her unmarried life. Pansy in the manner that was most frequent with him.’ Isabel cared little more for him than for the tapestry that she held in her hand. as in the present case.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. I’ve sent little Rosier about his business. We’ve so little conversation in these days. even when.’ Osmond observed. ‘Fortunate for me. He had a way of expressing contempt for them which fortified her loyalty to them. and edit PDF.’ ‘That’s fortunate.’ she added in a moment. but it was true that he was an old friend and that with her husband she felt a desire not to extenuate such ties.’ ‘Yes. For him it matters little. Rosier? Haven’t you noticed that I’ve never spoken to you of him?’ ‘I’ve never given you a chance. I know he was an old friend of yours. ‘But as regards Pansy.

The intensity with which he would like his daughter to become Lady Warburton had been the very basis of her own recent reflections.The Portrait of a Lady ‘There’s no use talking of him. I’ve turned him out. that he treated as from equal to equal with the most distinguished people in the world.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘He’s welcome to the comfort of it! My daughter has only to sit perfectly quiet to become Lady Warburton. and that his daughter had only to look about her to pick out a prince. she would not take for granted with him that he thought Lord Warburton a prize worth an amount of effort that was unusual among the Osmonds. Rosier still has hope. but a lover outside’s always a lover. she would recognize nothing until Osmond should have put it into words. It cost him therefore a lapse from consistency to say explicitly that he yearned for Lord Warburton and that if this nobleman should escape his equivalent might not be 748 of 1056 .’ Osmond said.’ ‘Should you like that?’ Isabel asked with a simplicity which was not so affected as it may appear. She was resolved to assume nothing. Mr. ‘As I tell you. It was Gilbert’s constant intimation that for him nothing in life was a prize. He’s sometimes even more of one. But that was for herself. for Osmond had a way of unexpectedly turning her assumptions against her.

Isabel perhaps took a small opportunity because she would not have availed herself of a great one.The Portrait of a Lady found.’ ‘It’s natural that they should come to see me. It would be pleasant for him to come into the family. Osmond at present acquitted himself very honourably. Isabel was not accommodating. with which moreover it was another of his customary implications that he was never inconsistent. Seeing her it’s natural they should fall in love with her. And then Lord Warburton has another advantage: he’s an old friend of yours. Never mind. ‘I should like it extremely. And yet she knew exactly the effect on his mind of her question: it would operate as an humiliation. But you’re not bound to do so.’ 749 of 1056 . He would have liked his wife to glide over the point. In coming to see me they see Pansy. he was terribly capable of humiliating her-all the more so that he was also capable of waiting for great opportunities and of showing sometimes an almost unaccountable indifference to small ones. It’s very odd Pansy’s admirers should all be your old friends. But strangely enough.’ ‘So I think. now that she was face to face with him and although an hour before she had almost invented a scheme for pleasing him. it would be a great marriage. would not glide.

’ said Osmond.’ ‘If you’re sure of that. it’s very well. You say. ‘She wishes above all to please. ‘I should like our distinguished visitor to speak.The Portrait of a Lady ‘If she should marry Lord Warburton I should be very glad. Then. Rosier she may jump up!’ Osmond appeared to give no heed to this. 750 of 1056 . Rosier. to please me. perhaps. however.’ ‘Me too a little. ‘Pansy would like to be a great lady.’ Isabel went on frankly. ‘He’s an excellent man. but at first he said nothing.’ said Isabel. Perhaps she won’t sit perfectly still.’ she went on. that she has only to sit perfectly still. He has told me it would be a great pleasure to him to believe she could care for him. ‘To please Mr.’ ‘He has spoken-to me.’ ‘No. If she loses Mr. But she’ll do what I like. I think. ‘Yes. she has a great opinion of you.’ Osmond turned his head quickly.’ he added. ‘Meantime. ‘Why didn’t you tell me that?’ he asked sharply.’ he remarked in a moment with a certain tenderness of tone. he sat gazing at the fire.

‘I beg your pardon.’ she returned. it was disagreeable to her.’ ‘Did you speak to him of Rosier?’ ‘Oh yes.’ ‘That was hardly necessary.’ ‘I thought it best he should know. You know how we live.’ ‘So that he might back out. he took up a book and fingered the pages while she sat silent and occupied herself with Pansy’s tapestry. so that.The Portrait of a Lady ‘There was no opportunity. He was not when he made love to you. He answered nothing for some time. so that-’ And Isabel paused.’ said Isabel.’ She had been afraid Osmond would speak of that.’ ‘This one’s not. ‘You know Englishmen are shy. ‘So that what?’ ‘So that he might act accordingly. he was extremely so. do you mean?’ ‘No. 751 of 1056 . I’ve taken the first chance that has offered.’ Osmond went on at last.’ ‘You should have patience. a little.’ ‘That’s not the effect it seems to have had. so that he might advance while there’s yet time. ‘You must have a great deal of influence with him.

but she felt the great naturalness of his saying it. standing before the fire with his hands behind him.’ This was more offensive still. and it was after all extremely like what she had said to herself. to give her time to answer. ‘Well.The Portrait of a Lady ‘The moment you really wish it you can bring him to the point. I shall leave it there. He threw down the book presently and got up. Think that over and remember how much I count on you.’ He waited a little. ‘What have I ever done to put him under an obligation to me?’ ‘You refused to marry him.’ she replied. ‘Why should I have influence?’ she asked. ‘I must not presume too much on that. 752 of 1056 . I hold that it lies in your hands.’ said Osmond with his eyes on his book. but she answered nothing. and he presently strolled out of the room. With a little good-will you may manage it.

and she bade him bring fresh candles and then go to bed. given up to her meditation. a desire to do what would please her? Isabel had hitherto not asked herself the question. Was it true that there was something still between them that might be a handle to make him declare himself to Pansy-a susceptibility. A servant came in to attend to the fire. Osmond had told her to think of what he had said. and the answer frightened her. far into the night and still further. to approval. and for a long time. but now that it was directly presented to her she saw the answer. Yes. and she did so indeed. There was something in them that suddenly made vibrations deep.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 42 She had answered nothing because his words had put the situation before her and she was absorbed in looking at it. because she had not been forced. so that she had been afraid to trust herself to speak. on his part. and of many other things. The suggestion from another that she had a definite influence on Lord Warburton-this had given her the start that accompanies unexpected recognition. she sat in the still drawing-room. After he had gone she leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. there was something- 753 of 1056 .

For herself nothing was changed. but little by little she had been reminded that it had yet a palpable existence. But what were his hopes. but there were moments when she seemed to hear it vibrate. it seemed to her in fact a better feeling than ever. his pretensions. and if he was in love with her stepmother he was not in love with Pansy. When he had first come to Rome she believed the link that united them to be completely snapped. But he? had he still the idea that she might be more to him than other women? Had he the wish to profit by the memory of the few moments of intimacy through which they had once passed? Isabel knew she had read some of the signs of such a disposition. and if so what comfort did he expect to derive from it? If he was in love with Pansy he was not in love with her stepmother. knowing he would do so for her sake and not for the small creature’s ownwas this the service her husband had asked of her? This at 754 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady something on Lord Warburton’s part. it was needless this feeling should change. Was she to cultivate the advantage she possessed in order to make him commit himself to Pansy. It was as thin as a hair. what she once thought of him she always thought. and in what strange way were they mingled with his evidently very sincere appreciation of poor Pansy? Was he in love with Gilbert Osmond’s wife.

as she suddenly encountered them. She would rest upon this till the contrary should be proved. she preferred to believe him in perfect good faith. and declared that her imagination surely did her little honour and that her husband’s did him even less. rubbing her eyes. But if his admiration for Pansy were a delusion this was scarcely better than its being an affectation. Then she broke out of the labyrinth. Isabel wandered among these ugly possibilities until she had completely lost her way. it was in fact a repulsive one. for her soul was haunted with terrors which crowded to the foreground of thought as quickly as 755 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady any rate was the duty with which she found herself confronted-from the moment she admitted to herself that her old friend had still an uneradicated predilection for her society. She asked herself with dismay whether Lord Warburton were pretending to be in love with Pansy in order to cultivate another satisfaction and what might be called other chances. proved more effectually than by a cynical intimation of Osmond’s. It was not an agreeable task. and she was no more to him than she need wish. brought her this evening but little peace. Such a resolution. Of this refinement of duplicity she presently acquitted him. seemed ugly enough. some of them. Lord Warburton was as disinterested as he need be. however.

It was a strange opposition. It was not her fault-she had practised no deception. or only in the deep mistrust she had conceived for him? This mistrust was now the clearest result of their short married life. Besides this. and now she wondered it had never come before. What had suddenly set them into livelier motion she hardly knew. her short interview with Osmond half an hour ago was a striking example of his faculty for making everything wither that he touched. the real fact was that the knowledge of his expecting a thing raised a presumption against it. as if his presence were a blight and his favour a misfortune. of the like of which she had never dreamed-an opposition in which the vital principle of the one was a thing of contempt to the other. spoiling everything for her that he looked at. It was very well to undertake to give him a proof of loyalty. a gulf had opened between them over which they looked at each other with eyes that were on either side a declaration of the deception suffered. It was as if he had had the evil eye. unless it were the strange impression she had received in the afternoon of her husband’s being in more direct communication with Madame Merle than she suspected.The Portrait of a Lady a place was made for them. she had only admired and 756 of 1056 . That impression came back to her from time to time. Was the fault in himself.

She had taken all the first steps in the purest confidence. it was not a chill. so that one could look down with a sense of exaltation and advantage. and then she had suddenly found the infinite vista of a multiplied life to be a dark. so admirably intimate at first. but not so easily explained. It had come gradually-it was not till the first year of their life together. of response to every pressure. into realms of restriction and depression where the sound of other lives. with Isabel. Suffering. narrow alley with a dead wall at the end. of speculation. Oh. and so composite in its character that much time and still more suffering had been needed to bring it to its actual perfection.The Portrait of a Lady believed. easier and freer. a despair. a stupor. was an active condition. and judge and choose and pity. it was a passion of thought. however-that no one suspected it but Osmond. was heard as from above. That is a sentiment easily indicated. he knew it. Instead of leading to the high places of happiness. it led rather downward and earthward. She flattered herself that she had kept her failing faith to herself. It was her deep distrust of her husband-this was what darkened the world. 757 of 1056 . and where it served to deepen the feeling of failure. had closed that she had taken the alarm. from which the world would seem to lie below one. and there were times when she thought he enjoyed it.

These shadows were not an emanation from her own mind: she was very sure of that. she had done her best to be just and temperate. it was as if Osmond deliberately. of her husband’s very presence. But she was. herself-she couldn’t help that. they were a kind of creation and consequence. and the miserable part of it was precisely that it was not a crime. She knew of no wrong he had done. and she had done her best to be what he would like. He had thought at first he could change her. had put the lights out one by one. for against a crime she might have found redress.The Portrait of a Lady Then the shadows had begun to gather. which was not a crime. and if now and again it had occasionally lifted there were certain corners of her prospect that were impenetrably black. his turpitudes. he was not cruel: she simply believed he hated her. wearing a mask or a dress. and she could still see her way in it. He had discovered that she was so different. to see only the truth. almost malignantly. They were not his misdeeds. he was not violent. The dusk at first was vague and thin. that she was not what he had believed she would prove to be. she accused him of nothing-that is but of one thing. That was all she accused him of. They were a part. and now there was no use pretending. after all. But it steadily deepened. for he knew her and had made up his 758 of 1056 .

she had made herself small. as one saw the disk of the moon when it was partly masked by the shadow of the earth. any more than she. saw that he would have the better of her there. during the year of his courtship. Isabel. But she had seen only half his nature then. never put himself in the wrong. mind. Download the free trial version. view. so that he should have a free field. He was not changed. had taken pains to put forth. fixed eyes. She had kept still. on his side. He would if possible never give her a pretext. for if she had not deceived him in intention she understood how completely she must have done so in fact. as it were. and yet in spite of this she had mistaken a part for the whole. pretending there was less of her than there really was. and edit PDF. There were times when she almost pitied him. She was not afraid of him. she had no apprehension he would hurt her. She saw the full moon now-she saw the whole man. it was there still: she still knew perfectly what it was that made Osmond delightful when he chose 759 of 1056 .eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. Ah. scanning the future with dry. she would often put herself in the wrong. She had effaced herself when he first knew her. for the ill-will he bore her was not of that sort. She would give him many pretexts. he had not disguised himself. she had been immensely under the charm! It had not passed away. It was because she had been under the extraordinary charm that he.

she would be his providence. looking seaward yet not putting to sea. She had felt at the same time that he was helpless and ineffectual. it never occurred to her now to deny him that. A certain combination of features had touched her. in his face. and in them she had seen the most striking of figures.The Portrait of a Lady to be. and as she had wished to be charmed it was not wonderful he had succeeded. She would launch his boat for him. And she had loved 760 of 1056 . fed through charmed senses and oh such a stirred fancy!-she had not read him right. He had wished to be when he made love to her. it would be a good thing to love him. That he was poor and lonely and yet that somehow he was noble-that was what had interested her and seemed to give her opportunity. but the feeling had taken the form of a tenderness which was the very flower of respect. for during those months she had imagined a world of things that had no substance. It was in all this she had found her occasion. He had succeeded because he had been sincere. There had been an indefinable beauty about him-in his situation. He admired her-he had told her why: because she was the most imaginative woman he had known. He was like a sceptical voyager strolling on the beach while he waited for the tide. She had had a more wondrous vision of him. in his mind. It might very well have been true.

that she came with charged hands. As she looked back at the passion of those full weeks she perceived in it a kind of maternal strain-the happiness of a woman who felt that she was a contributor. to some more prepared receptacle. sleeping under English turf. she would never have done it. At bottom her money had been a burden. had been on her mind. as she saw to-day. but a good deal also for what she brought him and what might enrich the gift. the 761 of 1056 . And then her mind wandered off to poor Mr. He would use her fortune in a way that would make her think better of it and rub off a certain grossness attaching to the good luck of an unexpected inheritance. What would lighten her own conscience more effectually than to make it over to the man with the best taste in the world? Unless she should have given it to a hospital there would have been nothing better she could do with it.The Portrait of a Lady him. There had been nothing very delicate in inheriting seventy thousand pounds. which was filled with the desire to transfer the weight of it to some other conscience. the beneficent author of infinite woe! For this was the fantastic fact. Touchett. But for her money. she had so anxiously and yet so ardently given herself-a good deal for what she found in him. and there was no charitable institution in which she had been as much interested as in Gilbert Osmond.

and enough of it still remained to prove to her that she could not have done otherwise. Touchett’s leaving them to her. she had lived in it almost-it appeared to have become her habitation. If 762 of 1056 . She had lived with it. but that was his affair. This supreme conviction had filled her life for months. There would be less for him-that was true.The Portrait of a Lady delicacy had been all in Mr. Had he not had the courage to say he was glad she was rich? Isabel’s cheek burned when she asked herself if she had really married on a factitious theory. and if he loved her he wouldn’t object to her being rich. It was because a certain ardour took possession of her-a sense of the earnestness of his affection and a delight in his personal qualities. He was better than any one else. The finest-in the sense of being the subtlest-manly organism she had ever known had become her property. in order to do something finely appreciable with her money. she knew that organ perfectly now. and the recognition of her having but to put out her hands and take it had been originally a sort of act of devotion. But she was able to answer quickly enough that this was only half the story. She had not been mistaken about the beauty of his mind. But to marry Gilbert Osmond and bring him such a portion-in that there would be delicacy for her as well.

It was a wonder. that reflection perhaps had some worth. She lost herself in infinite dismay when she thought of the magnitude of his deception. she had more even than he had supposed. in view of this. He had really meant it-he would have liked her to have nothing of her own but her pretty appearance. because he had really meant it. she had been hypocritical. perhaps. He had told her that already. she had liked him so 763 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady she had been captured it had taken a firm hand to seize her. She had known she had too many ideas. She remembered perfectly the first sign he had given of it-it had been like the bell that was to ring up the curtain upon the real drama of their life. many more than she had expressed to him when he had asked her to marry him. but then she had not noticed it: it had come back to her only afterwards. A mind more ingenious. that he didn’t hate her more. more pliant. He said to her one day that she had too many ideas and that she must get rid of them. more cultivated. Yes. but when in the light of deepening experience she had looked into them they had then appeared portentous. and it was this exquisite instrument she had now to reckon with. she had not encountered. The words had been nothing superficially. This time she might well have noticed it. more trained to admirable exercises. before their marriage.

though of course one might suppress them. the way she judged. so enlightened. She had too many ideas for herself. Heaven knew that now at least it was a very humble. indifferent to small considerations. as it were-set down face to face with it. no dull limitations. the way she felt. no prejudices that had lost their freshness? Hadn’t he all the appearance of a man living in the open air of the world. caring only for truth and knowledge and 764 of 1056 . She had no opinionsnone that she would not have been eager to sacrifice in the satisfaction of feeling herself loved for it. What he had meant had been the whole thing-her character. One couldn’t pluck them up by the roots. however. this was what he had not known until he had found himself-with the door closed behind. but that was just what one married for. accommodating way! The strange thing was that she should not have suspected from the first that his own had been so different. She had a certain way of looking at life which he took as a personal offence. this had been nothing. so perfectly that of an honest man and a gentleman. be careful not to utter them. to share them with some one else. She had thought it so large. It had not been this.The Portrait of a Lady much. This was what she had kept in reserve. his objecting to her opinions. Hadn’t he assured her that he had no superstitions.

Between those four walls she had lived ever since. He took himself so seriously. as the months had elapsed. find at least some happiness in the search? He had told her he loved the conventional. Under all his culture. the house of suffocation. It was the house of darkness. then. She could come and go. she had her liberty. she had followed him further and he had led her into the mansion of his own habitation. then she had seen where she really was. but there was a sense in which this seemed a noble declaration. Osmond’s beautiful mind gave it neither light nor air.The Portrait of a Lady believing that two intelligent people ought to look for them together and. whether they found them or not. Of course it had not been physical suffering. and his warning had contained nothing ominous. that of the love of harmony and order and decency and of all the stately offices of life. But when. the house of dumbness. they were to surround her for the rest of her life. She could live it over again. In that sense. her husband was perfectly polite. Osmond’s beautiful mind indeed seemed to peep down from a small high window and mock at her. the incredulous terror with which she had taken the measure of her dwelling. for physical suffering there might have been a remedy. his cleverness. 765 of 1056 . she went with him freely. it was something appalling.

she would have gone with him even there a long distance. was after all what one was to live for. under his good-nature. and for everything in the world but half a dozen ideas of his own.The Portrait of a Lady his amenity. it appeared. the depravity. there was more in the bond than she had meant to put her name to. opened her eyes so wide to the stupidity. his knowledge of life. But when she began to see what it implied she drew back. that she had been properly impressed with the infinite vulgarity of things and of the virtue of keeping one’s self unspotted by it. his egotism lay hidden like a serpent in a bank of flowers. That was very well. So it was that she had thought of him at first. ignoble world. his facility. but she had not taken him so seriously as that. How could sheespecially when she had known him better? She was to think of him as he thought of himself as the first gentleman in Europe. but to extract from it some recognition of one’s own 766 of 1056 . in order not to enlighten or convert or redeem it. one was to keep it for ever in one’s eye. for he pointed out to her so much of the baseness and shabbiness of life. the ignorance of mankind. It implied a sovereign contempt for every one but some three or four very exalted people whom he envied. and that indeed was the reason she had married him. But this base. She had taken him seriously.

She would have been willing. the ease with which he dispensed with the usual aids to success. Osmond had talked to Isabel about his renunciation. He was unable to live without it. if the person concerned had only been able to make her believe it was a gain! This at least was her present conviction. which she now saw that he deemed himself always. an exquisite independence. the world had always interested her and the study of her fellow creatures been her constant passion. just as she had tried to have hers. For herself. only it was strange that people should seek for justice in such different quarters. On the one hand it was despicable. He had his ideal. and all this had seemed to her admirable. and she saw that he had never really done so. She had thought it a grand indifference. His ideal was a conception of high prosperity and propriety.The Portrait of a Lady superiority. he had looked at it out of his window even when he appeared to be most detached from it. his indifference. of the aristocratic life. but on the other it afforded a standard. she had never seen any one who thought so much of others. But indifference was really the last of his qualities. and the thing certainly would have been easier than to care for society as Osmond cared for it. however. in essence at 767 of 1056 . avowedly. to renounce all her curiosities and sympathies for the sake of a personal life.

here too she would have agreed. to the same formulas. But for Osmond it was altogether a thing of forms. He had a very large collection of them. calculated attitude. though from what source he had derived his traditions she never learned. and after a little she began to see. the great thing not only for him but for her. that was very certain. to have led. so was she. such different associations and desires. He had an immense esteem for tradition. The great thing was to act in accordance with them. but that he was better off. the transmitted. She knew that he meant by this that she hadn’t it. but she pretended to do what she chose with it. he would never have recovered from the shame of doing so. a conscious. Isabel had an undefined conviction that to serve for another person than their proprietor traditions must be of a thoroughly superior 768 of 1056 . That again was very well. He had never lapsed from it for an hour. but that if one was so unfortunate as not to have it one must immediately proceed to make it. he had told her once that the best thing in the world was to have it. the consecrated. but they attached such different ideas. the knowledge would give one a sense of duty and the liberty a sense of enjoyment. Her notion of the aristocratic life was simply the union of great knowledge with great liberty. however.The Portrait of a Lady least. He was fond of the old.

as the situation grew more serious. and she could see he was ineffably ashamed of her-did he think of her-that she was base. Then it was that her husband’s personality. that sense of darkness and suffocation of which I have spoken took possession of her. tenderly. a certain posture they must take. of quite another ideal. she who of old had been so free of step. of doing as they chose. ignoble? He at least knew now that she had no traditions! It had not been in his prevision of things that she should reveal such flatness. certain people they must know and not know. draped though it was in pictured tapestries. She had pleaded the cause of freedom. touched as it never had been.The Portrait of a Lady kind. passionately. then. she seemed shut up with an odour of mould and decay. ironically. her 769 of 1056 . of not caring for the aspect and denomination of their life-the cause of other instincts and longings. so desultory. stepped forth and stood erect. at first very humorously. When she saw this rigid system close about her. pleadingly. so devious. The things she had said were answered only by his scorn. so much the reverse of processional. eagerly. She had resisted of course. but she nevertheless assented to this intimation that she too must march to the stately music that floated down from unknown periods in her husband’s past. There were certain things they must do. vulgar.

Did all women have lovers? Did they all lie 770 of 1056 . it was because she was clever that she had pleased him. and so far from desiring her mind to be a blank he had flattered himself that it would be richly receptive. his ambitions. On the contrary. Her mind was to be his-attached to his own like a small garden-plot to a deer-park. but for all that she believed in such a thing as chastity and even as decency. To begin with. was her having a mind of her own at all. He would rake the soil gently and water the flowers.The Portrait of a Lady sentiments were worthy of a radical newspaper or a Unitarian preacher. The real offence. his preferences. But there were certain things she could never take in. some of his traditions made her push back her skirts. and Isabel was obliged to confess that this was no great insolence on the part of a man so accomplished and a husband originally at least so tender. as she ultimately perceived. he would weed the beds and gather an occasional nosegay. to enter into his opinions. But he expected her intelligence to operate altogether in his favour. they were hideously unclean. She was not a daughter of the Puritans. He had expected his wife to feel with him and for him. He didn’t wish her to be stupid. It would appear that Osmond was far from doing anything of the sort. It would be a pretty piece of property for a proprietor already far-reaching.

and even the best have their price? Were there only three or four that didn’t deceive their husbands? When Isabel heard such things she felt a greater scorn for them than for the gossip of a village parlour-a scorn that kept its freshness in a very tainted air. because it was sincere. There was the taint of her sister-inlaw: did her husband judge only by the Countess Gemini? This lady very often lied. view. Download the free trial version. She was morally certain now that this feeling of hatred. but that she should turn the hot light of her disdain upon his own conception of things-this was a danger he had not allowed for. He had plenty of contempt. which at first had been a refuge and a refreshment. it was this that made him draw himself up. and Isabel could easily imagine how his ears had scorched on his discovering he had been too confident. The feeling was deep. It was her scorn of his assumptions. and edit PDF.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. He believed he should have regulated her emotions before she came to it. he had had the 771 of 1056 . and she had practised deceptions that were not simply verbal. When one had a wife who gave one that sensation there was nothing left but to hate her. had become the occupation and comfort of his life. and it was proper his wife should be as well furnished. It was enough to find these facts assumed among Osmond’s traditions-it was enough without giving them such a general extension.

He would have said more than this if Ralph’s invalid state had 772 of 1056 . as I have intimated. she felt afraid. that she was sure of. she had no traditions and the moral horizon of a Unitarian minister. however. and it was a horrible life. Very often. and it used to come over her. for every little while she felt a passionate wish to give him a pleasant surprise. he was displeased at Ralph Touchett’s staying on in Rome. They were strangely married. at all events. Poor Isabel. who had never been able to understand Unitarianism! This was the certitude she had been living with now for a time that she had ceased to measure. what infinite effect might it not be expected to have had upon him? It was very simple. Until that morning he had scarcely spoken to her for a week. if it presented itself at first as a kind of infidelity. What would he do-what ought she to do? When a man hated his wife what did it lead to? She didn’t hate him.The Portrait of a Lady revelation that she could after all dispense with him. If to herself the idea was startling. What was coming-what was before them? That was her constant question. his manner was as dry as a burned-out fire. he despised her. He thought she saw too much of her cousin-he had told her a week before it was indecent she should go to him at his hotel. a capacity for pollution. She knew there was a special reason. that she had deceived him at the very first.

The Portrait of a Lady not appeared to make it brutal to denounce him. he would be dear to her as Ralph was. she was as perfectly aware that the sight of her interest in her cousin stirred her husband’s rage as if Osmond had locked her into her room-which she was sure was what he wanted to do. how could anything be a pleasure to a woman who knew that she had thrown away her life? There was an everlasting weight on her heart-there was a livid light on everything. and this gave her a tenderness for him that she had never known before. for the hour that she sat with him her ache for herself became somehow her ache for him. Nothing was a pleasure to her now. It was not that they talked of him-it was 773 of 1056 . Ah yes. if Gilbert was jealous of her there was perhaps some reason. but if she had and she were in trouble and he were dying. it didn’t make Gilbert look better to sit for half an hour with Ralph. She had never had a brother. but she certainly couldn’t pretend to be indifferent to Ralph. It was her honest belief that on the whole she was not defiant. She felt to-day as if he had been her brother. But Ralph’s little visit was a lamp in the darkness. but having had to contain himself had only deepened his disgust. Isabel read all this as she would have read the hour on the clock-face. She believed he was dying at last and that she should never see him again.

religion in it. It lived before her again-it had never had time to die-that morning in the garden at Florence when he had warned her against Osmond. His name was never uttered between them. to feel the warm.The Portrait of a Lady not that she complained. so just. in the mere fact of his being in Rome. Women find their religion sometimes in strange exercises. to hear his voice. exaltation. there was passion. There was something in Ralph’s talk. She had only to close her eyes to see the place. he made her feel what might have been. He was after all as intelligent as Osmond-quite apart from his being better. It gave her plenty to do. sweet air. How could he have known? What a mystery. He made her feel the’ good of the world. what a wonder of wisdom! As intelligent as Gilbert? He was much more intelligent-to arrive at such a judgement as that. and Isabel at 774 of 1056 . She concealed it elaborately. And thus it seemed to her an act of devotion to conceal her misery from him. hanging out curtains and arranging screens. in their talk. Gilbert had never been so deep. that made the blasted circle round which she walked more spacious. It was simply that Ralph was generous and that her husband was not. She had told him then that from her at least he should never know if he was right. and this was what she was taking care had now. in his smile. she was perpetually.

in playing a part before her cousin. she lingered in the soundless saloon long after the fire had gone out. at this extraordinary form of consideration. and her visions might as well come to her there. the kindness consisted mainly in trying to make him believe that he had once wounded her greatly and that the event had put him to shame. had an idea that she was doing him a kindness. For herself. Her mind. where she sat up to meet them. but he forgave her for having forgiven him. and then the great ones. As it was. She heard the small hours strike. she was in a fever. but that. Ralph smiled to himself. and it didn’t matter that such knowledge would rather have righted him. to make a mockery of rest. and what could be a better proof of it than that she should linger there half the night. It would have been a kindness perhaps if he had been for a single instant a dupe. There was no danger of her feeling the cold. but her vigil took no heed of time. As I have said.The Portrait of a Lady present. as he lay on his sofa. She didn’t wish him to have the pain of knowing she was unhappy: that was the great thing. 775 of 1056 . was in a state of extraordinary activity. she believed she was not defiant. as she was very generous and he was so ill. assailed by visions. she bore him no grudge and even considerately forbore to flaunt her happiness in his face. as on her pillow.

she was going to bed at last. But even then she stopped again in the middle of the room and stood there gazing at a remembered vision-that of her husband and Madame Merle unconsciously and familiarly associated. for the lamp had long since gone out and the candles burned down to their sockets. 776 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady trying to persuade herself that there was no reason why Pansy shouldn’t be married as you would put a letter in the post-office? When the clock struck four she got up.

it seemed so long since she had been in a flutter about a ball. who was not dancing. Pansy was as ready for a dance as ever. She made Isabel feel old. did not accompany them. to which Osmond. He stood before her. was not of a generalizing turn and had not extended to other pleasures the interdict she had seen placed on those of love. was never in want of partners. If she was biding her time or hoping to circumvent her father she must have had a prevision of success. She carried herself no less attentively than usual and kept no less anxious an eye upon her vaporous skirts. he had lost his affable smile 777 of 1056 . Pansy. She had never had such a chance. she held her bouquet very tight and counted over the flowers for the twentieth time. who never went to dances. Isabel had rendered her this service for some minutes when she became aware of the near presence of Edward Rosier.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 43 Three nights after this she took Pansy to a great party. it was much more likely that Pansy had simply determined to be a good girl. Isabel thought this unlikely. and she had a proper esteem for chances. and very soon after their arrival she gave Isabel. who was greatly admired. her bouquet to hold.

He looked at her a moment somewhat fiercely. The change in his appearance would have made Isabel smile if she had not felt his case to be at bottom a hard one: he had always smelt so much more of heliotrope than of gunpowder. held out the bouquet. ‘Yes. Osmond?’ the poor young man asked. smiling still. 778 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady and wore a look of almost military resolution.’ ‘May I hold it a little. carefully choosing his flower. as if to notify her he was dangerous. if you do no more than this. I’m afraid you wouldn’t give it back. I should leave the house with it instantly. it’s hers. it must be hers!’ Isabel smiled kindly. Mrs. and then dropped his eyes on her bouquet. I can’t trust you.’ ‘Ah. ‘Choose one yourself. and then. Mrs. Osmond!’ Rosier exclaimed with his glass in one eye.’ ‘I’m not sure that I should. After he had inspected it his glance softened and he said quickly: ‘It’s all pansies. But may I not at least have a single flower?’ Isabel hesitated a moment. It’s frightful what I’m doing for you. ‘No. she gave it to me to hold.

‘You know our acquaintance goes back very far-quite into the days of our innocent childhood. Her father has told her not to dance with you. You pity me-that’s all. with his single 779 of 1056 .The Portrait of a Lady ‘Don’t put it into your button-hole. ‘Don’t for the world! ‘I should like her to see it.’ ‘Very good. Say at once that you think me a mere Parisian trifler!’ ‘I esteem you very much. old friends as we are. ‘You come back to that very often. Mrs. I see. but I wish to show her that I believe in her still.’ ‘Don’t make me out too old. and I’ve never denied it. But I must tell you that. if you had done me the honour to ask me to marry you I should have refused you on the spot. inconsequently.’ ‘Ah. but I’m not in love with you.’ said the young man in a tone of fine general reference. you don’t esteem me then.’ she said.’ ‘It’s very well to show it to her.’ Isabel patiently answered. of course. What I mean by that. She has refused to dance with me. but it’s out of place to show it to others. is that I’m not in love with you for Pansy.’ And Edward Rosier looked all round. Osmond.’ ‘And is that all you can do for me? I expected more from you.

But she suddenly felt touched. She’ll always enjoy life. and it came over her. had something in common with his.’ ‘There’ll be nothing of that. Then he looked at her. Rosier effectively said.’ ‘It will depend on what you call life!’ Mr.The Portrait of a Lady glass.’ ‘I’m glad to hear it.’ 780 of 1056 . if not in romantic form. her own unhappiness. ‘She won’t enjoy being tortured. was against that. after all. ‘Would you really be very kind to her?’ she finally asked in a low tone. his little glass. that here. in recognizable. ‘You pity me. It was a revelation to him that people shouldn’t be more pleased. She knows what she’s about. more than before. but don’t you pity her a little?’ ‘I don’t know. Isabel for a moment said nothing. He dropped his eyes devoutly and raised the little flower that he held in his fingers to his lips. but he was at least too proud to show that the deficiency struck him as general. His manner and appearance had not the dignity of the deepest tragedy. You’ll see. among other things. I’m not sure. was the most affecting thing in the worldyoung love struggling with adversity.

waited a moment and then took back her bouquet. and she had 781 of 1056 .’ Rosier lingered a moment till Pansy came in sight on the arm of her cavalier. but she said nothing to Isabel about him. who seldom got disarranged in dancing.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I think she does. however. this time carrying her bouquet. Pansy had seen Rosier turn away. Pansy. Isabel watched her and saw she was counting the flowers. of the music. looking perfectly fresh and cool after this exercise. though this knowledge was not needed to account for the dutiful grace with which she responded to the appeal of her next partner. the rare misfortune of having already torn her dress.’ Isabel added. she talked only of her partner. ‘and I must beg you to go away. But she’s coming back to me. after he had made his bow and retired. he stood just long enough to look her in the face. she had discovered her lover to have abstracted a flower. whereupon she said to herself that decidedly there were deeper forces at play than she had recognized. That perfect amenity under acute constraint was part of a larger system. and she’ll never disobey her father. holding up his head. She was again led forth by a flushed young man. and the manner in which he achieved this sacrifice to expediency convinced Isabel he was very much in love. Then he walked away. the floor. Isabel was sure.

‘Ah. and you’ll be the fresher.’ said Lord Warburton. and as Isabel observed him it came over her. He presently drew near and bade her good-evening. important physiognomy. easy.’ said Isabel. ‘She’s dancing.’ he then remarked.’ he added. and you can reserve yourself. at last. I’d rather you should dance with the little maid.’ ‘One needn’t prevent the other-especially as she’s engaged.’ He stood there with his handsome. that it was strange 782 of 1056 .’ He looked among the dancers and at last caught Pansy’s eye.’ ‘She’s not engaged for everything. She dances very hard. He looked about him. ‘she has given me a smile. she had not seen him since the day before.The Portrait of a Lady not been absent many minutes when Isabel saw Lord Warburton advancing through the crowd. ‘Are you not dancing?’ ‘As you see.’ ‘Won’t you dance with me?’ ‘Thank you. ‘You’ll see her somewhere. I’m a wall-flower. It was in this manner that he had formed the harmless habit of alluding to Miss Osmond. ‘She sees me. and then ‘Where’s the little maid?’ he asked. following her with his eyes. but she won’t notice me.’ ‘She dances beautifully. as it had done before.

it’s better. and edit PDF.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. not even his need for amusement. Download the free trial version. view. ‘but I think I like even better to talk with you.’ ‘The British Empire be hanged! You’re always laughing at it. ‘I should like to dance with you. his good-nature. neither Pansy’s small fascinations. Great statesmen oughtn’t to waltz. nor his own kindness. and it’s more worthy of your dignity. ‘I’m not sure it’s really a recreation. If you dance with me you’ll look as if you were doing it for your own.’ he went on in a moment. which was extreme and constant.’ ‘Don’t be cruel. that’s different. If you danced with her it would look simply like a piece of kindness-as if you were doing it for her amusement.’ ‘And pray haven’t I a right to amuse myself?’ ‘No. turning back to Isabel.’ ‘Amuse yourself with talking to me. Why did you recommend me then to dance with Miss Osmond?’ ‘Ah. were sufficient to account for it. not with the affairs of the British Empire on your hands. And you 783 of 1056 .’ ‘Yes.’ said Isabel. You’re too pointed. I’ve always to be defending myself. It struck her as a great incongruity. a man of his mettle should take an interest in a little maid.

You’ve talked to her.’ She laughed. and she welcomed the diversion. helped her to develop. Isabel turned away. We know how much she liked Lord Warburton. Isabel stared a little and smiled.’ he said after a moment’s hesitation.The Portrait of a Lady strike me as more than usually dangerous to-night.’ said Isabel. and her companion did as much. ‘Can you imagine one’s not being?’ ‘No indeed. advised her.’ he said suddenly. but there was a certain visible preoccupation in his face which interfered with complete hilarity.’ ‘I’ve taken her out with me.’ ‘Your society must have been a great benefit to her. smiling still. But you must have done a great deal for her. ‘And I’ve seen that she has proper clothes. Pansy was about to be restored to her. I know how one is charmed with her.’ ‘Ah yes. ‘You’re wonderfully good to her. Will you absolutely not dance?’ ‘I can’t leave my place. there was something in his friendship that appeared a kind of resource in case of indefinite need. it was like having a 784 of 1056 . Pansy must find me here. ‘We all try to live as near it as we can. if she isn’t the rose she has lived near it. she thought him pleasanter even than the sum of his merits warranted.’ He was silent a little.

Pansy came back to Isabel with another rent in her skirt. It hereupon became apparent that the resources of women are innumerable. Yet for all that it didn’t suit her that he should be too near her. she averted herself from it. they wore those dreadful spurs. as it were. She felt happier when he was in the room. she fumbled for a pin and repaired the injury. it was the reference and the continuity. This was what she 785 of 1056 . She was afraid of that. she smiled and listened to her account of her adventures. her sympathy were immediate and active. There were too many gentlemen in uniform. which was the inevitable consequence of the first and which she displayed to Isabel with serious eyes. there was something reassuring in his approach. It was not simply his words just then. Isabel devoted herself to Pansy’s desecrated drapery. She felt that if he should come too near. Her attention. she wished he wouldn’t. which were fatal to the dresses of little maids. that he should take too much of her goodwill for granted. and they were in direct proportion to a sentiment with which they were in no way connected-a lively conjecture as to whether Lord Warburton might be trying to make love to her. the sound of his voice reminded her of the beneficence of nature. it was others as well.The Portrait of a Lady large balance at the bank. it might be in her to flash out and bid him keep his distance.

consigned her. If it were so. wandered up and down his robust person as if he had offered it to her for exhibition. she looked as if she knew that he knew she liked him. as a precious and momentary loan. But this made it none the more auspicious. as usual. who scrupulously took Osmond’s view of his daughter’s complete dependence. The girl joined her presently. and Isabel. on the contrary. he had to bend toward her a good deal in conversation. as usual. Pansy replied. The sooner he should get back into right relations with things the better.The Portrait of a Lady thought about while she pinned up Pansy’s dress. made the situation none the less impossible. yet her fright was not of the painful character that suggests dislike. he was of course unwitting. he himself had not taken account of his intention. and her eyes. with a little air of conscientious aspiration. Isabel left them together a little and wandered toward a friend whom she saw near and with whom she talked till the music of the following dance began. to her appointed partner. About all this matter she had her own 786 of 1056 . He immediately began to talk to Pansy-on whom it was certainly mystifying to see that he dropped a smile of chastened devotion. for which she knew Pansy to be also engaged. with a little fluttered flush. She always seemed a little frightened. as she feared.

’ he said. to her sense. look foolish. After Pansy had been led away.’ ‘Poor little maid. It’s a quadrille. which consisted of gracious alternations of concession and contraction. I didn’t ask her for that. she found Lord Warburton drawing near her again. as regards some of them. But he had no appearance of confusion. ‘No. there were moments when Pansy’s extreme adhesiveness made each of them. ‘I’m glad of that.’ ‘Ah. Perhaps. ‘I told her to keep the cotillion in case you should ask for it. she wished she could sound his thoughts. and there were directions of his which she liked to think she obeyed to the letter. it was because her doing so appeared to reduce them to the absurd. But Osmond had given her a sort of tableau of her position as his daughter’s duenna.’ 787 of 1056 . fancy that!’ And Lord Warburton laughed frankly. She rested her eyes on him steadily.The Portrait of a Lady imaginations. ‘She has promised to dance with me later. ‘Of course I will if you like. I suppose you’ve engaged her for the cotillion.’ At this he looked a little awkward. you’re not clever!’ said Isabel almost angrily. her own reserves.

she only said to him. You’ve not forgotten it!’ ‘Forgotten it? I wrote to Mr. ‘he didn’t mention to me that he had heard from you.’ ‘Ah. with her own raised: ‘Please let me understand.’ Lord Warburton stammered a little.The Portrait of a Lady ‘If I like? Oh. if you dance with her only because I like it-! ‘I’m afraid I bore her. She felt much inclined to ask him to remove them.’ ‘At three o’clock in the morning?’ 788 of 1056 . But I shall send it to-night. however.’ Isabel dropped her eyes. She seems to have a lot of young fellows on her book. ‘I-I didn’t send my letter. It’s an awkward sort of letter to write.’ ‘Understand what?’ ‘You told me ten days ago that you’d like to marry my stepdaughter. Osmond about it this morning.’ ‘No. I wasn’t satisfied with it. you know. reflecting rapidly.’ ‘Perhaps you forgot that. She didn’t do so.’ said Isabel. Lord Warburton stood there looking at her and she felt his eyes on her face. after a minute.

’ said Lord Warburton readily.’ When the cotillion came Pansy was found to have engaged herself.’ ‘Oh. however.’ ‘That I would do it with you? I told you I’d do nothing.The Portrait of a Lady ‘I mean later. that Lord Warburton had no intentions. You still wish then to marry her?’ ‘Very much indeed. so that while it’s going on I might find some quiet corner where we may sit down and talk.’ ‘Very good. it 789 of 1056 . ‘I’ll let her dance with other people! About the cotillion.’ ‘Exactly. As. the fact is I thought that you-that you-. ‘you’re much too considerate of me. in perfect humility. she had. but he assured her that he would dance with no one but herself. declined other invitations on the ground that she was not dancing at all. Isabel recommended him to seek another partner. in spite of the remonstrances of her hostess. in the course of the day. thinking.’ said Isabel gravely.’ ‘Aren’t you afraid that you’ll bore her?’ And as her companion stared at this enquiry Isabel added: ‘If she can’t dance with you for half an hour how will she be able to dance with you for life?’ ‘Ah.

On her way out of the ball-room she came upon Edward Rosier. She wandered away from the ball-room with him. 790 of 1056 . ‘After all I don’t care to dance. with folded arms. Isabel had decided to let him carry out his idea.’ said Isabel with the manner of good counsel.The Portrait of a Lady was not possible for her to make an exception in Lord Warburton’s favour. who was standing in a doorway. that would make it right for Osmond. she wished to be satisfied. looking at the dance in the attitude of a young man without illusions.’ And he intimated that he had discovered exactly the corner he had been looking for-a quiet nook in one of the smaller rooms. though she knew her husband desired she should not lose sight of his daughter. It was with his daughter’s pretendant. if I can’t dance with her!’ he answered. where the music would come to them faintly and not interfere with conversation. She stopped a moment and asked him if he were not dancing. ‘Certainly not. ‘it’s a barbarous amusement: I’d much rather talk.’ he said. however. ‘I shall not go till she does!’ And he let Lord Warburton pass without giving him a look. ‘You had better go away then.

He looks rather bad. ‘Some forty thousand francs a year. I’ve noticed that your husband has very large ideas. When he was twelve years old I myself was in love with him. he looked a well-set-up young fellow. Is he really an idiot. I see. remarking that he had seen him somewhere before.’ ‘What’s the matter with him?’ Lord Warburton enquired.’ ‘Yes. and he asked Isabel who her dismal friend was. had noticed the melancholy youth.’ ‘He has reason.’ Lord Warburton listened with interest. but my husband’s very particular. I remember. ‘He seems very harmless. he’s charming. he seemed struck with this account of Edward Rosier.’ ‘So I think. but that’s very good. has larger ideas. ‘It’s the young man I’ve told you about. My husband won’t listen to him. and he isn’t very clever. the young man?’ ‘An idiot? Not in the least. who’s in love with Pansy. however.’ 791 of 1056 .’ ‘Sixteen hundred pounds? Ah.’ ‘Ah yes. however.The Portrait of a Lady This nobleman. My husband. you know. ‘How much money has he got?’ he then ventured to ask.’ And Lord Warburton paused a moment.’ ‘So he is.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘He hasn’t money enough. ‘Dear me.

for putting yourself in his place.’ Lord Warburton rejoined vaguely.The Portrait of a Lady ‘He doesn’t look much more than twelve to-day. I’m laughing at you a little. rose-coloured light. looking about him.’ said Isabel. ‘Don’t you think we might sit here?’ he asked. a lady and gentleman moved out of it as our friends came in. I wondered what ailed him. pervaded by a subdued. ‘You’ve a kind thought even for a rival. It shows imagination. Then with more point. ‘It’s very kind of you to take such an interest in Mr. ‘Wherever you please.’ 792 of 1056 . ‘A rival! Do you call him my rival?’ ‘Surely-if you both wish to marry the same person. ‘I think you mean you’re laughing at me for it.’ Isabel said. But I like you as somebody to laugh at.’ ‘You like me for it?’ And Lord Warburton looked at her with an uncertain eye.’ The room was a sort of boudoir.’ ‘Yes. He had a face a yard long. Rosier. ‘He seems to me rather ill-treated.’ ‘Yes-but since he has no chance!’ ‘I like you.’ ‘You’re a just man.’ Lord Warburton suddenly turned with a stare. however that may be.

and that it would probably take her very far.’ ‘That seems to me a very proper feeling. let me enter into his situation a little more. ‘Pansy too would like you for that. I think.The Portrait of a Lady ‘Ah well. I don’t understand you. he was still questioning her face. What do you suppose one could do for him?’ ‘Since I have been praising your imagination I’ll leave you to imagine that yourself. Then at last she said: ‘But it 793 of 1056 .’ Isabel said. ‘Well then.’ said Lord Warburton. ‘Certainly. the sound of the music reached them with its richness softened by the interposing apartments. the room continued empty.’ ‘Miss Osmond? Ah.’ Isabel remained silent for some moments. ‘You told me she would have no wish apart from her father’s. I told you she has an immense wish to please her father. ‘Yes.’ He waited a little.’ A quick blush sprang to his brow. it’s a very proper feeling. then. and as I’ve gathered that he would favour me-!’ He paused a little and then suggested ‘Don’t you see?’ through his blush. You don’t mean that she cares for him?’ ‘Surely I’ve told you I thought she did. I flatter myself. likes me already. she.’ ‘Very much.

But love has nothing to do with good reasons. But that’s not how you strike me. If you were really in love you wouldn’t care a straw for them. if the wife’s a good one and he thinks she does well! ‘Yes. folding his arms. and I don’t know who should know it better than you. of course you must think that. yes I am. of course. I can’t help it. But you’re not in love.’ ‘Ah. I think Pansy would do wonderfully well to marry you. But what makes it so unnatural? Could any one in the world be more loveable than Miss Osmond?’ ‘No one. ‘You like to think you are while you sit here with me. possibly. Mrs.’ ‘Ah. leaning back his head and 794 of 1056 .’ ‘I’m not like the young man in the doorway. I don’t.’ ‘I don’t know. I admit that. I’m delighted to have good reasons.’ ‘No.’ ‘Of course you are.’ ‘I don’t agree with you.’ ‘I do. You call that very British.The Portrait of a Lady hardly strikes me as the sort of feeling to which a man would wish to be indebted for a wife. really in love-really in love!’ Lord Warburton exclaimed. Osmond!’ Isabel shook her head.

he changed his position. ‘My dear Lord Warburton. ‘Why are you so unwilling. looking before him. and for a moment they looked straight at each other. Not for an instant should he suspect her of detecting in his proposal of marrying her stepdaughter an implication of increased nearness to herself. In that brief. not a hope. on such a betrayal. however. extremely personal gaze. I won’t pretend I’m as I once ‘Well.’ He answered nothing. and edit PDF. ‘it’s all right. It showed a suspicion. Download the free trial version. but such as it was it told her what she wanted to know. so sceptical?’ She met his eyes. where. he turned quickly to his friend.’ she said. smiling. ‘you may do. within her companion’s view. whatever comes into your head. If she wished to be satisfied she saw something that satisfied her.’ said Isabel.’ And with this she got up and wandered into the adjoining room. as far as I’m concerned. ‘You must remember that I’m forty-two years old.eBook brought to you by The Portrait of a Lady Create. if you’re sure. with his head back. ominous. she 795 of 1056 . stretching himself a little. however. or of thinking it. deeper meanings passed between them than they were conscious of at the moment. view. Abruptly. she saw in his expression the gleam of an idea that she was uneasy on her own accountthat she was perhaps even in fear. he sat there.

796 of 1056 . with Pansy. with many other departing guests. and at any rate she was satisfied. however. While she talked with them she found herself regretting she had moved. ‘You did right not to go away. I’ve some comfort for you.’ ‘I need it. ‘What has suddenly brought you round?’ ‘The sense that you are an inconvenience in doorways!’ she answered. she found Edward Rosier still planted in the doorway.’ He looked at her with gloomy obliqueness. She was glad of this.’ the young man softly wailed. and at the foot of the staircase the two ladies.The Portrait of a Lady was immediately addressed by a pair of gentlemen. ‘when I see you so awfully thick with him!’ ‘Don’t speak of him. I’ll do what I can for you. smiling as she passed him. I’m afraid it won’t be much. He stood a moment at the door. she stopped and spoke to him again. but what I can I’ll do. it looked a little like running away-all the more as Lord Warburton didn’t follow her. She was so well satisfied that when. who met her as if they had been looking for her. Half an hour later she took leave. just as it approached Lord Warburton came out of the house and assisted them to reach their vehicle. high personages in the Roman world. in passing back into the ball-room. waited a while for their carriage.

at the window. having answered him. detaining him by a movement of her finger. fell back with a little air of fatigue.The Portrait of a Lady asking Pansy if she had amused herself. and she. Then Isabel. murmured gently: ‘Don’t forget to send your letter to her father!’ 797 of 1056 .

in her own phrase. and he bore a name. to carry it off. without currency in other parts of the peninsula. The Countess lived with her eyes upon Rome. was.The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 44 The Countess Gemini was often extremely boredbored. to extinction. which. She was ashamed to say how seldom she had been allowed to visit that city. like the local coin of the old Italian states. which had been to marry an unaccommodating Florentine who insisted upon living in his native town. it scarcely made the matter better that there were other 798 of 1056 . and it was the constant grievance of her life that she had not an habitation there. where he enjoyed such consideration as might attach to a gentleman whose talent for losing at cards had not the merit of being incidental to an obliging disposition. and she struggled bravely enough with her destiny. In Rome he was simply a very dull Florentine. his dulness needed more explanation than was convenient. and it is not remarkable that he should not have cared to pay frequent visits to a place where. having a measurable value in Florence. The Count Gemini was not liked even by those who won from him. however. She had not been extinguished.

she was so sure his wife had a more brilliant life than herself. She went whenever she could. that do not closely concern us. but all she said she could say. but certainly to all the rest. The Countess apparently needed to connect the idea of eternity with her amusements. She heard a great deal about her sister-in-law and knew perfectly that Isabel was having a beautiful time.The Portrait of a Lady members of the Florentine nobility who never had been there at all. She was not so intellectual as Isabel. She was convinced that society was infinitely more interesting in Rome. not even perhaps to the monuments and museums. none at least that one had heard of. was the Eternal City and that Florence was simply a pretty little place like any other. and had often set forth the reasons why she hated Florence and wished to end her days in the shadow of Saint Peter’s. Since her brother’s marriage her impatience had greatly increased. She had indeed seen it for herself on the 799 of 1056 . At Florence there were no celebrities. Or rather not all. the church ceremonies and the scenery. and were usually summed up in the declaration that Rome. that was all she could say. In fact she had much more to say about it. but she was intellectual enough to do justice to Rome-not to the ruins and the catacombs. in short. They are reasons. where you met celebrities all winter at evening parties. however.

It appeared to her that. with Mrs. under the influence of a pleasant surprise. she was constantly expecting that Isabel would ‘look down’ on her. Osmond. She had spent a week there during the first winter of her brother’s marriage. Isabel had been very nice. Osmond didn’t want her-that she was perfectly aware of.The Portrait of a Lady only occasion on which she had enjoyed the hospitality of Palazzo Roccanera. had not been blinded by envy to Isabel’s personal merits. like 800 of 1056 . It was not very large. It was her husband who wouldn’t let her. whereas the clever ones-the really clever onesalways understood her silliness. and the money question was always a trouble. and they should both know it when once they had really touched it. for after all she didn’t care two straws about Osmond. She asked herself when it would begin. and she as constantly saw this operation postponed. but she would have gone all the same. the silly ones could never understand her wisdom. but it was firm. who had liked her sister-in-law from the first. different as they were in appearance and general style. the Countess. but she had not been encouraged to renew this satisfaction. Isabel and she had somewhere a patch of common ground that they would set their feet upon at last. She had always observed that she got on better with clever women than with silly ones like herself. And then she lived.

she thought her very extraordinary. In reality Isabel would as soon have thought of despising her as of passing a moral judgement on a grasshopper. too anomalous for comparisons. She was not indifferent to her husband’s sister. 801 of 1056 . not that she cared much. She was too odd for disdain. or Lent. but she wondered what kept it in abeyance. in which something would rattle when you shook it. She wondered at her. The Countess seemed to her to have no soul. she was rather a little afraid of her. and he added in a moment that she had given it all away-in small pieces. with a polished surface and a remarkably pink lip. The fact of not having been asked was of course another obstacle to the Countess’s going again to Rome. Her sister-in-law regarded her with none but level glances and expressed for the poor Countess as little contempt as admiration. a little loose nut that tumbled about inside of her. or the opera season. she was like a bright rare shell. however. like a frosted weddingcake. Isabel would have invited her again (there was no question of inviting the Count). He said at another time that she had no heart. This rattle was apparently the Countess’s spiritual principle. but Osmond. after his marriage. had not scrupled to say frankly that Amy was a fool of the worst species-a fool whose folly had the irrepressibility of genius.The Portrait of a Lady fire-works.

and after a little she was reassured. but his wife would not be an easy victim. The proposal had come from Osmond himself. Before the marriage she had been sorry for Isabel. She was curious. moreover. it would give her immense pleasure to see Osmond overtopped.’ The Countess pressed her finger-tips to her forehead. What she wanted to learn now was whether Isabel had drawn herself up. who wrote to his sister that she must be prepared to be very quiet. But she had let that pass. The Countess was not very exact at measurements. for one of the impressions of her former visit had been that her brother had found his match. Osmond was as lofty as ever.The Portrait of a Lady but at the period with which this history has now to deal she was in receipt of an invitation to spend several weeks at Palazzo Roccanera. Several days before she was to start for Rome a servant brought her the card of a visitor-a card with the simple superscription ‘Henrietta C. Stackpole. she didn’t 802 of 1056 . so sorry as to have had serious thoughts-if any of the Countess’s thoughts were serious-of putting her on her guard. but she accepted the invitation on any terms. but it seemed to her that if Isabel should draw herself up she would be the taller spirit of the two. Whether or no she found in this phrase all the meaning he had put into it I am unable to say.

the more so that Miss Stackpole seemed perfectly unchanged. and she received an impression of the improvements that were taking place-chiefly in distant countries-in the character (the professional character) of literary ladies. who was thoroughly good-natured. She recognized Miss Stackpole immediately. She wondered if Miss Stackpole had come on account of her mother-whether she had heard of the American Corinne. Touchett’s. Her mother had been used to wear a Roman scarf thrown over a pair of shoulders timorously bared of their tight black velvet (oh the old clothes! and a gold laurel-wreath set upon a multitude of glossy ringlets. and the Countess. By the time she appeared before her visitor she had in fact reminded herself that there was once a literary lady at Mrs. the only woman of letters she had ever encountered-that is the only modern one. thought it rather fine to be called on by a person of that sort of distinction.The Portrait of a Lady remember to have known any such Henrietta as that. since she was the daughter of a defunct poetess. 803 of 1056 . the Countess could see at a glance that this lady was much more contemporary. Her mother was not at all like Isabel’s friend. The servant then remarked that the lady had requested him to say that if the Countess should not recognize her name she would know her well enough on seeing her.

I like you better than I do her. She explained that she had called on the Countess because she was the only person she knew in Florence. I don’t know whether it was an accident or whether it’s your usual style. Touchett was not one of her admirations. But Henrietta. there was something brisk and business-like in her appearance. as she always confessed. her manner was almost conscientiously familiar. ‘Well. since Mrs. She knew Mrs. ‘Do you mean by that that I am?’ the Countess graciously asked. and that when she visited a foreign city she liked to see something more than superficial travellers. At any 804 of 1056 . was always closely buttoned and compactly braided. Touchett. ‘I seem to remember that when I saw you before you were very interesting.The Portrait of a Lady She had spoken softly and vaguely. with the accent of her ‘Creole’ ancestors.’ said Miss Stackpole. It was as impossible to imagine her ever vaguely sighing as to imagine a letter posted without its address. and even if she had been in Florence Henrietta would not have put herself out for her. The Countess could not but feel that the correspondent of the Interviewer was much more in the movement than the American Corinne. the Countess could see. but Mrs. Touchett was in America. she sighed a great deal and was not at all enterprising.

’ ‘The position of woman’s very uncomfortable. ‘He needn’t be afraid. ‘I didn’t mention your name. And then I quoted your views. I only said a lady of high rank. I’m not at all like my brother-I suppose you know my brother? He thinks it a kind of scandal to be put in the papers. tossing up her clasped hands. ‘Ah. do let me see it!’ ‘I’ll write to them to send you the paper if you like.’ ‘Dear me!’ cried the Countess.’ The Countess threw herself hastily backward. Is that what you mean? And you wrote it down and published it?’ the Countess went on. staring and half alarmed.’ Henrietta said.’ ‘It was about the position of woman in this city. ‘Do you know I’m rather sorry you didn’t mention my name? I should have rather liked to see my name in the papers. I made use of it afterwards in print. ‘That’s another reason.’ said Miss Stackpole with bland dryness. I shall never refer to him.’ Miss Stackpole remarked. if you were to quote him he’d never forgive you. ‘I had no idea I ever said anything remarkable! I wish I had known it at the time.The Portrait of a Lady rate I was a good deal struck with what you said. I have so many! But I’m not ashamed of them.’ 805 of 1056 . I forget what my views were. ‘You threw a good deal of light upon it.

’ quite willing to be known by that. Osmond married my dearest friend.’ ‘Oh yes.’ Henrietta’s large eyes became immense.’ ‘With great pleasure.’ The Countess sprang from her chair and came and sat on the sofa beside her visitor.’ said the Countess. ‘Doesn’t know how to read? May I put that into my letter? ‘Into your letter?’ ‘In the Interviewer. Y