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MonkeyNotes-Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
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Chapter 43

Three nights later, Isabel accompanies Pansy to a ball. She acts as Pansyís guardian, holding her flowers for her and watching her dance. At one point when Pansy goes to dance, Edward Rosier approaches looking grim. He asks for one of Pansyís flowers and after hesitating, Isabel lets him choose one. She tells him she isnít "in love with him for Pansy." When Pansy heads back towards them, Isabel asks him to leave, telling him Mr. Osmond has forbidden Pansy to dance with him. He waits until he sees Pansy see him and then he leaves. In his manner of leaving, Isabel realizes how in love he is. Pansy goes back out on the next dance and Lord Warburton arrives. Isabel is again struck by the fact that "a man of his mettle should take an interest in a little maid," as he calls Pansy. He tells Isabel that being with her must have been a very good thing for Pansy. Isabel jokes, "Ah yes, if she isnít the rose she has lived near it." Warburton says, "We all try to live as near it as we can." When Pansy returns to them, Isabel helps her with a tear in her dress, all the while wondering if Lord Warburton is still trying to be with her.

Pansy goes back out to dance and Lord Warburton remains to talk with Isabel. She tells him she had thought he would have asked Pansy to dance the cotillion, a dance that takes thirty minutes, but instead she finds out he has asked Pansy to dance the quadrille, a group dance. He says he didnít ask Pansy for the cotillion because he thought he would have a chance to talk with Isabel for the time. When the cotillion comes, Lord Warburton asks Isabel to come sit with him in an adjoining room. She knows sheís not supposed to leave Pansy out of her sight, but she wants to find out for sure what Lord Warburton is up to. On the way, they run into Edward Rosier who is looking wretched. Lord Warburton has forgotten who he is. Isabel tells him Rosier is his rival. Lord Warburton is shocked at this. He fells sorry for Edward Roseir for being rejected by Gilbert Osmond when he has a respectable income and seems to be a nice man. Isabel says Gilbert has larger ideas. He finds out also that Isabel has already told him that Pansy has feelings for Rosier. He blushes that he hadnít taken this into account. Isabel tells him heís not in love. After some talk, he tells her he canít pretend to be as he once was. They look at each other for a long time, then Isabel tells him he should do whatever comes into his head and leaves.

Outside, after talking to some people, she runs into Rosier again and tells him she has some comfort for him. She tells him she will do what she can for him. When she gets outside to her carriage with Pansy later that evening, Lord Warburton sees them off. She tells him not to forget to send the letter he has written to Gilbert Osmond.


Notes

Isabel seems to have made a turn in this chapter. She has turned back from her idea of pleasing Gilbert by encouraging Lord Warburton to marry Pansy. She has done so because she realizes Lord Warburton is not in love with Pansy but is instead still in love with her. Itís not clear yet what her plan of action will be, but it is clear that she will become Rosierís ally.

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