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MonkeyNotes-Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
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Chapter 50

Isabel likes to take the Countess Gemini with her on trips around Rome because it gives her sister-in-law something other than the sexual affairs of the women in Florence as a topic of conversation. While they are at the Coliseum one day, Isabel wanders off alone while the Countess and Pansy go exploring. She is greeted by Edward Rosier, who tells her he has sold his bibelots for fifty thousand dollars. He thinks this sacrifice will make him a good candidate for Pansyís hand in Gilbert Osmondís eyes. Isabel tells him it wonít help because Gilbert Osmond wants Pansy to marry a noble. He sees Pansy and the Countess approaching. He says he wants to speak to the Countess. Isabel advises him against it, saying she has no influence with her brother. Isabel goes to intercept Pansy who drops her eyes when she sees Rosier. She doesnít glance back to look at him when sheís being led away. The Countess remains behind so long that Isabel has to send the footman to go and get her.

A week later Isabel finds Pansy waiting for her in her room. She says her father has said she will go to the convent for a while. He has told her the world is bad for her. Isabel is surprised that she hasnít been told of these plans. Madame Catharine will be coming for Pansy in a short while. When Pansy is gone, Isabel goes into the room where Osmond is. She has forbidden herself from every asking him questions. She only says she will miss Pansy very much. Gilbert tells her why he sent Pansy to the convent. He wants to keep her innocent and he wants her to think about something and think of it in the right way. Isabel is amazed at how far Gilbert will go in his schemes. He will even go so far as to play "theoretic tricks on the delicate organism of his daughter." Isabel understands this last move on Gilbertís part as having been designed for her own benefit. Gilbert had "wanted to do something sudden and arbitrary." Isabel knows Pansy has been frightened by this move.

That night at dinner, the Countess talks to Gilbert about Pansyís "banishment." She tells him itís obvious that all his reasons are only covers for the real purpose of getting Pansy away from Mr. Rosier. She thinks Gilbert is getting Pansy away from the Countess. Gilbert says it would be much simpler just to banish her, the Countess, instead of banishing his daughter.


Notes

Two things occur in this chapter. First, Edward Rosier comes back to Rome with the news that he is $50,000 richer because he has sold his collection of bibelots. Second, Osmond sends Pansy to the convent for two weeks. In Isabelís eyes, he does so to scare Pansy and Isabel into realizing that he is in complete control and is capable of acting ruthlessly. Gilbert Osmond will treat his daughter as he does everyone else in his life, as an instrument for his pleasure. The expectation this chapter seems intent on setting up has to do not with Gilbert, but with Isabel. If she wonít act against Gilbert for her own happiness, will she do so for Pansyís.

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