Portrait of a Lady (version 2) | Henry James | Literary Fiction, Romance | Audiobook Full | 8/14

Portrait of a Lady (version 2) | Henry James | Literary Fiction, Romance | Audiobook | 11/14



chapter 45 of the portrait of a lady by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain I have already had reason to say that Isabel knew her husband to be displeased by the continuance of Ralph's visit to Rome that knowledge was very present to her as she went to her cousins hotel the day after she had invited Lord Warburton to give tangible proof of his sincerity and at this moment as it others she had a sufficient perception of the sources of Osmonds opposition he wished her to have no freedom of mind and he knew perfectly well that ralph was an apostle of freedom it was just because he was this Isabel said to herself that it was a refreshment to go and see him it will be perceived that she partook of this refreshment in spite of her husband's aversion to it that is partook of it as she flattered herself discreetly she had not as yet undertaken to act in direct opposition to his wishes he was her appointed and inscribed master she gazed at moments with a sort of incredulous blankness at this fact it weighed upon her imagination however constantly present to her mind were all the traditionary decencies and sanctities of marriage the idea of violating them filled her with shame as well as with dread for on giving herself away she had lost sight of this contingency in the perfect belief that her husband's intentions were as generous as her own she seemed to see nonetheless the rapid approach of the day when she should have to take back something she had solemnly beasts own such a ceremony would be odious and monstrous she tried to shut her eyes to it meanwhile Osmond would do nothing to help it by beginning first he would put that burden upon her to the end he had not yet formally forbidden her to call upon Ralph but she felt sure that unless Ralph should very soon depart this prohibition would come how could poor Ralph depart the weather as yet made it impossible she could perfectly understand her husband's wish for the event she didn't to be just see how he could like her to be with her Ralph never said a word against him but Osmond sore mute protest was nonetheless founded if he should positively interpose if he should put forth his authority she would have to decide and that wouldn't be easy the prospect made her heart beat and her cheeks burn as I say in advance there were moments when in her wish to avoid an open rupture she found herself wishing Ralph would start even at a risk and it was of no use that when catching herself in this state of mind she called herself a feeble spirit a coward it was not that she loved Ralph less but that almost anything seemed preferable to repudiating the most serious act the single sacred act of her life that appeared to make the whole future hideous to break with Osmond once would be to break forever any open acknowledgment of irreconcilable needs would be an admission that their whole attempt had proved a failure for them there could be no condone Monteux compromise no easy forgetfulness no formal readjustment they had attempted only one thing but that one thing was to have been exquisite once they missed it nothing else would do there was no conceivable substitute for that success for the moment Isabelle went to the hotel to parry as often as she thought well the measure of propriety was in the Canon of taste and there couldn't have been a better proof that morality was so to speak a matter of earnest appreciation Isabelle's application of that measure had been particularly free today for an addition to the general truth that she couldn't leave Ralph to die alone she had something important to ask of him this indeed was Gilbert's business as well as her own she came very soon to what she wished to speak of I want you to answer me a question it's about Lord Warburton I think I guess your question Ralph answered from his armchair out of which his thin legs protruded at a greater length than ever very possibly you guess it please then answer it oh I don't say I can do that you're intimate with him she said you have a great deal of observation of him very true but think how he must dissimulate why should he dissimulate that's not his nature ah you must remember that the circumstances are peculiar said Ralph with an air of private amusement to a certain extent yes but is he really in love very much I think I can make that out ah said Isabelle with a certain dryness Ralph looked at her as if his mild hilarity had been touched with mystification you say that as if you were disappointed Isabelle got up slowly smoothing her gloves and eyeing them thoughtfully it's after all no business of mine you're very philosophic said her cousin and then in a moment may I inquire what you're talking about Isabelle stared I thought you knew Lord Warburton tells me he wants of all things in the world to marry pansy I've told you that before without eliciting a comment from you you might risk one this morning I think is it your belief that he really cares for her ah for pansy no cried Ralph very positively but you said just now he did Ralph waited a moment that he cared for you mrs. Osmond Isabelle shook her head gravely that's nonsense you know of course it is but the nonsenses Warburton's not mine that would be very tiresome she spoke as she flattered herself with much subtlety I ought to tell you indeed Ralph went on that to me he has denied it it's very good of you to talk about it together has he also told you that he's in love with pansy he has spoken very well of her very properly he has let me know of course that he thinks she would do well at Lockley does he really think it nah what Warburton really thinks said Ralph Isabel fell to smoothing her gloves again they were long loose gloves on which she could freely expend herself soon however she looked up and then Ralph you give me no help she cried abruptly and passionately it was the first time she had alluded to the need for help and the word shook her cousin with their violence he gave a long murmur of relief of pity of tenderness it seemed to him that at last the gulf between them have been bridged it was this that made him exclaim in a moment how unhappy you must be he had no sooner spoken than she recovered her self-possession than the first use she made of it was to pretend she had not heard him when I talk of you're helping me I talk great nonsense she said with a quick smile the idea of my troubling you with my domestic embarrassments the matter is very simple Lord Warburton must get on by himself I can't undertake to see him through he ought to succeed easily said Ralph Isabel debated yes but he has not always succeeded very true you know whoever how that always surprised me is miss Osmond capable of giving us a surprise it will come from him rather I seem to see that after all he'll let the matter drop he'll do nothing dishonorable said Ralph I'm very sure of that nothing can be more honorable than for him to leave the poor child alone she cares for another person and it's cruel to attempt to bribe her by magnificent offers to give him up cruel to the other person perhaps the one she cares for but Warburton isn't obliged to mind that no cruel to her said Isabel she would be very unhappy if she were to allow herself to be persuaded to desert poor mr rosier that idea seems to amuse you of course you're not in love with him he has the merit for pansy of being in love with pansy she can see it a glance that Lord Warburton isn't he'd be very good to her said Ralph he has been good to her already fortunately however he has not said a word to disturb her he could come and bid her goodbye tomorrow with perfect propriety how would your husband like that not at all and he may be right in not liking it only he must obtain satisfaction himself has he commissioned you to obtain it Ralph venture to ask it was natural that as an old friend of Lord Warburton's an older friend that is then Gilbert I should take an interest in his intentions take an interest in his renouncing them you mean Isabelle hesitated frowning a little let me understand are you pleading his cause not in the least I'm very glad he shouldn't become your stepdaughters husband it makes such a very queer relation to you said Ralph smiling but I'm rather nervous lest her husband should think you haven't pushed him enough Isabelle found herself able to smile as well as he he knows me well enough not to have expected me to push he himself has no intention of pushing I presume I'm not afraid I shall not be able to justify myself she said lightly her mask had dropped for an instant but she had put it on again to Ralph's infinite disappointment he had caught a glimpse of her natural face and he wished immensely to look into it he had an almost savage desire to hear her complain of her husband hear her say that she should be held accountable for lord Warburton's defection ralph was certain that this was her situation he knew by instinct in advance the form that in such an event Osmund displeasure would take it could only take the meanest and cruelest he would have liked to warn Isabelle of it to let her see at least how he dodged for her and how he knew it little mattered that Isabelle would know much better it was for his own satisfaction more than for hers that he launched to show her he was not deceived he tried and tried again to make her betray us meant he felt cold-blooded cruel dishonorable almost in doing so but it scarcely mattered for he only failed what had she come for then and why did she seem almost to offer him a chance to violate their tacit convention why did she ask him his advice if she gave him no Liberty to answer her how could they talk of her domestic embarrassments as it pleased her humorously to designate them if the principal factor was not to be mentioned these contradictions were themselves but an indication of her trouble and her cry for help just before was the only thing he was bound to consider you'll be decidedly at variance all the same he said in a moment and as she answered nothing looking as if she scarce understood you'll find yourselves thinking very differently he continued that may easily happen among the most United couples she took up her parasol he saw she was nervous afraid of what he might say it's a matter we can hardly quarrel about however she added for almost all the interest is on his side that's very natural pansies after all his daughter not mine and she put out her hand to wish him good bye Ralph took an inward resolution that she shouldn't leave him without his letting her know that he knew everything it seemed too great an opportunity to lose do you know what his interest will make him say he said as he took her hand she shook her head rather dryly not discouragingly and he went on it will make him say that your want of zeal is owing to jealousy he stopped a moment her face made him afraid to jealousy to jealousy of his daughter she blushed red and threw back her head you're not kind she said in a voice that he had never heard on her lips be frank with me and you'll see he answered but she made no reply she only pulled her hand out of his own which he tried still to hold and rapidly withdrew from the room she made up her mind to speak to pansy and she took an occasion on the same day going to the girls room before dinner pansy was already dressed she was always in advance of the time it seemed to illustrate her pretty patience and the graceful stillness with which she could sit and wait at present she was seated in her fresh array before the bedroom fire she had blown out her candles on the completion of her toilet in accordance with the economical habits in which she had been brought up and which she was now more careful than ever to observe so that the room was lighted only by a couple of logs the rooms in Palazzo Rokan era were as spacious as they were numerous and pansies virginal Bower was an immense chamber with a dark heavily timbered ceiling its diminutive mistress in the midst of it appeared but a speck of humanity and as she got up with quick deference to welcome Isabelle the latter was more than ever struck with her shy sincerity Isabelle had a difficult task the only thing was to perform it as simply as possible she felt bitter and angry but she warned herself against betraying this heat she was afraid even of looking too grave or at least too Stern she was afraid of causing alarm but pansy seems to have guessed she had come more or less as a confessor for after she had moved the chair in which she had been sitting a little nearer to the fire and Isabelle had taken her place in it she kneeled down on a cushion in front of her looking up and resting her clasped hands on her stepmothers knees what Isabelle wished to do was to hear from her own lips that her mind was not occupied with Lord Warburton but if she desired the assurance she felt herself by no means at liberty to provoke it the girl's father would have qualified this as rank treachery and indeed Isabelle knew that if pansy should display the smallest germ of a disposition to encourage Lord Warburton her own duty was to hold her tongue it was difficult to interrogate without appearing to suggest pansy supreme simplicity and innocence even more complete than Isabel had yet judged it gave to the most tentative inquiry something of the effect of an admonition as she knelt there in the vague firelight with her pretty dress dimly shining her hands folded half an appeal and half in submission her soft eyes raised and fixed full of the seriousness of the situation she looked to Isabel like a childish martyr decked out for sacrifice and scarcely presuming even to hope to avert it when Isabel said to her that she had never yet spoken to her of what might have been going on in relation to her getting married but that her silence had not been indifference or ignorant had only been the desire to leave her at Liberty pansy bent forward raised her face nearer and nearer and with a little murmur which evidently expressed a deep longing answered that she had greatly wished her to speak and that she begged her to advise her now it's difficult for me to advise you Isabel returned I don't know how I can undertake that that's for your father you must get his advice and above all you must act on it that this pansy dropped her eyes for a moment she said nothing I think I should like your advice better than Papa's she presently remarked that's not as it should be said Isabel coldly I love you very much but your father loves you better it isn't because you love me it's because you're a lady pansy answered with the air of saying something very reasonable a lady can advise a young girl better than a man I advise you then to pay the greatest respect your father's wishes ah yes said the child eagerly I must do that but if I speak to you now about your getting married it's not for your own sake it's for mine Isabel went on if I try to learn from you what you expect what you desire it's only that I may act accordingly pansy stared and then very quickly will you do every I want she asked before I say yes I must know what such things are pansy presently told her that the only thing she wanted in life was to marry mr. Rozier he had asked her and she had told him she would do so if her Papa would allow it now her Papa wouldn't allow it very well then it's impossible Isabelle pronounced yes it's impossible said pansy without a sigh and with the same extreme attention in her clear little face you must think of something else then Isabelle went on but pansy sighing at this told her that she had attempted that feat without the least success you think of those who think of you she said with a faint smile I know mr. Rozier thinks of me he ought not to said Isabelle laughs Tilly your father has expressly requested he shouldn't he can't help it because he knows I think of him you shouldn't think of him there's some excuse for him perhaps but there's none for you I wish she would try to find one the girl exclaimed as if she were praying to the Madonna I should be very sorry to attempt it said the Madonna with unusual frigidity if you knew someone else was thinking of you would you think of him no one can think of me as mr. Rozier does no one has the right ah but I don't admit mr. rose ears right Isabel hypocritically cried pansy only gazed at her evidently much puzzled and Isabel taking advantage of it began to represent to her the wretched consequences of disobeying her father at this pansy stopped her with the assurance that she would never disobey him would never marry without his consent and she announced in the serenus simplest tone that though she might never marry mr. Rozier she would never cease to think of him she appeared to have accepted the idea of eternal singleness but Isabel of course was free to reflect that she had no conception of its meaning she was perfectly sincere she was prepared to give up her lover this might seem an important step toward taking another but for pansy evidently it failed to lead in that direction she felt no bitterness toward her father there was no bitterness in her heart there was only the sweetness of fidelity to Edward rosier and a strange exquisite intimation that she could prove it better by remaining single than even by marrying him your father would like you to make a better marriage said Isabelle mr. rose ears fortune is not at all large how do you mean better if that would be good enough and I have myself so little money why should I look for a fortune you're having so little is a reason for looking for more with which Isabelle was grateful for the dimness of the room she felt as if her face were hideously insincere it was what she was doing for Osmond it was what one had to do for Osmond Pansy's solemn eyes fixed on her own almost embarrassed her she was ashamed to think she had made so light of the girls preference what should you like me to do her companions softly demanded the question was a terrible one and Isabelle took refuge in timorous vagueness to remember all the pleasure it's in your power to give your father to marry someone else you mean if he should ask me for a moment Isabelle's answer caused itself to be waited for then she heard herself utter it in the stillness that pansies attention seemed to make yes to marry someone else the child's eyes grew more penetrating Isabelle believed she was doubting her sincerity and the impression took force from her slowly getting up from her cushion she stood there a moment with her small hands unclasped and then quavered out well I hope no one will ask me there has been a question of that someone else would have been ready to ask you I don't think he can have been ready said pansy it would appear so if he had been sure he'd succeed if he had been sure then he wasn't ready Isabelle thought this rather sharp she also got up in stood a moment looking into the fire Lord Warburton has shown you great attention she resumed of course you know it's of him I speak she found herself against her expectation almost placed in the position of justifying herself which led her to introduce this nobleman more crudely than she had intended he has been very kind to me and I like him very much but if you mean that he'll propose for me I think you're mistaken perhaps I am but your father would like it extremely pansy shook her head with a wise little smile Lord Warburton won't propose simply to please papa your father would like you to encourage him Isabel went on mechanically how can I encourage him I don't know your father must tell you that pansy said nothing for a moment she only continued to smile as if she were in possession of a bright assurance there's no danger no danger she declared at last there was a conviction in the way she said this and a Felicity in her believing it which conduced to Isabelle's awkwardness she felt accused of dishonesty and the idea was disgusting to repair her self-respect she was on the point of saying that Lord Warburton had let her know that there was a danger but she didn't she only said in her embarrassment rather wide of the mark that he surely had been most kind most friendly yes he has been very kind pansy answered that's what I like him for why then is the difficulty so great I've always felt sure of his knowing that I don't want well what did you say I should do to encourage him he knows I don't want to marry and he wants me to know that he therefore won't trouble me that's the meaning of his kindness it's as if he had said to me I like you very much but if it doesn't please you I'll never say it again I think that's very kind very noble pansy went on with deepening positiveness that is all we've said to each other and he doesn't care for me either oh no there's no danger Isabelle was touched with wonder at the depth of perception of which this submissive little person was capable she felt afraid of pansies wisdom began almost to retreat before it you must tell your father that she remarked reservedly I think I'd rather not pansy unreservedly answered you oughtn't to let him have false hopes perhaps not but it will be good for me that he should so long as he believes that Lord Warburton intends anything of the kind you say Papa won't propose anyone else and that will be an advantage for me said the child very lucidly there was something brilliant in her lucidity and it made her companion draw a long breath it relieved this friend of a heavy responsibility pansy had a sufficient illumination of her own and Isabelle felt that she herself just now had no light to spare from her small stalk nevertheless it still clung to her that she must be loyal to Osmond that she was on her honor in dealing with his daughter under the influence of this sentiment she threw out another suggestion before she retired a suggestion with which it seems to her that she should have done her utmost your father takes for granted at least that she would like to marry a nobleman pansy stood in the open doorway she had drawn back the curtain for Isabelle to pass I think mr. Rozier looks like one she remarked very gravely end of chapter 45 chapter 46 of the portrait of a lady by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Lord Warburton was not seen in mrs. Osmonds drawing-room for several days and Isabelle couldn't fail to observe that her husband said nothing to her about having received a letter from him she couldn't fail to observe either that Osmond was in a state of expectancy and that though it was not agreeable to him to betray it he thought their distinguished friend kept him waiting quite too long at the end of four days he alluded to absence what has become of Warburton what does he mean by treating one like a tradesman with a bill I know nothing about him Isabelle said I saw him last Friday at the German ball he told me then that he meant to write to you he has never written to me so I supposed from your not having told me he's an odd fish said Osmond comprehensively and on Isabelle's making no rejoinder he went on to inquire whether it took his lordship five days to indict a letter does he form his words with such difficulty I don't know Isabelle was reduced to replying I've never had a letter from him never had a letter I had an idea that you were at one time an intimate correspondence she answered that this had not been the case and let the conversation drop on the Mara whoever coming into the drawing-room late in the afternoon her husband took it up again when Lord Warburton told you of his intention of writing what did you say to him he asked she just faltered I think I told him not to forget it did you believe there was a danger of that as you say he's an odd fish apparently he is forgotten it said Osmond be so good as to remind him should you like me to write to him she demanded I have no objection whatever you expect too much of me now yes I expect a great deal of you I'm afraid I shall disappoint you said Isabelle my expectations have survived a good deal of disappointment of course I know that think how I must have disappointed myself if you really wish hands laid on Lord Warburton you must lay them yourself for a couple of minutes Osmond answered nothing then he said that won't be easy with you working against me Isabelle started she felt herself beginning to tremble he had a way of looking at her through half-closed eyelids as if he were thinking of her but scarcely saw her which seemed to her to have a wonderfully cruel intention it appeared to recognize her as a disagreeable necessity of thought but to ignore her for the time as a presence that effect had never been so marked as now I think you accused me of something very base she returned I accuse you of not being trustworthy if he doesn't after all come forward it will be because you've kept him off I don't know that it's base does the kind of thing a woman always think she may do I've no doubt you've the finest ideas about it I told you I would do what I could she went on yes that gained you time it came over her after he had said this that she had once thought him beautiful how much you must want to make sure of him she exclaimed in a moment she had no sooner spoken than she perceived the full reach of her words of which she had not been conscious and uttering them they made a comparison between Osmond and herself recalled the fact that she had once held this coveted treasure in her hand and felt herself rich enough to let it fall a momentary exultation took possession of her a horrible delight and having wounded him for his face instantly told her that none of the force of her exclamation was lost he expressed nothing otherwise however he only said quickly yes I want it immensely at this moment a servant came to usher in a visitor and he was followed the next by Lord Warburton who received a visible check on seeing Osmond he looked rapidly from the master of the house to the mistress a movement that seemed to denote a reluctance to interrupt or even a perception of ominous conditions then he advanced with his English address in which a vague shyness seemed to offer itself as an element of good breeding in which the only defect was a difficulty in achieving transitions Osmond was embarrassed he found nothing to say but Isabelle remarked promptly enough that they had been in the act of talking upon their visitor upon this her husband added that they hadn't known what was become of him that they had been afraid he had gone away no he explained smiling and looking at Osmond I'm only on the point of going and then he mentioned that he found himself suddenly recalled to England he should start on the morrow or the day after I'm awfully sorry to leave poor touch it he ended by exclaiming for a moment neither of his companions spoke Osmond only leaned back in his chair listening Isabelle didn't look at him she could only fancy how he looked her eyes were on their visitors face or they were the more free to rest that those of his lordship carefully avoided them yet Isabelle was sure that had she met his glance she would have found it expressive you had better take poor touch it with you she heard her husband say lightly enough in a moment he had better wait for warmer weather Lord Warburton answered I shouldn't advise him to travel just now he sat there a quarter of an hour talking as if he might not soon see them again unless indeed they should come to England of course he strongly recommended why shouldn't they come to England in the autumn that struck him as a very happy thought it would give him such pleasure to do what he could for them to have them come and spend a month with him Osmund by his own admission had been to England but once which was an absurd state of things for a man of his leisure and intelligence it was just the country for him he would be sure to get on well there then Lord Warburton asked Isabel if she remembered what a good time she had had there and if she didn't want to try it again didn't she want to see Garden Court once more Garden Court was really very good touch it didn't take proper care of it but it was the sort of place you could hardly spoil by letting it alone why didn't they come and pay touch it a visit he surely must have asked them hadn't asked them would an ill-mannered wretch and Lord Warburton promise to give the master of Garden Court a piece of his mind of course it was a mere accident he'd be delighted to have them spending a month with touchid and a month with himself and seeing all the rest of the people they must know there they really wouldn't find it half bad Oh Lord Warburton added that it would amuse mrs. Mendez well who had told him that she had never been to England and who meet assured it was a country she deserved to see of course she didn't need to go to England to be admired that was her fate everywhere but she would be in immense success there she certainly would if that was any inducement he asked if she were not at home couldn't he say goodbye not that he liked goodbyes he always funked them when he left England the other day he hadn't said goodbye to a two-legged creature he had had half a mind to leave Rome without troubling mrs. Osmond for a final interview what could be more dreary than final interviews one never said the things when wanted one remembered them all an hour afterwards on the other hand one usually said a lot of things one shouldn't simply from a sense that one had to say something such a sense was upsetting it muddled one's wits he had it at present and that was the effect it produced on him if mrs. Osmond didn't think he spoke as he ought she must set it down to agitation it was no light thing to part with mrs. Osmond he was really very sorry to be going he had thought of writing to her instead of calling but he would write to her at any rate to tell her a lot of things that be sure to occur to him as soon as he left the house they must think seriously about coming to Lockley if there was anything awkward in the conditions of his visit or in the announcement of his departure it failed to come to the surface Lord Warburton talked about his agitation but he showed it in no other manner and Isabel saw that since he had determined on a retreat he was capable of executing it gallantly she was very glad for him she liked him quite well enough to wish him to appear to carry a thing off he would do that on any occasion not from impedance but simply from the habit of success and Isabel fount it out of her husband's power to frustrate this faculty a complex operation as she sat there went on in her mind on one side she listened to their visitor said what was proper to him read or less between the lines of what he said himself and wondered how he would have spoken if he had found her alone on the other she had a perfect consciousness of Osmonds emotion she felt almost sorry for him he was condemned to the sharp pain of loss without the relief of cursing he had had a great hope and now as he saw it vanish into smoke he was obliged to sit and smile and twirl his thumbs not that he troubled himself to smile very brightly he treated their friend on the whole to his vacant to countenance as so clever a man could very well wear it was indeed a part of Osmonds cleverness that he could look consummately uncompromised his present appearance however was not a confession of disappointment it was simply a part of osman civil system which was to be inexpressive exactly in proportion as he was really intent he had been intent on this prize from the first but he had never allowed his eagerness to irradiated find face he had treated his possible son-in-law as he treated everyone with an air of being interested in him only for his own advantage not for any profit to a person already so generally so perfectly provided as Gilbert Osmond he would give no sign now of an inward rage which was the result of a vanished prospect of gain not the faintest nor subtlest Isabel could be sure of that if it was any satisfaction to her strangely very strangely it was a satisfaction she wished Lord Warburton to triumph before her husband and at the same time she wished her husband to be very superior before Lord Warburton Osmond in his way was admirable he had liked their visitor the advantage of an acquired habit it was not that of succeeding but it was something almost as good that of not attempting as he leaned back in his place listening but vaguely to the others friendly offers and suppressed explanations as if it were only proper to assume that they were addressed essentially to his wife he had at least since so little else was left him the comfort of thinking how well he personally had kept out of it and how the air of indifference which he was now able to wear had the added beauty of consistency it was something to be able to look as if the leave takers movements had no relation to his own mind the latter did well certainly but Osmonds performance was in its very nature more finished Lord Warburton's physician was after all an easy one there was no reason in the world why he shouldn't liro he had had beneficent inclinations but they had stopped short of fruition he had never committed himself and his honor was safe Osmund appeared to take but a moderate interest in the proposal that they should go and stay with him and in his allusion to the success pansy might extract from their visit he murmured a recognition but left is about to say that it was a matter requiring grave consideration Isabelle even while she made this remark could see the great Vista which had suddenly opened out in her husband's mind with pansies little figure marching up the middle of it Lord Warburton had asked leave to bid goodbye to pansy but neither Isabelle nor Osmond had made any motion to send for her he had the air of giving out that his visit must be short he sat on a small chair as if it were only for a moment keeping his hat in his hand but he stayed and stayed Isabelle wondered what he was waiting for she believed it was not to see pansy she had an impression that on the whole he would rather not see pansy it was of course to see herself alone he had something to say to her Isabelle had no great wish to hear it for she was afraid it would be an explanation and she could perfectly dispense with explanations Osmond however presently got up like a man of good taste to whom it had occurred that so inveterate visitor might wish to say just the last word of all to the ladies I have a letter to write before dinner he said you must excuse me I'll see if my daughter's disengaged and if she is she shall know you're here of course when you come to Rome you'll always look us up mrs. Osmond will talk to you about the English expedition she decides all those things the nod with which instead of a handshake he wound up this little speech was perhaps rather a meager form of salutation but on the whole it was all the occasion demanded Isabelle reflected that after he left the room Lord Warburton would have no protects for saying your husband's very angry which would have been extremely disagreeable to her nevertheless if he had done so she would have said oh don't be anxious he doesn't hate you it's me that he hates it was only when they had been left alone together that her friend showed a certain vague awkwardness sitting down in another chair handling two or three of the objects that were near him I hope he'll make mrs. Munt come he presently remarked I want very much to see her I'm glad it's the last time said Isabelle so am i she doesn't care for me no she doesn't care for you I don't wonder at it he returned then he added with in consequence you'll come to England weren't you I think we had better not are you owe me a visit don't you remember that you were to have come to Lockley once and you never did everything's changed since then said Isabelle not changed for the worst surely as far as we're concerned to see you under my roof and he hung fire but an instant would be a great satisfaction she had feared an explanation but that was the only one that occurred they talked a little of Ralph and at another moment pansy came in already dressed for dinner and with a little red spot in either cheek she shook hands with Lord Warburton and stood looking up into his face with a fixed smile a smile that Isabelle knew though his lordship probably never suspected it to be near akin to a burst of Tears I'm going away he said I want to bid you goodbye goodbye Lord Warburton her voice perceptibly trembled and I want to tell you how much I wish she may be very happy Thank You Lord Warburton pansy answered he lingered a moment and gave a glance at Isabelle you ought to be very happy you've got a guardian angel I'm sure I shall be happy said pansy in the tone of a person whose certainties were always cheerful such a conviction as that will take you a great way but if it should ever fail you remember remember and her interlocked at her stammered a little think of me sometimes you know huh he said with a vague laugh then he shook hands with his Abell in silence and presently he was gone when he had left the room she expected an effusion of tears from her stepdaughter but pansy in fact treated her to something very different I think you are my guardian angel she exclaimed very sweetly Isabelle shook her head I'm not an angel of any kind I'm at the most you're a good friend you're a very good friend then to have asked Papa to be gentle with me I've asked her father nothing said Isabelle wondering he told me just now to come to the drawing-room and then he gave me a very kind kiss ah said Isabelle that was quite his own idea she recognised the idea perfectly it was very characteristic and she was to see a great deal more of it even with pansy he couldn't put himself the least in the wrong they were dining out that day and after their dinner they went to another entertainment so that it was not too late in the evening that Isabelle saw him alone when pansy kissed him before going to bed he returned her embrace with even more than his usual munificence and Isabelle wondered if he meant it as a hint that his daughter had been injured by the masked nations of her stepmother it was a partial expression at any rate of what he continued to expect of his wife she was about to follow pansy but he remarked that he wished she would remain he had something to say to her then he walked about the drawing-room a little while she stood waiting in her cloak I don't understand what she wished to do he said in a moment I should like to know so that I may know how to act just now I wish to go to bed I'm very tired sit down and rest I shall not keep you long not there take a comfortable place and he arranged a multitude of Christians that were scattered in picturesque disorder upon a vast divan this was not however where she seated herself she dropped into the nearest chair the fire had gone out the lights in the great room were few she drew her cloak about her she felt mortally cold I think you're trying to humiliate me Osmund went on it's a most absurd undertaking I haven't the least idea what you mean she returned you've played a very deep game you've managed it beautifully what is it that I've managed you've not quite settled it however we shall see him again and he stopped in front of her with his hands in his pockets looking down at her thoughtfully in his usual way which seemed meant to let her know that she was not an object but only a rather disagreeable incident of thought if you mean that Lord Warburton's under an obligation to come back you're wrong Isabelle said he's under none whatever that's just what I complain of but when I say he'll come back I don't mean he'll come from a sense of duty there's nothing else to make him I think he is quite exhausted Rome oh no that's a shallow judgment Rome's inexhaustible and osmond began to walk about again however about that perhaps there's no hurry he added it's rather a good idea of his that we should go to England if it were not for the fear of finding your cousin there I think I should try to persuade you it may be that you'll not find my cousin said Isabelle I should like to be sure of it however I shall be as sure as possible at the same time I should like to see his house that you told me so much about at one time what do you call it Garden Court it must be a charming thing and then you know I have a devotion to the memory of your uncle you made me take a great fancy to him I should like to see where he lived and died that indeed is a detail your friend was right pansy ought to see England I have no doubt she would enjoy it said Isabelle but that's a long time hence next autumns far off Osmund continued and meantime there are things that more nearly interest us do you think me so very proud he suddenly asked I think you very strange you don't understand me no not even when you insult me I don't insult you I'm incapable of it I merely speak of certain facts and if the illusions an injury to you the faults not mine it's surely a fact that you have kept all this matter quite in your own hands are you going back to Lord Warburton Isabel asked I'm very tired of his name you shall hear it again before we've done with it she had spoken of his insulting her but it suddenly seemed to her that this ceased to be a pain he was going down down the vision of such a fall made her almost giddy that was the only pain he was too strange too different he didn't touch her still the working of his morbid passion was extraordinary and she felt a rising curiosity to know in what light he saw himself justified I might say to you that I judge you've done nothing to me that's worth hearing she said in a moment but I should perhaps be wrong there's a thing that would be worth my hearing to know in the plainest words of what it is you accuse me of having prevented pansies marriage to Warburton are those words plain enough on the contrary I took a great interest in it I told you so and when you told me that you counted on me that I think was what you said I accepted the obligation I was a fool to do so but I did it you pretended to do it and you even pretended reluctance to make me more willing to trust you then you began to use your ingenuity to get him out of the way I think I see what you mean said Isabelle where's the letter you told me he had written me her husband demanded I haven't the least idea I haven't asked him you stopped it on the way said Osmond Isabelle slowly got up standing there in her white cloak which covered her to her feet she might have represented the angel of disdain first cousin to that of pity Oh Gilbert for a man who was so fine she exclaimed in a long murmur I was never so fine as you you've done everything you wanted you've got him out of the way without appearing to do so and you've placed me in the position in which you wished to see me that of a man who has tried to marry his daughter to a lord but his grotesquely failed pansy doesn't care for him she's very glad he's gone Isabelle said that has nothing to do with the matter and he doesn't care for pansy that won't do you told me he did I don't know why you wanted this particular satisfaction Osmond continued you might have taken some other it doesn't seem to me that I've been presumptuous that I have taken too much for granted I've been very modest about it very quiet the idea didn't originate with me he began to show that he liked her before I ever thought of it I left it all to you yes you were very glad to leave it to me after this you must attend to such things yourself he looked at her a moment then he turned away I thought you were very fond of my daughter I've never been more so than today your affection is attended with immense limitations however that perhaps is natural is this all you wish to say to me Isabelle asked taking a candle that stood on one of the tables are you satisfied am I sufficiently disappointed I don't think that on the whole you're disappointed you've had another opportunity to try to stupefy me it's not that it's proved that pansy can aim high poor little pansy said Isabelle as she turned away with her candle end of chapter 46 chapter 47 of the portrait of a lady by Henry James this LibriVox recording is in the public domain it was from Henry at a Stackpole that she learned how Casper goodwood had come to Rome an event that took place three days after Lord Warburton's departure this latter fact had been preceded by an incident of some importance to Isabel the temporary absence once again of madame merle who had gone to naples to stay with a friend the happy possessor of a villa at possible oh madame merle had ceased to minister to Isabelle's happiness who found herself wondering whether the most discreet of women might not also by chance be the most dangerous sometimes at night she had strange visions she seemed to see her husband and her friend his friend in dim indistinguishable combination it seemed to her that she had not done with her this lady had something in reserve Isabelle's imagination applied itself actively to this elusive point but every now and then it was checked by a nameless dread so that when the charming woman was away from Rome she had almost a consciousness of respite she had already learned from miss Stackpole that Casper Girdwood was in Europe Henriette having written to make it known to her immediately after meeting him in Paris he himself never wrote to Isabel and though he was in Europe she thought it very possible he might not desire to see her their last interview before her marriage had had quite the character of a complete rupture if she remembered rightly he had said he wished to take his last look at her since then he had been the most discordant survival of her earlier time the only one in fact with which a permanent pain was associated he had left her that morning with a sense of the most perf Lewis of shocks it was like a collision between vessels in broad daylight there had been no mist no hidden current to excuse it and she herself had only wished to steer wide he had bumped against her prow however while her hand was on the tiller and to complete the metaphor had given the lighter vessel a strain which still occasionally betrayed itself in a faint creaking it had been horrid to see him because he represented the only serious harm that to her belief she had ever done in the world he was the only person with an unsatisfied claim on her she had made him unhappy she couldn't help it and his unhappiness was a grim reality she had cried with rage after he had left her at she hardly knew what she tried to think it had been at his want of consideration he had come to her with his unhappiness when her own bliss was so perfect he had done his best to darken the brightness of those pure rays he had not been violent and yet there had been a violence in the impression there had been a violence at any rate in something somewhere perhaps it was only in her own fit of weeping and in that after sense of the same which had lasted three or four days the effect of his final appeal had in short faded away and all the first year of her marriage he had dropped out of her books he was a thankless subject of reference it was disagreeable to have to think of a person who was sore and somber about you and whom you could yet do nothing to relieve it would have been different if she had been able to doubt even a little of his unreconciled state as she doubted of Lord Warburton's unfortunately it was beyond question and this aggressive uncompromising look of it was just what made it unattractive she could never say to herself that here was a sufferer who had compensations as she was able to say in the case of her English suit her she had no faith in mr. good woods compensations and no esteem for them a cotton factory was not a compensation for anything least of all for having failed to marry Isabel Archer and yet beyond that she hardly knew what he had save of course his Inn trinsic qualities oh he was intrinsic enough she never thought of his even looking for artificial aids if he extended his business that to the best of her belief was the only form exertion could take with him it would be because it was an enterprising thing or good for the business not in the least because he might hope it would overlay the past this gave his figure a kind of bareness and bleakness which made the accident of meeting it in memory or an apprehension a peculiar concussion it was deficient in the social drapery commonly muffling in an over civilized age the sharpness of human contacts his perfect silence moreover the fact that she had never heard from him and very seldom heard any mention of him deepened this impression of his loneliness she asked Lily for news of him from time to time but Lily knew nothing of Boston her imagination was all bounded on the east by Madison Avenue as time went on Isabelle had thought of him often her and with fewer restrictions she had had more than once the idea of writing to him she had never told her husband about him never let osmond know of his visits to her in Florence a reserved not dictated in the early period by a want of confidence in Osmond but simply by the consideration that the young man's disappointment was not her secret but his own it would be very wrong of her she had believed to convey it to another and mr. good woods affairs could have after all little interest for Gilbert when it had come to the point she had never written to him it seems to her that considering his grievance the least she could do was to let him alone nevertheless she would have been glad to be in some way nearer to him it was not that it ever occurred to her that she might have married him even after the consequences of her actual Union had grown vivid to her that particular reflection though she indulged in so many had not had the assurance to present itself but on finding herself in trouble he had become a member of that circle of things with which she wished to set herself right I have mentioned how passionately she needed to feel that her unhappiness should not have come to her through her own fault she had no near prospect of dying and yet she wished to make her peace with the world to put her spiritual affairs in order it came back to her from time to time that there was an account still to be settled with Casper and she saw herself disposed or able to settle it today on terms easier for him than ever before still when she learned he was coming to Rome she felt all afraid it would be more disagreeable for him than for anyone else to make out since he would make it out as over a falsified balance sheet or something of that sort the intimate disarray of her affairs deep in her breast she believed that he had invested his all and her happiness while the others had invested only apart he was one more person from whom she should have to conceal her stress she was reassured however after he arrived in Rome for he spent several days without coming to see her Henriette Stackpole it may well be imagined was more punctual and Isabelle was largely favored with the Society of her friend she threw herself into it for now that she had made such a point of keeping her conscience clear that was one way of proving she had not been superficial the more so as the years and their flight had rather enriched than blighted those peculiarities which had been humorously criticized by persons less interested than Isabelle and which were still marked enough to give loyalty a spice of heroism Henriette was as keen and quick and fresh as ever and as neat and bright and fair her remarkably open eyes lighted like great glazed railway stations had put up no shutters her attire had lost none of its crispness her opinions none of their national reference she was by no means quite unchanged however it struck Isabelle she had grown vague of old she had never been vague though undertaking many enquiries at once she had managed to be entire and pointed about each she had a reason for everything she did she fairly bristled with motives formerly when she came to Europe it was because she wished to see it but now having already seen it she had no such excuse she didn't for a moment pretend that the desire to examine decaying civilizations had anything to do with her present enterprise her journey was rather an expression of her independence of the old world than of a sense of further obligations to it it's nothing to come to Europe she said to Isabelle it doesn't seem to me one needs so many reasons for that it is something to stay at home this is much more important it was not therefore with a sense of doing anything very important that she treated herself to another pilgrimage to Rome she had seen the place before and carefully inspected it her present act was simply a sign of familiarity of her knowing all about it of her having as good a ride as anyone else to be there this was all very well and Henrietta was Restless she had a perfect right to be restless too if one came to that but she had after all a better reason for coming to Rome than that she cared for it so little her friend easily recognized it and with it the worth of the other spinel 'ti she had crossed the stormy ocean in midwinter because she had guessed that Isabel was sad Henrietta guessed a great deal but she had never guessed so happily is that Isabel's satisfactions just now were few but even if they had been more numerous there would still have been something of individual joy in her sense of being justified in having always thought highly of Henrietta she had made large concessions with regard to her and had yet insisted that with all abatements she was very valuable it was not her own triumph however that she found good it was simply the relief of confessing to this confidant the first person to whom she had owned it that she was not in the least at her ease Henrietta had herself approached this point with the smallest possible delay and had accused her to her face of being wretched she was a woman she was a sister she was not Ralph nor Lord Warburton nor Caspar Goodwood and Isabel could speak yes I'm wretched she said very mildly she hated to hear herself say it she tried to say it as judicially as possible what does he do to you Henrietta asked frowning as if she were inquiring into the operations of a quack doctor he does nothing but he does like me he's very hard to please cried miss Stackpole why don't you leave him I can't change that way Isabelle said why not I should like to know you won't confess that you've made a mistake you're too proud I don't know whether I'm too proud but I can't publish my mistake I don't think that's decent I'd much rather die you won't always think so said Henrietta I don't know what great unhappiness might bring me to but it seems to me I shall always be ashamed one must accept one's deeds I married him before all the world I was perfectly free it was impossible to do anything more deliberate one can't change that way Isabelle repeated you have changed in spite of the impossibility I hope you don't mean to say you like him Isabelle debated no I don't like him I can tell you because I'm weary of my secret but that's enough I can't announce it on the housetops Henrietta gave a laugh don't you think you're rather too considerate it's not of him that I'm considerate it's of myself Isabelle answered it was not surprising Gilbert Osmond should not have taken comfort in Miss Stackpole his instinct had naturally set him in opposition to a young lady capable of advising his wife to withdraw from the conjugal roof when she arrived in Rome he had said to Isabelle that he hoped she would leave her friend the interviewer alone and Isabelle had answered that he at least had nothing to fear from her she said to Henrietta that as Osmond didn't like her she couldn't invite her to dine but they could easily see each other in other ways Isabelle received Miss Stackpole freely in her own sitting room and took her repeatedly to drive face to face with pansy who bending a little forward on the opposite seat of the carriage gazed at the celebrated author s with respectful attention which Henriette occasionally found irritating she complained to Isabelle that Miss Osmond had a little look as if she could remember one said I don't want to be remembered that way miss Stackpole declared I consider that my conversation refers only to the moment like the morning papers your stepdaughter as she sits there looks as if she kept all the back numbers and would bring them out someday against me she could not teach herself to think favorably of pansy whose absence of initiative of conversation of personal claims seems to her in a girl of twenty unnatural and even uncanny Isabelle presently saw that Osmond would have liked her to urge a little the cause of her friend insist a little upon his receiving her so that he might appear to suffer for good manners sake her immediate acceptance of his objections put him too much in the wrong it being in fact one of the disadvantages of expressing contempt that you cannot enjoy at the same time the credit of expressing sympathy Osmond held to his credit and yet he held his objections all of which were elements difficult to reconcile the right thing would have been that Miss Stackpole should come to dine at Palazzo Roca naira once or twice so that in spite of his superficial civility always so great she might judge for herself how little pleasure it gave him from the moment however that both the ladies were so unaccommodating there was nothing for Osmond but to wish the lady from New York would take herself off it was surprising how little satisfaction he got from his wife's friends he took occasion to call Isabelle's attention to it you're certainly not fortunate in your intimates I wish you might make a new collection he said to her one morning in reference to nothing visible at the moment but in a tone of ripe reflection which deprived the remark of all brutal abruptness it's as if you had taken the trouble to pick out the people in the world that I have the least in common with your cousin I have always thought a conceited ass besides as being the most ill-favored animal I know then it's insufferably tiresome that one can't tell him so one must spare him on account of his health his health seems to me the best part of him it gives him privileges in George by no one else if he's so desperately ill there's only one way to prove it but he seems to have no mind for that I can't say much more for the great Warburton when one really thinks of it the cool insolence of that performance was something rare he comes and looks at one's daughter as if she were a suite of apartments he tries the door handles and looks out of the windows raps on the walls and almost thinks he'll take the place will you be so good as to draw police then on the whole he decides that the rooms are too small he doesn't think he could live on a third floor he must look out for a piano nobile a and he goes away after having got a month's lodging in the poor little apartment for nothing miss Stackpole however is your most wonderful invention she strikes me as a kind of monster one hasn't a nerve in one's body that she doesn't set quivering you know I have never admitted that she's a woman do you know which he reminds me of of a new steel pen the most odious thing in nature she talks as a steel pen writes aren't her letters by the way on ruled paper she thinks and moves and walks and looks exactly as she talks you may say that she doesn't hurt me in as much as I don't see her I don't see her but I hear her I hear her all day long her voice is in my ears I can't get rid of it I know exactly what she says and every inflection of the tone in which she says it she's as charming things about me and they give you great comfort I don't like it all to think she talks about me I feel as I should feel if I knew the footmen were wearing my hat Henrietta talked about Gilbert Osmond as his wife assured him rather less than he suspected she had plenty of other subjects in two of which the reader may be supposed to be especially interested she let her friend know that Caspar Goodwood had discovered for himself that she was unhappy though indeed her ingenuity was unable to suggest what comfort he hoped to give her by coming to Rome and yet not calling on her they met him twice in the street but he had no appearance of seeing them they were driving 20 had a habit of looking straight in front of him as if he proposed to take in but one object at a time Isabel could have fancied she had seen him the day before it must have been with just that face and step that he had walked out of mrs. touchid store at the close of their last interview he was dressed just as he had been dressed on that day Isabel remembered the color of his cravat and yet in spite of this familiar look there was a strangeness in his figure to something that made her feel it afresh to be rather terrible that he should have come to Rome he looked bigger and more overtopping than of old and in those days he certainly reached high enough she noticed that the people whom he passed looked back after him but he went straight forward lifting above them a face like a February sky miss stack poles other topic was very different she gave Isabel the latest news about mr. bantling he had been out in the United States the year before and she was happy to say she'd been able to show him considerable attention she didn't know how much she had enjoyed it but she would undertake to say it had done him good he wasn't the same man when he laughed as he had been when he came it had opened his eyes and shown him that England wasn't everything he had been very much liked in most places and thought extremely simple more simple than the English were commonly supposed to be there were people who had thought him affected she didn't know whether they meant that his simplicity was an affectation some of his questions were too discouraging he thought all the chambermaids were farmers daughters or all the farmers daughters were chambermaids she couldn't exactly remember which he hadn't seemed able to grasp the great school system it had really been too much for him on the whole he'd behaved as if there were too much of everything as if he could only take in a small part the part he had chosen was the hotel system and the river navigation he had seemed really fascinated with the hotels he had a photograph of everyone he had visited but the river steamers were his principal interest he wanted to do nothing but sail on the big boats they had traveled together from New York to Milwaukee stopping at the most interesting cities on the route and whenever they had started to fresh he'd want to know if they could go by the steamer he seemed to have no idea of geography he had an impression that Baltimore was a western city and was perpetually expecting to arrive at the Mississippi he appeared never to have heard of any River in America but the Mississippi and was unprepared to recognize the existence of the Hudson though obliged to confess at last that it was fully equal to the Rhine they had spent some Pleasant hours in the palace cars he was always ordering ice cream from the colored man he could never get used to that idea that you could get ice cream in the cars of course you couldn't nor fans nor candy nor anything in the English cars he found the heat quite overwhelming and she had told him she indeed expected it was the biggest he had ever experienced he was now in England hunting hunting round henrietta called it these amusements were those of the american red men we had left that behind long ago the pleasures of the chase it seemed to be generally believed in england that we wore tomahawks and feathers but such a costume was more in keeping with english habits mr. bantling would not have time to join her in italy but when she should go to paris again he expected to come over he wanted very much to see Versailles again he was very fond of the ancient regime they didn't agree about that but that was what she liked Versailles for that you could see the ancient regime had been swept away there were no Dukes and marquise is there now she remembered on the contrary one day when there were five American families walking all round mr. bantling was very anxious that she should take up the subject of England again but he thought she might get on better with it now England had changed a good deal within two or three years he was determined that if she went there he should go see his sister lady pencil and that this time the invitation should come to her straight the mystery about that other one had never been explained Kaspar Girdwood came at last to palazzo row Canara he had written isabella note beforehand to ask leave this was promptly granted she would be at home at six o'clock that afternoon she spent the day wondering what he was coming for what good he expected to get out of it he had presented himself hitherto as a person destitute of the Faculty of compromise who would take what he had asked for or take nothing Isabel's hospitality however raised no questions and she found no great difficulty in appearing happy enough to deceive him it was her conviction at least that she deceived him made him say to himself that he had been misinformed but she also saw so she believed that he was not disappointed as some other men she was sure would have been he had not come to Rome to look for an opportunity she never found out what he had come for he offered her no explanation there could be none but the very simple one that he wanted to see her in other words he had come for his amusement Isabel followed up this induction with a good deal of eagerness and was delighted to have found a formula that would lay the ghost of this gentleman's ancient grievance if he had come to Rome for his amusement this was exactly what she wanted for if he cared for amusement he had got over his heartache if he had got over his heartache everything was as it should be and her responsibilities were at an end it was true that he took his recreation a little stiffly but he had never been loose and easy and she had every reason to believe he was satisfied with what he saw Henrietta was not in his confidence though he was in hers and Isabel consequently received no side light upon his state of mind he was open to little conversation on general topics it came back to her that she had said of him once years before mr. Goodwood speaks a great deal but he doesn't talk he spoke a good deal now but he talked perhaps as little as ever considering that is how much there was in Rome to talk about his arrival was not calculated to simplify her relations with her husband for if mr. Osmond didn't like her friends mr. Goodwood had no claim upon his attention save as having been one of the first of them there was nothing for her to say of him but that he was the very oldest this rather meager synthesis exhausted the facts she had been obliged to introduce him to Gilbert it was impossible she should not ask him to dinner to her Thursday evenings of which had grown very weary but to which her husband still held for the sake not so much of inviting people as of not inviting them to the Thursday's mr. Goodwood came regularly solemnly rather early he appeared to regard them with a good deal of gravity Isabel every now and then had a moment of anger there was something so literal about him she thought he might know that she didn't know what to do with him but she couldn't call him stupid he was not that in the least he was only extraordinarily honest to be as honest as that made a man very different from most people one had to be almost equally honest with him she made this latter reflection at the very time she was flattering herself she had persuaded him that she was the most light-hearted of women he never threw any doubt on this point never asked her any personal questions he had got on much better with Osmonds than it seemed probable Osmond had a great dislike to being counted on in such a case he had an irresistible need of disappointing you it was in virtue of this principle that he gave himself the entertainment of taking a fancy to a perpendicular Bostonian whom he had been depended upon to treat with coldness he asked Isabel if mr. Goodwood also had wanted to marry her and expressed surprise at her not having accepted him it would have been an excellent thing like living under some tall belfry which would strike all hours and make a queer vibration in the upper air he declared he liked to talk with the great good wood it wasn't easy at first you had to climb up an interminable steep staircase up to the top of the tower but when you got there you had a big view and felt a little fresh breeze Osmund as we know had delightful qualities and he gave to Caspar good woods the benefit of them all Isabel could see that mr. Goodwood thought better of her husband than he had ever wished to he had given her the impression that morning in Florence of being inaccessible to a good impression Gilbert asked him repeatedly to dinner and mr. Goodwood smoked a cigar with him afterwards and even desire to be shown his collections Gilbert said to Isabel that he was very original he as strong and of as good a style as an English portmanteau he had plenty of straps and buckles which would never wear out had a capital patent Locke Kasper Girdwood took to riding on the Campania and devoted much time to this exercise it was therefore mainly in the evening that Isabelle saw him she be thought herself of saying to him one day that if he were willing he could render her a service and then she added smiling I don't know however what right I have to ask a service of you you're the person in the world who has most right he answered I've given you assurances that I've never given anyone else the service was that he should go and see her cousin Ralph who was ill at the Hotel de Perry alone and be as kind to him as possible mr. Goodwood had never seen him but he would know who the poor fellow was if she was not mistaken Ralph had once invited him to Garden Court Caspar remembered the invitation perfectly and though he was not supposed to be a man of imagination had enough to put himself in the place of a poor gentleman who lay dying at a Roman in he curled at the Hotel de Perry and on being shown into the presence of the master of Garden Court found miss Stackpole sitting beside his sofa a singular change had in fact occurred in this lady's relations with Ralph touch –it she had not been asked by Isabel to go and see him but on hearing that he was too ill to come out had immediately gone of her own motion after this she had paid him a daily visit always under the conviction that they were great enemies though yes we're intimate enemies Ralph used to say and he accused her freely as freely as the humour of it would allow of coming to worry him to death in reality they became excellent friends Henriette much wondering that she should never have liked him before Ralph liked her exactly as much as he had always done he had never doubted for a moment that she was an excellent fellow they talked about everything and always differed about everything that is but Isabel a topic as to which Ralph always had a thin forefinger on his lips mr. Banj laying on the other hand proved great resource ralph was capable of discussing mr. bantling with Henrietta for hours discussion was stimulated of course by their inevitable difference of view Ralph having amused himself with taking the ground that the genial ex Guardsman was a regular Machiavelli Caspar Goodwood could contribute nothing to such a debate but after he had been left alone with his host he found there were various other matters they could take up it must be admitted that the lady who had just gone out was not one of these Caspar granted all miss stack poles merits in advance but had no further remark to make about her neither after the first illusions did the two men expatiate upon mrs. Osmond a theme in which Goodwood perceived as many dangers as Ralph he felt very sorry for that unclassified he couldn't bear to see a pleasant man so pleasant for all his queerness so beyond anything to be done there was always something to be done for Goodwood and he did it in this case by repeating several times his visit to the Hotel de Perry it seems to Isabel that she had been very clever she had artfully disposed of the superfluous Caspar she had given him an occupation she had converted him into a caretaker of Ralph she had a plan of making him travel northward with her cousin as soon as the first mild weather should allow it Lord Warburton had brought Ralph to Rome and mr. Goodwood should take him away there seemed a happy symmetry in this and she was now intensely eager that Ralph should depart she had a constant fear that he would die there before her eyes and a horror of the occurrence of this event at an inn by her door which he had so rarely entered Ralph must sink to his last rest in his own dear house in one of those deep dim chambers of garden Court where the dark ivy would cluster round the edges of the glimmering window there seemed to Isabelle in these days something sacred in garden court no chapter of the past was more perfectly irrecoverable when she thought of the months she had spent there the tears rose to her eyes she flattered herself as I say upon her ingenuity but she had need of all she could muster for several events occurred which seemed to confront and defy her the countess Gemini arrived from Florence arrived with her trunks her dresses her chatter her falsehoods her frivolity the strange unholy legend of the number of her lover's Edward Rozier who had been away somewhere no one not even pansy knew where reappeared in Rome and began to write her long letters which she never answered Madame Morel returned from Naples and said to her with a strange smile what on earth did you do with Lord Warburton as if it were any business of hers end of chapter 47

One thought on “Portrait of a Lady (version 2) | Henry James | Literary Fiction, Romance | Audiobook | 11/14

  1. Portrait of a Lady (version 2) | Henry James | Literary Fiction, Romance | Audiobook | 11/14

    45: [00:00:00] – Chapter 45

    46: [00:26:11] – Chapter 46

    47: [00:51:32] – Chapter 47

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