by Henry James
Daisy Miller Tradition and Customs Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Part.Paragraph)
"What has she been doing?"
"Everything that is not done here. Flirting with any man she could pick up; sitting in corners with mysterious Italians; dancing all the evening with the same partners; receiving visits at eleven o'clock at night. Her mother goes away when visitors come." (2.122-3)
No one puts Daisy in a corner—except for mysterious Italians, that is. Part of the reason a girl like Daisy comes to Rome is to get in with the high and mighty Americans-abroad. Spending her time canoodling with the locals not only seems to be missing the point, it makes the high and mighty feel skipped over, and they don't take kindly to such antics.
If you won't flirt with me, do cease, at least, to flirt with your friend at the piano; they don't understand that sort of thing here."
"I thought they understood nothing else!" exclaimed Daisy.
"Not in young unmarried women."
"It seems to me much more proper in young unmarried women than in old married ones," Daisy declared. (2.160-63)
Daisy knows a nonsensical custom when she spies one. Unfortunately, just because rules don't make sense doesn't mean people don't observe them.
"Well," said Winterbourne, "when you deal with natives you must go by the custom of the place. Flirting is a purely American custom; it doesn't exist here. So when you show yourself in public with Mr. Giovanelli, and without your mother—"
"Gracious! poor Mother!" interposed Daisy.
"Though you may be flirting, Mr. Giovanelli is not; he means something else." (2.164-6)
What does Giovanelli think it means? And how did Winterbourne become such an expert on Italian dating?