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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady

by Henry James

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 35 Summary

  • Isabel doesn’t tell Osmond that her family and friends think so poorly of him.
  • She doesn’t care what everyone else thinks, and is glad that she is marrying someone only to please herself.
  • Her love for Osmond has somehow separated her from everyone else she cares about.
  • Osmond thinks that Madame Merle has given him "a present of incalculable value" (35.2).
  • Osmond wants someone who can reflect him, and he thinks Isabel is just the woman to do so.
  • Osmond tells Isabel that he figures her relations don’t approve of him because of the class difference. He has no money, and, therefore, that must be why they don’t like him.
  • Osmond boasts that he’s never tried to earn a cent, and so she shouldn’t worry that he’s marrying her for the money. Hmm, we’re not sure we entirely buy this logic.
  • Osmond and Isabel plan to stay in Italy, since that is where their entire relationship has taken place.
  • Pansy walks with them sometimes in the park, the Cascine. Pansy is a year older, but doesn’t act like it. Osmond still holds his sixteen-year-old daughter by the hand.
  • Osmond waits to tell Pansy about the engagement. He expects that she knows nothing about it, since he’s intentionally raised her to be more-or-less stupid. Well-behaved, proper, cute, and stupid.
  • After Osmond tells his daughter the good news, Pansy congratulates Isabel in what she considers a beautiful way.
  • Pansy says that she is glad about the engagement for her father’s sake. She will be glad to have Isabel for a model, as well.
  • Isabel pays a call at Countess Gemini’s house.
  • Countess Gemini admits that she did not approve of the engagement at first, but that, selfishly, she knows that it will be a good acquisition for her family.
  • Countess Gemini offers to tell Isabel all about her husband, and asks Pansy to leave the room.
  • Isabel insists that she stay, saying that she only wants to hear what Pansy would be allowed to hear. We wonder what Countess Gemini really wants to tell Isabel – whatever it is, it’s too spicy for Pansy’s tender ears.

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