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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady

by Henry James

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 37 Summary

  • Rosier goes to greet Osmond, who is standing by the fireplace. Osmond is insufferably rude to him, and suggests crudely that he has nothing in his collection that he wants to match – including Pansy.
  • Rosier implies to Isabel that he is interested in Pansy. He wonders if he has gone against his promise to Madame Merle about not saying a word to Isabel.
  • Rosier goes near Pansy. Once people have left the room, the two talk alone. He tells Pansy that he likes her, and asks if she likes him in return. Pansy, who’s adorably shy, admits that she does.
  • Madame Merle arrives in the other room. Everyone in attendance can sense it, because she carries a quietness about her that spreads.
  • Madame Merle talks with Osmond. She has already told him about Rosier’s intentions toward Pansy. Osmond clearly does not approve of him, and tells Madame Merle to make it clear that Rosier should forget about Pansy.
  • Madame Merle plans to be less abrupt with Rosier, figuring that he could be of use later.
  • Pansy and Rosier enter the room; it’s obvious that something has happened between them. These kids are about as guileful as newborn puppies.
  • Madame Merle can instantly tell that Rosier has spoken with Pansy.
  • Rosier tells Madame Merle that he told Pansy. Madame Merle tells him to meet her at 5:15 the next day.
  • Rosier appeals to Isabel, but Isabel tells him that Osmond cares too much for money to let him marry Pansy.
  • Rosier, frustrated with how things are going for him, makes an uncharacteristically rude comment, saying that it is obvious that Osmond cares a lot for money (or else why would he have married Isabel?).
  • Isabel is offended and walks off. Rosier approaches her again and apologizes. Isabel says that she cannot help him.

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