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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady


by Henry James

Countess Gemini Timeline and Summary

  • Countess Gemini visits her brother’s hilltop house to meet Isabel.
  • Countess Gemini walks outside with Madame Merle while Osmond and Isabel chat.
  • She ironically congratulates Madame Merle on her cruel matchmaking.
  • Countess Gemini would like to warn Isabel about the untrustworthiness and danger of Madame Merle and Osmond together – she’s worried that Madame Merle alone is dangerous enough.
  • Countess Gemini tries to call at Mrs. Touchett’s, but her bad reputation excludes her.
  • Countess Gemini attends Isabel and Osmond’s wedding.
  • Years later, Henrietta appears out of the blue to talk to the Countess. The latter lady is delighted – she longs to be in the newspapers. She suggests that she and Henrietta travel to Rome to see Isabel together, but Henrietta wants to leave sooner.
  • Countess Gemini stays at the Osmonds’ for a couple of weeks. She hopes to find that Isabel has challenged Osmond, but is disappointed.
  • On a trip to the Coliseum, the Countess meets Rosier, who wins her over to his side.
  • Seeing that Isabel is upset about Ralph, the Countess seizes her moment to wreak havoc for Osmond: she reveals that Pansy is actually the illegitimate daughter of Osmond and Madame Merle.
  • She tells Isabel about how much Madame Merle has done for Osmond, but says that Osmond has done little in return.