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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady


by Henry James

Edward Rosier Timeline and Summary

  • Ned Rosier, a childhood friend of Isabel’s, appears on the scene in Paris, and the two are reunited.
  • Rosier and Pansy meet on vacation at St. Moritz. He falls head-over-heels in love with her.
  • Rosier goes to visit Madame Merle to see if she can help him out with the Osmonds – he wants to marry Pansy.
  • Madame Merle makes Rosier promise not to say anything to Pansy, and promises to talk to Osmond.
  • Rosier goes to visit the Osmond household on one of their famous Thursday evening parties.
  • Osmond is quite rude to Rosier, and makes it very clear that he wants nothing do to with the young man.
  • Rosier attempts to win Isabel over to his side.
  • However, upon encountering Pansy, Rosier confesses his love to her. She admits that she loves him, too.
  • Rosier visits Madame Merle again, who treacherously advises him to leave it up to her.
  • Rosier obediently awaits another Thursday to visit Pansy and Isabel.
  • Osmond shoots down Rosier’s hopes. Rosier appeals to Isabel, who asks him not to speak to Pansy.
  • Of course, Rosier can’t help but speak to Pansy.
  • Pansy assures Rosier that she still loves him, but cannot disobey her father.
  • Rosier becomes desperate – he despairs at the thought of Osmond. Pansy tells him that they can rely upon Isabel.
  • Rosier runs into Isabel and Pansy at a ball. He begs Isabel to give him one flower from Pansy’s bouquet.
  • Pansy returns from a dance, and Rosier lingers for long enough for her to see him. Isabel is convinced that he really loves the girl.
  • As they leave the ball, Isabel stops to tell Rosier to have hope.
  • Rosier finds Isabel and Pansy at a Roman ruin, and tells Isabel that he has sold all of his precious belongings (gasp!). Isabel is horrified, but somewhat awed by his dedication. He hopes that the fifty thousand dollars he got from the sale will be enough to impress Osmond. He admits that he did keep his collection of enamels, something that Isabel is glad to hear – she doesn’t have much hope left for his case.
  • Rosier meets Countess Gemini, who immediately sympathizes with him.