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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady


by Henry James

Lord Warburton Timeline and Summary

  • Lord Warburton visits his old friends, Ralph and Mr. Touchett, for tea at Gardencourt.
  • Lord Warburton says that Ralph is a cynic. Ralph says Lord Warburton is bored with life. We get the feeling that this banter is routine for them.
  • Mr. Touchett solemnly tells Lord Warburton that he should fall in love. Lord Warburton dares everyone else to show him an interesting woman, so that he just might do it.
  • After meeting Isabel, Lord Warburton tells Ralph that Isabel is indeed the interesting woman he hoped to find.
  • Lord Warburton stays overnight at Gardencourt for a couple of days, clearly because of Isabel’s delightful company.
  • One night, Ralph, Isabel, Lord Warburton and Mrs. Touchett are in the drawing room. Isabel, who’s having a marvelous time, makes a little scene with Mrs. Touchett, but ends up going to bed to avoid seeming too scandalous.
  • Lord Warburton invites Isabel over to his estate.
  • He plans to have two of his sisters come and visit Isabel in the meanwhile.
  • Lord Warburton has already given Isabel the run-down on his family: he has two brothers and four sisters, two unmarried and two married. The two unmarried sisters, the Misses Molyneux, charm Isabel with their English politeness and sweetness.
  • The day of the big visit arrives, and Isabel, Ralph, and Mrs. Touchett head over to Lockleigh. They meet the Vicar, Lord Warburton’s brother, a jovial ex-wrestler.
  • Lord Warburton asks Isabel to visit Lockleigh more often.
  • Lord Warburton says that Isabel has charmed him. He says it in a way that makes Isabel a little nervous, so she tells him that she won’t return to Lockleigh.
  • Persistent, Lord Warburton says that he will visit her at Gardencourt next week.
  • He accuses Isabel of judging people.
  • Lord Warburton professes his love for Isabel. He asks her to be his wife.
  • He confesses that he’s afraid of Isabel’s mind.
  • Lord Warburton and the older Miss Molyneux come to Gardencourt for lunch. Lord Warburton invites Isabel to look at the paintings with him.
  • Lord Warburton shows his disappointment upon reading her response to his proposal. He asks her what it is that makes her reject him.
  • He asks Isabel how long she’ll be gone.
  • Lord Warburton tells Ralph about his proposal and Isabel’s response.
  • He stumbles upon Isabel when they’re both in Rome.
  • He confesses that he has written Isabel a lot of letters, but failed to mail any of them. He still loves her.
  • Lord Warburton visits Isabel and Henrietta the next day to show Isabel that he can tone down and control his loving feelings.
  • Lord Warburton runs into Isabel at St. Peter’s. She introduces him to Osmond.
  • Lord Warburton asks Ralph about Osmond’s intentions, but Ralph advises him not to try to prevent Isabel from making her decision, afraid that it’ll backfire.
  • He follows his friends to the theatre the next night, but is upset when he sees Gilbert Osmond and Isabel together. He can’t take it and leaves.
  • Isabel runs into Lord Warburton at the art gallery in two days’ time. He announces that he is leaving Rome.
  • Years later, when Isabel is married to Osmond, Lord Warburton goes to their house to call on Isabel.
  • Lord Warburton tells Isabel that Ralph is not well, and is glad when Isabel wishes to visit him. He and Ralph are staying in a hotel in Rome, supposedly en route to Sicily for Ralph’s health.
  • Lord Warburton has become a more important political figure with a radical stance.
  • Lord Warburton notices Pansy from across the room.
  • Lord Warburton and Ralph decide to stay in Rome for longer than they had originally planned; both of them are interested in seeing more of Isabel.
  • Lord Warburton courts Pansy. He visits the Osmond house regularly to see the girl and her step-mother.
  • Lord Warburton sees Isabel and Pansy at a ball. He wishes to talk with Isabel. He says he has written a letter to Osmond about Pansy, but has yet to send it out – we wonder just how many important un-mailed letters the man has.
  • He is surprised to learn that Pansy is interested in Rosier, and that she would do something against her father’s wishes.
  • Lord Warburton arrives at the Osmonds’ and announces his departure for England. He wishes for Isabel and the others to visit him at Lockleigh. Clearly, he no longer hopes to marry Pansy, feeling quite bad about the Rosier situation.
  • Lord Warburton goes to Gardencourt to visit Ralph, who is dying.
  • Apparently, Lord Warburton has given up on love, and is engaged conveniently to an aristocratic lady of some kind.
  • He attends Ralph’s funeral.
  • Lord Warburton calls on Mrs. Touchett, and they go outside to meet Isabel. Lord Warburton once more invites Isabel to his house to visit his sisters. He wants her to promise that she’ll visit, but she does no such thing.
  • He bids her good-bye and leaves to catch his train home.