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The Portrait of a Lady
by Henry James
Pansy Osmond Timeline and Summary
Pansy, at fifteen years old, returns to Osmond’s house in Florence from the convent. Pansy picks flowers for the nuns and then for Madame Merle. Pansy meets Isabel and seems to like her… then again, she’s so polite she seems to like everyone. Pansy proudly makes tea for her father’s guests. Isabel visits Pansy in Florence when her father is away, and is taken with the little lady, who seems too perfect to be true. Pansy, now sixteen, sometimes walks with Osmond and Isabel in the Cascine Park. Pansy learns about her father’s engagement and congratulates Isabel genuinely. This kid is an angel. Pansy attends Osmond and Isabel’s wedding. Pansy falls in love with Rosier, but is determined to obey her father’s wishes. Pansy meets Lord Warburton and finds him to be a nice man, though she is uninterested in him. Without Osmond, Pansy and Isabel attend a fancy ball. Everyone’s there, including Rosier and Lord Warburton. Pansy obeys her father’s wish for her not to dance with Rosier, but she obviously still has feelings for him. Dramatically but honestly, Pansy claims that she would rather be alone forever if she can’t be with Rosier. After her time in the world has, as Osmond sees it, soiled her, Pansy returns to the convent according to her father’s wish. When Isabel visits her, Pansy begs her stepmother to take her away. She fears that Isabel will not return from England. Isabel asks if Pansy will come away with her to England. Although she wants to, Pansy can’t run away with Isabel. Instead, she chooses to do as her father commands and stay in the convent.