The Portrait of a Lady
How we cite our quotes:
Madame Merle dropped her eyes; she stood there in a kind of proud penance. "you’re very unhappy, I know. But I’m more so."
"Yes, I can believe that. I think I should like never to see you again."
Madame Merle raised her eyes. "I shall go to America," she quietly remarked while Isabel passed out. (52.33-34)
Isabel and Madame Merle acknowledge their mutual suffering – the only thing they have in common any more. Madame Merle admits that she has wronged Isabel, and, in penance, declares her self-imposed exile to America.
"Here on my knees, with you dying in my arms, I'm happier than I have been for a long time. And I want you to be happy – not to think of anything sad; only to feel that I'm near you and I love you. Why should there be pain? In such hours as this what have we to do with pain? That's not the deepest thing; there's something deeper." (54.17)
Close to Ralph’s death, Isabel tries to remind him that there is something greater than suffering – love.