Study Guide

Daisy Miller The Carriage

By Henry James

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The Carriage

A carriage is a tidy haven of domesticity and comfort in which the young, vulnerable American abroad might go from safe location to safe location. It represents wealth but also security—like a little drawing room that you take along wherever you go. Of course, Daisy prefers to walk. When Daisy leaves Mrs. Walker's stuffy drawing room to meet Giovanelli at the Pincio plaza, Mrs. Walker follows her in a carriage:

"Do get in and drive with me!" said Mrs. Walker.

"That would be charming, but it's so enchanting just as I am!" and Daisy gave a brilliant glance at the gentlemen on either side of her.

"It may be enchanting, dear child, but it is not the custom here," urged Mrs. Walker, leaning forward in her victoria, with her hands devoutly clasped.

"Well, it ought to be, then!" said Daisy. "If I didn't walk I should expire." (2.101-104)

Mrs. Walker's "victoria" (that's like the Cadillac of carriages) displays her status and her removal from the hustle and bustle of the improper pedestrian walkways. Daisy, as a wealthy young American, "belongs" among the carriage set, but she'd prefer the excitement and exposure of travelling on foot. Her preference for walking also emphasizes her physicality. This girl exercises. She's not ashamed to have a body. No carriages for her.

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