Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 11

By Henry James

Chapter 11

  • Mrs. Touchett does not like Henrietta, whom she finds loud and presumptuous. Interestingly, one might say the same about a certain older American lady….
  • Henrietta and Mrs. Touchett get in a quarrel about American hotels – Henrietta says they are the very best and Mrs. Touchett claims they are the absolute worst. Ralph tries to stand up for Henrietta, but she won’t have it, since Henrietta Stackpole always fights her own battles.
  • Mrs. Touchett says that having good servants is crucial, and American servants do not compare in quality to the five stellar Italian ones in Florence. Henrietta detests the idea of having five servants, and she has idealistic ideas about American liberty.
  • In private, Henrietta tells Isabel about an encounter she had with Caspar Goodwood. She tells Isabel that Caspar arrived in London with her, with the aim to see Isabel.
  • Isabel is not very excited to see Caspar, although it is unclear what her actual feelings about him are. Henrietta thinks that she’s leading the poor guy on.
  • Henrietta sees that Isabel’s stay at Gardencourt has changed her. Isabel hopes so, since she wants everything to influence her.
  • Isabel receives a letter from Caspar. The letter expresses his wish to see her, announces his impending arrival in England, and expresses the thought that he only wants to be where she is.
  • When Isabel is finished with the letter, she sees that Lord Warburton is standing right in front of her. Hmm… love triangle, anyone?