Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 14

By Henry James

Chapter 14

  • The young party delays the journey to London in order to be at Gardencourt when Lord Warburton visits.
  • Lord Warburton and the older Miss Molyneux come to Gardencourt for lunch. Miss Stackpole meets them for the first time.
  • Henrietta Stackpole asks Lord Warburton a bunch of questions in her bustling way. Lord Warburton indulges her and replies politely, with his usual sense of humor.
  • Lord Warburton invites Isabel to look at the paintings with him, and displays his disappointment upon reading her response to his proposal. He asks her what it is that makes her reject him.
  • Isabel responds in a somewhat odd fashion: She says that she would be trying to avoid her fate by attempting happiness with Lord Warburton.
  • Miss Molyneux reminds Lord Warburton that she is expecting friends for tea at Lockleigh, so they’d better get going. Her brother doesn’t immediately respond.
  • Henrietta Stackpole is appalled by Miss Molyneux’s passivity.
  • Miss Molyneux, who’s puzzled and a little scared by the newspaper woman, ignores Henrietta, but invites Isabel back to Lockleigh. Isabel says that she’ll probably never go to Lockleigh again.
  • Henrietta, who doesn’t know about the proposal or the rejection of the proposal, invites herself over to Lockleigh, presuming that she, Isabel, and Ralph could make a visit before going to London. Lord Warburton suggests that if Henrietta were to go, it would be without Isabel.
  • Henrietta figures that Isabel has warned Lord Warburton of her journalistic ulterior motive.
  • Lord Warburton asks Isabel how long they’ll be gone. Isabel says they’ll be back within a couple of days, but then she’ll be going to Paris with Mrs. Touchett.
  • Mrs. Touchett tells Isabel that Mr. Touchett told her about the proposal.
  • Mrs. Touchett wonders why Isabel didn’t tell her first, since she thinks that she knows the most about Isabel. Isabel isn’t sure about that.
  • Mrs. Touchett assumes that Isabel refused Lord Warburton because she has better things to do than get married.
  • Isabel smiles, knowing that Mrs. Touchett and Mr. Touchett both see her refusal differently.