Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 15

By Henry James

Chapter 15

  • Mrs. Touchett would have liked Isabel to accept Lord Warburton’s marriage proposal. She thinks that Englishmen have their uses.
  • Ralph accompanies Isabel and Henrietta to London. The ladies stay at Pratt’s Hotel, while Ralph stays in one of the Touchett family’s other houses at Winchester Square.
  • Henrietta is disappointed by the lack of rich people. She wonders where all the members of the aristocracy are.
  • Ralph devotes a lot of thought to Isabel; she’s still a fascinating mystery to him.
  • Isabel delights in their visits to museums and parks. Henrietta seems less enthused, but is not as cynical as one might expect.
  • Ralph introduces the ladies to his friend, Mr. Bantling.
  • Henrietta immediately takes a liking to Mr. Bantling, and becomes excited when he offers an invitation to his sister Lady Pensil’s house. Henrietta leaves with Mr. Bantling to have dinner with two female friends.
  • Isabel and Ralph are left alone in Winchester Square. Isabel says that she will eat dinner alone, and Ralph should return to his room to rest.
  • Ralph is confused by her wish to be alone, and asks whether she plans on meeting someone. She claims that she knows no one to meet.
  • Ralph tells Isabel that Lord Warburton has told him about the proposal and her response. He does not wish to argue with her, only to hear her explanation, as a cousin and friend.
  • Isabel, a bit defensive, says that she doesn’t think a woman’s life should begin by marrying someone. She would like to see Europe first, for one thing.
  • Ralph says that Isabel has a great deal of courage, though Isabel denies such a thought.
  • Ralph helps Isabel find a cab, as she insists that he go back and rest. Ralph laments his handicapped state.