Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 21

By Henry James

Chapter 21

  • Mrs. Touchett goes to San Remo, Italy to visit Ralph. Isabel decides to go with her, figuring it’s better to travel with a relation, even with her newfound financial independence.
  • Isabel is no longer as impressed with Mrs. Touchett as she was when her aunt first visited her in New York.
  • Isabel asks Ralph whether he knew about the inheritance that Mr. Touchett left for her.
  • Isabel does not seem to know what to do with herself, now that she is wealthy.
  • Ralph recommends that Isabel think less and just enjoy her life with the new means she has received.
  • Isabel agrees with Ralph’s advice, figuring that there’s no reason why she must always strive to be right.
  • Isabel confesses that she’s afraid of the freedom a large amount of money can bring. Ralph says that it is only a problem for the weak, and Isabel is most certainly not weak.
  • After talking with Ralph, Isabel feels better and more comfortable with her new wealthy persona.
  • In the back of Isabel’s mind, Caspar Goodwood and Lord Warburton still linger. She feels sure that Lord Warburton has forgotten about her.