Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 43

By Henry James

Chapter 43

  • Isabel accompanies Pansy to a fancy ball, where they once again encounter both Rosier and Lord Warburton.
  • Isabel can tell that Rosier really does love Pansy, and that staying away from her tortures him. Osmond has ordered Pansy not to dance with him, and, of course, Pansy obeys.
  • Isabel kindly allows Rosier to take a single flower from Pansy’s bouquet (they’re all pansies). Isabel can tell that Pansy has noticed the missing flower in her bouquet.
  • Lord Warburton asks Isabel to dance, but Isabel insists that it’s better for him to dance with Pansy. Lord Warburton agrees to dance the quadrille with Pansy.
  • Lord Warburton says that Pansy has benefited from having Isabel as a model. He suggests that he himself tends to gravitate toward Isabel. Icky.
  • Isabel asks Lord Warburton about his intentions toward Pansy. Lord Warburton says he has written a letter to Osmond that he has yet to send (Sounds familiar – remember the bunch of letters that he never sent to Isabel in earlier years?).
  • Isabel fixes Pansy’s dress, which keeps getting torn on the spurs of the young men she dances with.
  • Lord Warburton leads Isabel to a private corner. Lord Warburton asks about Rosier, never having been introduced to him. He clearly sympathizes with the young man, although Isabel calls him his rival.
  • Isabel lets it slip that Pansy does care for Rosier, and Lord Warburton is surprised to hear that Pansy would do something without her father’s approval.
  • Lord Warburton has clearly grown somewhat world-weary in the past few years. When asked if he’s really in love with Pansy, he simply replies that he’s forty-two – presumably too old now to truly fall in love.
  • Isabel leaves the room and tells Rosier that she is willing to help him.
  • Isabel reminds Lord Warburton to send his letter to Osmond. They all prepare to go home from the ball.