Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 45

By Henry James

Chapter 45

  • Isabel goes to visit Ralph, knowing full well that Osmond doesn’t approve of it.
  • Isabel asks Ralph about Lord Warburton, and Ralph admits that he is very much in love… but with Isabel, not Pansy.
  • Isabel laments that Ralph is not helping her, which is the one instance in which she suggests that she actually needs help. Ralph comments on her sad situation.
  • Ralph confesses that he hopes Lord Warburton doesn’t go for Pansy, since that would make his and Isabel’s relationship exceedingly uncomfortable, to put it mildly.
  • Ralph really wants to hear Isabel come clean about how horrible her life has been as Mrs. Osmond, but she still hides her misery.
  • Ralph wants to see Isabel respond to something, so he goes as far as to say that Isabel might be jealous of Pansy. Outraged, Isabel leaves.
  • Isabel talks with Pansy that night, in order to hear Pansy’s thoughts from her own mouth. Finally, we see that Pansy has her own thoughts and feelings – and that some of them are quite perceptive.
  • Pansy confesses that she loves Rosier and will remain loyal to him. She would rather be alone than married to anyone else.
  • Isabel is persistent in carrying out Osmond’s wishes, emphasizing to Pansy that she must not disobey her father.
  • Pansy claims that Lord Warburton does not care for her, so there is nothing to worry about regarding him.
  • Isabel suggests that Pansy should tell her father about her lack of interest in Lord Warburton, but Pansy says that she’d rather not, since she’d rather not be with anyone, if not Rosier.