Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 50

By Henry James

Chapter 50

  • Isabel sometimes goes with the Countess Gemini to tour Rome. This way, Isabel has a chance of listening to Countess Gemini ramble about something other than social gossip.
  • Pansy joins them on this particular trip to the Coliseum.
  • Isabel sees Rosier there, who tells her that he has sold all of his art collection (well, except for his collection of enamels), and that he has earned fifty thousand dollars for them. He expects that Osmond will find him rich enough.
  • Isabel responds that, now, Osmond will find him an idiot for selling his precious collection. She says that Osmond hopes to marry Pansy off to a nobleman.
  • Isabel sees the Countess Gemini and Pansy return, so she quickly ends the conversation with Rosier.
  • Pansy sees Rosier, but doesn’t make eye contact; she’s as obedient as ever. This doesn’t bode well for poor Rosier. Seeing this, Isabel pities her old friend – she’s glad that he at least kept his enamels for comfort.
  • The Countess stays behind to talk with Rosier, and Pansy and Isabel go on without her.
  • Pansy later goes to Isabel’s room to tell her that Osmond’s returning her to the convent. Isabel was not consulted.
  • Osmond tells Isabel that it’s best for Pansy to be sequestered away, so she can think things through. He is worried that Pansy has been soiled by her contact with the world – she’s no longer the perfect collector’s item that she was before.
  • Isabel is saddened to see how Osmond is willing to do anything, including ruining his daughter’s prospects of happiness, in order to show his power.
  • Countess Gemini seems to think that Osmond has sent Pansy away so that she wouldn’t be jealous: Countess Gemini has taken a liking to Rosier.
  • Osmond responds casually and menacingly that if he felt that his sister was interfering, he would just have her sent away.