Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 53

By Henry James

Chapter 53

  • Henrietta greets Isabel at the train station in England.
  • On the train ride, Isabel couldn’t think clearly. She actually envies Ralph’s death – she would rather die than live her life as it is.
  • Lady Pensil will come to visit Henrietta, though she never did invite Henrietta to visit her.
  • On that note, Henrietta has some breaking news – she tells Isabel that she is engaged to Mr. Bantling, and that she plans to move to England with him. Isabel is amused, although her underlying melancholy reminds her that Henrietta’s marriage represents a kind of breakdown in their shared belief in female independence. Still, the marriage is a pretty funny idea.
  • Mr. Bantling joins them, and Isabel congratulates him.