Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Chapter 9

By Henry James

Chapter 9

  • Lord Warburton’s unmarried sisters, the genteel Misses Molyneux, visit Gardencourt.
  • Isabel is taken by them, appreciating their friendliness and lack of morbidity.
  • The two sisters invite Isabel to Lockleigh for lunch. Isabel accepts, complimenting the sisters.
  • Isabel tells Ralph that she’d like to be more like the two sisters, who are more "quiet and reasonable and satisfied" (9.3). Ralph hopes just the opposite.
  • Isabel, Ralph, and Mrs. Touchett visit Lockleigh a few days later.
  • Isabel talks with the two sisters about Lord Warburton’s stance as a radical. Isabel seems dissatisfied with the image the Misses Molyneux paint of Lord Warburton; she wants to hear that Lord Warburton would sacrifice his houses and comforts for the cause.
  • Their brother, the Vicar of Lockleigh, visits for lunch. He’s a ruddy, genial former wrestler, and Isabel has a hard time imagining him as a religious official.
  • The whole crew goes for a walk outside, but Lord Warburton walks with Isabel separately.
  • Lord Warburton asks Isabel to visit Lockleigh more often. Isabel says that such arrangements are up to Mrs. Touchett. Lord Warburton thinks this is a coy act – and that Isabel can act for herself.
  • Lord Warburton thinks that Mr. Touchett would not like for him to keep visiting Gardencourt, so it would be better for Isabel to visit him at Lockleigh.
  • Lord Warburton says that Isabel charms him. He says it in a way that makes Isabel a little nervous (we know that she’s not all that into the whole love thing), so she tells him that she won’t return to Lockleigh.
  • Persistent, Lord Warburton says that he will visit her at Gardencourt next week.
  • Lord Warburton accuses Isabel of judging people. Isabel hears bitterness in his tone, and she thinks of the books she’s read, which say that English people are the most romantic people.
  • Before they rejoin the group, Lord Warburton says that he will visit Isabel next week.
  • Isabel is surprised at his behavior. She’s flattered by it, but also feels nervous.