Portrait o a Lady: Chapters 46-48
Summary – Chapters Forty Six, Forty Seven and Forty Eight
Lord Warburton does not visit and after four days Osmond alludes to his absence and asks about him. Isabel says he promised to write, but he says he has not received anything. He then asks about his letter-writing and says he assumed she used to be ‘in intimate correspondence with him’. They argue with restraint and Isabel tells him he must write to Lord Warburton; she will not do it for him. With this, Osmond accuses her of working against him and she trembles and exclaims, ‘how much you must want to make sure of him’.
Lord Warburton is ushered in at this moment and he tells them he is leaving and is sorry to leave Ralph. He talks about returning to England and makes his retreat gallantly.
Osmond leaves them together and Pansy enters to say goodbye. Lord Warburton tells her she ought to be happy as she has a guardian angel looking after her.
When Osmond and Isabel are alone later, he accuses her of trying to disgrace him and although she has played a ‘very deep game’ they will see Warburton again. He talks on and although she feels insulted, she ceases to feel the pain as he is falling in her estimation: ‘He was too strange, too different; he didn’t touch her.’ She asks him to say in plain words what he accuses her of and he tells her that she prevented Pansy’s marriage to Lord Warburton. She denies this and then he adds that the idea did not originate with him and he left it all to her; however, she is still not affected. The chapter ends with her saying ‘poor little Pansy’ and turns away.
Three days later, in Chapter Forty Seven, Isabel learns from Henrietta that Caspar Goodwood is in Rome. Isabel thinks that he represents the ‘only serious harm’ she has done in the world towards another human being. She realizes that she did not recognize the depth of his feelings and sincerity towards her.
Henrietta then broaches the subject of Isabel’s unhappiness and asks why she does not leave Osmond. Isabel says she cannot publish her mistake and would rather die. She says one must accept ‘one’s deeds’.
Goodwood comes to Palazzo Roccanera (the Osmond home) after seeking Isabel’s agreement. She hopes he has come to see her for his amusement as this will mean he is over his heartache. She is obliged to introduce him to Osmond and invites him to their Thursday evenings. He comes to these regularly and he gets on better with Osmond than she ever thought possible.
Isabel then asks Goodwood if he would visit Ralph and when he does he finds Henrietta there. She has been coming daily and they have become excellent friends. Goodwood also continues to visit and Isabel feels that she has been ‘clever’ as the ‘superfluous’ Goodwood has been converted into a caretaker for Ralph and she hopes she will make him travel northward with him. She has a constant fear that Ralph will die in Rome and thinks he should be back in Gardencourt, which she now sees as being ‘something sacred’.
In Chapter Forty Eight, Ralph decides to return to England and Henrietta says she will go with him and take care of him. He knows ‘the end of everything’ is at hand and now only wishes to die at home. Goodwood also offers to accompany him and says he wants to leave Rome as he thinks he bores Isabel. He also does not want to see her pretending to be happy any longer.
Isabel visits Ralph before his departure and tells him she is afraid of herself, but not of her husband. She then says that Ralph has been her best friend and he tells her he wanted to live for her, but is of no use to her. She says she will come if he sends for her and will arrange it even if Osmond does not agree.
Goodwood comes to see Isabel and Osmond talks to him about the unity he (Osmond) has with his wife. Goodwood waits a long time to see her alone and when he does he tells her he does not want to leave. He then asks what she has made of her life; he has been told she is unhappy and wants to know as she conceals everything. He also says he loves her and wants to know if he may pity her. She asks if he would like that and he says that at least he would be doing something and would give his life to it. She raises her fan to her face, which covers everything except her eyes, and says not to give his life to it, but give a thought to it ‘every now and then’.
Analysis – Chapters Forty Six, Forty Seven and Forty Eight
As Lord Warburton makes his gallant retreat from Pansy, Osmond takes care to distance himself from events and place the blame with Isabel. Once more, it is emphasized that he is meticulous in separating himself from guilt and is intelligent in his use of manipulation.
He is able to wear the mask of indifference and Isabel has attempted to cover her own feelings in turn. It is relevant that when Goodwood asks if he may pity her, she literally covers her face with her fan as though to attempt to hide her self and her feelings. Unlike Osmond, she has difficulty in concealing her emotional depth.