The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 14 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter XIV


      Days pass on and once Lord Warburton with Miss Molyneux arrives at Gardencourt for luncheon. Lord Warburton manages to have a personal moment with Isabel and expresses his disappointment at her refusal. She explains by saying: “I can’t escape unhappiness. In marrying you I shall be trying to”, In bidding Miss Molyneux good-bye Isabel sees that she, in turning down Lord Warburton is rejecting - “the peace, the kindness, the honor, the possessions, a deep security and a great exclusion”, Henrietta wants to go and visit Lockleigh, but Isabel is not enthusiastic - Lord Warburton bids Isabel farewell.

      Later in the evening, Mrs. Touchett tells Isabel that Mr. Touchett has informed her about Lord Warburton’s proposal. Mrs. Touchett is somewhat disturbed that Isabel chose to confide in Mr. Touchett rather than her, but Isabel thought Mr. Touchett to be more understanding.

Critical Analysis
      A decisive meeting on Isabel’s part, with Lord Warburton takes place. We also get in this chapter a rather bold analysis on Isabel’s part as to why she refused Warburton’s offer of marriage. She may not be a knight seeking a holy grail but the motivations, the seeking mind, the disdain for security is there.

      Henrietta still amuses us by bringing in “the international situation” with her unmitigated Americanness. Miss Molyneux may not be as individualistic as Henrietta, but she has a serenity which can not escape anyone’s notice.

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