The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 24 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter XXIV


      Madame Merle and Isabel visit Osmond hill-top villa and meet him in the cold ante-chamber. They also meet Countess Gemini, Osmond’s sister and Pansy, his daughter. The Countess, to Isabel’s imagination, appears and behaves like a bird. The Countess - “revealed no depths” and Isabel thinks her the most affected woman’’

      When left alone, Isabel and Osmond become close conversationalists. Osmond talks freely about his own life. Osmond was an original without being eccentric. He lived in the realms of art, beauty and history. He treated life too as a work of art. Everything about Osmond appealed Isabel. She felt that he represented much of what she had hoped for in Italy, “a land in which love of the beautiful might be comforted by endless knowledge” She tries to make a favorable impression on him.

      They all had tea in the garden and Osmond began to confide in Isabel, telling her how he had “denounced” the world and about his interest in Corregio, the artist. At present he did not care so much for Corregios and Crucifixes but his daughter Pansy, who was his great happiness.

Critical Analysis

     Isabel’s impressions about Osmond, his family and his home are talked about in this chapter. The mystery lurking everywhere does not escape Isabel’s notice. The Countess succeeds in warning Isabel against Osmond and Madame Merle, though her babbling on and on does not really interest Isabel.

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