The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 48 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter XLVIII


      One day, towards the end of February, Ralph makes up his mind to return to England where he wishes to die in peace. Henrietta decides to accompany him and Goodwood has to go with Ralph. Goodwood has noticed that Isabel only pretends to be happy.

      Henrietta visits Isabel and informs her of her decision to accompany Ralph. Goodwood visits the Osmonds, and Osmond in his ecstasy at the news of Ralph’s departure, is very amiable to the Bostonian. Osmond keeps telling Goodwood about his ‘‘happy marriage” and “domestic felicity”, and this only strengthens Goodwood’s suspicion that Isabel is not happy. He speaks to Isabel after most of the guests have left. Isabel admits that he has come very near to the truth. Finally, he asks her if he may pity her—he would spend his life doing that if she would let him “Don’t give your life to it; but give a thought to it every now and then” is her co-operative reply.

Critical Analysis

      Osmond is bubbling with joy in his conversation with Goodwood. He wants to assure Goodwood that in his marriage there is nothing at all amiss and that concord hovers over the entire household. We see that Osmond is an out-and-out liar. In this chapter we see Henrietta treated in a very tender light.

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