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MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE.

MAY, 1881.

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.1

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that Mr. Osmond had asked her to XXIX.

call upon his daughter; she did not UNDER her cousin's escort Isabel re- mention to her that he had also made turned on the morrow to Florence, her a declaration of love. and Ralph Touchett, though usually Ah, comme cela se trouve ! ” the he was not fond of railway journeys, elder lady exclaimed. “I myself have thought very well of the successive been thinking it would be a kindness hours passed in the train which hur to take a look at the child before I go ried his companion away from the into the country.” city now distinguished by Gilbert “We can go together, then,” said Osmond's preference--hours that were Isabel, reasonably. to form the first stage in a still larger ably,” because the proposal was not scheme of travel. Miss Stackpole had uttered in the spirit of enthusiasm. remained behind ; she was planning a She had prefigured her visit as made little trip to Naples, to be executed in solitude ; she should like it better with Mr. Bantling's assistance. Isabel Nevertheless, to her great conwas to have but three days in Florence sideration for Madame Merle she was before the 4th of June, the date of prepared to sacrifice this mystic senMrs. Touchett's departure, and she timent. determined to devote the last of these Her friend meditated, with her to her promise to go and see Pansy usual suggestive smile.

“ After all,” Osmond. Her plan, however, seemed she presently said, “why should we for a moment likely to modify itself, both go; having, each of us, so much in deference to a plan of Madame to do during these last hours ?Merle's. This lady was still at Casa Very good; I can

easily go Touchett; but she too was

alone." point of leaving Florence, her next “I don't know about your going station being an ancient castle in the alone-to the house of a handsome mountains of Tuscany, the residence bachelor. He has been married—but of a noble family of that country, so long ago!" whose acquaintance (she had known Isabel stared. “When Mr. Osmond them, as she said, "for ever") seemed is away, what does it matter ?" to Isabel, in the light of certain pho- They don't know he is away, you tographs of their immense crenellated dwelling which her friend was able to “They? Whom do you mean ?” show her, a precious privilege.

Every one. But perhaps it doesn't She mentioned to Madame Merle matter,”

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 188C, y Henry James, jun., in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington,

No. 259,- POL. XLIV.

on the

See."

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“If you were going, why shouldn't Pansy entertained her like a little I?" Isabel asked.

lady-not chattering, but conversing, “ Because I am an old frump, and and showing the same courteous inyou are a beautiful young woman.' terest in Isabel's affairs that Isabel

“Granting all that, you have not was so good as to take in hers. Isabel promised.”

wondered at her; as I have said before, “ How much you think of your she had never seen a child like that. promises !” said Madame Merle, with How well she had been taught, said a smile of genial mockery.

our keen young lady, how prettily she “I think a great deal of my pro- had been directed and fashioned; and mises. Does that surprise you?" yet how simple, how natural, how in

“You are right,” Madame Merle nocent she has been kept! Isabel was reflected audibly. “I really think fond of psychological problems, and you wish to be kind to the child." it had pleased her, up to this time, to

“I wish very much to be kind to be in doubt as to whether Miss Pansy her."

were not all-knowing. Was her in“Go and see her then ;

one will

fantine serenity but the perfection of be the wiser. And tell her I would self-consciousness? Was it put on to have come if you

had not. Or

please her father's visitor, or was it rather," Madame Merle added—“ don't the direct expression of a little neat, tell her ; she won't care.”

orderly character: The hour that

? As Isabel drove, in the publicity of an Isabel spent in Mr. Osmond's beautiopen vehicle, along the charming wind- ful empty, dusky rooms—the windows ing way which led to Mr. Osmond's hill- had been half-darkened, to keep out top, she wondered what Madame Merlo the heat, and here and there, through had meant by no one being the wiser, an easy crevice, the splendid summer Once in a while, at large intervals, day peeped in, lighting a gleam of this lady, in whose discretion as a faded colour or tarnished gilt in the general thing, there was something rich-looking gloom-Isabel's interview almost brilliant, dropped a remark of with the daughter of the house, I say, ambiguous quality, struck a note that effectually settled this question. Pansy sounded false. What cared Isabel was really a blank page, a pure white Archer for the vulgar judgments of surface; she was not clever enough obscure people, and did Madame Merle for precocious coquetries. She was not suppose that she was capable of doing clever; Isabel could see that; she a deed in secret? Of course not-she only had nice feelings.

There was must have meant something else--- something touching about her ; Isabel something which in the press of the had felt it before ; she would be an hours that preceded her departure she easy

victim of fate. She would bave had not had time to explain. Isabel no will, no power to resist, no sense would return to this some day; there of her own importance; only an exquiwere certain things as to which she site taste, and an appreciation, equally liked to be clear. She heard Pansy exqui-ite, of such affection as might strumming at the piano in another be bestowed upon her. She would apartment, as she herself was ushered easily be mystified, easily crushed; into Mr. Osmond's drawing-room; the

her force would be solely in her power little girl was "practising,” and Isabel to cling. She moved about the place was pleased to think that she per- with Isabel, who had asked leave to formed this duty faithfully. Presently walk through the other rooms again, Pansy came in, smoothing down her where Pansy gave her judgment on frock, and did the honours of her several works of art. She talked father's house with the wide eyed con- about her prospects, her occupations, scientiousness of a sensitive child. her father's intentions ; she was not Isabel sat there for half an hour, aud egotistical, but she felt the propriety of

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giving Isabel the information that so observant a visitor would naturally expect.

“Please tell me,” she said, “ did papa, in Rome, go to see Madame Catherine? He told me he would if he had time. Perhaps he had not time. Papa likes a great deal of time. He wished to speak about my education; it isn't finished yet, you know. I don't know what they can do with me more; but it appears it is far from finished. Papa told me one day he thought he would finish it himself; for the last year or two, at the convent, the masters that teach the tall girls are so very dear. Papa is not rich, and I should be

very sorry

if he were to pay much money for me, because I don't think I am worth it. I don't learn quickly enough, and I have got no memory.

For what I am told, yes--especially when it is pleasant; but not for what I learn in a book. There was a young girl, who was my best friend, and they took her away from the convent when she was fourteen, to make-how do you say it in English 1—to make a dot. You don't say it in English ? I hope it isn't wrong; I only mean they wished to keep the money, to marry her. I don't know whether it is for that that papa wishes to keep the money, to marry me. It costs so much to marry ! ” Pansy went on, with a sigh; “I think papa might make that economy. At any rate I am too young to think about it yet, and I don't care for any gentleman; I mean for any but him. If he were not my papa I should like to marry him ; I would rather be his daughter than the wife of-of some strange person. I miss him very much, but not so much as you might think, for I have been so much away from him.

Papa has always been principally for holidays. I miss Madame Catherine almost more; but you must not tell him that. You shall not see him again? I am very sorry for that. Of every one who comes here I like you the best. That is not a great compliment, for there

are not many people.

It was very kind of you to come to-day-so far from your house ; for I am as yet only a child. Oh, yes, I have only the occupations of a child. When did you give them up, the occupations of a child ? I should like to know how old you are, but I don't know whether it is right to ask. At the convent they told us that we must never ask the age. I don't like to do anything that is not expected; it looks as if one had not been properly taught. I myself— I should never like to be taken by surprise. Papa left directions for everything. I go to bed very early. When the sun goes off that side I go into the garden. Papa left strict orders that I was not to get scorched. I always enjoy the view; the mountains are so graceful. In Rome, from the convent, we saw nothing but roofs and bell-towers. I practise three hours. I do not play very well. You play yourself? I wish very much that you would play something for me; papa wishes very much that I should hear good music. Madame Merle has played for me several times ; that is what I like best about Madame Merle; she has great facility. I shall never have facility. And I have no voice-just a little thread.”

Isabel gratified this respectful wish, drew off her gloves, and sat down to the piano, while Pansy, standing beside her, watched her white hands move quickly over the keys. When she stopped, she kissed the child goodbye, and held her a moment, looking at her.

“Be a good child,” she said ; "give pleasure to your father."

“I think that is what I live for," Pansy answered. “ He has not much pleasure; he is rather a sad man."

Isabel listened to this assertion with an interest which she felt it to be almost a torment that she was obliged to conceal from the child. It was her pride that obliged her, and a certain sense of decency; there were still other things in her head which she felt a strong impulse, instantly checked,

the child, say.

more.

to say to Pansy about her father; her; our attention is engaged again there were things it would have given on a certain day in the late springher pleasure to hear the child, to make time, shortly after her return to the

But she no sooner be- Palazzo Crescentini, and a year from came conscious of these things than the date of the incidents I have just her imagination was hushed with narrated. She was alone on this occahorror at the idea of taking advant- sion, in one of the smaller of the numeage of the little girl-it was of this she rous rooms devoted by Mrs. Touchett would have accused herself—and of to social uses, and there was that in leaving an audible trace of her emo- her expression and attitude which tion behind. She had come--she had would have suggested that she was come; but she had stayed only an expecting a visitor. The tall window hour! She rose quickly from the was open, and though its green shutters music-stool; even then, however, she were partly drawn, the bright air of lingered a moment, still holding her the garden had come in through a small companion, drawing the child's broad interstice, and filled the room little tender person closer, and looking with warmth and perfume. Our young down at her. She was obliged to con- lady stood for some time at the winfess it to herself-she would have dow, with her hands clasped behind taken a passionate pleasure in talk- her, gazing into the brilliant aperture, ing about Gilbert Osmond to this inno- in the manner of a person relapsing cent, diminutive creature who was near into reverie, She was preoccupied ; to him. But she said not another word ; she was too restless to sit down, to she only kissed Pansy once

work, to read. It was evidently not They went together through the ves- her design, however, to catch a glimpse tibule, to the door which opened into

of her visitor before he should pass the court; and there Pansy stopped, into the house ; for the entrance to looking rather wistfully beyond. the palace was not through the garden,

“I may go no further,” she said. in which stillness and privacy always "I have promised papa not to go out reigned. She was endeavouring rather of this door.”

to anticipate his arrival by a process of You are right to obey him; he conjecture, and to judge by the expreswill never ask you anything unreason- sion of her face this attempt gave her able."

plenty to do

She was extremely “I shall always obey him. But grave; not sad exactly, but deeply when will you come again ?”

serious. The lapse of a year may “Not for a long time, I am afraid." doubtless account for a considerable “As soon as you can, I hope. I am

I

increase of gravity ; though this will only a little girl,” said Pansy, “but I depend a good deal upon the manner shall always expect you.”

in which the year has been spent. And the small figure stood in the Isabel had spent hers in seeing the high, dark doorway, watching Isabel world ; she had moved about ; she had cross the clear, grey court, and disap- travelled; she had exerted herself pear into the brightness beyond the big with an almost passionate activity. portone, which gave a wider gleam as it She was now, to her own sense, a very opened.

different person from the frivolous young woman from Albany, who had

begun to see Europe upon the lawn XXX.

at Gardencourt a couple of years beISABEL came back to Florence, but fore. She flattered herself that she only after several months; an inter- had gathered a rich experience, that val sufficiently replete with incident. she knew a great deal more of life than It is not, however, during this interval this light-minded creature had even that we are closely concerned with suspected. If her thoughts just now

had inclined themselves to retrospect, fied, or elated, at anything his sisterinstead of fluttering their wings ner- in-law might have done or have failed vously about the present, they would to do.

Mrs. Ludlow's feelings were have evoked a multitude of interesting various. At one moment she thought pictures. These pictures would have would be so natural for Isabel to been both landscapes and figure-pieces ; come home and take a house in New the latter, however, would have been York — tbe Rossiters', for instance, the more numerous. With several of which had an elegant conservatory, the figures concerned in these combi- and was just round the corner from nations we are already acquainted. her own; at another she could not There would be, for instance, the conceal her surprise at the girl's not conciliatory Lily, our heroine's sister marrying some gentleman of rank in and Edmund Ludlow's wife, who came one of the foreign countries. On the out from New York to spend five whole, as I have said, she was rather dismonths with Isabel. She left her appointed. She had taken more satishusband behind her, but she brought faction in Isabel's accession of fortune her children, to whom Isabel now than if the money had been left to played with equal munificence and herself; it had seemed to her to offer tenderness the part of maiden-aunt. just the proper setting for her sister's Mr. Ludlow, toward the last, had been slender but eminent figure. Isabel able to snatch a few weeks from his had developed less, however, than forensic triumphs, and, crossing the Lily had thought likely--development, ocean with extreme rapidity, spent a to Lily's understanding, being somemonth with the two ladies in Paris, how mysteriously connected with before taking his wife home. The morning calls and evening parties. little Ludlows had not yet, even from Intellectually, doubtless, she had made the American point of view, reached immense strides; but she appeared to the proper tourist-age ; so that while have achieved few of those social conher sister was with her, Isabel con- quests of which Mrs. Ludlow had exfined her movements to a narrow circle. pected to admire the trophies. Lily's Lily and the babies had joined her in conception of such achievements was Switzerland in the month of July, and extremely vague ; but this was exactly they had spent a

of fine what she had expected of Isabel—to weather in an Alpine valley where give it form and body. Isabel could the flowers were thick in the meadows, have done as well as she had done in and the shade of great chestnuts made New York; and Mrs. Ludlow appealed a resting place in such upward wan- to her husband to know whether there derings as might be undertaken by was any privilege that she enjoyed in ladies and children on

warm after- Europe which the society of that city noons. Afterwards they had come to might not offer her. We know, ourParis, a city beloved by Lily, but selves, that Isabel had made conquests less appreciated by Isabel, who in -whether inferior or not to those she those days was constantly thinking of might have effected in her native land, Rome. Mrs. Ludlow enjoyed Paris, it would be a delicate matter to decide ; but she was nevertheless somewhat and it is not altogether with a feeling disappointed and puzzled ; and after of complacency that I again mention her husband had joined her she was that she had not made these honourin addition a good deal depressed at able victories public. She had not not being able to induce him to enter told her sister the history (f Lord into these somewhat subtle and com- Warburton, nor had sbe given her a plex emotions. They all had Isabel hint of Mr. Osmond's state of mind; for their object; but Edmund Ludlow, and she had no better reason for her as he had always done before, declined silence than that she didn't wish to to be surprised, or distressed, or mysti- speak. It entertained her more to say

summer

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