Daisy Miller

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Daisy’s mother, a small and thin woman with frizzed hair and a delicate constitution—she suffers from dyspepsia, or indigestion. She is not very friendly with Winterbourne initially, but opens up when she has the opportunity to talk about her ailments and about her Dr. Davis, whom she holds in great respect. Mrs. Miller is clearly quite wealthy, and dresses lavishly, though it is intimated that she and her husband are “new money” Americans, unlike the respectable European families that have similar wealth. Her character escapes total parody thanks to her ambivalent relationship to her daughter; sometimes Mrs. Miller seems embarrassed by her behavior, as when Daisy asks Winterbourne to take her out on a boat late at night, but other times she remains oblivious to the subtle social judgments on her daughter. Either way, Mrs. Miller believes that Daisy’s actions are out of her hands, a laissez-faire attitude to mothering that astounds and confuses Winterbourne, among others.

Mrs. Miller Quotes in Daisy Miller

The Daisy Miller quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Miller or refer to Mrs. Miller. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
European and American Character Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Daisy Miller published in 1995.
Part 2: Rome Quotes

Winterbourne meditated a moment. “They are very ignorant—very innocent only. Depend upon it they are not bad.”

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller, Mrs. Miller, Randolph Miller, Mrs. Costello
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

Winterbourne has just arrived in Rome, and Mrs. Costello is updating him about the earlier arrival of the Millers and their shocking behavior—particularly that of Daisy, who has taken to showing up at parties with an Italian man with a moustache. Here, Winterbourne seems to carefully consider his aunt's judgment, though not to embrace it wholeheartedly. Although he seems to only be thinking about the evidence that his aunt has laid out for him, it is clear that his own experience with Daisy influences what he tells his aunt as well. 

Winterbourne does not entirely challenge his aunt's condemnation, but only seeks to explain it. "Ignorance" for him is not exactly a positive trait, but it is justifiable in terms of "innocence," rather than stemming from any kind of maliciousness. Winterbourne thus seeks to defend the Miller family's moral standing even as he refrains from justifying their behavior—for him it is simply that this behavior is socially rather than morally wrong. He seems to place a great deal of importance on his ability to describe and classify the Millers fairly, as well as on his ability to be an impartial judge in the matter. In that, Winterbourne fails to fully understand, or perhaps admit to himself, how much his own fascination for Daisy plays into this process of judgment.

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“Anyway, she says she’s not engaged. I don’t know why she wanted you to know; but she said to me three times, ‘Mind you tell Mr. Winterbourne.’ And then she told me to ask if you remembered the time you went to that castle in Switzerland.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Miller (speaker), Daisy Miller, Mr. Winterbourne, Mr. Giovanelli
Related Symbols: Roman fever (malaria)
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

Daisy has fallen seriously ill with the Roman fever after spending an evening at the Coliseum, where Winterbourne had encountered her and Mr. Giovanelli. Upon seeing them there together late at night, Winterbourne was shocked and disappointed: he decided that it must be the case that Daisy and Mr. Giovanelli are simply lovers, and that all the alluring mystery he had assigned to Daisy was a lie.

Now, Mrs. Miller's comments to Winterbourne complicate this scheme once again. Daisy's true motivations and character continue to be obscure, especially since her words are refracted through her mother, who can be flighty. Still, it appears that Daisy is at least aware of how the scene must have looked to Winterbourne, and is eager to insist that he need not be disappointed in or angry with her—indeed, she may even have stronger feelings for him than he believed. What remains unclear, of course, is the full extent of these feelings, as well as the reason for reminding him of the visit to the castle in Switzerland, apart from the fact that it is a fond memory they both share of a more "innocent" time.

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Mrs. Miller Character Timeline in Daisy Miller

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Miller appears in Daisy Miller. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Les Trois Couronnes
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...gentleman friends. Still, she always introduces them—she’d find it unnatural otherwise. They walk up to Mrs. Miller , who is leaning on the garden parapet and looking out to the lake. Daisy... (full context)
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Mrs. Miller doesn’t greet Winterbourne, and when Daisy asks gaily what she’s doing here, Mrs. Miller responds... (full context)
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...to go to the castle now that Winterbourne has offered to take her. At first Mrs. Miller doesn’t respond, so Winterbourne thinks she doesn’t approve but can probably be easily be managed.... (full context)
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...calls to Winterbourne, asking if he can take her out on a boat right now. Mrs. Miller exclaims at her, but Winterbourne asks Mrs. Miller to let Daisy go. Daisy complains that... (full context)
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...at the nearby landing-place. She laughs lightly, remarking that she enjoys when gentlemen are formal. Mrs. Miller wonders what time it is, and Eugenio, who has just appeared out of the darkness,... (full context)
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Eugenio frigidly announces that Randolph has gone to bed. Mrs. Miller tells Daisy to accompany her back, and Daisy looks back at Winterbourne. She smiles and... (full context)
Part 2: Rome
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...spend winters in Geneva. After ten minutes, however, the lady’s servant announces the arrival of Mrs. Miller , with Randolph and Daisy with her. Upon entering, Randolph declares that he knows Winterbourne.... (full context)
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Winterbourne asks if Mrs. Miller has been well. Randolph exclaims that she has dyspepsia, and he and his father do... (full context)
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Mrs. Miller says that Daisy has loved Rome and is in fact carried away because of the... (full context)
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Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
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...Mrs. Walker’s permission to bring a friend to her upcoming party. Mrs. Walker, turning to Mrs. Miller , says she’d be delighted to meet their friend, but Mrs. Miller shyly says she... (full context)
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...of the afternoon, when many people are out, and Mrs. Walker doesn’t think it’s safe. Mrs. Miller agrees, saying Daisy will get the fever. Daisy smiles and kisses Mrs. Walker good-bye, saying... (full context)
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When Winterbourne arrives, he sees Mrs. Miller , though not Daisy. Mrs. Miller tells Winterbourne and Mrs. Walker that she feels frightened... (full context)
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...back on Daisy. Winterbourne watches from the door as Daisy turns pale and glances at Mrs. Miller , who remains oblivious. Winterbourne realizes that Daisy is shocked and confused, and he is... (full context)
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Winterbourne says that she is. He quickly gets into a cab to find Mrs. Miller , who is at home and says that Daisy is off with Mr. Giovanelli, as... (full context)
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Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
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...let people be so unkind. He protests that he has said something. Then he says Mrs. Miller believes Daisy is engaged. Daisy agrees that her mother does think this. Winterbourne begins to... (full context)
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...ill. Winterbourne goes to the hotel at once, where a few other acquaintances are in Mrs. Miller ’s salon, and Randolph is declaring that Daisy is sick with the fever from wandering... (full context)
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Mrs. Miller appears, seeming distressed but composed, though she does continue to talk a great deal about... (full context)