Daisy Miller

Mr. Winterbourne Character Analysis

Another American abroad, Winterbourne has nonetheless assimilated into European society and become more a resident than a tourist. We do not learn much about Winterbourne’s past life, other than that he lives most permanently in Geneva, where conflicting accounts say either that he is “studying” or that he is pursuing a mysterious older foreign lady. In any case, Winterbourne does not seem to have many passions or interests, other than an appreciation of female beauty—he remarks on how pretty Daisy is nearly every time he sees her. Winterbourne is both charmed by Daisy and suspicious of her, strung between admiration for her free spirit, frustration that she won’t be more proper, and sympathy when others turn a cold shoulder to her. The inability of Winterbourne to decide what kind of a person Daisy is reflects his own inability to truly act or decide who he wants to be himself—indeed, it is his attempt to “figure out” Daisy that prevents (or frees) him from his own character development.

Mr. Winterbourne Quotes in Daisy Miller

The Daisy Miller quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Winterbourne or refer to Mr. Winterbourne. 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 1: Les Trois Couronnes Quotes

He thought it very possible that Master Randolph’s sister was a coquette; he was sure she had a spirit of her own; but in her bright, superficial little visage there was no mockery, no irony.

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller, Randolph Miller
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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She paused again for an instant; she was looking at Winterbourne with all her prettiness in her lively eyes, and in her light, slightly monotonous smile. “I have always had,” she said, “a great deal of gentlemen’s society.”

Related Characters: Daisy Miller (speaker), Mr. Winterbourne
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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“But I really think that you had better not meddle with little American girls that are uncultivated, as you call them. You have lived too long out of the country. You will be sure to make some great mistake. You are too innocent.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Costello (speaker), Daisy Miller, Mr. Winterbourne
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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She seemed to him, in all this, an extraordinary mixture of innocence and crudity.

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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He remembered that a cynical compatriot had once told him that American women—the pretty ones, and this gave largeness to the axiom—were at once the most exacting in the world and the least endowed with a sense of indebtedness.

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

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The young girl looked at him more gravely, but with eyes that were prettier than ever. “I have never allowed a gentleman to dictate anything to me, or to interfere with anything I do.”

Related Characters: Daisy Miller (speaker), Mr. Winterbourne
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

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That she should seem to wish to get rid of him would help him to think more lightly of her, and to be able to think more lightly of her would make her much less perplexing. But Daisy, on this occasion, continued to present herself as an inscrutable combination of audacity and innocence.

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Well,” said Winterbourne, “when you deal with natives you must go by the custom of the place. Flirting is a purely American custom; it doesn’t exist here.”

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

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[Mrs. Walker] turned her back straight upon Miss Miller, and left her to depart with what grace she might. Winterbourne was standing near the door; he saw it all.

Related Characters: Daisy Miller, Mr. Winterbourne, Mrs. Walker
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

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He could not deny to himself that she was going very far indeed. He felt very sorry for her—not exactly that he believed that she had completely lost her head, but because it was painful to hear so much that was pretty and undefended and natural assigned to a vulgar place among the categories of disorder.

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

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He was angry at finding himself reduced to chopping logic about this young lady; he was vexed at his want of instinctive certitude as to how far her eccentricities were generic, national, and how far they were personal.

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

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Winterbourne stopped, with a sort of horror, and it must be added, with a sort of relief. It was as if a sudden illumination had been flashed upon the ambiguity of Daisy’s behavior, and the riddle had become easy to read. She was a young lady whom a gentleman need no longer be at pains to respect.

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Daisy Miller, Mr. Giovanelli
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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“She was the most beautiful young lady I ever saw, and the most amiable”; and then he added in a moment, “and she was the most innocent.”
Winterbourne looked at him, and presently repeated his words, “And the most innocent?”
“The most innocent!”

Related Characters: Mr. Winterbourne (speaker), Mr. Giovanelli (speaker), Daisy Miller
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mr. Winterbourne Character Timeline in Daisy Miller

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Winterbourne appears in Daisy Miller. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Les Trois Couronnes
European and American Character Theme Icon
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
...her, but there are many stories about her in the air. Apart from that, though, Winterbourne (here we learn his name) has gone to school and college in Geneva and has... (full context)
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Winterbourne has coffee and lights a cigarette, before a small boy comes walking along the path,... (full context)
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...hotels, then the candy, and calls American candy the “best.” When he finds out that Winterbourne is American, the boy also calls American men the “best men.” (full context)
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...that his sister is coming. She is dressed in a fancy white muslin dress and Winterbourne immediately notices her beauty, thinking how pretty “they are,” that is, American girls. The boy... (full context)
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Winterbourne rises, realizing that he might be able to talk to a young unmarried lady alone... (full context)
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Winterbourne attempts to make an observation about the view, though now he feels less awkward, since... (full context)
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Winterbourne loves to observe female beauty, and he notes that the young lady may well be... (full context)
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The lady says she’s from New York State. Winterbourne asks her brother his name, and he says it’s Randolph C. Miller: his sister, he... (full context)
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Daisy tells Winterbourne that Randolph misses home, and that there aren’t many boys around to play with him.... (full context)
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Daisy continues chatting (Winterbourne thinks others might have characterized it as “chattering”) about her family affairs as if she... (full context)
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...dinners given for her, and has plenty of lady and gentleman friends. She glances at Winterbourne and says, smiling, that she’s always had many gentlemen friends. (full context)
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Winterbourne is confused by Daisy but also charmed. He wonders whether she is really uncouth in... (full context)
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Winterbourne wonders again if Daisy is unscrupulous—his instincts about people’s character seem to be failing him.... (full context)
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Daisy points to the Château de Chillon (a castle) in the distance and asks if Winterbourne has ever been there. He says he has. Daisy replies that she would love to... (full context)
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Winterbourne makes a few suggestions, but Daisy looks at him and cries that she wishes he... (full context)
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Eugenio appears, tall and handsome, and looks Winterbourne up and down before announcing that lunch is ready. Daisy rises and cries that she’s... (full context)
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Daisy smiles and turns to follow Eugenio, as Winterbourne watches her go. He returns to his aunt’s apartments, and asks his aunt, Mrs. Costello,... (full context)
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Mrs. Costello agrees with Winterbourne that the young lady is pretty and charming, and dresses perfectly: she can’t imagine where... (full context)
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Winterbourne, more seriously, asks if Mrs. Costello thinks Daisy might expect a man to “carry her... (full context)
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Despite this conversation, Winterbourne remains impatient to see Daisy again. He finds her that evening in the hotel garden,... (full context)
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Winterbourne, embarrassed, says that he agrees, although the headaches will make that difficult. Daisy glances at... (full context)
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They see a figure approaching in the darkness, and suddenly pause. Winterbourne says she must not see them, but Daisy says her mother probably won’t approach since... (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 that she doesn’t... (full context)
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Daisy says that at least she’ll be able to go to the castle now that Winterbourne has offered to take her. At first Mrs. Miller doesn’t respond, so Winterbourne thinks she... (full context)
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Daisy suddenly calls to Winterbourne, asking if he can take her out on a boat right now. Mrs. Miller exclaims... (full context)
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Winterbourne suggests Daisy take his arm and they’ll go find a boat at the nearby landing-place.... (full context)
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...to bed. Mrs. Miller tells Daisy to accompany her back, and Daisy looks back at Winterbourne. She smiles and says she hopes he is disappointed or disgusted at her. Winterbourne says... (full context)
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Two days later Winterbourne waits for Daisy in the hotel hall. She darts downstairs, buttoning her gloves as Winterbourne... (full context)
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Daisy is charming and animated, but Winterbourne is a little disappointed that she doesn’t seem anxious or fluttered and doesn’t blush at... (full context)
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...castle and walk around. Daisy seems less interested in antiquities than she is in asking Winterbourne about his family, his tastes, and his habits, and comparing them to her own. Although... (full context)
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Winterbourne is astonished by Daisy’s reaction. She begins to hurl insults on the woman she imagines... (full context)
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...Costello has taken an apartment in Rome for the winter. But Daisy says she wants Winterbourne to come for her, not for his aunt. Winterbourne agrees to come, and they return... (full context)
Part 2: Rome
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Winterbourne arrives in Rome in the end of January, a few weeks after his aunt. She... (full context)
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Winterbourne asks for more specifics, and Mrs. Costello says that Daisy wanders around alone with the... (full context)
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Winterbourne is a little annoyed to hear about all the foreign men flitting around Daisy, interrupting... (full context)
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Winterbourne asks if Mrs. Miller has been well. Randolph exclaims that she has dyspepsia, and he... (full context)
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Daisy turns and declares that she’s been telling Mrs. Walker, the hostess, how “mean” Winterbourne has been. Winterbourne is a little annoyed that Daisy hasn’t appreciated that he went directly... (full context)
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Daisy and Winterbourne go outside and move slowly through the packed streets. Winterbourne enjoys seeing many passersby ogle... (full context)
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Daisy rebukes Winterbourne for not coming to see her earlier, but then turns to other topics. She says... (full context)
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They pass the Pincian Gardens gate, and Winterbourne says he won’t help Daisy find Mr. Giovanelli. She laughs, then sees the Italian leaning... (full context)
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...side of her. Mr. Giovanelli is polite, clever, and sophisticated, but speaks with little sense. Winterbourne thinks that the man is just an imitation of a gentleman, and he feels indignant... (full context)
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Again Winterbourne wonders if a “nice girl” would really meet up with a foreigner to walk about... (full context)
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...fifteen minutes, Mrs. Walker pulls up in a carriage, her face flushed, and beckons to Winterbourne. She cries that 50 people have noticed Daisy, and she must stop. Winterbourne asks her... (full context)
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Winterbourne goes to fetch Daisy, who seems delighted to present Mr. Giovanelli to Mrs. Walker. Mrs.... (full context)
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Daisy begins to flush, and looks quite pretty to Winterbourne. She asks him if her reputation requires that she get in the carriage. Winterbourne flushes... (full context)
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Mrs. Walker, her eyes tearing up, tells Winterbourne to get in: when he says he must follow Daisy, she says if he does... (full context)
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Winterbourne tells Mrs. Walker, back in the carriage, that her earnestness has backfired: Daisy means no... (full context)
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When Mrs. Walker marvels at how Daisy should have made a fuss about Winterbourne leaving Vevay, when they’d only known each other for a few days, Winterbourne pauses and... (full context)
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Mrs. Walker asks Winterbourne to stop associating with Miss Miller, but he says he likes her very much and... (full context)
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The next two days, Winterbourne tries to call at Daisy’s hotel, but she’s not home either time. On the third... (full context)
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When Winterbourne arrives, he sees Mrs. Miller, though not Daisy. Mrs. Miller tells Winterbourne and Mrs. Walker... (full context)
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Daisy and Winterbourne begin to talk. She says she was shocked that Mrs. Walker wanted her to abandon... (full context)
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Winterbourne warns her that her habits are those of a flirt, and, staring and smiling at... (full context)
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Winterbourne continues, trying to convince Daisy that she should follow the custom of a certain place,... (full context)
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Daisy turns to the Italian, who asks if she’d like tea—which she says Winterbourne has never thought to offer her. Daisy remains with Mr. Giovanelli in the other room... (full context)
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Winterbourne continues to visit the Millers’ hotel, where they are often absent, though when they are... (full context)
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Still, Winterbourne has to admit that Daisy seems to find Giovanelli fascinating: she is always asking him... (full context)
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...must think him a fine gentleman, finer even than the courier, who probably introduced them. Winterbourne says he doesn’t think they’ll marry, and his aunt replies that Daisy certainly lives day-to-day,... (full context)
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Winterbourne says he’s asked around about Giovanelli, who is apparently respectable, though he doesn’t move in... (full context)
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...of Mrs. Costello gather around them and discuss how Daisy has really gone “too far.” Winterbourne is upset at this talk, finding it painful to hear her innocence described as vulgar... (full context)
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One day Winterbourne meets a friend in the Corso (a large boulevard) who has just emerged from the... (full context)
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Winterbourne says that she is. He quickly gets into a cab to find Mrs. Miller, who... (full context)
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After this Winterbourne never finds Daisy at home, nor at the houses of his friends, who have stopped... (full context)
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It annoys Winterbourne to think that Daisy might not even notice or care about this coldness—she is probably... (full context)
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A few days later Winterbourne finds Daisy at the Palace of the Caesar on a fine spring day, strolling amid... (full context)
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Daisy says Winterbourne thinks she’s with Giovanelli too much. Everyone thinks so, Winterbourne replies. Daisy declares that everyone... (full context)
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Daisy looks at Giovanelli, then back at Winterbourne, and says Winterbourne shouldn’t let people be so unkind. He protests that he has said... (full context)
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Winterbourne leaves the couple. A week later he eats dinner at a villa on the Caelian... (full context)
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Winterbourne begins to recite some lines of poetry, but then remembers that doctors caution against spending... (full context)
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Winterbourne is horrified by this discovery, but also a little relieved. Daisy’s behavior is finally easy... (full context)
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Daisy says she’s been here all evening, and nothing can be so pretty. Winterbourne tells her that people catch Roman fever from such beauty. He rebukes Giovanelli for leading... (full context)
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Winterbourne counsels them to leave immediately, and Giovanelli goes to get the carriage. Daisy doesn’t seem... (full context)
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Winterbourne mentions to no one the circumstances of his meeting with Daisy, but in a few... (full context)
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A few days later, the same gossips reveal that Daisy is seriously ill. Winterbourne goes to the hotel at once, where a few other acquaintances are in Mrs. Miller’s... (full context)
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...though she does continue to talk a great deal about Dr. Davis. Mrs. Miller tells Winterbourne that Daisy has asked her to tell him that Daisy was never engaged to Mr.... (full context)
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...and amiable lady he’d ever seen. He adds that she was the most innocent, too. Winterbourne looks at him and repeats that last phrase as a question. Giovanelli repeats what he... (full context)
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Winterbourne leaves Rome soon. The next summer he meets his aunt again at Vevay. One day... (full context)