The Portrait of a Lady

by

Henry James

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Countess Gemini Character Analysis

Gilbert Osmond’s frivolous sister. She is widely regarded as disreputable due to her unfaithfulness to her husband. However, Countess Gemini demonstrates some moral fortitude when she objects to Madame Merle’s designs for Gilbert Osmond to marry Isabel Archer, for the Countess believes that Isabel is too good for her unscrupulous brother. She is also the person who reveals to Isabel the truth of the relationship between Osmond, his longtime mistress Madame Merle, and their illegitimate daughter, Pansy.

Countess Gemini Quotes in The Portrait of a Lady

The The Portrait of a Lady quotes below are all either spoken by Countess Gemini or refer to Countess Gemini. 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:
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford edition of The Portrait of a Lady published in 2009.
Chapter 50 Quotes

“One’s daughter should be fresh and fair; she should be innocent and gentle. With the manners of the present time she is liable to become so dusty and crumpled. Pansy’s a little dusty, a little dishevelled; she has knocked about too much. This bustling, pushing rabble that calls itself society—one should take her out of it occasionally. Convents are very quiet, very convenient, very salutary. I like to think of her there, in the old garden, under the arcade, among those tranquil virtuous women. Many of them are gentlewomen born; several of them are noble. She will have her books and her drawing, she will have her piano. I’ve made the most liberal arrangements.”

Page Number: 524
Explanation and Analysis:
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Countess Gemini Character Timeline in The Portrait of a Lady

The timeline below shows where the character Countess Gemini appears in The Portrait of a Lady. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 24
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Isabel accompanies Madame Merle to Gilbert Osmond’s house. Osmond, Pansy, and the Countess Gemini , Osmond’s sister, are all present. Isabel finds Pansy is innocent and sweet in nature,... (full context)
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
While Madame Merle and the Countess Gemini walk through the garden, Osmond draws Isabel into conversation with Pansy nearby. He asks her... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Osmond and Isabel wander outside to join Madame Merle and the Countess Gemini . Osmond reveals that his daughter, Pansy, is his greatest happiness in life. Overall, Isabel... (full context)
Chapter 25
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Madame Merle and the Countess Gemini converse in the garden while Osmond and Isabel talk inside. The Countess has guessed at... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
...father, Osmond, by making tea for the group, which Madame Merle considers and agrees to. The Countess Gemini asks Pansy what she thinks of Isabel; Pansy replies that their visitor is “charming” and... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
When Pansy leaves to offer Osmond and Isabel some tea, the Countess Gemini asks Madame Merle if she is planning on finding a husband for Pansy sometime soon,... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
The Countess Gemini is more hotheaded than Madame Merle and is often frustrated by Merle’s scheming. Madame Merle... (full context)
Chapter 26
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
The Countess Gemini also visits Isabel at Mrs. Touchett’s home. Mrs. Touchett is annoyed by her appearance, as... (full context)
Chapter 35
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
The Countess Gemini reacts quite differently to the news of her brother Osmond’s engagement. She tells Isabel directly... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Strangely, the Countess Gemini suggests that Isabel will shortly see the truth of Osmond, and that if Isabel is... (full context)
Chapter 39
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
...quiet and simple affair at a small American chapel with Ralph, his mother, Pansy, and the Countess Gemini in attendance. Madame Merle sent her apologies, unable to leave Rome, and Isabel’s friend Henrietta... (full context)
Chapter 44
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Countess Gemini wishes to live in Rome, as her own home in Florence is unexciting, and accepts... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Before the Countess Gemini leaves for Rome, Henrietta Stackpole visits her in Florence for help. The Countess has helped... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
...friendship. The journalist is worried about Isabel because the tone of her letters has changed. The Countess Gemini , known as a great gossip, informs Henrietta that Lord Warburton is trying to get... (full context)
Chapter 48
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Before leaving, Henrietta visits the Countess Gemini once more. The journalist tells the Countess that she was wrong in her belief that... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
...might think of Isabel from time to time. Isabel then returns to the company of the Countess Gemini . (full context)
Chapter 50
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Isabel visits the Coliseum with Pansy and the Countess Gemini . Isabel sees Edward Rosier watching them from afar, and when she finds herself alone,... (full context)
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Pansy and the Countess Gemini rejoin Isabel. Rosier wants to talk to the Countess, so Isabel and Pansy return to... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
After Pansy leaves Rome, Isabel shares a meal with Osmond and the Countess Gemini . Isabel tells Osmond that she will miss his daughter greatly, but decides not to... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
The Countess Gemini asks Osmond why he won’t admit to the obvious truth, accusing her brother of sending... (full context)
Chapter 51
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The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Although Osmond does not banish the Countess Gemini from his house, she feels that her hospitality in Rome is vulnerable. A week after... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
Isabel talks to the Countess Gemini about her predicament. The Countess comforts Isabel somewhat. She also thinks of the consequence of... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
The Countess Gemini then encourages Isabel to defy Osmond’s instructions by traveling to Gardencourt. She also decides to... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
Shocked, Isabel asks why the Countess Gemini is revealing this secret to her now. The Countess merely claims that she is tired... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
When Isabel questions why Osmond and Madame Merle never married, the Countess Gemini explains that Merle had no wealth to interest Osmond, and that she fell out of... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Before Isabel takes her leave of the Countess Gemini , the Countess asks if Isabel still plans to visit Ralph against Osmond’s will. With... (full context)
Chapter 53
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...unable to imagine her future. With time, though, she uses her recent conversations with Osmond, the Countess Gemini , Madame Merle, and Pansy to begin making some connections between previous events. (full context)