The Portrait of a Lady

by

Henry James

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Henrietta Stackpole Character Analysis

A patriotic American journalist and Isabel Archer’s friend. Isabel greatly admires Henrietta because she is bold, ambitious, and self-sufficient. While writing about European life for a newspaper column, Henrietta visits Isabel at Gardencourt (the Touchett family estate), where she is unimpressed with the mundane lives of the English elite. They are equally unimpressed with her brash, even ignorant attitudes. Henrietta sometimes offers Isabel sound advice, especially in her warnings about Gilbert Osmond’s untrustworthiness. But although Henrietta believes she has Isabel’s best interests at heart, she interferes in Isabel’s life by encouraging Caspar Goodwood’s romantic pursuits. Isabel is eventually disillusioned by her friend’s relinquishing her independence in marrying Mr. Bantling.

Henrietta Stackpole Quotes in The Portrait of a Lady

The The Portrait of a Lady quotes below are all either spoken by Henrietta Stackpole or refer to Henrietta Stackpole . 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 10 Quotes

“I like the great country stretching away beyond the rivers and across the prairies, blooming and smiling, and spreading till it stops at the green Pacific! A strong, sweet, fresh odour seems to rise from it, and Henrietta—pardon my simile—has something of that odour in her garments.”

[…]

“I’m not sure the Pacific’s so green as that,” he said; “but you’re a young woman of imagination. Henrietta, however, does smell of the Future—it almost knocks one down!”

Related Characters: Isabel Archer (speaker), Ralph Touchett (speaker), Caspar Goodwood, Henrietta Stackpole
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

“Do you know where you’re drifting?” Henrietta pursued, holding out her bonnet delicately.

“No, I haven’t the least idea, and I find it very pleasant not to know. A swift carriage, on a dark night, rattling with four horses over roads that one cant see—that’s my idea of happiness.”

[…]

“You’re a creature of risks—you make me shudder!” cried Henrietta.

Related Characters: Isabel Archer (speaker), Henrietta Stackpole (speaker)
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“The peril for you is that you live too much in the world of your own dreams. You’re not enough in contact with reality—with the toiling, striving, suffering, I may even say sinning, world that surrounds you. You’re too fastidious; you’ve too many graceful illusions. Your newly-acquired thousands will shut you up more and more to the society of a few selfish and heartless people who will be interested in keeping them up.”

Related Characters: Henrietta Stackpole (speaker), Isabel Archer
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:
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Henrietta Stackpole Character Timeline in The Portrait of a Lady

The timeline below shows where the character Henrietta Stackpole appears in The Portrait of a Lady. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Art and Morality Theme Icon
...with it. However, he does acknowledge that critics’ levies that he mistreated the character of Henrietta Stackpole hold some weight; he perhaps exaggerated her personality, but his reasoning was to strongly... (full context)
Chapter 6
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In keeping with the fact that Isabel values her personal liberties, she considers her friend Henrietta Stackpole, an American journalist, a role model. Henrietta is a liberal and tough-minded career woman... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Henrietta Stackpole, Isabel’s friend and an American journalist, has arrived in England to write on the... (full context)
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Henrietta makes her way to Gardencourt to see Isabel. Ralph and Henrietta develop a combative friendship;... (full context)
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Henrietta writes about the Touchetts for her newspaper column, but when she shows her work to... (full context)
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Henrietta challenges Ralph about his idle life at Gardencourt, believing that he should be investing himself... (full context)
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Isabel tells Ralph that Henrietta believes that the English treat women poorly. Isabel also attributes many of Henrietta’s forceful opinions... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Ralph resolves to get along better with Henrietta, but she tends to treat even his compliments with hostility. Mrs. Touchett also suspects that... (full context)
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Later, when the two are alone, Henrietta reveals to Isabel that Caspar Goodwood has traveled to England to connect with Isabel; in... (full context)
Chapter 13
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While Isabel is occupied with the letter to Lord Warburton, Henrietta Stackpole gets Ralph to walk in the garden with her. She charges him with inviting... (full context)
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...but regrettably replies he cannot make a visit Gardencourt. When Ralph shows the letter to Henrietta, she is confused by its contents and determines that she will write to Goodwood to... (full context)
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Henrietta suggests that she and Isabel should travel to London together, with the journalist secretly wanting... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Henrietta, seated beside Lord Warburton for the meal, informs him that she does not appreciate him,... (full context)
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Ralph, Henrietta, and Miss Molyneux enter the gallery. Henrietta accuses Miss Molyneux of being too meek and... (full context)
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Henrietta then wrongly accuses Lord Warburton of having been on his guard throughout lunch because Isabel... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...Warburton’s marriage proposal if Isabel does not love him. Isabel departs Gardencourt for London with Henrietta and Ralph. The women stay at a comfortable inn while Ralph prefers his father’s house... (full context)
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During their time in London, Henrietta desires to see “some of the leading minds of the present.” Ralph therefore invites his... (full context)
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Henrietta also greatly enjoys Mr. Bantling’s obliging company and is keen to visit Lady Pensil. However,... (full context)
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Ralph and Isabel are left sitting together at Winchester House. Ralph thinks that Henrietta and Mr. Bantling get on very well and speculates that they could have a romantic... (full context)
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...young lady does who won’t marry Lord Warburton.” Isabel states that she is similar to Henrietta in that she does not want to marry until she has “seen Europe.” (full context)
Chapter 16
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...meeting, Isabel asks how Goodwood knew where to find he in London. He replies that Henrietta informed him of their whereabouts. Isabel is frustrated by her friend’s betrayal and by Goodwood’s... (full context)
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Isabel is also shocked when Goodwood reveals that, at Henrietta’s urging, Ralph previously invited him to visit Gardencourt. Isabel is appalled when she considers the... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...opens, and Isabel rises with alarm, believing that Goodwood has returned. However, it is simply  Henrietta returning from her dinner with American friends. (full context)
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Henrietta can see that her Isabel is in an unusual state, and quickly asks if Goodwood... (full context)
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Henrietta decides that she will not return to Gardencourt despite Mr. Touchett’s renewed invitation, preferring to... (full context)
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...to depart London for Gardencourt. Isabel is still getting ready for departure, and Ralph finds Henrietta in the sitting-room. She pays her respects to his father, wishing Mr. Touchett better health.... (full context)
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...she lied to him about her plans for the evening. However, Ralph is relieved when Henrietta explains that Isabel had no prior knowledge of Goodwood’s visit, as Henrietta herself had devised... (full context)
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Henrietta tells Ralph that she has no intention of letting Goodwood “give up” on Isabel, as... (full context)
Chapter 19
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During her now lonely existence at Gardencourt, Isabel takes a great interest in Henrietta Stackpole’s life in Europe, which she learns of via letters from her friend. The journalist’s... (full context)
Chapter 20
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In Paris, Isabel also reconnects with Henrietta Stackpole. The two spend so much time together that Mrs. Touchett suspects Henrietta’s opinions and... (full context)
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As usual, Henrietta has strong judgments about everything around her. She finds Edward Rosier to be even more... (full context)
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Henrietta is also unsettled by the great wealth that Isabel has inherited, hoping that her new... (full context)
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Henrietta had spent her first four weeks in Paris with Mr. Bantling, benefitting from his knowledgeable... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Henrietta Stackpole also visits Isabel again. She is currently traveling to Rome from Venice; Ralph suggests... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Isabel, Ralph, Henrietta, and Mr. Bantling are in Rome. Isabel eagerly takes in the city’s history and culture,... (full context)
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Ralph, Henrietta, and Mr. Bantling join the three of them. When Henrietta first met Gilbert Osmond, she... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...day, Lord Warburton attends the opera because the hotel has informed him that Isabel, Ralph, Henrietta, Mr. Bantling, and Osmond will be there. At Ralph’s request, Warburton joins Isabel and Osmond... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Isabel then changes tack and asks Goodwood if he has recently been in contact with Henrietta Stackpole. He states he has, although he has not passed on the news of Isabel’s... (full context)
Chapter 39
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...Gemini in attendance. Madame Merle sent her apologies, unable to leave Rome, and Isabel’s friend Henrietta Stackpole was not invited. In fact, Henrietta wrote forcefully to Isabel stating that if invited,... (full context)
Chapter 44
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Before the Countess Gemini leaves for Rome, Henrietta Stackpole visits her in Florence for help. The Countess has helped the journalist once before... (full context)
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Henrietta plans to visit Isabel in Rome to see if she can repair their friendship. The... (full context)
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While returning to her hotel in Florence, Henrietta leaves a note for Caspar Goodwood, who is also currently in the city. She asks... (full context)
Chapter 47
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Three days pass. Henrietta Stackpole informs Isabel that Caspar Goodwood is currently in Rome. This brings up a lot... (full context)
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Henrietta asks Isabel why she doesn’t leave Osmond due to their intensely unhappy marriage. Isabel says... (full context)
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...Goodwood to visit Ralph at his hotel. The American businessman obliges her request, finding that Henrietta is also there when he calls on Ralph. She has been visiting Ralph each day... (full context)
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During this time of Henrietta and Goodwood visiting Rome, Isabel is frequented by strange nighttime dreams of Osmond and Madame... (full context)
Chapter 48
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...his death is near, and he wants to pass away at his beloved home, Gardencourt. Henrietta offers to accompany him and care for him, as does Goodwood per his previous promise... (full context)
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Before leaving, Henrietta visits the Countess Gemini once more. The journalist tells the Countess that she was wrong... (full context)
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Henrietta urges Isabel to leave Osmond before their relationship grows yet more dire. Isabel insists that... (full context)
Chapter 53
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Isabel is met in London by Henrietta Stackpole, with whom Isabel has corresponded with about her travel plans. Isabel is surprised to... (full context)
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Isabel is further surprised by the news of Henrietta’s engagement to Mr. Bantling and disappointed by her friend’s falling into convention. However, she acknowledges... (full context)
Chapter 55
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...small church to pay their respects to Ralph. The funeral party includes Mrs. Touchett, Isabel, Henrietta Stackpole, Mr. Bantling, and Caspar Goodwood, with Isabel feeling distracted by the latter’s forceful presence. (full context)
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...The older woman is, however, quite confused by Ralph’s decision to leave his library to Henrietta Stackpole. (full context)
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Two days later, Goodwood visits Henrietta Stackpole’s residence in London. The servants at Gardencourt have advised him that Isabel is in... (full context)