The Portrait of a Lady

by

Henry James

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Lord Warburton Character Analysis

A wealthy English nobleman and Mr. Touchett and Mrs. Touchett’s neighbor, Lord Warburton is enchanted by Isabel Archer when she arrives at Gardencourt. He has a close friendship with Ralph Touchett and an almost fatherly relationship with his two meek sisters, the Misses Molyneux, whom he introduces to Isabel. Warburton quickly falls in love with Isabel and pursues her hand in marriage. Despite his wealth, status, and many admirable personal qualities, Isabel refuses his marriage proposal for fear that she will lose her independence. He appears to accept her decision in good spirits, but later tries to marry Isabel’s stepdaughter Pansy Osmond, perhaps in order to stay close to Isabel. Despite his unusually liberal political values, Lord Warburton still embodies Old World convention as he cannot in reality accept a world where he does not exist as a patriarchal, aristocratic, and authoritative figure.

Lord Warburton Quotes in The Portrait of a Lady

The The Portrait of a Lady quotes below are all either spoken by Lord Warburton or refer to Lord Warburton. 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 1 Quotes

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

In so far as the indefinable had an influence upon Isabel’s behaviour at this juncture, it was not the conception, even unformulated, of a union with Caspar Goodwood; for however she might have resisted conquest at her English suitor’s large quiet hands she was at least as far removed from the disposition to let the young man from Boston take positive possession of her. […] The idea of a diminished liberty was particularly disagreeable to her at present.

Page Number: 125-126
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

“If there’s a thing in the world I’m fond of,” she went on with a slight recurrence of grandeur, “it’s my personal independence.”

[…]

Isabel’s words, if they meant to shock him, failed of the mark and only made him smile with the sense that here was common ground. “Who would wish less to curtail your liberty than I? What can give me greater pleasure than to see you perfectly independent—doing whatever you like? It’s to make you independent that I want to marry you. […] An unmarried woman—a girl of your age—isn’t independent. There are all sorts of things she can’t do. She’s hampered at every step.”

Related Characters: Isabel Archer (speaker), Caspar Goodwood (speaker), Lord Warburton
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

We know that he was fond of originals, of rarities, of the superior and the exquisite; and now that he had seen Lord Warburton, whom he thought a very fine example of his race and order, he perceived a new attraction of taking to himself a young lady who had qualified herself to figure in his collection of choice objects by declining so noble a hand. […] It would be proper that the woman he might marry should have done something of that sort.

Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lord Warburton Character Timeline in The Portrait of a Lady

The timeline below shows where the character Lord Warburton appears in The Portrait of a Lady. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...charming face” despite being sickly from long-term consumption. The other is a bearded nobleman named Lord Warburton , who is wearing riding clothes. (full context)
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The three gentlemen discuss Lord Warburton ’s boredom with life, with the Touchett men encouraging him to marry a good woman.... (full context)
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Despite Lord Warburton ’s questioning Mr. Touchett further about his soon-to-visit niece, Mr. Touchett and Ralph can offer... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Ralph wanders away as Mr. Touchett and Lord Warburton talk further. He is unaware that a tall young woman in a black dress is... (full context)
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...exclaims at the identity of the other two men on the lawn, Mr. Touchett and Lord Warburton , declaring that she hoped she would meet a lord in England. Upon meeting them,... (full context)
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Mr. Touchett then moves away with Isabel, leaving Lord Warburton to tell Ralph that Isabel is exactly the type of “interesting woman” that the nobleman... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...France so that she can experience more of Europe. Mrs. Touchett is quite certain that Lord Warburton will not be able to handle her headstrong niece if the neighboring lord shows interest.... (full context)
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Isabel reveals to Ralph that she enjoyed meeting Mr. Touchett and Lord Warburton . She also likes Mrs. Touchett, particularly because her aunt does not expect anyone to... (full context)
Chapter 7
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The neighboring Lord Warburton is invited to stay at Gardencourt for two nights. Greatly enjoying his company, Isabel is... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Lord Warburton has taken a liking to Isabel and requests that Mrs. Touchett bring her niece to... (full context)
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Isabel later tells Ralph that she likes Lord Warburton , and Ralph agrees that he greatly likes him too. He also pities his friend,... (full context)
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Isabel is confused by Ralph’s judgments of Lord Warburton , and therefore also speaks to Mr. Touchett. Isabel’s uncle instructs her not to fall... (full context)
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Mr. Touchett also tells Isabel that although Lord Warburton talks about his desire for revolutionary changes to occur in English society, the nobleman cannot... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Lord Warburton ’s two youngest sisters, the Misses Molyneux, visit Isabel at Gardencourt. They are very timid... (full context)
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...Lockleigh. She is bold in directly asking the Misses Molyneux if they consider their brother, Lord Warburton , to be a radical. The sisters agree that he is a radical, yet he... (full context)
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Later in the day, while Isabel and Lord Warburton walk together, he tells her that he hopes to see more of her in future,... (full context)
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...that the English are “eccentric” and “romantic” individuals; she is concerned that she has offended Lord Warburton with her blunt rejection of his affection. However, after a slightly off-note moment in which... (full context)
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As Isabel leaves, Lord Warburton promises that he will visit her at Gardencourt next week. She replies coolly “just as... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...Henrietta asks who she can write about for her newspaper column, with Isabel advising that Lord Warburton will likely be visiting Gardencourt in the near future. (full context)
Chapter 11
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...she receive him at Gardencourt in half an hour. As Isabel is reading Goodwood’s letter, Lord Warburton appears in the garden. (full context)
Chapter 12
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Lord Warburton ’s sudden appearance shocks Isabel in the moment, but she has been expecting his arrival... (full context)
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Lord Warburton seems almost embarrassed in manner as he walks alongside Isabel in the garden. He then... (full context)
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Isabel tries to explain why she feels that she cannot accept Lord Warburton ’s proposal. She rejects his suggestions that she wants to marry an American, or that... (full context)
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Isabel suggests to Lord Warburton that he could find a much better woman to marry, but he is adamant he... (full context)
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Isabel remains in the garden, considering her conversation with Lord Warburton . She knows that a union with the nobleman would have many advantages despite some... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...her own personal fears and not her desire for advice that leads her to discuss Lord Warburton ’s marriage proposal with her uncle. Upon hearing of these recent events, Mr. Touchett confirms... (full context)
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...this point in her life. She feels better after explaining herself, justifying her dismissal of Lord Warburton ’s proposal as reasonable. Mr. Touchett hopes his niece will not have to sacrifice too... (full context)
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...romantic intentions. She is no more inclined to marry Goodwood than she is to accept Lord Warburton as a husband, and she decides that she will refuse to let the dynamic American... (full context)
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Despite Caspar Goodwood’s many attractive qualities, Isabel will not marry him. She notes that Lord Warburton is in many ways the opposite to the American businessman, for he is charming in... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...will join the two women on their trip. Isabel has also received a letter from Lord Warburton stating that he will visit Gardencourt tomorrow, which she wants to honor before traveling to... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Isabel successfully puts off off the London visit until Lord Warburton comes to visit at Gardencourt. He brings one of his sisters to lunch and refrains... (full context)
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Henrietta, seated beside Lord Warburton for the meal, informs him that she does not appreciate him, as she doesn’t “approve... (full context)
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After lunch, Lord Warburton invites Isabel to Gardencourt’s gallery to look at the art. She knows this is a... (full context)
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...the gallery. Henrietta accuses Miss Molyneux of being too meek and obedient in temperament, prioritizing Lord Warburton ’s needs rather than her own; Miss Molyneux is quite taken aback at this accusation,... (full context)
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Henrietta then wrongly accuses Lord Warburton of having been on his guard throughout lunch because Isabel has warned him of Henrietta’s... (full context)
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...before dinner. Mrs. Touchett reveals that her husband has told her about Isabel’s rejection of Lord Warburton ’s marriage proposal. She believes Isabel to be quite satisfied with herself, having refused the... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Mrs. Touchett comes to agree that her niece was correct in refusing Lord Warburton ’s marriage proposal if Isabel does not love him. Isabel departs Gardencourt for London with... (full context)
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Isabel, meanwhile, is feeling guilty and pained at her interactions with Lord Warburton before she left for London. She reproaches herself for behaving in a “graceless” manner, but... (full context)
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Ralph hesitantly tells his cousin that he knows about Lord Warburton ’s marriage proposal, asking why Isabel rejected it. He is surprised by Isabel’s rejection because... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...to visit Gardencourt. Isabel is appalled when she considers the awkward possibility that Goodward and Lord Warburton could have crossed paths there. (full context)
Chapter 19
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...is aware that Isabel has rejected at least one advantageous marriage proposal. At this time, Lord Warburton is no longer in the neighborhood, having left for Scotland with his two sisters. Merle... (full context)
 Chapter 21
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At times, though, Isabel finds herself thinking back to her two suitors, Caspar Goodwood and Lord Warburton . She flatters and comforts herself of their true admiration for her character. She also... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...culture, but is more reserved than usual. As she sits alone in the Roman Forum, Lord Warburton appears before her. Isabel is shocked, and he is similarly surprised at their meeting. The... (full context)
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Isabel and Lord Warburton sit together. He states that he has written to her several times. When she exclaims... (full context)
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On Sunday, Isabel is touring St. Peter’s Basilica with Lord Warburton when they happen upon Gilbert Osmond, who has been watching the young woman for some... (full context)
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Ralph and Lord Warburton move away from the group, with the aristocrat curious as to whether Isabel will accept... (full context)
Chapter 28
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The next day, Lord Warburton attends the opera because the hotel has informed him that Isabel, Ralph, Henrietta, Mr. Bantling,... (full context)
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Later, Osmond asks Isabel about Lord Warburton . After Isabel relates something of his background, Osmond suggests that he would like to... (full context)
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The following day at the Capitol in front of the statue of the Dying Gladiator, Lord Warburton lets Isabel know that he is leaving Rome. Isabel tells him goodbye, to which Warburton... (full context)
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...After half an hour of solitude, Osmond appears. He is surprised to find her without Lord Warburton . Osmond is in a good mood because he finds Isabel’s rejection of a fine... (full context)
Chapter 38
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...predicament. She secretively assures him that Pansy still returns his romantic feelings. During their conversation, Lord Warburton arrives to speak to Isabel. The nobleman tells her that Ralph has accompanied him to... (full context)
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Having not seen Lord Warburton since she has been married—in fact it has been four years since their last encounter—Isabel... (full context)
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...her father’s mind and asks Rosier to be patient. Isabel interrupts the conversation, bringing over Lord Warburton to introduce him to Pansy. (full context)
Chapter 39
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Upon meeting Isabel again after Lord Warburton ’s entry to her Thursday evening party, Ralph realizes he should not have given up... (full context)
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Later, Ralph asks Lord Warburton how his relationship with Pansy is developing. Ralph wonders if the nobleman is interested in... (full context)
Chapter 40
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...notes that Isabel and Pansy are rarely apart. One day, one month after Ralph and Lord Warburton have returned to Rome, Isabel and Pansy return to their home from a walk together.... (full context)
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Madame Merle also states that Rosier is concerned at Lord Warburton ’s interest in Pansy. Merle favors the potential marriage for Pansy with Warburton as an... (full context)
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Madame Merle believes that Isabel holds significant influence over Lord Warburton and can encourage him to propose to Pansy; Isabel is surprised to learn that Madame... (full context)
Chapter 41
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In truth, Isabel has to work hard to reconcile the thought of Pansy and Lord Warburton getting married. But she decides that she would be acting as a good parental figure... (full context)
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Isabel ignores her disbelief that Lord Warburton is truly interested in Pansy when the girl is such a different character from his... (full context)
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Lord Warburton visits the Osmonds’ house for one of Isabel’s Thursday night parties. Isabel finds herself with... (full context)
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...to discuss Pansy’s marriage options. Osmond is clear in his desire for Pansy to marry Lord Warburton , stating that she will always want to please her father and that she wants... (full context)
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...Pansy’s future marriage, Osmond merely requests that Isabel help facilitate the match between Pansy and Lord Warburton . Osmond believes that Isabel still has the power to persuade Warburton to do whatever... (full context)
Chapter 42
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Isabel refrains from answering Osmond’s rude request for her to influence Lord Warburton into marrying Pansy. After he leaves the room, she sits back into her her chair... (full context)
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...on her situation and the many choices that have led her here. She questions whether Lord Warburton still desires her and admires her beyond all other women; if so, is it possible... (full context)
Chapter 43
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Pansy returns to dancing and Lord Warburton comes to talk with Isabel. He asks after Pansy and then requests a dance with... (full context)
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Pansy returns to Isabel, and Lord Warburton engages the young woman in conversation. Isabel notices that he presents “a smile of chastened... (full context)
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Pansy returns to dancing, having promised Lord Warburton a dance later. Isabel reminds Lord Warburton that he had previously indicated he would like... (full context)
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As Isabel and Lord Warburton walk together at the party, they pass a wholly dejected Edward Rosier who is watching... (full context)
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Isabel and Lord Warburton exchange a short but intense look, which contains many enigmatic feelings. Isabel is concerned by... (full context)
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Half an hour later, Isabel is leaving the party with Pansy. Lord Warburton assists them both to their carriage, where Isabel reminds him to send his letter to... (full context)
Chapter 44
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...her letters has changed. The Countess Gemini, known as a great gossip, informs Henrietta that Lord Warburton is trying to get close to Isabel again. The Countess offers an idea for working... (full context)
Chapter 45
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...realizes this option as being “odious and monstrous.” Isabel asks Ralph if he believes that Lord Warburton is truly in love with Pansy. Ralph confirms that the nobleman is in love, but... (full context)
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...must be!” As soon as he speaks, though, Isabel retracts her emotion and claims that Lord Warburton should let Pansy and Edward Rosier pursue their love match. Ralph defends Warburton’s good character,... (full context)
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Ralph is concerned that if he and Isabel could convince Lord Warburton to stop pursuing Pansy’s hand in marriage, Osmond would retaliate by punishing Isabel for failing... (full context)
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Isabel seeks out Pansy and asks her stepdaughter how she feels about Lord Warburton . Isabel suggests that a father’s advice is more important than one’s own desires, but... (full context)
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...herself advise the girl to accept such a proposal. Isabel speaks directly to Pansy about Lord Warburton ’s affection for her, outlining that he would propose immediately to Pansy if he knew... (full context)
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Pansy surprises Isabel with her astute take on the situation: Lord Warburton has some affection for Pansy (although he does not love her), but knows from her... (full context)
Chapter 46
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For the next four days, Lord Warburton does not visit the Osmond family home. Osmond notices his absence and asks Isabel about... (full context)
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Suddenly, Lord Warburton enters the room. He informs the Osmonds that he is departing for England, although he... (full context)
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...his complaint clearly to her. Osmond contends that she has intentionally foiled Pansy’s union with Lord Warburton . Although Isabel denies this and highlights the fact that Pansy never had any feelings... (full context)
Chapter 48
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...The journalist tells the Countess that she was wrong in her belief that Isabel and Lord Warburton were enjoying an affair, with Warburton actually courting Pansy for a period of time. The... (full context)
Chapter 49
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During Madame Merle’s last visit to the Osmonds’ house in Rome, which was immediately after Lord Warburton ’s abrupt departure for England, Merle enquired about Lord Warburton and suggested that she was... (full context)
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Madame Merle doesn’t take the hint, continuing to harass Isabel with questions about Lord Warburton . The one truth she desires to learn: did the nobleman change his mind about... (full context)
Chapter 54
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Mrs. Touchett also informs Isabel that Lord Warburton is back at Lockleigh, and furthermore engaged to be married to a noblewoman. The older... (full context)
Chapter 55
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One afternoon, Isabel notices Lord Warburton is sitting in Gardencourt’s library. She presumes he is there to visit Mrs. Touchett and... (full context)
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With Mrs. Touchett hovering nearby, Lord Warburton explains that he no idea that Isabel was still at Gardencourt. He suggests that the... (full context)
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After Lord Warburton takes his leave of the women, Mrs. Touchett retreats inside, and Isabel takes a seat... (full context)