At the little town of
I hardly know whether it was the analogies or the
differences that were uppermost in the mind of a young American, who, two or
three years ago, sat in the garden of the "Trois
Couronnes," looking about him, rather idly, at
some of the graceful objects I have mentioned. It was a beautiful summer
morning, and in whatever fashion the young American looked at things, they must
have seemed to him charming. He had come from
After knocking at his aunt's door and learning that she was indisposed, he had taken a walk about the town, and then he had come in to his breakfast. He had now finished his breakfast; but he was drinking a small cup of coffee, which had been served to him on a little table in the garden by one of the waiters who looked like an attache. At last he finished his coffee and lit a cigarette. Presently a small boy came walking along the path--an urchin of nine or ten. The child, who was diminutive for his years, had an aged expression of countenance, a pale complexion, and sharp little features. He was dressed in knickerbockers, with red stockings, which displayed his poor little spindle-shanks; he also wore a brilliant red cravat. He carried in his hand a long alpenstock, the sharp point of which he thrust into everything that he approached--the flowerbeds, the garden benches, the trains of the ladies' dresses. In front of Winterbourne he paused, looking at him with a pair of bright, penetrating little eyes.
"Will you give me a lump of sugar?" he asked in a sharp, hard little voice--a voice immature and yet, somehow, not young.
Winterbourne glanced at the small table near him, on which his coffee service rested, and saw that several morsels of sugar remained. "Yes, you may take one," he answered; "but I don't think sugar is good for little boys."
This little boy stepped forward and carefully selected three of the coveted fragments, two of which he buried in the pocket of his knickerbockers, depositing the other as promptly in another place. He poked his alpenstock, lance-fashion, into Winterbourne's bench and tried to crack the lump of sugar with his teeth.
"Oh, blazes; it's har-r-d!" he exclaimed, pronouncing the adjective in a peculiar manner.
Winterbourne had immediately perceived that he might have the honor of claiming him as a fellow countryman. "Take care you don't hurt your teeth," he said, paternally.
"I haven't got any teeth to hurt. They have all come out. I have only got seven
teeth. My mother counted them last
night, and one came out right afterward.
She said she'd slap me if any more came out. I can't help it. It's this old
Winterbourne was much amused. "If you eat three lumps of sugar, your mother will certainly slap you," he said.
"She's got to give me some candy, then," rejoined his young interlocutor. "I can't get any candy here--any American candy. American candy's the best candy."
"And are American little boys the best little boys?" asked Winterbourne.
"I don't know. I'm an American boy," said the child.
"I see you are one of the best!" laughed Winterbourne.
"Are you an American man?" pursued this vivacious infant. And then, on Winterbourne's affirmative reply--"American men are the best," he declared.
His companion thanked him for the compliment, and the child,
who had now got astride of his alpenstock, stood looking about him, while he
attacked a second lump of sugar. Winterbourne wondered if he himself had been
like this in his infancy, for he had been brought to
"Here comes my sister!" cried the child in a moment. "She's an American girl."
Winterbourne looked along the path and saw a beautiful young lady advancing. "American girls are the best girls," he said cheerfully to his young companion.
"My sister ain't the best!" the child declared. "She's always blowing at me."
"I imagine that is your fault, not hers," said Winterbourne. The young lady meanwhile had drawn near. She was dressed in white muslin, with a hundred frills and flounces, and knots of pale-colored ribbon. She was bareheaded, but she balanced in her hand a large parasol, with a deep border of embroidery; and she was strikingly, admirably pretty. "How pretty they are!" thought Winterbourne, straightening himself in his seat, as if he were prepared to rise.
The young lady paused in front of his bench, near the parapet of the garden, which overlooked the lake. The little boy had now converted his alpenstock into a vaulting pole, by the aid of which he was springing about in the gravel and kicking it up not a little.
"I'm going up the Alps," replied
"That's the way they come down," said Winterbourne.
"He's an American man!" cried
The young lady gave no heed to this announcement, but looked straight at her brother. "Well, I guess you had better be quiet," she simply observed.
It seemed to Winterbourne that he had been in a manner presented. He got up and stepped slowly toward the young girl, throwing away his cigarette. "This little boy and I have made acquaintance," he said, with great civility. In Geneva, as he had been perfectly aware, a young man was not at liberty to speak to a young unmarried lady except under certain rarely occurring conditions; but here at Vevey, what conditions could be better than these?--a pretty American girl coming and standing in front of you in a garden. This pretty American girl, however, on hearing Winterbourne's observation, simply glanced at him; she then turned her head and looked over the parapet, at the lake and the opposite mountains. He wondered whether he had gone too far, but he decided that he must advance farther, rather than retreat. While he was thinking of something else to say, the young lady turned to the little boy again.
"I should like to know where you got that pole," she said.
"I bought it," responded
"You don't mean to say you're going to take it to
"Yes, I am going to take it to
The young girl glanced over the front of her dress and smoothed out a knot or two of ribbon. Then she rested her eyes upon the prospect again. "Well, I guess you had better leave it somewhere," she said after a moment.
"Are you going to
The young lady glanced at him again. "Yes, sir," she replied. And she said nothing more.
"Are you--a-- going over the Simplon?" Winterbourne pursued, a little embarrassed.
"I don't know," she said. "I suppose it's some mountain.
"Going where?" the child demanded.
"I don't know," said
"Can you get candy there?"
"I hope not," said his sister. "I guess you have had enough candy, and mother thinks so too."
"I haven't had any for ever so long--for a hundred weeks!" cried the boy, still jumping about.
The young lady inspected her flounces and smoothed her
ribbons again; and Winterbourne presently risked an observation upon the beauty
of the view. He was ceasing to be embarrassed, for he had begun to perceive that she was not
in the least embarrassed herself. There had not been the slightest alteration
in her charming complexion; she was evidently neither offended nor flattered.
If she looked another way when he spoke to her, and seemed not particularly to
hear him, this was simply her habit, her manner. Yet, as he talked a little
more and pointed out some of the objects of interest in the view, with which
she appeared quite unacquainted, she gradually gave him more of the benefit of
her glance; and then he saw that this glance was perfectly direct and
unshrinking. It was not, however, what would have been
called an immodest glance, for the young girl's eyes were singularly honest and
fresh. They were wonderfully pretty eyes; and, indeed, Winterbourne had not
seen for a long time anything prettier than his fair countrywoman's various
features--her complexion, her nose, her ears, her teeth. He had a great relish
for feminine beauty; he was addicted to observing and analyzing it; and as
regards this young lady's face he made several observations. It was not at all insipid, but it was not
exactly expressive; and though it was eminently delicate, Winterbourne mentally
accused it--very forgivingly--of a want of finish. 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, sweet, superficial little visage there was no
mockery, no irony. Before long it became obvious that she was
much disposed toward conversation.
She told him that they were going to
"Tell me your name, my boy," he said.
"Randolph C. Miller," said the boy sharply. "And I'll tell you her name"; and he leveled his alpenstock at his sister.
"You had better wait till you are asked!" said this young lady calmly.
"I should like very much to know your name," said Winterbourne.
"Her name is Daisy Miller!" cried the child. "But that isn't her real name; that isn't her name on her cards."
"It's a pity you haven't got one of my cards!" said Miss Miller.
"Her real name is Annie P. Miller," the boy went on.
"Ask him HIS name," said his sister, indicating Winterbourne.
But on this point Randolph seemed perfectly indifferent; he
continued to supply information with regard to his own family. "My
father's name is Ezra B. Miller," he announced. "My father ain't in Europe; my father's in a better place than
Winterbourne imagined for a moment that this was the manner
in which the child had been taught to intimate that Mr. Miller had been removed
to the sphere of celestial reward. But
"Well!" ejaculated Miss Miller, lowering her
parasol and looking at the embroidered border.
Winterbourne presently released the child, who departed, dragging his
alpenstock along the path. "He doesn't like
"Yes; he wants to go right home. He hasn't got any boys here. There is one boy here, but he always goes round with a teacher; they won't let him play."
"And your brother hasn't any teacher?" Winterbourne inquired.
"Mother thought of getting him one, to travel round
with us. There was a lady told her of a very good teacher; an American
lady--perhaps you know her--Mrs. Sanders. I think she came from
"Yes," said Winterbourne; "he seems very smart."
"Mother's going to get a teacher for him as soon as we
"Very good, I should think," said Winterbourne.
"Or else she's going to find some school. He ought to learn some more. He's only nine. He's going to college." And in this way
Miss Miller continued to converse upon the affairs of her family and upon other
topics. She sat there with her extremely
pretty hands, ornamented with very brilliant rings, folded in her lap, and with
her pretty eyes now resting upon those of Winterbourne, now wandering over the
garden, the people who passed by, and the beautiful view. She talked to Winterbourne as if she had known
him a long time. He found it very pleasant.
It was many years since he had heard a young girl talk so much. It might have
been said of this unknown young lady, who had come and sat down beside him upon
a bench, that she chattered. She was very quiet; she
sat in a charming, tranquil attitude; but her lips and her eyes were constantly
moving. She had a soft, slender,
agreeable voice, and her tone was decidedly sociable. She gave Winterbourne a
history of her movements and intentions and those of her mother and brother, in
"It was a kind of a wishing cap," said Winterbourne.
"Yes," said Miss Miller without examining this
analogy; "it always made me wish I was here. But I needn't have done that for
dresses. I am sure they send all the
pretty ones to
Poor Winterbourne was amused, perplexed, and decidedly
charmed. He had never yet heard a young girl express herself in just this
fashion; never, at least, save in cases where to say such things seemed a kind
of demonstrative evidence of a certain laxity of deportment. And yet was he to accuse Miss Daisy Miller of
actual or potential inconduite, as they said at
"Have you been to that old castle?" asked the young girl, pointing with her parasol to the far-gleaming walls of the Chateau de Chillon.
"Yes, formerly, more than once," said Winterbourne. "You too, I suppose, have seen it?"
"No; we haven't been there. I want to go there dreadfully. Of course I mean to go there. I wouldn't go away from here without having seen that old castle."
"It's a very pretty excursion," said Winterbourne, "and very easy to make. You can drive, you know, or you can go by the little steamer."
"You can go in the cars," said Miss Miller.
"Yes; you can go in the cars," Winterbourne assented.
"Our courier says they take you right up to the
castle," the young girl continued.
"We were going last week, but my mother gave out. She suffers
dreadfully from dyspepsia. She said she
"Your brother is not interested in ancient monuments?" Winterbourne inquired, smiling.
"He says he don't care much about old castles. He's only nine. He wants to stay at the hotel. Mother's afraid to leave him alone, and the courier won't stay with him; so we haven't been to many places. But it will be too bad if we don't go up there." And Miss Miller pointed again at the Chateau de Chillon.
"I should think it might be arranged," said
Winterbourne. "Couldn't you get some one to stay for the afternoon with
Miss Miller looked at him a moment, and then, very placidly, "I wish YOU would stay with him!" she said.
Winterbourne hesitated a moment. "I should much rather go to Chillon with you."
"With me?" asked the young girl with the same placidity.
She didn't rise, blushing, as a young girl at
But it seemed that both his audacity and his respect were lost upon Miss Daisy Miller. "I guess my mother won't go, after all," she said. "She don't like to ride round in the afternoon. But did you really mean what you said just now--that you would like to go up there?"
"Most earnestly," Winterbourne declared.
"Then we may arrange it. If mother will stay with
"Eugenio?" the young man inquired.
"Eugenio's our courier.
He doesn't like to stay with
Winterbourne reflected for an instant as lucidly as possible--"we" could only mean Miss Daisy Miller and himself. This program seemed almost too agreeable for credence; he felt as if he ought to kiss the young lady's hand. Possibly he would have done so and quite spoiled the project, but at this moment another person, presumably Eugenio, appeared. A tall, handsome man, with superb whiskers, wearing a velvet morning coat and a brilliant watch chain, approached Miss Miller, looking sharply at her companion. "Oh, Eugenio!" said Miss Miller with the friendliest accent.
Eugenio had looked at Winterbourne from head to foot; he now bowed gravely to the young lady. "I have the honor to inform mademoiselle that luncheon is upon the table."
Miss Miller slowly rose. "See here, Eugenio!" she said; "I'm going to that old castle, anyway."
"To the Chateau de Chillon, mademoiselle?" the courier inquired. "Mademoiselle has made arrangements?" he added in a tone which struck Winterbourne as very impertinent.
Eugenio's tone apparently threw, even to Miss Miller's own apprehension, a slightly ironical light upon the young girl's situation. She turned to Winterbourne, blushing a little--a very little. "You won't back out?" she said.
"I shall not be happy till we go!" he protested.
"And you are staying in this hotel?" she went on. "And you are really an American?"
The courier stood looking at Winterbourne offensively. The young man, at least, thought his manner of looking an offense to Miss Miller; it conveyed an imputation that she "picked up" acquaintances. "I shall have the honor of presenting to you a person who will tell you all about me," he said, smiling and referring to his aunt.
"Oh, well, we'll go some day," said Miss Miller. And she gave him a smile and turned away. She put up her parasol and walked back to the inn beside Eugenio. Winterbourne stood looking after her; and as she moved away, drawing her muslin furbelows over the gravel, said to himself that she had the tournure of a princess.
He had, however, engaged to do more than proved feasible, in promising to present his aunt, Mrs. Costello, to Miss Daisy Miller. As soon as the former lady had got better of her headache, he waited upon her in her apartment; and, after the proper inquiries in regard to her health, he asked her if she had observed in the hotel an American family--a mamma, a daughter, and a little boy.
"And a courier?" said Mrs. Costello. "Oh yes, I have observed them. Seen
them--heard them--and kept out of their way." Mrs. Costello was a widow with a fortune; a
person of much distinction, who frequently intimated that, if she were not so
dreadfully liable to sick headaches, she would probably have left a deeper
impress upon her time. She had a long,
pale face, a high nose, and a great deal of very striking white hair, which she
wore in large puffs and rouleaux over the top of her
head. She had two sons married in
He immediately perceived, from her tone, that Miss Daisy Miller's place in the social scale was low. "I am afraid you don't approve of them," he said.
"They are very common," Mrs. Costello declared. "They are the sort of Americans that one does one's duty by not--not accepting."
"Ah, you don't accept them?" said the young man.
"I can't, my dear
"The young girl is very pretty," said Winterbourne in a moment.
"Of course she's pretty. But she is very common."
"I see what you mean, of course," said Winterbourne after another pause.
"She has that charming look that they all have," his aunt resumed. "I can't think where they pick it up; and she dresses in perfection--no, you don't know how well she dresses. I can't think where they get their taste."
"But, my dear aunt, she is not, after all, a Comanche savage."
"She is a young lady," said Mrs. Costello, "who has an intimacy with her mamma's courier."
"An intimacy with the courier?" the young man demanded.
"Oh, the mother is just as bad! They treat the courier like a familiar friend--like a gentleman. I shouldn't wonder if he dines with them. Very likely they have never seen a man with such good manners, such fine clothes, so like a gentleman. He probably corresponds to the young lady's idea of a count. He sits with them in the garden in the evening. I think he smokes."
Winterbourne listened with interest to these disclosures; they helped him to make up his mind about Miss Daisy. Evidently she was rather wild. "Well," he said, "I am not a courier, and yet she was very charming to me."
"You had better have said at first," said Mrs. Costello with dignity, "that you had made her acquaintance."
"We simply met in the garden, and we talked a bit."
"Tout bonnement! And pray what did you say?"
"I said I should take the liberty of introducing her to my admirable aunt."
"I am much obliged to you."
"It was to guarantee my respectability," said Winterbourne.
"And pray who is to guarantee hers?"
"Ah, you are cruel!" said the young man. "She's a very nice young girl."
"You don't say that as if you believed it," Mrs. Costello observed.
"She is completely uncultivated," Winterbourne went on. "But she is wonderfully pretty, and, in short, she is very nice. To prove that I believe it, I am going to take her to the Chateau de Chillon."
"You two are going off there together? I should say it proved just the contrary. How long had you known her, may I ask, when this interesting project was formed? You haven't been twenty-four hours in the house."
"I have known her half an hour!" said Winterbourne, smiling.
"Dear me!" cried Mrs. Costello. "What a dreadful girl!"
Her nephew was silent for some moments. "You really think, then," he began earnestly, and with a desire for trustworthy information--"you really think that--" But he paused again.
"Think what, sir?" said his aunt.
"That she is the sort of young lady who expects a man, sooner or later, to carry her off?"
"I haven't the least idea what such young ladies expect a man to do. 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."
"My dear aunt, I am not so innocent," said Winterbourne, smiling and curling his mustache.
"You are guilty too, then!"
Winterbourne continued to curl his mustache meditatively. "You won't let the poor girl know you then?" he asked at last.
"Is it literally true that she is going to the Chateau de Chillon with you?"
"I think that she fully intends it."
"Then, my dear
"But don't they all do these things--the young girls in
Mrs. Costello stared a moment. "I should like to see my granddaughters do them!" she declared grimly.
This seemed to throw some light upon the matter, for
Winterbourne remembered to have heard that his pretty cousins in
Though he was impatient to see her, he hardly knew what he should say to her about his aunt's refusal to become acquainted with her; but he discovered, promptly enough, that with Miss Daisy Miller there was no great need of walking on tiptoe. He found her that evening in the garden, wandering about in the warm starlight like an indolent sylph, and swinging to and fro the largest fan he had ever beheld. It was ten o'clock. He had dined with his aunt, had been sitting with her since dinner, and had just taken leave of her till the morrow. Miss Daisy Miller seemed very glad to see him; she declared it was the longest evening she had ever passed.
"Have you been all alone?" he asked.
"I have been walking round with mother. But mother gets tired walking round," she answered.
"Has she gone to bed?"
"No; she doesn't like to go to bed," said the
young girl. "She doesn't sleep--not three hours. She says she doesn't know how she lives. She's dreadfully nervous. I guess she sleeps
more than she thinks. She's gone
"Let us hope she will persuade him," observed Winterbourne.
"She will talk to him all she can; but he doesn't like
her to talk to him," said Miss Daisy, opening her fan. "She's going to try to get Eugenio to talk
to him. But he isn't afraid of Eugenio.
Eugenio's a splendid courier, but he can't make much impression on
Winterbourne was embarrassed. "She would be most happy," he said; "but I am afraid those headaches will interfere."
The young girl looked at him through the dusk. "But I suppose she doesn't have a headache every day," she said sympathetically.
Winterbourne was silent a moment. "She tells me she does," he answered at last, not knowing what to say.
Miss Daisy Miller stopped and stood looking at him. Her prettiness was still visible in the darkness; she was opening and closing her enormous fan. "She doesn't want to know me!" she said suddenly. "Why don't you say so? You needn't be afraid. I'm not afraid!" And she gave a little laugh.
Winterbourne fancied there was a tremor in her voice; he was touched, shocked, mortified by it. "My dear young lady," he protested, "she knows no one. It's her wretched health."
The young girl walked on a few steps, laughing still.
"You needn't be afraid," she repeated. "Why should she want to know
me?" Then she paused again; she was
close to the parapet of the garden, and in front of her was the starlit lake.
There was a vague sheen upon its surface, and in the distance were dimly seen
mountain forms. Daisy Miller looked out
upon the mysterious prospect and then she gave another little laugh.
"Gracious! she IS exclusive!" she said. Winterbourne wondered whether she was
seriously wounded, and for a moment almost wished that her sense of injury
might be such as to make it becoming in him to attempt to reassure and comfort
her. He had a pleasant sense that she would be very approachable for
consolatory purposes. He felt then, for
the instant, quite ready to sacrifice his aunt, conversationally; to admit that
she was a proud, rude woman, and to declare that they needn't mind her. But before he had time to commit himself to
this perilous mixture of gallantry and impiety, the young lady, resuming her
walk, gave an exclamation in quite another tone. "Well, here's
Mother! I guess she hasn't got
"Are you sure it is your mother? Can you distinguish her in this thick dusk?" Winterbourne asked.
"Well!" cried Miss Daisy Miller with a laugh; "I guess I know my own mother. And when she has got on my shawl, too! She is always wearing my things."
The lady in question, ceasing to advance, hovered vaguely about the spot at which she had checked her steps.
"I am afraid your mother doesn't see you," said Winterbourne. "Or perhaps," he added, thinking, with Miss Miller, the joke permissible--"perhaps she feels guilty about your shawl."
"Oh, it's a fearful old thing!" the young girl replied serenely. "I told her she could wear it. She won't come here because she sees you."
"Ah, then," said Winterbourne, "I had better leave you."
"Oh, no; come on!" urged Miss Daisy Miller.
"I'm afraid your mother doesn't approve of my walking with you."
Miss Miller gave him a serious glance. "It isn't for me; it's for you--that is, it's for HER. Well, I don't know who it's for! But mother doesn't like any of my gentlemen friends. She's right down timid. She always makes a fuss if I introduce a gentleman. But I DO introduce them--almost always. If I didn't introduce my gentlemen friends to Mother," the young girl added in her little soft, flat monotone, "I shouldn't think I was natural."
"To introduce me," said Winterbourne, "you must know my name." And he proceeded to pronounce it.
"Oh, dear, I can't say all that!" said his companion with a laugh. But by this time they had come up to Mrs. Miller, who, as they drew near, walked to the parapet of the garden and leaned upon it, looking intently at the lake and turning her back to them. "Mother!" said the young girl in a tone of decision. Upon this the elder lady turned round. "Mr. Winterbourne," said Miss Daisy Miller, introducing the young man very frankly and prettily. "Common," she was, as Mrs. Costello had pronounced her; yet it was a wonder to Winterbourne that, with her commonness, she had a singularly delicate grace.
Her mother was a small, spare, light person, with a wandering eye, a very exiguous nose, and a large forehead, decorated with a certain amount of thin, much frizzled hair. Like her daughter, Mrs. Miller was dressed with extreme elegance; she had enormous diamonds in her ears. So far as Winterbourne could observe, she gave him no greeting--she certainly was not looking at him. Daisy was near her, pulling her shawl straight. "What are you doing, poking round here?" this young lady inquired, but by no means with that harshness of accent which her choice of words may imply.
"I don't know," said her mother, turning toward the lake again.
"I shouldn't think you'd want that shawl!" Daisy exclaimed.
"Well I do!" her mother answered with a little laugh.
"Did you get
"No; I couldn't induce him," said Mrs. Miller very gently. "He wants to talk to the waiter. He likes to talk to that waiter."
"I was telling Mr. Winterbourne," the young girl went on; and to the young man's ear her tone might have indicated that she had been uttering his name all her life.
"Oh, yes!" said Winterbourne; "I have the pleasure of knowing your son."
"Anyhow, it isn't so bad as it
"And what occurred at
"He wouldn't go to bed at all. I guess he sat up all night in the public parlor. He wasn't in bed at twelve o'clock: I know that."
"It was half-past twelve," declared Mrs. Miller with mild emphasis.
"Does he sleep much during the day?" Winterbourne demanded.
"I guess he doesn't sleep much," Daisy rejoined.
"I wish he would!" said her mother. "It seems as if he couldn't."
"I think he's real tiresome," Daisy pursued.
Then, for some moments, there was silence. "Well, Daisy Miller," said the elder lady, presently, "I shouldn't think you'd want to talk against your own brother!"
"Well, he IS tiresome, Mother," said Daisy, quite without the asperity of a retort.
"He's only nine," urged Mrs. Miller.
"Well, he wouldn't go to that castle," said the young girl. "I'm going there with Mr. Winterbourne."
To this announcement, very placidly made, Daisy's mamma offered no response. Winterbourne took for granted that she deeply disapproved of the projected excursion; but he said to himself that she was a simple, easily managed person, and that a few deferential protestations would take the edge from her displeasure. "Yes," he began; "your daughter has kindly allowed me the honor of being her guide."
Mrs. Miller's wandering eyes attached themselves, with a sort of appealing air, to Daisy, who, however, strolled a few steps farther, gently humming to herself. "I presume you will go in the cars," said her mother.
"Yes, or in the boat," said Winterbourne.
"Well, of course, I don't know," Mrs. Miller rejoined. "I have never been to that castle."
"It is a pity you shouldn't go," said Winterbourne, beginning to feel reassured as to her opposition. And yet he was quite prepared to find that, as a matter of course, she meant to accompany her daughter.
"We've been thinking ever so much about going,"
she pursued; "but it seems as if we couldn't. Of course Daisy--she wants
to go round. But there's a lady here--I
don't know her name--she says she shouldn't think we'd want to go to see
castles HERE; she should think we'd want to wait till we got to Italy. It seems as if there would be so many
there," continued Mrs. Miller with an air of increasing confidence.
"Of course we only want to see the principal ones. We visited several in
"Ah yes! in
"Well, if Daisy feels up to it--" said Mrs. Miller, in a tone impregnated with a sense of the magnitude of the enterprise. "It seems as if there was nothing she wouldn't undertake."
"Oh, I think she'll enjoy it!" Winterbourne declared. And he desired more and more to make it a certainty that he was to have the privilege of a tete-a-tete with the young lady, who was still strolling along in front of them, softly vocalizing. "You are not disposed, madam," he inquired, "to undertake it yourself?"
Daisy's mother looked at him an instant askance, and then walked forward in silence. Then--"I guess she had better go alone," she said simply. Winterbourne observed to himself that this was a very different type of maternity from that of the vigilant matrons who massed themselves in the forefront of social intercourse in the dark old city at the other end of the lake. But his meditations were interrupted by hearing his name very distinctly pronounced by Mrs. Miller's unprotected daughter.
"Mr. Winterbourne!" murmured Daisy.
"Mademoiselle!" said the young man.
"Don't you want to take me out in a boat?"
"At present?" he asked.
"Of course!" said Daisy.
"Well, Annie Miller!" exclaimed her mother.
"I beg you, madam, to let her go," said Winterbourne ardently; for he had never yet enjoyed the sensation of guiding through the summer starlight a skiff freighted with a fresh and beautiful young girl.
"I shouldn't think she'd want to," said her mother. "I should think she'd rather go indoors."
"I'm sure Mr. Winterbourne wants to take me," Daisy declared. "He's so awfully devoted!"
"I will row you over to Chillon in the starlight."
"I don't believe it!" said Daisy.
"Well!" ejaculated the elder lady again.
"You haven't spoken to me for half an hour," her daughter went on.
"I have been having some very pleasant conversation with your mother," said Winterbourne.
"Well, I want you to take me out in a boat!" Daisy repeated. They had all stopped, and she had turned round and was looking at Winterbourne. Her face wore a charming smile, her pretty eyes were gleaming, she was swinging her great fan about. No; it's impossible to be prettier than that, thought Winterbourne.
"There are half a dozen boats moored at that landing place," he said, pointing to certain steps which descended from the garden to the lake. "If you will do me the honor to accept my arm, we will go and select one of them."
Daisy stood there smiling; she threw back her head and gave a little, light laugh. "I like a gentleman to be formal!" she declared.
"I assure you it's a formal offer."
"I was bound I would make you say something," Daisy went on.
"You see, it's not very difficult," said Winterbourne. "But I am afraid you are chaffing me."
"I think not, sir," remarked Mrs. Miller very gently.
"Do, then, let me give you a row," he said to the young girl.
"It's quite lovely, the way you say that!" cried Daisy.
"It will be still more lovely to do it."
"Yes, it would be lovely!" said Daisy. But she made no movement to accompany him; she only stood there laughing.
"I should think you had better find out what time it is," interposed her mother.
"It is eleven o'clock, madam," said a voice, with a foreign accent, out of the neighboring darkness; and Winterbourne, turning, perceived the florid personage who was in attendance upon the two ladies. He had apparently just approached.
"Oh, Eugenio," said Daisy, "I am going out in a boat!"
Eugenio bowed. "At eleven o'clock, mademoiselle?"
"I am going with Mr. Winterbourne--this very minute."
"Do tell her she can't," said Mrs. Miller to the courier.
"I think you had better not go out in a boat, mademoiselle," Eugenio declared.
Winterbourne wished to Heaven this pretty girl were not so familiar with her courier; but he said nothing.
"I suppose you don't think it's proper!" Daisy exclaimed. "Eugenio doesn't think anything's proper."
"I am at your service," said Winterbourne.
"Does mademoiselle propose to go alone?" asked Eugenio of Mrs. Miller.
"Oh, no; with this gentleman!" answered Daisy's mamma.
The courier looked for a moment at Winterbourne--the latter thought he was smiling--and then, solemnly, with a bow, "As mademoiselle pleases!" he said.
"Oh, I hoped you would make a fuss!" said Daisy. "I don't care to go now."
"I myself shall make a fuss if you don't go," said Winterbourne.
"That's all I want--a little fuss!" And the young girl began to laugh again.
"Mr. Randolph has gone to bed!" the courier announced frigidly.
"Oh, Daisy; now we can go!" said Mrs. Miller.
Daisy turned away from Winterbourne, looking at him, smiling and fanning herself. "Good night," she said; "I hope you are disappointed, or disgusted, or something!"
He looked at her, taking the hand she offered him. "I am puzzled," he answered.
"Well, I hope it won't keep you awake!" she said very smartly; and, under the escort of the privileged Eugenio, the two ladies passed toward the house.
Winterbourne stood looking after them; he was indeed puzzled. He lingered beside the lake for a quarter of an hour, turning over the mystery of the young girl's sudden familiarities and caprices. But the only very definite conclusion he came to was that he should enjoy deucedly "going off" with her somewhere.
Two days afterward he went off with her to the
"What on EARTH are you so grave about?" she suddenly demanded, fixing her agreeable eyes upon Winterbourne's.
"Am I grave?" he asked. "I had an idea I was grinning from ear to ear."
"You look as if you were taking me to a funeral. If that's a grin, your ears are very near together."
"Should you like me to dance a hornpipe on the deck?"
"Pray do, and I'll carry round your hat. It will pay the expenses of our journey."
"I never was better pleased in my life," murmured Winterbourne.
She looked at him a moment and then burst into a little laugh. "I like to make you say those things! You're a queer mixture!"
In the castle, after they had landed, the subjective element decidedly prevailed. Daisy tripped about the vaulted chambers, rustled her skirts in the corkscrew staircases, flirted back with a pretty little cry and a shudder from the edge of the oubliettes, and turned a singularly well-shaped ear to everything that Winterbourne told her about the place. But he saw that she cared very little for feudal antiquities and that the dusky traditions of Chillon made but a slight impression upon her. They had the good fortune to have been able to walk about without other companionship than that of the custodian; and Winterbourne arranged with this functionary that they should not be hurried--that they should linger and pause wherever they chose. The custodian interpreted the bargain generously--Winterbourne, on his side, had been generous--and ended by leaving them quite to themselves. Miss Miller's observations were not remarkable for logical consistency; for anything she wanted to say she was sure to find a pretext. She found a great many pretexts in the rugged embrasures of Chillon for asking Winterbourne sudden questions about himself--his family, his previous history, his tastes, his habits, his intentions--and for supplying information upon corresponding points in her own personality. Of her own tastes, habits, and intentions Miss Miller was prepared to give the most definite, and indeed the most favorable account.
"Well, I hope you know enough!" she said to her
companion, after he had told her the history of the unhappy Bonivard.
"I never saw a man that knew so much!" The history of Bonivard
had evidently, as they say, gone into one ear and out of the other. But Daisy
went on to say that she wished Winterbourne would travel with them and "go
round" with them; they might know something, in that case. "Don't you want to come and teach
"It is a melancholy fact that I shall have to return to
"Well, Mr. Winterbourne," said Daisy, "I think you're horrid!"
"Oh, don't say such dreadful things!" said Winterbourne--"just at the last!"
"The last!" cried the young girl; "I call it
the first. I have half a mind to leave you
here and go straight back to the hotel alone." And for the next ten
minutes she did nothing but call him horrid. Poor Winterbourne was fairly
bewildered; no young lady had as yet done him the honor to be so agitated by
the announcement of his movements. His companion, after this, ceased to pay any
attention to the curiosities of Chillon or the
beauties of the lake; she opened fire upon the mysterious charmer in Geneva
whom she appeared to have instantly taken it for granted that he was hurrying
back to see. How did Miss Daisy Miller know that there was a charmer in
"That's not a difficult promise to make," said
Winterbourne. "My aunt has taken an apartment in
"I don't want you to come for your aunt," said Daisy; "I want you to come for me." And this was the only allusion that the young man was ever to hear her make to his invidious kinswoman. He declared that, at any rate, he would certainly come. After this Daisy stopped teasing. Winterbourne took a carriage, and they drove back to Vevey in the dusk; the young girl was very quiet.
In the evening Winterbourne mentioned to Mrs. Costello that he had spent the afternoon at Chillon with Miss Daisy Miller.
"The Americans--of the courier?" asked this lady.
"Ah, happily," said Winterbourne, "the courier stayed at home."
"She went with you all alone?"
Mrs. Costello sniffed a little at her smelling bottle. "And that," she exclaimed, "is the young person whom you wanted me to know!"
Winterbourne, who had returned to
In the natural course of events, Winterbourne, on arriving in Rome, would presently have ascertained Mrs. Miller's address at the American banker's and have gone to pay his compliments to Miss Daisy. "After what happened at Vevey, I think I may certainly call upon them," he said to Mrs. Costello.
"If, after what happens--at Vevey and everywhere--you desire to keep up the acquaintance, you are very welcome. Of course a man may know everyone. Men are welcome to the privilege!"
"Pray what is it that happens--here, for instance?" Winterbourne demanded.
"The girl goes about alone with her foreigners. As to what happens further, you must apply elsewhere for information. She has picked up half a dozen of the regular Roman fortune hunters, and she takes them about to people's houses. When she comes to a party she brings with her a gentleman with a good deal of manner and a wonderful mustache."
"And where is the mother?"
"I haven't the least idea. They are very dreadful people."
Winterbourne meditated a moment. "They are very ignorant--very innocent only. Depend upon it they are not bad."
"They are hopelessly vulgar," said Mrs. Costello. "Whether or no being hopelessly vulgar is being 'bad' is a question for the metaphysicians. They are bad enough to dislike, at any rate; and for this short life that is quite enough."
The news that Daisy Miller was surrounded by half a dozen
wonderful mustaches checked Winterbourne's impulse to go straightway to see
her. He had, perhaps, not definitely flattered himself that he had made an
ineffaceable impression upon her heart, but he was annoyed at hearing of a
state of affairs so little in harmony with an image that had lately flitted in
and out of his own meditations; the image of a very pretty girl looking out of
an old Roman window and asking herself urgently when Mr. Winterbourne would
arrive. If, however, he determined to
wait a little before reminding Miss Miller of his claims to her consideration,
he went very soon to call upon two or three other friends. One of these friends
was an American lady who had spent several winters at
"I know you!" said
"I'm sure you know a great many things," exclaimed Winterbourne, taking him by the hand. "How is your education coming on?"
Daisy was exchanging greetings very prettily with her hostess, but when she heard Winterbourne's voice she quickly turned her head. "Well, I declare!" she said.
"I told you I should come, you know," Winterbourne rejoined, smiling.
"Well, I didn't believe it," said Miss Daisy.
"I am much obliged to you," laughed the young man.
"You might have come to see me!" said Daisy.
"I arrived only yesterday."
"I don't believe that!" the young girl declared.
Winterbourne turned with a protesting smile to her mother,
but this lady evaded his glance, and, seating herself, fixed her eyes upon her
son. "We've got a bigger place than
Mrs. Miller turned uneasily in her chair. "I told you if I were to bring you, you would say something!" she murmured.
"I told YOU!"
Daisy had entered upon a lively conversation with her hostess; Winterbourne judged it becoming to address a few words to her mother. "I hope you have been well since we parted at Vevey," he said.
Mrs. Miller now certainly looked at him--at his chin. "Not very well, sir," she answered.
"She's got the dyspepsia," said
This announcement, instead of embarrassing Mrs. Miller,
seemed to relieve her. "I suffer
from the liver," she said. "I think it's this climate; it's less
Winterbourne had a good deal of pathological gossip with Dr.
Davis's patient, during which Daisy chattered unremittingly to her own
companion. The young man asked Mrs. Miller how she was pleased with
"Ah, wait a little, and you will become very fond of it," said Winterbourne.
"I hate it worse and worse every day!" cried
"You are like the infant
"No, I ain't!"
"You are not much like an infant," said his
mother. "But we have seen
places," she resumed, "that I should put a long way before
"The best place we've seen is the City of
"He means the ship," his mother explained. "We crossed in that ship.
"It's the best place I've seen," the child repeated. "Only it was turned the wrong way."
"Well, we've got to turn the right way some time,"
said Mrs. Miller with a little laugh.
Winterbourne expressed the hope that her daughter at least found some
By this time Daisy had turned her attention again to Winterbourne. "I've been telling Mrs. Walker how mean you were!" the young girl announced.
"And what is the evidence you have offered?" asked Winterbourne, rather annoyed at Miss Miller's want of appreciation of the zeal of an admirer who on his way down to Rome had stopped neither at Bologna nor at Florence, simply because of a certain sentimental impatience. He remembered that a cynical compatriot had once told him that American women--the pretty ones, and this gave a largeness to the axiom--were at once the most exacting in the world and the least endowed with a sense of indebtedness.
"Why, you were awfully mean at Vevey," said Daisy. "You wouldn't do anything. You wouldn't stay there when I asked you."
"My dearest young lady," cried Winterbourne, with
eloquence, "have I come all the way to
"Just hear him say that!" said Daisy to her hostess, giving a twist to a bow on this lady's dress. "Did you ever hear anything so quaint?"
"So quaint, my dear?" murmured Mrs. Walker in the tone of a partisan of Winterbourne.
"Well, I don't know," said Daisy, fingering Mrs. Walker's ribbons. "Mrs. Walker, I want to tell you something."
"I'm not afraid of Eugenio," said Daisy with a toss of her head. "Look here, Mrs. Walker," she went on, "you know I'm coming to your party."
"I am delighted to hear it."
"I've got a lovely dress!"
"I am very sure of that."
"But I want to ask a favor--permission to bring a friend."
"I shall be happy to see any of your friends," said Mrs. Walker, turning with a smile to Mrs. Miller.
"Oh, they are not my friends," answered Daisy's mamma, smiling shyly in her own fashion. "I never spoke to them."
"It's an intimate friend of mine--Mr. Giovanelli," said Daisy without a tremor in her clear little voice or a shadow on her brilliant little face.
Mrs. Walker was silent a moment; she gave a rapid glance at Winterbourne. "I shall be glad to see Mr. Giovanelli," she then said.
"He's an Italian," Daisy pursued with the prettiest serenity. "He's a great friend of mine; he's the handsomest man in the world--except Mr. Winterbourne! He knows plenty of Italians, but he wants to know some Americans. He thinks ever so much of Americans. He's tremendously clever. He's perfectly lovely!"
It was settled that this brilliant personage should be brought to Mrs. Walker's party, and then Mrs. Miller prepared to take her leave. "I guess we'll go back to the hotel," she said.
"You may go back to the hotel, Mother, but I'm going to take a walk," said Daisy.
"She's going to walk with Mr. Giovanelli,"
"I am going to the Pincio," said Daisy, smiling.
"Alone, my dear--at this hour?" Mrs. Walker asked. The afternoon was drawing to a close--it was the hour for the throng of carriages and of contemplative pedestrians. "I don't think it's safe, my dear," said Mrs. Walker.
"Neither do I," subjoined Mrs. Miller. "You'll get the fever, as sure as you live. Remember what Dr. Davis told you!"
"Give her some medicine before she goes," said
The company had risen to its feet; Daisy, still showing her pretty teeth, bent over and kissed her hostess. "Mrs. Walker, you are too perfect," she said. "I'm not going alone; I am going to meet a friend."
"Your friend won't keep you from getting the fever," Mrs. Miller observed.
"Is it Mr. Giovanelli?" asked the hostess.
Winterbourne was watching the young girl; at this question his attention quickened. She stood there, smiling and smoothing her bonnet ribbons; she glanced at Winterbourne. Then, while she glanced and smiled, she answered, without a shade of hesitation, "Mr. Giovanelli--the beautiful Giovanelli."
"My dear young friend," said Mrs. Walker, taking her hand pleadingly, "don't walk off to the Pincio at this hour to meet a beautiful Italian."
"Well, he speaks English," said Mrs. Miller.
"Gracious me!" Daisy exclaimed, "I don't to do anything improper. There's an easy way to settle it." She continued to glance at Winterbourne. "The Pincio is only a hundred yards distant; and if Mr. Winterbourne were as polite as he pretends, he would offer to walk with me!"
Winterbourne's politeness hastened to affirm itself, and the young girl gave him gracious leave to accompany her. They passed downstairs before her mother, and at the door Winterbourne perceived Mrs. Miller's carriage drawn up, with the ornamental courier whose acquaintance he had made at Vevey seated within. "Goodbye, Eugenio!" cried Daisy; "I'm going to take a walk." The distance from the Via Gregoriana to the beautiful garden at the other end of the Pincian Hill is, in fact, rapidly traversed. As the day was splendid, however, and the concourse of vehicles, walkers, and loungers numerous, the young Americans found their progress much delayed. This fact was highly agreeable to Winterbourne, in spite of his consciousness of his singular situation. The slow-moving, idly gazing Roman crowd bestowed much attention upon the extremely pretty young foreign lady who was passing through it upon his arm; and he wondered what on earth had been in Daisy's mind when she proposed to expose herself, unattended, to its appreciation. His own mission, to her sense, apparently, was to consign her to the hands of Mr. Giovanelli; but Winterbourne, at once annoyed and gratified, resolved that he would do no such thing.
"Why haven't you been to see me?" asked Daisy. "You can't get out of that."
"I have had the honor of telling you that I have only just stepped out of the train."
"You must have stayed in the train a good while after it stopped!" cried the young girl with her little laugh. "I suppose you were asleep. You have had time to go to see Mrs. Walker."
"I knew Mrs. Walker--" Winterbourne began to explain.
"I know where you knew her. You knew her at
"I certainly shall not help you to find him," Winterbourne declared.
"Then I shall find him without you," cried Miss Daisy.
"You certainly won't leave me!" cried Winterbourne.
She burst into her little laugh. "Are you afraid you'll get lost--or run over? But there's Giovanelli, leaning against that tree. He's staring at the women in the carriages: did you ever see anything so cool?"
Winterbourne perceived at some distance a little man standing with folded arms nursing his cane. He had a handsome face, an artfully poised hat, a glass in one eye, and a nosegay in his buttonhole. Winterbourne looked at him a moment and then said, "Do you mean to speak to that man?"
"Do I mean to speak to him? Why, you don't suppose I mean to communicate by signs?"
"Pray understand, then," said Winterbourne, "that I intend to remain with you."
Daisy stopped and looked at him, without a sign of troubled consciousness in her face, with nothing but the presence of her charming eyes and her happy dimples. "Well, she's a cool one!" thought the young man.
"I don't like the way you say that," said Daisy. "It's too imperious."
"I beg your pardon if I say it wrong. The main point is to give you an idea of my meaning."
The young girl looked at him more gravely, but with eyes that were prettier than ever. "I have never allowed a gentleman to dictate to me, or to interfere with anything I do."
"I think you have made a mistake," said Winterbourne. "You should sometimes listen to a gentleman--the right one."
Daisy began to laugh again. "I do nothing but listen to gentlemen!" she exclaimed. "Tell me if Mr. Giovanelli is the right one?"
The gentleman with the nosegay in his bosom had now perceived our two friends, and was approaching the young girl with obsequious rapidity. He bowed to Winterbourne as well as to the latter's companion; he had a brilliant smile, an intelligent eye; Winterbourne thought him not a bad-looking fellow. But he nevertheless said to Daisy, "No, he's not the right one."
Daisy evidently had a natural talent for performing introductions;
she mentioned the name of each of her companions to the other. She strolled
alone with one of them on each side of her; Mr. Giovanelli,
who spoke English very cleverly--Winterbourne afterward learned that he had
practiced the idiom upon a great many American heiresses--addressed her a great
deal of very polite nonsense; he was extremely urbane, and the young American,
who said nothing, reflected upon that profundity of Italian cleverness which
enables people to appear more gracious in proportion as they are more acutely
disappointed. Giovanelli, of course, had counted upon
something more intimate; he had not bargained for a party of three. But he kept his temper in a manner which
suggested far-stretching intentions. Winterbourne flattered himself that he had
taken his measure. "He is not a gentleman," said the young American;
"he is only a clever imitation of one.
He is a music master, or a penny-a-liner, or a third-rate artist. D__n his good
looks!" Mr. Giovanelli had certainly a very
pretty face; but Winterbourne felt a superior indignation at his own lovely
fellow countrywoman's not knowing the difference
between a spurious gentleman and a real one. Giovanelli
chattered and jested and made himself wonderfully
agreeable. It was true that, if he was an imitation, the imitation was
brilliant. "Nevertheless," Winterbourne said to himself,
"a nice girl ought to know!" And then he came back to the question
whether this was, in fact, a nice girl.
Would a nice girl, even allowing for her being a little American flirt,
make a rendezvous with a presumably low-lived foreigner? The rendezvous in this
case, indeed, had been in broad daylight and in the most crowded corner of
She had been walking some quarter of an hour, attended by her two cavaliers, and responding in a tone of very childish gaiety, as it seemed to Winterbourne, to the pretty speeches of Mr. Giovanelli, when a carriage that had detached itself from the revolving train drew up beside the path. At the same moment Winterbourne perceived that his friend Mrs. Walker--the lady whose house he had lately left--was seated in the vehicle and was beckoning to him. Leaving Miss Miller's side, he hastened to obey her summons. Mrs. Walker was flushed; she wore an excited air. "It is really too dreadful," she said. "That girl must not do this sort of thing. She must not walk here with you two men. Fifty people have noticed her."
Winterbourne raised his eyebrows. "I think it's a pity to make too much fuss about it."
"It's a pity to let the girl ruin herself!"
"She is very innocent," said Winterbourne.
"She's very crazy!" cried Mrs. Walker. "Did you ever see anything so imbecile as her mother? After you had all left me just now, I could not sit still for thinking of it. It seemed too pitiful, not even to attempt to save her. I ordered the carriage and put on my bonnet, and came here as quickly as possible. Thank Heaven I have found you!"
"What do you propose to do with us?" asked Winterbourne, smiling.
"To ask her to get in, to drive her about here for half an hour, so that the world may see she is not running absolutely wild, and then to take her safely home."
"I don't think it's a very happy thought," said Winterbourne; "but you can try."
Mrs. Walker tried. The young man went in pursuit of Miss Miller, who had simply nodded and smiled at his interlocutor in the carriage and had gone her way with her companion. Daisy, on learning that Mrs. Walker wished to speak to her, retraced her steps with a perfect good grace and with Mr. Giovanelli at her side. She declared that she was delighted to have a chance to present this gentleman to Mrs. Walker. She immediately achieved the introduction, and declared that she had never in her life seen anything so lovely as Mrs. Walker's carriage rug.
"I am glad you admire it," said this lady, smiling sweetly. "Will you get in and let me put it over you?"
"Oh, no, thank you," said Daisy. "I shall admire it much more as I see you driving round with it."
"Do get in and drive with me!" said Mrs. Walker.
"That would be charming, but it's so enchanting just as I am!" and Daisy gave a brilliant glance at the gentlemen on either side of her.
"It may be enchanting, dear child, but it is not the custom here," urged Mrs. Walker, leaning forward in her victoria, with her hands devoutly clasped.
"Well, it ought to be, then!" said Daisy. "If I didn't walk I should expire."
"You should walk with your mother, dear," cried
the lady from
"With my mother dear!" exclaimed the young girl. Winterbourne saw that she scented interference. "My mother never walked ten steps in her life. And then, you know," she added with a laugh, "I am more than five years old."
"You are old enough to be more reasonable. You are old enough, dear Miss Miller, to be talked about."
Daisy looked at Mrs. Walker, smiling intensely. "Talked about? What do you mean?"
"Come into my carriage, and I will tell you."
Daisy turned her quickened glance again from one of the gentlemen beside her to the other. Mr. Giovanelli was bowing to and fro, rubbing down his gloves and laughing very agreeably; Winterbourne thought it a most unpleasant scene. "I don't think I want to know what you mean," said Daisy presently. "I don't think I should like it."
Winterbourne wished that Mrs. Walker would tuck in her carriage rug and drive away, but this lady did not enjoy being defied, as she afterward told him. "Should you prefer being thought a very reckless girl?" she demanded.
"Gracious!" exclaimed Daisy. She looked again at Mr. Giovanelli, then she turned to Winterbourne. There was a little pink flush in her cheek; she was tremendously pretty. "Does Mr. Winterbourne think," she asked slowly, smiling, throwing back her head, and glancing at him from head to foot, "that, to save my reputation, I ought to get into the carriage?"
Winterbourne colored; for an instant he hesitated greatly. It seemed so strange to hear her speak that way of her "reputation." But he himself, in fact, must speak in accordance with gallantry. The finest gallantry, here, was simply to tell her the truth; and the truth, for Winterbourne, as the few indications I have been able to give have made him known to the reader, was that Daisy Miller should take Mrs. Walker's advice. He looked at her exquisite prettiness, and then he said, very gently, "I think you should get into the carriage."
Daisy gave a violent laugh. "I never heard anything so stiff! If this is improper, Mrs. Walker," she pursued, "then I am all improper, and you must give me up. Goodbye; I hope you'll have a lovely ride!" and, with Mr. Giovanelli, who made a triumphantly obsequious salute, she turned away.
Mrs. Walker sat looking after her, and there were tears in Mrs. Walker's eyes. "Get in here, sir," she said to Winterbourne, indicating the place beside her. The young man answered that he felt bound to accompany Miss Miller, whereupon Mrs. Walker declared that if he refused her this favor she would never speak to him again. She was evidently in earnest. Winterbourne overtook Daisy and her companion, and, offering the young girl his hand, told her that Mrs. Walker had made an imperious claim upon his society. He expected that in answer she would say something rather free, something to commit herself still further to that "recklessness" from which Mrs. Walker had so charitably endeavored to dissuade her. But she only shook his hand, hardly looking at him, while Mr. Giovanelli bade him farewell with a too emphatic flourish of the hat.
Winterbourne was not in the best possible humor as he took his seat in Mrs. Walker's victoria. "That was not clever of you," he said candidly, while the vehicle mingled again with the throng of carriages.
"In such a case," his companion answered, "I don't wish to be clever; I wish to be EARNEST!"
"Well, your earnestness has only offended her and put her off."
"It has happened very well," said Mrs. Walker. "If she is so perfectly determined to compromise herself, the sooner one knows it the better; one can act accordingly."
"I suspect she meant no harm," Winterbourne rejoined.
"So I thought a month ago. But she has been going too far."
"What has she been doing?"
"Everything that is not done here. Flirting with any man she could pick up; sitting in corners with mysterious Italians; dancing all the evening with the same partners; receiving visits at eleven o'clock at night. Her mother goes away when visitors come."
"But her brother," said Winterbourne, laughing, "sits up till midnight."
"He must be edified by what he sees. I'm told that at their hotel everyone is talking about her, and that a smile goes round among all the servants when a gentleman comes and asks for Miss Miller."
"The servants be hanged!" said Winterbourne angrily. "The poor girl's only fault," he presently added, "is that she is very uncultivated."
"She is naturally indelicate," Mrs. Walker declared.
"Take that example this morning. How long had you known her at Vevey?"
"A couple of days."
"Fancy, then, her making it a personal matter that you should have left the place!"
Winterbourne was silent for some moments; then he said,
"I suspect, Mrs. Walker, that you and I have lived too long at
"I wished to beg you to cease your relations with Miss Miller--not to flirt with her--to give her no further opportunity to expose herself--to let her alone, in short."
"I'm afraid I can't do that," said Winterbourne. "I like her extremely."
"All the more reason that you shouldn't help her to make a scandal."
"There shall be nothing scandalous in my attentions to her."
"There certainly will be in the way she takes them. But I have said what I had on my conscience," Mrs. Walker pursued. "If you wish to rejoin the young lady I will put you down. Here, by the way, you have a chance."
The carriage was traversing that part of the
He flattered himself on the following day that there was no smiling among the servants when he, at least, asked for Mrs. Miller at her hotel. This lady and her daughter, however, were not at home; and on the next day after, repeating his visit, Winterbourne again had the misfortune not to find them. Mrs. Walker's party took place on the evening of the third day, and, in spite of the frigidity of his last interview with the hostess, Winterbourne was among the guests. Mrs. Walker was one of those American ladies who, while residing abroad, make a point, in their own phrase, of studying European society, and she had on this occasion collected several specimens of her diversely born fellow mortals to serve, as it were, as textbooks. When Winterbourne arrived, Daisy Miller was not there, but in a few moments he saw her mother come in alone, very shyly and ruefully. Mrs. Miller's hair above her exposed-looking temples was more frizzled than ever. As she approached Mrs. Walker, Winterbourne also drew near.
"You see, I've come all alone," said poor Mrs. Miller. "I'm so frightened; I don't know what to do. It's the first time I've ever been to a party alone, especially in this country. I wanted to bring Randolph or Eugenio, or someone, but Daisy just pushed me off by myself. I ain't used to going round alone."
"And does not your daughter intend to favor us with her society?" demanded Mrs. Walker impressively.
"Well, Daisy's all dressed," said Mrs. Miller with that accent of the dispassionate, if not of the philosophic, historian with which she always recorded the current incidents of her daughter's career. "She got dressed on purpose before dinner. But she's got a friend of hers there; that gentleman--the Italian--that she wanted to bring. They've got going at the piano; it seems as if they couldn't leave off. Mr. Giovanelli sings splendidly. But I guess they'll come before very long," concluded Mrs. Miller hopefully.
"I'm sorry she should come in that way," said Mrs. Walker.
"Well, I told her that there was no use in her getting dressed before dinner if she was going to wait three hours," responded Daisy's mamma. "I didn't see the use of her putting on such a dress as that to sit round with Mr. Giovanelli."
"This is most horrible!" said Mrs. Walker, turning away and addressing herself to Winterbourne. "Elle s'affiche. It's her revenge for my having ventured to remonstrate with her. When she comes, I shall not speak to her."
Daisy came after eleven o'clock; but she was not, on such an occasion, a young lady to wait to be spoken to. She rustled forward in radiant loveliness, smiling and chattering, carrying a large bouquet, and attended by Mr. Giovanelli. Everyone stopped talking and turned and looked at her. She came straight to Mrs. Walker. "I'm afraid you thought I never was coming, so I sent mother off to tell you. I wanted to make Mr. Giovanelli practice some things before he came; you know he sings beautifully, and I want you to ask him to sing. This is Mr. Giovanelli; you know I introduced him to you; he's got the most lovely voice, and he knows the most charming set of songs. I made him go over them this evening on purpose; we had the greatest time at the hotel." Of all this Daisy delivered herself with the sweetest, brightest audibleness, looking now at her hostess and now round the room, while she gave a series of little pats, round her shoulders, to the edges of her dress. "Is there anyone I know?" she asked.
"I think every one knows you!" said Mrs. Walker pregnantly, and she gave a very cursory greeting to Mr. Giovanelli. This gentleman bore himself gallantly. He smiled and bowed and showed his white teeth; he curled his mustaches and rolled his eyes and performed all the proper functions of a handsome Italian at an evening party. He sang very prettily half a dozen songs, though Mrs. Walker afterward declared that she had been quite unable to find out who asked him. It was apparently not Daisy who had given him his orders. Daisy sat at a distance from the piano, and though she had publicly, as it were, professed a high admiration for his singing, talked, not inaudibly, while it was going on.
"It's a pity these rooms are so small; we can't dance," she said to Winterbourne, as if she had seen him five minutes before.
"I am not sorry we can't dance," Winterbourne answered; "I don't dance."
"Of course you don't dance; you're too stiff," said Miss Daisy. "I hope you enjoyed your drive with Mrs. Walker!"
"No. I didn't enjoy it; I preferred walking with you."
"We paired off: that was much better," said Daisy. "But did you ever hear anything so cool as Mrs. Walker's wanting me to get into her carriage and drop poor Mr. Giovanelli, and under the pretext that it was proper? People have different ideas! It would have been most unkind; he had been talking about that walk for ten days."
"He should not have talked about it at all," said Winterbourne; "he would never have proposed to a young lady of this country to walk about the streets with him."
"About the streets?" cried Daisy with her pretty stare. "Where, then, would he have proposed to her to walk? The Pincio is not the streets, either; and I, thank goodness, am not a young lady of this country. The young ladies of this country have a dreadfully poky time of it, so far as I can learn; I don't see why I should change my habits for THEM."
"I am afraid your habits are those of a flirt," said Winterbourne gravely.
"Of course they are," she cried, giving him her little smiling stare again. "I'm a fearful, frightful flirt! Did you ever hear of a nice girl that was not? But I suppose you will tell me now that I am not a nice girl."
"You're a very nice girl; but I wish you would flirt with me, and me only," said Winterbourne.
"Ah! thank you--thank you very much; you are the last man I should think of flirting with. As I have had the pleasure of informing you, you are too stiff."
"You say that too often," said Winterbourne.
Daisy gave a delighted laugh. "If I could have the sweet hope of making you angry, I should say it again."
"Don't do that; when I am angry I'm stiffer than ever. But if you won't flirt with me, do cease, at least, to flirt with your friend at the piano; they don't understand that sort of thing here."
"I thought they understood nothing else!" exclaimed Daisy.
"Not in young unmarried women."
"It seems to me much more proper in young unmarried women than in old married ones," Daisy declared.
"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. So when you show yourself in public with Mr. Giovanelli, and without your mother--"
"Gracious! poor Mother!" interposed Daisy.
"Though you may be flirting, Mr. Giovanelli is not; he means something else."
"He isn't preaching, at any rate," said Daisy with vivacity. "And if you want very much to know, we are neither of us flirting; we are too good friends for that: we are very intimate friends."
"Ah!" rejoined Winterbourne, "if you are in love with each other, it is another affair."
She had allowed him up to this point to talk so frankly that he had no expectation of shocking her by this ejaculation; but she immediately got up, blushing visibly, and leaving him to exclaim mentally that little American flirts were the queerest creatures in the world. "Mr. Giovanelli, at least," she said, giving her interlocutor a single glance, "never says such very disagreeable things to me."
Winterbourne was bewildered; he stood, staring. Mr. Giovanelli had finished singing. He left the piano and came over to Daisy. "Won't you come into the other room and have some tea?" he asked, bending before her with his ornamental smile.
Daisy turned to Winterbourne, beginning to smile again. He was still more perplexed, for this inconsequent smile made nothing clear, though it seemed to prove, indeed, that she had a sweetness and softness that reverted instinctively to the pardon of offenses. "It has never occurred to Mr. Winterbourne to offer me any tea," she said with her little tormenting manner.
"I have offered you advice," Winterbourne rejoined.
"I prefer weak tea!" cried Daisy, and she went off with the brilliant Giovanelli. She sat with him in the adjoining room, in the embrasure of the window, for the rest of the evening. There was an interesting performance at the piano, but neither of these young people gave heed to it. When Daisy came to take leave of Mrs. Walker, this lady conscientiously repaired the weakness of which she had been guilty at the moment of the young girl's arrival. She 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. Daisy turned very pale and looked at her mother, but Mrs. Miller was humbly unconscious of any violation of the usual social forms. She appeared, indeed, to have felt an incongruous impulse to draw attention to her own striking observance of them. "Good night, Mrs. Walker," she said; "we've had a beautiful evening. You see, if I let Daisy come to parties without me, I don't want her to go away without me." Daisy turned away, looking with a pale, grave face at the circle near the door; Winterbourne saw that, for the first moment, she was too much shocked and puzzled even for indignation. He on his side was greatly touched.
"That was very cruel," he said to Mrs. Walker.
"She never enters my drawing room again!" replied his hostess.
Since Winterbourne was not to meet her in Mrs. Walker's drawing room, he went as often as possible to Mrs. Miller's hotel. The ladies were rarely at home, but when he found them, the devoted Giovanelli was always present. Very often the brilliant little Roman was in the drawing room with Daisy alone, Mrs. Miller being apparently constantly of the opinion that discretion is the better part of surveillance. Winterbourne noted, at first with surprise, that Daisy on these occasions was never embarrassed or annoyed by his own entrance; but he very presently began to feel that she had no more surprises for him; the unexpected in her behavior was the only thing to expect. She showed no displeasure at her tete-a-tete with Giovanelli being interrupted; she could chatter as freshly and freely with two gentlemen as with one; there was always, in her conversation, the same odd mixture of audacity and puerility. Winterbourne remarked to himself that if she was seriously interested in Giovanelli, it was very singular that she should not take more trouble to preserve the sanctity of their interviews; and he liked her the more for her innocent-looking indifference and her apparently inexhaustible good humor. He could hardly have said why, but she seemed to him a girl who would never be jealous. At the risk of exciting a somewhat derisive smile on the reader's part, I may affirm that with regard to the women who had hitherto interested him, it very often seemed to Winterbourne among the possibilities that, given certain contingencies, he should be afraid--literally afraid--of these ladies; he had a pleasant sense that he should never be afraid of Daisy Miller. It must be added that this sentiment was not altogether flattering to Daisy; it was part of his conviction, or rather of his apprehension, that she would prove a very light young person.
But she was evidently very much interested in Giovanelli. She looked at him whenever he spoke; she was perpetually telling him to do this and to do that; she was constantly "chaffing" and abusing him. She appeared completely to have forgotten that Winterbourne had said anything to displease her at Mrs. Walker's little party. One Sunday afternoon, having gone to St. Peter's with his aunt, Winterbourne perceived Daisy strolling about the great church in company with the inevitable Giovanelli. Presently he pointed out the young girl and her cavalier to Mrs. Costello. This lady looked at them a moment through her eyeglass, and then she said:
"That's what makes you so pensive in these days, eh?"
"I had not the least idea I was pensive," said the young man.
"You are very much preoccupied; you are thinking of something."
"And what is it," he asked, "that you accuse me of thinking of?"
"Of that young lady's--Miss Baker's, Miss Chandler's--what's her name?--Miss Miller's intrigue with that little barber's block."
"Do you call it an intrigue," Winterbourne asked--"an affair that goes on with such peculiar publicity?"
"That's their folly," said Mrs. Costello; "it's not their merit."
"No," rejoined Winterbourne, with something of that pensiveness to which his aunt had alluded. "I don't believe that there is anything to be called an intrigue."
"I have heard a dozen people speak of it; they say she is quite carried away by him."
"They are certainly very intimate," said Winterbourne.
Mrs. Costello inspected the young couple again with her optical instrument. "He is very handsome. One easily sees how it is. She thinks him the most elegant man in the world, the finest gentleman. She has never seen anything like him; he is better, even, than the courier. It was the courier probably who introduced him; and if he succeeds in marrying the young lady, the courier will come in for a magnificent commission."
"I don't believe she thinks of marrying him," said Winterbourne, "and I don't believe he hopes to marry her."
"You may be very sure she thinks of nothing. She goes on from day to day, from hour to hour, as they did in the Golden Age. I can imagine nothing more vulgar. And at the same time," added Mrs. Costello, "depend upon it that she may tell you any moment that she is 'engaged.'"
"I think that is more than Giovanelli expects," said Winterbourne.
"Who is Giovanelli?"
"The little Italian. I have asked questions about him and learned something. He is apparently a perfectly respectable little man. I believe he is, in a small way, a cavaliere avvocato. But he doesn't move in what are called the first circles. I think it is really not absolutely impossible that the courier introduced him. He is evidently immensely charmed with Miss Miller. If she thinks him the finest gentleman in the world, he, on his side, has never found himself in personal contact with such splendor, such opulence, such expensiveness as this young lady's. And then she must seem to him wonderfully pretty and interesting. I rather doubt that he dreams of marrying her. That must appear to him too impossible a piece of luck. He has nothing but his handsome face to offer, and there is a substantial Mr. Miller in that mysterious land of dollars. Giovanelli knows that he hasn't a title to offer. If he were only a count or a marchese! He must wonder at his luck, at the way they have taken him up."
"He accounts for it by his handsome face and thinks Miss Miller a young lady qui se passe ses fantaisies!" said Mrs. Costello.
"It is very true," Winterbourne pursued, "that Daisy and her mamma have not yet risen to that stage of--what shall I call it?--of culture at which the idea of catching a count or a marchese begins. I believe that they are intellectually incapable of that conception."
"Ah! but the avvocato can't believe it," said Mrs. Costello.
Of the observation excited by Daisy's "intrigue,"
Winterbourne gathered that day at St. Peter's sufficient evidence. A dozen of the American colonists in
"Who was her companion?" asked Winterbourne.
"A little Italian with a bouquet in his buttonhole. The girl is delightfully pretty, but I thought I understood from you the other day that she was a young lady du meilleur monde."
"So she is!" answered Winterbourne; and having assured himself that his informant had seen Daisy and her companion but five minutes before, he jumped into a cab and went to call on Mrs. Miller. She was at home; but she apologized to him for receiving him in Daisy's absence.
"She's gone out somewhere with Mr. Giovanelli," said Mrs. Miller. "She's always going round with Mr. Giovanelli."
"I have noticed that they are very intimate," Winterbourne observed.
"Oh, it seems as if they couldn't live without each other!" said Mrs. Miller. "Well, he's a real gentleman, anyhow. I keep telling Daisy she's engaged!"
"And what does Daisy say?"
"Oh, she says she isn't engaged. But she might as well be!" this impartial parent resumed; "she goes on as if she was. But I've made Mr. Giovanelli promise to tell me, if SHE doesn't. I should want to write to Mr. Miller about it--shouldn't you?"
Winterbourne replied that he certainly should; and the state of mind of Daisy's mamma struck him as so unprecedented in the annals of parental vigilance that he gave up as utterly irrelevant the attempt to place her upon her guard.
After this Daisy was never at home, and Winterbourne ceased to meet her at the houses of their common acquaintances, because, as he perceived, these shrewd people had quite made up their minds that she was going too far. They ceased to invite her; and they intimated that they desired to express to observant Europeans the great truth that, though Miss Daisy Miller was a young American lady, her behavior was not representative--was regarded by her compatriots as abnormal. Winterbourne wondered how she felt about all the cold shoulders that were turned toward her, and sometimes it annoyed him to suspect that she did not feel at all. He said to himself that she was too light and childish, too uncultivated and unreasoning, too provincial, to have reflected upon her ostracism, or even to have perceived it. Then at other moments he believed that she carried about in her elegant and irresponsible little organism a defiant, passionate, perfectly observant consciousness of the impression she produced. He asked himself whether Daisy's defiance came from the consciousness of innocence, or from her being, essentially, a young person of the reckless class. It must be admitted that holding one's self to a belief in Daisy's "innocence" came to seem to Winterbourne more and more a matter of fine-spun gallantry. As I have already had occasion to relate, 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. From either view of them he had somehow missed her, and now it was too late. She was "carried away" by Mr. Giovanelli.
A few days after his brief interview with her mother, he
encountered her in that beautiful abode of flowering desolation known as the
Palace of the Caesars. The early Roman spring
had filled the air with bloom and perfume, and the rugged surface of the
"Well," said Daisy, "I should think you would be lonesome!"
"Lonesome?" asked Winterbourne.
"You are always going round by yourself. Can't you get anyone to walk with you?"
"I am not so fortunate," said Winterbourne, "as your companion."
Giovanelli, from the first, had treated Winterbourne with distinguished politeness. He listened with a deferential air to his remarks; he laughed punctiliously at his pleasantries; he seemed disposed to testify to his belief that Winterbourne was a superior young man. He carried himself in no degree like a jealous wooer; he had obviously a great deal of tact; he had no objection to your expecting a little humility of him. It even seemed to Winterbourne at times that Giovanelli would find a certain mental relief in being able to have a private understanding with him--to say to him, as an intelligent man, that, bless you, HE knew how extraordinary was this young lady, and didn't flatter himself with delusive--or at least TOO delusive--hopes of matrimony and dollars. On this occasion he strolled away from his companion to pluck a sprig of almond blossom, which he carefully arranged in his buttonhole.
"I know why you say that," said Daisy, watching Giovanelli. "Because you think I go round too much with HIM." And she nodded at her attendant.
"Every one thinks so--if you care to know," said Winterbourne.
"Of course I care to know!" Daisy exclaimed seriously. "But I don't believe it. They are only pretending to be shocked. They don't really care a straw what I do. Besides, I don't go round so much."
"I think you will find they do care. They will show it disagreeably."
Daisy looked at him a moment. "How disagreeably?"
"Haven't you noticed anything?" Winterbourne asked.
"I have noticed you. But I noticed you were as stiff as an umbrella the first time I saw you."
"You will find I am not so stiff as several others," said Winterbourne, smiling.
"How shall I find it?"
"By going to see the others."
"What will they do to me?"
"They will give you the cold shoulder. Do you know what that means?"
Daisy was looking at him intently; she began to color. "Do you mean as Mrs. Walker did the other night?"
"Exactly!" said Winterbourne.
She looked away at Giovanelli, who was decorating himself with his almond blossom. Then looking back at Winterbourne, "I shouldn't think you would let people be so unkind!" she said.
"How can I help it?" he asked.
"I should think you would say something."
"I do say something"; and he paused a moment. "I say that your mother tells me that she believes you are engaged."
"Well, she does," said Daisy very simply.
Winterbourne began to laugh.
He was silent a moment; and then, "Yes, I believe it," he said.
"Oh, no, you don't!" she answered. "Well, then--I am not!"
The young girl and her cicerone were on their way to the gate of the enclosure, so that Winterbourne, who had but lately entered, presently took leave of them. A week afterward he went to dine at a beautiful villa on the Caelian Hill, and, on arriving, dismissed his hired vehicle. The evening was charming, and he promised himself the satisfaction of walking home beneath the Arch of Constantine and past the vaguely lighted monuments of the Forum. There was a waning moon in the sky, and her radiance was not brilliant, but she was veiled in a thin cloud curtain which seemed to diffuse and equalize it. When, on his return from the villa (it was eleven o'clock), Winterbourne approached the dusky circle of the Colosseum, it recurred to him, as a lover of the picturesque, that the interior, in the pale moonshine, would be well worth a glance. He turned aside and walked to one of the empty arches, near which, as he observed, an open carriage--one of the little Roman streetcabs--was stationed. Then he passed in, among the cavernous shadows of the great structure, and emerged upon the clear and silent arena. The place had never seemed to him more impressive. One-half of the gigantic circus was in deep shade, the other was sleeping in the luminous dusk. As he stood there he began to murmur Byron's famous lines, out of "Manfred," but before he had finished his quotation he remembered that if nocturnal meditations in the Colosseum are recommended by the poets, they are deprecated by the doctors. The historic atmosphere was there, certainly; but the historic atmosphere, scientifically considered, was no better than a villainous miasma. Winterbourne walked to the middle of the arena, to take a more general glance, intending thereafter to make a hasty retreat. The great cross in the center was covered with shadow; it was only as he drew near it that he made it out distinctly. Then he saw that two persons were stationed upon the low steps which formed its base. One of these was a woman, seated; her companion was standing in front of her.
Presently the sound of the woman's voice came to him distinctly in the warm night air. "Well, he looks at us as one of the old lions or tigers may have looked at the Christian martyrs!" These were the words he heard, in the familiar accent of Miss Daisy Miller.
"Let us hope he is not very hungry," responded the ingenious Giovanelli. "He will have to take me first; you will serve for dessert!"
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. He stood there, looking at her--looking at her companion and not reflecting that though he saw them vaguely, he himself must have been more brightly visible. He felt angry with himself that he had bothered so much about the right way of regarding Miss Daisy Miller. Then, as he was going to advance again, he checked himself, not from the fear that he was doing her injustice, but from a sense of the danger of appearing unbecomingly exhilarated by this sudden revulsion from cautious criticism. He turned away toward the entrance of the place, but, as he did so, he heard Daisy speak again.
"Why, it was Mr. Winterbourne! He saw me, and he cuts me!"
What a clever little reprobate she was, and how smartly she played at injured innocence! But he wouldn't cut her. Winterbourne came forward again and went toward the great cross. Daisy had got up; Giovanelli lifted his hat. Winterbourne had now begun to think simply of the craziness, from a sanitary point of view, of a delicate young girl lounging away the evening in this nest of malaria. What if she WERE a clever little reprobate? that was no reason for her dying of the perniciosa. "How long have you been here?" he asked almost brutally.
Daisy, lovely in the flattering moonlight, looked at him a moment. Then--"All the evening," she answered, gently. * * * "I never saw anything so pretty."
"I am afraid," said Winterbourne, "that you will not think Roman fever very pretty. This is the way people catch it. I wonder," he added, turning to Giovanelli, "that you, a native Roman, should countenance such a terrible indiscretion."
"Ah," said the handsome native, "for myself I am not afraid."
"Neither am I--for you! I am speaking for this young lady."
Giovanelli lifted his well-shaped eyebrows and showed his brilliant teeth. But he took Winterbourne's rebuke with docility. "I told the signorina it was a grave indiscretion, but when was the signorina ever prudent?"
"I never was sick, and I don't mean to be!" the signorina declared. "I don't look like much, but I'm healthy! I was bound to see the Colosseum by moonlight; I shouldn't have wanted to go home without that; and we have had the most beautiful time, haven't we, Mr. Giovanelli? If there has been any danger, Eugenio can give me some pills. He has got some splendid pills."
"I should advise you," said Winterbourne, "to drive home as fast as possible and take one!"
"What you say is very wise," Giovanelli rejoined. "I will go and make sure the carriage is at hand." And he went forward rapidly.
Daisy followed with Winterbourne. He kept looking at her; she seemed not in the least embarrassed. Winterbourne said nothing; Daisy chattered about the beauty of the place. "Well, I HAVE seen the Colosseum by moonlight!" she exclaimed. "That's one good thing." Then, noticing Winterbourne's silence, she asked him why he didn't speak. He made no answer; he only began to laugh. They passed under one of the dark archways; Giovanelli was in front with the carriage. Here Daisy stopped a moment, looking at the young American. "DID you believe I was engaged, the other day?" she asked.
"It doesn't matter what I believed the other day," said Winterbourne, still laughing.
"Well, what do you believe now?"
"I believe that it makes very little difference whether you are engaged or not!"
He felt the young girl's pretty eyes fixed upon him through the thick gloom of the archway; she was apparently going to answer. But Giovanelli hurried her forward. "Quick! quick!" he said; "if we get in by midnight we are quite safe."
Daisy took her seat in the carriage, and the fortunate Italian placed himself beside her. "Don't forget Eugenio's pills!" said Winterbourne as he lifted his hat.
"I don't care," said Daisy in a little strange tone, "whether I have Roman fever or not!" Upon this the cab driver cracked his whip, and they rolled away over the desultory patches of the antique pavement.
Winterbourne, to do him justice, as it were, mentioned to no
one that he had encountered Miss Miller, at midnight, in the Colosseum with a gentleman; but nevertheless, a couple of
days later, the fact of her having been there under these circumstances was
known to every member of the little American circle, and commented accordingly.
Winterbourne reflected that they had of course known it at the hotel, and that,
after Daisy's return, there had been an exchange of remarks between the porter
and the cab driver. But the young man was conscious, at the same moment, that it had ceased to be a matter of serious regret
to him that the little American flirt should be "talked about" by
low-minded menials. These people, a day or two later, had serious information to
give: the little American flirt was alarmingly ill. Winterbourne, when the rumor came to him,
immediately went to the hotel for more news. He found that two or three
charitable friends had preceded him, and that they were being entertained in
Mrs. Miller's salon by
"It's going round at night," said
Winterbourne went often to ask for news of her, and once he
saw Mrs. Miller, who, though deeply alarmed, was, rather to his surprise,
perfectly composed, and, as it appeared, a most efficient and judicious
nurse. She talked a good deal about Dr.
Davis, but Winterbourne paid her the compliment of saying to himself
that she was not, after all, such a monstrous goose. "Daisy spoke of you
the other day," she said to him.
"Half the time she doesn't know what she's saying, but that time I
think she did. She gave me a message she told me to tell you. She told me to tell you that she never was
engaged to that handsome Italian. I am
sure I am very glad; Mr. Giovanelli hasn't been near
us since she was taken ill. I thought he was so much of a gentleman; but I
don't call that very polite! A lady told me that he was afraid I was angry with
him for taking Daisy round at night.
Well, so I am, but I suppose he knows I'm a lady. I would scorn to scold
him. 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
But, as Winterbourne had said, it mattered very little. A
week after this, the poor girl died; it had been a terrible case of the
fever. Daisy's grave was in the little
Protestant cemetery, in an angle of the wall of imperial
Winterbourne looked at him and presently repeated his words, "And the most innocent?"
"The most innocent!"
Winterbourne felt sore and angry. "Why the devil," he asked, "did you take her to that fatal place?"
Mr. Giovanelli's urbanity was apparently imperturbable. He looked on the ground a moment, and then he said, "For myself I had no fear; and she wanted to go."
"That was no reason!" Winterbourne declared.
The subtle Roman again dropped his eyes. "If she had lived, I should have got nothing. She would never have married me, I am sure."
"She would never have married you?"
"For a moment I hoped so. But no. I am sure."
Winterbourne listened to him: he stood staring at the raw protuberance among the April daisies. When he turned away again, Mr. Giovanelli, with his light, slow step, had retired.
Winterbourne almost immediately left
"I am sure I don't know," said Mrs. Costello. "How did your injustice affect her?"
"She sent me a message before her death which I didn't understand at the time; but I have understood it since. She would have appreciated one's esteem."
"Is that a modest way," asked Mrs. Costello, "of saying that she would have reciprocated one's affection?"
Winterbourne offered no answer to this question; but he presently said, "You were right in that remark that you made last summer. I was booked to make a mistake. I have lived too long in foreign parts."
Nevertheless, he went back to live at