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Part 2 (II)

Part 2 (II)

It is clear that Mrs. Costello does not want to "know" Daisy -- which means she does not want to be formally introduced to her, as Winterbourne had planned to do. He is trying to figure out how to handle this when he runs into Daisy later that evening, walking in the garden at ten o'clock at night. (It is the height of summer, so at ten o'clock it is just getting dark.) Daisy is pleased to see Winterbourne. She has asked her chamber-maid about the person Winterbourne mentioned that morning, and has learned all about his aunt. Daisy is excited about being introduced to her: she has heard that Mrs. Costello is very "exclusive" -- that is, that there are many people she refuses to talk to, because she believes they are socially inferior -- and Daisy and her mother, too, would like to be "exclusive."

Embarrassed, Winterbourne tries to avoid having to tell Daisy directly that his aunt doesn't want to meet her. But Daisy quickly figures it out for herself, and, to Winterbourne's surprise, says it out loud. "She doesn't want to know me!" she says. "Why don't you say so? You needn't be afraid. I'm not afraid!"

Winterbourne is a little shocked by this. He can also tell that Daisy, despite her pretense at casualness, is hurt, and he feels a strange desire to comfort her. But before he gets the chance, Daisy's mother appears, walking slowly toward them in the gathering gloom.

Daisy's mother is a strangely "vague" sort of woman: she walks as if she isn't sure where she's going, and although she seems to see Daisy and Winterbourne, she stops before she reaches them. Daisy explains to Winterbourne that her mother is "right down timid," and never likes to meet her gentlemen friends. But -- Daisy adds -- she always introduces those gentlemen friends: "If I didn't," says Daisy, "I shouldn't think I was natural."

Winterbourne, smiling, tells Daisy his entire name, so she can make the introduction. (We do not find out what this entire name is, but it is apparently very long -- and distinguished -- for Daisy says she will never remember it all.) Daisy and Winterbourne approach Mrs. Miller, and Daisy introduces them. Mrs. Miller is vague and irresolute in her conversation, as well as in her manner of walking, and seems to lack any force of personality.

Daisy tells her mother that she plans to go to Chillon with Winterbourne. Winterbourne expects to find Mrs. Miller opposed to this plan, but he believes he can manipulate her easily and convince her to agree. To his surprise, however, Mrs. Miller doesn't care at all. She says that she would also like to see the castle, but when Winterbourne asks her if she will come along as well, she simply says of Daisy, "I guess she had better go alone." This is so different from the way young women's mothers act elsewhere in Winterbourne's social circle -- in Geneva, for example -- that he can barely comprehend it. There, respectable mothers do everything in their power to "protect" their daughters from being alone with young men!

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Part 1 (I)
Part 1 (II)
Part 1 (III)
Part 2 (I)
Part 2 (II)
Part 2 (III)
Part 3 (I)
Part 3 (II)
Part 3 (III)
Part 4 (I)
Part 4 (II)
Part 4 (III)
Part 4 (IV)


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