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Part 4 (IV)

Part 4 (IV)

Winterbourne has suddenly realized how dangerous it is for them to be out late at night, since Roman fever is going around -- a dangerous disease which was thought to be transmitted by damp night air. He asks Daisy harshly how long she has been here, and scolds Giovanelli for letting Daisy stay outside this late. Giovanelli explains that Daisy wanted to come, and she has never been the kind to let anyone else stop her. Daisy, naturally, agrees with this. But Giovanelli also agrees with Winterbourne that it is now time to go home.

As they leave the Colosseum, Daisy asks Winterbourne whether he believed her, the other day, when she said she was engaged. Winterbourne, who has started to laugh, tells her, "I believe it makes very little difference whether you are engaged or not!" Before Daisy has a chance to answer, Giovanelli hustles her into the carriage, and as they drive away, Winterbourne hears her say, in a strange voice, "I don't care whether I have Roman fever or not!"

Within a few days, the servants at the Millers' hotel have let everyone know the gossip: that Daisy came back from the Colosseum, at midnight, with Mr. Giovanelli. But, more importantly, a few days later the news goes around that Daisy has become very sick. She has caught the Roman fever after all.

Winterbourne goes to see her at her hotel room, where some other Americans have already arrived. Daisy is too sick to be visited, but Winterbourne talks to Mrs. Miller, who tells him that the half-delirious Daisy has been asking her to give him a message: she told her mother to ask Winterbourne if he remembered the trip they'd made together to Chateau Chillon, in Switzerland. And she also asked her to be sure to tell Winterbourne that Daisy was never engaged to Mr. Giovanelli.

A week later, after a dreadful case of the fever, Daisy dies. She is buried in the small Protestant cemetery in Rome; at her funeral, which is attended by many more of the Americans than Winterbourne expected, Mr. Giovanelli comes up to talk to him. He tells Winterbourne that Daisy was the most beautiful and pleasant young woman he ever knew, and, also, the most innocent. And he adds that he is sure Daisy would never have married him. The skeptical, angry Winterbourne challenges him -- "She would never have married you?" Mr. Giovanelli answers: "For a moment I hoped so. But no, I am sure." Winterbourne believes him, and, as he stares at Daisy's freshly dug grave beneath the April flowers, Mr. Giovanelli softly walks away.

Winterbourne leaves Rome, but that summer he meets his aunt again at Vevey. He has been thinking a great deal of Daisy Miller in the meantime, and, one day, mentions to his aunt that he has understood a message Daisy sent to him before she died. He has figured out, he says, that "she would have appreciated one's esteem." His aunt asks him if this is a modest way of saying that she would have returned his love, if he had offered it to her. Winterbourne does not answer; but after a few moments, he reminds his aunt if something she said to him last summer -- that he was due to make a mistake, having lived too long in Europe. He has learned, he adds, that she was right.

Winterbourne nonetheless returns to Geneva, where, the last we have heard of him, contradictory things are still being said about him: that he is studying hard; or that he is involved with a European mistress. Nobody can be sure.

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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