IN TWO PARTS
At the little town of Vevey, in Switzerland, there is a particularly
comfortable hotel. There are, indeed, many hotels, for the entertainment of
tourists is the business of the place, which, as many travelers will remember,
is seated upon the edge of a remarkably blue lake--a lake that it behooves every
tourist to visit. The shore of the lake presents an unbroken array of
establishments of this order, of every category, from the "grand hotel" of the
newest fashion, with a chalk-white front, a hundred balconies, and a dozen flags
flying from its roof, to the little Swiss pension of an elder day, with its name
inscribed in German-looking lettering upon a pink or yellow wall and an awkward
summerhouse in the angle of the garden. One of the hotels at Vevey, however, is
famous, even classical, being distinguished from many of its upstart neighbors
by an air both of luxury and of maturity. In this region, in the month of June,
American travelers are extremely numerous; it may be said, indeed, that Vevey
assumes at this period some of the characteristics of an American watering
place. There are sights and sounds which evoke a vision, an echo, of Newport and
Saratoga. There is a flitting hither and thither of "stylish" young girls, a
rustling of muslin flounces, a rattle of dance music in the morning hours, a
sound of high-pitched voices at all times. You receive an impression of these
things at the excellent inn of the "Trois Couronnes" and are transported in
fancy to the Ocean House or to Congress Hall. But at the "Trois Couronnes," it
must be added, there are other features that are much at variance with these
suggestions: neat German waiters, who look like secretaries of legation; Russian
princesses sitting in the garden; little Polish boys walking about held by the
hand, with their governors; a view of the sunny crest of the Dent du Midi and
the picturesque towers of the Castle of Chillon.
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 Geneva the day before by the little steamer, to
see his aunt, who was staying at the hotel--Geneva having been for a long time
his place of residence. But his aunt had a headache-- his aunt had almost always
a headache--and now she was shut up in her room, smelling camphor, so that he
was at liberty to wander about. He was some seven-and-twenty years of age; when
his friends spoke of him, they usually said that he was at Geneva "studying."
When his enemies spoke of him, they said--but, after all, he had no enemies; he
was an extremely amiable fellow, and universally liked. What I should say is,
simply, that when certain persons spoke of him they affirmed that the reason of
his spending so much time at Geneva was that he was extremely devoted to a lady
who lived there--a foreign lady--a person older than himself. Very few
Americans--indeed, I think none--had ever seen this lady, about whom there were
some singular stories. But Winterbourne had an old attachment for the little
metropolis of Calvinism; he had been put to school there as a boy, and he had
afterward gone to college there--circumstances which had led to his forming a
great many youthful friendships. Many of these he had kept, and they were a
source of great satisfaction to him.
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
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
"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 Europe. It's the climate that makes them come out. In America they
didn't come out. It's these hotels."
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 Europe at about this age.
"Here comes my sister!" cried the child in a moment. "She's an American
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.
"Randolph," said the young lady, "what ARE you doing?"
"I'm going up the Alps," replied Randolph. "This is the way!" And he gave
another little jump, scattering the pebbles about Winterbourne's ears.
"That's the way they come down," said Winterbourne.
"He's an American man!" cried Randolph, in his little hard voice.
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 Randolph.
"You don't mean to say you're going to take it to Italy?"
"Yes, I am going to take it to Italy," the child declared.
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 Italy?" Winterbourne inquired in a tone of great respect.
The young lady glanced at him again. "Yes, sir," she replied. And she said
"Are you--a-- going over the Simplon?" Winterbourne pursued, a little
"I don't know," she said. "I suppose it's some mountain. Randolph, what
mountain are we going over?"
"Going where?" the child demanded.
"To Italy," Winterbourne explained.
"I don't know," said Randolph. "I don't want to go to Italy. I want to go to
"Oh, Italy is a beautiful place!" rejoined the young man.
"Can you get candy there?" Randolph loudly inquired.
"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 Rome for the winter--she and
her mother and Randolph. She asked him if he was a "real American"; she
shouldn't have taken him for one; he seemed more like a German--this was said
after a little hesitation-- especially when he spoke. Winterbourne, laughing,
answered that he had met Germans who spoke like Americans, but that he had not,
so far as he remembered, met an American who spoke like a German. Then he asked
her if she should not be more comfortable in sitting upon the bench which he had
just quitted. She answered that she liked standing up and walking about; but she
presently sat down. She told him she was from New York State--"if you know where
that is." Winterbourne learned more about her by catching hold of her small,
slippery brother and making him stand a few minutes by his side.
"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
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 Randolph immediately added, "My father's in
Schenectady. He's got a big business. My father's rich, you bet!"
"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 Europe," said the young
girl. "He wants to go back."
"To Schenectady, you mean?"
"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 Boston. She told her of this teacher, and we
thought of getting him to travel round with us. But Randolph said he didn't want
a teacher traveling round with us. He said he wouldn't have lessons when he was
in the cars. And we ARE in the cars about half the time. There was an English
lady we met in the cars--I think her name was Miss Featherstone; perhaps you
know her. She wanted to know why I didn't give Randolph lessons--give him
'instruction,' she called it. I guess he could give me more instruction than I
could give him. He's very smart."
"Yes," said Winterbourne; "he seems very smart."
"Mother's going to get a teacher for him as soon as we get to Italy. Can you
get good teachers in Italy?"
"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 Europe, and enumerated, in particular, the various hotels
at which they had stopped. "That English lady in the cars," she said--"Miss
Featherstone-- asked me if we didn't all live in hotels in America. I told her I
had never been in so many hotels in my life as since I came to Europe. I have
never seen so many--it's nothing but hotels." But Miss Miller did not make this
remark with a querulous accent; she appeared to be in the best humor with
everything. She declared that the hotels were very good, when once you got used
to their ways, and that Europe was perfectly sweet. She was not
disappointed--not a bit. Perhaps it was because she had heard so much about it
before. She had ever so many intimate friends that had been there ever so many
times. And then she had had ever so many dresses and things from Paris. Whenever
she put on a Paris dress she felt as if she were in Europe.
"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 America; you see the most frightful things here. The only
thing I don't like," she proceeded, "is the society. There isn't any society;
or, if there is, I don't know where it keeps itself. Do you? I suppose there is
some society somewhere, but I haven't seen anything of it. I'm very fond of
society, and I have always had a great deal of it. I don't mean only in
Schenectady, but in New York. I used to go to New York every winter. In New York
I had lots of society. Last winter I had seventeen dinners given me; and three
of them were by gentlemen," added Daisy Miller. "I have more friends in New York
than in Schenectady-- more gentleman friends; and more young lady friends too,"
she resumed in a moment. She paused again for an instant; she was looking at
Winterbourne with all her prettiness in her lively eyes and in her light,
slightly monotonous smile. "I have always had," she said, "a great deal of
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 Geneva? He felt that he had
lived at Geneva so long that he had lost a good deal; he had become
dishabituated to the American tone. Never, indeed, since he had grown old enough
to appreciate things, had he encountered a young American girl of so pronounced
a type as this. Certainly she was very charming, but how deucedly sociable! Was
she simply a pretty girl from New York State? Were they all like that, the
pretty girls who had a good deal of gentlemen's society? Or was she also a
designing, an audacious, an unscrupulous young person? Winterbourne had lost his
instinct in this matter, and his reason could not help him. Miss Daisy Miller
looked extremely innocent. Some people had told him that, after all, American
girls were exceedingly innocent; and others had told him that, after all, they
were not. He was inclined to think Miss Daisy Miller was a flirt--a pretty
American flirt. He had never, as yet, had any relations with young ladies of
this category. He had known, here in Europe, two or three women--persons older
than Miss Daisy Miller, and provided, for respectability's sake, with
husbands--who were great coquettes--dangerous, terrible women, with whom one's
relations were liable to take a serious turn. But this young girl was not a
coquette in that sense; she was very unsophisticated; she was only a pretty
American flirt. Winterbourne was almost grateful for having found the formula
that applied to Miss Daisy Miller. He leaned back in his seat; he remarked to
himself that she had the most charming nose he had ever seen; he wondered what
were the regular conditions and limitations of one's intercourse with a pretty
American flirt. It presently became apparent that he was on the way to learn.
"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
"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 couldn't go. Randolph wouldn't go
either; he says he doesn't think much of old castles. But I guess we'll go this
week, if we can get Randolph."
"Your brother is not interested in ancient monuments?" Winterbourne inquired,
"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 Randolph?"
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
"With me?" asked the young girl with the same placidity.
She didn't rise, blushing, as a young girl at Geneva would have done; and yet
Winterbourne, conscious that he had been very bold, thought it possible she was
offended. "With your mother," he answered very respectfully.
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 Randolph, I guess Eugenio
"Eugenio?" the young man inquired.
"Eugenio's our courier. He doesn't like to stay with Randolph; he's the most
fastidious man I ever saw. But he's a splendid courier. I guess he'll stay at
home with Randolph if mother does, and then we can go to the castle."
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
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
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
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 New York and
another who was now in Europe. This young man was amusing himself at Hamburg,
and, though he was on his travels, was rarely perceived to visit any particular
city at the moment selected by his mother for her own appearance there. Her
nephew, who had come up to Vevey expressly to see her, was therefore more
attentive than those who, as she said, were nearer to her. He had imbibed at
Geneva the idea that one must always be attentive to one's aunt. Mrs. Costello
had not seen him for many years, and she was greatly pleased with him,
manifesting her approbation by initiating him into many of the secrets of that
social sway which, as she gave him to understand, she exerted in the American
capital. She admitted that she was very exclusive; but, if he were acquainted
with New York, he would see that one had to be. And her picture of the minutely
hierarchical constitution of the society of that city, which she presented to
him in many different lights, was, to Winterbourne's imagination, almost
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 Frederick. I would if I could, but I can't."
"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
"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
"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 Frederick," said Mrs. Costello, "I must decline the honor of
her acquaintance. I am an old woman, but I am not too old, thank Heaven, to be
"But don't they all do these things--the young girls in America?"
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 New York were "tremendous flirts." If,
therefore, Miss Daisy Miller exceeded the liberal margin allowed to these young
ladies, it was probable that anything might be expected of her. Winterbourne was
impatient to see her again, and he was vexed with himself that, by instinct, he
should not appreciate her justly.
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,"
"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
somewhere after Randolph; she wants to try to get him to go to bed. He doesn't
like to go to bed."
"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 Randolph! I don't believe he'll go to bed before
eleven." It appeared that Randolph's vigil was in fact triumphantly prolonged,
for Winterbourne strolled about with the young girl for some time without
meeting her mother. "I have been looking round for that lady you want to
introduce me to," his companion resumed. "She's your aunt." Then, on
Winterbourne's admitting the fact and expressing some curiosity as to how she
had learned it, she said she had heard all about Mrs. Costello from the
chambermaid. She was very quiet and very comme il faut; she wore white puffs;
she spoke to no one, and she never dined at the table d'hote. Every two days she
had a headache. "I think that's a lovely description, headache and all!" said
Miss Daisy, chattering along in her thin, gay voice. "I want to know her ever so
much. I know just what YOUR aunt would be; I know I should like her. She would
be very exclusive. I like a lady to be exclusive; I'm dying to be exclusive
myself. Well, we ARE exclusive, mother and I. We don't speak to everyone--or
they don't speak to us. I suppose it's about the same thing. Anyway, I shall be
ever so glad to know your aunt."
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 Randolph to go to bed." The figure of a
lady appeared at a distance, very indistinct in the darkness, and advancing with
a slow and wavering movement. Suddenly it seemed to pause.
"Are you sure it is your mother? Can you distinguish her in this thick dusk?"
"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 Randolph to go to bed?" asked the young girl.
"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
"Oh, yes!" said Winterbourne; "I have the pleasure of knowing your son."
Randolph's mamma was silent; she turned her attention to the lake. But at
last she spoke. "Well, I don't see how he lives!"
"Anyhow, it isn't so bad as it was at Dover," said Daisy Miller.
"And what occurred at Dover?" Winterbourne asked.
"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
"Well, he IS tiresome, Mother," said Daisy, quite without the asperity of a
"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
"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 England," she presently added.
"Ah yes! in England there are beautiful castles," said Winterbourne. "But
Chillon here, is very well worth seeing."
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
He looked at her, taking the hand she offered him. "I am puzzled," he
"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 Castle of Chillon. He waited
for her in the large hall of the hotel, where the couriers, the servants, the
foreign tourists, were lounging about and staring. It was not the place he
should have chosen, but she had appointed it. She came tripping downstairs,
buttoning her long gloves, squeezing her folded parasol against her pretty
figure, dressed in the perfection of a soberly elegant traveling costume.
Winterbourne was a man of imagination and, as our ancestors used to say,
sensibility; as he looked at her dress and, on the great staircase, her little
rapid, confiding step, he felt as if there were something romantic going
forward. He could have believed he was going to elope with her. He passed out
with her among all the idle people that were assembled there; they were all
looking at her very hard; she had begun to chatter as soon as she joined him.
Winterbourne's preference had been that they should be conveyed to Chillon in a
carriage; but she expressed a lively wish to go in the little steamer; she
declared that she had a passion for steamboats. There was always such a lovely
breeze upon the water, and you saw such lots of people. The sail was not long,
but Winterbourne's companion found time to say a great many things. To the young
man himself their little excursion was so much of an escapade--an adventure--
that, even allowing for her habitual sense of freedom, he had some expectation
of seeing her regard it in the same way. But it must be confessed that, in this
particular, he was disappointed. Daisy Miller was extremely animated, she was in
charming spirits; but she was apparently not at all excited; she was not
fluttered; she avoided neither his eyes nor those of anyone else; she blushed
neither when she looked at him nor when she felt that people were looking at
her. People continued to look at her a great deal, and Winterbourne took much
satisfaction in his pretty companion's distinguished air. He had been a little
afraid that she would talk loud, laugh overmuch, and even, perhaps, desire to
move about the boat a good deal. But he quite forgot his fears; he sat smiling,
with his eyes upon her face, while, without moving from her place, she delivered
herself of a great number of original reflections. It was the most charming
garrulity he had ever heard. he had assented to the idea that she was "common";
but was she so, after all, or was he simply getting used to her commonness? Her
conversation was chiefly of what metaphysicians term the objective cast, but
every now and then it took a subjective turn.
"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
"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 Randolph?" she asked. Winterbourne said that
nothing could possibly please him so much, but that he unfortunately other
occupations. "Other occupations? I don't believe it!" said Miss Daisy. "What do
you mean? You are not in business." The young man admitted that he was not in
business; but he had engagements which, even within a day or two, would force
him to go back to Geneva. "Oh, bother!" she said; "I don't believe it!" and she
began to talk about something else. But a few moments later, when he was
pointing out to her the pretty design of an antique fireplace, she broke out
irrelevantly, "You don't mean to say you are going back to Geneva?"
"It is a melancholy fact that I shall have to return to Geneva tomorrow."
"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 Geneva? Winterbourne, who denied the existence
of such a person, was quite unable to discover, and he was divided between
amazement at the rapidity of her induction and amusement at the frankness of her
persiflage. She seemed to him, in all this, an extraordinary mixture of
innocence and crudity. "Does she never allow you more than three days at a
time?" asked Daisy ironically. "Doesn't she give you a vacation in summer?
There's no one so hard worked but they can get leave to go off somewhere at this
season. I suppose, if you stay another day, she'll come after you in the boat.
Do wait over till Friday, and I will go down to the landing to see her arrive!"
Winterbourne began to think he had been wrong to feel disappointed in the temper
in which the young lady had embarked. If he had missed the personal accent, the
personal accent was now making its appearance. It sounded very distinctly, at
last, in her telling him she would stop "teasing" him if he would promise her
solemnly to come down to Rome in the winter.
"That's not a difficult promise to make," said Winterbourne. "My aunt has
taken an apartment in Rome for the winter and has already asked me to come and
"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 Geneva the day after his excursion to
Chillon, went to Rome toward the end of January. His aunt had been established
there for several weeks, and he had received a couple of letters from her.
"Those people you were so devoted to last summer at Vevey have turned up here,
courier and all," she wrote. "They seem to have made several acquaintances, but
the courier continues to be the most intime. The young lady, however, is also
very intimate with some third-rate Italians, with whom she rackets about in a
way that makes much talk. Bring me that pretty novel of Cherbuliez's--Paule
Mere-- and don't come later than the 23rd."
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
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 Geneva,
where she had placed her children at school. She was a very accomplished woman,
and she lived in the Via Gregoriana. Winterbourne found her in a little crimson
drawing room on a third floor; the room was filled with southern sunshine. He
had not been there ten minutes when the servant came in, announcing "Madame
Mila!" This announcement was presently followed by the entrance of little
Randolph Miller, who stopped in the middle of the room and stood staring at
Winterbourne. An instant later his pretty sister crossed the threshold; and
then, after a considerable interval, Mrs. Miller slowly advanced.
"I know you!" said Randolph.
"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
"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 tte 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 this," said Randolph. "It's all gold on the walls."
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!" Randolph exclaimed. "I tell YOU, sir!" he added jocosely,
giving Winterbourne a thump on the knee. "It IS bigger, too!"
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's got the dyspepsia," said Randolph. "I've got it too. Father's got it.
I've got it most!"
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
bracing than Schenectady, especially in the winter season. I don't know whether
you know we reside at Schenectady. I was saying to Daisy that I certainly hadn't
found any one like Dr. Davis, and I didn't believe I should. Oh, at Schenectady
he stands first; they think everything of him. He has so much to do, and yet
there was nothing he wouldn't do for me. He said he never saw anything like my
dyspepsia, but he was bound to cure it. I'm sure there was nothing he wouldn't
try. He was just going to try something new when we came off. Mr. Miller wanted
Daisy to see Europe for herself. But I wrote to Mr. Miller that it seems as if I
couldn't get on without Dr. Davis. At Schenectady he stands at the very top; and
there's a great deal of sickness there, too. It affects my sleep."
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 Rome. "Well, I must say I am
disappointed," she answered. "We had heard so much about it; I suppose we had
heard too much. But we couldn't help that. We had been led to expect something
"Ah, wait a little, and you will become very fond of it," said Winterbourne.
"I hate it worse and worse every day!" cried Randolph.
"You are like the infant Hannibal," said Winterbourne.
"No, I ain't!" Randolph declared at a venture.
"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 Rome." And in reply
to Winterbourne's interrogation, "There's Zurich," she concluded, "I think
Zurich is lovely; and we hadn't heard half so much about it."
"The best place we've seen is the City of Richmond!" said Randolph.
"He means the ship," his mother explained. "We crossed in that ship. Randolph
had a good time on the City of Richmond."
"It's the best place I've seen," the child repeated. "Only it was turned the
"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 gratification in Rome, and she declared that Daisy was quite carried away.
"It's on account of the society--the society's splendid. She goes round
everywhere; she has made a great number of acquaintances. Of course she goes
round more than I do. I must say they have been very sociable; they have taken
her right in. And then she knows a great many gentlemen. Oh, she thinks there's
nothing like Rome. Of course, it's a great deal pleasanter for a young lady if
she knows plenty of gentlemen."
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 Rome to encounter your reproaches?"
"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
"Well, I don't know," said Daisy, fingering Mrs. Walker's ribbons. "Mrs.
Walker, I want to tell you something."
"Mother-r," interposed Randolph, with his rough ends to his words, "I tell
you you've got to go. Eugenio'll raise--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
"She's going to walk with Mr. Giovanelli," Randolph proclaimed.
"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 Randolph.
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
"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 Geneva. She told me so. Well, you
knew me at Vevey. That's just as good. So you ought to have come." She asked him
no other question than this; she began to prattle about her own affairs. "We've
got splendid rooms at the hotel; Eugenio says they're the best rooms in Rome. We
are going to stay all winter, if we don't die of the fever; and I guess we'll
stay then. It's a great deal nicer than I thought; I thought it would be
fearfully quiet; I was sure it would be awfully poky. I was sure we should be
going round all the time with one of those dreadful old men that explain about
the pictures and things. But we only had about a week of that, and now I'm
enjoying myself. I know ever so many people, and they are all so charming. The
society's extremely select. There are all kinds--English, and Germans, and
Italians. I think I like the English best. I like their style of conversation.
But there are some lovely Americans. I never saw anything so hospitable. There's
something or other every day. There's not much dancing; but I must say I never
thought dancing was everything. I was always fond of conversation. I guess I
shall have plenty at Mrs. Walker's, her rooms are so small." When they had
passed the gate of the Pincian Gardens, Miss Miller began to wonder where Mr.
Giovanelli might be. "We had better go straight to that place in front," she
said, "where you look at the view."
"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
"Pray understand, then," said Winterbourne, "that I intend to remain with
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 Rome,
but was it not impossible to regard the choice of these circumstances as a proof
of extreme cynicism? Singular though it may seem, Winterbourne was vexed that
the young girl, in joining her amoroso, should not appear more impatient of his
own company, and he was vexed because of his inclination. It was impossible to
regard her as a perfectly well-conducted young lady; she was wanting in a
certain indispensable delicacy. It would therefore simplify matters greatly to
be able to treat her as the object of one of those sentiments which are called
by romancers "lawless passions." That she should seem to wish to get rid of him
would help him to think more lightly of her, and to be able to think more
lightly of her would make her much less perplexing. But Daisy, on this occasion,
continued to present herself as an inscrutable combination of audacity and
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
"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
"I don't think it's a very happy thought," said Winterbourne; "but you can
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
"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 Geneva, losing
"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
"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
"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
Winterbourne was silent for some moments; then he said, "I suspect, Mrs.
Walker, that you and I have lived too long at Geneva!" And he added a request
that she should inform him with what particular design she had made him enter
"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 Pincian Garden that overhangs
the wall of Rome and overlooks the beautiful Villa Borghese. It is bordered by a
large parapet, near which there are several seats. One of the seats at a
distance was occupied by a gentleman and a lady, toward whom Mrs. Walker gave a
toss of her head. At the same moment these persons rose and walked toward the
parapet. Winterbourne had asked the coachman to stop; he now descended from the
carriage. His companion looked at him a moment in silence; then, while he raised
his hat, she drove majestically away. Winterbourne stood there; he had turned
his eyes toward Daisy and her cavalier. They evidently saw no one; they were too
deeply occupied with each other. When they reached the low garden wall, they
stood a moment looking off at the great flat-topped pine clusters of the Villa
Borghese; then Giovanelli seated himself, familiarly, upon the broad ledge of
the wall. The western sun in the opposite sky sent out a brilliant shaft through
a couple of cloud bars, whereupon Daisy's companion took her parasol out of her
hands and opened it. She came a little nearer, and he held the parasol over her;
then, still holding it, he let it rest upon her shoulder, so that both of their
heads were hidden from Winterbourne. This young man lingered a moment, then he
began to walk. But he walked--not toward the couple with the parasol; toward the
residence of his aunt, Mrs. Costello.
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.
"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
"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,"
"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
"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
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
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
"I have heard a dozen people speak of it; they say she is quite carried away
"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
"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
Rome came to talk with Mrs. Costello, who sat on a little portable stool at the
base of one of the great pilasters. The vesper service was going forward in
splendid chants and organ tones in the adjacent choir, and meanwhile, between
Mrs. Costello and her friends, there was a great deal said about poor little
Miss Miller's going really "too far." Winterbourne was not pleased with what he
heard, but when, coming out upon the great steps of the church, he saw Daisy,
who had emerged before him, get into an open cab with her accomplice and roll
away through the cynical streets of Rome, he could not deny to himself that she
was going very far indeed. He felt very sorry for her--not exactly that he
believed that she had completely lost her head, but because it was painful to
hear so much that was pretty, and undefended, and natural assigned to a vulgar
place among the categories of disorder. He made an attempt after this to give a
hint to Mrs. Miller. He met one day in the Corso a friend, a tourist like
himself, who had just come out of the Doria Palace, where he had been walking
through the beautiful gallery. His friend talked for a moment about the superb
portrait of Innocent X by Velasquez which hangs in one of the cabinets of the
palace, and then said, "And in the same cabinet, by the way, I had the pleasure
of contemplating a picture of a different kind-- that pretty American girl whom
you pointed out to me last week." In answer to Winterbourne's inquiries, his
friend narrated that the pretty American girl--prettier than ever--was seated
with a companion in the secluded nook in which the great papal portrait was
"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
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 Palatine was muffled with tender verdure. Daisy was strolling
along the top of one of those great mounds of ruin that are embanked with mossy
marble and paved with monumental inscriptions. It seemed to him that Rome had
never been so lovely as just then. He stood, looking off at the enchanting
harmony of line and color that remotely encircles the city, inhaling the softly
humid odors, and feeling the freshness of the year and the antiquity of the
place reaffirm themselves in mysterious interfusion. It seemed to him also that
Daisy had never looked so pretty, but this had been an observation of his
whenever he met her. Giovanelli was at her side, and Giovanelli, too, wore an
aspect of even unwonted brilliancy.
"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
"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,
"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. "And does Randolph believe it?" he asked.
"I guess Randolph doesn't believe anything," said Daisy. Randolph's
skepticism excited Winterbourne to further hilarity, and he observed that
Giovanelli was coming back to them. Daisy, observing it too, addressed herself
again to her countryman. "Since you have mentioned it," she said, "I AM
engaged." * * * Winterbourne looked at her; he had stopped laughing. "You don't
believe!" she added.
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
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
"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
"Well, what do you believe now?"
"I believe that it makes very little difference whether you are engaged or
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
"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 Randolph.
"It's going round at night," said Randolph--"that's what made her sick. She's
always going round at night. I shouldn't think she'd want to, it's so plaguy
dark. You can't see anything here at night, except when there's a moon. In
America there's always a moon!" Mrs. Miller was invisible; she was now, at
least, giving her aughter the advantage of her society. It was evident that
Daisy was dangerously ill.
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 Switzerland. But I said I wouldn't give any such messages as
that. Only, if she is not engaged, I'm sure I'm glad to know it."
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 Rome,
beneath the cypresses and the thick spring flowers. Winterbourne stood there
beside it, with a number of other mourners, a number larger than the scandal
excited by the young lady's career would have led you to expect. Near him stood
Giovanelli, who came nearer still before Winterbourne turned away. Giovanelli
was very pale: on this occasion he had no flower in his buttonhole; he seemed to
wish to say something. At last he said, "She was the most beautiful young lady I
ever saw, and the most amiable"; and then he added in a moment, "and she was the
Winterbourne looked at him and presently repeated his words, "And the most
"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
"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 Rome; but the following summer he again
met his aunt, Mrs. Costello at Vevey. Mrs. Costello was fond of Vevey. In the
interval Winterbourne had often thought of Daisy Miller and her mystifying
manners. One day he spoke of her to his aunt--said it was on his conscience that
he had done her injustice.
"I am sure I don't know," said Mrs. Costello. "How did your injustice affect
"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 Geneva, whence there continue to come
the most contradictory accounts of his motives of sojourn: a report that he is
"studying" hard--an intimation that he is much interested in a very clever