A STUDY IN TWO PARTS
At thelittle town of Veveyin Switzerlandthere is aparticularlycomfortable hotel. There areindeedmany hotelsfor theentertainment of tourists is the business of the placewhichasmany travelers will rememberis seated upon the edgeof aremarkably blue lake--a lake that it behooves every touristto visit. The shore of the lake presents an unbroken arrayofestablishments of this orderof every categoryfrom the"grandhotel" of the newest fashionwith a chalk-white fronta hundredbalconiesand a dozen flags flying from its roofto thelittle Swiss pension of an elder daywith its nameinscribedin German-looking lettering upon a pink or yellowwall andan awkward summerhouse in the angle of the garden.One of thehotels at Veveyhoweveris famouseven classicalbeingdistinguished from many of its upstart neighborsby an airboth of luxury and of maturity. In this regionin themonth of JuneAmerican travelers are extremely numerous;it may besaidindeedthat Vevey assumes at this periodsome ofthe characteristics of an American watering place.There aresights and sounds which evoke a visionan echoof Newportand Saratoga. There is a flitting hither and thitherof"stylish" young girlsa rustling of muslin flouncesa rattleof dance music in the morning hoursa sound ofhigh-pitchedvoices at all times. You receive an impressionof thesethings at the excellent inn of the "Trois Couronnes"and aretransported in fancy to the Ocean House or to Congress Hall.But at the"Trois Couronnes" it must be addedthere are otherfeaturesthat are much at variance with these suggestions:neatGerman waiterswho look like secretaries of legation;Russianprincesses sitting in the garden; little Polishboyswalking about held by the handwith their governors;a view ofthe sunny crest of the Dent du Midi and the picturesquetowers ofthe Castle of Chillon.
I hardlyknow whether it was the analogies or the differences that wereuppermostin the mind of a young Americanwhotwo or three years agosat in thegarden of the "Trois Couronnes" looking about himratheridlyat some of the graceful objects I have mentioned.It was abeautiful summer morningand in whatever fashion the youngAmericanlooked at thingsthey must have seemed to him charming.He hadcome from Geneva the day before by the little steamerto see hisauntwho was staying at the hotel--Geneva having beenfor a longtime his place of residence. But his aunt had a headache--his aunthad almost always a headache--and now she was shut up inher roomsmelling camphorso that he was at liberty to wander about.He wassome seven-and-twenty years of age; when his friends spokeof himthey usually said that he was at Geneva "studying."When hisenemies spoke of himthey said--butafter allhe hadnoenemies; he was an extremely amiable fellowand universally liked.What Ishould say issimplythat when certain persons spokeof himthey affirmed that the reason of his spending so muchtime atGeneva was that he was extremely devoted to a ladywho livedthere--a foreign lady--a person older than himself.Very fewAmericans--indeedI think none--had ever seen this ladyabout whomthere were some singular stories. But Winterbournehad an oldattachment for the little metropolis of Calvinism;he hadbeen put to school there as a boyand he had afterwardgone tocollege there--circumstances which had led to his forminga greatmany youthful friendships. Many of these he had keptand theywere a source of great satisfaction to him.
Afterknocking at his aunt's door and learning that she was indisposedhe hadtaken a walk about the townand then he had come in tohisbreakfast. He had now finished his breakfast; but he wasdrinkinga smallcup of coffeewhich had been served to him on a little tablein thegarden by one of the waiters who looked like an attache.At last hefinished his coffee and lit a cigarette. Presently asmall boycame walking along the path--an urchin of nine or ten.The childwho was diminutive for his yearshad an aged expressionofcountenancea pale complexionand sharp little features.He wasdressed in knickerbockerswith red stockingswhich displayedhis poorlittle spindle-shanks; he also wore a brilliant red cravat.He carriedin his hand a long alpenstockthe sharp point of whichhe thrustinto everything that he approached--the flowerbedsthe gardenbenchesthe trains of the ladies' dresses. In frontofWinterbourne he pausedlooking at him with a pair of brightpenetratinglittle eyes.
"Willyou give me a lump of sugar?" he asked in a sharphard littlevoice--a voiceimmature and yetsomehownot young.
Winterbourneglanced at the small table near himon which his coffeeservicerestedand saw that several morsels of sugar remained."Yesyou may take one" he answered; "but I don't think sugaris goodfor little boys."
Thislittle boy stepped forward and carefully selected three ofthecoveted fragmentstwo of which he buried in the pocket ofhisknickerbockersdepositing the other as promptly in another place.He pokedhis alpenstocklance-fashioninto Winterbourne's benchand triedto crack the lump of sugar with his teeth.
"Ohblazes; it's har-r-d!" he exclaimedpronouncing the adjectivein apeculiar manner.
Winterbournehad immediately perceived that he mighthave thehonor of claiming him as a fellow countryman."Takecare you don't hurt your teeth" he saidpaternally.
"Ihaven't got any teeth to hurt. They have all come out.I haveonly got seven teeth. My mother counted them last nightand onecame out right afterward. She said she'd slap meif anymore came out. I can't help it. It's this old Europe.It's theclimate that makes them come out. In America theydidn'tcome out. It's these hotels."
Winterbournewas much amused. "If you eat three lumps of sugaryourmother will certainly slap you" he said.
"She'sgot to give me some candythen" rejoined his younginterlocutor."Ican't get any candy here--any American candy. American candy'sthe bestcandy."
"Andare American little boys the best little boys?" askedWinterbourne.
"Idon't know. I'm an American boy" said the child.
"Isee you are one of the best!" laughed Winterbourne.
"Areyou an American man?" pursued this vivacious infant.And thenon Winterbourne's affirmative reply--"American menare thebest" he declared.
Hiscompanion thanked him for the complimentand the childwho hadnow got astride of his alpenstockstood lookingabout himwhile he attacked a second lump of sugar.Winterbournewondered if he himself had been like this in his infancyfor he hadbeen brought to Europe at about this age.
"Herecomes my sister!" cried the child in a moment."She'san American girl."
Winterbournelooked along the path and saw a beautifulyoung ladyadvancing. "American girls are the best girls"he saidcheerfully to his young companion.
"Mysister ain't the best!" the child declared."She'salways blowing at me."
"Iimagine that is your faultnot hers" said Winterbourne.The younglady meanwhile had drawn near. She was dressed in white muslinwith ahundred frills and flouncesand knots of pale-colored ribbon.She wasbareheadedbut she balanced in her hand a large parasolwith adeep border of embroidery; and she was strikinglyadmirably pretty."Howpretty they are!" thought Winterbournestraightening himselfin hisseatas if he were prepared to rise.
The younglady paused in front of his benchnear the parapet of the gardenwhichoverlooked the lake. The little boy had now converted hisalpenstockinto avaulting poleby the aid of which he was springing about in thegravelandkicking it up not a little.
"Randolph"said the young lady"what ARE you doing?"
"I'mgoing up the Alps" replied Randolph. "This is theway!"And hegave another little jumpscattering the pebblesaboutWinterbourne's ears.
"That'sthe way they come down" said Winterbourne.
"He'san American man!" cried Randolphin his little hard voice.
The younglady gave no heed to this announcementbut lookedstraightat her brother. "WellI guess you had better be quiet"she simplyobserved.
It seemedto Winterbourne that he had been in a manner presented. He gotup andstepped slowly toward the young girlthrowing away his cigarette."Thislittle boy and I have made acquaintance" he saidwith greatcivility.In Genevaas he had been perfectly awarea young man was not at libertyto speakto a young unmarried lady except under certain rarely occurringconditions;but here at Veveywhat conditions could be better than these?--a prettyAmerican girl coming and standing in front of you in a garden.Thispretty American girlhoweveron hearing Winterbourne's observationsimplyglanced at him; she then turned her head and looked over the parapetat thelake and the opposite mountains. He wondered whether he hadgonetoo farbut he decided that he must advance fartherrather than retreat.While hewas thinking of something else to saythe young lady turnedto thelittle boy again.
"Ishould like to know where you got that pole" she said.
"Ibought it" responded Randolph.
"Youdon't mean to say you're going to take it to Italy?"
"YesI am going to take it to Italy" the child declared.
The younggirl glanced over the front of her dress and smoothed out a knotor two ofribbon. Then she rested her eyes upon the prospect again."WellI guess you had better leave it somewhere" she said after amoment.
"Areyou going to Italy?" Winterbourne inquired in a toneof greatrespect.
The younglady glanced at him again. "Yessir" she replied.And shesaid nothing more.
"Areyou--a-- going over the Simplon?" Winterbourne pursueda littleembarrassed.
"Idon't know" she said. "I suppose it's some mountain.Randolphwhat mountain are we going over?"
"Goingwhere?" the child demanded.
"ToItaly" Winterbourne explained.
"Idon't know" said Randolph. "I don't want to go toItaly.I want togo to America."
"OhItaly is a beautiful place!" rejoined the young man.
"Canyou get candy there?" Randolph loudly inquired.
"Ihope not" said his sister. "I guess you have hadenough candyand motherthinks so too."
"Ihaven't had any for ever so long--for a hundred weeks!"cried theboystill jumping about.
The younglady inspected her flounces and smoothed her ribbons again;andWinterbourne presently risked an observation upon the beautyof theview. He was ceasing to be embarrassedfor he had beguntoperceive that she was not in the least embarrassed herself.There hadnot been the slightest alteration in her charming complexion;she wasevidently neither offended nor flattered.If shelooked another way when he spoke to herand seemed notparticularlyto hear himthis was simply her habither manner.Yetas hetalked a little more and pointed out some of the objectsofinterest in the viewwith which she appeared quite unacquaintedshegradually gave him more of the benefit of her glance; and thenhe sawthat this glance was perfectly direct and unshrinking.It wasnothoweverwhat would have been called an immodest glancefor theyoung girl's eyes were singularly honest and fresh.They werewonderfully pretty eyes; andindeedWinterbourne had notseen for along time anything prettier than his fair countrywoman'svariousfeatures--her complexionher noseher earsher teeth.He had agreat relish for feminine beauty; he was addicted toobservingand analyzing it; and as regards this young lady's facehe madeseveral observations. It was not at all insipidbut itwas notexactly expressive; and though it was eminently delicateWinterbournementally accused it--very forgivingly--of a want of finish.He thoughtit very possible that Master Randolph's sister was a coquette;he wassure she had a spirit of her own; but in her brightsweetsuperficial little visage there was no mockeryno irony.Beforelong it became obvious that she was much disposedtowardconversation. She told him that they were going to Romefor thewinter--she and her mother and Randolph. She asked himif he wasa "real American"; she shouldn't have taken him for one;he seemedmore like a German--this was said after a little hesitation--especiallywhen he spoke. Winterbournelaughinganswered thathe had metGermans who spoke like Americansbut that he had notso far ashe rememberedmet an American who spoke like a German.Then heasked her if she should not be more comfortable in sittingupon thebench which he had just quitted. She answered that shelikedstanding up and walking about; but she presently sat down.She toldhim she was from New York State--"if you know where that is."Winterbournelearned more about her by catching hold of her smallslipperybrother and making him stand a few minutes by his side.
"Tellme your namemy boy" he said.
"RandolphC. Miller" said the boy sharply. "And I'll tell youher name";and heleveled his alpenstock at his sister.
"Youhad better wait till you are asked!" said this young ladycalmly.
"Ishould like very much to know your name" said Winterbourne.
"Hername is Daisy Miller!" cried the child. "But thatisn't her real name;that isn'ther name on her cards."
"It'sa pity you haven't got one of my cards!" said Miss Miller.
"Herreal name is Annie P. Miller" the boy went on.
"Askhim HIS name" said his sisterindicating Winterbourne.
But onthis point Randolph seemed perfectly indifferent;hecontinued to supply information with regard to his own family."Myfather's name is Ezra B. Miller" he announced."Myfather ain't in Europe; my father's in a betterplace thanEurope;."
Winterbourneimagined for a moment that this was the mannerin whichthe child had been taught to intimate that Mr. Millerhad beenremoved to the sphere of celestial reward.ButRandolph immediately added"My father's in Schenectady.He's got abig business. My father's richyou bet!"
"Well!"ejaculated Miss Millerlowering her parasol and lookingat theembroidered border. Winterbourne presently releasedthe childwho departeddragging his alpenstock along the path."Hedoesn't like Europe" said the young girl. "He wantsto goback."
"Yes;he wants to go right home. He hasn't got any boys here.There isone boy herebut he always goes round with a teacher;they won'tlet him play."
"Andyour brother hasn't any teacher?" Winterbourne inquired.
"Motherthought of getting him oneto travel round with us.There wasa lady told her of a very good teacher;anAmerican lady--perhaps you know her--Mrs. Sanders.I thinkshe came from Boston. She told her of this teacherand wethought of getting him to travel round with us.ButRandolph said he didn't want a teacher traveling round with us.He said hewouldn't have lessons when he was in the cars.And we AREin the cars about half the time. There was an Englishlady wemet in the cars--I think her name was Miss Featherstone;perhapsyou know her. She wanted to know why I didn't giveRandolphlessons--give him 'instruction' she called it.I guess hecould give me more instruction than I could give him.He's verysmart."
"Yes"said Winterbourne; "he seems very smart."
"Mother'sgoing to get a teacher for him as soon as we get to Italy.Can youget good teachers in Italy?"
"VerygoodI should think" said Winterbourne.
"Orelse she's going to find some school. He ought to learnsomemore. He's only nine. He's going to college."And inthis way Miss Miller continued to converse upon the affairsof herfamily and upon other topics. She sat there with herextremelypretty handsornamented with very brilliant ringsfolded inher lapand with her pretty eyes now resting uponthose ofWinterbournenow wandering over the gardenthe peoplewho passedbyand the beautiful view. She talked to Winterbourneas if shehad known him a long time. He found it very pleasant.It wasmany years since he had heard a young girl talk so much.It mighthave been said of this unknown young ladywho had comeand satdown beside him upon a benchthat she chattered.She wasvery quiet; she sat in a charmingtranquil attitude;but herlips and her eyes were constantly moving. She had a softslenderagreeable voiceand her tone was decidedly sociable.She gaveWinterbourne a history of her movements and intentionsand thoseof her mother and brotherin Europeand enumeratedinparticularthe various hotels at which they had stopped."ThatEnglish lady in the cars" she said--"Miss Featherstone--asked meif we didn't all live in hotels in America.I told herI had never been in so many hotels in my life as since Icame toEurope. I have never seen so many--it's nothing but hotels."But MissMiller did not make this remark with a querulous accent;sheappeared to be in the best humor with everything.Shedeclared that the hotels were very goodwhen once yougot usedto their waysand that Europe was perfectly sweet.She wasnot disappointed--not a bit. Perhaps it was becauseshe hadheard so much about it before. She had ever so manyintimatefriends that had been there ever so many times.And thenshe had had ever so many dresses and things from Paris.Whenevershe put on a Paris dress she felt as if shewere inEurope.
"Itwas a kind of a wishing cap" said Winterbourne.
"Yes"said Miss Miller without examining this analogy;"italways made me wish I was here. But I needn't havedone thatfor dresses. I am sure they send all the prettyones toAmerica; you see the most frightful things here.The onlything I don't like" she proceeded"is the society.Thereisn't any society; orif there isI don't knowwhere itkeeps itself. Do you? I suppose there is somesocietysomewherebut I haven't seen anything of it.I'm veryfond of societyand I have always had a great deal of it.I don'tmean only in Schenectadybut in New York.I used togo to New York every winter. In New York I had lotsofsociety. Last winter I had seventeen dinners given me;and threeof them were by gentlemen" added Daisy Miller."Ihave more friends in New York than in Schenectady--moregentleman friends; and more young lady friends too"sheresumed in a moment. She paused again for an instant;she waslooking at Winterbourne with all her prettiness in herlivelyeyes and in her lightslightly monotonous smile."Ihave always had" she said"a great deal of gentlemen'ssociety."
PoorWinterbourne was amusedperplexedand decidedly charmed.He hadnever yet heard a young girl express herself in justthisfashion; neverat leastsave in cases where to say suchthingsseemed a kind of demonstrative evidence of a certainlaxity ofdeportment. And yet was he to accuse Miss Daisy Millerof actualor potential inconduiteas they said at Geneva?He feltthat he had lived at Geneva so long that he had losta gooddeal; he had become dishabituated to the American tone.Neverindeedsince he had grown old enough to appreciate thingshad heencountered a young American girl of so pronounced a type as this.Certainlyshe was very charmingbut how deucedly sociable!Was shesimply a pretty girl from New York State? Were they alllike thatthe pretty girls who had a good deal of gentlemen's society?Or was shealso a designingan audaciousan unscrupulous young person?Winterbournehad lost his instinct in this matterand his reasoncould nothelp him. Miss Daisy Miller looked extremely innocent.Somepeople had told him thatafter allAmerican girlswereexceedingly innocent; and others had told him thatafter allthey were not. He was inclined to think Miss DaisyMiller wasa flirt--a pretty American flirt. He had neveras yethad any relations with young ladies of this category.He hadknownhere in Europetwo or three women--persons olderthan MissDaisy Millerand providedfor respectability's sakewithhusbands--who were great coquettes--dangerousterrible womenwith whomone's relations were liable to take a serious turn.But thisyoung girl was not a coquette in that sense; she wasveryunsophisticated; she was only a pretty American flirt.Winterbournewas almost grateful for having found the formulathatapplied to Miss Daisy Miller. He leaned back in his seat;heremarked to himself that she had the most charming nosehe hadever seen; he wondered what were the regular conditionsandlimitations of one's intercourse with a pretty American flirt.Itpresently became apparent that he was on the way to learn.
"Haveyou been to that old castle?" asked the young girlpointingwith herparasol tothe far-gleaming walls of the Chateau de Chillon.
"Yesformerlymore than once" said Winterbourne."YoutooI supposehave seen it?"
"No;we haven't been there. I want to go there dreadfully.Of courseI mean to go there. I wouldn't go away from herewithouthaving seen that old castle."
"It'sa very pretty excursion" said Winterbourne"and very easyto make.You candriveyou knowor you can go by the little steamer."
"Youcan go in the cars" said Miss Miller.
"Yes;you can go in the cars" Winterbourne assented.
"Ourcourier says they take you right up to the castle" the younggirlcontinued. "We were going last weekbut my mother gaveout.Shesuffers dreadfully from dyspepsia. She said she couldn't go.Randolphwouldn't go either; he says he doesn't think much of old castles.But Iguess we'll go this weekif we can get Randolph."
"Yourbrother is not interested in ancient monuments?"Winterbourneinquiredsmiling.
"Hesays he don't care much about old castles. He's only nine.He wantsto stay at the hotel. Mother's afraid to leave him aloneand thecourier won't stay with him; so we haven't been to many places.But itwill be too bad if we don't go up there." And Miss Millerpointedagain at the Chateau de Chillon.
"Ishould think it might be arranged" said Winterbourne."Couldn'tyou get some one to stay for the afternoon with Randolph?"
MissMiller looked at him a momentand thenvery placidly"Iwish YOU would stay with him!" she said.
Winterbournehesitated a moment. "I should much rather goto Chillonwith you."
"Withme?" asked the young girl with the same placidity.
She didn'triseblushingas a young girl at Geneva would have done;and yetWinterbourneconscious that he had been very boldthought itpossible she was offended. "With your mother"heanswered very respectfully.
But itseemed that both his audacity and his respect were lostupon MissDaisy Miller. "I guess my mother won't goafter all"she said. "She don't like to ride round in the afternoon.But didyou really mean what you said just now--that you wouldlike to goup there?"
"Mostearnestly" Winterbourne declared.
"Thenwe may arrange it. If mother will stay with RandolphI guessEugenio will."
"Eugenio?"the young man inquired.
"Eugenio'sour courier. He doesn't like to stay with Randolph;he's themost fastidious man I ever saw. But he's a splendid courier.I guesshe'll stay at home with Randolph if mother doesand thenwe can goto the castle."
Winterbournereflected for an instant as lucidly as possible--"we"could only mean Miss Daisy Miller and himself.Thisprogram seemed almost too agreeable for credence;he felt asif he ought to kiss the young lady's hand.Possiblyhe would have done so and quite spoiled the projectbut atthis moment another personpresumably Eugenioappeared.A tallhandsome manwith superb whiskerswearing a velvetmorningcoat and a brilliant watch chainapproached Miss Millerlookingsharply at her companion. "OhEugenio!" said MissMillerwith the friendliest accent.
Eugeniohad looked at Winterbourne from head to foot;he nowbowed gravely to the young lady. "I have the honorto informmademoiselle that luncheon is upon the table."
MissMiller slowly rose. "See hereEugenio!" she said;"I'mgoing to that old castleanyway."
"Tothe Chateau de Chillonmademoiselle?" the courier inquired."Mademoisellehas made arrangements?" he added in a tone which struckWinterbourneas very impertinent.
Eugenio'stone apparently threweven to Miss Miller's own apprehensiona slightlyironical light upon the young girl's situation.She turnedto Winterbourneblushing a little--a very little."Youwon't back out?" she said.
"Ishall not be happy till we go!" he protested.
"Andyou are staying in this hotel?" she went on."Andyou are really an American?"
Thecourier stood looking at Winterbourne offensively. The youngmanat leastthought his manner of looking an offense to Miss Miller;itconveyed an imputation that she "picked up" acquaintances. "I shallhave thehonor of presenting to you a person who will tell you all about me"he saidsmiling and referring to his aunt.
"Ohwellwe'll go some day" said Miss Miller.And shegave him a smile and turned away. She put upherparasol and walked back to the inn beside Eugenio.Winterbournestood looking after her; and as she moved awaydrawingher muslin furbelows over the gravelsaid to himselfthat shehad the tournure of a princess.
He hadhoweverengaged to do more than proved feasiblein promisingto presenthis auntMrs. Costelloto Miss Daisy Miller.As soon asthe former lady had got better of her headachehe waitedupon her in her apartment; andafter the properinquiriesin regard to her healthhe asked her if she hadobservedin the hotel an American family--a mammaa daughterand alittle boy.
"Anda courier?" said Mrs. Costello. "Oh yesI haveobserved them.Seenthem--heard them--and kept out of their way." Mrs.Costello wasa widowwith a fortune; a person of much distinctionwho frequentlyintimatedthatif she were not so dreadfully liable to sick headachesshe wouldprobably have left a deeper impress upon her time. She had alongpale facea high noseand a great deal of very striking white hairwhich shewore in large puffs and rouleaux over the top of her head.She hadtwo sons married in New York and another who was now in Europe.This youngman was amusing himself at Hamburgandthough he wason histravelswas rarely perceived to visit any particular cityat themoment selected by his mother for her own appearance there.Hernephewwho had come up to Vevey expressly to see herwas thereforemoreattentive than those whoas she saidwere nearer to her.He hadimbibed at Geneva the idea that one must always be attentiveto one'saunt. Mrs. Costello had not seen him for many yearsand shewas greatly pleased with himmanifesting her approbationbyinitiating him into many of the secrets of that social sway whichas shegave him to understandshe exerted in the American capital.Sheadmitted that she was very exclusive; butif he were acquainted withNew Yorkhe would see that one had to be. And her picture of theminutelyhierarchicalconstitution of the society of that citywhich she presentedto him inmany different lightswasto Winterbourne's imaginationalmostoppressively striking.
Heimmediately perceivedfrom her tonethat Miss Daisy Miller'splace inthe social scale was low. "I am afraid you don't approveof them"he said.
"Theyare very common" Mrs. Costello declared. "They arethe sortofAmericans that one does one's duty by not--not accepting."
"Ahyou don't accept them?" said the young man.
"Ican'tmy dear Frederick. I would if I couldbut I can't."
"Theyoung girl is very pretty" said Winterbourne in a moment.
"Ofcourse she's pretty. But she is very common."
"Isee what you meanof course" said Winterbourne after anotherpause.
"Shehas that charming look that they all have" his aunt resumed."Ican't think where they pick it up; and she dressesinperfection--noyou don't know how well she dresses.I can'tthink where they get their taste."
"Butmy dear auntshe is notafter alla Comanche savage."
"Sheis a young lady" said Mrs. Costello"who has an intimacywith hermamma's courier."
"Anintimacy with the courier?" the young man demanded.
"Ohthe mother is just as bad! They treat the courierlike afamiliar friend--like a gentleman. I shouldn't wonderif hedines with them. Very likely they have never seen a manwith suchgood mannerssuch fine clothesso like a gentleman.Heprobably corresponds to the young lady's idea of a count.He sitswith them in the garden in the evening.I think hesmokes."
Winterbournelistened with interest to these disclosures;theyhelped him to make up his mind about Miss Daisy.Evidentlyshe was rather wild. "Well" he said"I am nota courierand yet she was very charming to me."
"Youhad better have said at first" said Mrs. Costello with dignity"thatyou had made her acquaintance."
"Wesimply met in the gardenand we talked a bit."
"Toutbonnement! And pray what did you say?"
"Isaid I should take the liberty of introducing her to my admirableaunt."
"I ammuch obliged to you."
"Itwas to guarantee my respectability" said Winterbourne.
"Andpray who is to guarantee hers?"
"Ahyou are cruel!" said the young man. "She's a verynice young girl."
"Youdon't say that as if you believed it" Mrs. Costello observed.
"Sheis completely uncultivated" Winterbourne went on."Butshe is wonderfully prettyandin shortshe is very nice.To provethat I believe itI am going to take her to theChateau deChillon."
"Youtwo are going off there together? I should say itprovedjust the contrary. How long had you known hermay I askwhen this interesting project was formed?Youhaven't been twenty-four hours in the house."
"Ihave known her half an hour!" said Winterbournesmiling.
"Dearme!" cried Mrs. Costello. "What a dreadful girl!"
Her nephewwas silent for some moments. "You really thinkthen"he beganearnestlyand with a desire for trustworthy information--"youreallythink that--" But he paused again.
"Thinkwhatsir?" said his aunt.
"Thatshe is the sort of young lady who expects a mansooner or laterto carryher off?"
"Ihaven't the least idea what such young ladies expect a man to do.But Ireally think that you had better not meddle with little Americangirls thatare uncultivatedas you call them. You have lived too longout of thecountry. You will be sure to make some great mistake.You aretoo innocent."
"Mydear auntI am not so innocent" said Winterbournesmilingand curling his mustache.
"Youare guilty toothen!"
Winterbournecontinued to curl his mustache meditatively."Youwon't let the poor girl know you then?" he asked at last.
"Isit literally true that she is going to the Chateau de Chillon withyou?"
"Ithink that she fully intends it."
"Thenmy dear Frederick" said Mrs. Costello"I must decline thehonorof heracquaintance. I am an old womanbut I am not too oldthankHeavento beshocked!"
"Butdon't they all do these things--the young girls in America?"Winterbourneinquired.
Mrs.Costello stared a moment. "I should like to see mygranddaughtersdo them!"she declared grimly.
Thisseemed to throw some light upon the matterfor Winterbournerememberedto haveheard that his pretty cousins in New York were "tremendousflirts."IfthereforeMiss Daisy Miller exceeded the liberal margin allowed totheseyoung ladiesit was probable that anything might be expected of her.Winterbournewas impatient to see her againand he was vexed with himselfthatbyinstincthe should not appreciate her justly.
Though hewas impatient to see herhe hardly knew what he shouldsay to herabout his aunt's refusal to become acquainted with her;but hediscoveredpromptly enoughthat with Miss Daisy Miller therewas nogreat need of walking on tiptoe. He found her that evening inthegardenwandering about in the warm starlight like an indolent sylphandswinging to and fro the largest fan he had ever beheld.It was teno'clock. He had dined with his aunthad been sitting withher sincedinnerand had just taken leave of her till the morrow.Miss DaisyMiller seemed very glad to see him; she declared itwas thelongest evening she had ever passed.
"Haveyou been all alone?" he asked.
"Ihave been walking round with mother. But mother gets tiredwalkinground" she answered.
"Hasshe gone to bed?"
"No;she doesn't like to go to bed" said the young girl."Shedoesn't sleep--not three hours. She says shedoesn'tknow how she lives. She's dreadfully nervous.I guessshe sleeps more than she thinks. She's gone somewhereafterRandolph; she wants to try to get him to go to bed.He doesn'tlike to go to bed."
"Letus hope she will persuade him" observed Winterbourne.
"Shewill talk to him all she can; but he doesn't like her to talkto him"said Miss Daisyopening her fan. "She's going to tryto getEugenio to talk to him. But he isn't afraid of Eugenio.Eugenio'sa splendid courierbut he can't make much impressiononRandolph! I don't believe he'll go to bed before eleven."Itappeared that Randolph's vigil was in fact triumphantly prolongedforWinterbourne strolled about with the young girl for sometimewithout meeting her mother. "I have been looking roundfor thatlady you want to introduce me to" his companion resumed."She'syour aunt." Thenon Winterbourne's admitting the factandexpressing some curiosity as to how she had learned itshe saidshe had heard all about Mrs. Costello from the chambermaid.She wasvery quiet and very comme il faut; she wore white puffs;she spoketo no oneand she never dined at the table d'hote.Every twodays she had a headache. "I think that's a lovelydescriptionheadache and all!" said Miss Daisychattering alongin herthingay voice. "I want to know her ever so much.I knowjust what YOUR aunt would be; I know I should like her.She wouldbe very exclusive. I like a lady to be exclusive;I'm dyingto be exclusive myself. Wellwe ARE exclusivemother andI. We don't speak to everyone--or they don't speak to us.I supposeit's about the same thing. AnywayI shall be everso glad toknow your aunt."
Winterbournewas embarrassed. "She would be most happy" he said;"butI am afraid those headaches will interfere."
The younggirl looked at him through the dusk."ButI suppose she doesn't have a headache every day"she saidsympathetically.
Winterbournewas silent a moment. "She tells me she does"heanswered at lastnot knowing what to say.
Miss DaisyMiller stopped and stood looking at him. Her prettinesswas stillvisible in the darkness; she was opening and closing herenormousfan. "She doesn't want to know me!" she saidsuddenly."Whydon't you say so? You needn't be afraid. I'm not afraid!"And shegave a little laugh.
Winterbournefancied there was a tremor in her voice; he was touchedshockedmortifiedby it. "My dear young lady" he protested"sheknows no one.It's herwretched health."
The younggirl walked on a few stepslaughing still."Youneedn't be afraid" she repeated. "Why should shewantto knowme?" Then she paused again; she was close to the parapetof thegardenand in front of her was the starlit lake.There wasa vague sheen upon its surfaceand in the distancewere dimlyseen mountain forms. Daisy Miller looked out uponthemysterious prospect and then she gave another little laugh."Gracious!she IS exclusive!" she said. Winterbourne wonderedwhethershe was seriously woundedand for a moment almostwishedthat her sense of injury might be such as to make itbecomingin him to attempt to reassure and comfort her.He had apleasant sense that she would be very approachableforconsolatory purposes. He felt thenfor the instantquiteready to sacrifice his auntconversationally; to admitthat shewas a proudrude womanand to declare that they needn'tmind her. But before he had time to commit himself to thisperilousmixture of gallantry and impietythe young ladyresumingher walkgave an exclamation in quite another tone."Wellhere's Mother! I guess she hasn't got Randolph to go to bed."The figureof a lady appeared at a distancevery indistinctin thedarknessand advancing with a slow and wavering movement.Suddenlyit seemed to pause.
"Areyou sure it is your mother? Can you distinguish her in thisthickdusk?" Winterbourne asked.
"Well!"cried Miss Daisy Miller with a laugh; "I guess I know my ownmother.And whenshe has got on my shawltoo! She is always wearing my things."
The ladyin questionceasing to advancehovered vaguely about the spotat whichshe had checked her steps.
"I amafraid your mother doesn't see you" said Winterbourne."Orperhaps" he addedthinkingwith Miss Millerthe jokepermissible--"perhapsshe feels guilty about your shawl."
"Ohit's a fearful old thing!" the young girl replied serenely."Itold her she could wear it. She won't come here because shesees you."
"Ahthen" said Winterbourne"I had better leave you."
"Ohno; come on!" urged Miss Daisy Miller.
"I'mafraid your mother doesn't approve of my walking with you."
MissMiller gave him a serious glance. "It isn't for me;it's foryou--that isit's for HER. WellI don't know whoit's for! But mother doesn't like any of my gentlemen friends.She'sright down timid. She always makes a fuss if I introduceagentleman. But I DO introduce them--almost always.If Ididn't introduce my gentlemen friends to Mother"the younggirl added in her little softflat monotone"Ishouldn't think I was natural."
"Tointroduce me" said Winterbourne"you must know my name."And heproceeded to pronounce it.
"OhdearI can't say all that!" said his companion with a laugh.But bythis time they had come up to Mrs. Millerwhoas theydrew nearwalked to the parapet of the garden and leaned upon itlookingintently at the lake and turning her back to them."Mother!"said the young girl in a tone of decision.Upon thisthe elder lady turned round. "Mr. Winterbourne" saidMissDaisyMillerintroducing the young man very frankly and prettily."Common"she wasas Mrs. Costello had pronounced her;yet it wasa wonder to Winterbourne thatwith her commonnessshe had asingularly delicate grace.
Her motherwas a smallsparelight personwith awanderingeyea very exiguous noseand a large foreheaddecoratedwith a certain amount of thinmuch frizzled hair.Like herdaughterMrs. Miller was dressed with extreme elegance;she hadenormous diamonds in her ears. So far as Winterbournecouldobserveshe gave him no greeting--she certainly was notlooking athim. Daisy was near herpulling her shawl straight."Whatare you doingpoking round here?" this young lady inquiredbut by nomeans with that harshness of accent which her choiceof wordsmay imply.
"Idon't know" said her motherturning toward the lake again.
"Ishouldn't think you'd want that shawl!" Daisy exclaimed.
"WellI do!" her mother answered with a little laugh.
"Didyou get Randolph to go to bed?" asked the young girl.
"No;I couldn't induce him" said Mrs. Miller very gently."Hewants to talk to the waiter. He likes to talk to that waiter."
I wastelling Mr. Winterbourne" the young girl went on;and to theyoung man's ear her tone might have indicatedthat shehad been uttering his name all her life.
"Ohyes!" said Winterbourne; "I have the pleasure of knowingyour son."
Randolph'smamma was silent; she turned her attention to the lake.But atlast she spoke. "WellI don't see how he lives!"
"Anyhowit isn't so bad as it was at Dover" said Daisy Miller.
"Andwhat occurred at Dover?" Winterbourne asked.
"Hewouldn't go to bed at all. I guess he sat up all nightin thepublic parlor. He wasn't in bed at twelve o'clock:I knowthat."
"Itwas half-past twelve" declared Mrs. Miller with mild emphasis.
"Doeshe sleep much during the day?" Winterbourne demanded.
"Iguess he doesn't sleep much" Daisy rejoined.
"Iwish he would!" said her mother. "It seems as if hecouldn't."
"Ithink he's real tiresome" Daisy pursued.
Thenforsome momentsthere was silence. "WellDaisy Miller"said theelder ladypresently"I shouldn't think you'd wantto talkagainst your own brother!"
"Wellhe IS tiresomeMother" said Daisyquite withouttheasperity of a retort.
"He'sonly nine" urged Mrs. Miller.
"Wellhe wouldn't go to that castle" said the young girl."I'mgoing there with Mr. Winterbourne."
To thisannouncementvery placidly madeDaisy's mamma offerednoresponse. Winterbourne took for granted that she deeplydisapprovedof the projected excursion; but he said to himselfthat shewas a simpleeasily managed personand that a fewdeferentialprotestations would take the edge from her displeasure."Yes"he began; "your daughter has kindly allowed me the honorof beingher guide."
Mrs.Miller's wandering eyes attached themselveswith a sort ofappealingairto Daisywhohoweverstrolled a few steps farthergentlyhumming to herself. "I presume you will go in the cars"said hermother.
"Yesor in the boat" said Winterbourne.
"Wellof courseI don't know" Mrs. Miller rejoined."Ihave never been to that castle."
"Itis a pity you shouldn't go" said Winterbournebeginningto feel reassured as to her opposition.And yet hewas quite prepared to find thatas a matter of courseshe meantto accompany her daughter.
"We'vebeen thinking ever so much about going" she pursued;"butit seems as if we couldn't. Of course Daisy--she wantsto goround. But there's a lady here--I don't know her name--she saysshe shouldn't think we'd want to go to see castlesHERE; sheshould think we'd want to wait till we gotto Italy. It seems as if there would be so many there"continuedMrs. Miller with an air of increasing confidence."Ofcourse we only want to see the principal ones.We visitedseveral in England" she presently added.
"Ahyes! in England there are beautiful castles" said Winterbourne."ButChillon hereis very well worth seeing."
"Wellif Daisy feels up to it--" said Mrs. Millerin a toneimpregnatedwith a sense of the magnitude of the enterprise."Itseems as if there was nothing she wouldn't undertake."
"OhI think she'll enjoy it!" Winterbourne declared.And hedesired more and more to make it a certainty that he wasto havethe privilege of a tete-a-tete with the young ladywho wasstill strolling along in front of themsoftly vocalizing."Youare not disposedmadam" he inquired"to undertake ityourself?"
Daisy'smother looked at him an instant askanceand then walkedforward insilence. Then--"I guess she had better go alone"she saidsimply. Winterbourne observed to himself that thiswas a verydifferent type of maternity from that of the vigilantmatronswho massed themselves in the forefront of socialintercoursein the dark old city at the other end of the lake.But hismeditations were interrupted by hearing his name verydistinctlypronounced by Mrs. Miller's unprotected daughter.
"Mr.Winterbourne!" murmured Daisy.
"Mademoiselle!"said the young man.
"Don'tyou want to take me out in a boat?"
"Atpresent?" he asked.
"Ofcourse!" said Daisy.
"WellAnnie Miller!" exclaimed her mother.
"Ibeg youmadamto let her go" said Winterbourne ardently;for he hadnever yet enjoyed the sensation of guidingthroughthe summer starlight a skiff freighted with a freshandbeautiful young girl.
"Ishouldn't think she'd want to" said her mother."Ishould think she'd rather go indoors."
"I'msure Mr. Winterbourne wants to take me" Daisy declared."He'sso awfully devoted!"
"Iwill row you over to Chillon in the starlight."
"Idon't believe it!" said Daisy.
"Well!"ejaculated the elder lady again.
"Youhaven't spoken to me for half an hour" her daughter went on.
"Ihave been having some very pleasant conversation withyourmother" said Winterbourne.
"WellI want you to take me out in a boat!" Daisy repeated. They hadallstoppedand she had turned round and was looking at Winterbourne.Her facewore a charming smileher pretty eyes were gleamingshe wasswinging her great fan about. No; it's impossible to beprettierthan thatthought Winterbourne.
"Thereare half a dozen boats moored at that landing place" he saidpointingto certain steps which descended from the garden to the lake."Ifyou will do me the honor to accept my armwe will go and selectone ofthem."
Daisystood there smiling; she threw back her head and gave a littlelightlaugh. "I like a gentleman to be formal!" shedeclared.
"Iassure you it's a formal offer."
"Iwas bound I would make you say something" Daisy went on.
"Youseeit's not very difficult" said Winterbourne."ButI am afraid you are chaffing me."
"Ithink notsir" remarked Mrs. Miller very gently.
"Dothenlet me give you a row" he said to the young girl.
"It'squite lovelythe way you say that!" cried Daisy.
"Itwill be still more lovely to do it."
"Yesit would be lovely!" said Daisy. But she made no movementtoaccompany him; she only stood there laughing.
"Ishould think you had better find out what time it is"interposedher mother.
"Itis eleven o'clockmadam" said a voicewith a foreign accentout of theneighboring darkness; and Winterbourneturningperceivedthe floridpersonage who was in attendance upon the two ladies.He hadapparently just approached.
"OhEugenio" said Daisy"I am going out in a boat!"
Eugeniobowed. "At eleven o'clockmademoiselle?"
"I amgoing with Mr. Winterbourne--this very minute."
"Dotell her she can't" said Mrs. Miller to the courier.
"Ithink you had better not go out in a boatmademoiselle"Eugenio declared.
Winterbournewished to Heaven this pretty girl were not so familiarwith hercourier; but he said nothing.
"Isuppose you don't think it's proper!" Daisy exclaimed."Eugeniodoesn't think anything's proper."
"I amat your service" said Winterbourne.
"Doesmademoiselle propose to go alone?" asked Eugenio of Mrs. Miller.
"Ohno; with this gentleman!" answered Daisy's mamma.
Thecourier looked for a moment at Winterbourne--the latterthought hewas smiling--and thensolemnlywith a bow"Asmademoiselle pleases!" he said.
"OhI hoped you would make a fuss!" said Daisy."Idon't care to go now."
"Imyself shall make a fuss if you don't go" said Winterbourne.
"That'sall I want--a little fuss!" And the young girl beganto laughagain.
"Mr.Randolph has gone to bed!" the courier announced frigidly.
"OhDaisy; now we can go!" said Mrs. Miller.
Daisyturned away from Winterbournelooking at himsmilingand fanning herself. "Good night" she said;"Ihope you are disappointedor disgustedor something!"
He lookedat hertaking the hand she offered him."I ampuzzled" he answered.
"WellI hope it won't keep you awake!" she said very smartly;andunderthe escort of the privileged Eugeniothe two ladiespassedtoward the house.
Winterbournestood looking after them; he was indeed puzzled.Helingered beside the lake for a quarter of an hourturning overthemystery of the young girl's sudden familiarities and caprices.But theonly very definite conclusion he came to was that he shouldenjoydeucedly "going off" with her somewhere.
Two daysafterward he went off with her to the Castle of Chillon.He waitedfor her in the large hall of the hotelwhere the courierstheservantsthe foreign touristswere lounging about and staring.It was notthe place he should have chosenbut she had appointed it.She cametripping downstairsbuttoning her long glovessqueezingher folded parasol against her pretty figuredressed inthe perfection of a soberly elegant traveling costume.Winterbournewas a man of imagination andas our ancestorsused tosaysensibility; as he looked at her dress andon thegreat staircaseher little rapidconfiding stephe felt asif there were something romantic going forward.He couldhave believed he was going to elope with her.He passedout with her among all the idle people that wereassembledthere; they were all looking at her very hard;she hadbegun to chatter as soon as she joined him.Winterbourne'spreference had been that they should beconveyedto Chillon in a carriage; but she expressed a livelywish to goin the little steamer; she declared that she hada passionfor steamboats. There was always such a lovelybreezeupon the waterand you saw such lots of people.The sailwas not longbut Winterbourne's companion found timeto say agreat many things. To the young man himself theirlittleexcursion was so much of an escapade--an adventure--thatevenallowing for her habitual sense of freedomhe hadsome expectation of seeing her regard it in the same way.But itmust be confessed thatin this particularhe wasdisappointed. Daisy Miller was extremely animatedshe was incharming spirits; but she was apparently not atallexcited; she was not fluttered; she avoided neither his eyesnor thoseof anyone else; she blushed neither when she lookedat him norwhen she felt that people were looking at her.Peoplecontinued to look at her a great dealand Winterbourne tookmuchsatisfaction in his pretty companion's distinguished air.He hadbeen a little afraid that she would talk loudlaugh overmuchand evenperhapsdesire to move about the boat a good deal.But hequite forgot his fears; he sat smilingwith hiseyes uponher facewhilewithout moving from her placeshedelivered herself of a great number of original reflections.It was themost charming garrulity he had ever heard.he hadassented to the idea that she was "common"; but was she soafter allor was he simply getting used to her commonness?Herconversation was chiefly of what metaphysicians term theobjectivecastbut every now and then it took a subjective turn.
"Whaton EARTH are you so grave about?" she suddenly demandedfixing heragreeable eyes upon Winterbourne's.
"Am Igrave?" he asked. "I had an idea I was grinning fromear to ear."
"Youlook as if you were taking me to a funeral. If that's a grinyour earsare very near together."
"Shouldyou like me to dance a hornpipe on the deck?"
"Praydoand I'll carry round your hat. It will pay the expensesof ourjourney."
"Inever was better pleased in my life" murmured Winterbourne.
She lookedat him a moment and then burst into a little laugh."Ilike to make you say those things! You're a queer mixture!"
In thecastleafter they had landedthe subjective elementdecidedlyprevailed. Daisy tripped about the vaulted chambersrustledher skirts in the corkscrew staircasesflirted back witha prettylittle cry and a shudder from the edge of the oubliettesand turneda singularly well-shaped ear to everything thatWinterbournetold her about the place. But he saw that shecared verylittle for feudal antiquities and that the duskytraditionsof Chillon made but a slight impression upon her.They hadthe good fortune to have been able to walk about withoutothercompanionship than that of the custodian; and Winterbournearrangedwith this functionary that they should not be hurried--that theyshould linger and pause wherever they chose. The custodianinterpretedthe bargain generously--Winterbourneon his sidehad beengenerous--and ended by leaving them quite to themselves.MissMiller's observations were not remarkable for logical consistency;foranything she wanted to say she was sure to find a pretext.She founda great many pretexts in the rugged embrasures of Chillonfor askingWinterbourne sudden questions about himself--his familyhisprevious historyhis tasteshis habitshis intentions--and forsupplyinginformation upon corresponding points in her own personality.Of her owntasteshabitsand intentions Miss Miller was preparedto givethe most definiteand indeed the most favorable account.
"WellI hope you know enough!" she said to her companionafter hehad told her the history of the unhappy Bonivard."Inever saw a man that knew so much!" The history ofBonivardhadevidentlyas they saygone into one ear and out of the other.But Daisywent on to say that she wished Winterbourne would travelwith themand "go round" with them; they might know somethingin thatcase. "Don't you want to come and teach Randolph?"she asked.Winterbournesaid that nothing could possibly please him so muchbut thathe unfortunately other occupations. "Other occupations?I don'tbelieve it!" said Miss Daisy. "What do you mean?You arenot in business." The young man admitted that he was notinbusiness; but he had engagements whicheven within a day or twowouldforce him to go back to Geneva. "Ohbother!" shesaid;"Idon't believe it!" and she began to talk about something else.But a fewmoments laterwhen he was pointing out to her the prettydesign ofan antique fireplaceshe broke out irrelevantly"Youdon't mean to say you are going back to Geneva?"
"Itis a melancholy fact that I shall have to return to Geneva tomorrow."
"WellMr. Winterbourne" said Daisy"I think you're horrid!"
"Ohdon't say such dreadful things!" said Winterbourne--"justat thelast!"
"Thelast!" cried the young girl; "I call it the first. Ihave halfa mind toleave you here and go straight back to the hotel alone."And forthe next ten minutes she did nothing but call him horrid.PoorWinterbourne was fairly bewildered; no young lady had as yet donehim thehonor to be so agitated by the announcement of his movements.Hiscompanionafter thisceased to pay any attention to thecuriositiesof Chillon or the beauties of the lake; she opened fireupon themysterious charmer in Geneva whom she appeared to haveinstantlytaken it for granted that he was hurrying back to see.How didMiss Daisy Miller know that there was a charmer in Geneva?Winterbournewho denied the existence of such a personwas quiteunable to discoverand he was divided between amazementat therapidity of her induction and amusement at the franknessof herpersiflage. She seemed to himin all thisanextraordinary mixture of innocence and crudity. "Does sheneverallow youmore than three days at a time?" asked Daisy ironically."Doesn'tshe give you a vacation in summer? There's no one so hardworked butthey can get leave to go off somewhere at this season.I supposeif you stay another dayshe'll come after you in the boat.Do waitover till Fridayand I will go down to the landing to seeherarrive!" Winterbourne began to think he had been wrong tofeeldisappointedin the temper in which the young lady had embarked.If he hadmissed the personal accentthe personal accent wasnow makingits appearance. It sounded very distinctlyat lastin hertelling him she would stop "teasing" him if he wouldpromisehersolemnly to come down to Rome in the winter.
"That'snot a difficult promise to make" said Winterbourne."Myaunt has taken an apartment in Rome for the winter and hasalreadyasked me to come and see her."
"Idon't want you to come for your aunt" said Daisy; "I wantyouto comefor me." And this was the only allusion that the youngman wasever to hear her make to his invidious kinswoman.Hedeclared thatat any ratehe would certainly come.After thisDaisy stopped teasing. Winterbourne took a carriageand theydrove back to Vevey in the dusk; the young girlwas veryquiet.
In theevening Winterbourne mentioned to Mrs. Costello that he had spenttheafternoon at Chillon with Miss Daisy Miller.
"TheAmericans--of the courier?" asked this lady.
"Ahhappily" said Winterbourne"the courier stayed at home."
"Shewent with you all alone?"
Mrs.Costello sniffed a little at her smelling bottle."Andthat" she exclaimed"is the young person whom you wantedme toknow!"
Winterbournewho had returned to Geneva the day after hisexcursionto Chillonwent to Rome toward the end of January.His aunthad been established there for several weeksand he hadreceived a couple of letters from her."Thosepeople you were so devoted to last summer at Veveyhaveturned up herecourier and all" she wrote."Theyseem to have made several acquaintancesbut the couriercontinuesto be the most intime. The young ladyhoweveris alsovery intimate with some third-rate Italianswith whomshe rackets about in a way that makes much talk.Bring methat pretty novel of Cherbuliez's--Paule Mere--and don'tcome later than the 23rd."
In thenatural course of eventsWinterbourneon arriving in Romewouldpresently have ascertained Mrs. Miller's address at the Americanbanker'sand have gone to pay his compliments to Miss Daisy."Afterwhat happened at VeveyI think I may certainly call upon them"he said toMrs. Costello.
"Ifafter what happens--at Vevey and everywhere--you desire to keep uptheacquaintanceyou are very welcome. Of course a man may knoweveryone.Men arewelcome to the privilege!"
"Praywhat is it that happens--herefor instance?" Winterbournedemanded.
"Thegirl goes about alone with her foreigners. As to whathappensfurtheryou must apply elsewhere for information.She haspicked up half a dozen of the regular Romanfortunehuntersand she takes them about to people's houses.When shecomes to a party she brings with her a gentlemanwith agood deal of manner and a wonderful mustache."
"Andwhere is the mother?"
"Ihaven't the least idea. They are very dreadful people."
Winterbournemeditated a moment. "They are very ignorant--veryinnocent only. Depend upon it they are not bad."
"Theyare hopelessly vulgar" said Mrs. Costello. "Whetheror no beinghopelesslyvulgar is being 'bad' is a question for the metaphysicians.They arebad enough to dislikeat any rate; and for this short lifethat isquite enough."
The newsthat Daisy Miller was surrounded by half a dozen wonderfulmustacheschecked Winterbourne's impulse to go straightway to see her.He hadperhapsnot definitely flattered himself that he had madeanineffaceable impression upon her heartbut he was annoyed at hearingof a stateof affairs so little in harmony with an image that had latelyflitted inand out of his own meditations; the image of a very prettygirllooking out of an old Roman window and asking herself urgentlywhen Mr.Winterbourne would arrive. Ifhoweverhe determined to waita littlebefore reminding Miss Miller of his claims to her considerationhe wentvery soon to call upon two or three other friends.One ofthese friends was an American lady who had spent severalwinters atGenevawhere she had placed her children at school.She was avery accomplished womanand she lived in the Via Gregoriana.Winterbournefound her in a little crimson drawing room on a third floor;the roomwas filled with southern sunshine. He had not been there tenminuteswhen theservant came inannouncing "Madame Mila!" Thisannouncementwaspresently followed by the entrance of little Randolph Millerwhostopped in the middle of the room and stood staring at Winterbourne.An instantlater his pretty sister crossed the threshold; and thenafter aconsiderable intervalMrs. Miller slowly advanced.
"Iknow you!" said Randolph.
"I'msure you know a great many things" exclaimed Winterbournetaking himby the hand. "How is your education coming on?"
Daisy wasexchanging greetings very prettily with her hostessbut whenshe heard Winterbourne's voice she quickly turned her head."WellI declare!" she said.
"Itold you I should comeyou know" Winterbourne rejoinedsmiling.
"WellI didn't believe it" said Miss Daisy.
"I ammuch obliged to you" laughed the young man.
"Youmight have come to see me!" said Daisy.
"Iarrived only yesterday."
"Idon't believe tte that!" the young girl declared.
Winterbourneturned with a protesting smile to her motherbut thisladyevaded his glanceandseating herselffixed her eyes uponher son. "We've got a bigger place than this" said Randolph."It'sall gold on the walls."
Mrs.Miller turned uneasily in her chair. "I told you if I wereto bring youyou wouldsay something!" she murmured.
"Itold YOU!" Randolph exclaimed. "I tell YOUsir!"he addedjocoselygiving Winterbourne a thump on the knee."ItIS biggertoo!"
Daisy hadentered upon a lively conversation with her hostess;Winterbournejudged it becoming to address a few words to her mother."Ihope you have been well since we parted at Vevey" he said.
Mrs.Miller now certainly looked at him--at his chin."Notvery wellsir" she answered.
"She'sgot the dyspepsia" said Randolph. "I've got it too.Father'sgot it. I've got it most!"
Thisannouncementinstead of embarrassing Mrs. Millerseemed torelieve her. "I suffer from the liver" she said."Ithink it's this climate; it's less bracing than Schenectadyespeciallyin the winter season. I don't know whether you knowwe resideat Schenectady. I was saying to Daisy that I certainlyhadn'tfound any one like Dr. Davisand I didn't believe I should.OhatSchenectady he stands first; they think everything of him.He has somuch to doand yet there was nothing he wouldn't do for me.He said henever saw anything like my dyspepsiabut he wasbound tocure it. I'm sure there was nothing he wouldn't try.He wasjust going to try something new when we came off.Mr. Millerwanted Daisy to see Europe for herself. But I wrote toMr. Millerthat it seems as if I couldn't get on without Dr. Davis.AtSchenectady he stands at the very top; and there's a great dealofsickness theretoo. It affects my sleep."
Winterbournehad a good deal of pathological gossip with Dr. Davis's patientduringwhich Daisy chattered unremittingly to her own companion.The youngman asked Mrs. Miller how she was pleased with Rome."WellI must say I am disappointed" she answered. "We hadheard so muchabout it;I suppose we had heard too much. But we couldn't help that.We hadbeen led to expect something different."
"Ahwait a littleand you will become very fond of it" saidWinterbourne.
"Ihate it worse and worse every day!" cried Randolph.
"Youare like the infant Hannibal" said Winterbourne.
"NoI ain't!" Randolph declared at a venture.
"Youare not much like an infant" said his mother. "Butwe haveseenplaces" she resumed"that I should put a long way beforeRome."And inreply to Winterbourne's interrogation"There's Zurich"sheconcluded"I think Zurich is lovely; and we hadn't heard halfso muchabout it."
"Thebest place we've seen is the City of Richmond!" said Randolph.
"Hemeans the ship" his mother explained. "We crossed inthat ship.Randolphhad a good time on the City of Richmond."
"It'sthe best place I've seen" the child repeated."Onlyit was turned the wrong way."
"Wellwe've got to turn the right way some time"said Mrs.Miller with a little laugh. Winterbourne expressedthe hopethat her daughter at least found some gratificationin Romeand she declared that Daisy was quite carried away."It'son account of the society--the society's splendid.She goesround everywhere; she has made a great numberofacquaintances. Of course she goes round more than I do.I must saythey have been very sociable; they have takenher rightin. And then she knows a great many gentlemen.Ohshethinks there's nothing like Rome. Of courseit's agreat deal pleasanter for a young lady if she knowsplenty ofgentlemen."
By thistime Daisy had turned her attention again to Winterbourne."I'vebeen telling Mrs. Walker how mean you were!" the young girlannounced.
"Andwhat is the evidence you have offered?" asked Winterbourneratherannoyed at Miss Miller's want of appreciation of the zeal ofan admirerwho on his way down to Rome had stopped neither at Bolognanor atFlorencesimply because of a certain sentimental impatience.Heremembered that a cynical compatriot had once told him thatAmericanwomen--the pretty onesand this gave a largeness to the axiom--were atonce the most exacting in the world and the least endowedwith asense of indebtedness.
"Whyyou were awfully mean at Vevey" said Daisy."Youwouldn't do anything. You wouldn't stay there whenI askedyou."
"Mydearest young lady" cried Winterbournewith eloquence"haveI come all the way to Rome to encounter your reproaches?"
"Justhear him say that!" said Daisy to her hostessgiving a twist toa bowon thislady's dress. "Did you ever hear anything so quaint?"
"Soquaintmy dear?" murmured Mrs. Walker in the tone of apartisanof Winterbourne.
"WellI don't know" said Daisyfingering Mrs. Walker's ribbons."Mrs.WalkerI want to tell you something."
"Mother-r"interposed Randolphwith his rough ends to his words"Itell you you've got to go. Eugenio'll raise--something!"
"I'mnot afraid of Eugenio" said Daisy with a toss of her head."LookhereMrs. Walker" she went on"you know I'm comingto yourparty."
"I amdelighted to hear it."
"I'vegot a lovely dress!"
"I amvery sure of that."
"ButI want to ask a favor--permission to bring a friend."
"Ishall be happy to see any of your friends" said Mrs. Walkerturningwith a smile to Mrs. Miller.
"Ohthey are not my friends" answered Daisy's mammasmilingshyly in her own fashion. "I never spoke to them."
"It'san intimate friend of mine--Mr. Giovanelli" said Daisy withouta tremorin herclear little voice or a shadow on her brilliant little face.
Mrs.Walker was silent a moment; she gave a rapid glance at Winterbourne."Ishall be glad to see Mr. Giovanelli" she then said.
"He'san Italian" Daisy pursued with the prettiest serenity."He'sa great friend of mine; he's the handsomest man in the world--except Mr.Winterbourne! He knows plenty of Italiansbut he wantsto knowsome Americans. He thinks ever so much of Americans.He'stremendously clever. He's perfectly lovely!"
It wassettled that this brilliant personage should be brought toMrs.Walker's partyand then Mrs. Miller prepared to take her leave."Iguess we'll go back to the hotel" she said.
"Youmay go back to the hotelMotherbut I'm going to takea walk"said Daisy.
"She'sgoing to walk with Mr. Giovanelli" Randolph proclaimed.
"I amgoing to the Pincio" said Daisysmiling.
"Alonemy dear--at this hour?" Mrs. Walker asked.Theafternoon was drawing to a close--it was the hour forthe throngof carriages and of contemplative pedestrians."Idon't think it's safemy dear" said Mrs. Walker.
"Neitherdo I" subjoined Mrs. Miller. "You'll get the feveras sure asyou live. Remember what Dr. Davis told you!"
"Giveher some medicine before she goes" said Randolph.
Thecompany had risen to its feet; Daisystill showing her pretty teethbent overand kissed her hostess. "Mrs. Walkeryou are tooperfect"she said. "I'm not going alone; I am going to meet a friend."
"Yourfriend won't keep you from getting the fever"Mrs.Miller observed.
"Isit Mr. Giovanelli?" asked the hostess.
Winterbournewas watching the young girl; at this question hisattentionquickened. She stood theresmiling and smoothingher bonnetribbons; she glanced at Winterbourne. Thenwhile sheglancedand smiledshe answeredwithout a shade of hesitation"Mr.Giovanelli--the beautiful Giovanelli."
"Mydear young friend" said Mrs. Walkertaking her handpleadingly"don'twalk off to the Pincio at this hour to meet a beautiful Italian."
"Wellhe speaks English" said Mrs. Miller.
"Graciousme!" Daisy exclaimed"I don't to do anythingimproper.There's aneasy way to settle it." She continued to glance atWinterbourne."ThePincio is only a hundred yards distant; and if Mr. Winterbournewere aspolite as he pretendshe would offer to walk with me!"
Winterbourne'spoliteness hastened to affirm itselfand theyoung girl gave him gracious leave to accompany her.Theypassed downstairs before her motherand at the door WinterbourneperceivedMrs. Miller's carriage drawn upwith the ornamentalcourierwhose acquaintance he had made at Vevey seated within."GoodbyeEugenio!" cried Daisy; "I'm going to take a walk."Thedistance from the Via Gregoriana to the beautifulgarden atthe other end of the Pincian Hill isin factrapidlytraversed. As the day was splendidhoweverand theconcourseof vehicleswalkersand loungers numerousthe youngAmericans found their progress much delayed.This factwas highly agreeable to Winterbournein spite of hisconsciousnessof his singular situation. The slow-movingidlygazingRoman crowd bestowed much attention upon the extremelyprettyyoung foreign lady who was passing through it upon his arm;and hewondered what on earth had been in Daisy's mind when sheproposedto expose herselfunattendedto its appreciation.His ownmissionto her senseapparentlywas to consignher to thehands of Mr. Giovanelli; but Winterbourneat onceannoyedand gratifiedresolved that he would do no such thing.
"Whyhaven't you been to see me?" asked Daisy. "You can'tget out ofthat."
"Ihave had the honor of telling you that I have only just steppedout of thetrain."
"Youmust have stayed in the train a good while after it stopped!"cried theyoung girl with her little laugh. "I suppose you wereasleep.You havehad time to go to see Mrs. Walker."
"Iknew Mrs. Walker--" Winterbourne began to explain.
"Iknow where you knew her. You knew her at Geneva.She toldme so. Wellyou knew me at Vevey. That's just as good.So youought to have come." She asked him no other questionthan this;she began to prattle about her own affairs."We'vegot splendid rooms at the hotel; Eugenio says they'rethe bestrooms in Rome. We are going to stay all winterif wedon't die of the fever; and I guess we'll stay then.It's agreat deal nicer than I thought; I thought it wouldbefearfully quiet; I was sure it would be awfully poky.I was surewe should be going round all the time with one of thosedreadfulold men that explain about the pictures and things.But weonly had about a week of thatand now I'm enjoying myself.I knowever so many peopleand they are all so charming.Thesociety's extremely select. There are all kinds--EnglishandGermansand Italians. I think I like the English best.I liketheir style of conversation. But there are somelovelyAmericans. I never saw anything so hospitable.There'ssomething or other every day. There's not much dancing;but I mustsay I never thought dancing was everything.I wasalways fond of conversation. I guess I shallhaveplenty at Mrs. Walker'sher rooms are so small."When theyhad passed the gate of the Pincian GardensMissMiller began to wonder where Mr. Giovanelli might be."Wehad better go straight to that place in front" she said"whereyou look at the view."
"Icertainly shall not help you to find him" Winterbournedeclared.
"ThenI shall find him without you" cried Miss Daisy.
"Youcertainly won't leave me!" cried Winterbourne.
She burstinto her little laugh. "Are you afraid you'll get lost--or runover? But there's Giovanellileaning against that tree.He'sstaring at the women in the carriages: did you ever seeanythingso cool?"
Winterbourneperceived at some distance a little man standing withfoldedarms nursing his cane. He had a handsome facean artfullypoisedhata glass in one eyeand a nosegay in his buttonhole.Winterbournelooked at him a moment and then said"Do you meanto speakto that man?"
"Do Imean to speak to him? Whyyou don't suppose I meantocommunicate by signs?"
"Prayunderstandthen" said Winterbourne"that I intendto remainwith you."
Daisystopped and looked at himwithout a sign of troubledconsciousnessin her facewith nothing but the presence of hercharmingeyes and her happy dimples. "Wellshe's a cool one!"thoughtthe young man.
"Idon't like the way you say that" said Daisy."It'stoo imperious."
"Ibeg your pardon if I say it wrong. The main point is to giveyou anidea of my meaning."
The younggirl looked at him more gravelybut with eyes that wereprettierthan ever. "I have never allowed a gentleman to dictate tomeor tointerfere with anything I do."
"Ithink you have made a mistake" said Winterbourne."Youshould sometimes listen to a gentleman--the right one."
Daisybegan to laugh again. "I do nothing but listen togentlemen!"sheexclaimed. "Tell me if Mr. Giovanelli is the right one?"
Thegentleman with the nosegay in his bosom had now perceived our twofriendsand wasapproaching the young girl with obsequious rapidity. He bowedtoWinterbourneas well as to the latter's companion; he had a brilliant smileanintelligent eye; Winterbourne thought him not a bad-looking fellow.But henevertheless said to Daisy"Nohe's not the right one."
Daisyevidently had a natural talent for performing introductions;shementioned the name of each of her companions to the other.Shestrolled alone with one of them on each side of her; Mr. Giovanelliwho spokeEnglish very cleverly--Winterbourne afterward learnedthat hehad practiced the idiom upon a great many American heiresses--addressedher a great deal of very polite nonsense; he was extremelyurbaneand the young Americanwho said nothingreflected uponthatprofundity of Italian cleverness which enables people to appearmoregracious in proportion as they are more acutely disappointed.Giovanelliof coursehad counted upon something more intimate;he had notbargained for a party of three. But he kept histemper ina manner which suggested far-stretching intentions.Winterbourneflattered himself that he had taken his measure."Heis not a gentleman" said the young American;"heis only a clever imitation of one. He is a music masteror apenny-a-lineror a third-rate artist. D__n his good looks!"Mr.Giovanelli had certainly a very pretty face; but Winterbourne felta superiorindignation at his own lovely fellow countrywoman's notknowingthe difference between a spurious gentleman and a real one.Giovanellichattered and jested and made himself wonderfully agreeable.It wastrue thatif he was an imitationthe imitation was brilliant."Nevertheless"Winterbourne said to himself"a nice girl ought to know!"And thenhe came back to the question whether this wasin facta nicegirl. Would a nice girleven allowing for her being a littleAmericanflirtmake a rendezvous with a presumably low-lived foreigner?Therendezvous in this caseindeedhad been in broad daylight and inthe mostcrowded corner of Romebut was it not impossible to regardthe choiceof these circumstances as a proof of extreme cynicism?Singularthough it may seemWinterbourne was vexed that the young girlin joiningher amorososhould not appear more impatientof his owncompanyand he was vexed because of his inclination.It wasimpossible to regard her as a perfectly well-conductedyounglady; she was wanting in a certain indispensable delicacy.It wouldtherefore simplify matters greatly to be able to treather as theobject of one of those sentiments which are called byromancers"lawless passions." That she should seem to wish toget ridof himwould help him to think more lightly of herand to be ableto thinkmore lightly of her would make her much less perplexing.But Daisyon this occasioncontinued to present herself as aninscrutablecombination of audacity and innocence.
She hadbeen walking some quarter of an hourattended by hertwocavaliersand responding in a tone of very childish gaietyas itseemed to Winterbourneto the pretty speechesof Mr.Giovanelliwhen a carriage that had detacheditselffrom the revolving train drew up beside the path.At thesame moment Winterbourne perceived that his friendMrs.Walker--the lady whose house he had lately left--was seatedin the vehicle and was beckoning to him.LeavingMiss Miller's sidehe hastened to obey her summons.Mrs.Walker was flushed; she wore an excited air."Itis really too dreadful" she said. "That girl mustnot dothis sortof thing. She must not walk here with you two men.Fiftypeople have noticed her."
Winterbourneraised his eyebrows. "I think it's a pity to maketoo muchfuss about it."
"It'sa pity to let the girl ruin herself!"
"Sheis very innocent" said Winterbourne.
"She'svery crazy!" cried Mrs. Walker. "Did you ever seeanythingso imbecile as her mother? After you had all leftme justnowI could not sit still for thinking of it.It seemedtoo pitifulnot even to attempt to save her.I orderedthe carriage and put on my bonnetand came hereas quicklyas possible. Thank Heaven I have found you!"
"Whatdo you propose to do with us?" asked Winterbournesmiling.
"Toask her to get into drive her about here for half an hourso thatthe world may see she is not running absolutely wildand thento take her safely home."
"Idon't think it's a very happy thought" said Winterbourne;"butyou can try."
Mrs.Walker tried. The young man went in pursuit of Miss Millerwho hadsimply nodded and smiled at his interlocutor in the carriageand hadgone her way with her companion. Daisyon learningthat Mrs.Walker wished to speak to herretraced her stepswith aperfect good grace and with Mr. Giovanelli at her side.Shedeclared that she was delighted to have a chance to present thisgentlemanto Mrs. Walker. She immediately achieved the introductionanddeclared that she had never in her life seen anything so lovelyas Mrs.Walker's carriage rug.
"I amglad you admire it" said this ladysmiling sweetly."Willyou get in and let me put it over you?"
"Ohnothank you" said Daisy. "I shall admire it muchmore as I see youdrivinground with it."
"Doget in and drive with me!" said Mrs. Walker.
"Thatwould be charmingbut it's so enchanting just as I am!"and Daisygave a brilliant glance at the gentlemen on eitherside ofher.
"Itmay be enchantingdear childbut it is not the custom here"urged Mrs.Walkerleaning forward in her victoriawith herhandsdevoutly clasped.
"Wellit ought to bethen!" said Daisy. "If I didn't walkI shouldexpire."
"Youshould walk with your motherdear" cried the ladyfromGenevalosing patience.
"Withmy mother dear!" exclaimed the young girl. Winterbournesaw that shescentedinterference. "My mother never walked ten steps in herlife.And thenyou know" she added with a laugh"I am more than fiveyears old."
"Youare old enough to be more reasonable. You are old enoughdear MissMillerto be talked about."
Daisylooked at Mrs. Walkersmiling intensely. "Talked about?What doyou mean?"
"Comeinto my carriageand I will tell you."
Daisyturned her quickened glance again from one of the gentlemen besideherto theother. Mr. Giovanelli was bowing to and frorubbing down hisglovesandlaughing very agreeably; Winterbourne thought it a most unpleasantscene."Idon't think I want to know what you mean" said Daisy presently."Idon't think I should like it."
Winterbournewished that Mrs. Walker would tuck in her carriage rug and driveawaybutthis lady did not enjoy being defiedas she afterward told him."Shouldyou prefer being thought a very reckless girl?" she demanded.
"Gracious!"exclaimed Daisy. She looked again at Mr. Giovanellithen sheturned to Winterbourne. There was a little pink flush inher cheek;she was tremendously pretty. "Does Mr. Winterbournethink"she askedslowlysmilingthrowing back her headand glancingat himfrom head to foot"thatto save my reputationI oughtto getinto the carriage?"
Winterbournecolored; for an instant he hesitated greatly.It seemedso strange to hear her speak that way of her "reputation."But hehimselfin factmust speak in accordance with gallantry.The finestgallantryherewas simply to tell her the truth;and thetruthfor Winterbourneas the few indications Ihave beenable to give have made him known to the readerwas thatDaisy Miller should take Mrs. Walker's advice.He lookedat her exquisite prettinessand then he saidverygently"I think you should get into the carriage."
Daisy gavea violent laugh. "I never heard anything so stiff!If this isimproperMrs. Walker" she pursued"then I am allimproperand youmust give me up. Goodbye; I hope you'll have a lovely ride!"andwithMr. Giovanelliwho made a triumphantly obsequious saluteshe turnedaway.
Mrs.Walker sat looking after herand there were tears inMrs.Walker's eyes. "Get in heresir" she said toWinterbourneindicatingthe place beside her. The young man answered that he feltbound toaccompany Miss Millerwhereupon Mrs. Walker declared thatif herefused her this favor she would never speak to him again.She wasevidently in earnest. Winterbourne overtook Daisy andhercompanionandoffering the young girl his handtold herthat Mrs.Walker had made an imperious claim upon his society.Heexpected that in answer she would say something rather freesomethingto commit herself still further to that "recklessness"from whichMrs. Walker had so charitably endeavored to dissuade her.But sheonly shook his handhardly looking at himwhile Mr. Giovanellibade himfarewell with a too emphatic flourish of the hat.
Winterbournewas not in the best possible humor as he took his seat inMrs.Walker's victoria. "That was not clever of you" hesaid candidlywhile thevehicle mingled again with the throng of carriages.
"Insuch a case" his companion answered"I don't wish to beclever;I wish tobe EARNEST!"
"Wellyour earnestness has only offended her and put her off."
"Ithas happened very well" said Mrs. Walker. "If she isso perfectlydeterminedto compromise herselfthe sooner one knows it the better;one canact accordingly."
"Isuspect she meant no harm" Winterbourne rejoined.
"So Ithought a month ago. But she has been going too far."
"Whathas she been doing?"
"Everythingthat is not done here. Flirting with any man she could pick up;sitting incorners with mysterious Italians; dancing all the eveningwith thesame partners; receiving visits at eleven o'clock at night.Her mothergoes away when visitors come."
"Buther brother" said Winterbournelaughing"sits up tillmidnight."
"Hemust be edified by what he sees. I'm told that at their hoteleveryoneis talking about herand that a smile goes round amongall theservants when a gentleman comes and asks for Miss Miller."
"Theservants be hanged!" said Winterbourne angrily."Thepoor girl's only fault" he presently added"is that sheis veryuncultivated."
"Sheis naturally indelicate" Mrs. Walker declared.
"Takethat example this morning. How long had you known her atVevey?"
"Acouple of days."
"Fancythenher making it a personal matter that you should haveleft theplace!"
Winterbournewas silent for some moments; then he said"I suspectMrs.Walkerthat you and I have lived too long at Geneva!"And headded a request that she should inform him with what particulardesign shehad made him enter her carriage.
"Iwished to beg you to cease your relations with Miss Miller--not toflirt with her--to give her no further opportunityto exposeherself--to let her alonein short."
"I'mafraid I can't do that" said Winterbourne."Ilike her extremely."
"Allthe more reason that you shouldn't help her to make a scandal."
"Thereshall be nothing scandalous in my attentions to her."
"Therecertainly will be in the way she takes them.But I havesaid what I had on my conscience" Mrs. Walker pursued."Ifyou wish to rejoin the young lady I will put you down.Herebythe wayyou have a chance."
Thecarriage was traversing that part of the PincianGardenthat overhangs the wall of Rome and overlooksthebeautiful Villa Borghese. It is bordered by alargeparapetnear which there are several seats.One of theseats at a distance was occupied by a gentlemanand aladytoward whom Mrs. Walker gave a toss of her head.At thesame moment these persons rose and walked towardtheparapet. Winterbourne had asked the coachman to stop;he nowdescended from the carriage. His companion lookedat him amoment in silence; thenwhile he raised his hatshe drovemajestically away. Winterbourne stood there;he hadturned his eyes toward Daisy and her cavalier.Theyevidently saw no one; they were too deeply occupiedwith eachother. When they reached the low garden wallthey stooda moment looking off at the great flat-toppedpineclusters of the Villa Borghese; then Giovanelliseatedhimselffamiliarlyupon the broad ledge of the wall.Thewestern sun in the opposite sky sent out a brilliantshaftthrough a couple of cloud barswhereupon Daisy'scompaniontook her parasol out of her hands and opened it.She came alittle nearerand he held the parasol over her;thenstill holding ithe let it rest upon her shoulderso thatboth of their heads were hidden from Winterbourne.This youngman lingered a momentthen he began to walk.But hewalked--not toward the couple with the parasol;toward theresidence of his auntMrs. Costello.
Heflattered himself on the following day that there was no smilingamong theservants when heat leastasked for Mrs. Miller atherhotel. This lady and her daughterhoweverwere not at home;and on thenext day afterrepeating his visitWinterbourne againhad themisfortune not to find them. Mrs. Walker's party took placeon theevening of the third dayandin spite of the frigidity of hislastinterview with the hostessWinterbourne was among the guests.Mrs.Walker was one of those American ladies whowhile residing abroadmake apointin their own phraseof studying European societyand shehad on this occasion collected several specimens of herdiverselyborn fellow mortals to serveas it wereas textbooks.WhenWinterbourne arrivedDaisy Miller was not therebut in a fewmoments hesaw her mother come in alonevery shyly and ruefully.Mrs.Miller's hair above her exposed-looking temples was more frizzledthanever. As she approached Mrs. WalkerWinterbourne also drewnear.
"YouseeI've come all alone" said poor Mrs. Miller."I'mso frightened; I don't know what to do. It's the first timeI've everbeen to a party aloneespecially in this country.I wantedto bring Randolph or Eugenioor someonebut Daisy justpushed meoff by myself. I ain't used to going round alone."
"Anddoes not your daughter intend to favor us with her society?"demandedMrs. Walker impressively.
"WellDaisy's all dressed" said Mrs. Miller with that accent ofthedispassionateif not of the philosophichistorian with which shealwaysrecorded the current incidents of her daughter's career."Shegot dressed on purpose before dinner. But she's got a friendof hersthere; that gentleman--the Italian--that she wanted to bring.They'vegot going at the piano; it seems as if they couldn't leave off.Mr.Giovanelli sings splendidly. But I guess they'll come beforevery long"concludedMrs. Miller hopefully.
"I'msorry she should come in that way" said Mrs. Walker.
"WellI told her that there was no use in her getting dressed beforedinner ifshe was going to wait three hours" responded Daisy's mamma."Ididn't see the use of her putting on such a dress as that to sitround withMr. Giovanelli."
"Thisis most horrible!" said Mrs. Walkerturning away andaddressingherself to Winterbourne. "Elle s'affiche. It'sherrevenge for my having ventured to remonstrate with her.When shecomesI shall not speak to her."
Daisy cameafter eleven o'clock; but she was noton such anoccasiona young lady to wait to be spoken to.Sherustled forward in radiant lovelinesssmiling and chatteringcarrying alarge bouquetand attended by Mr. Giovanelli.Everyonestopped talking and turned and looked at her.She camestraight to Mrs. Walker. "I'm afraid you thoughtI neverwas comingso I sent mother off to tell you.I wantedto make Mr. Giovanelli practice some things before he came;you knowhe sings beautifullyand I want you to ask him to sing.This isMr. Giovanelli; you know I introduced him to you;he's gotthe most lovely voiceand he knows the most charmingset ofsongs. I made him go over them this evening on purpose;we had thegreatest time at the hotel." Of all this Daisy deliveredherselfwith the sweetestbrightest audiblenesslooking nowat herhostess and now round the roomwhile she gave a seriesof littlepatsround her shouldersto the edges of her dress."Isthere anyone I know?" she asked.
"Ithink every one knows you!" said Mrs. Walker pregnantlyand shegave avery cursory greeting to Mr. Giovanelli. This gentleman borehimselfgallantly. He smiled and bowed and showed his white teeth;he curledhis mustaches and rolled his eyes and performed allthe properfunctions of a handsome Italian at an evening party.He sangvery prettily half a dozen songsthough Mrs. Walker afterwarddeclaredthat she had been quite unable to find out who asked him.It wasapparently not Daisy who had given him his orders.Daisy satat a distance from the pianoand though she had publiclyas itwereprofessed a high admiration for his singingtalkednotinaudiblywhile it was going on.
"It'sa pity these rooms are so small; we can't dance" she saidtoWinterbourneas if she had seen him five minutes before.
"I amnot sorry we can't dance" Winterbourne answered;"Idon't dance."
"Ofcourse you don't dance; you're too stiff" said Miss Daisy."Ihope you enjoyed your drive with Mrs. Walker!"
"No.I didn't enjoy it; I preferred walking with you."
"Wepaired off: that was much better" said Daisy."Butdid you ever hear anything so cool as Mrs. Walker'swanting meto get into her carriage and drop poorMr.Giovanelliand under the pretext that it was proper?Peoplehave different ideas! It would have been most unkind;he hadbeen talking about that walk for ten days."
"Heshould not have talked about it at all" said Winterbourne;"hewould never have proposed to a young lady of this countryto walkabout the streets with him."
"Aboutthe streets?" cried Daisy with her pretty stare."Wherethenwould he have proposed to her to walk?The Pinciois not the streetseither; and Ithank goodnessam not ayoung lady of this country. The young ladies of thiscountryhave a dreadfully poky time of itso far as I can learn;I don'tsee why I should change my habits for THEM."
"I amafraid your habits are those of a flirt" said Winterbournegravely.
"Ofcourse they are" she criedgiving him her little smiling stareagain."I'ma fearfulfrightful flirt! Did you ever hear of a nice girlthatwas not? But I suppose you will tell me now that I am not a nice girl."
"You'rea very nice girl; but I wish you would flirt with meand meonly" said Winterbourne.
"Ah!thank you--thank you very much; you are the last man I shouldthink offlirting with. As I have had the pleasure of informing youyou aretoo stiff."
"Yousay that too often" said Winterbourne.
Daisy gavea delighted laugh. "If I could have the sweet hope ofmakingyou angryI should say it again."
"Don'tdo that; when I am angry I'm stiffer than ever.But if youwon't flirt with medo ceaseat leastto flirtwith yourfriend at the piano; they don't understand that sortof thinghere."
"Ithought they understood nothing else!" exclaimed Daisy.
"Notin young unmarried women."
"Itseems to me much more proper in young unmarried women than in oldmarriedones" Daisy declared.
"Well"said Winterbourne"when you deal with natives you must goby thecustom of the place. Flirting is a purely American custom;it doesn'texist here. So when you show yourself in public withMr.Giovanelliand without your mother--"
"Gracious!poor Mother!" interposed Daisy.
"Thoughyou may be flirtingMr. Giovanelli is not;he meanssomething else."
"Heisn't preachingat any rate" said Daisy with vivacity."Andif you want very much to knowwe are neither of us flirting;we are toogood friends for that: we are very intimate friends."
"Ah!"rejoined Winterbourne"if you are in love with each otherit isanother affair."
She hadallowed him up to this point to talk so frankly thathe had noexpectation of shocking her by this ejaculation;but sheimmediately got upblushing visiblyand leavinghim toexclaim mentally that little American flirts werethequeerest creatures in the world. "Mr. Giovanelliat least"she saidgiving her interlocutor a single glance"neversays such very disagreeable things to me."
Winterbournewas bewildered; he stoodstaring. Mr. Giovanellihadfinished singing. He left the piano and came over to Daisy."Won'tyou come into the other room and have some tea?" he askedbendingbefore her with his ornamental smile.
Daisyturned to Winterbournebeginning to smile again. He was stillmoreperplexedfor this inconsequent smile made nothing clearthough itseemed to proveindeedthat she had a sweetness andsoftnessthat reverted instinctively to the pardon of offenses."Ithas never occurred to Mr. Winterbourne to offer me any tea"she saidwith her little tormenting manner.
"Ihave offered you advice" Winterbourne rejoined.
"Iprefer weak tea!" cried Daisyand she went off with thebrilliantGiovanelli. She sat with him in the adjoining roomin theembrasure of the windowfor the rest of the evening.There wasan interesting performance at the pianobut neitherof theseyoung people gave heed to it. When Daisy came to takeleave ofMrs. Walkerthis lady conscientiously repairedtheweakness of which she had been guilty at the moment ofthe younggirl's arrival. She turned her back straight uponMissMiller and left her to depart with what grace she might.Winterbournewas standing near the door; he saw it all.Daisyturned very pale and looked at her motherbut Mrs. Millerwas humblyunconscious of any violation of the usual social forms.Sheappearedindeedto have felt an incongruous impulseto drawattention to her own striking observance of them."GoodnightMrs. Walker" she said; "we've had a beautifulevening.You seeif I let Daisy come to parties without meI don'twant her to go away without me." Daisy turned awaylookingwith a palegrave face at the circle near the door;Winterbournesaw thatfor the first momentshe wastoo muchshocked and puzzled even for indignation.He on hisside was greatly touched.
"Thatwas very cruel" he said to Mrs. Walker.
"Shenever enters my drawing room again!" replied his hostess.
SinceWinterbourne was not to meet her in Mrs. Walker's drawing roomhe went asoften as possible to Mrs. Miller's hotel. The ladieswererarely at homebut when he found themthe devoted Giovanelliwas alwayspresent. Very often the brilliant little Roman was in thedrawingroom with Daisy aloneMrs. Miller being apparently constantlyof theopinion that discretion is the better part of surveillance.Winterbournenotedat first with surprisethat Daisy on theseoccasionswas never embarrassed or annoyed by his own entrance;but hevery presently began to feel that she had no more surprises for him;theunexpected in her behavior was the only thing to expect. Sheshowednodispleasure at her tete-a-tete with Giovanelli being interrupted;she couldchatter as freshly and freely with two gentlemen as with one;there wasalwaysin her conversationthe same odd mixture of audacityandpuerility. Winterbourne remarked to himself that if she wasseriouslyinterested in Giovanelliit was very singular that she shouldnot takemore trouble to preserve the sanctity of their interviews;and heliked her the more for her innocent-looking indifferenceand herapparently inexhaustible good humor. He could hardly havesaid whybut she seemed to him a girl who would never be jealous.At therisk of exciting a somewhat derisive smile on the reader's partI mayaffirm that with regard to the women who had hitherto interested himit veryoften seemed to Winterbourne among the possibilities thatgivencertaincontingencieshe should be afraid--literally afraid--of theseladies;he had apleasant sense that he should never be afraid of Daisy Miller.It must beadded that this sentiment was not altogether flattering to Daisy;it waspart of his convictionor rather of his apprehensionthat shewouldprove a very light young person.
But shewas evidently very much interested in Giovanelli.She lookedat him whenever he spoke; she was perpetually telling himto do thisand to do that; she was constantly "chaffing" and abusinghim.Sheappeared completely to have forgotten that Winterbourne had saidanythingtodisplease her at Mrs. Walker's little party. One Sundayafternoonhavinggone to St. Peter's with his auntWinterbourne perceived Daisystrollingabout the great church in company with the inevitable Giovanelli.Presentlyhe pointed out the young girl and her cavalier to Mrs. Costello.This ladylooked at them a moment through her eyeglassand then she said:
"That'swhat makes you so pensive in these dayseh?"
"Ihad not the least idea I was pensive" said the young man.
"Youare very much preoccupied; you are thinking of something."
"Andwhat is it" he asked"that you accuse me of thinking of?"
"Ofthat young lady's--Miss Baker'sMiss Chandler's--what's her name?--MissMiller's intrigue with that little barber's block."
"Doyou call it an intrigue" Winterbourne asked--"an affairthat goeson withsuch peculiar publicity?"
"That'stheir folly" said Mrs. Costello; "it's not their merit."
"No"rejoined Winterbournewith something of that pensivenessto whichhis aunt had alluded. "I don't believe that thereisanything to be called an intrigue."
"Ihave heard a dozen people speak of it; they say she is quite carriedaway byhim."
"Theyare certainly very intimate" said Winterbourne.
Mrs.Costello inspected the young couple again with her opticalinstrument."Heis very handsome. One easily sees how it is. She thinkshim themost elegant man in the worldthe finest gentleman.She hasnever seen anything like him; he is bettereventhan the courier.It was thecourier probably who introduced him; and if he succeeds in marryingthe youngladythe courier will come in for a magnificent commission."
"Idon't believe she thinks of marrying him" said Winterbourne"andI don't believe he hopes to marry her."
"Youmay be very sure she thinks of nothing. She goes on fromday todayfrom hour to houras they did in the Golden Age.I canimagine nothing more vulgar. And at the same time"added Mrs.Costello"depend upon it that she may tell youany momentthat she is 'engaged.'"
"Ithink that is more than Giovanelli expects" said Winterbourne.
"Thelittle Italian. I have asked questions about him andlearnedsomething. He is apparently a perfectly respectablelittleman. I believe he isin a small waya cavaliereavvocato.But he doesn't move in what are called the first circles.I think itis really not absolutely impossible that the courierintroducedhim. He is evidently immensely charmed with Miss Miller.If shethinks him the finest gentleman in the worldheon his sidehas neverfound himself in personal contact with such splendorsuchopulencesuch expensiveness as this young lady's. Andthen shemust seem to him wonderfully pretty and interesting.I ratherdoubt that he dreams of marrying her.That mustappear to him too impossible a piece of luck.He hasnothing but his handsome face to offerand there isasubstantial Mr. Miller in that mysterious land of dollars.Giovanelliknows that he hasn't a title to offer.If he wereonly a count or a marchese! He must wonderat hisluckat the way they have taken him up."
"Heaccounts for it by his handsome face and thinks MissMiller ayoung lady qui se passe ses fantaisies!"said Mrs.Costello.
"Itis very true" Winterbourne pursued"that Daisy and hermammahave notyet risen to that stage of--what shall I call it?--of cultureat whichthe idea of catching a count or a marchese begins.I believethat they are intellectually incapable of that conception."
"Ah!but the avvocato can't believe it" said Mrs. Costello.
Of theobservation excited by Daisy's "intrigue" Winterbournegatheredthat day at St. Peter's sufficient evidence. A dozenof theAmerican colonists in Rome came to talk with Mrs. Costellowho sat ona little portable stool at the base of one of thegreatpilasters. The vesper service was going forward in splendidchants andorgan tones in the adjacent choirand meanwhilebetweenMrs. Costello and her friendsthere was a great dealsaid aboutpoor little Miss Miller's going really "too far."Winterbournewas not pleased with what he heardbut whencoming outupon the great steps of the churchhe saw Daisywho hademerged before himget into an open cab with heraccompliceand roll away through the cynical streets of Romehe couldnot deny to himself that she was going very far indeed.He feltvery sorry for her--not exactly that he believed thatshe hadcompletely lost her headbut because it was painfulto hear somuch that was prettyand undefendedand naturalassignedto a vulgar place among the categories of disorder.He made anattempt after this to give a hint to Mrs. Miller.He met oneday in the Corso a frienda tourist like himselfwho hadjust come out of the Doria Palacewhere he had beenwalkingthrough the beautiful gallery. His friend talkedfor amoment about the superb portrait of Innocent X byVelasquezwhich hangs in one of the cabinets of the palaceand thensaid"And in the same cabinetby the wayI hadthepleasure of contemplating a picture of a different kind--thatpretty American girl whom you pointed out to me last week."In answerto Winterbourne's inquirieshis friend narratedthat thepretty American girl--prettier than ever--was seatedwith acompanion in the secluded nook in which the great papalportraitwas enshrined.
"Whowas her companion?" asked Winterbourne.
"Alittle Italian with a bouquet in his buttonhole.The girlis delightfully prettybut I thought I understood from youthe otherday that she was a young lady du meilleur monde."
"Soshe is!" answered Winterbourne; and having assured himself thathisinformanthad seen Daisy and her companion but five minutes beforehe jumpedinto a cab and went to call on Mrs. Miller. She was at home;but sheapologized to him for receiving him in Daisy's absence.
"She'sgone out somewhere with Mr. Giovanelli" said Mrs. Miller."She'salways going round with Mr. Giovanelli."
"Ihave noticed that they are very intimate" Winterbourneobserved.
"Ohit seems as if they couldn't live without each other!" said Mrs.Miller."Wellhe's a real gentlemananyhow. I keep telling Daisy she'sengaged!"
"Andwhat does Daisy say?"
"Ohshe says she isn't engaged. But she might as well be!"thisimpartial parent resumed; "she goes on as if she was.But I'vemade Mr. Giovanelli promise to tell meif SHE doesn't.I shouldwant to write to Mr. Miller about it--shouldn't you?"
Winterbournereplied that he certainly should; and the state of mindof Daisy'smamma struck him as so unprecedented in the annals of parentalvigilancethat he gave up as utterly irrelevant the attempt to placeher uponher guard.
After thisDaisy was never at homeand Winterbourne ceased to meet herat thehouses of their common acquaintancesbecauseas he perceivedtheseshrewd people had quite made up their minds that she was going toofar.Theyceased to invite her; and they intimated that they desired toexpress toobservant Europeans the great truth thatthough Miss DaisyMiller wasa young American ladyher behavior was not representative--wasregarded by her compatriots as abnormal. Winterbourne wonderedhow shefelt about all the cold shoulders that were turned toward herandsometimes it annoyed him to suspect that she did not feel at all.He said tohimself that she was too light and childishtoo uncultivatedandunreasoningtoo provincialto have reflected upon her ostracismor even tohave perceived it. Then at other moments he believed that shecarriedabout in her elegant and irresponsible little organism a defiantpassionateperfectly observant consciousness of the impression she produced.He askedhimself whether Daisy's defiance came from the consciousnessofinnocenceor from her beingessentiallya young person of therecklessclass. It must be admitted that holding one's self to a beliefin Daisy's"innocence" came to seem to Winterbourne more and more amatteroffine-spun gallantry. As I have already had occasion to relatehe wasangry atfinding himself reduced to chopping logic about this young lady;he wasvexed at his want of instinctive certitude as to how far hereccentricitieswere genericnationaland how far they were personal.Fromeither view of them he had somehow missed herand now it was toolate.She was"carried away" by Mr. Giovanelli.
A few daysafter his brief interview with her motherhe encounteredher inthat beautiful abode of flowering desolation known as thePalace ofthe Caesars. The early Roman spring had filled the airwith bloomand perfumeand the rugged surface of the Palatinewasmuffled with tender verdure. Daisy was strolling alongthe top ofone of those great mounds of ruin that are embankedwith mossymarble and paved with monumental inscriptions.It seemedto him that Rome had never been so lovely as just then.He stoodlooking off at the enchanting harmony of line and colorthatremotely encircles the cityinhaling the softly humid odorsandfeeling the freshness of the year and the antiquityof theplace reaffirm themselves in mysterious interfusion.It seemedto him also that Daisy had never looked so prettybut thishad been an observation of his whenever he met her.Giovanelliwas at her sideand Giovanellitoowore an aspectof evenunwonted brilliancy.
"Well"said Daisy"I should think you would be lonesome!"
"Youare always going round by yourself. Can't you get anyoneto walkwith you?"
"I amnot so fortunate" said Winterbourne"as your companion."
Giovanellifrom the firsthad treated Winterbourne withdistinguishedpoliteness. He listened with a deferential airto hisremarks; he laughed punctiliously at his pleasantries;he seemeddisposed to testify to his belief that Winterbournewas asuperior young man. He carried himself in no degreelike ajealous wooer; he had obviously a great deal of tact;he had noobjection to your expecting a little humility of him.It evenseemed to Winterbourne at times that Giovanelli wouldfind acertain mental relief in being able to have a privateunderstandingwith him--to say to himas an intelligent manthatbless youHE knew how extraordinary was thisyoungladyand didn't flatter himself with delusive--or atleast TOO delusive--hopes of matrimony and dollars.On thisoccasion he strolled away from his companion to plucka sprig ofalmond blossomwhich he carefully arrangedin hisbuttonhole.
"Iknow why you say that" said Daisywatching Giovanelli."Becauseyou think I go round too much with HIM."And shenodded at her attendant.
"Everyone thinks so--if you care to know" said Winterbourne.
"Ofcourse I care to know!" Daisy exclaimed seriously."ButI don't believe it. They are only pretending to be shocked.They don'treally care a straw what I do. BesidesI don'tgo roundso much."
"Ithink you will find they do care. They will show itdisagreeably."
Daisylooked at him a moment. "How disagreeably?"
"Haven'tyou noticed anything?" Winterbourne asked.
"Ihave noticed you. But I noticed you were as stiff as anumbrellathe firsttime I saw you."
"Youwill find I am not so stiff as several others"saidWinterbournesmiling.
"Howshall I find it?"
"Bygoing to see the others."
"Whatwill they do to me?"
"Theywill give you the cold shoulder. Do you know what that means?"
Daisy waslooking at him intently; she began to color."Doyou mean as Mrs. Walker did the other night?"
She lookedaway at Giovanelliwho was decorating himselfwith hisalmond blossom. Then looking back at Winterbourne"Ishouldn't think you would let people be so unkind!" she said.
"Howcan I help it?" he asked.
"Ishould think you would say something."
"I dosay something"; and he paused a moment. "I say thatyour mothertells methat she believes you are engaged."
"Wellshe does" said Daisy very simply.
Winterbournebegan to laugh. "And does Randolph believe it?" heasked.
"Iguess Randolph doesn't believe anything" said Daisy.Randolph'sskepticism excited Winterbourne to further hilarityand heobserved that Giovanelli was coming back to them.Daisyobserving it tooaddressed herself again to her countryman."Sinceyou have mentioned it" she said"I AM engaged."* * *Winterbourne looked at her; he had stopped laughing."Youdon't believe!" she added.
He wassilent a moment; and then"YesI believe it" he said.
"Ohnoyou don't!" she answered. "Wellthen--I am not!"
The younggirl and her cicerone were on their way to the gateof theenclosureso that Winterbournewho had but lately enteredpresentlytook leave of them. A week afterward he went to dineat abeautiful villa on the Caelian Hillandon arrivingdismissedhis hired vehicle. The evening was charmingand hepromisedhimself the satisfaction of walking home beneath the ArchofConstantine and past the vaguely lighted monuments of the Forum.There wasa waning moon in the skyand her radiance was not brilliantbut shewas veiled in a thin cloud curtain which seemed to diffuseandequalize it. Whenon his return from the villa (it was eleveno'clock)Winterbourne approached the dusky circle of the Colosseumitrecurred to himas a lover of the picturesquethat the interiorin thepale moonshinewould be well worth a glance. He turned asideand walkedto one of the empty archesnear whichas he observedan opencarriage--one of the little Roman streetcabs--was stationed.Then hepassed inamong the cavernous shadows of the great structureandemerged upon the clear and silent arena. The place had neverseemed tohim more impressive. One-half of the gigantic circuswas indeep shadethe other was sleeping in the luminous dusk.As hestood there he began to murmur Byron's famous linesout of"Manfred" but before he had finished his quotationheremembered that if nocturnal meditations in the Colosseum arerecommendedby the poetsthey are deprecated by the doctors.Thehistoric atmosphere was therecertainly; but the historicatmospherescientificallyconsideredwas no better than a villainous miasma.Winterbournewalked to the middle of the arenato take a moregeneralglanceintending thereafter to make a hasty retreat.The greatcross in the center was covered with shadow;it wasonly as he drew near it that he made it out distinctly.Then hesaw that two persons were stationed upon the low steps whichformed itsbase. One of these was a womanseated; her companionwasstanding in front of her.
Presentlythe sound of the woman's voice came to him distinctlyin thewarm night air. "Wellhe looks at us as one of the oldlions ortigers may have looked at the Christian martyrs!"These werethe words he heardin the familiar accent ofMiss DaisyMiller.
"Letus hope he is not very hungry" responded the ingeniousGiovanelli."Hewill have to take me first; you will serve for dessert!"
Winterbournestoppedwith a sort of horrorandit must be addedwith asort of relief. It was as if a sudden illumination had beenflashedupon the ambiguity of Daisy's behaviorand the riddle hadbecomeeasy to read. She was a young lady whom a gentleman needno longerbe at pains to respect. He stood therelooking at her--looking ather companion and not reflecting that though he sawthemvaguelyhe himself must have been more brightly visible.He feltangry with himself that he had bothered so much aboutthe rightway of regarding Miss Daisy Miller. Thenas he was goingto advanceagainhe checked himselfnot from the fear that he was doingherinjusticebut from a sense of the danger of appearing unbecominglyexhilaratedby this sudden revulsion from cautious criticism.He turnedaway toward the entrance of the placebutas he did sohe heardDaisy speak again.
"Whyit was Mr. Winterbourne! He saw meand he cuts me!"
What aclever little reprobate she wasand how smartly she playedat injuredinnocence! But he wouldn't cut her. Winterbourne cameforwardagain and went toward the great cross. Daisy had got up;Giovanellilifted his hat. Winterbourne had now begun to thinksimply ofthe crazinessfrom a sanitary point of viewof a delicateyoung girllounging away the evening in this nest of malaria.What ifshe WERE a clever little reprobate? that was no reasonfor herdying of the perniciosa. "How long have you been here?"he askedalmost brutally.
Daisylovely in the flattering moonlightlooked at him a moment.Then--"Allthe evening" she answeredgently. * * * "I neversawanythingso pretty."
"I amafraid" said Winterbourne"that you will not thinkRomanfever very pretty. This is the way people catch it.I wonder"he addedturning to Giovanelli"that youa nativeRomanshould countenance such a terrible indiscretion."
"Ah"said the handsome native"for myself I am not afraid."
"Neitheram I--for you! I am speaking for this young lady."
Giovanellilifted his well-shaped eyebrows and showed his brilliant teeth.But hetook Winterbourne's rebuke with docility. "I told thesignorina itwas agrave indiscretionbut when was the signorina ever prudent?"
"Inever was sickand I don't mean to be!" the signorina declared."Idon't look like muchbut I'm healthy! I was bound to see theColosseumbymoonlight; I shouldn't have wanted to go home without that;and wehave had the most beautiful timehaven't weMr. Giovanelli?If therehas been any dangerEugenio can give me some pills.He has gotsome splendid pills."
"Ishould advise you" said Winterbourne"to drive home asfastaspossible and take one!"
"Whatyou say is very wise" Giovanelli rejoined."Iwill go and make sure the carriage is at hand."And hewent forward rapidly.
Daisyfollowed with Winterbourne. He kept looking at her;she seemednot in the least embarrassed. Winterbourne said nothing;Daisychattered about the beauty of the place. "WellIHAVE seenthe Colosseum by moonlight!" she exclaimed."That'sone good thing." Thennoticing Winterbourne's silenceshe askedhim why he didn't speak. He made no answer;he onlybegan to laugh. They passed under one of thedarkarchways; Giovanelli was in front with the carriage.Here Daisystopped a momentlooking at the young American."DIDyou believe I was engagedthe other day?" she asked.
"Itdoesn't matter what I believed the other day"saidWinterbournestill laughing.
"Wellwhat do you believe now?"
"Ibelieve that it makes very little difference whether youareengaged or not!"
He feltthe young girl's pretty eyes fixed upon him throughthe thickgloom of the archway; she was apparently going to answer.ButGiovanelli hurried her forward. "Quick! quick!" hesaid;"ifwe get in by midnight we are quite safe."
Daisy tookher seat in the carriageand the fortunate Italianplacedhimself beside her. "Don't forget Eugenio's pills!"saidWinterbourne as he lifted his hat.
"Idon't care" said Daisy in a little strange tone"whetherI have Romanfever ornot!" Upon this the cab driver cracked his whipand theyrolledaway overthe desultory patches of the antique pavement.
Winterbourneto do him justiceas it werementioned to no onethat hehad encountered Miss Millerat midnightin the Colosseumwith agentleman; but neverthelessa couple of days laterthe factof herhaving been there under these circumstances was known to everymember ofthe little American circleand commented accordingly.Winterbournereflected that they had of course known itat thehoteland thatafter Daisy's returnthere had beenanexchange of remarks between the porter and the cab driver.But theyoung man was consciousat the same momentthat it hadceased tobe a matter of serious regret to him that the littleAmericanflirt should be "talked about" by low-minded menials.Thesepeoplea day or two laterhad serious information to give:the littleAmerican flirt was alarmingly ill. Winterbournewhen therumor cameto himimmediately went to the hotel for more news.He foundthat two or three charitable friends had preceded himand thatthey were being entertained in Mrs. Miller's salon by Randolph.
"It'sgoing round at night" said Randolph--"that'swhat madeher sick. She's always going round at night.Ishouldn't think she'd want toit's so plaguy dark.You can'tsee anything here at nightexcept when there's a moon.In Americathere's always a moon!" Mrs. Miller was invisible;she wasnowat leastgiving her aughter the advantage ofhersociety. It was evident that Daisy was dangerously ill.
Winterbournewent often to ask for news of herand once he saw Mrs. Millerwhothough deeply alarmedwasrather to his surpriseperfectlycomposedandas itappeareda most efficient and judicious nurse. She talkeda gooddeal about Dr. Davisbut Winterbourne paid her the complimentof sayingto himself that she was notafter allsuch a monstrous goose."Daisyspoke of you the other day" she said to him. "Halfthe timeshedoesn't know what she's sayingbut that time I think she did.She gaveme a message she told me to tell you. She told me to tell youthat shenever was engaged to that handsome Italian. I am sure I amvery glad;Mr. Giovanelli hasn't been near us since she was taken ill.I thoughthe was so much of a gentleman; but I don't call that very polite!A ladytold me that he was afraid I was angry with him for taking Daisyround atnight. Wellso I ambut I suppose he knows I'm a lady.I wouldscorn to scold him. Anywayshe says she's not engaged.I don'tknow why she wanted you to knowbut she said to me three times'Mind youtell Mr. Winterbourne.' And then she told me to askif youremembered the time you went to that castle in Switzerland.But I saidI wouldn't give any such messages as that. Onlyif sheis notengagedI'm sure I'm glad to know it."
ButasWinterbourne had saidit mattered very little.A weekafter thisthe poor girl died; it had been a terriblecase ofthe fever. Daisy's grave was in the littleProtestantcemeteryin an angle of the wall of imperial Romebeneaththe cypresses and the thick spring flowers.Winterbournestood there beside itwith a number of other mournersa numberlarger than the scandal excited by the young lady'scareerwould have led you to expect. Near him stood Giovanelliwho camenearer still before Winterbourne turned away.Giovanelliwas very pale: on this occasion he had no flowerin hisbuttonhole; he seemed to wish to say something.At last hesaid"She was the most beautiful young lady Iever sawand the most amiable"; and then he added in a moment"andshe was the most innocent."
Winterbournelooked at him and presently repeated his words"Andthe most innocent?"
Winterbournefelt sore and angry. "Why the devil" he asked"didyou take her to that fatal place?"
Mr.Giovanelli's urbanity was apparently imperturbable.He lookedon the ground a momentand then he said"For myselfI had nofear; and she wanted to go."
"Thatwas no reason!" Winterbourne declared.
The subtleRoman again dropped his eyes. "If she had livedI shouldhave got nothing. She would never have married meI amsure."
"Shewould never have married you?"
"Fora moment I hoped so. But no. I am sure."
Winterbournelistened to him: he stood staring at the raw protuberanceamong theApril daisies. When he turned away againMr. Giovanelliwith hislightslow stephad retired.
Winterbournealmost immediately left Rome; but the followingsummer heagain met his auntMrs. Costello at Vevey.Mrs.Costello was fond of Vevey. In the interval Winterbournehad oftenthought of Daisy Miller and her mystifying manners.One day hespoke of her to his aunt--said it was on his consciencethat hehad done her injustice.
"I amsure I don't know" said Mrs. Costello. "How did yourinjusticeaffect her?"
"Shesent me a message before her death which I didn'tunderstandat the time; but I have understood it since.She wouldhave appreciated one's esteem."
"Isthat a modest way" asked Mrs. Costello"of saying thatshe wouldhavereciprocated one's affection?"
Winterbourneoffered no answer to this question; but he presently said"Youwere right in that remark that you made last summer. I wasbookedto make amistake. I have lived too long in foreign parts."
Neverthelesshe went back to live at Genevawhence there continueto comethe most contradictory accounts of his motives of sojourn:a reportthat he is "studying" hard--an intimation that he is muchinterestedin a very clever foreign lady.