Daisy Miller
Henry James
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
Chapter 9

Winterbourne decides that Daisy can’t possibly be thought of as a really proper young woman -- she lacks "a certain indispensable delicacy." But, as always, she presents to him "an inscrutable combination of audacity and innocence."

After about fifteen minutes of this tension-filled stroll, a carriage suddenly pulls up alongside the three of them. It turns out to belong to Mrs. Walker -- the American friend whose house Daisy and Winterbourne have juts left. Mrs. Walker signals to Winterbourne, who leaves Daisy and goes over to talk to her.

Mrs. Walker is extremely concerned about Daisy. She fears that she will ruin her reputation completely by walking around this way, with two men. "That girl must not do this sort of thing," she says to Winterbourne. "Fifty people have seen her." In order to try to "save" Daisy, Mrs. Walker wants Daisy to get into her carriage, so that they can drive around respectably and then Mrs. Walker can take her safely home. 

But when Winterbourne brings Daisy over to the carriage, Daisy, says she is enjoying her walk, and sweetly refuses to get in. Mrs. Walker exclaims that what she is doing "is not the custom here," and begins to talk in a threatening way about Daisy’s reputation: she says that Daisy is being "talked about," and is "thought a very reckless girl."

Daisy, gradually realizing that she is being insulted, becomes politely confrontational. Smiling and charming as always, she challenges Winterbourne: "Does Mr. Winterbourne think that -- to save my reputation -- I ought to get into the carriage?" Winterbourne tells her gently that he thinks she should. Daisy laughs, not very humorously, and tells Mrs. Walker that if walking like this is improper, then she herself is "entirely improper," and Mrs. Walker should give up on her. Then she walks away with Mr. Giovanelli, leaving Winterbourne and Mrs. Walker behind her.

Mrs. Walker looks after Daisy with tears in her eyes, and then orders Winterbourne to get into the carriage with her. Winterbourne would prefer to stay with Daisy, but Mrs. Walker insists, so Winterbourne -- always proper and polite to his elders -- says good-bye to the nearly oblivious Daisy and Giovanelli, who are happily strolling through the Pincio, and drives off with Mrs. Walker in her carriage.

In the carriage, Winterbourne tells Mrs. Walker, frankly, that her approach was not very smart. But Mrs. Walker says she was feeling desperate to save Daisy. It seems Daisy has been doing all kinds of things which are never done in polite society. Mostly, she has been spending too much time with men, particularly Italians: She flirts with them at parties, and they even come to visit her in her family’s hotel rooms, sometimes late in the evening. People are talking about her, and she is in danger of losing her reputation entirely.

Mrs. Walker asks Winterbourne to stop paying attention to Daisy Miller, in order not to cause any more scandal. Winterbourne replies that he can’t leave her alone, because he likes her very much, but that there is nothing scandalous in his behavior toward her. Mrs. Walker is not satisfied, but she lets Winterbourne out of the carriage, so he can go rejoin Daisy.

However, Daisy and Giovanelli have gone onto a parapet on a wall overlooking a lovely part of the city. As Winterbourne watches, Giovanelli opens Daisy’s parasol, then lets it rest on her shoulder so both their heads are hidden from his view. Winterbourne lingers a moment in the light of the setting sun, watching them, and then turns and walks toward his aunt’s house to go home.

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