The Portrait of a Lady By Henry James Chapters 47-48

As he said, she looked strange. She turned her eyes to the door by which they had entered and raised her fan as if in warning.

"You've behaved so well; don't spoil it," she uttered softly.

"No one hears me. It's wonderful what you tried to put me off with. I love you as I've never loved you."

"I know it. I knew it as soon as you consented to go."

"You can't help it — of course not. You would if you could, but you can't, unfortunately. Unfortunately for me, I mean. I ask nothing — nothing, that is, I shouldn't. But I do ask one sole satisfaction: — that you tell me — that you tell me — !"

"That I tell you what?"

"Whether I may pity you."

"Should you like that?" Isabel asked, trying to smile again.

"To pity you? Most assuredly! That at least would be doing something. I'd give my life to it."

She raised her fan to her face, which it covered all except her eyes. They rested a moment on his. "Don't give your life to it; but give a thought to it every now and then." And with that she went back to the Countess Gemini.

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