فصل 04

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER FOUR

Meeting in rome

The next day, Winterbourne returned to Geneva, but in January he went to Rome, as promised. On his first evening there, his aunt said to him, ‘That Miller family is here. The girl goes out alone with Italian men - well-known Roman fortune-hunters. And she takes them to respectable people’s houses! It’s a great scandal. When she comes to a party, she brings with her a gentleman with elegant manners and a splendid moustache.’

‘And where’s her mother?’ asked Winterbourne.

‘I’ve no idea,’ Mrs Costello replied. ‘They’re terrible people.’ Winterbourne thought for a moment. ‘They’re just very ignorant and innocent. I really don’t believe that they’re bad people.’

‘They’re very vulgar,’ said his aunt. ‘You may say that being vulgar is different from being bad, but I don’t see the difference.’ Winterbourne had imagined Miss Daisy Miller looking out of her window in a Roman hotel rather sadly, waiting for him to arrive. This new picture of her surrounded by Roman fortune-hunters did not please him, so he did not go to visit her on his first day in Rome. Instead he went to the house of Mrs Walker, an American lady he knew from Geneva, where her children were at school. She lived in the Via Gregoriana. Winterbourne found her in a little red drawing-room full of afternoon sunshine. As he was talking to Mrs Walker, the servant came in and announced, ‘Mrs Miller!’. Then Randolph entered the room, followed by Daisy and her mother.

‘Well!’ said Daisy in surprise. ‘I didn’t know you were in Rome! Why didn’t you come to see me?’

‘I only arrived yesterday,’ replied Winterbourne.

Randolph looked around the room and said, ‘We’ve got a bigger place than this. The walls are all gold.’

‘Oh, Randolph!’ said Mrs Miller nervously.

‘Are you enjoying Rome?’ Winterbourne asked her.

‘Well, I’m rather disappointed,’ she replied. ‘We’d heard so much about it, but we’ve seen other places I like much better.’

‘Really? Which places?’

‘For example, Zurich,’ said Mrs Miller. ‘I think Zurich is lovely, and we hadn’t heard much about it.’

‘The best place we’ve been is the City of Richmond,’ said Randolph.

‘He means the ship that brought us to Europe,’ Mrs Miller explained. ‘Randolph enjoyed the City of Richmond.’

‘It’s the best place I’ve seen,’ said Randolph, ‘but it was going the wrong way.’

‘I hope Miss Miller is enjoying Rome,’ said Winterbourne.

‘Oh, yes,’ replied Mrs Miller. ‘Daisy loves Rome. The society is splendid. She’s invited to many people’s houses. She goes out much more frequently than I do. And she knows a lot of gentlemen here. Yes, she loves Rome. Of course, young ladies are always happier in a place if they know a lot of gentlemen there.’

Daisy had been talking to Mrs Walker, but now she turned to Winterbourne and said, ‘I’ve been telling Mrs Walker how horrible you were to me in Vevey.’

Winterbourne was rather irritated. She did not seem to appreciate the fact that he had travelled from Geneva without stopping at Bologna or Florence, simply because he was impatient to see her. He remembered an American friend of his who had told him that American women - the pretty ones - were the most demanding and least grateful women in the world.

‘My dear young lady!’ cried Winterbourne. ‘Have I come all the way to Rome just to hear you criticise me?’

But Daisy ignored him. She turned back to Mrs Walker and said, ‘Thank you for inviting us to your party. We gladly accept the invitation.’

‘I’m delighted to hear it,’ replied Mrs Walker.

‘I’ve got a lovely dress.’

‘I’m very sure of that.’

‘But I want to ask you a favour: can I please bring a friend?’

‘Certainly,’ said Mrs Walker, smiling at Mrs Miller. ‘Any friend of yours is welcome.’

‘Oh, they’re not my friends,’ said Mrs Miller with a nervous smile. ‘I’ve never met them!’

‘He’s a very close friend of mine,’ said Daisy. ‘Mr Giovanelli.’

Mrs Walker was silent for a moment. She looked quickly at Winterbourne then said, ‘Mr Giovanelli is welcome to come to the party.’

‘He’s an Italian,’ continued Daisy serenely. ‘He’s the most handsome man in the world, except for Mr Winterbourne. He knows lots of Italians, but he wants to meet some Americans. He’s very clever and perfectly lovely!’

‘Daisy,’ said Mrs Miller. ‘It’s time to go back to the hotel.’

‘You go,’ Daisy replied with a smile. ‘I’m going to the Pincio for a walk.’

‘She’s going to walk with Mr Giovanelli,’ said Randolph.

‘Alone, my dear?’ asked Mrs Walker. ‘And at this hour? I don’t think it’s safe.’

‘Neither do I,’ said Mrs Miller. ‘You’ll get the fever!’

‘I’m not going alone,’ said Daisy to Mrs Walker. ‘I’m going with the beautiful Mr Giovanelli.’

‘My dear young friend,’ said Mrs Walker. ‘Don’t go to the Pincio at this hour to meet a beautiful Italian.’

‘Oh!’ said Daisy. ‘I don’t want to do anything improper. Perhaps Mr Winterbourne will walk to the Pincio with me. That’ll solve the problem.’

Winterbourne agreed, and they walked together down the stairs and past Mrs Miller’s carriage, in which Eugenio was waiting.

‘Goodbye, Eugenio,’ cried Daisy. ‘I’m going for a walk.’

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