On a voyage from Boston to Liverpool, Grace Mavis, a young lady reluctantly sailing to join a long-term fiance, behaves too indecorously with a young man aboard the Patagonia for the society ladies in the company, and cannot, in the end, relieve the strain of her situation except in an obvious, but drastic, way. Instead of treating "The Patagonia" as a lesser experiment in the international theme, this essay analyzes the story as a transnational text. Against the background of the social and cultural history of the Atlantic, it discusses symbolic connections between the illicit affair and suicide of protagonist Grace Mavis on the one hand and the colonial imaginary, technology, and observation on the other. It examines possible influences of late nineteenth-century images of Patagonia on James's story, arguing that the tale plays with the idea of innocent exploration only in order to expose the notion as fictitious. On the steamer leaving Boston, the narrator establishes, in conversation with Grace Mavis, that her fiance, Mr Porterfield, is a student of architecture in Paris whom he had met some years earlier. Mrs Nettlepoint is a poor traveller and stays in her cabin. She and the narrator discuss her unexpected charge: he thinks Jasper only decided to sail because the girl asked him to keep her spirits up in view of the impending reunion with her poor fiance."