The Age of Innocence

Ellen Olenska Character Analysis

Ellen is an independent, unconventional woman who falls in love with Archer, despite being the cousin of Archer’s fiancée May. Though Ellen lived in New York for some time when she was young, she spent much of her childhood in Europe, and New Yorkers now consider her to be more foreign than American. When Ellen returns to New York at the beginning of the book, she has left her husband, the Polish nobleman Count Olenski, who has treated her awfully and been unfaithful to her. Ellen sees New York as a safe haven and doesn’t realize at first that people think ill of her for having left her husband and shirking certain social rules. Ellen is characterized by her wisdom and worldly experience, which are characteristics that New York women are not supposed to have. While Ellen’s willingness to face unpleasant realities head on estranges her from New York society, it contributes to Archer’s attraction to her. Conversely, Archer’s influence makes Ellen see the beauty of the New York manners that have been absent from her life in Europe. This perspective, along with her natural sense of loyalty, makes Ellen resist Archer’s attempts to leave May to be with her. Though she loves Archer, she can’t bear to hurt other people in order to be with him.

Ellen Olenska Quotes in The Age of Innocence

The The Age of Innocence quotes below are all either spoken by Ellen Olenska or refer to Ellen Olenska. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Age of Innocence published in 1997.
Chapter 5 Quotes

“Living together? Well, why not? Who had the right to make her life over if she hadn’t? I’m sick of the hypocrisy that would bury alive a woman of her age if her husband prefers to live with harlots.”

He stopped and turned away angrily to light his cigar. “Women ought to be free—as free as we are,” he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences.

Related Characters: Newland Archer (speaker), Ellen Olenska, Mr. Sillerton Jackson
Page Number: 26
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Chapter 8 Quotes

The Countess Olenska was the only young woman at the dinner; yet, as Archer scanned the smooth plump elderly faces between their diamond necklaces and towering ostrich feathers, they struck him as curiously immature compared with hers. It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes.

Related Characters: Newland Archer, Ellen Olenska
Page Number: 40
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Chapter 9 Quotes

Does no one want to know the truth here, Mr. Archer? The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!

Related Characters: Ellen Olenska (speaker), Newland Archer
Page Number: 50
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Chapter 12 Quotes

“Sincerely, then—what should you gain that would compensate for the possibility—the certainty—of a lot of beastly talk?”

“But my freedom—is that nothing?”

... “But aren’t you free as air as it is?” he returned. “Who can touch you? Mr. Letterblair tells me the financial question has been settled—”

“Oh, yes,” she said indifferently.

“Well, then: is it worth while to risk what may be infinitely disagreeable and painful? Think of the newspapers—their vileness! It’s all stupid and narrow and unjust—but one can’t make over society.”

Related Characters: Newland Archer (speaker), Ellen Olenska (speaker), Mr. Letterblair
Page Number: 72
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Chapter 15 Quotes

No, it was worse a thousand times if, judging Beaufort, and probably despising him, she was yet drawn to him by all that gave him an advantage over the other men about her: his habit of two continents and two societies, his familiar association with artists and actors..., and his careless contempt for local prejudices.... [T]he circumstances of his life, and a certain native shrewdness, made him better worth talking to than many men, morally and socially his betters, whose horizon was bounded by the Battery and the Central Park. How should anyone coming from a wider world not feel the difference and be attracted by it?

Page Number: 89
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Chapter 16 Quotes

I couldn’t have my happiness made out of a wrong—an unfairness—to somebody else.... What sort of life could we build on such foundations?... I’ve wanted to tell you that, when two people really love each other, I understand that there may be situations which might make it right that they should—should go against public opinion. And if you feel yourself in any way pledged... pledged to the person we’ve spoken of... and if there is any way... any way in which you can fulfill your pledge... even by her getting a divorce... Newland, don’t give her up because of me!

Related Characters: May Welland (speaker), Newland Archer, Ellen Olenska
Page Number: 97
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Chapter 18 Quotes

I felt there was no one as kind as you; no one who gave me reasons that I understood for doing what at first seemed so hard and—unnecessary. The very good people didn’t convince me; I felt they’d never been tempted. But you knew; you understood; you had felt the world outside tugging at one with all its golden hands—and yet you hated the things it asks of one; you hated happiness bought by disloyalty and cruelty and indifference. That was what I’d never known before—and it’s better than anything I’ve known.... I can’t go back now to that other way of thinking. I can’t love you unless I give you up.

Related Characters: Ellen Olenska (speaker), Newland Archer
Page Number: 112
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She tore it open and carried it to the lamp; then, when the door had closed again, she handed the telegram to Archer.

It was dated from St. Augustine, and addressed to the Countess Olenska. In it he read: “Granny’s telegram successful. Papa and Mamma agree marriage after Easter. Am telegraphing Newland. Am too happy for words and love you dearly. Your grateful May.”

Page Number: 113-14
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Chapter 22 Quotes

His whole future seemed suddenly to be unrolled before him; and passing down its endless emptiness he saw the dwindling figure of a man to whom nothing was ever to happen.... It had seemed so exactly the place in which he ought to have found Madame Olenska; and she was far away, and even the pink sunshade was not hers...

Related Characters: Newland Archer, Ellen Olenska, Miss Blenker
Page Number: 147
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Chapter 24 Quotes

Is it a bad business—for May?”

He stood in the window... feeling in every fiber the wistful tenderness with which she had spoken her cousin’s name.

“For that’s the thing we’ve always got to think of—haven’t we—by your own showing?” she insisted.... “[I]f it’s not worth while to have given up, to have missed things, so that others may be saved from disillusionment and misery—then everything I came home for, everything that made my other life seem by contrast so bare and so poor because no one there took account of them—all these things are a sham or a dream—”

Related Characters: Ellen Olenska (speaker), Newland Archer, May Welland
Page Number: 156
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Chapter 33 Quotes

And then it came over him, in a vast flash made up of many broken gleams, that to all of them he and Madame Olenska were lovers.... He guessed himself to have been, for months, the center of countless silently observing eyes and patiently listening ears, he understood that, by means as yet unknown to him, the separation between himself and the partner of his guilt had been achieved, and that now the whole tribe had rallied about his wife on the tacit assumption that nobody knew anything, or had ever imagined anything....

It was the old New York way, of taking life “without effusion of blood”; the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than “scenes,” except the behavior of those who gave rise to them.

Related Characters: Newland Archer, Ellen Olenska, May Welland
Page Number: 217
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“Have you told anyone else?”

“Only Mamma and your mother.” She paused, and then added hurriedly, the blood flushing up to her forehead: “That is—and Ellen. You know I told you we’d had a long talk one afternoon—and how dear she was to me.”

“Ah—” said Archer, his heart stopping.... “But that was a fortnight ago, wasn’t it? I thought you said you weren’t sure till today.”

Her color burned deeper, but she held his gaze. “No; I wasn’t sure then—but I told her I was. And you see I was right!” she exclaimed, her blue eyes wet with victory.

Related Characters: Newland Archer (speaker), May Welland (speaker), Ellen Olenska, Mrs. Adeline Archer, Mrs. Welland
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 34 Quotes

“It’s more real to me here than if I went up,” he suddenly heard himself say; and the fear lest that last shadow of reality should lose its edge kept him rooted to his seat as the minutes succeeded each other.

He sat for a long time on the bench in the thickening dusk, his eyes never turning from the balcony. At length a light shone through the windows, and a moment later a man-servant came out on the balcony, drew up the awnings, and closed the shutters.

At that, as if it had been the signal he waited for, Newland Archer got up slowly and walked back alone to his hotel.

Related Characters: Newland Archer (speaker), Ellen Olenska
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ellen Olenska Character Timeline in The Age of Innocence

The timeline below shows where the character Ellen Olenska appears in The Age of Innocence. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
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...out who the woman attracting attention is. Then he realizes that she’s May Welland’s cousin, Ellen Olenska, who recently arrived from Europe. Archer admires the Mingotts’ willingness to stand by the... (full context)
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...is the only one who looks the slightest bit aware of the significance of having Ellen Olenska there. Countess Olenska watches the stage, her dress revealing a bit more than is... (full context)
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The men in Archer’s box are talking about Ellen Olenska, who left her brute of a husband. Lefferts confirms that he was an awful... (full context)
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...immediately understand this delicate matter makes him feel very intimate with her. Mrs. Welland introduces Countess Olenska , and Archer sits down next to May. He tells her quietly that he wants... (full context)
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Archer goes to sit next to Ellen Olenska, who reminds him that he was an awful child and once kissed her. Being... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...guests to be received. He’s nervous that the Mingotts might go too far and bring Ellen Olenska to the ball. He knows this would be a terrible mistake, and he’s feeling... (full context)
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...looks at him he can tell that she feels the same regret. Archer wishes that Ellen Olenska hadn’t made this announcement necessary. The group congratulates him, and he takes May onto... (full context)
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May asks whether Archer told Ellen of their engagement, and he realizes that he didn’t. They debate which of them should... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Everyone is relieved that Ellen Olenska isn’t at Mrs. Mingott’s while Archer and the Wellands are there. She’s gone out,... (full context)
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Just as the guests are about to leave, Ellen Olenska enters, accompanied by Julius Beaufort. Mrs. Mingott welcomes him informally and asks for all... (full context)
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...Mrs. Welland and May are putting their furs on in the hall, Archer says to Ellen Olenska that she must already know of his engagement, and that he couldn’t tell her... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...doesn’t want him around at dinner, but he stays anyway. Everyone wants to talk about Ellen Olenska, and, since Archer’s presence makes this awkward, he’s curious to see how they’ll deal... (full context)
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Mrs. Archer doesn’t really care about Mrs. Struthers, so she turns the conversation to Ellen Olenska. She’s very glad to have Archer safely engaged to May Welland, an advantageous match,... (full context)
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...food, and he remarks that Archer’s grandfather loved a good meal. Then he says that Ellen Olenska wasn’t at the ball, but Beaufort certainly knows her, as everyone saw them walking... (full context)
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Janey says that Ellen should have changed her name to Elaine to sound more Polish, but Mrs. Archer says... (full context)
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...Jackson smoke cigars in the library. Mr. Jackson remarks that the secretary didn’t only help Ellen escape her husband, since they were seen living together a year later. Archer argues that... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...her. He’s realizing more and more that marriage is a difficult thing. The debate around Ellen Olenska has been disturbing certain of his long-held beliefs. Though he said that women should... (full context)
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...as much freedom as he. He’s aware that his thoughts feel particularly pressing because of Ellen Olenska. It doesn’t really seem like she should influence his life at all, but he... (full context)
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...few days later, the Lovell Mingotts send out invitations to a formal dinner to welcome Ellen Olenska. The guests invited are only the most fashionable people of New York. Within two... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...a family to support one of its members in a difficult situation. He realizes that Ellen Olenska is already distantly related to them, even before Archer’s marriage. The van der Luydens... (full context)
Chapter 8
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It’s generally agreed that Ellen Olenska has lost her beauty. She first came to New York when she was about... (full context)
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Ellen’s relations were quickly charmed by her precociousness and foreign talents. Medora Manson gave her an... (full context)
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Archer thinks about Ellen’s story as he watches her enter the van der Luydens’ drawing room the night of... (full context)
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...their fanciest china, and everyone is dressed most handsomely, if in an old-fashioned way. Though Ellen Olenska is the only young woman, she somehow looks more mature than any of the... (full context)
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...clothes are shabby, and he has a quiet and unassuming manner. After dinner, he and Ellen Olenska immediately become engaged in discussion, apparently unaware that each of them should have first... (full context)
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Ellen wants to hear about May. Instead, Archer asks her if she already knew the Duke.... (full context)
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Ellen points out that May has arrived. Archer thinks that May, in her white and silver... (full context)
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Archer watches Lawrence Lefferts and his wife meeting Ellen Olenska, along with other couples who had refused to meet her at Mrs. Mingott’s. The... (full context)
Chapter 9
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At 5:30 the next evening, Archer rings the bell of the house Ellen is renting. It’s an odd neighborhood for her to be living in, as it’s mostly... (full context)
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Archer meant to tell May that he was going to visit Ellen, but he never managed to. Besides, he knows May wants him to be kind to... (full context)
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...examines the room, which is decorated unlike any room he’s seen. Certain pieces he assumes Ellen has brought back with her. Archer is proud of his knowledge of Italian art, but... (full context)
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...leave. He hears a carriage on the street and, looking out the window, he sees Ellen Olenska descending from Julius Beaufort’s carriage. When she enters the drawing room, she’s unsurprised to... (full context)
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Ellen reclines in a chair by the fire. Archer says he was worried she’d forgotten him.... (full context)
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Archer turns the conversation to the van der Luydens’ party, but Ellen doesn’t seem to understand how important it was. He says they’re very powerful but rarely... (full context)
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Archer points out that Ellen has plenty of people to advise her, and she says that her family is irritated... (full context)
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...who enters with an old friend of his named Mrs. Struthers who wants to meet Ellen. Both Ellen and the Duke seem unaware of how strange it is for him to... (full context)
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...they seem too strong to send to May. On an impulse, he sends them to Ellen without any message attached. (full context)
Chapter 10
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...flowers each day rather than putting in a standing order. He admits that he sent Ellen roses, and May is glad, but she says that Ellen didn’t mention it when she... (full context)
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...Archer questions how bad it would be to be vulgar. She changes the subject to Ellen’s admiration of her ring. (full context)
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...give details. Exasperated, Archer demands she clarify what she’s talking about, and Janey says that Ellen Olenska was at Mrs. Struthers’s party the night before with the Duke and Mr. Beaufort.... (full context)
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Janey says that the family has already been supporting Ellen—the van der Luydens even invited her to their dinner. Archer doesn’t see any harm in... (full context)
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...Archer wants Archer to come with her to explain to Mrs. van der Luyden that Ellen is simply used to a different culture. However, Archer thinks it’s all the Duke’s fault,... (full context)
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...he enters, and Archer greets him, saying that they were just talking about him and Ellen Olenska. Mr. van der Luyden says that he’s just been to see her, and she... (full context)
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Mr. van der Luyden goes on to say that he visited to warn Ellen about letting the Duke take her to parties. Mrs. Archer pretends she hasn’t heard what... (full context)
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...to May’s family. Archer agrees, saying that he knew Mr. van der Luyden would like Ellen. Mr. van der Luyden confirms this and takes his leave. Janey exclaims that the situation... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...mention to the other senior partners of the firm. Mrs. Mingott sent for him because Ellen Olenska wants to get a divorce. Since Archer is about to marry into the family,... (full context)
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Archer has only seen Ellen once, at the opera, since his visit to her. She has receded in his mind,... (full context)
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Archer’s temporary intimacy with Ellen has not been renewed since he went to her house. He feels that someone who... (full context)
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The papers are mostly letters between Ellen’s lawyers and her husband’s, and they also include a letter that he sent to her.... (full context)
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When he gets home, Archer writes Ellen to ask when he might come see her, and discovers that he should go that... (full context)
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Mr. Letterblair points out that Ellen and her husband are already separated, and she’s not going to get any more of... (full context)
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Archer says he can’t promise to argue against the divorce until he’s talked to Ellen. Mr. Letterblair is shocked that Archer would consider marrying into a family overshadowed by a... (full context)
Chapter 12
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On Archer’s way to Ellen’s house, he can tell who is visiting whom from the carriages on the streets. He... (full context)
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Archer is thinking about these topics because he’s trying to imagine Ellen Olenska’s previous life. When he last saw her, she didn’t understand that her family didn’t... (full context)
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When Nastasia lets Archer into Ellen’s house, he sees Beaufort’s coat and hat in the hall, which makes him angry. He... (full context)
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Beaufort is scoffing at the idea of Ellen spending three days at Skuytercliff, saying that Mrs. van der Luyden is a cold hostess.... (full context)
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Ellen inquires about Archer’s connection to painters, and he says that he always goes to exhibitions... (full context)
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Archer has little practice talking about awkward situations. Ellen bursts out that she wants to be free. Archer understands, but he wants to know... (full context)
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...to know how much truth there is in the angry letter Count Olenski sent to Ellen. He says that if the Count fights the case as he threatens to, he might... (full context)
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Ellen asks whether Archer agrees with her family that she shouldn’t get a divorce. He wanders... (full context)
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...says he has to help her see matters the way her friends see them, and Ellen understands. She tends to a lamp and remains standing, so he stands, too. She says... (full context)
Chapter 13
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On this night, the scene reminds Archer of him leaving Ellen Olenska after their discussion about her divorce. There’s no real resemblance between the two situations;... (full context)
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Archer left Ellen believing that she probably did become lovers with the secretary who helped her escape from... (full context)
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...scene, Archer’s eyes fill with tears and he rises to leave. Just then, he sees Ellen sitting in a box with the Beauforts. Mrs. Beaufort gestures to him, and he goes... (full context)
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Ellen asks what Archer does while May is gone, and he says he works. As they... (full context)
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Ellen says that she has done as Archer advised. She knows that he was right. As... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...but his wife didn’t get her name. Archer is pleased at this tale and gives Ellen’s name. Winsett wonders why a countess lives in his neighborhood, and Archer is proud to... (full context)
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Archer sends Ellen a note asking if he can call on her, but he receives no reply until... (full context)
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Archer is disappointed that Ellen is away, but he remembers that he just refused an invitation to the Chiverses’ house... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Archer learns that Ellen is at church with Mrs. van der Luyden. He declines the butler’s offer to seek... (full context)
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Ellen knows that May asked Archer to take care of her, but he says he didn’t... (full context)
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Archer and Ellen go into the house. It’s cozy and seems to have been created just for them.... (full context)
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Archer laughs. Ellen comes to his side and takes his hand, but when she sees Beaufort she shrinks... (full context)
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...Beaufort was irritated to find Archer there and ignored him thoroughly. It was clear that Ellen didn’t know Beaufort was coming and had not told him she was going to Skuytercliff.... (full context)
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Archer left, while Beaufort went inside with Ellen. Archer knew the van der Luydens would probably ask him to dinner, but certainly wouldn’t... (full context)
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However, Ellen’s annoyance is almost worse than if she had left New York just to meet Beaufort... (full context)
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...Life. In this book he finds the beauty of passion and imagines it speaks of Ellen Olenska. But the next morning, his time with her at Skuytercliff seems entirely unreal. At... (full context)
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...future will be dark and monotonous. On the fourth evening, he receives a note from Ellen telling him to visit the next day so that she can explain. Late that night... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...Letterblair eventually lets him stay a week, in part because he handled the matter of Ellen’s divorce so well. (full context)
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One day, when May is out with Mr. Welland, Mrs. Welland brings up Ellen, saying that she has very different ideas than most New Yorkers. She recalls the scandal... (full context)
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Mrs. Welland says that her husband probably would have died if Ellen’s scandal had been in the newspapers. She told Ellen she didn’t want to know about... (full context)
Chapter 17
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When Archer returns home, Janey tells him at dinner that Ellen came to visit Mrs. Archer when he was gone. He shows his surprise. Janey describes... (full context)
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...to bring her messages from St. Augustine. She’s grateful to him for his influence with Ellen, and charmed by his story of dropping everything to go see May. He explains that... (full context)
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...Mrs. Mingott might convince the Wellands to move the wedding up. She likes his spirit. Ellen enters, looking happy. Mrs. Mingott tells her Archer has been to see May, and Ellen... (full context)
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When Ellen walks Archer out, he asks when he can see her, and she replies that he... (full context)
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...late as he meant to because he was too restless to wait. When he enters Ellen’s house, he’s surprised to see very strangely fashioned hats and overcoats in the hall. He’s... (full context)
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...turn to Archer, and the woman introduces herself as the Marchioness Medora Manson. She’s visiting Ellen from Cuba. She introduces Dr. Agathon Carver, founder of the Valley of Love Community, and... (full context)
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...she’ll join him soon, and he suggests that she might bring Archer. Medora Manson says Ellen needs Archer tonight, so Dr. Carver gives him his card. (full context)
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Medora Manson expresses her pleasure at everything Archer has done for Ellen. Archer is embarrassed that everyone knows about his interference. Medora reveals that his role was... (full context)
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...first meeting with Medora Manson has her playing messenger to the devil. She says that Ellen doesn’t know anything about her mission yet, because Medora has been waiting to speak to... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Ellen enters her drawing room wearing a shimmering dress and looking like she’s ready for a... (full context)
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Ellen laughs, saying that Medora Manson and Archer have become friends while she fussed with her... (full context)
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Archer says that Medora Manson has told him that Ellen’s husband wants her back. Ellen seems unsurprised. After a long silence, she admits that Medora... (full context)
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Ellen says she thinks the Wellands are being ridiculous about Archer’s long engagement. He follows her... (full context)
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Ellen asks whether this other woman loves Archer, and he clarifies that the person May was... (full context)
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Archer is embarrassed, but he says he would have married Ellen if it were possible. She retorts that he has made it impossible. He’s astonished. She... (full context)
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...crushing him like a gravestone. He says at least he loved her, and he hears Ellen crying. He goes to her, saying that she can still get a divorce. He kisses... (full context)
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Ellen says that she didn’t realize at first that people didn’t like her, and she only... (full context)
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Archer becomes angry, asking whether Beaufort will take his place. He wants Ellen to be angry too, but she wilts. He reminds her that Beaufort is waiting at... (full context)
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Archer feels terribly tired. He wants to hold Ellen again, but her attitude keeps him at bay. When he begins to plead with her... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...stripes and fringes. Archer’s heart practically stops. He thought Medora was still in Washington with Ellen. They supposedly left in order to get Medora away from Dr. Carver, who wanted her... (full context)
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...he saw a woman with dark hair, though when she turned she looked nothing like Ellen. (full context)
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May says she was surprised that Medora Manson showed up, and she wishes Ellen had come instead. Archer has been dreading her bringing up Ellen; it feels like his... (full context)
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...away, she gushes that the van der Luydens rarely show the house to anyone, though Ellen has told her she thought it the only place she could be perfectly happy. Archer... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...beautiful, popular, and sweet woman, and he has come to think of his passion for Ellen Olenska as a ridiculous experiment that he could never have gone through with. However, his... (full context)
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...knows that work often keeps husbands from joining their wives here, but she always told Ellen that marriage is a sacrifice. Archer’s heart stops at the sound of her name. Medora... (full context)
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...doesn’t have to hear about it from Medora, who is coming by to pick up Ellen. Ellen has been spending the day with Mrs. Mingott. She calls for her, and when... (full context)
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Archer has heard about Ellen’s life since he last saw her; she spent the previous summer in Newport, but moved... (full context)
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...At the end of the path is a pier with a pagoda, and he sees Ellen leaning against the rail, facing the water. Archer stops, thinking this vision is a dream,... (full context)
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...in which the man kissed his lover’s ribbon. He wonders whether he would know if Ellen came up behind him, then decides that he’ll go back if she doesn’t turn by... (full context)
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On the drive home, May says she would have liked to see Ellen, but Ellen seems very different now. She stays with strange people and ignores her friends.... (full context)
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...only reality, but now it feels incredibly unreal. All night he lies awake thinking of Ellen driving home across the beaches. (full context)
Chapter 22
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...Archer realized that Medora Manson would probably be coming in to Newport for it, and Ellen might go to Mrs. Mingott’s again. Ever since he saw Ellen, he’s wanted to see... (full context)
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...lawn, he sees a parasol in the summer-house and feels sure that it belongs to Ellen. He goes to the summer-house and picks up the parasol. Then he hears the rustle... (full context)
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Archer asks whether Ellen went to the party as well, and Miss Blenker says that she’s been called away... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...Even the fashionable neighborhoods seem less tidy than European cities ever do. Archer can’t imagine Ellen in this setting. He eats breakfast at the Somerset Club. He’s been feeling energetic ever... (full context)
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...all, in the same world as before. He has a messenger take a note to Ellen, but the man returns with news that Ellen was out. Archer can’t understand why Ellen... (full context)
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...mentions secretaries. He’s tempted to ask whether the Count sent his secretary, but he doesn’t. Ellen says that the messenger insisted on waiting until the evening in case she changes her... (full context)
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Ellen tells Archer he isn’t changed. He wants to say that he was until he saw... (full context)
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Ellen asks why Archer didn’t come fetch her at the shore that day at Mrs. Mingott’s.... (full context)
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When Ellen finishes the note, they begin walking and have the unlikely luck to come upon a... (full context)
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...long journey away from the normal world, but he’s afraid to say as much to Ellen for fear of betraying her trust. Though he has remembered their kiss with passion, he... (full context)
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Archer and Ellen go to the dining room of an inn at Point Arley, where Archer is disappointed... (full context)
Chapter 24
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While Archer and Ellen eat lunch, she tells him about her life since he last saw her. She eventually... (full context)
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Archer asks whether Ellen has seen Beaufort lately. She hasn’t for a long time, but he understands her point... (full context)
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Archer says that Ellen has changed him much more than he has changed her. He married because she told... (full context)
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Ellen’s face suddenly exposes her soul, and Archer sees that all this time, she has been... (full context)
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Archer springs towards Ellen, and she rises quietly. She takes his hands, but her arms keep him away. They... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...measure, the day has been a failure, but he feels oddly comforted by the balance Ellen holds between their loyalty to others and their honesty to themselves. He’s glad he didn’t... (full context)
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...He asks him to sit. M. Rivière says he wants to speak to Archer about Ellen Olenska. Though Archer knew this was coming, it still bowls him over. He asks whether... (full context)
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...Rivière asks whether he agrees with the family that the new proposals he’s brought mean Ellen must return to her husband. (full context)
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...They must have sensed that he wouldn’t be on their side. He remembers May saying Ellen might be happier with her husband. She hasn’t mentioned Ellen since; this must have been... (full context)
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...even talking to him about this, and M. Rivière exclaims that Archer must not let Ellen go back to her husband. He seems passionately sincere. Archer asks whether he expressed this... (full context)
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...that such a conversation as this is going on under his rule. He asks how Ellen has changed. M. Rivière says he discovered that she’s an American, and things that are... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...arrived, and then pretending it happened long before. Mrs. Archer says she’s never quite forgiven Ellen for beginning the trend of going to Mrs. Struthers’s. May blushes and speaks deprecatingly of... (full context)
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Mrs. Archer feels that people like Ellen, who have lived in aristocratic societies, should help New York keep its social distinctions. May... (full context)
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Archer keeps wondering about May’s sustained blush when she mentioned Ellen. He hasn’t seen Ellen in four months. He wrote to her once in Washington, but... (full context)
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Mr. Jackson says it’s a pity that Ellen refused to return to her husband, because she won’t have any money to live on... (full context)
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Archer says that Ellen certainly won’t go back now, but Mr. Jackson seems to have been waiting for this.... (full context)
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...strangely quiet on the way home, and Archer is still worried about her blush at Ellen’s name. When they get home, he calls her into the library to complain about a... (full context)
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...Washington soon on business for a patent case. May says only that he must see Ellen while he’s there, but he knows that she means much more. She means that she’s... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Mrs. Mingott demands that the family telegraph for Ellen to come immediately, alone. No one wants to, but May says they must carry out... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...how bad it is. He thinks it must be bad, if the family is summoning Ellen Olenska. Archer feels his temper rise, but Lefferts’s expression reminds him what bad form it... (full context)
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Ellen sends a telegram announcing that she’ll arrive in New York the following evening. At lunch,... (full context)
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...way into the drawing room, she turns the conversation back to the problem of getting Ellen to New York the next day. Archer suggests that he can meet her after work... (full context)
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When they leave the Wellands’, May asks Archer how he’ll be able to meet Ellen if he’s going to Washington the next day. He replies that he’s not going, because... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...lights, and telephones without wires. He’s only thankful there’s no tunnel yet. He imagines seeing Ellen far away on the platform and walking with her to the ferry, sitting with her... (full context)
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Everything happens the way Archer imagined. He guides Ellen to the carriage and tells her about the situation with Mrs. Mingott and the Beauforts.... (full context)
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Archer watches Ellen, wondering what she’s been doing since he saw her. He’s forgotten everything he wanted to... (full context)
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Archer feels stupidly conventional and says that Ellen is the most honest woman he’s ever met; she looks at things realistically. She says... (full context)
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Archer says Ellen shouldn’t be afraid of him, because he doesn’t want to touch her. He understands why... (full context)
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Ellen asks whether Archer wants her to live with him as his mistress. He’s startled by... (full context)
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The carriage is moving quickly. Archer asks what Ellen’s plan is for them. She says they can only be near each other if they... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...usual tenderness. She asks what happened to him; she was waiting at Mrs. Mingott’s when Ellen arrived alone. He says he had to send a letter, and he doesn’t see why... (full context)
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A week goes by without Archer seeing Ellen or hearing anything about her. He has formed a resolve that came to him when... (full context)
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However, Archer is shown into Mrs. Mingott’s room without seeing Ellen. She’s sitting in her armchair, and all evidence of her stroke has disappeared besides her... (full context)
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Mrs. Mingott says that her family convinced her to cut off Ellen’s allowance until she agreed to return to her husband, but as soon as she saw... (full context)
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Archer says that Ellen certainly couldn’t have gone back to her husband. Mrs. Mingott reveals that she wants him... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Archer has trouble understanding why Ellen has decided to live with Mrs. Mingott. He’s sure that it isn’t due to financial... (full context)
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Before Archer saw Mrs. Mingott, he had planned to learn what day Ellen was returning to Washington and join her on the train to run away wherever she... (full context)
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...them. Archer has always agreed with this view, but he feels that his situation with Ellen is somehow different. He imagines May and all the conventions of society waiting at home,... (full context)
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...and Mrs. Mingott’s carriage is at the door. He knows society won’t take kindly to Ellen visiting here. He imagines that Ellen and Mrs. Beaufort are sitting in the only lit... (full context)
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Lawrence Lefferts and another man come down the road, but Archer stops worrying about Ellen being seen there when he feels her hand in his. He says they’ll be together... (full context)
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Ellen and Archer avoid the popular part of the Metropolitan Museum, going instead to the recovered... (full context)
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Ellen asks what Archer wanted to tell her. He says he thinks she came to New... (full context)
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Ellen says she agreed to stay with Mrs. Mingott because it seemed she would be safer... (full context)
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Archer says Ellen is so experienced that he doesn’t see why she doesn’t look their situation in the... (full context)
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May was at Mrs. Mingott’s and ran into Ellen. They had a good, long talk. She feels that she hasn’t judged Ellen fairly lately... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...was, Mrs. Mingott surely didn’t know it was there. Mr. van der Luyden says that Ellen’s kindness might have unwisely led her to visit Mrs. Beaufort. Mrs. van der Luyden and... (full context)
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Mr. Jackson interjects that at the French court, moral standards were very lax. Ellen’s foreign upbringing might have affected her sense of right and wrong. Mr. van der Luyden... (full context)
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...back of the box to watch the same scene he saw when he first met Ellen two years before. He almost expects her to appear in Mrs. Mingott’s box, but she... (full context)
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...pale, but calm. Archer is determined not to make excuses for himself. When he says Ellen’s name, the light strikes May’s wedding ring, and she protests that she doesn’t want to... (full context)
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Archer doesn’t understand. May clarifies that Ellen is going back to Europe soon, since Mrs. Mingott has agreed to make her independent... (full context)
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Eventually, Archer asks how May knows this information. She brings him a note that Ellen sent her that afternoon. Ellen writes that Mrs. Mingott understands that she must return to... (full context)
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Archer asks why Ellen sent this letter, and May replies that it’s due to their conversation the day before.... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...an honor that the van der Luydens have agreed to attend May’s farewell dinner for Ellen Olenska. (full context)
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...through the guest list, and Mrs. Welland says that May and Archer are certainly giving Ellen a good send-off. She knows Ellen will appreciate it. As Archer leaves, Mrs. Welland tells... (full context)
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In the ten days since Ellen left New York, Archer has only received from her a key sealed in an envelope.... (full context)
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A day or two later, Archer went to visit Mrs. Mingott, who lamented Ellen’s desertion of her. She thinks that Ellen couldn’t stand the dullness of New York in... (full context)
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...drawing room is generally thought to be decorated very nicely. She says she doesn’t think Ellen has ever seen the room lit up. Then the guests begin to arrive. Archer is... (full context)
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...that Mrs. van der Luyden is seated to her host’s left emphasizes the fact that Ellen is regarded as a foreign visitor. This sort of family rally around a member about... (full context)
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...and his wife as a warning about what could happen to him, and he laughs. Ellen is sitting next to him, and he becomes aware that her other neighbor is talking... (full context)
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...is very satisfied with the gathering. Archer sees all the most important people flocking to Ellen’s side, intent on making it seem as though no one ever questioned the behavior of... (full context)
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Eventually, Archer sees Ellen preparing to leave. He can’t remember anything he said to her at dinner. She and... (full context)
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...feels sick, but he holds her. She says that only Mrs. Welland, Mrs. Archer, and Ellen know. She told Ellen when they had their long talk recently. She’s worried he’ll mind... (full context)
Chapter 34
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...the Metropolitan Museum, where he had a flash of memory of his meeting there with Ellen. Now he sits thinking about everything that has happened in this library over the thirty... (full context)
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...“the flower of life,” but it seems so unattainable that he hardly mourns it. Only Ellen Olenska could have provided this happiness. She now represents everything he has missed throughout his... (full context)
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Archer insisted that he and Dallas stay in what Dallas considers an old-fashioned hotel. After Ellen left, Archer often imagined going to Paris, or imagined her life there. Now that he’s... (full context)
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Dallas asks what Ellen was like, as he’s heard that she and Archer were close. Archer says she was... (full context)
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...the situation as a waste of effort, and Archer wonders whether that’s all it was. Ellen never went back to her husband, and he’s now dead. Nothing stands between them anymore.... (full context)
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Archer meets Dallas at the hotel and they walk towards Ellen’s house. Dallas talks enthusiastically about Versailles, where he’s been that day. Archer thinks that Dallas’s... (full context)
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The neighborhood is quiet, and the daylight is fading. Dallas stops before Ellen’s building and puts his arm through Archer’s. He speaks to the porter to find out... (full context)
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Archer sits on the bench and thinks of Dallas going up to Ellen’s floor and entering her drawing room. He imagines the other guests who will be there... (full context)