The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

Mrs. Welland Character Analysis

May’s mother and Mrs. Mingott’s daughter. Mrs. Welland holds very traditional views of the world and, as such, she trains her daughter to be unassailably innocent. Mrs. Welland wants most of all to avoid scandal and unpleasantness, and she works hard to keep her daughter from being exposed to anything that might damage her social standing or marriage prospects. The relationship between May and Mrs. Welland is meant, more generally, to represent the relationship between mothers and daughters in New York high society.

Mrs. Welland Quotes in The Age of Innocence

The The Age of Innocence quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Welland or refer to Mrs. Welland. 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 16 Quotes

Traces still lingered on [her features] of fresh beauty like her daughter’s; and he asked himself if May’s face was doomed to thicken into the same middle-aged image of invincible innocence.

Ah, no, he did not want May to have that kind of innocence, the innocence that seals the mind against imagination and the heart against experience!

Related Characters: Newland Archer, May Welland, Mrs. Welland
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

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.”

Related Characters: May Welland (speaker), Newland Archer, Ellen Olenska, Mrs. Catherine Mingott, Mrs. Welland, Mr. Welland
Page Number: 113-14
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 33 Quotes

“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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Mrs. Welland Character Timeline in The Age of Innocence

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Welland appears in The Age of Innocence. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...wearing a band of diamonds in her hair and a dress with an unusual cut. Mrs. Welland gives the woman her place in the front of the box. (full context)
Chapter 2
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...that she can 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... (full context)
Chapter 3
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Mrs. Welland and May are standing by the ballroom door. Couples are dancing beyond them. May is... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...own. Archer says they’re going to be married as soon as possible. Because it’s proper, Mrs. Welland says they must get to know each other better first, but Mrs. Mingott says they... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
While Mrs. Welland and May are putting their furs on in the hall, Archer says to Ellen Olenska... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...announce their engagement prematurely. Though Mrs. Archer was perfectly polite when they went to visit Mrs. Welland , Archer could tell she was worried that Countess Olenska would appear at any moment.... (full context)
Chapter 6
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...the reality of a situation is never acknowledged, but only represented by signs. For example, Mrs. Welland knew why Archer wanted to announce the engagement at the ball, but she had to... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Change and Progress Theme Icon
...May afterward to urge her to hasten their marriage, but when he hinted at this, Mrs. Welland pointed out how much there was to do before the wedding. They went on a... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...to go for a walk with him instead of going to church with her parents. Mrs. Welland lets her go because she’s just convinced May of the necessity of a long engagement.... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...sympathetic, and he assured Mr. Letterblair and the Mingotts that Ellen decided against a divorce. Mrs. Welland and Mrs. Mingott were very grateful to him. (full context)
Chapter 16
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...they hurry back to breakfast at the Wellands’ house, which is rather shabby. Every year, Mrs. Welland struggles to find servants to run it so that Mr. Welland can feel that he... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...says she would like St. Augustine better than New York if Archer could stay, and Mrs. Welland says he must stay until he’s entirely healthy. Mr. Letterblair eventually lets him stay a... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Welland says that her husband probably would have died if Ellen’s scandal had been in the... (full context)
Chapter 19
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...opens again, and the Wellands enter to the murmur of the crowd. As soon as Mrs. Welland sits, everyone cranes their necks to see who else is coming. The day before, there... (full context)
Chapter 22
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
At the lunch table, Mrs. Welland mockingly reads aloud an invitation from Amy and Emerson Sillerton to a party for the... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Change and Progress Theme Icon
...he has to take his medicine and go for a drive at a certain time. Mrs. Welland assures him that she’ll go for a short while. She suggests that May can take... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...She says it won’t happen again, and he feels like she’s humoring him the way Mrs. Welland does her husband. Her youth strikes Archer, and he wonders with horror how long he’ll... (full context)
Chapter 27
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...in the hall—coats, a doctor’s bag, letters. It seems Mrs. Mingott will be all right. Mrs. Welland tells him that the previous night, Mrs. Beaufort came to see Mrs. Mingott. They were... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...that she wouldn’t support dishonesty, and even Mrs. Beaufort’s Dallas heritage wouldn’t convince her otherwise. Mrs. Welland tells Archer all of this, horrified at having to face such unpleasantness. She worries about... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...can’t really be helpful, and there’s nothing much to do but discuss the Beaufort scandal. Mrs. Welland says that in her time, the wives of men disgraced in business would simply disappear... (full context)
Chapter 28
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...figure out who can pick her up in Jersey City, as everyone is otherwise engaged. Mrs. Welland thinks that Mrs. Mingott’s desire to see Ellen must be proof that she isn’t as... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
As Mrs. Welland leads the way into the drawing room, she turns the conversation back to the problem... (full context)
Chapter 30
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Change and Progress Theme Icon
...predict. All her romance has disappeared now that their courtship is over. She’s turning into Mrs. Welland and turning him into Mr. Welland. He stands up and says he needs some air.... (full context)
Chapter 33
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Archer and Mrs. Welland sit in May’s drawing room on the afternoon of the dinner, making last-minute preparations. When... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...been hoping would happen. Archer 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... (full context)