Chapter 13 Notes from The Age of Innocence

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The Age of Innocence Chapter 13

Archer watches a play called The Shaughraun. The scene in which the two lovers say good-bye powerfully reminds him of his meeting with Ellen over a week earlier, but he doesn't know why. Neither he nor Ellen spoke about romance or love, and Archer left their meeting convinced that, true to rumor, she had had an affair with the secretary who helped her escape the unhappy marriage.

Archer sees Ellen seated in a box with the Beauforts, Lawrence Lefferts, and some other men. Mrs. Beaufort catches his eye, and invites him to the box; it would be rude to refuse, even though Archer has been trying to avoid Ellen since their meeting. Yet when he reaches the box, he takes a seat behind her.

Ellen looks at the lovers on the stage and asks Archer, "'Do you think . . . he will send her a bunch of yellow roses tomorrow morning?'" Her question surprises Archer. After their last meeting, he had sent her another batch of yellow roses, again without his name card. Ellen has apparently figured out that Archer has sent her roses after each of his visits.

Ellen tells Archer that she has withdrawn the divorce, as he had advised, and that she is grateful to him. Archer, embarrassed that she is bringing up the subject, leaves the theatre feeling confused. The day before, Archer received a letter from May from St. Augustine, Florida, where she vacations with her family. In the letter, May asked him to be kind to Ellen. Archer, at first, is amused by his wife's candor. After all, Ellen seems able to take care of herself, and both Henry van der Luyden and Julius Beaufort are looking out for her. Yet Archer cannot shake the feeling that Ellen is lonely and unhappy.

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