The Age of Innocence Chapter 17
The Wellands send Archer home to New York with many messages for Mrs. Manson Mingott. When he pays her a visit, he tells her about his failed attempts to get May to agree to an earlier wedding.
When Mrs. Mingott jokingly asks why he didn't marry Ellen instead, Archer makes a joke in reply. Then Mrs. Mingott comments that Ellen's life is finished; Archer feels scared. To cover up his feelings, he quickly asks Mrs. Mingott if she would use her influence to persuade the Wellands about the wedding date.
Ellen comes into the drawing-room during their conversation. She casually mentions the note that Archer never answered before he went to St. Augustine, but seems completely indifferent about it. As Archer leaves, though, he asks Ellen when he can see her again. She invites him over for the following evening.
When Archer arrives at Ellen's house, he is surprised to find people already there: Ned Winsett, the Marchioness Medora Manson (Ellen's aunt), and Dr Agathon Carver. The Marchioness tells Archer that Ellen is upstairs getting ready for a party. Ned Winsett and Dr Carver leave soon afterward, leaving Archer and the Marchioness alone together.
The Marchioness tells Archer that she comes with a message from Count Olenski, who wishes Ellen to return to him on her own terms. Ellen does not yet know about this. Since Archer had so much success convincing Ellen to forget the divorce, the Marchioness hopes that he will convince her to go back to the Count. Archer is horrified. He tells the Marchioness that he would rather see Ellen dead than sent back to her husband.