The Age of Innocence Chapter 24
In a private dining room on the steamboat, Archer and Ellen eat lunch together comfortably. They talk about Ellen's frustrations with the confining, unimaginative New York society that drove her away. She tells him of her time in Washington, where she takes care of her aunt, the Marchioness Manson.
Their conversation eventually turns to the terrible situation that their love for each other has created. When Ellen reminds Archer of May, he becomes angry: "'What's the use? You gave me my first glimpse of a real life, and at the same moment you asked me to go on with a sham one.'" Chapter 24, pg. 194 Ellen bursts into tears, and Archer realizes that she, too, has suffered from his marriage to May.
Ellen promises Archer that she will refuse the Count's offer and stay in America as long as they continue to love each other.