The Age of Innocence Chapter 26
Mrs. Archer and Janey host Thanksgiving dinner; they invite Archer and May, Sillerton, and Sophy Jackson. As they eat, they talk about the changing New York society. May, for instance, now spends Sunday evenings at the home of Mrs. Lemuel Struthers, a woman once considered unfashionable and unpopular. Mrs. Archer reminds her guests that it was Ellen who started the visits to Mrs. Struthers.
May suddenly blushes, and repeats Ellen's name in a negative tone of voice. Archer wonders why May is blushing. Ever since their day in Boston, Ellen has been the center of his thoughts, even though he keeps up the necessary appearances of being a good husband. He had sent a message to Ellen in Washington, asking when they would see each other. "Not yet," she had replied.
The Jacksons, Mrs. Archer, and Janey gossip about Ellen. They wonder how she will survive financially. They all know that Ellen's family disapproves of her decision to refuse the Count's offer and remain in America. The Mingotts are so angry, they are holding back money from her. Archer grows angry during the conversation; he carelessly shows his emotions when he yells at Mr. Jackson.
At home, Archer tells May that he has to go to Washington on business. She listens, and tells him to be sure to see Ellen. As she looks at him, her face says much more. Archer understands that she knows Ellen is his real reason for going.