Chapter 29 Notes from The Age of Innocence

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The Age of Innocence Chapter 29

Archer meets Ellen at the train station. As they ride back together in May's carriage, they remember how much they love each other. After they talk for just a few minutes, Ellen passionately kisses Archer, then draws away. They sit together silently.

Both Ellen and Archer are confused and frustrated. Now that he sees Ellen in person, Archer wants more than just a brief affair. Ellen is more realistic. She asks if he really wants her to be his mistress since she can't be his wife. Her question startles Archer; he isn't used to hearing the word "mistress" spoken so plainly. He tries to tell her what he dreams about:

"'I want - I want somehow to get away with you into a world where words like that - categories like that - won't exist. Where we shall be simply two human beings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter.'

"She drew a deep sigh that ended in another laugh. 'Oh, my dear - where is that country? Have you ever been there? . . . I know so many who've tried to find it; and, believe me, they all got out by mistake at wayside stations: at places like Boulogne, or Pisa, or Monte Carlo - and it wasn't at all different from the old world they'd left, but only rather smaller and dingier and more promiscuous.'" Chapter 29, pg. 230

Topic Tracking: Places 10
Topic Tracking: Marriage 12

Ellen speaks from an experience that Archer has not had. He suddenly stops the carriage and gets out, then sends Ellen and the carriage on to Mrs. Mingotts. As he walks to his own house, Archer realizes that he had been crying.

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