The Age of Innocence Chapter 7
Mrs. van der Luyden listens silently to the story. As expected, she makes no decision without first calling on her husband to hear it as well. The van der Luydens listen carefully, because when Archer marries May, an insult to the Lovell Mingott family will be an insult to their own.
Archer thinks that Lawrence Lefferts is behind the dinner rejections. According to Archer, every time Mrs. Lefferts begins to suspect that her husband is having an affair, Lawrence has to show how moral he is. Archer believes that he is making an example of Ellen.
Mr. and Mrs. van der Luyden have a low opinion of Lawrence Lefferts, and are outraged that he is trying to control public opinion on anyone's social position: "'It shows what Society has come to.'" Chapter 7, pg. 51 Mr. van der Luyden believes that if a well-known family decides to stand behind a member, their decision should be considered final.
The van der Luydens hold a silent conversation with their eyes. Finally, Henry van der Luyden turns to Archer and his mother with a solution. Louisa van der Luyden's cousin, the Duke of Austry, will arrive the following week. The van der Luydens will hold a small dinner in his honor for only the most important people in New York society . . . and they will invite Ellen.
By evening, everyone will know that the van der Luydens, who almost never mingle with people, have accepted Ellen into the inner circle of New York society.