who insists that she must discuss the problem with her husband. Mrs. Archer insists that Larry Lefferts discouraged everyone from coming in order to distract attention from his own affairs with women; Mr. Van der Luyden says that as long as the Mingotts have accepted Ellen into their family then everyone else should accept her into society as well. Since he and his wife cannot attend the dinner in the Leffertses place, due to Louisa's health, they instead invite Ellen to a reception dinner with the Duke of St. Austrey. This reception is of such high prestige that it exonerates Ellen of any marks on her reputation.
Ellen's parents had been avid travellers and they died early in Ellen's life. She lived with her aunt Medora Manson who was an eccentric. She would dress Ellen in crimson merino and amber beads and did not allow her to mourn for her parents as long as was "proper". She was the only young woman present at the reception for the Duke. After dinner, to many people's surprise, the Duke headed straight to Ellen where they talked for a while. Then, she left his side (which was an inappropriate thing for a woman to do) and sat next to Newland. Ellen asks if Newland's engagement to May was arranged or just romantic. Newland balks no marriages are arranged in America, he says. Upon getting up, she tells Newland that she expects him to visit her tomorrow after five p.m. (although no plans had been set). Then, there is a line of people ready to speak to Ellen; these are the same people that had rejected the invitation to meet her earlier.
Newland arrives at Ellen's home in the artist district at five after five. He had had a bad day; he felt like a "wild animal cunningly trapped" because he had been forced to go from home to home announcing his engagement to May. He does not tell May of his meeting with Ellen. When he gets to Ellen's home she is not there and he relaxes in her living room admiring her exotically decorated home. When she arrives, she explains that she had spent the day with Julius Beaufort looking for a new home because others do not find her home fashionable enough. Ellen is flippant about how she finds New York so safe like a little girl's paradise. Newland thinks that she should not be so naïve about how "powerful an engine" New York is and how she almost was crushed by it. She remarks how she had enjoyed the party at the van der Luydens; Archer says it's unfortunate that they do not "receive very often." Ellen, cleverly says, "Perhaps that's the reason for their great influence." They continue in this manner until the Duke of St. Austrey arrives with Mrs. Struthers. Struthers had not been invited to the Luydens' party and she had wanted to meet Ellen and invite her to a party at her home. Soon after their arrival, Newland leaves. On his way home, he stops at the florist to send May her daily lilies. He decides to send her the flowers; but he also sends an anonymous bouquet of flaming yellow roses to Ellen.
May and Newland go for a walk in the park. May thanks him for sending her flowers every day and remarks that it is nice that she gets them at different times of the day; it means he thinks each day to send her flowers, unlike Larry Lefferts who had a standing order for Gertrude's flowers to be sent each day. Newland tells May that he sent Ellen beautiful roses but May remarks that Ellen had not discussed them, although she had discussed flowers from other friends. Newland changes the subject and remarks that their engagement seems very long; May says that everyone else has had similarly long engagements. Newland feels like all of May's comments have been fed to her by others and wonders how long it will be until she can speak for herself. He worries that when he takes her bandage of innocence off her eyes, she won't be able to see anything. He suggests that they travel and May remarks that he is terribly original. Then Newland shouts, "Original? We're all like each other as those dolls cut out of the same folded paper." On the suggestion of elopement, May balks, "We can't behave like people in novels, though, can we?"
Later, Archer skips his regular trip to the club for fear that his life is becoming to repetitive and predictable. While he is reading novels in his study, Janey tells him that the Countess has gone to a party at Mrs. Struthers. This is horrible, of course, because Struthers is too "common". Newland remarks that he is "not married to Countess Olenska" and has nothing to do with her affairs. Luckily, Henry van der Luyden comes for a visit and does not blame Ellen for her attending the party. She probably just does not understand convention. Henry's nonchalance about the affair puts Mrs. Archer's heart at ease: decorum is still intact.
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