More from “The American” by Henry James

“Valentin holds that women should marry, and that men should not,” said Madame de Cintré. “I don’t know how he arranges it.”

Newman has permission from the aristocratic Madame de Bellegarde to court her daughter, but Madame de Bellegarde has also stated that she herself will never like Newman.

“Madame de Bellegarde sat by the fire conversing neatly and coldly with whomsoever approached her, and glancing round the room with her slowly-restless eye, the effect of which, when it lighted upon him, was to Newman’s sense identical with that of a sudden spurt of damp air. When he shook hands with her he always asked her with a laugh whether she could ‘stand him’ another evening, and she replied, without a laugh, that, thank God, she had always been able to do her duty.”

 

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