Study Guide

The American Chapter 10

By Henry James

Chapter 10

  • Oh, hey, remember Mrs. Tristram? She's still chatting with Newman about how to win over his ladylove.
  • Meanwhile, Valentin makes good on his promise to introduce Newman to the rest of the Bellegarde family. He drops some hints about Newman's fortune to secure an invite.
  • Valentin ushers Newman into the home of Madame de Bellegarde, a.k.a. Claire's mom. Let's be clear: this is no man's land.
  • Madame de Bellegarde is 100% aristocrat. She looks delicate, but her intense stare lets Newman know not to mess with her.
  • Madam Bellegarde's son, Urbain, isn't much more approachable. Newman remembers him as the scary-looking guy who first answered the door.
  • Urbain's wife is a little bit easier to figure out. Newman figures that she's basically a flibbertigibbet.
  • Newman isn't exactly good at awkward silences. He starts talking about the difficulties he faced growing up.
  • Uh, that wasn't the right strategy. Nobody really knows what to say.
  • Valentin shows up with some good news: Claire is on her way to the party. Score one for Newman.
  • In fact, Claire is all gussied up for a ball she's about to attend. Newman's mouth nearly drops open.
  • Everyone takes off for the ball, leaving Newman alone with Madame de Bellegarde.
  • Newman decides to be blunt. He tells Madame de Bellegarde that he's filthy rich and he wants to marry Claire.
  • Madame de Bellegarde seems interested, if not totally approving. She says it'll easier in the long run for her to favor Newman's plan.
  • Newman vamooses after getting a positive answer. He knows when to bow out.

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