Study Guide

The American Chapter 14

By Henry James

Chapter 14

  • Just like clockwork, Newman shows up to see Claire.
  • Luckily, this time Claire's alone. That's extra-good news, becauseā€¦
  • It's been six months since Newman last brought up marriage. Time for Newman to bring it up again.
  • Newman does it right. He asks Claire to marry him like it's the first time he's even mentioned the matter.
  • Claire begins to weep and tells Newman that he's not half bad.
  • Newman takes that for a declaration of love, so he goes in for the kiss. Claire reciprocates half-heartedly.
  • Mrs. Bread encounters Newman the next day and passes along her congratulations. Oh yeah, and she gives him a heads-up that he might get some trouble from the Bellegarde family.
  • Sure enough, Madame de Bellegarde is none too happy about the engagement.
  • Newman's oblivious. He wants to shout his love from the rooftops.
  • Valentin's sympathetic, though. He tells Newman that he's in a similar situation: he loves a girl he can't marry.
  • Claire's a little rattled by her mom's reaction, but she tries not to get too upset.
  • Meanwhile, Newman just can't help but rub it in. He lets Madame de Bellegarde know that he cabled news of his impending nuptials to all his best buds in America.

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