Study Guide

The American Chapter 19

By Henry James

Chapter 19

  • Have no fear, M. Ledoux is here. Basically, he hangs out with Valentin until Newman's train pulls into the station.
  • Ledoux's got some bad news for the distraught Newman. Valentin's not in great shape.
  • Turns out that Valentin hit his mark (Kapp) on the first try.
  • But on the second try, Valentin valiantly shot into the air and Kapp got Valentin right above the heart. Know what that sounds like? The famous Burr-Hamilton duel.
  • Since Valentin is sleeping like a baby when Newman arrives, Newman chills with Ledoux and a few other buddies.
  • Everyone is pretty bummed, and rightfully so. They keep making eulogies for their dearly departed friend, even though he's still hanging on by a thread.
  • Finally, Valentin wakes up and Newman gets to talk to him.
  • Of course, Newman can't help but rehash the past. He tells Valentin all about Claire's betrayal.
  • Valentin is super-sad about the breakup—not to mention his impending death.
  • The doctor tells Newman to scram from the sick room. He's making Valentin upset.
  • At dawn, the doctor finally readmits Newman to Valentin's bedchamber.
  • Valentin's about to drop some knowledge. First, though, he wants all the dirty details of his family's actions towards Newman.
  • Newman's more than happy to go into detail.
  • Valentin's so embarrassed on behalf of his hoity-toity family that he apologizes on their behalf to Newman. The Bellegarde name is now dirt, he says.
  • Again, the doctor comes around and tries to get Newman out of the room. There are important death rites to attend to.
  • Newman begs for five more minutes with his bud.
  • Valentin tries to tell Newman about a deep, dark family secret that will bring shame to the Bellegardes if it's revealed. Do tell.
  • All he'll say is that it's about his dearly departed dad. Something—dum dum dum—happened to him.
  • According to Valentin, Mrs. Bread is the one who knows all.
  • Newman is banished from Valentin's room, once and for all.

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