Study Guide

The American Chapter 2

By Henry James

Chapter 2

  • Newman's in fine spirits. He's practically an art patron, sponsoring fine young artists to make something of themselves.
  • While he's on Cloud Nine and wandering around the Louvre, Newman runs into an old acquaintance from the Civil War: a dude named Tom Tristram.
  • Turns out Tristram is a real Frenchman who's been living it up with a wife and a couple of kids on the Avenue d'Iena.
  • Tristram's been chilling in Paris for the last six years, but he's only just made it out to the Louvre.
  • Tristram would rather go for a smoke than look at paintings, anyhow. Does Newman want to join him?
  • Newman and Tristram catch up at the Palais Royal, where Newman gives us a bit of his life story.
  • Long story short, Newman tells Tristram that he's been working since age fourteen and is ready to blow some hard-earned money.
  • He's got plenty to spend: Newman's a self-made millionaire with plenty of businesses.
  • Why did Newman decide to go to Europe now? A couple of months back, he was plotting to ruin a fellow businessman who did him a nasty turn.
  • On his way to stiff the guy out of $60,000, Newman decides to take a little nap.
  • When he wakes up, it's like he's been snapped out of a reverieā€”he's being a jerk.
  • Soon after, Newman packs up and heads off to Europe. It's time for a little break.
  • Tristram promises to introduce Newman to his wife and entertain him for a while. Life's pretty grand.

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