Study Guide

The American Chapter 24

By Henry James

Chapter 24

  • At the time Mrs. Tristram arranges, Newman shows up at the convent and rings at the gate.
  • He tries to find Claire among the robed figures, but she's nowhere to be found.
  • Newman can hear women's voices chanting, however. He finds this vaguely creepy.
  • For a second, he thinks he hears Claire's voice. Nah, he's imagining it.
  • Newman can't handle the torture any longer. He heads out, but not before he runs smack into Madame de Bellegarde and Urbain.
  • Urbain's wife, the Marquise, is chilling outside by the carriage.
  • Since she's always been nice to him, Newman asks if she'll arrange a little run-in with her husband after the service.
  • She makes it happen, leading Madame de Bellegarde and Urbain directly past Newman on a walk through the park.
  • Newman demands to speak with them. He's got some truth to drop.
  • Actually, he's got some blackmailing to do. He shows them a copy of the letter and lets them know his intention to make it public.
  • Madame de Bellegarde says, essentially, "Whatever. You're going to do what you're going to do."
  • And she struts her stuff away, just like that.
  • Urbain is a little more worried. He later gets in touch with Newman and claims that his dad was out of his mind when he wrote the letter.
  • He begs Newman not to release it.
  • Urbain even resorts to some guilt-tripping. Would Claire want her family secrets outed in this way?
  • Newman proposes a counter-offer. Let Claire go free and give her permission to marry, just like before.
  • Urbain says that's impossible. He's sorry he ever got to know Newman.
  • You don't even know how sorry you'll be, Urbain. That's Newman's most excellent retort.

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