Study Guide

The American Chapter 26

By Henry James

Chapter 26

  • Gradually, Newman stops thinking about Claire every waking minute of the day.
  • He stays in England for a while before deciding to hightail it to America for a change of pace.
  • He spends some time gallivanting around America, but never reveals his broken heart to anyone.
  • Finally, he decides to head back to France to confront his heartache straight on.
  • This decision is only partially motivated by the fact that Mrs. Tristram wrote him some news about Claire: she's officially taken the veil.
  • Obviously, Newman's first stop in France is Claire's convent.
  • Once there, he realizes that he's being pathetic. It's time to move on, for real this time.
  • Revenge? Yeah, he's not so into that anymore. It was nice to have the option, though.
  • Back at the Tristrams, Newman tells them of his newfound complacency.
  • Mrs. Tristram is clearly pretty relieved. She thought Newman came back to France to end his life.
  • Newman's done with moping about. He throws the incriminating letter into the fire and lets it burn up.
  • Phew, that's a relief. Mrs. Tristram's sort of curious about what the secret is, but she's happy to see Newman happy.
  • Newman can't help but peer into the fire to see if the paper is really burned up. Who can blame him for having second thoughts?

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