|The Age Of Innocence by Martin Scorsese
It was, as Mrs. Archer said to Mrs. Welland, a great event for
a young couple togive their first dinner, and it was not to be
undertaken lightly. There was a hired chef, two borrowed footmen,
roses from Henderson's, Roman punch and menus on gilt-edged cards.
It was considered a particular triumph that the Van der
Luydens, at May's request, stayed in the city to be present at her
farewell dinner for theCountess Olenska.
[Everyone is seated at the table. Ellen is to Archer's left]
He guessed himself to have been, for months, the center of
countless silently observing eyes and patiently listening ears. He
understood that, somehow, the separation between himself and the
partner of his guilt had been achieved. And he knew that now the
whole tribe had rallied around his wife. He was a prisoner in
the center of an armed camp.
Regina's not well at all, but that doesn't stop Beaufort from
devoting as much timeto Annie Ring. . .
[Archer turns to Ellen]
Was the trip from Washington very tiring?
The heat in the train was dreadful. But all travel has its
Whatever they may be, they're worth it. Just to get away.
[She can't reply]
I mean to do a lot of travelling myself soon.
[Ellen's face trembles. To rescue the moment, he leans toward a
man sitting across from him]
Philip, what about you? A little adventure? A long trip? Are you
interested? Athens and Smyrna and maybe Constantinople. Then as
far East as we can go.
MRS. VAN DER LUYDEN
But not Naples, Dr. Bencomb says there's a fever.
There's India, too.
You must have three weeks to do India properly.
[In the library at the Archer House. After dinner, the men are
gathered in several groups, all smoking cigars]
Beaufort may not receive invitations anymore, but it's clear he
still maintains a certain position.
Horizontal, from all I've heard.
If things go on like this, we'll be seeing our children fighting
for invitations to swindlers' houses and marrying Beaufort's
Has he got any?
[Laughter from the group]
Careful, there, gentlemen. Draw it mild, draw it mild.
[Archer manages a small smile but is still distracted. Van der
Luyden approaches him]
VAN DER LUYDEN
Have you ever noticed? It's the people who have the worst cooks
who are always yelling about being poisoned when they dine out.
Lefferts used to be a little more adept, I thought. But then,
grace is not always required. As long as one knows the steps.
[In the drawing room at the Archer House. May is sitting on a
sofa next to Countess Olenska. May sees Archer and her eyes are
shining as she gets up. As soon as she is on her feet, Mrs. van
der Luyden beckons Ellen to join her across the room. Ellen goes
slowly toward Mrs. van der Luyden and another woman joins them.
Archer watches this ritual as if it were an elaborate rehearsal
for a firing squad]
The silent organization which held this whole small world
together was determined to put itself on record. It had never for
a moment questioned the propriety of Madame Olenska's conduct. It
had never questioned Archer's fidelity. And it had never heard of,
suspected, or even conceived possible, anything at all to the
contrary. From the seamless performance of this ritual, Archer
knew that New York believed him to be Madame Olenska's lover. And
he understood, for the first time, that his wife shared the
[In the front hall. Archer is helping Ellen with her cloak]
Shall I see you to your carriage?
[She turns to him as Mrs. van der Luyden steps forward]
MRS. VAN DER LUYDEN
We are driving dear Ellen home.
[Ellen offers her hand to Archer]
Good-bye. But I'll see you soon in Paris.
Oh. . . if you and May could come. . .