Though there was already talk of the erection , in remote metropolitan distances " above the Forties , " of
, the world of fashion was still content to reassemble every winter in the shabby red and gold boxes of
a new Opera House which should compete in costliness and splendour with
the great European capitals 5 4
the sociable old Academy 1 .
Conservatives 6 cherished
it 1 for being small and inconvenient , and thus keeping out
the " new people " whom
New York 2
was beginning to dread and yet be drawn to 7
the sentimental 8 clung to
it 1 for
its 1 historic associations , and
the musical 9 for
its 1 excellent acoustics , always so problematic a quality in
halls built for the hearing of music 10 .
Madame Nilsson 0 's first appearance that winter , and what
the daily press 11 had already learned to describe as "
an exceptionally brilliant audience 12 " had gathered to hear
her 0 , transported through the slippery , snowy streets in
private broughams 13 , in
the spacious family landau 14 , or in
the humbler but more convenient " Brown coupe 15 . "
To come to
the Opera 1 in
a Brown coupe 15 was almost as honourable a way of arriving as in
one 's own carriage 16 ; and departure by
the same means 15 had the immense advantage of enabling one ( with a playful allusion to democratic principles ) to scramble into
the first Brown conveyance in the line 17 , instead of waiting till the cold-and-gin congested nose of
one 's own coachman 18 gleamed under
the portico of
the Academy 1 19
It was one of
the great livery-stableman 20 's most masterly intuitions to have discovered that
Americans 21 want to get away from amusement even more quickly than
they 21 want to get to it .
Newland Archer 22 opened the door at
the back of the club box 23 the curtain had just gone up on the garden scene .
There was no reason why
the young man 22 should not have come earlier , for
he 22 had dined at seven , alone with and
sister 25 , and had lingered afterward over a cigar in
the Gothic library 26 with glazed black-walnut bookcases and finial-topped chairs which was
the only room in the house where
Mrs. Archer 24
allowed smoking 27
But , in the first place ,
New York 2 was
a metropolis 86 , and perfectly aware that in
metropolises 28 it was " not the thing " to arrive early at
the opera 29 ; and what was or was not " the thing " played a part as important in
as the inscrutable totem terrors that had ruled the destinies of thousands of years ago .
Newland Archer 22
's New York 30
The second reason for
his 22 delay was a personal one .
He 22 had dawdled over
his 22 cigar because
he 22 was at heart
a dilettante 83 , and thinking over a pleasure to come often gave
him 22 a subtler satisfaction than its realisation .
This was especially the case when the pleasure was a delicate one , as
his 22 pleasures mostly were ; and on this occasion the moment
he 22 looked forward to was so rare and exquisite in quality that -- well , if
he 22 had timed
his 22 arrival in accord with
the prima donna 0
's stage-manager 32
he 22 could not have entered
the Academy 1 at a more significant moment than just as
she 0 was singing : "
He 33 loves
me 34 --
he 33 loves
me 34 not --
HE 33 LOVES
ME 34 !
-- " and sprinkling the falling daisy petals with notes as clear as dew .
She 0 sang , of course , " M'ama ! "
and not "
he 33 loves
me 34 , " since an unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by
Swedish artists 35 should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of
English-speaking audiences 36 .
This seemed as natural to
Newland Archer 22 as all the other conventions on which
his 22 life was moulded : such as the duty of using two silver-backed brushes with
his 22 monogram in blue enamel to part
his 22 hair , and of never appearing in society without a flower ( preferably a gardenia ) in
his 22 buttonhole .
" M'ama ... non m ' ama ... "
the prima donna 0 sang , and " M'ama ! "
, with a final burst of love triumphant , as
she 0 pressed the dishevelled daisy to
her 0 lips and lifted
her 0 large eyes to the sophisticated countenance of
the little brown Faust-Capoul 37 , who was vainly trying , in a tight purple velvet doublet and plumed cap , to look as pure and true as .
Newland Archer 22 , leaning against the wall at
the back of the club box 38 , turned
his 22 eyes from the stage and scanned
the opposite side of the house 39 .
him 22 was
, whose monstrous obesity had long since made it impossible for
the box of old
Mrs. Manson Mingott 41 40
her 41 to attend
the Opera 1 , but who was always represented on fashionable nights by
the younger members of the family 42 82
On this occasion ,
the front of the box 43 was filled by
Mrs. Lovell Mingott 84 , and ,
Mrs. Welland 85 ; and slightly withdrawn behind
these brocaded matrons 46 sat
a young girl in white with eyes ecstatically fixed on
the stagelovers 48 47
Madame Nilsson 0 's " M'ama ! "
thrilled out above
the silent house 49 (
the boxes 50 always stopped talking during the Daisy Song ) a warm pink mounted to
the girl 47 's cheek , mantled
her 47 brow to the roots of
her 47 fair braids , and suffused the young slope of
her 0 breast to the line where it met a modest tulle tucker fastened with a single gardenia .
She 47 dropped
her 47 eyes to the immense bouquet of lilies-of-the-valley on
her 47 knee , and
Newland Archer 22 saw
her 47 white-gloved finger-tips touch the flowers softly .
He 22 drew a breath of satisfied vanity and
his 22 eyes returned to the stage .
No expense had been spared on the setting , which was acknowledged to be very beautiful even by
people who shared
the Opera houses of
Vienna 54 52
The foreground , to the footlights , was covered with emerald green cloth .
In the middle distance symmetrical mounds of woolly green moss bounded by croquet hoops formed the base of shrubs shaped like orange-trees but studded with large pink and red roses .
Gigantic pansies , considerably larger than the roses , and closely resembling the floral pen-wipers made by
female parishioners 55 for
fashionable clergymen 56 , sprang from the moss beneath the rose-trees ; and here and there a daisy grafted on a rose-branch flowered with a luxuriance prophetic of
Mr. Luther Burbank 58
's far-off prodigies 57
the centre of this enchanted garden 59
Madame Nilsson 0 , in white cashmere slashed with pale blue satin , a reticule dangling from a blue girdle , and large yellow braids carefully disposed on each side of
her 0 muslin chemisette , listened with downcast eyes to
M. Capoul 37 's impassioned wooing , and affected a guileless incomprehension of
his 37 designs whenever , by word or glance ,
he 37 persuasively indicated the ground floor window of
the neat brick villa projecting obliquely from the right wing 60 .
" The darling ! "
Newland Archer 22 ,
his 22 glance flitting back to
the young girl with the lilies-of-the-valley 47 .
She 47 does n't even guess what it 's all about . "
he 22 contemplated
her 47 absorbed young face with a thrill of possessorship in which pride in
his 22 own masculine initiation was mingled with a tender reverence for
her 47 abysmal purity .
We 61 'll read
Faust 62 together ... by
the Italian lakes 63 ... "
he 22 thought , somewhat hazily confusing the scene of
his 22 projected honey-moon with the masterpieces of literature which it would be
his 22 manly privilege to reveal to .
It was only that afternoon that
May Welland 64 had let
him 22 guess that
she 64 " cared " (
New York 2 's consecrated phrase of maiden avowal ) , and already
his 22 imagination , leaping ahead of the engagement ring , the betrothal kiss and the march from Lohengrin , pictured
her 64 at
his 22 side in some scene of old European witchery .
He 22 did not in the least wish
the future Mrs. Newland Archer 65 to be
a simpleton 81 .
He 22 meant
her 65 ( thanks to
his 22 enlightening companionship ) to develop a social tact and readiness of wit enabling
her 65 to hold
her 65 own with
the most popular married women of the " younger set 66 , " in which it was the recognised custom to attract masculine homage while playfully discouraging it .
he 22 had probed to the bottom of
his 22 vanity ( as
he 22 sometimes nearly did )
he 22 would have found there the wish that should be as worldly-wise and as eager to please as
; without , of course , any hint of the frailty which had so nearly marred
the married lady whose charms had held
fancy through two mildly agitated years 67
that unhappy being 's life 67 , and had disarranged
his 22 own plans for a whole winter .
How this miracle of fire and ice was to be created , and to sustain itself in
a harsh world 68 ,
he 22 had never taken the time to think out ; but
he 22 was content to hold
his 22 view without analysing it , since
he 22 knew it was that of
all the carefully-brushed , white-waistcoated , button-hole-flowered gentlemen who succeeded each other in the club box 69 , exchanged friendly greetings with
him 22 , and turned
their 69 opera-glasses critically on
the circle of ladies who were the product of the system 70 .
In matters intellectual and artistic
Newland Archer 22 felt
himself 22 distinctly
the superior of these chosen specimens of old New York gentility 71 ;
he 22 had probably read more , thought more , and even seen a good deal more of
the world 72 , than
any other man of the number 73 .
they 73 betrayed
their 73 inferiority ; but grouped together
they 73 represented "
New York 2 , " and the habit of masculine solidarity made
him 22 accept
their 73 doctrine on all the issues called moral .
He 22 instinctively felt that in this respect it would be troublesome -- and also rather bad form -- to strike out for
himself 22 .
" Well -- upon
my 74 soul ! "
Lawrence Lefferts 74 , turning
his 74 opera-glass abruptly away from the stage .
Lawrence Lefferts 74 was , on the whole , the foremost authority on " form " in
New York 2 .
He 74 had probably devoted more time than
any one else 75 to the study of this intricate and fascinating question ; but study alone could not account for
his 74 complete and easy competence .
One had only to look at
him 74 , from the slant of
his 74 bald forehead and the curve of
his 74 beautiful fair moustache to the long patent-leather feet at the other end of
, to feel that the knowledge of " form " must be congenital in
lean and elegant person 74
any one who knew how to wear such good clothes so carelessly and carry such height with so much lounging grace 76 .
a young admirer 77 had once said of
him 74 : " If
anybody 78 can tell
a fellow 79 just when to wear a black tie with evening clothes and when not to , it 's
Larry Lefferts 74 . "
And on the question of pumps versus patent-leather " Oxfords "
his 74 authority had never been disputed .
My 74 God ! "
he 74 said ; and silently handed
his 74 glass to
old Sillerton Jackson 80 .