May: See? I've told all my friends, just as you asked.
Newland: Just I couldn't wait. I wish it hadn't been at a ball.
May: But even here we're alone together.
Newland: The worst of it is that I want to kiss you and I can't.
May: Newland. (May and Newland kisses) Did you tell Ellen as I asked you to?
Newland: No, I didn't have a chance after all.
May: She's my cousin, Newland. If others know before she does... It’s just that she's been away for so long. She's rather sensitive.
Newland: Of course I'll tell her, dear. But I didn't see her yet.
May: She decided not to come at the last minute.
Newland: At the last minute?
May: She was afraid her dress wasn'tsmart enough. We all thought it was so lovely, but she asked my aunt to take her home.
Newland: Oh, well.
Mrs. Mingott: Very handsome. Very liberal. In my time, a cameo set in pearls was thought to be sufficient. But it's the hand thatsets off the ring, isn't it?
Mrs. Welland: It’s the new setting that shows the stone beautifully. But it looks a little bare to old-fashioned eyes.
Mrs. Mingott: I hope you don't mean mine, my dear. I like all the novelties. My hands were modeled in Paris by the great Rochet. He should do May's. Show me, child. Her hand is so tempered. It’s these modern sports that spread the joints. But the skin is white. And when's the wedding to be?
Newland: Soon as we can, if only you'll back me up, Mrs. Mingott.
Mrs. Welland: We must give them time to get to know each other a little better, Mama.
Mrs. Mingott: Know each other? Everybody in New York has always known everybody. Don't wait till the bubble's off the wine. Marry before Lent. I may catch pneumonia, and I want to give the wedding breakfast.
Mrs. Welland: Oh, what a kind offer.
Voiceover: Even if she had not been grandmother to May, Mrs. Manson Mingott would still have been the first to receive the required betrothal visit. She was not only the matriarch of this world, she was nearly its dowager empress. Much of New York was already related to her, and she knew the remainder by marriage or by reputation. Though brownstone was the norm, she lived magisterially within a large house of controversial pale, cream-colored stone in an inaccessible wilderness near the Central Park. The burden of her flesh had long since made it impossible for her to go up and down stairs. So with characteristic independence, she had established herself on the ground floor of her house. From her sitting room, there was an unexpected vista of her bedroom. Her visitors were startled and fascinated by the foreignness of this arrangement, which recalled scenes in French fiction. This was how women with lovers lived in the wicked old societies. But if Mrs. Mingott had wanted a lover, the intrepidwoman would have had him too. For now, she was content simply for life and passion to flow northward to her door, and to anticipate eagerly the union of Newland Archer with her granddaughter, May. In them, two of New York's best families would finally and momentously be joined.
Mrs. Welland: Bye, Mama.
Mrs. Mingott: Goodbye.
Mrs. Welland: Ellen.
Mrs. Mingott: Beaufort, this is a rare favor.
Beaufort: Unnecessarily rare, I'd say. I met Countess Ellen in Madison Square, and she let me walk home with her.
Mrs. Mingott: This house will be merrier now that she's here.
Beaufort: Thank you.
Mrs. Mingott: Beaufort, pull up that tuffet. I want a good gossip.
Newland: You already know about May and me. She scolded me for not telling you at the opera.
Ellen: Of course I know, and I'm so glad. One doesn't tell such news first in a crowd.
Mrs. Welland: Oh, careful there. Don't let your ring catch on the sleeve.
May: Goodbye, Ellen.
Ellen: Goodbye. Goodbye. Come and see me someday.
Mrs. Welland: It's a mistake for Ellen to be seen parading up 5th Avenue with Julius Beaufort at the crowded hour...the very day after her arrival. His behaviour is always so flagrant. Even his wife must know about Annie Ring.