The van der Luydens are one of three New York families with aristocratic bloodlines. They listen to Mrs. Archer's account of the slight conferred upon the Countess by New York society, and decide that a show of family loyalty would rectify the situation. Because Louisa's relative, the Duke of St. Austrey, is arriving from Russia, the van der Luydens will include the Countess in their dinner and reception for him.At the party, the van der Luydens spare no pains in providing the best china, silver, and glassware. Newland notices that the Countess is pale but very confident with almost a regal bearing. She does not seem decadent, as her past would suggest. However, when Newland and the Countess speak after dinner he is shocked by her sadness and candor. She wants to be all things American and when she touches his knee with her fan he feels unexpected electricity. Breaking an unspoken social
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van der, New York society, Lawrence Lefferts. Newland