They were the arbiters of fashion, the Court of last Appeal, and they knew it, and bowed to their fate.
The fire had crumbled down to greyness, and one of the lamps made a gurgling appeal for attention.
No appeal could have found a more immediate response in Archer’s breast; but he wished that the necessity of their action had been represented by some ideal reason, and not simply by poor Ellen Olenska.
Madame Olenska’s pale and serious face appealed to his fancy as suited to the occasion and to her unhappy situation; but the way her dress (which had no tucker) sloped away from her thin shoulders shocked and troubled him.
Little did you know that at that very moment I was being appealed to: being approached, in fact—from the other side of the Atlantic!
"Exquisite pleasures—it’s something to have had them!" he felt like retorting; but the appeal in her eyes kept him silent.
There was no appeal from her tone, and with a slight shrug he recovered his composure, took her hand, which he kissed with a practised air, and calling out from the threshold: "I say, Newland, if you can persuade the Countess to stop in town of course you’re included in the supper," left the room with his heavy important step.
The fact seemed an additional appeal to his pity: such innocence was as moving as the trustful clasp of a child.
This was her answer to his final appeal of the other day: if she would not take the extreme step he had urged, she had at last yielded to half-measures.
This retort to his last appeal might have been interpreted as a classic move in a familiar game; but the young man chose to give it a different meaning.
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The mere idea of a woman’s appealing to her family to screen her husband’s business dishonour was inadmissible, since it was the one thing that the Family, as an institution, could not do.
"Why the devil," Archer explosively continued, "should you have thought—since I suppose you’re appealing to me on the ground of my relationship to Madame Olenska—that I should take a view contrary to the rest of her family?"
It was an echo of Ned Winsett’s old appeal to roll his sleeves up and get down into the muck; but spoken by a man who set the example of the gesture, and whose summons to follow him was irresistible.
Mrs. Lovell Mingott confided the case to Mrs. Welland, who confided it to Newland Archer; who, aflame at the outrage, appealed passionately and authoritatively to his mother; who, after a painful period of inward resistance and outward temporising, succumbed to his instances (as she always did), and immediately embracing his cause with an energy redoubled by her previous hesitations, put on her grey velvet bonnet and said: "I’ll go and see Louisa van der Luyden."