A wonderful scene in The Ambassadors is Strether's last conversation with Chad, where despite his denials of being tired of Madame de Vionnet, it becomes apparent that his real character is coming to the fore -- and that he has found his real vocation, for the advertising business! Here capitalism is allowed to raise its ugly head as the enemy -- far more than puritanism -- of all Strether's idealizations and of James's own aesthetic vision. Earlier there had been a very amusing exchange between the scathing Sarah Pocock and a gushing Strether: '"She might have affected you by her exquisite amiability -- a real revelation, it has seemed to myself; her high rarity, her distinction of every sort"... "A 'revelation' -- to me: I've come to such a woman for a revelation? You talk to me about 'distinction' -- you who've had your privilege -- while the most distinguished woman we shall either of us have seen in this world sits there insulted, in her loneliness, by your incredible comparison!"' (X iii, 278). Then Strether rather fatuously imagined that he could combine his New England values with the newfound Parisian aestheticism, but now Parisian lies and New England materialism have combined to rip the two worlds apart. The lovely French painting Strether composes in the countryside, and into which Chad and Madame de Vionnet glide en bateau, has at its heart a lie, enacted in their elaborate and amusing efforts to cover their traces. There's a crack in this golden bowl too. Maria Gostrey and Little Bilham have lied to him as well. But Strether comes to accept the lie as a beautiful, civilized thing. He can trust Madame de Vionnet 'to make deception right. As she presented things the ugliness -- goodness knew why -- went out of them' (XII i, 318). Paris wins a handsome triumph over puritanism. As a vision, Strether's magical Paris triumphs over capitalism too, and remains a symbol of the ideal in a way that London, which James knew more intimately, could never pretend to be. But the magic is partly tainted at the end of the novel, for the clanking of money concerns has been heard in the French milieu, especially in the way Madame de Vionnet and Chad arrange her daughter's marriage: 'the Paris he renounces for himself contains cruelty, greed, and suffering as well as generosity, courage, and joy' (Joan Bennett in The Ambassadors, Norton ed., 441). Puritanism will play no role in The Wings of the Dove and The Golden Bowl -- no more fuddy-duddy Longdons or Strethers or hysterical Governesses or Sarahs. Milly and Susan are not particularly disturbed by any moral corruptedness of London life. Maggie's reaction to her husband's infidelity is more pragmatic than puritanical, her 'innocence' made of sterner stuff than Fanny Assingham anticipated. Instead, the battle is between 'love', which for much of the time becomes an enigmatic abstract x -- as Densher's love for Kate sinks into a needy lust or as Maggie's love for Adam and Amerigo floats in nebulous good intentions -- and the cruelly defined imperatives of financial need or rapacity. In these two novels James devotes his skills to his most sustained confrontations with the power of money.