Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Muslin discussion, ch. 3
Written by Louise H
(3/1/2009 12:36 p.m.)
I've always been puzzled by what Henry says to Mrs. Allen in ch. 3, when they discuss the price of her gown's muslin. Mrs. Allen says, "this is a favourite gown, though it cost but nine shillings a yard," and Henry replies that “That is exactly what I should have guessed it, madam.”
This is clearly a pleasant conversation where Henry is displaying his charming playfulness and endearing himself to both Catherine and Mrs. Allen. But his reply seems oddly rude to me. His response suggests that he thinks the muslin looks as cheap as it actually was.
I would think the charming reply by someone who knows muslin would be something more like, "Nine shillings a yard? You surprise me -- I would have expected such fine muslin to cost 12 shillings a yard at least. You are an excellent shopper, madam." Or, if he couldn't honestly say that, he could instead have remarked on the gown's fine cut showing off the muslin (and the wearer) to advantage. Or he could of course have changed the subject entirely.
Why isn't Mrs. Allen offended? Or am I misreading this? What do others think?
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.