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|Thorpe Family: Ch. 4 to 7 – Isabella’s Agenda
Written by Robbin
(3/5/2009 10:58 p.m.)
In Ch. 7 it is obvious James is smitten with Isabella. I think he came to Bath on her account although he lets Catherine believe otherwise. Does Isabella return his regard? Regard I am not sure of but I think she is interested. In Ch 4 Thorpes female are struck by Catherine’s name realizing she is James’ sister and they all speak to her with great civility. I find it odd no one directly tells Catherine they are acquainted with James. Instead Isabella muses to mother and sisters on Catherine’s resemblance to him. It seems like a bit of needless theater but maybe it just sets the stage. Mrs. Thorpe’s claim she would have recognized Catherine for his sister anywhere is a flattering fiction which “was repeated by them all, two or three times over.” Then “many obliging things were said by the Miss Thorpes of their wish of being better acquainted with her; of being considered as already friends” followed by Isabella’s “frequent expressions of delight” in their acquaintance. Finally Isabella walks Catherine home giving “a most affectionate and lengthened shake of hands” ending the meeting. In Ch. 6 Isabella hints she has a preference and there are some clues it is James which explains their eagerness to befriend Catherine.
There are several hints about James in Ch. 6. Isabella appreciates Mr. Tilney for his career choice, her sigh indicating she has her own clergyman to fondly remember: "She liked him the better for being a clergyman, for she must confess herself very partial to the profession; and something like a sigh escaped her as she said it." I think it possible James is training to be a clergyman. Isabella confesses she perfectly comprehends how Catherine’s regard for Mr. Tilney makes other attention unwanted, “Where the heart is really attached, I know very well how little one can be pleased with the attention of anybody else.” and then makes a point of saying “My attachments are always excessively strong.” Isabella fishes for information about Mrs. Moreland’s character when she suggests “I suppose Mrs. Morland objects to novels.” Later Isabella asks Catherine what is her favorite complexion in a man (obviously) so she may confess her own, “I prefer light eyes, and as to complexion — do you know — I like a sallow better than any other.” I think she is describing James. She says in Ch. 4 that brother and sister are alike and Catherine is described as having “a sallow skin without colour…” in Ch. 1. Isabella continues to hint by asking a surprised Catherine not to betray her confidence should she ever see “such a man” and worrying she has said too much.
Isabella might have said much more without effect since Catherine has not a suspicious nature and (Ch. 5) does not know “when a confidence should be forced.” When brothers Morland & Thorpe arrive (Ch. 7) there are a few more clues to a potential match between Isabella and James. The “bright eyes of Miss Thorpe were incessantly challenging his [James’] notice” and Mr. Thorpe unceremoniously gives over his sister to his friend, “I did not come to Bath to drive my sisters about; that would be a good joke, faith! Morland must take care of you.” Lastly, James turns down an invitation to dine with Catherine and the Allens because he has a “pre–engagement in Edgar’s Buildings” with Thrope. This last can be seen as evidence of James eagerness to spend time with Isabella but might also reflect their eagerness for the same.
Thanks for reading. (;D)
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