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|Fidelity & Complaisance
Written by Robbin
(3/11/2009 5:10 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Confused about HT`s remarks on marriage..., penned by MarianneR
Henry is vexed at JT’s intrusion and I think he is teasing Catherine but the subject is one it seems he has strong feelings about. I think the “country–dance as an emblem of marriage” speech (Ch. 7) is to spotlight fidelity and complaisance and what a partner’s performance of these duties reveal about him or her as a reliable partner. An example thereof other than Catherine’s attending an intrusive JT when she is engaged to dance with Henry is in Ch. 8.
Catherine attends the ball in the Upper Rooms already engaged to JT for the first set but he leaves her wanting a partner for over ten minutes after the dancing began while he visits a friend in the card room. Then he annoys and bores Catherine by talking about horses and dogs and she does not give him her full attention as she ought: “looking very often towards that part of the room where she had left Mr. Tilney.” Neither lives up to the duties of fidelity and compliance as Henry described.
Henry waits for Catherine through the two sets but finally gets tired of lounging and seeks out another partner who, although his second choice, is well attended by him: “The rest of the evening she [Catherine] found very dull; Mr. Tilney was drawn away from their party at tea, to attend that of his partner” By keeping Catherine waiting in order to talk with his friend JT shows a lack of fidelity and is not complaisant by boorishly talking of horses and dogs. Catherine makes her own mistake by looking around for Henry rather than focusing on her partner.
If a country-dance is an emblem of marriage then JT’s lackadaisical attention to duty does not recommend him as a partner in dance or life. However, on both occasions when Catherine danced with Henry (chapters 3 and 10) he has performed his duties wonderfully showing he is an attentive dance partner suggesting he would also be a wonderful life partner.
Thanks for reading. (;D)
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