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|Thorpe Family – Ch 7 to 19 - Isabella’s True Colors
Written by Robbin
(3/15/2009 1:13 p.m.)
If a country dance is an emblem of marriage as Henry suggested in Ch. 10 then James cannot be very secure in Isabella’s affections. In Ch. 16 after claiming “Of all things in the world inconstancy is my aversion” Isabella has a high old time dancing with Captain Tilney and then in Ch. 18 puts Catherine “quite out of countenance” by having a tęte-ŕ-tęte with him in the Pump-room. Catherine sees Isabella “in public, admitting Captain Tilney’s attentions as readily as they were offered, and allowing him almost an equal share with James in her notice and smiles” in Ch. 19. Seeing that their behavior causes James sorrow, Catherine is so out of sorts with the Captain and Isabella that she pleads James’ cause with Henry:
“My dear Miss Morland,” said Henry, “in this amiable solicitude for your brother’s comfort, may you not be a little mistaken? Are you not carried a little too far? Would he thank you, either on his own account or Miss Thorpe’s, for supposing that her affection, or at least her good behaviour, is only to be secured by her seeing nothing of Captain Tilney? Is he safe only in solitude? Or is her heart constant to him only when unsolicited by anyone else?” (Ch. 19)
Catherine is finally comforted when Henry confesses his brother will leave Bath shortly after they do. So much so that she does not worry when Isabella “gave her lover a flat contradiction, and once she drew back her hand” during their (Catherine & Isabella’s) parting interview. I am not so comforted because Isabella’s duplicity is not surprising. She turned on Catherine easily enough when she refused to accompany them to Clifton in Ch. 11. Further back in Ch. 7, while walking Isabella lets her attention wander from James to look back at the young men from the Pump-Room three times despite his being “her brother’s friend, and her friend’s brother” levied a “double recommendation” (or claim) on her attention. Isabella’s attempts to gain the other men’s attention when she should have been “endeavouring to ensure a pleasant walk” to James is a failure of duty and her engagement seems to hold no more claim on her attention than the double recommendation.
Thanks for reading. (;D)
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