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|Nasty John Thorpe
Written by Glenn
(4/8/2012 11:25 p.m.)
In Chapter 8, John Thorpe left Catherine Moreland in the Upper-rooms and went to the card rooms. She had been engaged to dance with John but she was left with Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Thorpe. She could not help being vexed at the non–appearance of Mr. Thorpe, for … she was sharing with the scores of other young ladies still sitting down all the discredit of wanting a partner. … one of those circumstances which peculiarly belong to the heroine’s life … Of course, she would rather dance with Henry Tilney, who had just asked her, but because she was engaged to dance with John, she had to refuse him. … one mortification succeeded another, and from the whole she deduced this useful lesson, that to go previously engaged to a ball does not necessarily increase either the dignity or enjoyment of a young lady. So, what was John talking about in the card room? It was horses and dogs, of course.
John may be an excessive wine drinker: … at the last party in my rooms, that upon an average we cleared about five pints a head. Of course, John lies so much that we don’t know whether he was telling the truth. He called James’ carriage “ … the most devilish little rickety business I ever beheld! Thank God! we have got a better. I would not be bound to go two miles in it for fifty thousand pounds.” When Catherine asks him to warn James about how unsafe it was, he says ”Oh, curse it! The carriage is safe enough, if a man knows how to drive it; a thing of that sort in good hands will last above twenty years after it is fairly worn out. Lord bless you! I would undertake for five pounds to drive it to York and back again, without losing a nail.” Catherine had not been brought up to understand the propensities of a rattle, nor to know to how many idle assertions and impudent falsehoods the excess of vanity will lead.
Mr. Tilney asked Catherine to dance at the Cotillion ball, but John Thorpe said “Heyday, Miss Morland!” … “What is the meaning of this? I thought you and I were to dance together.” He then babbled on (rattled on?) until he was borne off by the resistless pressure of a long string of passing ladies. That’s when Henry said "He has no business to withdraw the attention of my partner from me." Henry was a gentleman when Catherine refused his offer to dance at the Upper-rooms in Chapter 8 but John was a scoundrel when he tried to divert Catherine’s attention at the Cotillion ball. Afterwards, a discussion of engagement for dancing and marriage transpires. Henry: ”… man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal. Well, back in Regency days it was thus, but not today.
In Chapter 11, John tells a big lie: “Well, I saw him (Henry Tilney) at that moment turn up the Lansdown Road, driving a smart–looking girl (Eleanor Tilney).” At the Argyle Buildings, John asked her ”Who is that girl who looked at you so hard as she went by?” When Catherine turned around, she saw Eleanor and Henry Tilney. She knew that John was a complete liar, asked him to “Stop, stop, Mr. Thorpe,” but he only lashed his horse into a brisker trot. “How could you deceive me so, Mr. Thorpe?” Catherine now has no trust in John Thorpe and I heartily approve of her decision.
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