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Written by Kay S
(4/15/2003 1:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Doesn't Catherine spot his main fault on day one?, penned by DeeMac
] I've always thought that Henry came very near stepping over the line with that comment - although I couldn't help laughing at it in spite of myself. Are we to think that he's complimenting Catherine's understanding by so unguardedly revealing his actual opinion of silly Mrs Allen so soon? I suspect so.
Like so many things Henry says, his comment here is open to multiple interpretations of varying degrees of politeness. 'Intellectual poverty' could, as DeeMac understands it, refer to Mrs. Allen's company, which is indeed pretty close to stepping over the line! However he could also just be referring to the limited number of families in Catherine's neighborhood at home, which amounts to little more than a banal comment on the variety of the social scene in Bath. Of course I don't believe for a minute that Henry intends the politer interpretation, though Catherine probably did. Henry is too clever and too genteel to directly insult someone. That would be so John Thorpe!
Unlike Catherine, Henry Tilney speaks well enough to be unintelligible.
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