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|Captain Frederick Tilney (v. long, I'm afraid)
Written by Siobhan
(4/17/2003 3:52 p.m.)
Finally, we are introduced to Captain Tilney in Chapter 1 of Part II. He is very handsome (more so than Henry, in fact). Catherine thinks him less worthy than Henry, but she is so partial to Henry that I don't know that we should put much trust in her assertions.
We have a P&P moment here, when Frederick laughs at his brother for dancing and protests that he will not dance. Without actually knowing what exactly was said, it's hard to make a judgement, but I am inclined (at this time) to think Frederick must be as jovial as his brother and is laughingly teasing him. We are inclined to think ill of Mr. Darcy when he goes to a dance and does not join in; should we therefore think ill of Captain Tilney if he does join in after protesting against it??
Captain Tilney pulls Henry away and they whisper together for 5 minutes - oh, to know what was said! We know that they talked about Isabella, because Henry asks Catherine if he might introduce his brother to her. Frederick can see quite as plainly as many others that Isabella is quite ready to flirt with him. I see her making eyes at him - he's new in town, he's handsome, he's rich AND he's the brother of her friend's beau!
Henry is not at all surprised that his brother asks Isabella to dance: but as for my brother, his conduct in the business, I must own, has been no more than I believed him perfectly equal to. The fairness of your friend was an open attraction. Besides, they were at a dance, there was nothing untoward in their dancing together.
We then get Isabella's version of what happened. That Mrs. Hughes introduced him is likely the only part of IT's story of which we can have no doubt. IT's assertions really can't be believed, as she contradicts herself too readily.
The next time we meet him, however, there seems to be more in his behaviour. It is apparent that he has been spending a lot of time with Isabella. Isabella seems upset about the small income she is to share with James and she doesn't seem as attached to him. In fact, what she says seems quite clear: I would not for all the world be the means of hurrying you into an engagement before you knew what you were about. She then enters into a shameless flirtation with Captain Tilney.
So the question here is: what IS Captain Tilney about? His speeches here seem directed to flatter Isabella. Do you think he is serious in his attentions? I find it hard to believe. He is feeding her ego but I don't think he's actually fallen for her. He doesn't ring of sincerity like James does when he speaks to or about Isabella. The Captain is flirting with Isabella, but I don't sense any real attraction.
Then Catherine finds out that Captain Tilney will not be leaving Bath with the family and actually speaks to Henry about it. After a frank discussion in which Henry learns more about Catherine's warm heart than she does about Captain Tilney's intentions, we finally get a description of Freddie from someone who actually knows him and whose opinion we can rely on: Henry.
My brother is a lively, and perhaps sometimes a thoughtless young man; he has had about a week's acquaintance with your friend, and he has known her engagement almost as long as he has known her. Lively and thoughtless - our Captain is out for a good time; not a long time! I don't get the impression that Henry disapproves of his brother though. He seems to be enjoying Freddie's antics - of course, Henry sees right through IT and has no concern for her heart.
Here is my take on all of this: Frederick shows up at the ball, is diverted by the actions of IT trying to get his attention, immediately sees what kind of girl she is and inquires after her. When he finds out she's engaged, he KNOWS what kind of girl she is, and decides to enjoy himself with her attentions. I do think after the ball that Henry and Frederick talked about both Catherine and IT.
In Chapter 5 we learn one important new fact. Frederick is the eldest son. Wow! It's so suble you could miss it. But the implications are vast. It isn't Henry who will inherit Northanger Abbey, it's Captain Frederick Tilney!! Hmmm... I wonder if IT knew that??
Through Catherine's eyes we see his behaviour at home. He rises late, is quiet in his father's presence as are Henry and Eleanor generally. And he whispers to Eleanor: "How glad I shall be when you are all off."
I feel sorry for all the Tilney children. I think they all suffer under their father's roof. Even the eldest found a profession to get away from it. I see no evidence that the three siblings do not get along. Quite the opposite. From Chapter 7, we hear from Eleanor that "both my brothers are very affectionate"
At the moment, I quite like Captain Tilney. I think he is perhaps less patient with his father (hence the rising late, the sullen silence and the whispering comment), but so far see nothing to censure in him other than a tendency to play with IT. Perhaps he shouldn't do that, but really, I'm quite sure she started it and I really can't feel sorry for her. We don't hear tales of him flirting with every woman in that way. Perhaps he limits himself to being entertained by stupid, greedy women!! ;-)
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