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|GR: Brothers and Sisters: The Morlands, Week4
Written by Cheryl
(4/20/2003 12:08 a.m.)
The Catherine and James interact in this week’s chapters only through letters. When Catherine leaves for Northanger Abbey, he warns her not to expect a letter from him until he was back at Oxford. I think that he assumed that Catherine would be kept apprised of his well-being through her correspondence with Isabella. And besides, that’s such a brother thing to say, isn’t it? ;-)
Well, she does hear from him when he returns to Oxford, but it is much earlier than he had planned and it is to inform her that the engagement to Isabella is off! It is a disjointed letter, obviously written in great distress. Whereas before, he was careless about keeping contact, now he tells her to
“Let me soon hear from you, dear Catherine; you are my only friend; your love I do build upon.”
When one is having a crisis to whom does one turn? If one has been brought up in a loving environment, then it is natural to turn to one’s family, and this is what James does. Now, there is also a lot of self-pity and wallowing and all that, but again just the kind of thing you would expect in a close family – unburdening and listening.
He is also concerned about her discomfort should Capt. Tilney arrive at Northanger Abbey and tries to warn her away from making the same mistake he did: “Dearest Catherine, beware how you give your heart.” Though this is James’ newfound bitterness speaking, I do believe he would try to save his sister from the same pain if he could.
Henry recognizes the closeness of the siblings with "'To have so kind-hearted, so affectionate a sister,' replied Henry warmly, 'must be a comfort to him under any distress.'"
The other bit of Morland siblings comes when Catherine is sent home in disgrace; hurt, confused, sure she will never see Henry again. The joy of her family upon receiving her home does much to soothe her. I loved this, especially the part I've put in italics:
”… in the embrace of each, as she stepped from the carriage, she found herself soothed beyond anything that she had believed possible. So surrounded, so caressed, she was even happy! In the joyfulness of family love everything for a short time was subdued…”
Our Catherine needed that.
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