The Californian’s Tale

by

Mark Twain

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Henry’s Wife Character Analysis

Though she never appears in the story, the presence of Henry’s wife is reflected in the feminine touches that have transformed his cottage into a lovely and inviting space. Henry insists his wife is soon to return and that the narrator stick around to meet her, though Joe reveals at the end of the story that the young woman had in fact disappeared in an Indian raid nineteen years prior.

Henry’s Wife Quotes in The Californian’s Tale

The The Californian’s Tale quotes below are all either spoken by Henry’s Wife or refer to Henry’s Wife. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Manifest Destiny vs. Reality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of The Californian’s Tale published in 2005.
The Californian’s Tale Quotes

In the country neighborhood thereabouts, along the dusty roads, one found at intervals the prettiest little cottage homes, snug and cozy, and so cobwebbed with vines snowed thick with roses that the doors and windows were wholly hidden from sight.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Henry’s Wife
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 318
Explanation and Analysis:

That was all hard, cheerless, materialistic desolation, but here was a nest which had aspects to rest the tired eye.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Henry, Henry’s Wife
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:

“I've seen her fix all these things so much that I can do them all just her way, though I don't know the law of any of them. But she knows the law. She knows the why and the how both; but I don't know the why; I only know the how.”

Related Characters: Henry (speaker), The Narrator, Henry’s Wife, Tom, Joe , Charley
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:

I was feeling a deep, strong longing to see her—a longing so supplicating, so insistent, that it made me afraid.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Henry, Henry’s Wife
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 321
Explanation and Analysis:

[A] loving, sedate, and altogether charming and gracious piece of handiwork, with a postscript full of affectionate regards and messages to Tom, and Joe, and Charley.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Henry, Henry’s Wife
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 321
Explanation and Analysis:

Charley fetched out one hearty speech after another, and did his best to drive away his friend's bodings and apprehensions.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Henry, Henry’s Wife, Charley
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 323
Explanation and Analysis:

Joe brought the glasses on a waiter, and served the party. I reached for one of the two remaining glasses, but Joe growled, under his breath: "Drop that! Take the other." Which I did. Henry was served last.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Henry, Henry’s Wife, Tom, Joe , Charley
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 323
Explanation and Analysis:

Never has been sane an hour since. But he only gets bad when that time of the year comes round. Then we begin to drop in here, three days before she's due, to encourage him up.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Henry, Henry’s Wife, Tom, Joe , Charley
Related Symbols: Henry’s Cottage
Page Number: 324
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Californian’s Tale LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Californian’s Tale PDF

Henry’s Wife Character Timeline in The Californian’s Tale

The timeline below shows where the character Henry’s Wife appears in The Californian’s Tale. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Californian’s Tale
Masculine vs. Feminine Space Theme Icon
...in seeing the Narrator so pleased with the décor. Henry tells the Narrator that his wife is responsible for all of the decorations, and that while men can gaze in rapt... (full context)
Masculine vs. Feminine Space Theme Icon
Madness Theme Icon
...framed picture of a beautiful young woman. The woman in the picture is Henry’s nineteen-year-old wife, and as the Narrator holds the frame, he looks at Henry and notices pleasure “issuing... (full context)
Masculine vs. Feminine Space Theme Icon
Madness Theme Icon
Henry tells the Narrator that his wife is visiting friends about forty miles away, but she will return in three days on... (full context)
Manifest Destiny vs. Reality Theme Icon
Masculine vs. Feminine Space Theme Icon
Madness Theme Icon
...old miner named Tom arrives at Henry’s cottage and asks about the status of Henry’s wife. Henry pulls out a letter she wrote and reads to Tom the parts of the... (full context)
Manifest Destiny vs. Reality Theme Icon
Madness Theme Icon
Finally, Saturday arrives and the Narrator and Henry wait for the first sign of Henry’s wife. The Narrator becomes increasingly impatient, staring repeatedly at his watch. Henry and the Narrator walk... (full context)
Manifest Destiny vs. Reality Theme Icon
Masculine vs. Feminine Space Theme Icon
Madness Theme Icon
...and the miners put him to bed in his cottage while assuring him that his wife will be there in a half-an-hour. Henry falls asleep and Tom, Joe, and Charley prepare... (full context)