The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

by

Anne Brontë

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Arthur Huntingdon Character Analysis

A handsome and dissolute young man with tastes only for pleasure and drinking, Helen’s first husband proves an ill-suited mate for her as a serious and religious woman. Charming and affectionate in the first days of their marriage, he soon becomes cruel and neglectful, leaving Helen alone at Grassdale Manor for months at a time in order to meet up with his friends in London. Helen hopes to reform him, but he proves himself beyond help when he begins a torrid affair with Annabella Lowborough. Eventually Arthur grows tired of her too, and, bloated from drink and his intelligence dulled by years of constant partying, he contracts a fever. Nursed by the faithful Helen, Arthur dies in agony and without the benefit of belief in a higher power.

Arthur Huntingdon Quotes in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The The Tenant of Wildfell Hall quotes below are all either spoken by Arthur Huntingdon or refer to Arthur Huntingdon. 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:
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Wordsworth Classics edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall published in 2001.
Chapter 17 Quotes

I have such confidence in him, aunt, notwithstanding all you say, that I would willingly risk my happiness for the chance of securing his. I will leave better men to those who only consider their own advantage. If he has done amiss, I shall consider my life well spent in saving him from the consequences of his early errors, and striving to recall him to the path of virtue—God grant me success!

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Arthur Huntingdon, Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy)
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

There is no help for him now; he is past praying for. Besides, she may keep up the deception to the end of the chapter; and then he will be just as happy in the illusion as if it were reality.

Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

I cannot get him to write or speak in real, solid earnest. I don't much mind it now; but if it be always so, what shall I do with the serious part of myself?

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Arthur Huntingdon
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27 Quotes

She is a daughter of earth; you are an angel of heaven; only be not too austere in your divinity, and remember that I am a poor, fallible mortal.

Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 30 Quotes

How little real sympathy there exists between us; how many of my thoughts and feelings are gloomily cloistered within my own mind; how much of my higher and better self is indeed unmarried—doomed either to harden and sour in the sunless shade of solitude, or to quite degenerate and fall away for lack of nutriment in this unwholesome soil!

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Arthur Huntingdon
Related Symbols: Trees and Flowers
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

But it is now January: spring is approaching; and, I repeat, I dread the consequences of its arrival. That sweet season, I once so joyously welcomed as the time of hope and gladness, awakens, now, far other anticipations by its return.

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Arthur Huntingdon
Related Symbols: The Weather
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:
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Arthur Huntingdon Character Timeline in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The timeline below shows where the character Arthur Huntingdon appears in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16. The Warnings of Experience
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...while Mr. Boarham is doing his best to monopolize Helen’s attention, a young man named Mr. Huntingdon asks her to dance. Lively and fun, he is also the son of one of... (full context)
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...and Helen’s uncle grows annoyed with the young man’s persistence. He knows, of course, that Mr. Huntingdon is coming to see Helen. Her uncle teases her about preferring the young Mr. Huntingdon... (full context)
Chapter 17. Further Warnings
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...flirt and very popular with the men in attendance. Milicent becomes quickly attached to Helen. Mr. Huntingdon is also there, as is his friend, Mr. Grimsby, whom Helen dislikes instantly on account... (full context)
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...paintings, is jealous of Annabella until finally Mr. Huntington approaches her. Bored by Milicent’s artwork, Arthur casts it aside and launches into a round of entertaining conversation that Helen finds impossible... (full context)
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Mrs. Maxwell comes over and, by overwhelming Mr. Huntingdon with what Helen considers irrelevant questions, puts an end to the conversation. Helen moves to... (full context)
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Helen happily agrees, and finds that Mr. Huntingdon cares very little about the painting, a striking Vandyke. He hoped only to get her... (full context)
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...marrying a man strictly for his looks and charm. Her aunt asks if Helen believes Mr. Huntingdon to be a good man, and Helen says she thinks he could be a good... (full context)
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...country, but Helen suspects her aunt of ulterior motives—she wants to get Helen away from Mr. Huntingdon . While they prepare to leave town, Helen refuses to mention the young man’s name... (full context)
Chapter 18. The Miniature
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...is working hard at being content in the country, but her thoughts are always with Mr. Huntingdon . She cannot wait for spring, when she will be in town again and, she... (full context)
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...Wilmot and Mr. Boarham are among the party, but then her uncle informs her that Mr. Huntingdon and his friend Lord Lowborough, are also coming, and she is ecstatic. Mrs. Maxwell invites... (full context)
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...whom she will pour out her heart, and her heart is very much full of Mr. Huntingdon . On his first night at the Maxwells’, Mr. Huntingdon happens upon a drawing of... (full context)
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Angered and offended, Helen ignores Mr. Huntingdon at breakfast while showering friendliness on everyone else, including Mr. Wilmot and Mr. Boarham. Later,... (full context)
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...in the grass below, looking rapturously up at them. While she is hard at work, Mr. Huntingdon sneaks in the window. He compares the girl in the painting to a young woman... (full context)
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...go on a long walk, meeting up with the hunters near the house. All but Mr. Huntingdon dodge the ladies, being covered in mud and blood. Mr. Huntingdon inserts himself between Helen... (full context)
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...both Wilmot and Boarham redouble their efforts to woo Helen, who begins to doubt that Mr. Huntingdon ever had any affection for her. If he loved her, he couldn’t possibly watch those... (full context)
Chapter 19. An Incident
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Helen goes down to dinner, resolving to be in good spirits, but when Mr. Huntingdon asks Annabella Wilmot to sing for the company, Helen is overcome with jealousy and bitterness.... (full context)
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Helen isn’t alone for long. Mr. Huntingdon joins her and asks to know what is the matter. She won’t tell him, so... (full context)
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Mr. Huntingdon kisses Helen, and Mrs. Maxwell walks in at that very moment. The two young people... (full context)
Chapter 20. Persistence
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...and a robin is singing in the field. Again, she is not alone for long. Mr. Huntingdon joins her and, arm around her waist, rejoices in the fact that she is “his”... (full context)
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...off by his excesses—she wants him to be sincere. He wants her to call him Arthur. They walk on, and Arthur asks about Helen’s father, who is still living but who... (full context)
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Later, Arthur requests a conference with Mr. Maxwell, and Helen and her aunt have a talk about... (full context)
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What faults Arthur Huntingdon has, Helen says, she will do her best to alleviate. In Helen’s estimation, they’re... (full context)
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She and Helen then trade Bible verses. Mrs. Maxwell’s verses support her point that Arthur’s sin of thoughtlessness will land him in hell. Helen’s support her own argument—that Jesus died... (full context)
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...attends the morning service, but Lord Lowborough and Annabella Wilmot stay behind from afternoon prayers. Arthur Huntingdon accompanies Helen and Mrs. Maxwell both, but his behavior mortifies Helen, who catches him... (full context)
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Back at Staningley, Mr. Maxwell calls Helen into the library to discuss Arthur Huntingdon’s marriage offer. Mr. Maxwell asks Helen if she is ready to accept Arthur’s hand.... (full context)
Chapter 21. Opinions
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...had hoped to introduce Helen to her brother Walter in the spring. Milicent worries that Arthur is not serious enough for Helen, and she doesn’t like his looks either. She thinks... (full context)
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The disapproving opinions keep pouring in. Over breakfast, Arthur reads a number of letters from his friends, who are upset with him for breaking... (full context)
Chapter 22. Traits of Friendship
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Helen admits to her diary and herself that her joy in being Arthur Huntingdon’s fiancé is tempered by the faults of his character that she sees more and... (full context)
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Arthur insists he doesn’t care for gambling. He only goes to watch the action and find... (full context)
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Arthur continues his tale. Lowborough has replaced gambling with drinking as his favored vice, and Arthur... (full context)
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...Either he joins in the fun, his friends say, or he has to stay away. Arthur takes his side, though, and tells them to be patient—he’ll come around. One night, Lowborough... (full context)
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Arthur tells Helen that, when Lowborough recovers, he counsels him to adhere to a program of... (full context)
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...joined the party at Staningley and was no longer around her other suitors. Lowborough approaches Arthur one night and tells him that his greatest hopes are at hand: Annabella loves him!... (full context)
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Arthur contends that he cannot tell Lowborough the truth. It will break his heart, and it... (full context)
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...for dinner, tells her mistress that the servants have heard rumors about both Lowborough and Arthur Huntingdon not being the best of men, but Helen silences her.  (full context)
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The guests leave and Helen feels the absence of Arthur keenly. He writes to her often though, and his letters are like his personality: witty,... (full context)
Chapter 23. First Weeks of Matrimony
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...to her diary to record the events of the first months of her marriage to Arthur Huntingdon. She admits that they are not what she could wish exactly. Her honeymoon, for... (full context)
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...new home at Grassdale Manor, though, Helen forgives him everything. The house is perfect, and Arthur is back to his old self. She thinks for a while that perhaps she is... (full context)
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Arthur argues that Christianity demands a man forgo pleasure in the present in hopes of obtaining... (full context)
Chapter 24. First Quarrel
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It is March, and Arthur has grown bored with country life. His favorite thing to do on an uneventful rainy... (full context)
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Helen and Arthur have their first real fight. It begins with Arthur mentions his affair with Lady F,... (full context)
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...next day is not much better. Helen receives a few letters and responds to them. Arthur spends the afternoon roaming pointlessly about the house, and when they meet again that night... (full context)
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Breakfast the following morning is uncomfortable. Eventually Arthur stands, declaring that he has an idea of what to do with his day, and... (full context)
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Helen is satisfied with the outcome of their quarrel. She feels closer to Arthur now, and he stops mentioning his former lovers in front of her. She is optimistic... (full context)
Chapter 25. First Absence
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London proves exhausting for Helen. Arthur, keen to show her off to his friends, insists that she reject her modest style... (full context)
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...what sort of business it is to keep him in town for several weeks, and Arthur explains that he needs to sell a piece of property to pay some debts on... (full context)
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Arthur’s letters continue to come, but they’ve gotten shorter and they’re less satisfying to Helen who,... (full context)
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Helen finds herself wishing Arthur would come home to find her good looks destroyed by anxiety and worry. That would... (full context)
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It is now the beginning of July, and Helen has a new letter from Arthur in which he makes a number of excuses for his extended absences. She has no... (full context)
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It is now July 13, and Arthur is still in London. Helen mourns the passing of summer without her husband. She lists... (full context)
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Ten more days pass and Arthur is finally home with Helen, but he is very much changed. He is feverish and... (full context)
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One night, when Helen is stroking his curls, she finds herself wishing Arthur were worthy of her kindness. The thought makes her cry, and, noticing her tears, he... (full context)
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After a month’s recuperation, Arthur is himself again: restless, irreverent, easily distracted, and just as easily bored. Helen wishes he... (full context)
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...discuss the possibility of a shooting party, but Helen shudders when she thinks of inviting Arthur’s friends. Arthur has hinted that he read her letters to his friends in London and... (full context)
Chapter 26. The Guests
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Another month goes by, and Helen and Arthur’s guests arrive for the shooting party. Helen finds Lord Lowborough changed. He is, for the... (full context)
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...Walter Hargrave, who is all too happy to show her attention, especially when he thinks Arthur is neglecting her, but Helen finds it all incredibly distasteful and humiliating and strives to... (full context)
Chapter 27. A Misdemeanor
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One night in early October, Helen happens to see Arthur press Annabella’s hand and tenderly bring it to his lips. Helen leaves the room in... (full context)
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Helen continues her argument, telling Arthur that it is no joke to toy with the emotions of people he claims to... (full context)
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Helen asks if he means that she has lost his affections to Annabella, and Arthur says no, of course not. Helen is an angel, Annabella dust in comparison, but he... (full context)
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...In fact, she hates being in her presence. Annabella breaks the ice by asking if Arthur is often so merry in company. Helen says she doubts he ever will be so... (full context)
Chapter 28. Parental Feelings
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...up to be a good man. As a devout Christian, she believes that, were little Arthur to die young, he would be rewarded with eternal life in heaven, but still, losing... (full context)
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Helen knows that little Arthur does not yet know her, but she loves him more than she could have imagined,... (full context)
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Helen tries to get Arthur to hold his son, but he panics and she takes the baby back, kissing little... (full context)
Chapter 29. The Neighbour
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An entire year has passed since Helen’s last entry, and it is Christmas again. Little Arthur is a year old and has succeeded in winning his father’s affection. Now Helen worries... (full context)
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Helen comes to this realization when Arthur again wants to return to London on “business.” Helen suggests she and the baby accompany... (full context)
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Helen wants to believe him, but during the four months Arthur is gone he rarely writes and, even when he does, his letters are short and... (full context)
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...best to stay busy and keep from wallowing in despair. In addition to mothering little Arthur and talking with Rachel (who senses her difficulties and goes out of her way to... (full context)
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Helen soon meets Walter when out on a walk with little Arthur and Rachel. He pays her a pretty compliment and invites her to dinner at the... (full context)
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...has always had moderate habits and he has done his best to talk sense into Arthur, but to no avail. Helen asks him to please stop abusing her husband. It hurts... (full context)
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...thoughtful but not overly affectionate toward Helen, and when Mrs. Hargrave starts to complain about Arthur’s neglect of his wife, Walter silences her and changes the subject. Still, Helen does not... (full context)
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...alone until one bright, hot day at the end of July. She is delighting little Arthur with a bouquet of flowers when Walter approaches them, commenting on Walter’s growth and the... (full context)
Chapter 30. Domestic Scenes
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Arthur returns from London in even worse shape than he did the year before. He is... (full context)
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Helen begins to weep, and Arthur grows frustrated with her. What could she possibly have to cry about? Helen tells him... (full context)
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...about her husband’s bad behavior and implored Helen to try to use her influence with Arthur to remedy things. Helen gently declines her friend’s request, telling Milicent that she overestimates Helen’s... (full context)
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Helen’s biggest enemy is Arthur’s drinking, so she does whatever she can to curb it. She has help in this... (full context)
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...more accepting. On the other hand, she is concerned because she is so close to Arthur, so intimately connected to him and his foibles, and she fears she will be pulled... (full context)
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As Arthur grows healthy again, Helen suggests they all go to the seaside as a family, but... (full context)
Chapter 31. Social Virtues
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Spring arrives, and Arthur takes his usual trip to London. The plan was for Helen and little Arthur to... (full context)
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Arthur returns home from his spring London escapades in better health and worse humor than the... (full context)
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...hence, hoping Milicent and her new daughter will be good company for her and little Arthur. (full context)
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...one’s hand and getting cut on the thorns. At first, Annabella clearly tried flirting with Arthur, but gave up when she got very little encouragement from him. Arthur’s main goal during... (full context)
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What follows is for Helen and Milicent a mortifying scene. Arthur, Hattersley, and Grimsby grow increasingly drunk and unruly. They attempt to force Lord Lowborough to... (full context)
Chapter 32. Comparisons: Information Rejected
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...man if he had a wife like Helen to check him, but he admits that Arthur Huntingdon often wishes Helen were more like Milicent. He then claims that Arthur is a... (full context)
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...left alone, Helen ponders what the secret could be. She assumes it is something about Arthur, and that Walter hoped to tell her so that he could take advantage of her... (full context)
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More time passes, and Helen does not regret her decision to silence Walter. Arthur continues to moderate his habits, and she wonders if she dares hope that he has... (full context)
Chapter 33. Two Evenings
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On a beautifully clear autumn night, Helen overhears her husband’s friends complaining about Arthur’s relative sobriety. Grimsby blames all of womankind for ruining the good times they might have,... (full context)
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...happiness, and it is a joyful gathering. Adding to her happiness is the fact that Arthur again refrains from drinking to excess, and all seems right with the world. Two days... (full context)
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What she finds is Arthur and Annabella deep in passionate conversation. Annabella says she must go—her husband will start to... (full context)
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Helen knows that she has to confront Arthur, though. Later, when he is walking past her bed chamber, she asks him to come... (full context)
Chapter 34. Concealment
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...12 days left in their visit, or how she will abide her future life with Arthur. She freely admits now that she hates him. She wishes only that he could see... (full context)
Chapter 35. Provocations
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...bold as time goes on. She is as friendly as she wants to be with Arthur, inquiring often after his health in order to underscore Helen’s coldness and indifference, and Arthur... (full context)
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...the houseguests’ stay at Grassdale, Helen goes down to breakfast to find Annabella up early. Arthur joins them, and he and Annabella begin talk in front of Helen about how sad... (full context)
Chapter 36. Dual Solitude
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It is now December 20 and, with their third anniversary drawing near, Helen and Arthur are living together as strangers. Arthur, having maintained his moderate habits for a few weeks,... (full context)
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Two months pass, and Helen is in the midst of thawing some toward Arthur, thinking that maybe she should start treating him with real kindness instead of cold civility,... (full context)
Chapter 37. The Neighbour Again
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Helen continues to worry about Arthur’s influence on her son, to the point that she can’t even enjoy the boy’s good... (full context)
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...he and Helen eventually fall into conversation. He asks her if she is unhappy that Arthur is at Lord Lowborough’s, and Helen answers truthfully that she doesn’t care. Walter says he... (full context)
Chapter 38. The Injured Man
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...when another party of ladies and gentlemen arrived at Grassdale for the purpose of amusing Arthur. When the guests arrive, Helen is quick to take Lady Lowborough aside and tell her... (full context)
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...Lowborough comes upon Helen in the library, and Helen confesses that she has known about Arthur and Annabella’s attachment for the last two years. Lord Lowborough is angry that she never... (full context)
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...for this world. Lowborough is touched but still very grieved. In the hall, Helen finds Arthur laughing at the situation, and Hattersley and Grimsby annoyed that the duel won’t be taking... (full context)
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...the Lowboroughs’ departure, the rest of the ladies take leave of Glassdale as well, and Arthur and his male companions turn the house into one long, continuous party. All is mayhem... (full context)
Chapter 39. A Scheme of Escape
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Helen decides she must leave Arthur for the benefit of her son—his influence on the boy is too poisonous. He and... (full context)
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With little Arthur’s future in mind, Helen begins to form a plan for their independence. Her hope is... (full context)
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Walter is furious with Arthur, but Helen is unmoved. She has ceased to care about her husband’s opinions. She tells... (full context)
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...as no one has before, and he is shocked. He says he worships her. Then Arthur, Hattersley, and Grimsby burst in. Arthur has a gun. He sarcastically invites Walter to come... (full context)
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...Later, she acquaints Rachel with her plan, and Rachel vows to accompany Helen and little Arthur on their journey, whenever they should undertake it and wherever Helen decides to go. Helen... (full context)
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Little Arthur explains that he often asks after her when he’s with his father, and Arthur says,... (full context)
Chapter 40. A Misadventure
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One night, while Helen and Arthur are in the drawing room together, he grabs her diary from her and begins to... (full context)
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...any hope for the future. She had taken daily consolation in her plan to leave Arthur, but now that is stripped from her as well. She tells Rachel that their plans... (full context)
Chapter 41. 'Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast'
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It is now March, and Arthur is on his usual spring trip to London. Helen takes advantage of his absence to... (full context)
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While Arthur is gone, Helen devises another scheme for her freedom. She writes to her brother to... (full context)
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...too brief. She loved having Frederick’s company and watching him get better acquainted with little Arthur. They talked of her plan for escape, and while Frederick thinks her scheme foolhardy, he... (full context)
Chapter 42. A Reformation
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It’s September, and Arthur is still away. Helen is enjoying the company of Milicent and her children, as well... (full context)
Chapter 43. The Boundary Past
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Arthur returns to Grassdale at the beginning of September and upsets Helen’s hard-won peace by engaging... (full context)
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...little to value in her. She is overly servile with Helen and obsequious with little Arthur. In the evenings, she sings for the obvious entertainment of Mr. Huntingdon and Helen. Helen... (full context)
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...want to stay in her service. Rachel steadfastly vows to remain with her and little Arthur as long as she wants her. Helen embraces her, and the two women decide to... (full context)
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...them all to write to her in care of her brother. She does not want Arthur to be able to discover where she’s gone. The letter to Mrs. Maxwell is the... (full context)
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...husband. At dinner on her final night at Grassdale, she’s unable to eat, and when Arthur asks what’s wrong with her, she claims to be ill and asks him if she... (full context)
Chapter 44. The Retreat
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Helen, little Arthur, and Rachel leave the next morning. Helen is exhilarated and hopeful, as she is finally... (full context)
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...and makes them a modest meal. Then they fall asleep, and Helen wakes to little Arthur’s kisses. By daylight, Wildfell Hall is sparsely furnished and gloomy, but Helen is still in... (full context)
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The painting of Arthur pains Helen, as it reminds her of her folly in falling in love with him... (full context)
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...relentless curiosity. She worries about their discovering her identity, and is reluctant to leave little Arthur for long for fear that Mr. Huntingdon will snatch him away. Her overprotectiveness has drawn... (full context)
Chapter 45. Reconciliation
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...to keep Gilbert from entering. She tells him her mistress is not well, but little Arthur appears and tells him Helen would like to see him. Gilbert gives Helen back her... (full context)
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...as long as it takes, knowing, of course, that this means for as long as Arthur lives. Helen tells him that that, too, is impossible. Arthur might live to an old... (full context)
Chapter 46. Friendly Counsels
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...so. He worries that if Eliza Millward were to know the truth, she would contact Arthur Huntingdon at once and inform him of Helen’s whereabouts. The separation from Helen wears on... (full context)
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...the nasty rumors about Frederick and Helen being a couple and the parents to little Arthur. Frederick is incredulous at first, but over time, Gilbert sees the young man’s attachment lessening.... (full context)
Chapter 47. Startling Intelligence
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To his shock, the story is true. Helen went back to Grassdale Manor because Arthur Huntingdon is ill. He injured himself falling from his horse and she returned home to... (full context)
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Arthur eventually grows coherent enough to recognize Helen and register her presence. He assumes she is... (full context)
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Arthur reluctantly agrees to her demands and Helen asks Rachel to bring his son to him.... (full context)
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After Arthur is bled the next day, he grows somewhat calmer, and they talk about whether or... (full context)
Chapter 48. Further Intelligence
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...her from his mind. She then goes on to describe her continued efforts to nurse Arthur back to health. It is uphill work. He is constantly working against her, and wants... (full context)
Chapter 49. Untitled
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...there is a letter, and he hands it to Gilbert immediately. The news is that Arthur has experienced a serious relapse, due to his inability to abstain from drinking. One night,... (full context)
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Arthur’s health is so now poor that Helen has to send little Arthur to be watched... (full context)
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Arthur’s condition continues to deteriorate. He is not friendless, however. Hattersley comes to see him and... (full context)
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Arthur worsens, and Helen fears that his death is imminent. Arthur insists that it is the... (full context)
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Helen stays by Arthur, doing her best to comfort him, but religion provides him with no consolation. If her... (full context)
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...almost responsible for her sufferings. He had allowed himself to hope in desperate moments that Arthur might die and free Helen to be with him, and now it seems that that... (full context)
Chapter 50. Doubts and Disappointments
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...of nursing a man who made her life a torment, but he does feel for Arthur. He and Frederick talk about the funeral. Frederick has been preparing for his journey while... (full context)
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Soon after Arthur’s death, Helen experiences another loss. Her beloved uncle Mr. Maxwell dies, and she leaves Grassdale... (full context)