The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

by

Anne Brontë

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Helen Graham Character Analysis

A serious and pious young woman in her mid-twenties, Helen is posing as a widow with a young son when she firsts meets Gilbert Markham. In reality, she moves to Wildfell Hall to escape her abusive husband, Arthur Huntingdon. Helen’s unusual situation and stiff manner quickly attract the attention and judgment of the sleepy village, just as her beauty and talents ensnare Gilbert’s heart. Helen is a devout Christian who suffers greatly at the hand of her husband, a drunken hedonist (a person who lives only for pleasure) who mocks her faith. She is also a devoted mother to little Arthur and an unapologetic defender of a woman’s right to determine the course of her own life—within the bounds of Christian doctrine. A gifted painter, Helen supports herself and little Arthur with landscapes she sells to a London dealer. For much of the novel she is tied by law and duty to Arthur Huntingdon, but upon his death, she gladly accepts Gilbert Markham’s proposal and becomes his wife.

Helen Graham Quotes in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The The Tenant of Wildfell Hall quotes below are all either spoken by Helen Graham or refer to Helen Graham. 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 1 Quotes

“No matter, my dear,” said I; “it is what every respectable female ought to know; and besides, though you are alone now, you will not be always so; you have been married and probably—I might say almost certainly—will be again.” “You are mistaken there, ma'am,” said she, almost haughtily; “I am certain I never shall.” “But I told her, I knew better.”

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Mrs. Markham (speaker)
Page Number: 13
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“I would rather admire you from this distance, fair lady, than be the partner of your home.”

Related Characters: Gilbert Markham (speaker), Helen Graham, Eliza Millward
Page Number: 14
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Chapter 3 Quotes

I have not yet said that a boy should be ought to rush into the snares of life—or even willfully to seek temptation for the sake of exercising his virtue by overcoming it; I only say that it is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble the foe; and if you were to rear an oak sapling in a hothouse, tending it carefully night and day, and shielding it from every breath of wind, you could not expect it to become a hardy tree, like that which has grown up on the mountainside, exposed to all the action of the elements, and not even sheltered from the shock of the tempest.

Related Symbols: Trees and Flowers
Page Number: 26
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Well then, it must be that you think they are both weakened and prone to err, and the slightest error, the merest shadow of pollution will ruin the one, while the character of the other will be strengthened and embellished—his education properly finished by a little practical acquaintance with forbidden things. Such experience, to him (to use a trite simile), will be like the storm to the oak which, though it may scatter the leaves, and snap the smaller branches, serves but to rivet the roots, and to harden and condense the fibres of the tree. You would have us encourage our sons to prove all things by their own experience,

while our daughters must not even profit by the experience of others.

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Gilbert Markham
Page Number: 27
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Chapter 7 Quotes

You’re not fit to associate with ladies and gentlemen, like us, that have nothing to do but to run snooking about to our neighbours’ houses, peeping into their private corners; and scenting out their secrets, and picking holes in their coats, when we don't find them ready made to our hands—you don’t understand such refined sources of enjoyment.

Page Number: 47
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Chapter 10 Quotes

You see what it is for women to affect to be different to other people.

Page Number: 70
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Chapter 15 Quotes

“I can crush that bold spirit,” thought I. But while I secretly exulted in my power, I felt disposed to dally with my victim like a cat.

Related Characters: Gilbert Markham (speaker), Helen Graham
Page Number: 99
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Chapter 16 Quotes

Because, I imagine there must be only a very, very few men in the world, that I should like to marry; and of those few, it is ten to one I may never be acquainted with one; or if I should, it is twenty to one, he may not happen to be single, or to take a fancy to me.

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy)
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
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It is not indeed, to be supposed that you would wish to marry anyone, till you were asked: a girl's affections should never be won unsought. But when they are sought—when the citadel of the heart is fairly besieged, it is apt to surrender sooner than the owner is aware of, and often against her better judgement, and in opposition to all her preconceived ideas of what she could have loved, unless she be extremely careful and discreet.

Related Characters: Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy) (speaker), Helen Graham
Page Number: 103
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First study; then approve; then love. Let your eyes be blind to all external attractions, your ears deaf to all the fascinations of flattery and light discourse—These are nothing—and worse than nothing—snares and wiles of the tempter, to lure the thoughtless to their own destruction. Principle is the first thing, after all; and next to that good sense, respectability, and moderate wealth. If you should marry the handsomest and most accomplished and superficially agreeable man in the world, you little know the misery that would overwhelm you, if, after all, you should find him to be a worthless reprobate, or even an impracticable fool.

Related Characters: Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy) (speaker), Helen Graham
Page Number: 104
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I have consulted her; and I know her wishes coincide with yours; but in such important matters, I take the liberty of judging for myself; and no persuasion can alter my inclinations, or induce me to believe that such a step would be conducive to my happiness, or yours—and I wonder that a man of your experience and discretion should think of choosing such a wife.

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy), Mr. Boarham
Page Number: 111
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Chapter 37 Quotes

“There is another life both for you and for me,” said I. “If it be the will of God that we should sow in tears, now, it is only that we may reap in joy, hereafter.”

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Walter Hargrave
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 38 Quotes

Two years hence you will be as calm as I am now—and far, far happier, I trust, for you are a man, and free to act as you please.

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Lord Lowborough
Page Number: 268
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Chapter 39 Quotes

“I do not insult you,” cried he: “I worship you. You are my angel—my divinity! I lay my powers at your feet—and you must and shall accept them!” he exclaimed impetuously, starting to his feet—"I will be your consoler and defender! And if your conscience upbraid you for it, say I overcame you and you could not choose but yield!”

Related Characters: Walter Hargrave (speaker), Helen Graham
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 45 Quotes

“It gives me little consolation to think I shall next behold you as a disembodied spirit, or an altered being, with a frame perfect and glorious, but not like this! —and a heart, perhaps, entirely estranged from me.”

“No, Gilbert, there is perfect love in Heaven!”

“So perfect, I suppose, that it soars above distinctions, and you will have no closer sympathy with me than with any one of the ten thousand angels and the innumerable multitude of happy spirits round us.”

Related Characters: Helen Graham (speaker), Gilbert Markham (speaker)
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:
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Helen Graham Character Timeline in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The timeline below shows where the character Helen Graham appears in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1. A Discovery
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...a juicy piece of gossip: that a very reserved single woman in her mid-twenties named Mrs. Graham is renting Wildfell Hall and living there, in its few habitable rooms, with an elderly... (full context)
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Fergus jokes that he can’t wait to hear about what Mrs. Graham puts in her tea and what sort of caps and aprons she prefers. Rose and... (full context)
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Rose describes Mrs. Graham as a perfect beauty, contrasting the young woman’s looks with the imperfect, albeit ample, charms... (full context)
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Mrs. Graham gives him a scornful look that Gilbert vows to make her regret someday. Then, deeming... (full context)
Chapter 2. An Interview
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...him and nearly falls off the garden wall. Gilbert catches him before can hurt himself. Helen Graham rushes out into the garden and, in an angry panic, snatches the boy away... (full context)
Chapter 3. A Controversy
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Helen Graham pays a call on the Markhams, bringing Arthur (Jr.) along with her. She explains... (full context)
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Gilbert, occupied with a farmer’s magazine, had been observing Helen from a distance. Then Arthur (Jr.) approaches him, attracted again to Gilbert’s dog, Sancho. Arthur... (full context)
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Helen disagrees with Gilbert’s assessment of the situation. There are, she contends, so many temptations and... (full context)
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Helen then asks Gilbert if he would apply the same principal to the female sex. He... (full context)
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Helen says that her solution would be to acquaint girls with some knowledge of what might... (full context)
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Helen then tells Gilbert that she would welcome a visit from him and Rose soon. She... (full context)
Chapter 4. The Party
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...to the Markhams to join Gilbert, Fergus, Rose, and Mrs. Markham for the house party. Helen does not come, and Gilbert surmises that her absence actually benefits the partygoers. Everyone is... (full context)
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...alcohol. The reverend refuses wine in favor of beer, and that reminds Mrs. Markham of Helen Graham’s visit and her strong stance against drinking. Everyone in the party agrees with the... (full context)
Chapter 5. The Studio
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Gilbert and Rose pay their promised visit to Wildfell Hall and find Helen in the middle of painting a landscape. Little Arthur informs Gilbert and Rose that Helen... (full context)
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...a baby and another of a handsome and vain-looking red-headed man. Gilbert surmises that, if Helen is indeed the artist behind the portrait of the young man, that she completed it... (full context)
Chapter 6. Progression
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Gilbert soon finds that he very much enjoys the company of Helen Graham and her son. He begins to meet them more and more on walks on... (full context)
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On a clear day in March, Gilbert finds Helen painting on the edge of a brook. He admires her skill with winter trees for... (full context)
Chapter 7. The Excursion
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Gilbert and the rest find Helen and little Arthur together in a relatively cheerful sitting room. Arthur is reading aloud to... (full context)
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Fergus then pressures Helen on why she would choose to move to such a gloomy, out-of-the-way house as Wildfell... (full context)
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...Gilbert, Fergus, and Rose Markham; Mary and Eliza Millward; Richard Wilson; and Arthur (Jr.) and Helen Graham. Gilbert tried to persuade Mr. Lawrence to come, but he declined when he heard... (full context)
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...wild, untamed beauty of the sea and how it is reflected in the beauty of Helen Graham. He is so taken with her at that moment that he is tempted to... (full context)
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...again happy, even though this time he finds himself near Eliza Millward and separated from Helen Graham, who later leaves the party to paint the sea. Gilbert grows so weary with... (full context)
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Helen ignores Gilbert for the most part and focuses on her painting, but she does consult... (full context)
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...back to the parish, but the journey home is not as pleasurable for Gilbert, because Helen has decided to ride with the others in the carriage and he is now in... (full context)
Chapter 8. The Present
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...is Marmion, a historical romance by Sir Walter Scott, which Gilbert intends to give to Helen Graham. He’s not sure how his gift will be received. He has been working hard... (full context)
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Much to Gilbert’s dismay, Helen insists on paying him for it. She will not allow herself to be obligated to... (full context)
Chapter 9. A Snake in the Grass
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...reverend is out. He has to content himself with Eliza and Mary. Infatuated now with Helen Graham, he has grown to despise Eliza, who seems that day to be in possession... (full context)
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...for a while, asking if he could still possibly be ignorant of the rumors regarding Helen Graham, and when he grows angry, she breaks down in tears and makes a great... (full context)
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...Gilbert leaves the party to take a walk outside, where he eventually meets up with Helen, who has also fled the party, mostly to escape what to her feels like an... (full context)
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...sees Jane Wilson and Mr. Lawrence having an intense conversation, which Gilbert assumes is about Helen and the rumor circulating about her child’s illegitimacy. Gilbert thinks he detects a regard for... (full context)
Chapter 10. A Contract and a Quarrel
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...Even Mrs. Markham seems to think there might be some truth to the rumors, saying Helen has always tried to be different from other women. Disgusted, Gilbert takes a book from... (full context)
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...to Wildfell Hall. Gilbert accosts his former friend, demanding to know why he is visiting Helen. Mr. Lawrence replies that he will tell Gilbert about his dealings with her when he... (full context)
Chapter 11. The Vicar Again
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Gilbert and Helen are by this time firm friends. Gilbert wishes they could be more, but takes care... (full context)
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The Reverend Millward drops by then, having just paid a call on Helen Graham. His purpose in visiting Wildfell Hall was to give the young woman some much-needed... (full context)
Chapter 12. A Tete-a-Tete and a Discovery
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Gilbert finds Helen in a disturbed state of mind, pacing back and forth in a cold room. He... (full context)
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...he can’t abide his mother and sister’s company. They are bound to say something about Helen and the gossip surrounding her, so he turns back again and goes to the Wildfell... (full context)
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...she does, but not before wishing aloud that his behavior has not been caused by Mrs. Graham . Gilbert spends the night tossing and turning in agonies of despair, and the next... (full context)
Chapter 13. A Return to Duty
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...but Jane Wilson and Eliza Millward. Eliza, still jealous, asks Gilbert if he has seen Helen Graham lately. Jane begs her not to mention that unfortunate person’s name in her presence.... (full context)
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The chance encounter with Helen leaves Gilbert miserable for the rest of the day. He concludes that his infatuation is... (full context)
Chapter 14. An Assault
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...with him. All he did, Lawrence says, was warn him about forming an attachment to Mrs. Graham . In response, Gilbert hits Lawrence over the head with his riding whip. (full context)
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...blame for the head injury, and Gilbert concludes then that, in the interest of protecting Helen, Lawrence plans not to incriminate him.  (full context)
Chapter 15. An Encounter and Its Consequences
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...that his mother needs to talk to him. Gilbert tries to excuse himself, but then Helen herself appears and coaxes him into a nearby field. She is obviously nervous and anxious,... (full context)
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...explanation, and so walks to Wildfell Hall in the hopes of drawing out her confidence. Helen is angry and hurt and refuses him. She wants to know why he has changed... (full context)
Chapter 16. The Warnings of Experience
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The novel is now in Helen Graham’s hands, and the reader and Jack Halford are, in effect, reading her diary along... (full context)
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...during which the older woman counseled her on the question of marriage. Mrs. Maxwell asks Helen if she intends to marry and Helen answers in the affirmative, saying, though, she thinks... (full context)
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Helen wonders why Mrs. Maxwell is so worried for her, and her aunt says it’s because... (full context)
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Helen, while at first making light of her aunt’s concerns, does her best to allay them,... (full context)
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Helen feels well prepared for her first London season, and begins the series of parties and... (full context)
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...evening at a particularly boring ball 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... (full context)
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It’s the first of many calls, and Helen’s uncle grows annoyed with the young man’s persistence. He knows, of course, that Mr. Huntingdon... (full context)
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From her window, Helen sees that Mr. Boarham has come to visit. Soon, her aunt reports that he is... (full context)
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Helen rushes downstairs to refuse Mr. Boarham. Clearly expecting her acceptance, he is shocked and taken... (full context)
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Boarham admits that his love for Helen has given him some sleepless nights, but he was able to reconcile himself to her... (full context)
Chapter 17. Further Warnings
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The next day, Helen and Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell attend a party at the Wilmots’, making the acquaintance of... (full context)
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Helen then ruminates on the possibility that Mr. Huntingdon would not have picked her anyway, as... (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 a different part... (full context)
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Helen happily agrees, and finds that Mr. Huntingdon cares very little about the painting, a striking... (full context)
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Having left the party, Mrs. Maxwell visits Helen in her room and reminds her of the conversation they had in which Helen promised... (full context)
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...end when Mr. Maxwell calls for his wife. He has been in a bad mood, Helen writes, because his gout has gotten worse. Mrs. Maxwell goes on to use Mr. Maxwell’s... (full context)
Chapter 18. The Miniature
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Helen begins her entry for the 25th of August, contending that she is working hard at... (full context)
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...and Mr. Maxwell invites a group of gentlemen to the country for a shooting party. Helen is dismayed at first to find out that Mr. Wilmot and Mr. Boarham are among... (full context)
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Weeks pass and the shooting party arrives. Helen writes from a place of misery. She says her diary is a friend to whom... (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... (full context)
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Helen takes the morning to work on a new painting. The piece is, in her mind,... (full context)
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After lunch, Helen, Annabella, and Milicent go on a long walk, meeting up with the hunters near the... (full context)
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Meanwhile, 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... (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... (full context)
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Helen isn’t alone for long. Mr. Huntingdon joins her and asks to know what is the... (full context)
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Mr. Huntingdon kisses Helen, and Mrs. Maxwell walks in at that very moment. The two young people leap apart,... (full context)
Chapter 20. Persistence
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Helen wakes the next morning completely happy and goes for a solitary walk. The weather mimics... (full context)
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It’s not money that worries her aunt, Helen insists; it’s her doubts about Mr. Huntingdon’s virtues. Mrs. Maxwell wants Helen to marry a... (full context)
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Later, Arthur requests a conference with Mr. Maxwell, and Helen and her aunt have a talk about her future. Mrs. Maxwell is still very much... (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 mostly due to... (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... (full context)
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...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 drawing a satirical... (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... (full context)
Chapter 21. Opinions
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The wedding is set for Christmas. Helen soon discovers that others besides Mrs. Maxwell are unhappy about the match, namely Milicent Hargrave,... (full context)
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...particularly put out, as is Milicent’s brother, Walter Hargrave, who had fallen in love with Helen via Milicent’s accounts and wanted Arthur’s betrothed for himself. Helen is affronted by Arthur’s seeming... (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... (full context)
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...to watch the action and find amusement in others’ gains and losses. Arthur then treats Helen to a story about Lowborough’s gambling problems. One night, on the verge of ruin, Lowborough... (full context)
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Arthur tells Helen that, when Lowborough recovers, he counsels him to adhere to a program of moderation. Drink... (full context)
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...tells him that his greatest hopes are at hand: Annabella loves him! Arthur, laughing, lets Helen in on a little secret: Annabella despises Lowborough and is only encouraging his attentions because... (full context)
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...But Arthur says he will do whatever else he can to make his beloved happy. Helen begs Arthur then to never again take pleasure in the suffering of others, and he... (full context)
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Returning to her room, Helen finds Annabella Wilmot there. Helen silently admires the other woman’s blooming beauty. Annabella then confides... (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... (full context)
Chapter 23. First Weeks of Matrimony
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After four months of neglect, Helen returns to her diary to record the events of the first months of her marriage... (full context)
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Settled in their new home at Grassdale Manor, though, Helen forgives him everything. The house is perfect, and Arthur is back to his old self.... (full context)
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...now, rather than count on one he cannot see and isn’t sure is ever coming. Helen responds that it’s not necessary to forgo any pleasure, only that moderation is what’s called... (full context)
Chapter 24. First Quarrel
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...His favorite thing to do on an uneventful rainy day, besides mope, is to treat Helen to stories about his former lovers. At the beginning of their marriage, Helen used to... (full context)
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Helen and Arthur have their first real fight. It begins with Arthur mentions his affair with... (full context)
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The next day is not much better. Helen receives a few letters and responds to them. Arthur spends the afternoon roaming pointlessly about... (full context)
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...stands, declaring that he has an idea of what to do with his day, and Helen listens in the hall while he makes plans with his coachman to travel to London.... (full context)
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Helen is satisfied with the outcome of their quarrel. She feels closer to Arthur now, and... (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... (full context)
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Helen wonders what sort of business it is to keep him in town for several weeks,... (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, ever hopeful, still devours them, having no one to talk to besides Rachel. Milicent... (full context)
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Helen finds herself wishing Arthur would come home to find her good looks destroyed by anxiety... (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... (full context)
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But Helen is mistaken. She soon receives a letter from Milicent informing her that she is indeed... (full context)
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Milicent begs Helen to write to her and tell her something good about her fiancé. Maybe Mr. Hattersley... (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 the beauties of nature that... (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 ill, and his looks are... (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... (full context)
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...month’s recuperation, Arthur is himself again: restless, irreverent, easily distracted, and just as easily bored. Helen wishes he had something productive to occupy him. If only he would play the role... (full context)
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They begin to 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... (full context)
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That reminds Helen that she has received several letters from Milicent since her marriage. In the letters, Milicent... (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,... (full context)
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Helen does have a means of retaliation at her disposal in the form of Walter Hargrave,... (full context)
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...group is invited to a house party at the Grove, the seat of the Hargraves. Helen takes this occasion to sketch the character of Mrs. Hargrave, whom she thinks hard-hearted and... (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... (full context)
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Helen continues her argument, telling Arthur that it is no joke to toy with the emotions... (full context)
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Helen asks if he means that she has lost his affections to Annabella, and Arthur says... (full context)
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Some time later, Helen finds herself alone in a room with Annabella and is deeply embarrassed by the situation.... (full context)
Chapter 28. Parental Feelings
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It is Christmas, and Helen has been married for a year. She now has a son to love, and her... (full context)
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Helen knows that little Arthur does not yet know her, but she loves him more than... (full context)
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Helen tries to get Arthur to hold his son, but he panics and she takes the... (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... (full context)
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Helen comes to this realization when Arthur again wants to return to London on “business.” Helen... (full context)
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Helen wants to believe him, but during the four months Arthur is gone he rarely writes... (full context)
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Helen recognizes that she has brought such suffering on herself, and so she does her best... (full context)
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Helen soon meets Walter when out on a walk with little Arthur and Rachel. He pays... (full context)
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...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 her to hear of his... (full context)
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...gentleman the next night at the Hargraves’. He is thoughtful but not overly affectionate toward Helen, and when Mrs. Hargrave starts to complain about Arthur’s neglect of his wife, Walter silences... (full context)
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Helen does not meet Walter alone until one bright, hot day at the end of July.... (full context)
Chapter 30. Domestic Scenes
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...shape than he did the year before. He is feverish and impatient with everyone, and Helen bides her time, waiting for the right moment to confront him about his conduct. Finally,... (full context)
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Helen begins to weep, and Arthur grows frustrated with her. What could she possibly have to... (full context)
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Helen knows better. In letters, Milicent has complained about her husband’s bad behavior and implored Helen... (full context)
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Helen’s biggest enemy is Arthur’s drinking, so she does whatever she can to curb it. She... (full context)
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Helen also worries that she has grown desensitized to vice and bad behavior. What before she... (full context)
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As Arthur grows healthy again, Helen suggests they all go to the seaside as a family, but Arthur refuses. He finds... (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 accompany him, but first Arthur convinced Helen to visit her ailing... (full context)
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...spring London escapades in better health and worse humor than the previous two times. Maybe, Helen surmises, his ill humor is due to her own. She doesn’t feel like indulging him... (full context)
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Nearly a month passes, and Helen finds herself again in the position of trying to curb the worst of her husband’s... (full context)
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It’s now August, and the guests have been at Grassdale for two weeks. Helen writes of how she cannot make herself like Lady Lowborough (Annabella). She compares interacting with... (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... (full context)
Chapter 32. Comparisons: Information Rejected
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It is now October 5th, and Helen writes that Esther Hargrave is growing into a fine young woman. She often spends time... (full context)
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Milicent assures Helen that she is actually quite content in her marriage, and Helen believes her—but she knows... (full context)
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...he hugged her), and Hattersley continues to grouse in a casual manner about Milicent’s meekness. Helen scolds him for treating Milicent unkindly. Hattersley asks if Milicent often complains of him to... (full context)
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Hattersley insists that he’d be a better man if he had a wife like Helen to check him, but he admits that Arthur Huntingdon often wishes Helen were more like... (full context)
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...has been waiting for the perfect opportunity and he thinks this moment is it, but Helen refuses to hear his news. She knows it will be unpleasant and has no wish... (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... (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... (full context)
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Helen goes in gladly, and that night she finally enjoys herself in the company of their... (full context)
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After dinner, Annabella joins her husband on a moonlit walk, and Walter Hargrave challenges Helen to a game of chess. The game goes on for a long time, sometimes with... (full context)
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...husband will start to suspect something. She asks Arthur if he could possibly still love Helen, and he assures her that he does care at all for his wife any longer.... (full context)
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Helen goes back into the house and finds it more difficult to be strong. There are... (full context)
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Helen knows that she has to confront Arthur, though. Later, when he is walking past her... (full context)
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Rachel comes to help Helen undress and Helen confesses to her old nurse that she knows everything. Rachel pities her,... (full context)
Chapter 34. Concealment
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Helen gets through breakfast and is cool and collected in all of her dealings with her... (full context)
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Helen decides to distract herself from her anger and resentment by writing more in her diary... (full context)
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...so she is to stay for the remainder of the time allotted for the visit. Helen treats her with civility and nothing more. (full context)
Chapter 35. Provocations
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...she wants to be with Arthur, inquiring often after his health in order to underscore Helen’s coldness and indifference, and Arthur responds with gratitude and flirtatiousness. Helen is nearly driven to... (full context)
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On the last morning of the houseguests’ stay at Grassdale, Helen goes down to breakfast to find Annabella up early. Arthur joins them, and he and... (full context)
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Walter Hargrave adds to Helen’s discomfort by begging her forgiveness for offending her earlier. He cannot rest until he knows... (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... (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... (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... (full context)
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...and Esther tries to defuse it by asking Walter to go pick a rose for Helen. He brings back a beautiful moss rose, and he and Helen eventually fall into conversation.... (full context)
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Walter apologizes for speaking to her so passionately, and Helen thinks at first that she is finally rid of his unsought advances. Later, though, she... (full context)
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Helen is not persuaded by Walter’s arguments. She tells him that there is another, more important... (full context)
Chapter 38. The Injured Man
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Helen’s next diary entry is dated December 20, 1826. It is nearing her fifth wedding anniversary,... (full context)
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Distraught, Lowborough comes upon Helen in the library, and Helen confesses that she has known about Arthur and Annabella’s attachment... (full context)
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Helen, though, presses his hand, and says he is too good for this world. Lowborough is... (full context)
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...perhaps they should trade wives. Lowborough is in a state of barely constrained fury, and Helen’s heart breaks for him. She wishes she could soothe him, but knows it is not... (full context)
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...male companions turn the house into one long, continuous party. All is mayhem and dissipation. Helen hides from them in the library as often as she can. When she does come... (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... (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 to begin painting again... (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 Walter about... (full context)
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Helen tells Walter he has insulted her as no one has before, and he is shocked.... (full context)
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That evening only redoubles Helen’s determination to leave Grassdale, and she spends the rest of the day hard at work... (full context)
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...that it had to with being out of favor with God. Why, little Arthur asks Helen, is she out of favor with God? Helen helps her son to understand the situation... (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... (full context)
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Helen retrieves her diary and goes to bed, now without any hope for the future. She... (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 break little Arthur of the bad habits he learned... (full context)
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While Arthur is gone, Helen devises another scheme for her freedom. She writes to her brother to see if he... (full context)
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In April, Helen writes of her brother’s visit, which was enjoyable and relaxing but too brief. She loved... (full context)
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...Mr. Oldfield, but Esther refused. She thinks him not only old but ugly and tiresome. Helen tells her she was right not to accept him then, but warns her against marrying... (full context)
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Esther asks Helen if she’s happy. She asked Milicent and Milicent said she was, but Esther suspects she... (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 as Esther and Mr.... (full context)
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Helen produces two letters from Milicent and hands them to Hattersley. The first letter covers one... (full context)
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Milicent gives Helen credit for helping her husband see his errors and repent, but Helen says he was... (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 a governess to teach little Arthur. Helen objects on the grounds... (full context)
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When Miss Myers arrives, Helen finds her only marginally intelligent. She is very good at the piano and sings beautifully,... (full context)
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Rachel informs Helen that Miss Myers did not sleep in her own bedchamber the night before. Helen immediately... (full context)
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Helen gives herself the next two days to pack and prepare. During that time, she writes... (full context)
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Helen also writes to Frederick, asking him to get rooms ready at Wildfell Hall. It is... (full context)
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Helen goes to her bedroom but can’t sleep. She calms herself by writing in her diary... (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... (full context)
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...the room greets them 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... (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 in the... (full context)
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Helen writes of her kind new neighbors and their relentless curiosity. She worries about their discovering... (full context)
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Helen’s last entry is dated November 3rd. She writes a sentence about the “fine gentleman and... (full context)
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The rest of Helen’s journal is torn away. Gilbert assumes this is because she does not want him to... (full context)
Chapter 45. Reconciliation
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...Jack Halford. He writes to him of staying up late into the night to read Helen’s diary and of rising early to finish it. As soon as he can manage it,... (full context)
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...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 manuscript and asks her to... (full context)
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...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 age, and... (full context)
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Gilbert asks her again if they really will never meet again, and Helen says at least they can take comfort in the fact that they will meet again... (full context)
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Gilbert is still not persuaded, so Helen makes the argument that as earthly humans they cannot yet know what glory awaits them... (full context)
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...mingling. Then he leaves, and spends several hours in melancholy misery, crying and worrying about Helen, alone at Wildfell Hall, doing the same. He decides to visit Frederick Lawrence and apologize... (full context)
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Frederick is especially pleased that Gilbert has promised not to see Helen anymore. As her brother, he thinks this resolution best for both of them. He asks... (full context)
Chapter 46. Friendly Counsels
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Gilbert wishes he could enlighten his mother and sister to Helen’s true character, but it is not in his power to do so. He worries that... (full context)
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Frederick tells Gilbert that he has been to see Helen and that, while she is not yet cheerful, she is working hard to forget him.... (full context)
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...and then by the charges Gilbert lays against Jane. Gilbert informs Frederick that Jane hates Helen, and that she and Eliza Millward worked together to spread the nasty rumors about Frederick... (full context)
Chapter 47. Startling Intelligence
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...health, but then she reveals the true reason for her visit. She has heard that Helen Graham has left the neighborhood, and in a scandalous way. She was never a widow,... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Arthur eventually grows coherent enough to recognize Helen and register her presence. He assumes she is tending to him out of Christian charity... (full context)
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Arthur reluctantly agrees to her demands and Helen asks Rachel to bring his son to him. Little Arthur is afraid of his father,... (full context)
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...grows somewhat calmer, and they talk about whether or not this illness might prove fatal. Helen says it all depends on the extent of his internal injuries. Arthur cannot bear to... (full context)
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...Gilbert finishes reading the letter, Frederick asks him what he makes of it. Gilbert wishes Helen weren’t wasting her time nursing someone who isn’t worth her effort, but her selflessness only... (full context)
Chapter 48. Further Intelligence
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Frederick receives another letter from Helen and visits Gilbert in order to share its contents with him. In the letter, Helen... (full context)
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Helen has the pleasure of seeing Esther during her time at Grassdale, but it’s a mixed... (full context)
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...the fact he can now let his mother and Rose in on the fact that Helen is a blameless and upstanding woman. Rose is particularly gratified to hear Helen’s story, as... (full context)
Chapter 49. Untitled
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...Frederick, which is founded in no small part on Gilbert’s need to hear news of Helen. For a long time, Frederick hears nothing from her, but eventually there is a letter,... (full context)
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Arthur’s health is so now poor that Helen has to send little Arthur to be watched over by Esther Hargrave. Helen is needed... (full context)
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...comes to see him and is a very attentive friend. Milicent comes with him, and Helen has the pleasure of seeing her and Esther and little Arthur for brief, stolen moments.... (full context)
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Arthur worsens, and Helen fears that his death is imminent. Arthur insists that it is the “crisis,” or the... (full context)
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Helen stays by Arthur, doing her best to comfort him, but religion provides him with no... (full context)
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Gilbert pities Helen and feels almost responsible for her sufferings. He had allowed himself to hope in desperate... (full context)
Chapter 50. Doubts and Disappointments
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Gilbert is overjoyed that Helen is finally free of the burden of nursing a man who made her life a... (full context)
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When Frederick returns, he says only that Helen was exhausted from her efforts. There is no talk of Helen asking after Gilbert at... (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 for Staningley... (full context)
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...sense that Frederick is trying to give him an opportunity to send a message to Helen, but Gilbert says nothing out of pride. He lets Frederick leave without taking a message,... (full context)
Chapter 51. A Strange Occurrence
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...Gilbert asks her what she has heard, and she gladly complies. She has heard that Helen Graham is to be married. Gilbert, while not believing her report, asks who the rumored... (full context)
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...makes it to the small country church where a wedding is indeed taking place—not between Helen and Walter, but between Esther and Frederick. Frederick is as shocked to see Gilbert as... (full context)
Chapter 52. Fluctuations
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...it difficult to listen to the man’s ramblings, as he is too focused on meeting Helen. She is not at Grassdale Manor, however; she is at Staningley with her aunt.  (full context)
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...state of mind. As he nears Staningley, however, he hears news that depresses him immensely. Helen, it seems, is to inherit her uncle’s estate. She is now a rich, independent woman,... (full context)
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...exclaiming that he sees Mr. Markham. The carriage stops and little Arthur, Mrs. Maxwell, and Helen greet him. Helen wonders what he is doing in this part of the country. Gilbert... (full context)
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Helen asks him what is wrong. Why is he being so distant? Have his feelings for... (full context)
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Helen misreads his confusion for rejection and tosses the rose back out the window. She is... (full context)
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The only obstacle to perfect happiness now is Mrs. Maxwell. Helen says her aunt must not yet know of the engagement, as she will think it... (full context)
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...separation, but he agrees to it. He will do anything in his power to please Helen and make her happy. Little Arthur returns then, and, jumping forward in the narrative, Gilbert... (full context)
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Back in the present moment, Helen takes Gilbert on a tour of her aunt’s flower garden. She takes him there to... (full context)