The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

by

Anne Brontë

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall can help.

Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy) Character Analysis

Helen’s aunt, a wise, deeply religious, and always well-intentioned woman. She does her best to talk Helen out of marrying Arthur Hungtingdon, but gives up when her husband gives his permission. Later, after Arthur Huntingdon dies, it’s Mrs. Maxwell who Gilbert works hard to please. Helen does not want to marry again without her aunt’s approval, and, much to the couple’s great joy, Mrs. Maxwell and Gilbert eventually become very good friends.

Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy) Quotes in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The The Tenant of Wildfell Hall quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy) or refer to Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy). 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 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:
Quotes explanation long mobile

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
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

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
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

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
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Tenant of Wildfell Hall LitChart as a printable PDF.
The tenant of wildfell hall.pdf.medium

Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy) Character Timeline in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Maxwell (Peggy) 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
Work and Idleness Theme Icon
...begins with her entry from June 21, 1821, when Helen and her aunt and uncle, Mrs. Maxwell and Mr. Maxwell, have returned to their rural home in Staningley after an eventful visit... (full context)
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...country for London, 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,... (full context)
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Helen wonders why Mrs. Maxwell is so worried for her, and her aunt says it’s because she’s so beautiful, and... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...charm or good looks. She would only accept a man she could esteem and respect. Mrs. Maxwell hopes she is in earnest, and the conversation ends there. Helen admits to herself later,... (full context)
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...since he seeks her out at party after party and is pressed on her by Mrs. Maxwell , she can’t help but hate him. (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...hand in marriage. Helen is offended: how dare he ask her uncle before asking her? Mrs. Maxwell informs her that Mr. Maxwell told Boarham the decision was Helen’s. Mrs. Maxwell then asks,... (full context)
Chapter 17. Further Warnings
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
The next day, Helen and Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell attend a party at the Wilmots’, making the acquaintance of Wilmot’s handsome and outgoing niece,... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Work and Idleness Theme Icon
Mrs. Maxwell comes over and, by overwhelming Mr. Huntingdon with what Helen considers irrelevant questions, puts an... (full context)
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Work and Idleness Theme Icon
...the question on him, and he is telling her that he adores her just as Mrs. Maxwell arrives again to interrupt them and take Helen aside. Mrs. Maxwell asks Helen if Mr.... (full context)
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
Christian Faith and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Having left the party, Mrs. Maxwell visits Helen in her room and reminds her of the conversation they had in which... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...He has been in a bad mood, Helen writes, because his gout has gotten worse. Mrs. Maxwell goes on to use Mr. Maxwell’s health as an excuse to quickly flee from London... (full context)
Chapter 18. The Miniature
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...that Mr. Huntingdon and his friend Lord Lowborough, are also coming, and she is ecstatic. Mrs. Maxwell invites Annabella Wilmot and Milicent Hargrave as well. Helen assumes Annabella is on the guest... (full context)
Chapter 19. An Incident
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Mr. Huntingdon kisses Helen, and Mrs. Maxwell walks in at that very moment. The two young people leap apart, shocked and embarrassed,... (full context)
Chapter 20. Persistence
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...her aunt is prejudiced against him. Mr. Huntingdon asks Helen for help in winning over Mrs. Maxwell . If she’s worried about his lack of worldly wealth, it’s true that he is... (full context)
Christian Faith and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...not money that worries her aunt, Helen insists; it’s her doubts about Mr. Huntingdon’s virtues. Mrs. Maxwell wants Helen to marry a good man. Mr. Huntingdon says if it’s piety that’s required,... (full context)
Christian Faith and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...conference with Mr. Maxwell, and Helen and her aunt have a talk about her future. Mrs. Maxwell is still very much against Helen’s marrying Mr. Huntingdon, but Helen insists that her aunt... (full context)
Work and Idleness Theme Icon
...will provide him another service: getting him out of the clutches of his worst friends. Mrs. Maxwell is deeply disappointed in Helen’s judgment. She says she thought Helen would be wiser than... (full context)
Christian Faith and Morality Theme Icon
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.... (full context)
Christian Faith and Morality Theme Icon
...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 caricature of the... (full context)
Chapter 21. Opinions
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
The wedding is set for Christmas. Helen soon discovers that others besides Mrs. Maxwell are unhappy about the match, namely Milicent Hargrave, who had hoped to introduce Helen to... (full context)
Chapter 43. The Boundary Past
Gender, Sexism, and Double Standards Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...does not want Arthur to be able to discover where she’s gone. The letter to Mrs. Maxwell is the most difficult to write. She writes in great detail of Arthur’s transgressions, so... (full context)
Chapter 52. Fluctuations
Work and Idleness Theme Icon
...little Arthur’s voice 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... (full context)
Christian Faith and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
The only obstacle to perfect happiness now is Mrs. Maxwell . Helen says her aunt must not yet know of the engagement, as she will... (full context)
Christian Faith and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...that they live at Staningley after they are married. She does not want to leave Mrs. Maxwell alone. Gilbert agrees to that as well. He and Mrs. Maxwell soon become very good... (full context)