The Winslow Boy

by

Terence Rattigan

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Catherine Winslow Character Analysis

Catherine is Arthur and Grace’s daughter and Ronnie’s sister. Along with Arthur, she is the character most committed to Ronnie’s defense, and Arthur considers her his “closest ally.” In fact, she readily gives up her proposed marriage to John when his father issues the ultimatum that the Winslows drop the case or lose his support for the marriage. Catherine is an avowed feminist and works with the Women’s Suffrage Association, but, as a woman nearing thirty, she’s also conscious of avoiding being a social outcast if she remains unmarried. Overall, she is presented as the play’s moral compass, even if the other characters don’t follow her lead in supporting her principled commitment to women’s rights. As the play goes on, even though he can’t see her as an equal, she develops an admiration for Sir Robert’s commitment to doing “right”—and offers the challenge that soon she will see him in parliament not as a spectator but as his equal.

Catherine Winslow Quotes in The Winslow Boy

The The Winslow Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Catherine Winslow or refer to Catherine Winslow. 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:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Nick Hern Books edition of The Winslow Boy published in 2000.
Act 1 Quotes

GRACE: You’re such a funny girl. You never show your feelings much, do you? You don’t behave as if you were in love.

CATHERINE: How does one behave as if one is in love?

ARTHUR: One doesn’t read Len Rogers. One reads Byron.

CATHERINE: I do both.

ARTHUR: An odd combination.

CATHERINE: A satisfying one.

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker), Grace Winslow (speaker), Catherine Winslow (speaker)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

JOHN: The annoying thing was that I had a whole lot of neatly turned phrases ready for him and he wouldn’t let me use them.

CATHERINE: Such as?

JOHN: Oh – how proud and honoured I was by your acceptance of me, and how determined I was to make you a loyal and devoted husband – and to maintain you in the state to which you were accustomed – all that sort of thing. All very sincerely meant.

CATHERINE: Anything about loving me a little?

JOHN: That I thought we could take for granted. So did your father, incidentally.

Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

DICKIE: Who’s going to break the news to him eventually? I mean, someone’ll have to.

CATHERINE: Don’t let’s worry about that now.

DICKIE: Well, you can count me out. In fact, I don’t want to be within a thousand miles of that explosion.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), Dickie Winslow (speaker), Ronnie Winslow
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2  Quotes

I wish I had someone to take me out. In your new feminist world do you suppose women will be allowed to do some of the paying?

Related Characters: Dickie Winslow (speaker), Catherine Winslow
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

DICKIE: Suppress your opinions. Men don’t like ‘em in their lady friends, even if they agree with ‘em. And if they don’t – it’s fatal. Pretend to be half-witted, then he’ll adore you.

CATHERINE: I know. I do, sometimes, and then I forget. Still, you needn’t worry. If there’s ever a clash between what I believe and what I feel, there’s not much doubt about which will win.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), Dickie Winslow (speaker), John Watherstone
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

CATHERINE: I suppose you heard that he committed suicide a few months ago?

SIR ROBERT: Yes. I had heard.

CATHERINE: Many people believed him innocent, you know.

SIR ROBERT: So I understand. As it happens, however, he was guilty.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), Sir Robert Morton (speaker)
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3 Quotes

CATHERINE: Not a verbal protest. Something far more spectacular and dramatic. He’d had his feet on the Treasury table and his hat over his eyes during most of the First Lord’s speech – and he suddenly got up very deliberately, glared at the First Lord, threw a whole bundle of notes on the floor, and stalked out of the House. It made a magnificent effect. If I hadn’t known I could have sworn he was genuinely indignant –

ARTHUR: Of course he was genuinely indignant. So would any man of feeling be –

CATHERINE: Sir Robert, Father dear, is not a man of feeling. I don’t think any emotion at all can stir that fishy heart –

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker), Catherine Winslow (speaker), Sir Robert Morton
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

SIR ROBERT: It seems decidedly wrong to me that a lady of your political persuasion should be allowed to adorn herself with such a very feminine allurement. It really looks so awfully like trying to have the best of both worlds –

CATHERINE: I’m not a militant, you know, Sir Robert. I don’t go about breaking shop windows with a hammer or pouring acid down pillar boxes.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), Sir Robert Morton (speaker)
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

JOHN: But people do find the case a bit ridiculous, you know. I mean, I get chaps coming up to me in the mess all the time and saying: “I say, is it true you’re going to marry the Winslow girl? You’d better be careful. You’ll find yourself up in the front of the House of Lords for pinching the Adjutant’s bath.” Things like that. They’re not awfully funny –

CATHERINE: That’s nothing. They’re singing a verse about us in the Alhambra.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), John Watherstone (speaker)
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

SIR ROBERT: What are my instructions, Miss Winslow?

CATHERINE: (In a flat voice.) Do you need my instructions, Sir Robert? Aren’t they already on the Petition? Doesn’t it say: Let Right be done?

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4 Quotes

CATHERINE: You don’t think the work I’m doing at the W.S.A. is useful?

ARTHUR is silent.

You may be right. But it’s the only work I’m fitted for, all the same. (Pause.) No, Father. The choice is quite simple. Either I marry Desmond and settle down into quite a comfortable and not really useless existence – or I go on for the rest of my life earning two pounds a week in the service of a hopeless cause.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), Arthur Winslow, Desmond Curry
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

ARTHUR: It would appear, then, that we’ve won.

CATHERINE: Yes, Father, it would appear that we’ve won.

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker), Catherine Winslow (speaker), Ronnie Winslow, Violet
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

SIR ROBERT: Goodbye, Miss Winslow. Shall I see you in the House then, one day?

CATHERINE: (With a smile.) Yes, Sir Robert. One day. But not in the Gallery. Across the floor.

SIR ROBERT: (With a faint smile.) Perhaps, Goodbye.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), Sir Robert Morton (speaker)
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Winslow Boy LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Winslow Boy PDF

Catherine Winslow Character Timeline in The Winslow Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Catherine Winslow appears in The Winslow Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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...son’s dedication. Defending himself, Dickie complains that Ronnie is Arthur’s favorite son, and appeals to Catherine, their strong-willed sister, for her agreement. Catherine, who is nearing thirty and has a “air... (full context)
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Grace asks Catherine what she’s reading—it’s an autobiography by Len Rogers, a prominent leader of a Trade Union.... (full context)
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Grace thinks Catherine “doesn’t behave as if she were in love.” Arthur puts forward the idea that if... (full context)
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John’s due to arrive imminently to discuss his potential marriage to Catherine with Arthur (the meeting has been arranged by Grace). Catherine and Grace go to hide... (full context)
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Catherine and Grace emerge from the dining room. Grace offers her congratulations to Catherine and John;... (full context)
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Catherine asks John what his own father, the Colonel, thinks about their proposed marriage. John’s father... (full context)
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Ronnie comes to the window and calls for “Kate” (Catherine). His sudden appearance startles her. Ronnie enters the room, soaked to the bone, and pleads... (full context)
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Ronnie shows Catherine the letter; she’s shocked by its contents. Furthermore, it’s addressed to Arthur; Catherine tells Ronnie... (full context)
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...Ronnie home early from Naval College. He greets Ronnie jovially, asking if he’s in trouble. Catherine instructs Dickie to wait with Ronnie while she gets Grace. (full context)
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Catherine, visibly upset, relieves John from hiding in the dining room. She asks him how a... (full context)
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...at the house. At forty-five, Desmond has the body “of an athlete gone to seed.” Catherine quietly warns John that Desmond has been in love with her for years and it’s... (full context)
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Catherine tries to break the awkward atmosphere by asking Desmond how his cricket match went the... (full context)
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Grace enters again and tells Catherine that Ronnie is now upstairs in bed. Arthur comes in, complaining about the state of... (full context)
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...explains that Ronnie has been expelled for stealing a five-shilling postal order. Grace starts crying; Catherine puts a hand on her shoulder. (full context)
Act 2 
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It’s nine months later. Dickie and Catherine are in the living room. Dickie’s gramophone, back downstairs again, is playing some early ragtime.... (full context)
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Dickie praises the dress Catherine is wearing; she’s about to go out on a date with John. Dickie asks Catherine... (full context)
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Violet comes in with a copy of The Star newspaper. She asks Dickie and Catherine not to throw it away when they’re done, so that she and the cook can... (full context)
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Catherine flicks to the letters page of the paper, with Dickie watching attentively over her shoulder.... (full context)
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Catherine reads aloud the next letter, signed by “Perplexed.” This letter-write “cannot understand what all the... (full context)
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...seem like a bit of an expensive fuss over such a small matter. He tells Catherine to dance with him to cheer them both up. (full context)
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As they dance, Dickie asks Catherine about her upcoming wedding. Catherine tells him that it’s been postponed again as John’s father... (full context)
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Dickie tells Catherine that she should “suppress” her opinions: “Men don’t like ‘em in their lady friends, even... (full context)
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...saw him, which to Arthur seems like expensive information. Arthur notices the paper and asks Catherine to bring it to him. (full context)
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Reading the letter page, Arthur wonders if he could sue “Perplexed.” Catherine asks him if Sir Robert Morton is coming to the house. Sir Robert is considered... (full context)
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Catherine leaves the room, and Arthur goes over to Dickie, staring at him intently. Arthur asks... (full context)
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Grace goes upstairs to attend to Ronnie and prepare Arthur’s ointment. Arthur turns wearily to Catherine, saying he feels “suicidally inclined.” He asks her if they’re both mad for committing to... (full context)
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Arthur asks Catherine if he should drop the case, which she steadfastly refuses. He admits that the great... (full context)
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Relieved at Catherine’s attitude, Arthur says that they have to “pin all their faith” on Sir Robert Morton.... (full context)
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The doorbell rings. Catherine goes to get the door, thinking it will be John; instead, it’s Desmond Curry with... (full context)
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Desmond stresses how short Sir Robert is on time, so Catherine instructs Desmond to go upstairs and get Arthur. She offers Sir Robert a drink or... (full context)
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Catherine and Sir Robert strike up awkward conversation. She expresses surprise that he’s even interested in... (full context)
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...Robert says that by continuing to lie, Ronnie is bringing great strain upon his family. Catherine stands up, objecting strongly. Sir Robert says that Ronnie should “undo some of the misery... (full context)
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...is surprised—but Sir Robert says, “the boy is plainly innocent,” before bowing to Arthur and Catherine and leaving the house. Ronnie sobs hysterically. (full context)
Act 3
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...already gave a statement the day before. Violet asks if she should make sandwiches for Catherine, as she has missed dinner. She leaves the room. (full context)
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...the deterioration of his health due to the stress. She says she’s asked him and Catherine a hundred times why it’s worth destroying the family. “For justice,” replies Arthur. She asks... (full context)
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Violet leaves, greeting Catherine who has just come back from watching the parliamentary debate. She updates Arthur on the... (full context)
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Arthur asks Catherine if Sir Robert protested when the First Lord refused them their trial. She tells him... (full context)
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Catherine admits that Sir Robert has done better than she expected, though she still doubts his... (full context)
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Sir Robert has come to update Arthur on the day’s events. Catherine asks if he had noticed she was there; he says with such “a charming hat”... (full context)
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Arthur reads the letter brought in by Violet, while Catherine and Sir Robert continue chatting. When he has finished, Arthur says he thinks they should... (full context)
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Catherine finishes the letter too, and tells Sir Robert that, contrary to what her father says,... (full context)
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Arthur reiterates that they should end the case, but Sir Robert says that Catherine is clearly willing to take the risk. Catherine has a cigarette, looking scared. Sir Robert... (full context)
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Sir Robert tells Catherine again how much he likes her hat. But, he adds, “it seems decidedly wrong to... (full context)
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Violet comes to the door, saying that John has arrived asking to speak privately with Catherine. Arthur and Sir Robert go to the dining room to let the other two speak.... (full context)
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John brings up the letter from his father. Catherine says she’s read it, but John wants to know what Arthur’s response will be. She... (full context)
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Catherine says that they can marry without his father’s approval, even if they won’t have much... (full context)
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Catherine says she’s not even sure if Ronnie did or didn’t do it. She’s fighting the... (full context)
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Catherine says that if the parliament is ever too busy to discuss a case like Ronnie’s... (full context)
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Catherine asks John if he actually wants to marry her. He says he’s never wavered before,... (full context)
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The phone rings. Catherine answers it and then shouts to Sir Robert that it’s for him. He comes out... (full context)
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...of the new information Arthur still wants to cease action. Arthur says it’s up to Catherine. Without hesitation she says to Sir Robert that he doesn’t even need her instructions—they’re already... (full context)
Act 4
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Dickie asks how Kate (Catherine) is; he has heard that John has broken off their engagement. Grace responds you can... (full context)
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...Grace says that he shouldn’t do that as it annoys the exchange. Arthur complains that Catherine is late and criticizes Grace’s choice of outfit, saying it’s more suited to a theatre... (full context)
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...nursing home after the trial, though she doesn’t really believe him. She says at least Catherine and Sir Robert managed to convince him to stay away from the court. (full context)
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Catherine comes in, complaining of the heat and the reporters outside. She hugs Dickie, and says... (full context)
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Arthur appears at the dining-room door, still in his chair. He tells Catherine she is late. She says it’s because there was such a huge crowd both inside... (full context)
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Catherine informs Arthur that Sir Robert did a great job examining the witness who identified Ronnie... (full context)
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Catherine says she saw John in court—Grace is horrified and hopes Catherine didn’t speak to him.... (full context)
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Grace and Dickie leave for court. Arthur asks Catherine if they are going to lose—they both know it’s their last chance. He asks what... (full context)
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...proceedings began earlier with Sir Robert telling the judge he felt he was getting ill. Catherine says that was just a trick to get him the sympathy of the jurors and... (full context)
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...house but says there were too many people out front. He wants to speak with Catherine alone, so Arthur goes to finish his lunch. (full context)
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Desmond says he has an urgent question for Catherine; he has a taxi waiting outside. She says that she already knows what the question... (full context)
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Desmond says they should examine two facts: one, that Catherine doesn’t love him and never will; two, that he loves her and will never stop.... (full context)
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Catherine changes the subject to Sir Robert, whom they agree is a strange and brilliant man.... (full context)
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Arthur opens the dining-room door and asks Catherine if he can now come in. As he enters the room, he says he is... (full context)
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Catherine says she has been a fool; Arthur waits for her to say why, but she... (full context)
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Catherine asks if it would be such “folly” to marry Desmond. Arthur thinks it would be... (full context)
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Arthur tells Catherine that he is bequeathing everything to her and Grace. There’s still a “little left” of... (full context)
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Catherine asks if Arthur thinks the work she does for Suffrage is useful. He remains silent.... (full context)
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Catherine says John told her he’s getting married to someone else next month. Apparently he was... (full context)
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Arthur slowly takes Catherine’s hand in his. He asks her if he’s messed up her life. She says no—she’s... (full context)
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Arthur says that maybe they’ve just been stubborn—that’s what Grace thinks. Catherine agrees that it’s a possibility. But perhaps stubbornness isn’t “such a bad quality in the... (full context)
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Arthur and Catherine can hear the shout of a newsboy outside. He’s calling out “Winslow Case Result!” Catherine... (full context)
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...work out. He is pleased, he says. She says that sometimes he thought he and Catherine had been wasting their time—but they wouldn’t have felt that if they’d been there, that’s... (full context)
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Violet exits the room. Arthur says to Catherine that it appears they’ve won. She breaks down in tears and cries into her father’s... (full context)
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Sir Robert turns to Catherine and says it was a pity she wasn’t in court. He says the handwriting expert... (full context)
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Catherine begins to wheel Arthur to the door, but he protests that he wants his stick—he... (full context)
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Sir Robert asks Catherine if he could have a little whiskey. She goes into the dining-room to get some.... (full context)
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Catherine says she has both a confession and an apology to make to him, neither of... (full context)
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Catherine says she knows that Sir Robert has made great sacrifices for the case (i.e. the... (full context)
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Catherine asks Sir Robert why he is so keen to stop people knowing about him. He... (full context)
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If Sir Robert is so anti-emotion, Catherine follows up, then why did he weep in court earlier? He suspects Violet of telling... (full context)
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Catherine asks whether Sir Robert means “right” as opposed to “justice.” He thinks it easy to... (full context)
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Mischievously, Sir Robert asks Catherine why she doesn’t abandon the “lost cause of women’s suffrage” and work in the law... (full context)
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Sir Robert tells Ronnie that they were victorious. He asks Catherine whether he will, then, see her at the parliament one day. She says he will—but... (full context)