The Winslow Boy

by

Terence Rattigan

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John Watherstone is a man of about thirty years who gets engaged to Catherine. In Act 1, he comes to the Winslow house to discuss Arthur’s dowry for John and Catherine’s marriage. But John depends on an allowance from his father, and ultimately John follows his father’s orders by splitting from Catherine. It’s not clear, really, whether John is all that in love with Catherine anyway; after their split, he quickly moves on and marries a new woman (this time the daughter of an army general).

John Watherstone Quotes in The Winslow Boy

The The Winslow Boy quotes below are all either spoken by John Watherstone or refer to John Watherstone. 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:
Principles and Sacrifice Theme Icon
). 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

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:
Act 2  Quotes

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:
Act 3 Quotes

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:
Get the entire The Winslow Boy LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Winslow Boy PDF

John Watherstone Character Timeline in The Winslow Boy

The timeline below shows where the character John Watherstone appears in The Winslow Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Principles and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...by Len Rogers, a prominent leader of a Trade Union. Catherine is planning to marry John Watherstone, though they’re not yet officially engaged, and Grace remarks that she is surprised John... (full context)
Principles and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...“it’s this New Woman attitude.” Much to Arthur’s amusement, Catherine replies mockingly that she loves John in every way possible for a woman, and more than he loves her. Grace suddenly... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
John’s due to arrive imminently to discuss his potential marriage to Catherine with Arthur (the meeting... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
John is shown into the room by Violet. He’s a well-dressed man of about thirty. He... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Catherine and Grace emerge from the dining room. Grace offers her congratulations to Catherine and John; Arthur goes down to the cellar to get a celebratory bottle of wine. After Grace... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Catherine asks John what his own father, the Colonel, thinks about their proposed marriage. John’s father makes her... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...bone, and pleads with his sister not to fetch Arthur. Sensing a difficult conversation coming, John excuses himself to the dining room.  (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Catherine, visibly upset, relieves John from hiding in the dining room. She asks him how a child of Ronnie’s age... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...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 become a running... (full context)
Act 2 
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...praises the dress Catherine is wearing; she’s about to go out on a date with John. Dickie asks Catherine whether in the “new feminist world” women will sometimes foot the bill... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...asks Catherine about her upcoming wedding. Catherine tells him that it’s been postponed again as John’s father is abroad for six months. She says that her and John have differences of... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...‘em. And if they don’t—it’s fatal.” It’s best if she pretends to be “half-witted”; then John will “adore” her.  Catherine reassures him that if there’s ever “a clash between what I... (full context)
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
The doorbell rings. Catherine goes to get the door, thinking it will be John; instead, it’s Desmond Curry with Sir Robert Morton. Sir Robert is elegantly dressed and has... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Arthur tells Sir Robert that he is being “outrageous.” John enters, clearly taken aback by the scene he walks into. Suddenly, Sir Robert turns to... (full context)
Act 3
Family Theme Icon
Violet comes to the door, saying that John has arrived asking to speak privately with Catherine. Arthur and Sir Robert go to the... (full context)
Principles and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
John brings up the letter from his father. Catherine says she’s read it, but John wants... (full context)
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...that they can marry without his father’s approval, even if they won’t have much money. John clearly doesn’t think so: “Unlike you I have a practical mind, Kate. I’m sorry.” He... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
John says surely the case has gone far enough—it’s had two inquiries, the Petition of Right... (full context)
Principles and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Media and Spectacle Theme Icon
...case like Ronnie’s it will be to the detriment of the country as a whole. John complains that people are mocking him for planning to marry a Winslow. Catherine laughs it... (full context)
Principles and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Catherine asks John if he actually wants to marry her. He says he’s never wavered before, but she... (full context)
Principles and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...need her instructions—they’re already on the Petition of Right: “Let Right be done.” Visibly angry, John storms out. Sir Robert says, ”well, then—we must see that it is.” (full context)
Act 4
Family Theme Icon
Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Dickie asks how Kate (Catherine) is; he has heard that John has broken off their engagement. Grace responds you can never tell with Catherine—“she never lets... (full context)
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Catherine says she saw John in court—Grace is horrified and hopes Catherine didn’t speak to him. But John had wished... (full context)
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Women and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Catherine says John told her he’s getting married to someone else next month. Apparently he was very apologetic,... (full context)