Can you sigh while your tongue is in your cheek?
by Rhonda, Chief Acolyte
It is a strange thing that adult women would still have literary crushes. I certainly thought I would be over such a thing as that as a part of growing up and assuming adult responsibilities. Well, it turns out that admiring a fictional character is a much-desired release from the pains of early adulthood. And joking about those silly crushes is what the Cult of Da Man is all about—we certainly are not serious in our idol worship, but we truly admire the qualities of Jane Austen's Henry Tilney that we wish were present in the men of our acquaintance.
These qualities are what makes us laugh and touches our hearts. The glorious speeches, teasing poor Catherine with all the seriousness his countenance could bear, are the mark of good humor and a well-informed mind, although 'indulging in the foibles of others,' still treats Catherine and others with the respect they deserve—he knows that most of the time, his nonsense is hardly taken seriously. And besides, Eleanor is there to chide him into good behavior. And when he does go too far (such as his famous Gothic speech), it is he who takes the responsibility of correcting those who misunderstood.
And then there are the outward charms, the greatcoats (sigh), the hats that sat so becomingly (sigh), being tall and very close to handsome (oh, sigh), with dark eyes with (we can only guess) a twinkle in them. And his messy room and his delegating work to his curate give this otherwise nearly-perfect man a human element that is all too familiar.
But perhaps the greatest reason I personally like Henry Tilney, besides his sparkling personality and his excellent curricle-driving skills, is his defiance of General Tilney:
"But, in such a cause, his [General Tilney's] anger, though it must shock, could not intimidate Henry, who was sustained in his purpose by a conviction of its justice. He felt himself bound as much in honour as in affection to Miss Morland, and believing that heart to be his own which he had been directed to gain, no unworthy retraction of a tacit consent, no reversing decree of unjustifiable anger, could shake his fidelity, or influence the resolutions it prompted." [Ch. 30]
Who would not be touched by such a man, one who is honor-bound and strong enough to stand up to those who dare trespass upon that honor? I know I am.
Besides all of this, Henry Tilney is simply Da Man, period. Some Janeites prefer Darcy, Knightley, or Wentworth, but give me a dose of Da Man's wit a day and I am a happy girl indeed. With a twinkle in my own eye and a mischievous smile on my face, I will gladly pay homage at the mock-altar of Da Man--after all, he is my favorite hero.