All About Henry Tilney


We’re happy to participate in Austenesque Reviews’ Austenesque Extravaganza! Mr. Tilney still would be pleased to Explain It All, so if you have questions or seek advice, you may post them in comments–please see below. In the meantime, we stole this from Mr. Tilney’s e-mail account here is a bit of Mr. Tilney’s personal correspondence that we thought our Gentle Readers might find illuminating. –Ed.


My dear Frederick,

Really? Are you twelve years old? Do you still have a MySpace page? Oh, very well.


> TO:,,,


> family,
> got one of these forward things from the fizzer and realized i know nothing about
> any of you. take a minute to fill it out and send back to me. anybody have the
> governor’s e-mail addy? or is he still going on with that “i’ll have no part of that
> electronic mail, quill pens and wafers were good enough for my generation”
> bollocks?

> xo,
> freddy

> “Every lover is a soldier.” — Ovid

> Captain Frederick Tilney
> 12th Light Dragoons
> Northampton

NAME: The Rev. Henry Tilney, B.A. Hons. (Oxon)

LIVING ARRANGEMENT: A very comfortable country parsonage with my lovely wife, Catherine, my old housekeeper, my clerk, two or three terriers and a large Newfoundland puppy.

FAVORITE PASTIME: Reading horrid novels to Catherine of an evening, and comforting her when she pretends to be frightened. I rather suspect that is why she pretends to be frightened.

FAVORITE BOOK: The Midnight Bell. Catherine and I like to play Ninja and Heroine. . . perhaps that is a trifle personal.

THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD IS: Being booted and great coated and basking in feminine admiration.

THE WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD IS: Knowing one’s cravat is spoilt, and unable to do a thing about it.

FAVORITE SMELLS: Leather, the country after a hard rain, freshly washed muslin, Catherine’s perfume.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK WHEN YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING: Tea is Our Heavenly Father’s way of letting us know that He loves us and wants us to be happy.

FAVORITE FOODS: A grilled trout that I caught myself that very day; new vegetables in the spring; those little sandwiches they serve at supper in the Lower Rooms, for they remind me of my first meeting with Catherine.

CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA: I know if I say chocolate, the ladies will approve, and I always like the ladies to approve of me.

STORMS, COOL OR SCARY: Picturesque, certainly. “Cool” would depend on the weather pattern and time of year.

HORRID NOVELS, COOL OR SCARY: Scary, of course, or why bother?

FAVORITE DRINK: Tea on a cold day, or a robust port after a good dinner.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Everyone would be excellent to one another.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Have less knowledge of the human race, and therefore less cynicism. I am taking my cue from my delightful wife in that regard.


IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL: At least half-full; sometimes three-quarters full.

WHAT’S IN YOUR ANXIETY CLOSET: Bad adaptations thats make me look like a broody, condescending git.

WHAT’S YOUR LOFTIEST DREAM: Sermons on the Picturesque, by A Country Gentleman, published by John Murray, London.

WHAT’S YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE: My fangirls, particularly Miss Sullivan, realizing that I’m a fictional character. My life would not be nearly as much fun.

WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOU THAT YOU FEEL THEY DON’T: I have never lectured or condescended to my dearest Catherine—well, I have lectured her on the picturesque, but she does not seem to mind.

BOXERS OR BRIEFS: Not having engaged in the study of the law, I am afraid I can have little to do with briefs. However, back at Oxford I studied the Sweet Science and have been known to go a few rounds in the ring. Gentleman Jackson himself complimented my right hook. I suppose I must choose Boxers, then, though this seems a strange question to me.

WHO ELSE IN THE FAMILY WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE FILL OUT THIS QUESTIONNAIRE: My darling wife, though I think I can guess most of her answers!

Gentle readers, it is your turn. We have been delegated by Mr. Tilney to solicit your questions. What would you like to know about him? Or would you like some advice for your own love life or life in general? Or is there something you would like to ask the Editrix? Post your questions in the comments! Each response counts as an entry in the Amazing Austenesque Giveaway, so comment early and often! And a bit of obligatory self-promotion: if you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy the Editrix’s book There Must Be Murder. Two copies of TMBM are up for grabs in the Amazing Austenesque Giveaway!

46 thoughts on “All About Henry Tilney

  1. jeffrey

    Ms Sullivan: I have already read and thoroughly enjoyed There Must Be Murder. And now Rev Tilney, do you wish for a large family or small? Your children, at any rate, will be handsome, charming and doted upon by your sister, the General, and all of your in-laws!


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear sir,

      It is still rather early in our marriage to consider the number of children. Mrs. Tilney, you know, is accustomed to a large family, and would not mind it, to be sure; but she also knows that it is especially difficult on the mother. I think one must balance prudence and affection. As we are speaking between gentlemen, I am sure you understand me.

      While I am sure my sister would render any service within her power to my children, no doubt she will be busy doting upon her own children; there is the succession to be considered, after all.

      Mrs. Tilney and I enjoyed the adventure in Bath provided by Miss Sullivan, and we are glad to hear that our friends enjoyed reading about them.

      I am, &c.
      H. Tilney


  2. Ah, someone else who is #TeamTilney. He really does steal the show.

    My question for Mr. Tilney whould be, if you could have a theme song what would it be?



    • Henry Tilney

      My dear Miss Kaydee,

      Miss Sullivan has been our friend for many years; some might even call her the founder of Team Tilney. We have, however, now learned to not trust her with our e-mail password.

      As to a theme song, we are fond of Mr. Denver’s song about country roads, tho’ we would replace “West Virginia” with “Gloucestershire” for reasons that should be obvious. The “country boy” song is a trifle déclassé, I am afraid, though I suppose I agree with the sentiments.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear Miss Pamela,

      Our life in the country is very quiet: reading books, visiting friends, taking long walks, and doing what good we can for the poor. Mrs. Tilney, I know, sometimes regrets the sameness of life in the country, so when we are in the city, I indulge her in her wish to go about and see everything. We still attempt to spend some of our time in more rational pursuits; but we also attend the assemblies in the rooms, drink water at the pump-room, and shop on Milsom-street. There are many very good walks about Bath, and we take advantage of them, sometimes stopping to sketch a picturesque view. One is not to be found from Beechen Cliff, but there are some other very good views about. I have promised to take Mrs. Tilney to Blaize Castle one day, tho’ I fear she will be disappointed at last.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


  3. Felicia

    Mr. Tilney, what a charming gentleman you are.

    My question for you would be; if you and your wife were given an all expense paid vacation, where would you go?


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear Miss Felicia,

      It has long been a dear wish of Mrs. Tilney’s to see the country through which Emily St. Aubert passed in her journeys; the south of France and the Italian Alps in particular. She wishes to feel the awesome and the sublime of these sights that Mrs. Radcliffe described so well. If the current fracas instigated by M. Bonaparte ever passes, and if we are not curtailed by family concerns, perhaps, someday, we will take that journey.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear Miss Anna,

      I know this is a subject that makes Miss Sullivan violent, but it has never troubled me. Mr. Darcy’s position in the pecking order (if you will) of Miss Austen’s heroes is certainly an elevated one; but it comes at a high price. Darcy has confided in me that his popularity can be troublesome. I know he finds it tiresome when ladies follow him about with large vessels of water in order to catch him unawares and give him a soaking, and he has had at least two valets give notice over it. His privacy is continually violated by those who should love him best, revealing the most intimate moments of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy to an eager public; some of them more salacious than veracious. Darcy really is not all that, er–adventuresome. I must confess that I prefer my own quiet country life to such popularity. However, I know Darcy is happy with his Elizabeth, as I am with my Catherine, and overall the douceurs of his life outweigh his troubles; a situation for which we all should strive. So to answer your question, my dear madam, I am content with my lot, and will leave Darcy’s to himself.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


  4. Loved the questionaire, Mags! Thank you so much for being a part of Austenesque Extravaganza!!!!

    And Mr. Tilney, thank you for being so obliging to answer all the questions put forth to you by the lovely Miss Sullivan! I found your answers edifying and entertaining! I especially liked your answer to the question: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE?

    My quesion for Mr. Tilney would have to be: Did you always want to be a clergyman? As a child what profession or occupation did you want?

    I look forward to checking back and reading all the answers to these fantastic questions!


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear Miss Meredith,

      Growing up in a military family, like many boys I wished for a scarlet coat, or some other exciting, active profession: perhaps the navy, or traveling about the country with a troupe of acrobats. My mother, ever more practical and knowing my talent for oration, had thoughts of me entering the diplomatic corps, and insisted that I go to school. By the time I came down from Eton, I knew I would prefer a more contemplative life, and one that would allow me to read and study, and stay close to home to watch over my sister Eleanor. She no longer needs my protection, but my choice of profession has been a happy one.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


  5. EK

    The boxers and briefs question was fantastic.

    I feel a bit selfish posting a question about me, rather than about our charming Mr. Tilney, but Mr. Tilney has promised advice and I could use some. Here is my question:

    I am one of those unfortunates who must make my way in the world through gainful employment. My current situation is a respectable one but not one calculated to bring me personal satisfaction and happiness. It has one great advantage, though, in that I am situated very near my family and friends. Now I find myself presented with another opportunity, this one much more suited to my likes and interests, but not one with wages that will improve my material situation. More to the point, it would take me a great distance from my family and friends. I have tried for some time to decide if the prospect of increased satisfaction with my employment is worth the separation from those I love but have been unable to make a decision. What wise words of advice do you have for me?


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear madam,

      It is indeed a sad occasion when one’s profession and situation in life carries one away from one’s friends, and at such a distance as makes visiting difficult. You do indeed have a difficult choice before you; and while I can offer advice, I cannot make the decision for you. I would suggest that satisfaction in one’s profession, in which one engages such a large portion of each day, is quite important; and your friends will still be there to visit when you can get away. However, if the new situation does not supply sufficient funds to allow you such visits, I would recommend that you not pursue this new opportunity, however attractive.

      I hope I have been of some assistance, madam.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


  6. stephanie

    Mr. Tilney, Thank you for the charming interview…you are a favorite Austen hero…my question would be…If you where a tree what kind would you be????


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear Miss Stephanie,

      What a charming, fanciful question! I must therefore refer it to my charming, fanciful wife. She replied:

      “My love, you are the tallest tree in the forest, growing straight and strong and reaching for the sun. You are not picturesque, I am afraid; you are much too healthy and vital for that. Your leaves are the deepest, darkest green, and cast a shade under which one can find comfort and protection in all seasons. You are a deciduous tree, I dare say, as you certainly turn dormant in the winter; but in spring and summer, you are the king of the forest.”

      I had no idea Mrs. Tilney could be so poetical. I must go and kiss her now. Pray forgive me.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


    • Henry Tilney

      My dear Haliegirl,

      Mrs. Tilney has many good qualities, when one takes the time to study her. The one I find most attractive is the goodness of her heart. She always thinks the best of people; and one must hurt her or misuse her in the cruelest way to lose her friendship. I try to take her as my model for behavior; alas, I fear I know too much of the world to be truly as good as my darling, but I do try; I ask myself, when faced with a dilemma, what would Catherine do? and often have my answer.

      I am, &c.,
      H. Tilney


  7. Mr. Tilney,

    I have admired you for years. However, I find myself rather baffled at your extensive knowledge of muslin. I am aware that you have previously extricated yourself from answering this question by laying the blame on your sister, but surely you could not have acquired such competence from one lady alone. Is there perhaps some secret from your past you wish to share with us?


  8. Dear Mr. Tilney,

    I understand that you are an expert on muslin. My favorite gown has been stained by red wine which unfortunately did not remain in my glass when the glass was struck by the tail of my dog while she negotiating the path between me and my end table.

    Can you recommend a solution for removing the wine stain from my muslin gown?


    A Servantless Lady


  9. My dear Mr. Tilney,

    It was a true delight to peruse your replies to Miss Sullivan’s questions. My favorite questions (due entirely to your engaging answers) are “Have you ever been in love” and the ever-fascinating boxers vs. briefs issue. Please express my sincerest appreciation to Miss Sullivan for hosting this event, and thank you so much for taking the time to fill out the questionnaire!

    Mr. Tilney, I greatly value your opinions, particularly with regard to literature. There are so many books and so little time, I look to you for advice as to what I should read, and what I ought to avoid. Therefore, my questions for you are: Which are your two favorite novels, and why? Is there a book that you violently detest, and if so, what is it and why? Have you ever considered writing a book yourself, and if so, what would it be about? Thank you ever so, and I look forward to your reply.

    All best wishes,
    Syrie James


    • Bridget

      I too am interested in hearing your answer to this question, Mr. Tilney. I have for some time contemplated reading more of the “Gothic” genre. I have read all the standards, but wonder if there are any less well-known tomes, which you would recommend?

      Kindest regards,


  10. Jakki Leatherberry

    Oh, I just loved everyone’s questions, especially Anna’s question about Darcy taking the spotlight! Loveley post! I cannot wait to read There Must Be Murder!


  11. Amanda Mauldin

    Mr. Tilney,

    It is generally acknowledged that you are a very great favorite with many ladies (myself included). The better part of your character as known to us puts in our mind a kind, loving, agreeable person on whom we can depend and trust. Such is in accord with your position as a clergyman, though I believe I could safely rely on your being so if you were in any other profession.
    However, some of your admiring public would ask whether that was always the case.
    Has Mr. Henry Tilney always been of the good, faithful, true frame of mind? Has he anything in his life of which to regret? And would said regret threaten to crop up to infiltrate his new marriage?
    Please, sir, relieve our minds of such wonderings.

    Regards to you both,


  12. LynnS

    Dear Mr. Tilney,

    Being aware as I am that you are a fictional character, I wish to inquire how one should go about meeting a real gentleman who shares your qualities. I am afraid a stay at a resort town is not within my budget.


  13. Suzan

    Great response. And great questions. I loved the question about Darcy. I would like to know what kind of relationship Mr. Tilney has with his father, brother and sister. Have things lightened up with the General since the wedding? Is Eleanor happy?
    Also, what kind of improvements have you made around Woodston since Mrs. Tilney arrived? Has Mrs. Tilneys family come to visit?


  14. Jan Hahn

    Dear Mr. Tilney,

    Although the answers to the questions posed through the fizzer were far more intrusive than any gentleman should be required to give, I confess it provoked in me a degree of hilarity unbecoming to a lady. I now feel that I am able to sketch the true illustration of your character!
    My question pertains to your anxiety closet and the “bad adaptations that make you look like a broody, condescending git.” With what ease would you embrace a musical on the stage based on your life, such as “Bride & Prejudice,” and would you take pleasure in hearing an air such as “No Life Without Wife” sung by an actress portraying Mrs. Tilney?


  15. Frederick + Ovid FTW!

    I would like to know if Mr. Tilney has any advice for a mother attempting to raise her sons to be gentlemen. My sixteen year-old speaks French fluently, is outdoors more often than not, but is not much of a reader. The six year-old takes visitors on detailed tours of his vegetable garden. Are there any memories from Mr. Tilney’s own upbringing which he considers especially useful in shaping his (admirable) character?

    PS: I am not so sure that Mr. Tilney is, in fact, an imaginary character. When we met last autumn at the JASNA AGM in Portland, Oregon, he seemed quite substantial.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lisa S

    Dear Mr. Tilney,

    My question for you may be of a somewhat personal nature, but I have always wondered, what do you think of your older brother?


  17. Dear Mr. Tilney,

    I wonder if your lovely father, General Tilney, is still a widower. If the answer were yes, I’d like to be presented to him with the purpose of marriage because I’m sure I can tame the beast.

    with a heart full of love
    my best wishes


  18. Kelli

    What a fun post!
    My question for Mr. Tilney is… Has the General warmed up at all to your lovely Catherine since the wedding?


  19. Dear Mr. Tilney,

    I am interested in your responses to the questions posed by the Misses Fairview and Greensmith regarding your legendary knowledge of muslims. Now that you have a wife to advise on such matters, have you discovered a particularly favored style or pattern? Any suggestions on how I could develop a similar interest in my husband?

    Your devoted fan,



  20. LOL! Wonderful.

    Glad to hear that all is well with you and Mrs. Tilney, Reverend. How fares the rest of the family? Has the General warmed up to Catherine? And Eleanor? Is she well? Is she settled nearby? I always found her story interesting–I would like to know more about her. I know the rules were to ask you a question, but my question has to do with Eleanor’s love story? How did she meet her Viscount, how did their relationship go to lead up to the marriage?


  21. Mr. Tilney, thank you for the diversion of your questionnaire answers. Most illuminating!

    If I were to find a way to England to visit you, what kind of tour of the countryside should I expect? Have you any rich widows like Darcy’s aunt that I can visit and then later mock? 😉 Or would there be many quiet and pleasant rides or walks? What treats would there be for tea when I sit down with you and Catherine?

    Looking forward to Miss Sullivan’s book,

    Rebecca 🙂


  22. Lucy

    Dear Mr. Tilney,

    I admire your desire to be less cynical and wish the same for myself. However, I have no male equivalent of your delightful Catherine to help me achieve my goal. Have you any advice on combating cynicism in the absence of a beloved role model?

    Miss Lucy W.


  23. Dear Mr. Tilney,
    I must congratulate you on your deft handling of the many questions that have been posed to you. I actually have two questions that have been plaguing my curiosity. One is, what do you think of Ms. Nazarian’s version of your story, particularly your own startling transformation? The second is, if you were to drive a car, what kind would it be?
    Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

    Respectfully yours,
    Miss Madchen


  24. Marybeth

    Dear Mr Tilney,

    Reading your answers have left me very much diverted. My question for you: how did you end up decorating the rest of the Woodston parsonage now that Catherine is its mistress?

    With sincerest regards,


  25. Betsy

    Dear Mr. Tilney,

    Thank you for answering all the questions in this thread!

    Can you think of any time, as a little boy, when you were really, really naughty?


    P.S. Miss Sullivan, I feel I must send away for your book immediately!


  26. LynnS

    My comment is for the Editrix as I have already posed my question to Mr. Tilney.

    Yesterday I was in Borders (brief moment of silence, please) and saw the book “Emma and the Vampires.” After reading only a paragraph, my first thought was of Mr Tilney in his leather greatcoat, armed with crossbows to annihilate this book and others like it. (Huzzah!) Mr. Tilney is, of course, a most extraordinary gentleman indeed! Thank you, Mags for giving us cultists more Henry adventures to enjoy!


Comments are closed.