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Henry is no lover scared. Imagery of predatory big cat's is used in place of the small demure kitten that he once was.
"He was not going to be badgered of his life, like a kitten chased by boys, he said. It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws."
Henry's primal anger comes out very clearly in another quote,
"The youth cried out savagely at this statement. He crouched behind a little tree, with his eyes burning hatefully and his teeth set in a curlike snarl."