Northanger Abbey/Source

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.



    Jane Austen (1803)


    THIS little work was finished in the year 1803, and intended for
    immediate publication. It was disposed of to a bookseller, it was even
    advertised, and why the business proceeded no farther, the author
    has never been able to learn. That any bookseller should think it
    worth-while to purchase what he did not think it worth-while to publish
    seems extraordinary. But with this, neither the author nor the public
    have any other concern than as some observation is necessary upon those
    parts of the work which thirteen years have made comparatively obsolete.
    The public are entreated to bear in mind that thirteen years have passed
    since it was finished, many more since it was begun, and that during
    that period, places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone
    considerable changes.


    No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have
    supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character
    of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were
    all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being
    neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name
    was Richard--and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable
    independence besides two good livings--and he was not in the least
    addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful
    plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a
    good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and
    instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might
    expect, she still lived on--lived to have six children more--to see them
    growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family
    of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are
    heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had
    little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and
    Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin
    awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong
    features--so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism
    seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred
    cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of
    infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a
    rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered
    flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief--at least
    so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was
    forbidden to take. Such were her propensities--her abilities were quite
    as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything
    before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often
    inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in
    teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her
    next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine
    was always stupid--by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and
    Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her
    to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was
    very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinnet; so, at eight
    years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs.
    Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in
    spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which
    dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life.
    Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain
    the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd
    piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses
    and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing
    and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her
    proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in
    both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character!--for
    with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither
    a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever
    quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions
    of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and
    cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the
    green slope at the back of the house.

    Such was Catherine Morland at ten. At fifteen, appearances were mending;
    she began to curl her hair and long for balls; her complexion improved,
    her features were softened by plumpness and colour, her eyes gained more
    animation, and her figure more consequence. Her love of dirt gave way to
    an inclination for finery, and she grew clean as she grew smart; she had
    now the pleasure of sometimes hearing her father and mother remark
    on her personal improvement. "Catherine grows quite a good-looking
    girl--she is almost pretty today," were words which caught her ears now
    and then; and how welcome were the sounds! To look almost pretty is an
    acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the
    first fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever

    Mrs. Morland was a very good woman, and wished to see her children
    everything they ought to be; but her time was so much occupied in
    lying-in and teaching the little ones, that her elder daughters were
    inevitably left to shift for themselves; and it was not very wonderful
    that Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her, should
    prefer cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about
    the country at the age of fourteen, to books--or at least books of
    information--for, provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be
    gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she
    had never any objection to books at all. But from fifteen to seventeen
    she was in training for a heroine; she read all such works as heroines
    must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so
    serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives.

    From Pope, she learnt to censure those who

       "bear about the mockery of woe."

    From Gray, that

       "Many a flower is born to blush unseen,
       "And waste its fragrance on the desert air."

    From Thompson, that--

       "It is a delightful task
       "To teach the young idea how to shoot."

    And from Shakespeare she gained a great store of information--amongst
    the rest, that--

       "Trifles light as air,
       "Are, to the jealous, confirmation strong,
       "As proofs of Holy Writ."


       "The poor beetle, which we tread upon,
       "In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
       "As when a giant dies."

    And that a young woman in love always looks--

       "like Patience on a monument
       "Smiling at Grief."

    So far her improvement was sufficient--and in many other points she came
    on exceedingly well; for though she could not write sonnets, she brought
    herself to read them; and though there seemed no chance of her throwing
    a whole party into raptures by a prelude on the pianoforte, of her own
    composition, she could listen to other people's performance with very
    little fatigue. Her greatest deficiency was in the pencil--she had no
    notion of drawing--not enough even to attempt a sketch of her lover's
    profile, that she might be detected in the design. There she fell
    miserably short of the true heroic height. At present she did not know
    her own poverty, for she had no lover to portray. She had reached the
    age of seventeen, without having seen one amiable youth who could call
    forth her sensibility, without having inspired one real passion, and
    without having excited even any admiration but what was very moderate
    and very transient. This was strange indeed! But strange things may be
    generally accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out. There was
    not one lord in the neighbourhood; no--not even a baronet. There was not
    one family among their acquaintance who had reared and supported a boy
    accidentally found at their door--not one young man whose origin
    was unknown. Her father had no ward, and the squire of the parish no

    But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty
    surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen
    to throw a hero in her way.

    Mr. Allen, who owned the chief of the property about Fullerton, the
    village in Wiltshire where the Morlands lived, was ordered to Bath
    for the benefit of a gouty constitution--and his lady, a good-humoured
    woman, fond of Miss Morland, and probably aware that if adventures will
    not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad,
    invited her to go with them. Mr. and Mrs. Morland were all compliance,
    and Catherine all happiness.


    In addition to what has been already said of Catherine Morland's
    personal and mental endowments, when about to be launched into all the
    difficulties and dangers of a six weeks' residence in Bath, it may be
    stated, for the reader's more certain information, lest the following
    pages should otherwise fail of giving any idea of what her character is
    meant to be, that her heart was affectionate; her disposition cheerful
    and open, without conceit or affectation of any kind--her manners just
    removed from the awkwardness and shyness of a girl; her person pleasing,
    and, when in good looks, pretty--and her mind about as ignorant and
    uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is.

    When the hour of departure drew near, the maternal anxiety of Mrs.
    Morland will be naturally supposed to be most severe. A thousand
    alarming presentiments of evil to her beloved Catherine from this
    terrific separation must oppress her heart with sadness, and drown her
    in tears for the last day or two of their being together; and advice of
    the most important and applicable nature must of course flow from her
    wise lips in their parting conference in her closet. Cautions against
    the violence of such noblemen and baronets as delight in forcing young
    ladies away to some remote farm-house, must, at such a moment, relieve
    the fulness of her heart. Who would not think so? But Mrs. Morland knew
    so little of lords and baronets, that she entertained no notion of their
    general mischievousness, and was wholly unsuspicious of danger to her
    daughter from their machinations. Her cautions were confined to the
    following points. "I beg, Catherine, you will always wrap yourself up
    very warm about the throat, when you come from the rooms at night; and
    I wish you would try to keep some account of the money you spend; I will
    give you this little book on purpose."

    Sally, or rather Sarah (for what young lady of common gentility will
    reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as she can?),
    must from situation be at this time the intimate friend and confidante
    of her sister. It is remarkable, however, that she neither insisted
    on Catherine's writing by every post, nor exacted her promise of
    transmitting the character of every new acquaintance, nor a detail
    of every interesting conversation that Bath might produce. Everything
    indeed relative to this important journey was done, on the part of the
    Morlands, with a degree of moderation and composure, which seemed
    rather consistent with the common feelings of common life, than with the
    refined susceptibilities, the tender emotions which the first separation
    of a heroine from her family ought always to excite. Her father, instead
    of giving her an unlimited order on his banker, or even putting an
    hundred pounds bank-bill into her hands, gave her only ten guineas, and
    promised her more when she wanted it.

    Under these unpromising auspices, the parting took place, and the
    journey began. It was performed with suitable quietness and uneventful
    safety. Neither robbers nor tempests befriended them, nor one lucky
    overturn to introduce them to the hero. Nothing more alarming occurred
    than a fear, on Mrs. Allen's side, of having once left her clogs behind
    her at an inn, and that fortunately proved to be groundless.

    They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight--her eyes were
    here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking
    environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted
    them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already.

    They were soon settled in comfortable lodgings in Pulteney Street.

    It is now expedient to give some description of Mrs. Allen, that the
    reader may be able to judge in what manner her actions will hereafter
    tend to promote the general distress of the work, and how she will,
    probably, contribute to reduce poor Catherine to all the desperate
    wretchedness of which a last volume is capable--whether by her
    imprudence, vulgarity, or jealousy--whether by intercepting her letters,
    ruining her character, or turning her out of doors.

    Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can
    raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world
    who could like them well enough to marry them. She had neither beauty,
    genius, accomplishment, nor manner. The air of a gentlewoman, a great
    deal of quiet, inactive good temper, and a trifling turn of mind
    were all that could account for her being the choice of a sensible,
    intelligent man like Mr. Allen. In one respect she was admirably fitted
    to introduce a young lady into public, being as fond of going everywhere
    and seeing everything herself as any young lady could be. Dress was
    her passion. She had a most harmless delight in being fine; and our
    heroine's entree into life could not take place till after three or four
    days had been spent in learning what was mostly worn, and her chaperone
    was provided with a dress of the newest fashion. Catherine too made
    some purchases herself, and when all these matters were arranged, the
    important evening came which was to usher her into the Upper Rooms. Her
    hair was cut and dressed by the best hand, her clothes put on with care,
    and both Mrs. Allen and her maid declared she looked quite as she should
    do. With such encouragement, Catherine hoped at least to pass uncensured
    through the crowd. As for admiration, it was always very welcome when it
    came, but she did not depend on it.

    Mrs. Allen was so long in dressing that they did not enter the ballroom
    till late. The season was full, the room crowded, and the two ladies
    squeezed in as well as they could. As for Mr. Allen, he repaired
    directly to the card-room, and left them to enjoy a mob by themselves.
    With more care for the safety of her new gown than for the comfort of
    her protegee, Mrs. Allen made her way through the throng of men by
    the door, as swiftly as the necessary caution would allow; Catherine,
    however, kept close at her side, and linked her arm too firmly within
    her friend's to be torn asunder by any common effort of a struggling
    assembly. But to her utter amazement she found that to proceed along the
    room was by no means the way to disengage themselves from the crowd; it
    seemed rather to increase as they went on, whereas she had imagined that
    when once fairly within the door, they should easily find seats and be
    able to watch the dances with perfect convenience. But this was far from
    being the case, and though by unwearied diligence they gained even the
    top of the room, their situation was just the same; they saw nothing
    of the dancers but the high feathers of some of the ladies. Still they
    moved on--something better was yet in view; and by a continued exertion
    of strength and ingenuity they found themselves at last in the passage
    behind the highest bench. Here there was something less of crowd than
    below; and hence Miss Morland had a comprehensive view of all the
    company beneath her, and of all the dangers of her late passage through
    them. It was a splendid sight, and she began, for the first time that
    evening, to feel herself at a ball: she longed to dance, but she had
    not an acquaintance in the room. Mrs. Allen did all that she could do
    in such a case by saying very placidly, every now and then, "I wish you
    could dance, my dear--I wish you could get a partner." For some time
    her young friend felt obliged to her for these wishes; but they were
    repeated so often, and proved so totally ineffectual, that Catherine
    grew tired at last, and would thank her no more.

    They were not long able, however, to enjoy the repose of the eminence
    they had so laboriously gained. Everybody was shortly in motion for
    tea, and they must squeeze out like the rest. Catherine began to feel
    something of disappointment--she was tired of being continually pressed
    against by people, the generality of whose faces possessed nothing to
    interest, and with all of whom she was so wholly unacquainted that she
    could not relieve the irksomeness of imprisonment by the exchange of a
    syllable with any of her fellow captives; and when at last arrived in
    the tea-room, she felt yet more the awkwardness of having no party to
    join, no acquaintance to claim, no gentleman to assist them. They saw
    nothing of Mr. Allen; and after looking about them in vain for a more
    eligible situation, were obliged to sit down at the end of a table, at
    which a large party were already placed, without having anything to do
    there, or anybody to speak to, except each other.

    Mrs. Allen congratulated herself, as soon as they were seated, on having
    preserved her gown from injury. "It would have been very shocking to
    have it torn," said she, "would not it? It is such a delicate muslin.
    For my part I have not seen anything I like so well in the whole room, I
    assure you."

    "How uncomfortable it is," whispered Catherine, "not to have a single
    acquaintance here!"

    "Yes, my dear," replied Mrs. Allen, with perfect serenity, "it is very
    uncomfortable indeed."

    "What shall we do? The gentlemen and ladies at this table look as if
    they wondered why we came here--we seem forcing ourselves into their

    "Aye, so we do. That is very disagreeable. I wish we had a large
    acquaintance here."

    "I wish we had any--it would be somebody to go to."

    "Very true, my dear; and if we knew anybody we would join them directly.
    The Skinners were here last year--I wish they were here now."

    "Had not we better go away as it is? Here are no tea-things for us, you

    "No more there are, indeed. How very provoking! But I think we had
    better sit still, for one gets so tumbled in such a crowd! How is my
    head, my dear? Somebody gave me a push that has hurt it, I am afraid."

    "No, indeed, it looks very nice. But, dear Mrs. Allen, are you sure
    there is nobody you know in all this multitude of people? I think you
    must know somebody."

    "I don't, upon my word--I wish I did. I wish I had a large acquaintance
    here with all my heart, and then I should get you a partner. I should be
    so glad to have you dance. There goes a strange-looking woman! What an
    odd gown she has got on! How old-fashioned it is! Look at the back."

    After some time they received an offer of tea from one of their
    neighbours; it was thankfully accepted, and this introduced a light
    conversation with the gentleman who offered it, which was the only time
    that anybody spoke to them during the evening, till they were discovered
    and joined by Mr. Allen when the dance was over.

    "Well, Miss Morland," said he, directly, "I hope you have had an
    agreeable ball."

    "Very agreeable indeed," she replied, vainly endeavouring to hide a
    great yawn.

    "I wish she had been able to dance," said his wife; "I wish we could
    have got a partner for her. I have been saying how glad I should be if
    the Skinners were here this winter instead of last; or if the Parrys had
    come, as they talked of once, she might have danced with George Parry. I
    am so sorry she has not had a partner!"

    "We shall do better another evening I hope," was Mr. Allen's

    The company began to disperse when the dancing was over--enough to leave
    space for the remainder to walk about in some comfort; and now was the
    time for a heroine, who had not yet played a very distinguished part
    in the events of the evening, to be noticed and admired. Every five
    minutes, by removing some of the crowd, gave greater openings for her
    charms. She was now seen by many young men who had not been near her
    before. Not one, however, started with rapturous wonder on beholding
    her, no whisper of eager inquiry ran round the room, nor was she once
    called a divinity by anybody. Yet Catherine was in very good looks, and
    had the company only seen her three years before, they would now have
    thought her exceedingly handsome.

    She was looked at, however, and with some admiration; for, in her own
    hearing, two gentlemen pronounced her to be a pretty girl. Such words
    had their due effect; she immediately thought the evening pleasanter
    than she had found it before--her humble vanity was contented--she
    felt more obliged to the two young men for this simple praise than a
    true-quality heroine would have been for fifteen sonnets in celebration
    of her charms, and went to her chair in good humour with everybody, and
    perfectly satisfied with her share of public attention.


    Every morning now brought its regular duties--shops were to be visited;
    some new part of the town to be looked at; and the pump-room to be
    attended, where they paraded up and down for an hour, looking at
    everybody and speaking to no one. The wish of a numerous acquaintance
    in Bath was still uppermost with Mrs. Allen, and she repeated it after
    every fresh proof, which every morning brought, of her knowing nobody at

    They made their appearance in the Lower Rooms; and here fortune was more
    favourable to our heroine. The master of the ceremonies introduced to
    her a very gentlemanlike young man as a partner; his name was Tilney.
    He seemed to be about four or five and twenty, was rather tall, had a
    pleasing countenance, a very intelligent and lively eye, and, if not
    quite handsome, was very near it. His address was good, and Catherine
    felt herself in high luck. There was little leisure for speaking
    while they danced; but when they were seated at tea, she found him as
    agreeable as she had already given him credit for being. He talked with
    fluency and spirit--and there was an archness and pleasantry in his
    manner which interested, though it was hardly understood by her. After
    chatting some time on such matters as naturally arose from the objects
    around them, he suddenly addressed her with--"I have hitherto been very
    remiss, madam, in the proper attentions of a partner here; I have not
    yet asked you how long you have been in Bath; whether you were ever here
    before; whether you have been at the Upper Rooms, the theatre, and
    the concert; and how you like the place altogether. I have been
    very negligent--but are you now at leisure to satisfy me in these
    particulars? If you are I will begin directly."

    "You need not give yourself that trouble, sir."

    "No trouble, I assure you, madam." Then forming his features into a set
    smile, and affectedly softening his voice, he added, with a simpering
    air, "Have you been long in Bath, madam?"

    "About a week, sir," replied Catherine, trying not to laugh.

    "Really!" with affected astonishment.

    "Why should you be surprised, sir?"

    "Why, indeed!" said he, in his natural tone. "But some emotion must
    appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed,
    and not less reasonable than any other. Now let us go on. Were you never
    here before, madam?"

    "Never, sir."

    "Indeed! Have you yet honoured the Upper Rooms?"

    "Yes, sir, I was there last Monday."

    "Have you been to the theatre?"

    "Yes, sir, I was at the play on Tuesday."

    "To the concert?"

    "Yes, sir, on Wednesday."

    "And are you altogether pleased with Bath?"

    "Yes--I like it very well."

    "Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again."
    Catherine turned away her head, not knowing whether she might venture to
    laugh. "I see what you think of me," said he gravely--"I shall make but
    a poor figure in your journal tomorrow."

    "My journal!"

    "Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower
    Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings--plain black
    shoes--appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a
    queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed
    me by his nonsense."

    "Indeed I shall say no such thing."

    "Shall I tell you what you ought to say?"

    "If you please."

    "I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had
    a great deal of conversation with him--seems a most extraordinary
    genius--hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to

    "But, perhaps, I keep no journal."

    "Perhaps you are not sitting in this room, and I am not sitting by
    you. These are points in which a doubt is equally possible. Not keep a
    journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your
    life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of
    every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every
    evening in a journal? How are your various dresses to be remembered,
    and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be
    described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to
    a journal? My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies' ways as
    you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journaling which
    largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies
    are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing
    agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something,
    but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping
    a journal."

    "I have sometimes thought," said Catherine, doubtingly, "whether ladies
    do write so much better letters than gentlemen! That is--I should not
    think the superiority was always on our side."

    "As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the
    usual style of letter-writing among women is faultless, except in three

    "And what are they?"

    "A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a
    very frequent ignorance of grammar."

    "Upon my word! I need not have been afraid of disclaiming the
    compliment. You do not think too highly of us in that way."

    "I should no more lay it down as a general rule that women write better
    letters than men, than that they sing better duets, or draw better
    landscapes. In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence
    is pretty fairly divided between the sexes."

    They were interrupted by Mrs. Allen: "My dear Catherine," said she, "do
    take this pin out of my sleeve; I am afraid it has torn a hole already;
    I shall be quite sorry if it has, for this is a favourite gown, though
    it cost but nine shillings a yard."

    "That is exactly what I should have guessed it, madam," said Mr. Tilney,
    looking at the muslin.

    "Do you understand muslins, sir?"

    "Particularly well; I always buy my own cravats, and am allowed to be an
    excellent judge; and my sister has often trusted me in the choice of a
    gown. I bought one for her the other day, and it was pronounced to be a
    prodigious bargain by every lady who saw it. I gave but five shillings a
    yard for it, and a true Indian muslin."

    Mrs. Allen was quite struck by his genius. "Men commonly take so little
    notice of those things," said she; "I can never get Mr. Allen to know
    one of my gowns from another. You must be a great comfort to your
    sister, sir."

    "I hope I am, madam."

    "And pray, sir, what do you think of Miss Morland's gown?"

    "It is very pretty, madam," said he, gravely examining it; "but I do not
    think it will wash well; I am afraid it will fray."

    "How can you," said Catherine, laughing, "be so--" She had almost said

    "I am quite of your opinion, sir," replied Mrs. Allen; "and so I told
    Miss Morland when she bought it."

    "But then you know, madam, muslin always turns to some account or other;
    Miss Morland will get enough out of it for a handkerchief, or a cap, or
    a cloak. Muslin can never be said to be wasted. I have heard my sister
    say so forty times, when she has been extravagant in buying more than
    she wanted, or careless in cutting it to pieces."

    "Bath is a charming place, sir; there are so many good shops here. We
    are sadly off in the country; not but what we have very good shops in
    Salisbury, but it is so far to go--eight miles is a long way; Mr. Allen
    says it is nine, measured nine; but I am sure it cannot be more than
    eight; and it is such a fag--I come back tired to death. Now, here one
    can step out of doors and get a thing in five minutes."

    Mr. Tilney was polite enough to seem interested in what she said; and
    she kept him on the subject of muslins till the dancing recommenced.
    Catherine feared, as she listened to their discourse, that he indulged
    himself a little too much with the foibles of others. "What are you
    thinking of so earnestly?" said he, as they walked back to the ballroom;
    "not of your partner, I hope, for, by that shake of the head, your
    meditations are not satisfactory."

    Catherine coloured, and said, "I was not thinking of anything."

    "That is artful and deep, to be sure; but I had rather be told at once
    that you will not tell me."

    "Well then, I will not."

    "Thank you; for now we shall soon be acquainted, as I am authorized to
    tease you on this subject whenever we meet, and nothing in the world
    advances intimacy so much."

    They danced again; and, when the assembly closed, parted, on the
    lady's side at least, with a strong inclination for continuing the
    acquaintance. Whether she thought of him so much, while she drank her
    warm wine and water, and prepared herself for bed, as to dream of him
    when there, cannot be ascertained; but I hope it was no more than in
    a slight slumber, or a morning doze at most; for if it be true, as a
    celebrated writer has maintained, that no young lady can be justified
    in falling in love before the gentleman's love is declared,* it must be
    very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the
    gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her. How proper Mr. Tilney
    might be as a dreamer or a lover had not yet perhaps entered Mr. Allen's
    head, but that he was not objectionable as a common acquaintance for
    his young charge he was on inquiry satisfied; for he had early in the
    evening taken pains to know who her partner was, and had been assured
    of Mr. Tilney's being a clergyman, and of a very respectable family in


    With more than usual eagerness did Catherine hasten to the pump-room the
    next day, secure within herself of seeing Mr. Tilney there before the
    morning were over, and ready to meet him with a smile; but no smile
    was demanded--Mr. Tilney did not appear. Every creature in Bath,
    except himself, was to be seen in the room at different periods of the
    fashionable hours; crowds of people were every moment passing in and
    out, up the steps and down; people whom nobody cared about, and nobody
    wanted to see; and he only was absent. "What a delightful place Bath
    is," said Mrs. Allen as they sat down near the great clock, after
    parading the room till they were tired; "and how pleasant it would be if
    we had any acquaintance here."

    This sentiment had been uttered so often in vain that Mrs. Allen had no
    particular reason to hope it would be followed with more advantage now;
    but we are told to "despair of nothing we would attain," as "unwearied
    diligence our point would gain"; and the unwearied diligence with which
    she had every day wished for the same thing was at length to have its
    just reward, for hardly had she been seated ten minutes before a lady of
    about her own age, who was sitting by her, and had been looking at her
    attentively for several minutes, addressed her with great complaisance
    in these words: "I think, madam, I cannot be mistaken; it is a long time
    since I had the pleasure of seeing you, but is not your name Allen?"
    This question answered, as it readily was, the stranger pronounced hers
    to be Thorpe; and Mrs. Allen immediately recognized the features of
    a former schoolfellow and intimate, whom she had seen only once since
    their respective marriages, and that many years ago. Their joy on this
    meeting was very great, as well it might, since they had been contented
    to know nothing of each other for the last fifteen years. Compliments
    on good looks now passed; and, after observing how time had slipped away
    since they were last together, how little they had thought of meeting in
    Bath, and what a pleasure it was to see an old friend, they proceeded to
    make inquiries and give intelligence as to their families, sisters, and
    cousins, talking both together, far more ready to give than to receive
    information, and each hearing very little of what the other said. Mrs.
    Thorpe, however, had one great advantage as a talker, over Mrs. Allen,
    in a family of children; and when she expatiated on the talents of her
    sons, and the beauty of her daughters, when she related their different
    situations and views--that John was at Oxford, Edward at Merchant
    Taylors', and William at sea--and all of them more beloved and respected
    in their different station than any other three beings ever were, Mrs.
    Allen had no similar information to give, no similar triumphs to press
    on the unwilling and unbelieving ear of her friend, and was forced to
    sit and appear to listen to all these maternal effusions, consoling
    herself, however, with the discovery, which her keen eye soon made, that
    the lace on Mrs. Thorpe's pelisse was not half so handsome as that on
    her own.

    "Here come my dear girls," cried Mrs. Thorpe, pointing at three
    smart-looking females who, arm in arm, were then moving towards her. "My
    dear Mrs. Allen, I long to introduce them; they will be so delighted
    to see you: the tallest is Isabella, my eldest; is not she a fine young
    woman? The others are very much admired too, but I believe Isabella is
    the handsomest."

    The Miss Thorpes were introduced; and Miss Morland, who had been for a
    short time forgotten, was introduced likewise. The name seemed to strike
    them all; and, after speaking to her with great civility, the eldest
    young lady observed aloud to the rest, "How excessively like her brother
    Miss Morland is!"

    "The very picture of him indeed!" cried the mother--and "I should have
    known her anywhere for his sister!" was repeated by them all, two or
    three times over. For a moment Catherine was surprised; but Mrs. Thorpe
    and her daughters had scarcely begun the history of their acquaintance
    with Mr. James Morland, before she remembered that her eldest brother
    had lately formed an intimacy with a young man of his own college, of
    the name of Thorpe; and that he had spent the last week of the Christmas
    vacation with his family, near London.

    The whole being explained, many obliging things were said by the Miss
    Thorpes of their wish of being better acquainted with her; of being
    considered as already friends, through the friendship of their brothers,
    etc., which Catherine heard with pleasure, and answered with all the
    pretty expressions she could command; and, as the first proof of amity,
    she was soon invited to accept an arm of the eldest Miss Thorpe, and
    take a turn with her about the room. Catherine was delighted with this
    extension of her Bath acquaintance, and almost forgot Mr. Tilney while
    she talked to Miss Thorpe. Friendship is certainly the finest balm for
    the pangs of disappointed love.

    Their conversation turned upon those subjects, of which the free
    discussion has generally much to do in perfecting a sudden intimacy
    between two young ladies: such as dress, balls, flirtations, and
    quizzes. Miss Thorpe, however, being four years older than Miss Morland,
    and at least four years better informed, had a very decided advantage in
    discussing such points; she could compare the balls of Bath with those
    of Tunbridge, its fashions with the fashions of London; could rectify
    the opinions of her new friend in many articles of tasteful attire;
    could discover a flirtation between any gentleman and lady who only
    smiled on each other; and point out a quiz through the thickness of a
    crowd. These powers received due admiration from Catherine, to whom they
    were entirely new; and the respect which they naturally inspired might
    have been too great for familiarity, had not the easy gaiety of Miss
    Thorpe's manners, and her frequent expressions of delight on this
    acquaintance with her, softened down every feeling of awe, and left
    nothing but tender affection. Their increasing attachment was not to be
    satisfied with half a dozen turns in the pump-room, but required, when
    they all quitted it together, that Miss Thorpe should accompany Miss
    Morland to the very door of Mr. Allen's house; and that they should
    there part with a most affectionate and lengthened shake of hands, after
    learning, to their mutual relief, that they should see each other across
    the theatre at night, and say their prayers in the same chapel the next
    morning. Catherine then ran directly upstairs, and watched Miss Thorpe's
    progress down the street from the drawing-room window; admired the
    graceful spirit of her walk, the fashionable air of her figure and
    dress; and felt grateful, as well she might, for the chance which had
    procured her such a friend.

    Mrs. Thorpe was a widow, and not a very rich one; she was a
    good-humoured, well-meaning woman, and a very indulgent mother. Her
    eldest daughter had great personal beauty, and the younger ones, by
    pretending to be as handsome as their sister, imitating her air, and
    dressing in the same style, did very well.

    This brief account of the family is intended to supersede the necessity
    of a long and minute detail from Mrs. Thorpe herself, of her past
    adventures and sufferings, which might otherwise be expected to occupy
    the three or four following chapters; in which the worthlessness of
    lords and attorneys might be set forth, and conversations, which had
    passed twenty years before, be minutely repeated.


    Catherine was not so much engaged at the theatre that evening, in
    returning the nods and smiles of Miss Thorpe, though they certainly
    claimed much of her leisure, as to forget to look with an inquiring eye
    for Mr. Tilney in every box which her eye could reach; but she looked in
    vain. Mr. Tilney was no fonder of the play than the pump-room. She hoped
    to be more fortunate the next day; and when her wishes for fine weather
    were answered by seeing a beautiful morning, she hardly felt a doubt of
    it; for a fine Sunday in Bath empties every house of its inhabitants,
    and all the world appears on such an occasion to walk about and tell
    their acquaintance what a charming day it is.

    As soon as divine service was over, the Thorpes and Allens eagerly
    joined each other; and after staying long enough in the pump-room to
    discover that the crowd was insupportable, and that there was not
    a genteel face to be seen, which everybody discovers every Sunday
    throughout the season, they hastened away to the Crescent, to breathe
    the fresh air of better company. Here Catherine and Isabella, arm
    in arm, again tasted the sweets of friendship in an unreserved
    conversation; they talked much, and with much enjoyment; but again
    was Catherine disappointed in her hope of reseeing her partner. He was
    nowhere to be met with; every search for him was equally unsuccessful,
    in morning lounges or evening assemblies; neither at the Upper nor Lower
    Rooms, at dressed or undressed balls, was he perceivable; nor among the
    walkers, the horsemen, or the curricle-drivers of the morning. His name
    was not in the pump-room book, and curiosity could do no more. He must
    be gone from Bath. Yet he had not mentioned that his stay would be so
    short! This sort of mysteriousness, which is always so becoming in a
    hero, threw a fresh grace in Catherine's imagination around his person
    and manners, and increased her anxiety to know more of him. From the
    Thorpes she could learn nothing, for they had been only two days in Bath
    before they met with Mrs. Allen. It was a subject, however, in which
    she often indulged with her fair friend, from whom she received every
    possible encouragement to continue to think of him; and his impression
    on her fancy was not suffered therefore to weaken. Isabella was very
    sure that he must be a charming young man, and was equally sure that he
    must have been delighted with her dear Catherine, and would therefore
    shortly return. She liked him the better for being a clergyman, "for she
    must confess herself very partial to the profession"; and something like
    a sigh escaped her as she said it. Perhaps Catherine was wrong in not
    demanding the cause of that gentle emotion--but she was not experienced
    enough in the finesse of love, or the duties of friendship, to know when
    delicate raillery was properly called for, or when a confidence should
    be forced.

    Mrs. Allen was now quite happy--quite satisfied with Bath. She had found
    some acquaintance, had been so lucky too as to find in them the family
    of a most worthy old friend; and, as the completion of good fortune, had
    found these friends by no means so expensively dressed as herself. Her
    daily expressions were no longer, "I wish we had some acquaintance in
    Bath!" They were changed into, "How glad I am we have met with Mrs.
    Thorpe!" and she was as eager in promoting the intercourse of the two
    families, as her young charge and Isabella themselves could be; never
    satisfied with the day unless she spent the chief of it by the side of
    Mrs. Thorpe, in what they called conversation, but in which there was
    scarcely ever any exchange of opinion, and not often any resemblance of
    subject, for Mrs. Thorpe talked chiefly of her children, and Mrs. Allen
    of her gowns.

    The progress of the friendship between Catherine and Isabella was quick
    as its beginning had been warm, and they passed so rapidly through every
    gradation of increasing tenderness that there was shortly no fresh proof
    of it to be given to their friends or themselves. They called each other
    by their Christian name, were always arm in arm when they walked, pinned
    up each other's train for the dance, and were not to be divided in the
    set; and if a rainy morning deprived them of other enjoyments, they
    were still resolute in meeting in defiance of wet and dirt, and shut
    themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; for I will not
    adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel-writers,
    of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the
    number of which they are themselves adding--joining with their greatest
    enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely
    ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she
    accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages
    with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the
    heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I
    cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such
    effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in
    threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us
    not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions
    have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any
    other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has
    been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes
    are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the
    nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who
    collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and
    Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne,
    are eulogized by a thousand pens--there seems almost a general wish of
    decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and
    of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to
    recommend them. "I am no novel-reader--I seldom look into novels--Do not
    imagine that I often read novels--It is really very well for a novel."
    Such is the common cant. "And what are you reading, Miss--?" "Oh! It is
    only a novel!" replies the young lady, while she lays down her book
    with affected indifference, or momentary shame. "It is only Cecilia, or
    Camilla, or Belinda"; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest
    powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge
    of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the
    liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the
    best-chosen language. Now, had the same young lady been engaged with a
    volume of the Spectator, instead of such a work, how proudly would she
    have produced the book, and told its name; though the chances must be
    against her being occupied by any part of that voluminous publication,
    of which either the matter or manner would not disgust a young person of
    taste: the substance of its papers so often consisting in the statement
    of improbable circumstances, unnatural characters, and topics of
    conversation which no longer concern anyone living; and their language,
    too, frequently so coarse as to give no very favourable idea of the age
    that could endure it.


    The following conversation, which took place between the two friends in
    the pump-room one morning, after an acquaintance of eight or nine
    days, is given as a specimen of their very warm attachment, and of the
    delicacy, discretion, originality of thought, and literary taste which
    marked the reasonableness of that attachment.

    They met by appointment; and as Isabella had arrived nearly five
    minutes before her friend, her first address naturally was, "My dearest
    creature, what can have made you so late? I have been waiting for you at
    least this age!"

    "Have you, indeed! I am very sorry for it; but really I thought I was in
    very good time. It is but just one. I hope you have not been here long?"

    "Oh! These ten ages at least. I am sure I have been here this half hour.
    But now, let us go and sit down at the other end of the room, and enjoy
    ourselves. I have an hundred things to say to you. In the first place,
    I was so afraid it would rain this morning, just as I wanted to set off;
    it looked very showery, and that would have thrown me into agonies! Do
    you know, I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine, in a shop window in
    Milsom Street just now--very like yours, only with coquelicot ribbons
    instead of green; I quite longed for it. But, my dearest Catherine, what
    have you been doing with yourself all this morning? Have you gone on
    with Udolpho?"

    "Yes, I have been reading it ever since I woke; and I am got to the
    black veil."

    "Are you, indeed? How delightful! Oh! I would not tell you what is
    behind the black veil for the world! Are not you wild to know?"

    "Oh! Yes, quite; what can it be? But do not tell me--I would not be
    told upon any account. I know it must be a skeleton, I am sure it is
    Laurentina's skeleton. Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like
    to spend my whole life in reading it. I assure you, if it had not been
    to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world."

    "Dear creature! How much I am obliged to you; and when you have finished
    Udolpho, we will read the Italian together; and I have made out a list
    of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you."

    "Have you, indeed! How glad I am! What are they all?"

    "I will read you their names directly; here they are, in my pocketbook.
    Castle of Wolfenbach, Clermont, Mysterious Warnings, Necromancer of the
    Black Forest, Midnight Bell, Orphan of the Rhine, and Horrid Mysteries.
    Those will last us some time."

    "Yes, pretty well; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all

    "Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a
    sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every
    one of them. I wish you knew Miss Andrews, you would be delighted with
    her. She is netting herself the sweetest cloak you can conceive. I think
    her as beautiful as an angel, and I am so vexed with the men for not
    admiring her! I scold them all amazingly about it."

    "Scold them! Do you scold them for not admiring her?"

    "Yes, that I do. There is nothing I would not do for those who are
    really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is
    not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong. I told
    Captain Hunt at one of our assemblies this winter that if he was to
    tease me all night, I would not dance with him, unless he would allow
    Miss Andrews to be as beautiful as an angel. The men think us incapable
    of real friendship, you know, and I am determined to show them the
    difference. Now, if I were to hear anybody speak slightingly of you, I
    should fire up in a moment: but that is not at all likely, for you are
    just the kind of girl to be a great favourite with the men."

    "Oh, dear!" cried Catherine, colouring. "How can you say so?"

    "I know you very well; you have so much animation, which is exactly
    what Miss Andrews wants, for I must confess there is something amazingly
    insipid about her. Oh! I must tell you, that just after we parted
    yesterday, I saw a young man looking at you so earnestly--I am sure he
    is in love with you." Catherine coloured, and disclaimed again. Isabella
    laughed. "It is very true, upon my honour, but I see how it is; you are
    indifferent to everybody's admiration, except that of one gentleman,
    who shall be nameless. Nay, I cannot blame you"--speaking more
    seriously--"your feelings are easily understood. Where the heart is
    really attached, I know very well how little one can be pleased with the
    attention of anybody else. Everything is so insipid, so uninteresting,
    that does not relate to the beloved object! I can perfectly comprehend
    your feelings."

    "But you should not persuade me that I think so very much about Mr.
    Tilney, for perhaps I may never see him again."

    "Not see him again! My dearest creature, do not talk of it. I am sure
    you would be miserable if you thought so!"

    "No, indeed, I should not. I do not pretend to say that I was not very
    much pleased with him; but while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if
    nobody could make me miserable. Oh! The dreadful black veil! My dear
    Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina's skeleton behind it."

    "It is so odd to me, that you should never have read Udolpho before; but
    I suppose Mrs. Morland objects to novels."

    "No, she does not. She very often reads Sir Charles Grandison herself;
    but new books do not fall in our way."

    "Sir Charles Grandison! That is an amazing horrid book, is it not? I
    remember Miss Andrews could not get through the first volume."

    "It is not like Udolpho at all; but yet I think it is very

    "Do you indeed! You surprise me; I thought it had not been readable.
    But, my dearest Catherine, have you settled what to wear on your head
    tonight? I am determined at all events to be dressed exactly like you.
    The men take notice of that sometimes, you know."

    "But it does not signify if they do," said Catherine, very innocently.

    "Signify! Oh, heavens! I make it a rule never to mind what they say.
    They are very often amazingly impertinent if you do not treat them with
    spirit, and make them keep their distance."

    "Are they? Well, I never observed that. They always behave very well to

    "Oh! They give themselves such airs. They are the most conceited
    creatures in the world, and think themselves of so much importance!
    By the by, though I have thought of it a hundred times, I have always
    forgot to ask you what is your favourite complexion in a man. Do you
    like them best dark or fair?"

    "I hardly know. I never much thought about it. Something between both, I
    think. Brown--not fair, and--and not very dark."

    "Very well, Catherine. That is exactly he. I have not forgot your
    description of Mr. Tilney--'a brown skin, with dark eyes, and rather
    dark hair.' Well, my taste is different. I prefer light eyes, and as to
    complexion--do you know--I like a sallow better than any other. You must
    not betray me, if you should ever meet with one of your acquaintance
    answering that description."

    "Betray you! What do you mean?"

    "Nay, do not distress me. I believe I have said too much. Let us drop
    the subject."

    Catherine, in some amazement, complied, and after remaining a few
    moments silent, was on the point of reverting to what interested her
    at that time rather more than anything else in the world, Laurentina's
    skeleton, when her friend prevented her, by saying, "For heaven's sake!
    Let us move away from this end of the room. Do you know, there are two
    odious young men who have been staring at me this half hour. They really
    put me quite out of countenance. Let us go and look at the arrivals.
    They will hardly follow us there."

    Away they walked to the book; and while Isabella examined the names, it
    was Catherine's employment to watch the proceedings of these alarming
    young men.

    "They are not coming this way, are they? I hope they are not so
    impertinent as to follow us. Pray let me know if they are coming. I am
    determined I will not look up."

    In a few moments Catherine, with unaffected pleasure, assured her
    that she need not be longer uneasy, as the gentlemen had just left the

    "And which way are they gone?" said Isabella, turning hastily round.
    "One was a very good-looking young man."

    "They went towards the church-yard."

    "Well, I am amazingly glad I have got rid of them! And now, what say you
    to going to Edgar's Buildings with me, and looking at my new hat? You
    said you should like to see it."

    Catherine readily agreed. "Only," she added, "perhaps we may overtake
    the two young men."

    "Oh! Never mind that. If we make haste, we shall pass by them presently,
    and I am dying to show you my hat."

    "But if we only wait a few minutes, there will be no danger of our
    seeing them at all."

    "I shall not pay them any such compliment, I assure you. I have no
    notion of treating men with such respect. That is the way to spoil

    Catherine had nothing to oppose against such reasoning; and therefore,
    to show the independence of Miss Thorpe, and her resolution of humbling
    the sex, they set off immediately as fast as they could walk, in pursuit
    of the two young men.


    Half a minute conducted them through the pump-yard to the archway,
    opposite Union Passage; but here they were stopped. Everybody acquainted
    with Bath may remember the difficulties of crossing Cheap Street at
    this point; it is indeed a street of so impertinent a nature, so
    unfortunately connected with the great London and Oxford roads, and the
    principal inn of the city, that a day never passes in which parties of
    ladies, however important their business, whether in quest of pastry,
    millinery, or even (as in the present case) of young men, are not
    detained on one side or other by carriages, horsemen, or carts. This
    evil had been felt and lamented, at least three times a day, by Isabella
    since her residence in Bath; and she was now fated to feel and lament it
    once more, for at the very moment of coming opposite to Union Passage,
    and within view of the two gentlemen who were proceeding through the
    crowds, and threading the gutters of that interesting alley, they
    were prevented crossing by the approach of a gig, driven along on bad
    pavement by a most knowing-looking coachman with all the vehemence that
    could most fitly endanger the lives of himself, his companion, and his

    "Oh, these odious gigs!" said Isabella, looking up. "How I detest them."
    But this detestation, though so just, was of short duration, for she
    looked again and exclaimed, "Delightful! Mr. Morland and my brother!"

    "Good heaven! 'Tis James!" was uttered at the same moment by Catherine;
    and, on catching the young men's eyes, the horse was immediately checked
    with a violence which almost threw him on his haunches, and the servant
    having now scampered up, the gentlemen jumped out, and the equipage was
    delivered to his care.

    Catherine, by whom this meeting was wholly unexpected, received her
    brother with the liveliest pleasure; and he, being of a very amiable
    disposition, and sincerely attached to her, gave every proof on his
    side of equal satisfaction, which he could have leisure to do, while the
    bright eyes of Miss Thorpe were incessantly challenging his notice;
    and to her his devoirs were speedily paid, with a mixture of joy and
    embarrassment which might have informed Catherine, had she been more
    expert in the development of other people's feelings, and less simply
    engrossed by her own, that her brother thought her friend quite as
    pretty as she could do herself.

    John Thorpe, who in the meantime had been giving orders about the
    horses, soon joined them, and from him she directly received the amends
    which were her due; for while he slightly and carelessly touched the
    hand of Isabella, on her he bestowed a whole scrape and half a short
    bow. He was a stout young man of middling height, who, with a plain face
    and ungraceful form, seemed fearful of being too handsome unless he wore
    the dress of a groom, and too much like a gentleman unless he were easy
    where he ought to be civil, and impudent where he might be allowed to be
    easy. He took out his watch: "How long do you think we have been running
    it from Tetbury, Miss Morland?"

    "I do not know the distance." Her brother told her that it was
    twenty-three miles.

    "Three and twenty!" cried Thorpe. "Five and twenty if it is an inch."
    Morland remonstrated, pleaded the authority of road-books, innkeepers,
    and milestones; but his friend disregarded them all; he had a surer test
    of distance. "I know it must be five and twenty," said he, "by the time
    we have been doing it. It is now half after one; we drove out of the
    inn-yard at Tetbury as the town clock struck eleven; and I defy any man
    in England to make my horse go less than ten miles an hour in harness;
    that makes it exactly twenty-five."

    "You have lost an hour," said Morland; "it was only ten o'clock when we
    came from Tetbury."

    "Ten o'clock! It was eleven, upon my soul! I counted every stroke. This
    brother of yours would persuade me out of my senses, Miss Morland; do
    but look at my horse; did you ever see an animal so made for speed in
    your life?" (The servant had just mounted the carriage and was driving
    off.) "Such true blood! Three hours and and a half indeed coming only
    three and twenty miles! Look at that creature, and suppose it possible
    if you can."

    "He does look very hot, to be sure."

    "Hot! He had not turned a hair till we came to Walcot Church; but look
    at his forehand; look at his loins; only see how he moves; that horse
    cannot go less than ten miles an hour: tie his legs and he will get on.
    What do you think of my gig, Miss Morland? A neat one, is not it?
    Well hung; town-built; I have not had it a month. It was built for a
    Christchurch man, a friend of mine, a very good sort of fellow; he ran
    it a few weeks, till, I believe, it was convenient to have done with it.
    I happened just then to be looking out for some light thing of the kind,
    though I had pretty well determined on a curricle too; but I chanced to
    meet him on Magdalen Bridge, as he was driving into Oxford, last term:
    'Ah! Thorpe,' said he, 'do you happen to want such a little thing as
    this? It is a capital one of the kind, but I am cursed tired of it.'
    'Oh! D--,' said I; 'I am your man; what do you ask?' And how much do you
    think he did, Miss Morland?"

    "I am sure I cannot guess at all."

    "Curricle-hung, you see; seat, trunk, sword-case, splashing-board,
    lamps, silver moulding, all you see complete; the iron-work as good
    as new, or better. He asked fifty guineas; I closed with him directly,
    threw down the money, and the carriage was mine."

    "And I am sure," said Catherine, "I know so little of such things that I
    cannot judge whether it was cheap or dear."

    "Neither one nor t'other; I might have got it for less, I dare say; but
    I hate haggling, and poor Freeman wanted cash."

    "That was very good-natured of you," said Catherine, quite pleased.

    "Oh! D---- it, when one has the means of doing a kind thing by a friend,
    I hate to be pitiful."

    An inquiry now took place into the intended movements of the young
    ladies; and, on finding whither they were going, it was decided that
    the gentlemen should accompany them to Edgar's Buildings, and pay their
    respects to Mrs. Thorpe. James and Isabella led the way; and so
    well satisfied was the latter with her lot, so contentedly was she
    endeavouring to ensure a pleasant walk to him who brought the double
    recommendation of being her brother's friend, and her friend's brother,
    so pure and uncoquettish were her feelings, that, though they overtook
    and passed the two offending young men in Milsom Street, she was so far
    from seeking to attract their notice, that she looked back at them only
    three times.

    John Thorpe kept of course with Catherine, and, after a few minutes'
    silence, renewed the conversation about his gig. "You will find,
    however, Miss Morland, it would be reckoned a cheap thing by some
    people, for I might have sold it for ten guineas more the next day;
    Jackson, of Oriel, bid me sixty at once; Morland was with me at the

    "Yes," said Morland, who overheard this; "but you forget that your horse
    was included."

    "My horse! Oh, d---- it! I would not sell my horse for a hundred. Are
    you fond of an open carriage, Miss Morland?"

    "Yes, very; I have hardly ever an opportunity of being in one; but I am
    particularly fond of it."

    "I am glad of it; I will drive you out in mine every day."

    "Thank you," said Catherine, in some distress, from a doubt of the
    propriety of accepting such an offer.

    "I will drive you up Lansdown Hill tomorrow."

    "Thank you; but will not your horse want rest?"

    "Rest! He has only come three and twenty miles today; all nonsense;
    nothing ruins horses so much as rest; nothing knocks them up so soon.
    No, no; I shall exercise mine at the average of four hours every day
    while I am here."

    "Shall you indeed!" said Catherine very seriously. "That will be forty
    miles a day."

    "Forty! Aye, fifty, for what I care. Well, I will drive you up Lansdown
    tomorrow; mind, I am engaged."

    "How delightful that will be!" cried Isabella, turning round. "My
    dearest Catherine, I quite envy you; but I am afraid, brother, you will
    not have room for a third."

    "A third indeed! No, no; I did not come to Bath to drive my sisters
    about; that would be a good joke, faith! Morland must take care of you."

    This brought on a dialogue of civilities between the other two; but
    Catherine heard neither the particulars nor the result. Her companion's
    discourse now sunk from its hitherto animated pitch to nothing more than
    a short decisive sentence of praise or condemnation on the face of every
    woman they met; and Catherine, after listening and agreeing as long as
    she could, with all the civility and deference of the youthful female
    mind, fearful of hazarding an opinion of its own in opposition to that
    of a self-assured man, especially where the beauty of her own sex is
    concerned, ventured at length to vary the subject by a question which
    had been long uppermost in her thoughts; it was, "Have you ever read
    Udolpho, Mr. Thorpe?"

    "Udolpho! Oh, Lord! Not I; I never read novels; I have something else to

    Catherine, humbled and ashamed, was going to apologize for her question,
    but he prevented her by saying, "Novels are all so full of nonsense
    and stuff; there has not been a tolerably decent one come out since
    Tom Jones, except The Monk; I read that t'other day; but as for all the
    others, they are the stupidest things in creation."

    "I think you must like Udolpho, if you were to read it; it is so very

    "Not I, faith! No, if I read any, it shall be Mrs. Radcliffe's; her
    novels are amusing enough; they are worth reading; some fun and nature
    in them."

    "Udolpho was written by Mrs. Radcliffe," said Catherine, with some
    hesitation, from the fear of mortifying him.

    "No sure; was it? Aye, I remember, so it was; I was thinking of that
    other stupid book, written by that woman they make such a fuss about,
    she who married the French emigrant."

    "I suppose you mean Camilla?"

    "Yes, that's the book; such unnatural stuff! An old man playing at
    see-saw, I took up the first volume once and looked it over, but I soon
    found it would not do; indeed I guessed what sort of stuff it must be
    before I saw it: as soon as I heard she had married an emigrant, I was
    sure I should never be able to get through it."

    "I have never read it."

    "You had no loss, I assure you; it is the horridest nonsense you can
    imagine; there is nothing in the world in it but an old man's playing at
    see-saw and learning Latin; upon my soul there is not."

    This critique, the justness of which was unfortunately lost on poor
    Catherine, brought them to the door of Mrs. Thorpe's lodgings, and the
    feelings of the discerning and unprejudiced reader of Camilla gave way
    to the feelings of the dutiful and affectionate son, as they met Mrs.
    Thorpe, who had descried them from above, in the passage. "Ah, Mother!
    How do you do?" said he, giving her a hearty shake of the hand. "Where
    did you get that quiz of a hat? It makes you look like an old witch.
    Here is Morland and I come to stay a few days with you, so you must look
    out for a couple of good beds somewhere near." And this address seemed
    to satisfy all the fondest wishes of the mother's heart, for she
    received him with the most delighted and exulting affection. On his
    two younger sisters he then bestowed an equal portion of his fraternal
    tenderness, for he asked each of them how they did, and observed that
    they both looked very ugly.

    These manners did not please Catherine; but he was James's friend
    and Isabella's brother; and her judgment was further bought off by
    Isabella's assuring her, when they withdrew to see the new hat, that
    John thought her the most charming girl in the world, and by John's
    engaging her before they parted to dance with him that evening. Had she
    been older or vainer, such attacks might have done little; but, where
    youth and diffidence are united, it requires uncommon steadiness of
    reason to resist the attraction of being called the most charming girl
    in the world, and of being so very early engaged as a partner; and the
    consequence was that, when the two Morlands, after sitting an hour with
    the Thorpes, set off to walk together to Mr. Allen's, and James, as
    the door was closed on them, said, "Well, Catherine, how do you like my
    friend Thorpe?" instead of answering, as she probably would have done,
    had there been no friendship and no flattery in the case, "I do not like
    him at all," she directly replied, "I like him very much; he seems very

    "He is as good-natured a fellow as ever lived; a little of a rattle; but
    that will recommend him to your sex, I believe: and how do you like the
    rest of the family?"

    "Very, very much indeed: Isabella particularly."

    "I am very glad to hear you say so; she is just the kind of young woman
    I could wish to see you attached to; she has so much good sense, and is
    so thoroughly unaffected and amiable; I always wanted you to know her;
    and she seems very fond of you. She said the highest things in your
    praise that could possibly be; and the praise of such a girl as Miss
    Thorpe even you, Catherine," taking her hand with affection, "may be
    proud of."

    "Indeed I am," she replied; "I love her exceedingly, and am delighted
    to find that you like her too. You hardly mentioned anything of her when
    you wrote to me after your visit there."

    "Because I thought I should soon see you myself. I hope you will be a
    great deal together while you are in Bath. She is a most amiable girl;
    such a superior understanding! How fond all the family are of her; she
    is evidently the general favourite; and how much she must be admired in
    such a place as this--is not she?"

    "Yes, very much indeed, I fancy; Mr. Allen thinks her the prettiest girl
    in Bath."

    "I dare say he does; and I do not know any man who is a better judge of
    beauty than Mr. Allen. I need not ask you whether you are happy here, my
    dear Catherine; with such a companion and friend as Isabella Thorpe, it
    would be impossible for you to be otherwise; and the Allens, I am sure,
    are very kind to you?"

    "Yes, very kind; I never was so happy before; and now you are come it
    will be more delightful than ever; how good it is of you to come so far
    on purpose to see me."

    James accepted this tribute of gratitude, and qualified his conscience
    for accepting it too, by saying with perfect sincerity, "Indeed,
    Catherine, I love you dearly."

    Inquiries and communications concerning brothers and sisters, the
    situation of some, the growth of the rest, and other family matters now
    passed between them, and continued, with only one small digression
    on James's part, in praise of Miss Thorpe, till they reached Pulteney
    Street, where he was welcomed with great kindness by Mr. and Mrs. Allen,
    invited by the former to dine with them, and summoned by the latter
    to guess the price and weigh the merits of a new muff and tippet.
    A pre-engagement in Edgar's Buildings prevented his accepting the
    invitation of one friend, and obliged him to hurry away as soon as he
    had satisfied the demands of the other. The time of the two parties
    uniting in the Octagon Room being correctly adjusted, Catherine was then
    left to the luxury of a raised, restless, and frightened imagination
    over the pages of Udolpho, lost from all worldly concerns of dressing
    and dinner, incapable of soothing Mrs. Allen's fears on the delay of an
    expected dressmaker, and having only one minute in sixty to bestow even
    on the reflection of her own felicity, in being already engaged for the


    In spite of Udolpho and the dressmaker, however, the party from Pulteney
    Street reached the Upper Rooms in very good time. The Thorpes and James
    Morland were there only two minutes before them; and Isabella having
    gone through the usual ceremonial of meeting her friend with the most
    smiling and affectionate haste, of admiring the set of her gown, and
    envying the curl of her hair, they followed their chaperones, arm in
    arm, into the ballroom, whispering to each other whenever a thought
    occurred, and supplying the place of many ideas by a squeeze of the hand
    or a smile of affection.

    The dancing began within a few minutes after they were seated; and
    James, who had been engaged quite as long as his sister, was very
    importunate with Isabella to stand up; but John was gone into the
    card-room to speak to a friend, and nothing, she declared, should induce
    her to join the set before her dear Catherine could join it too. "I
    assure you," said she, "I would not stand up without your dear sister
    for all the world; for if I did we should certainly be separated the
    whole evening." Catherine accepted this kindness with gratitude, and
    they continued as they were for three minutes longer, when Isabella, who
    had been talking to James on the other side of her, turned again to his
    sister and whispered, "My dear creature, I am afraid I must leave you,
    your brother is so amazingly impatient to begin; I know you will not
    mind my going away, and I dare say John will be back in a moment,
    and then you may easily find me out." Catherine, though a little
    disappointed, had too much good nature to make any opposition, and the
    others rising up, Isabella had only time to press her friend's hand and
    say, "Good-bye, my dear love," before they hurried off. The younger
    Miss Thorpes being also dancing, Catherine was left to the mercy of Mrs.
    Thorpe and Mrs. Allen, between whom she now remained. She could not help
    being vexed at the non-appearance of Mr. Thorpe, for she not only longed
    to be dancing, but was likewise aware that, as the real dignity of her
    situation could not be known, she was sharing with the scores of other
    young ladies still sitting down all the discredit of wanting a partner.
    To be disgraced in the eye of the world, to wear the appearance of
    infamy while her heart is all purity, her actions all innocence, and the
    misconduct of another the true source of her debasement, is one of those
    circumstances which peculiarly belong to the heroine's life, and her
    fortitude under it what particularly dignifies her character. Catherine
    had fortitude too; she suffered, but no murmur passed her lips.

    From this state of humiliation, she was roused, at the end of ten
    minutes, to a pleasanter feeling, by seeing, not Mr. Thorpe, but Mr.
    Tilney, within three yards of the place where they sat; he seemed to be
    moving that way, but he did not see her, and therefore the smile and the
    blush, which his sudden reappearance raised in Catherine, passed away
    without sullying her heroic importance. He looked as handsome and as
    lively as ever, and was talking with interest to a fashionable and
    pleasing-looking young woman, who leant on his arm, and whom Catherine
    immediately guessed to be his sister; thus unthinkingly throwing away
    a fair opportunity of considering him lost to her forever, by being
    married already. But guided only by what was simple and probable, it
    had never entered her head that Mr. Tilney could be married; he had not
    behaved, he had not talked, like the married men to whom she had been
    used; he had never mentioned a wife, and he had acknowledged a sister.
    From these circumstances sprang the instant conclusion of his sister's
    now being by his side; and therefore, instead of turning of a deathlike
    paleness and falling in a fit on Mrs. Allen's bosom, Catherine sat
    erect, in the perfect use of her senses, and with cheeks only a little
    redder than usual.

    Mr. Tilney and his companion, who continued, though slowly, to approach,
    were immediately preceded by a lady, an acquaintance of Mrs. Thorpe; and
    this lady stopping to speak to her, they, as belonging to her, stopped
    likewise, and Catherine, catching Mr. Tilney's eye, instantly received
    from him the smiling tribute of recognition. She returned it with
    pleasure, and then advancing still nearer, he spoke both to her and Mrs.
    Allen, by whom he was very civilly acknowledged. "I am very happy to see
    you again, sir, indeed; I was afraid you had left Bath." He thanked her
    for her fears, and said that he had quitted it for a week, on the very
    morning after his having had the pleasure of seeing her.

    "Well, sir, and I dare say you are not sorry to be back again, for it
    is just the place for young people--and indeed for everybody else too.
    I tell Mr. Allen, when he talks of being sick of it, that I am sure he
    should not complain, for it is so very agreeable a place, that it is
    much better to be here than at home at this dull time of year. I tell
    him he is quite in luck to be sent here for his health."

    "And I hope, madam, that Mr. Allen will be obliged to like the place,
    from finding it of service to him."

    "Thank you, sir. I have no doubt that he will. A neighbour of ours,
    Dr. Skinner, was here for his health last winter, and came away quite

    "That circumstance must give great encouragement."

    "Yes, sir--and Dr. Skinner and his family were here three months; so I
    tell Mr. Allen he must not be in a hurry to get away."

    Here they were interrupted by a request from Mrs. Thorpe to Mrs. Allen,
    that she would move a little to accommodate Mrs. Hughes and Miss Tilney
    with seats, as they had agreed to join their party. This was accordingly
    done, Mr. Tilney still continuing standing before them; and after a
    few minutes' consideration, he asked Catherine to dance with him. This
    compliment, delightful as it was, produced severe mortification to the
    lady; and in giving her denial, she expressed her sorrow on the occasion
    so very much as if she really felt it that had Thorpe, who joined her
    just afterwards, been half a minute earlier, he might have thought her
    sufferings rather too acute. The very easy manner in which he then told
    her that he had kept her waiting did not by any means reconcile her more
    to her lot; nor did the particulars which he entered into while they
    were standing up, of the horses and dogs of the friend whom he had just
    left, and of a proposed exchange of terriers between them, interest her
    so much as to prevent her looking very often towards that part of the
    room where she had left Mr. Tilney. Of her dear Isabella, to whom she
    particularly longed to point out that gentleman, she could see nothing.
    They were in different sets. She was separated from all her party, and
    away from all her acquaintance; one mortification succeeded another,
    and from the whole she deduced this useful lesson, that to go previously
    engaged to a ball does not necessarily increase either the dignity or
    enjoyment of a young lady. From such a moralizing strain as this, she
    was suddenly roused by a touch on the shoulder, and turning round,
    perceived Mrs. Hughes directly behind her, attended by Miss Tilney and
    a gentleman. "I beg your pardon, Miss Morland," said she, "for this
    liberty--but I cannot anyhow get to Miss Thorpe, and Mrs. Thorpe said
    she was sure you would not have the least objection to letting in this
    young lady by you." Mrs. Hughes could not have applied to any creature
    in the room more happy to oblige her than Catherine. The young ladies
    were introduced to each other, Miss Tilney expressing a proper sense of
    such goodness, Miss Morland with the real delicacy of a generous mind
    making light of the obligation; and Mrs. Hughes, satisfied with having
    so respectably settled her young charge, returned to her party.

    Miss Tilney had a good figure, a pretty face, and a very agreeable
    countenance; and her air, though it had not all the decided pretension,
    the resolute stylishness of Miss Thorpe's, had more real elegance. Her
    manners showed good sense and good breeding; they were neither shy nor
    affectedly open; and she seemed capable of being young, attractive, and
    at a ball without wanting to fix the attention of every man near her,
    and without exaggerated feelings of ecstatic delight or inconceivable
    vexation on every little trifling occurrence. Catherine, interested at
    once by her appearance and her relationship to Mr. Tilney, was desirous
    of being acquainted with her, and readily talked therefore whenever she
    could think of anything to say, and had courage and leisure for saying
    it. But the hindrance thrown in the way of a very speedy intimacy, by
    the frequent want of one or more of these requisites, prevented their
    doing more than going through the first rudiments of an acquaintance, by
    informing themselves how well the other liked Bath, how much she admired
    its buildings and surrounding country, whether she drew, or played, or
    sang, and whether she was fond of riding on horseback.

    The two dances were scarcely concluded before Catherine found her arm
    gently seized by her faithful Isabella, who in great spirits exclaimed,
    "At last I have got you. My dearest creature, I have been looking for
    you this hour. What could induce you to come into this set, when you
    knew I was in the other? I have been quite wretched without you."

    "My dear Isabella, how was it possible for me to get at you? I could not
    even see where you were."

    "So I told your brother all the time--but he would not believe me. Do go
    and see for her, Mr. Morland, said I--but all in vain--he would not stir
    an inch. Was not it so, Mr. Morland? But you men are all so immoderately
    lazy! I have been scolding him to such a degree, my dear Catherine, you
    would be quite amazed. You know I never stand upon ceremony with such

    "Look at that young lady with the white beads round her head," whispered
    Catherine, detaching her friend from James. "It is Mr. Tilney's sister."

    "Oh! Heavens! You don't say so! Let me look at her this moment. What a
    delightful girl! I never saw anything half so beautiful! But where is
    her all-conquering brother? Is he in the room? Point him out to me this
    instant, if he is. I die to see him. Mr. Morland, you are not to listen.
    We are not talking about you."

    "But what is all this whispering about? What is going on?"

    "There now, I knew how it would be. You men have such restless
    curiosity! Talk of the curiosity of women, indeed! 'Tis nothing. But be
    satisfied, for you are not to know anything at all of the matter."

    "And is that likely to satisfy me, do you think?"

    "Well, I declare I never knew anything like you. What can it signify to
    you, what we are talking of. Perhaps we are talking about you; therefore
    I would advise you not to listen, or you may happen to hear something
    not very agreeable."

    In this commonplace chatter, which lasted some time, the original
    subject seemed entirely forgotten; and though Catherine was very well
    pleased to have it dropped for a while, she could not avoid a little
    suspicion at the total suspension of all Isabella's impatient desire to
    see Mr. Tilney. When the orchestra struck up a fresh dance, James would
    have led his fair partner away, but she resisted. "I tell you, Mr.
    Morland," she cried, "I would not do such a thing for all the world.
    How can you be so teasing; only conceive, my dear Catherine, what your
    brother wants me to do. He wants me to dance with him again, though
    I tell him that it is a most improper thing, and entirely against the
    rules. It would make us the talk of the place, if we were not to change

    "Upon my honour," said James, "in these public assemblies, it is as
    often done as not."

    "Nonsense, how can you say so? But when you men have a point to carry,
    you never stick at anything. My sweet Catherine, do support me; persuade
    your brother how impossible it is. Tell him that it would quite shock
    you to see me do such a thing; now would not it?"

    "No, not at all; but if you think it wrong, you had much better change."

    "There," cried Isabella, "you hear what your sister says, and yet you
    will not mind her. Well, remember that it is not my fault, if we set all
    the old ladies in Bath in a bustle. Come along, my dearest Catherine,
    for heaven's sake, and stand by me." And off they went, to regain
    their former place. John Thorpe, in the meanwhile, had walked away; and
    Catherine, ever willing to give Mr. Tilney an opportunity of repeating
    the agreeable request which had already flattered her once, made her
    way to Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Thorpe as fast as she could, in the hope
    of finding him still with them--a hope which, when it proved to be
    fruitless, she felt to have been highly unreasonable. "Well, my dear,"
    said Mrs. Thorpe, impatient for praise of her son, "I hope you have had
    an agreeable partner."

    "Very agreeable, madam."

    "I am glad of it. John has charming spirits, has not he?"

    "Did you meet Mr. Tilney, my dear?" said Mrs. Allen.

    "No, where is he?"

    "He was with us just now, and said he was so tired of lounging about,
    that he was resolved to go and dance; so I thought perhaps he would ask
    you, if he met with you."

    "Where can he be?" said Catherine, looking round; but she had not looked
    round long before she saw him leading a young lady to the dance.

    "Ah! He has got a partner; I wish he had asked you," said Mrs. Allen;
    and after a short silence, she added, "he is a very agreeable young

    "Indeed he is, Mrs. Allen," said Mrs. Thorpe, smiling complacently; "I
    must say it, though I am his mother, that there is not a more agreeable
    young man in the world."

    This inapplicable answer might have been too much for the comprehension
    of many; but it did not puzzle Mrs. Allen, for after only a moment's
    consideration, she said, in a whisper to Catherine, "I dare say she
    thought I was speaking of her son."

    Catherine was disappointed and vexed. She seemed to have missed by so
    little the very object she had had in view; and this persuasion did not
    incline her to a very gracious reply, when John Thorpe came up to her
    soon afterwards and said, "Well, Miss Morland, I suppose you and I are
    to stand up and jig it together again."

    "Oh, no; I am much obliged to you, our two dances are over; and,
    besides, I am tired, and do not mean to dance any more."

    "Do not you? Then let us walk about and quiz people. Come along with
    me, and I will show you the four greatest quizzers in the room; my two
    younger sisters and their partners. I have been laughing at them this
    half hour."

    Again Catherine excused herself; and at last he walked off to quiz his
    sisters by himself. The rest of the evening she found very dull; Mr.
    Tilney was drawn away from their party at tea, to attend that of his
    partner; Miss Tilney, though belonging to it, did not sit near her, and
    James and Isabella were so much engaged in conversing together that the
    latter had no leisure to bestow more on her friend than one smile, one
    squeeze, and one "dearest Catherine."


    The progress of Catherine's unhappiness from the events of the evening
    was as follows. It appeared first in a general dissatisfaction with
    everybody about her, while she remained in the rooms, which speedily
    brought on considerable weariness and a violent desire to go home. This,
    on arriving in Pulteney Street, took the direction of extraordinary
    hunger, and when that was appeased, changed into an earnest longing to
    be in bed; such was the extreme point of her distress; for when there
    she immediately fell into a sound sleep which lasted nine hours, and
    from which she awoke perfectly revived, in excellent spirits, with fresh
    hopes and fresh schemes. The first wish of her heart was to improve her
    acquaintance with Miss Tilney, and almost her first resolution, to seek
    her for that purpose, in the pump-room at noon. In the pump-room, one
    so newly arrived in Bath must be met with, and that building she had
    already found so favourable for the discovery of female excellence,
    and the completion of female intimacy, so admirably adapted for secret
    discourses and unlimited confidence, that she was most reasonably
    encouraged to expect another friend from within its walls. Her plan
    for the morning thus settled, she sat quietly down to her book after
    breakfast, resolving to remain in the same place and the same employment
    till the clock struck one; and from habitude very little incommoded by
    the remarks and ejaculations of Mrs. Allen, whose vacancy of mind and
    incapacity for thinking were such, that as she never talked a great
    deal, so she could never be entirely silent; and, therefore, while she
    sat at her work, if she lost her needle or broke her thread, if she
    heard a carriage in the street, or saw a speck upon her gown, she must
    observe it aloud, whether there were anyone at leisure to answer her or
    not. At about half past twelve, a remarkably loud rap drew her in haste
    to the window, and scarcely had she time to inform Catherine of there
    being two open carriages at the door, in the first only a servant,
    her brother driving Miss Thorpe in the second, before John Thorpe came
    running upstairs, calling out, "Well, Miss Morland, here I am. Have
    you been waiting long? We could not come before; the old devil of a
    coachmaker was such an eternity finding out a thing fit to be got into,
    and now it is ten thousand to one but they break down before we are out
    of the street. How do you do, Mrs. Allen? A famous ball last night, was
    not it? Come, Miss Morland, be quick, for the others are in a confounded
    hurry to be off. They want to get their tumble over."

    "What do you mean?" said Catherine. "Where are you all going to?"

    "Going to? Why, you have not forgot our engagement! Did not we agree
    together to take a drive this morning? What a head you have! We are
    going up Claverton Down."

    "Something was said about it, I remember," said Catherine, looking at
    Mrs. Allen for her opinion; "but really I did not expect you."

    "Not expect me! That's a good one! And what a dust you would have made,
    if I had not come."

    Catherine's silent appeal to her friend, meanwhile, was entirely thrown
    away, for Mrs. Allen, not being at all in the habit of conveying any
    expression herself by a look, was not aware of its being ever intended
    by anybody else; and Catherine, whose desire of seeing Miss Tilney again
    could at that moment bear a short delay in favour of a drive, and who
    thought there could be no impropriety in her going with Mr. Thorpe, as
    Isabella was going at the same time with James, was therefore obliged to
    speak plainer. "Well, ma'am, what do you say to it? Can you spare me for
    an hour or two? Shall I go?"

    "Do just as you please, my dear," replied Mrs. Allen, with the most
    placid indifference. Catherine took the advice, and ran off to get
    ready. In a very few minutes she reappeared, having scarcely allowed
    the two others time enough to get through a few short sentences in her
    praise, after Thorpe had procured Mrs. Allen's admiration of his gig;
    and then receiving her friend's parting good wishes, they both hurried
    downstairs. "My dearest creature," cried Isabella, to whom the duty
    of friendship immediately called her before she could get into the
    carriage, "you have been at least three hours getting ready. I was
    afraid you were ill. What a delightful ball we had last night. I have a
    thousand things to say to you; but make haste and get in, for I long to
    be off."

    Catherine followed her orders and turned away, but not too soon to hear
    her friend exclaim aloud to James, "What a sweet girl she is! I quite
    dote on her."

    "You will not be frightened, Miss Morland," said Thorpe, as he handed
    her in, "if my horse should dance about a little at first setting off.
    He will, most likely, give a plunge or two, and perhaps take the rest
    for a minute; but he will soon know his master. He is full of spirits,
    playful as can be, but there is no vice in him."

    Catherine did not think the portrait a very inviting one, but it was too
    late to retreat, and she was too young to own herself frightened; so,
    resigning herself to her fate, and trusting to the animal's boasted
    knowledge of its owner, she sat peaceably down, and saw Thorpe sit down
    by her. Everything being then arranged, the servant who stood at the
    horse's head was bid in an important voice "to let him go," and off they
    went in the quietest manner imaginable, without a plunge or a caper, or
    anything like one. Catherine, delighted at so happy an escape, spoke
    her pleasure aloud with grateful surprise; and her companion immediately
    made the matter perfectly simple by assuring her that it was entirely
    owing to the peculiarly judicious manner in which he had then held the
    reins, and the singular discernment and dexterity with which he had
    directed his whip. Catherine, though she could not help wondering that
    with such perfect command of his horse, he should think it necessary to
    alarm her with a relation of its tricks, congratulated herself sincerely
    on being under the care of so excellent a coachman; and perceiving that
    the animal continued to go on in the same quiet manner, without
    showing the smallest propensity towards any unpleasant vivacity, and
    (considering its inevitable pace was ten miles an hour) by no means
    alarmingly fast, gave herself up to all the enjoyment of air and
    exercise of the most invigorating kind, in a fine mild day of February,
    with the consciousness of safety. A silence of several minutes succeeded
    their first short dialogue; it was broken by Thorpe's saying very
    abruptly, "Old Allen is as rich as a Jew--is not he?" Catherine did not
    understand him--and he repeated his question, adding in explanation,
    "Old Allen, the man you are with."

    "Oh! Mr. Allen, you mean. Yes, I believe, he is very rich."

    "And no children at all?"

    "No--not any."

    "A famous thing for his next heirs. He is your godfather, is not he?"

    "My godfather! No."

    "But you are always very much with them."

    "Yes, very much."

    "Aye, that is what I meant. He seems a good kind of old fellow enough,
    and has lived very well in his time, I dare say; he is not gouty for
    nothing. Does he drink his bottle a day now?"

    "His bottle a day! No. Why should you think of such a thing? He is a
    very temperate man, and you could not fancy him in liquor last night?"

    "Lord help you! You women are always thinking of men's being in liquor.
    Why, you do not suppose a man is overset by a bottle? I am sure of
    this--that if everybody was to drink their bottle a day, there would not
    be half the disorders in the world there are now. It would be a famous
    good thing for us all."

    "I cannot believe it."

    "Oh! Lord, it would be the saving of thousands. There is not the
    hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to
    be. Our foggy climate wants help."

    "And yet I have heard that there is a great deal of wine drunk in

    "Oxford! There is no drinking at Oxford now, I assure you. Nobody drinks
    there. You would hardly meet with a man who goes beyond his four pints
    at the utmost. Now, for instance, it was reckoned a remarkable thing, at
    the last party in my rooms, that upon an average we cleared about five
    pints a head. It was looked upon as something out of the common way.
    Mine is famous good stuff, to be sure. You would not often meet with
    anything like it in Oxford--and that may account for it. But this will
    just give you a notion of the general rate of drinking there."

    "Yes, it does give a notion," said Catherine warmly, "and that is, that
    you all drink a great deal more wine than I thought you did. However, I
    am sure James does not drink so much."

    This declaration brought on a loud and overpowering reply, of which
    no part was very distinct, except the frequent exclamations, amounting
    almost to oaths, which adorned it, and Catherine was left, when it
    ended, with rather a strengthened belief of there being a great deal
    of wine drunk in Oxford, and the same happy conviction of her brother's
    comparative sobriety.

    Thorpe's ideas then all reverted to the merits of his own equipage, and
    she was called on to admire the spirit and freedom with which his horse
    moved along, and the ease which his paces, as well as the excellence of
    the springs, gave the motion of the carriage. She followed him in all
    his admiration as well as she could. To go before or beyond him was
    impossible. His knowledge and her ignorance of the subject, his rapidity
    of expression, and her diffidence of herself put that out of her power;
    she could strike out nothing new in commendation, but she readily echoed
    whatever he chose to assert, and it was finally settled between them
    without any difficulty that his equipage was altogether the most
    complete of its kind in England, his carriage the neatest, his horse the
    best goer, and himself the best coachman. "You do not really think,
    Mr. Thorpe," said Catherine, venturing after some time to consider the
    matter as entirely decided, and to offer some little variation on the
    subject, "that James's gig will break down?"

    "Break down! Oh! Lord! Did you ever see such a little tittuppy thing in
    your life? There is not a sound piece of iron about it. The wheels have
    been fairly worn out these ten years at least--and as for the body! Upon
    my soul, you might shake it to pieces yourself with a touch. It is the
    most devilish little rickety business I ever beheld! Thank God! we
    have got a better. I would not be bound to go two miles in it for fifty
    thousand pounds."

    "Good heavens!" cried Catherine, quite frightened. "Then pray let us
    turn back; they will certainly meet with an accident if we go on. Do let
    us turn back, Mr. Thorpe; stop and speak to my brother, and tell him how
    very unsafe it is."

    "Unsafe! Oh, lord! What is there in that? They will only get a roll if
    it does break down; and there is plenty of dirt; it will be excellent
    falling. Oh, curse it! The carriage is safe enough, if a man knows how
    to drive it; a thing of that sort in good hands will last above twenty
    years after it is fairly worn out. Lord bless you! I would undertake for
    five pounds to drive it to York and back again, without losing a nail."

    Catherine listened with astonishment; she knew not how to reconcile two
    such very different accounts of the same thing; for she had not been
    brought up to understand the propensities of a rattle, nor to know to
    how many idle assertions and impudent falsehoods the excess of vanity
    will lead. Her own family were plain, matter-of-fact people who seldom
    aimed at wit of any kind; her father, at the utmost, being contented
    with a pun, and her mother with a proverb; they were not in the habit
    therefore of telling lies to increase their importance, or of asserting
    at one moment what they would contradict the next. She reflected on the
    affair for some time in much perplexity, and was more than once on the
    point of requesting from Mr. Thorpe a clearer insight into his real
    opinion on the subject; but she checked herself, because it appeared to
    her that he did not excel in giving those clearer insights, in making
    those things plain which he had before made ambiguous; and, joining to
    this, the consideration that he would not really suffer his sister and
    his friend to be exposed to a danger from which he might easily preserve
    them, she concluded at last that he must know the carriage to be in fact
    perfectly safe, and therefore would alarm herself no longer. By him
    the whole matter seemed entirely forgotten; and all the rest of his
    conversation, or rather talk, began and ended with himself and his own
    concerns. He told her of horses which he had bought for a trifle and
    sold for incredible sums; of racing matches, in which his judgment had
    infallibly foretold the winner; of shooting parties, in which he had
    killed more birds (though without having one good shot) than all his
    companions together; and described to her some famous day's sport, with
    the fox-hounds, in which his foresight and skill in directing the dogs
    had repaired the mistakes of the most experienced huntsman, and in which
    the boldness of his riding, though it had never endangered his own life
    for a moment, had been constantly leading others into difficulties,
    which he calmly concluded had broken the necks of many.

    Little as Catherine was in the habit of judging for herself, and unfixed
    as were her general notions of what men ought to be, she could not
    entirely repress a doubt, while she bore with the effusions of his
    endless conceit, of his being altogether completely agreeable. It was a
    bold surmise, for he was Isabella's brother; and she had been assured by
    James that his manners would recommend him to all her sex; but in spite
    of this, the extreme weariness of his company, which crept over her
    before they had been out an hour, and which continued unceasingly to
    increase till they stopped in Pulteney Street again, induced her, in
    some small degree, to resist such high authority, and to distrust his
    powers of giving universal pleasure.

    When they arrived at Mrs. Allen's door, the astonishment of Isabella was
    hardly to be expressed, on finding that it was too late in the day for
    them to attend her friend into the house: "Past three o'clock!" It was
    inconceivable, incredible, impossible! And she would neither believe her
    own watch, nor her brother's, nor the servant's; she would believe no
    assurance of it founded on reason or reality, till Morland produced his
    watch, and ascertained the fact; to have doubted a moment longer then
    would have been equally inconceivable, incredible, and impossible; and
    she could only protest, over and over again, that no two hours and a
    half had ever gone off so swiftly before, as Catherine was called on to
    confirm; Catherine could not tell a falsehood even to please Isabella;
    but the latter was spared the misery of her friend's dissenting voice,
    by not waiting for her answer. Her own feelings entirely engrossed
    her; her wretchedness was most acute on finding herself obliged to go
    directly home. It was ages since she had had a moment's conversation
    with her dearest Catherine; and, though she had such thousands of things
    to say to her, it appeared as if they were never to be together again;
    so, with smiles of most exquisite misery, and the laughing eye of utter
    despondency, she bade her friend adieu and went on.

    Catherine found Mrs. Allen just returned from all the busy idleness of
    the morning, and was immediately greeted with, "Well, my dear, here
    you are," a truth which she had no greater inclination than power to
    dispute; "and I hope you have had a pleasant airing?"

    "Yes, ma'am, I thank you; we could not have had a nicer day."

    "So Mrs. Thorpe said; she was vastly pleased at your all going."

    "You have seen Mrs. Thorpe, then?"

    "Yes, I went to the pump-room as soon as you were gone, and there I met
    her, and we had a great deal of talk together. She says there was hardly
    any veal to be got at market this morning, it is so uncommonly scarce."

    "Did you see anybody else of our acquaintance?"

    "Yes; we agreed to take a turn in the Crescent, and there we met Mrs.
    Hughes, and Mr. and Miss Tilney walking with her."

    "Did you indeed? And did they speak to you?"

    "Yes, we walked along the Crescent together for half an hour. They seem
    very agreeable people. Miss Tilney was in a very pretty spotted
    muslin, and I fancy, by what I can learn, that she always dresses very
    handsomely. Mrs. Hughes talked to me a great deal about the family."

    "And what did she tell you of them?"

    "Oh! A vast deal indeed; she hardly talked of anything else."

    "Did she tell you what part of Gloucestershire they come from?"

    "Yes, she did; but I cannot recollect now. But they are very good kind
    of people, and very rich. Mrs. Tilney was a Miss Drummond, and she
    and Mrs. Hughes were schoolfellows; and Miss Drummond had a very large
    fortune; and, when she married, her father gave her twenty thousand
    pounds, and five hundred to buy wedding-clothes. Mrs. Hughes saw all the
    clothes after they came from the warehouse."

    "And are Mr. and Mrs. Tilney in Bath?"

    "Yes, I fancy they are, but I am not quite certain. Upon recollection,
    however, I have a notion they are both dead; at least the mother is;
    yes, I am sure Mrs. Tilney is dead, because Mrs. Hughes told me there
    was a very beautiful set of pearls that Mr. Drummond gave his daughter
    on her wedding-day and that Miss Tilney has got now, for they were put
    by for her when her mother died."

    "And is Mr. Tilney, my partner, the only son?"

    "I cannot be quite positive about that, my dear; I have some idea he is;
    but, however, he is a very fine young man, Mrs. Hughes says, and likely
    to do very well."

    Catherine inquired no further; she had heard enough to feel that
    Mrs. Allen had no real intelligence to give, and that she was most
    particularly unfortunate herself in having missed such a meeting with
    both brother and sister. Could she have foreseen such a circumstance,
    nothing should have persuaded her to go out with the others; and, as
    it was, she could only lament her ill luck, and think over what she had
    lost, till it was clear to her that the drive had by no means been very
    pleasant and that John Thorpe himself was quite disagreeable.

    CHAPTER 10

    The Allens, Thorpes, and Morlands all met in the evening at the
    theatre; and, as Catherine and Isabella sat together, there was then an
    opportunity for the latter to utter some few of the many thousand
    things which had been collecting within her for communication in the
    immeasurable length of time which had divided them. "Oh, heavens!
    My beloved Catherine, have I got you at last?" was her address on
    Catherine's entering the box and sitting by her. "Now, Mr. Morland," for
    he was close to her on the other side, "I shall not speak another word
    to you all the rest of the evening; so I charge you not to expect it. My
    sweetest Catherine, how have you been this long age? But I need not ask
    you, for you look delightfully. You really have done your hair in a
    more heavenly style than ever; you mischievous creature, do you want to
    attract everybody? I assure you, my brother is quite in love with you
    already; and as for Mr. Tilney--but that is a settled thing--even your
    modesty cannot doubt his attachment now; his coming back to Bath makes
    it too plain. Oh! What would not I give to see him! I really am quite
    wild with impatience. My mother says he is the most delightful young man
    in the world; she saw him this morning, you know; you must introduce him
    to me. Is he in the house now? Look about, for heaven's sake! I assure
    you, I can hardly exist till I see him."

    "No," said Catherine, "he is not here; I cannot see him anywhere."

    "Oh, horrid! Am I never to be acquainted with him? How do you like my
    gown? I think it does not look amiss; the sleeves were entirely my own
    thought. Do you know, I get so immoderately sick of Bath; your brother
    and I were agreeing this morning that, though it is vastly well to be
    here for a few weeks, we would not live here for millions. We soon found
    out that our tastes were exactly alike in preferring the country to
    every other place; really, our opinions were so exactly the same, it was
    quite ridiculous! There was not a single point in which we differed; I
    would not have had you by for the world; you are such a sly thing, I am
    sure you would have made some droll remark or other about it."

    "No, indeed I should not."

    "Oh, yes you would indeed; I know you better than you know yourself. You
    would have told us that we seemed born for each other, or some nonsense
    of that kind, which would have distressed me beyond conception; my
    cheeks would have been as red as your roses; I would not have had you by
    for the world."

    "Indeed you do me injustice; I would not have made so improper a remark
    upon any account; and besides, I am sure it would never have entered my

    Isabella smiled incredulously and talked the rest of the evening to

    Catherine's resolution of endeavouring to meet Miss Tilney again
    continued in full force the next morning; and till the usual moment of
    going to the pump-room, she felt some alarm from the dread of a second
    prevention. But nothing of that kind occurred, no visitors appeared to
    delay them, and they all three set off in good time for the pump-room,
    where the ordinary course of events and conversation took place; Mr.
    Allen, after drinking his glass of water, joined some gentlemen to
    talk over the politics of the day and compare the accounts of their
    newspapers; and the ladies walked about together, noticing every new
    face, and almost every new bonnet in the room. The female part of the
    Thorpe family, attended by James Morland, appeared among the crowd in
    less than a quarter of an hour, and Catherine immediately took her
    usual place by the side of her friend. James, who was now in constant
    attendance, maintained a similar position, and separating themselves
    from the rest of their party, they walked in that manner for some
    time, till Catherine began to doubt the happiness of a situation which,
    confining her entirely to her friend and brother, gave her very
    little share in the notice of either. They were always engaged in
    some sentimental discussion or lively dispute, but their sentiment was
    conveyed in such whispering voices, and their vivacity attended with
    so much laughter, that though Catherine's supporting opinion was not
    unfrequently called for by one or the other, she was never able to give
    any, from not having heard a word of the subject. At length however
    she was empowered to disengage herself from her friend, by the avowed
    necessity of speaking to Miss Tilney, whom she most joyfully saw just
    entering the room with Mrs. Hughes, and whom she instantly joined, with
    a firmer determination to be acquainted, than she might have had courage
    to command, had she not been urged by the disappointment of the day
    before. Miss Tilney met her with great civility, returned her advances
    with equal goodwill, and they continued talking together as long as
    both parties remained in the room; and though in all probability not
    an observation was made, nor an expression used by either which had not
    been made and used some thousands of times before, under that roof, in
    every Bath season, yet the merit of their being spoken with simplicity
    and truth, and without personal conceit, might be something uncommon.

    "How well your brother dances!" was an artless exclamation of
    Catherine's towards the close of their conversation, which at once
    surprised and amused her companion.

    "Henry!" she replied with a smile. "Yes, he does dance very well."

    "He must have thought it very odd to hear me say I was engaged the other
    evening, when he saw me sitting down. But I really had been engaged
    the whole day to Mr. Thorpe." Miss Tilney could only bow. "You cannot
    think," added Catherine after a moment's silence, "how surprised I was
    to see him again. I felt so sure of his being quite gone away."

    "When Henry had the pleasure of seeing you before, he was in Bath but
    for a couple of days. He came only to engage lodgings for us."

    "That never occurred to me; and of course, not seeing him anywhere, I
    thought he must be gone. Was not the young lady he danced with on Monday
    a Miss Smith?"

    "Yes, an acquaintance of Mrs. Hughes."

    "I dare say she was very glad to dance. Do you think her pretty?"

    "Not very."

    "He never comes to the pump-room, I suppose?"

    "Yes, sometimes; but he has rid out this morning with my father."

    Mrs. Hughes now joined them, and asked Miss Tilney if she was ready to
    go. "I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you again soon," said
    Catherine. "Shall you be at the cotillion ball tomorrow?"

    "Perhaps we--Yes, I think we certainly shall."

    "I am glad of it, for we shall all be there." This civility was duly
    returned; and they parted--on Miss Tilney's side with some knowledge
    of her new acquaintance's feelings, and on Catherine's, without the
    smallest consciousness of having explained them.

    She went home very happy. The morning had answered all her hopes, and
    the evening of the following day was now the object of expectation,
    the future good. What gown and what head-dress she should wear on the
    occasion became her chief concern. She cannot be justified in it. Dress
    is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about
    it often destroys its own aim. Catherine knew all this very well; her
    great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas
    before; and yet she lay awake ten minutes on Wednesday night debating
    between her spotted and her tamboured muslin, and nothing but the
    shortness of the time prevented her buying a new one for the evening.
    This would have been an error in judgment, great though not uncommon,
    from which one of the other sex rather than her own, a brother rather
    than a great aunt, might have warned her, for man only can be aware of
    the insensibility of man towards a new gown. It would be mortifying to
    the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little
    the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire;
    how little it is biased by the texture of their muslin, and how
    unsusceptible of peculiar tenderness towards the spotted, the sprigged,
    the mull, or the jackonet. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone.
    No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for
    it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of
    shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter. But not
    one of these grave reflections troubled the tranquillity of Catherine.

    She entered the rooms on Thursday evening with feelings very different
    from what had attended her thither the Monday before. She had then been
    exulting in her engagement to Thorpe, and was now chiefly anxious to
    avoid his sight, lest he should engage her again; for though she could
    not, dared not expect that Mr. Tilney should ask her a third time to
    dance, her wishes, hopes, and plans all centred in nothing less. Every
    young lady may feel for my heroine in this critical moment, for every
    young lady has at some time or other known the same agitation. All have
    been, or at least all have believed themselves to be, in danger from the
    pursuit of someone whom they wished to avoid; and all have been anxious
    for the attentions of someone whom they wished to please. As soon as
    they were joined by the Thorpes, Catherine's agony began; she fidgeted
    about if John Thorpe came towards her, hid herself as much as possible
    from his view, and when he spoke to her pretended not to hear him. The
    cotillions were over, the country-dancing beginning, and she saw nothing
    of the Tilneys.

    "Do not be frightened, my dear Catherine," whispered Isabella, "but I am
    really going to dance with your brother again. I declare positively it
    is quite shocking. I tell him he ought to be ashamed of himself, but you
    and John must keep us in countenance. Make haste, my dear creature, and
    come to us. John is just walked off, but he will be back in a moment."

    Catherine had neither time nor inclination to answer. The others walked
    away, John Thorpe was still in view, and she gave herself up for lost.
    That she might not appear, however, to observe or expect him, she kept
    her eyes intently fixed on her fan; and a self-condemnation for her
    folly, in supposing that among such a crowd they should even meet with
    the Tilneys in any reasonable time, had just passed through her mind,
    when she suddenly found herself addressed and again solicited to dance,
    by Mr. Tilney himself. With what sparkling eyes and ready motion she
    granted his request, and with how pleasing a flutter of heart she went
    with him to the set, may be easily imagined. To escape, and, as
    she believed, so narrowly escape John Thorpe, and to be asked, so
    immediately on his joining her, asked by Mr. Tilney, as if he had sought
    her on purpose!--it did not appear to her that life could supply any
    greater felicity.

    Scarcely had they worked themselves into the quiet possession of a
    place, however, when her attention was claimed by John Thorpe, who stood
    behind her. "Heyday, Miss Morland!" said he. "What is the meaning of
    this? I thought you and I were to dance together."

    "I wonder you should think so, for you never asked me."

    "That is a good one, by Jove! I asked you as soon as I came into the
    room, and I was just going to ask you again, but when I turned round,
    you were gone! This is a cursed shabby trick! I only came for the sake
    of dancing with you, and I firmly believe you were engaged to me ever
    since Monday. Yes; I remember, I asked you while you were waiting in the
    lobby for your cloak. And here have I been telling all my acquaintance
    that I was going to dance with the prettiest girl in the room; and
    when they see you standing up with somebody else, they will quiz me

    "Oh, no; they will never think of me, after such a description as that."

    "By heavens, if they do not, I will kick them out of the room for
    blockheads. What chap have you there?" Catherine satisfied his
    curiosity. "Tilney," he repeated. "Hum--I do not know him. A good figure
    of a man; well put together. Does he want a horse? Here is a friend
    of mine, Sam Fletcher, has got one to sell that would suit anybody. A
    famous clever animal for the road--only forty guineas. I had fifty minds
    to buy it myself, for it is one of my maxims always to buy a good horse
    when I meet with one; but it would not answer my purpose, it would not
    do for the field. I would give any money for a real good hunter. I
    have three now, the best that ever were backed. I would not take
    eight hundred guineas for them. Fletcher and I mean to get a house in
    Leicestershire, against the next season. It is so d--uncomfortable,
    living at an inn."

    This was the last sentence by which he could weary Catherine's
    attention, for he was just then borne off by the resistless pressure of
    a long string of passing ladies. Her partner now drew near, and said,
    "That gentleman would have put me out of patience, had he stayed with
    you half a minute longer. He has no business to withdraw the attention
    of my partner from me. We have entered into a contract of mutual
    agreeableness for the space of an evening, and all our agreeableness
    belongs solely to each other for that time. Nobody can fasten themselves
    on the notice of one, without injuring the rights of the other.
    I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and
    complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not
    choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners
    or wives of their neighbours."

    "But they are such very different things!"

    "--That you think they cannot be compared together."

    "To be sure not. People that marry can never part, but must go and keep
    house together. People that dance only stand opposite each other in a
    long room for half an hour."

    "And such is your definition of matrimony and dancing. Taken in that
    light certainly, their resemblance is not striking; but I think I could
    place them in such a view. You will allow, that in both, man has the
    advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal; that in both,
    it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of
    each; and that when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each
    other till the moment of its dissolution; that it is their duty, each
    to endeavour to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had
    bestowed themselves elsewhere, and their best interest to keep their own
    imaginations from wandering towards the perfections of their neighbours,
    or fancying that they should have been better off with anyone else. You
    will allow all this?"

    "Yes, to be sure, as you state it, all this sounds very well; but still
    they are so very different. I cannot look upon them at all in the same
    light, nor think the same duties belong to them."

    "In one respect, there certainly is a difference. In marriage, the man
    is supposed to provide for the support of the woman, the woman to make
    the home agreeable to the man; he is to purvey, and she is to smile.
    But in dancing, their duties are exactly changed; the agreeableness, the
    compliance are expected from him, while she furnishes the fan and the
    lavender water. That, I suppose, was the difference of duties which
    struck you, as rendering the conditions incapable of comparison."

    "No, indeed, I never thought of that."

    "Then I am quite at a loss. One thing, however, I must observe. This
    disposition on your side is rather alarming. You totally disallow any
    similarity in the obligations; and may I not thence infer that your
    notions of the duties of the dancing state are not so strict as your
    partner might wish? Have I not reason to fear that if the gentleman who
    spoke to you just now were to return, or if any other gentleman were to
    address you, there would be nothing to restrain you from conversing with
    him as long as you chose?"

    "Mr. Thorpe is such a very particular friend of my brother's, that if he
    talks to me, I must talk to him again; but there are hardly three young
    men in the room besides him that I have any acquaintance with."

    "And is that to be my only security? Alas, alas!"

    "Nay, I am sure you cannot have a better; for if I do not know anybody,
    it is impossible for me to talk to them; and, besides, I do not want to
    talk to anybody."

    "Now you have given me a security worth having; and I shall proceed
    with courage. Do you find Bath as agreeable as when I had the honour of
    making the inquiry before?"

    "Yes, quite--more so, indeed."

    "More so! Take care, or you will forget to be tired of it at the proper
    time. You ought to be tired at the end of six weeks."

    "I do not think I should be tired, if I were to stay here six months."

    "Bath, compared with London, has little variety, and so everybody finds
    out every year. 'For six weeks, I allow Bath is pleasant enough; but
    beyond that, it is the most tiresome place in the world.' You would be
    told so by people of all descriptions, who come regularly every winter,
    lengthen their six weeks into ten or twelve, and go away at last because
    they can afford to stay no longer."

    "Well, other people must judge for themselves, and those who go to
    London may think nothing of Bath. But I, who live in a small retired
    village in the country, can never find greater sameness in such a place
    as this than in my own home; for here are a variety of amusements, a
    variety of things to be seen and done all day long, which I can know
    nothing of there."

    "You are not fond of the country."

    "Yes, I am. I have always lived there, and always been very happy. But
    certainly there is much more sameness in a country life than in a Bath
    life. One day in the country is exactly like another."

    "But then you spend your time so much more rationally in the country."

    "Do I?"

    "Do you not?"

    "I do not believe there is much difference."

    "Here you are in pursuit only of amusement all day long."

    "And so I am at home--only I do not find so much of it. I walk about
    here, and so I do there; but here I see a variety of people in every
    street, and there I can only go and call on Mrs. Allen."

    Mr. Tilney was very much amused.

    "Only go and call on Mrs. Allen!" he repeated. "What a picture of
    intellectual poverty! However, when you sink into this abyss again, you
    will have more to say. You will be able to talk of Bath, and of all that
    you did here."

    "Oh! Yes. I shall never be in want of something to talk of again to Mrs.
    Allen, or anybody else. I really believe I shall always be talking of
    Bath, when I am at home again--I do like it so very much. If I could but
    have Papa and Mamma, and the rest of them here, I suppose I should be
    too happy! James's coming (my eldest brother) is quite delightful--and
    especially as it turns out that the very family we are just got so
    intimate with are his intimate friends already. Oh! Who can ever be
    tired of Bath?"

    "Not those who bring such fresh feelings of every sort to it as you do.
    But papas and mammas, and brothers, and intimate friends are a good deal
    gone by, to most of the frequenters of Bath--and the honest relish of
    balls and plays, and everyday sights, is past with them." Here
    their conversation closed, the demands of the dance becoming now too
    importunate for a divided attention.

    Soon after their reaching the bottom of the set, Catherine perceived
    herself to be earnestly regarded by a gentleman who stood among the
    lookers-on, immediately behind her partner. He was a very handsome man,
    of a commanding aspect, past the bloom, but not past the vigour of
    life; and with his eye still directed towards her, she saw him presently
    address Mr. Tilney in a familiar whisper. Confused by his notice, and
    blushing from the fear of its being excited by something wrong in
    her appearance, she turned away her head. But while she did so, the
    gentleman retreated, and her partner, coming nearer, said, "I see that
    you guess what I have just been asked. That gentleman knows your name,
    and you have a right to know his. It is General Tilney, my father."

    Catherine's answer was only "Oh!"--but it was an "Oh!" expressing
    everything needful: attention to his words, and perfect reliance on
    their truth. With real interest and strong admiration did her eye now
    follow the general, as he moved through the crowd, and "How handsome a
    family they are!" was her secret remark.

    In chatting with Miss Tilney before the evening concluded, a new source
    of felicity arose to her. She had never taken a country walk since
    her arrival in Bath. Miss Tilney, to whom all the commonly frequented
    environs were familiar, spoke of them in terms which made her all
    eagerness to know them too; and on her openly fearing that she might
    find nobody to go with her, it was proposed by the brother and sister
    that they should join in a walk, some morning or other. "I shall like
    it," she cried, "beyond anything in the world; and do not let us put
    it off--let us go tomorrow." This was readily agreed to, with only a
    proviso of Miss Tilney's, that it did not rain, which Catherine was sure
    it would not. At twelve o'clock, they were to call for her in Pulteney
    Street; and "Remember--twelve o'clock," was her parting speech to
    her new friend. Of her other, her older, her more established friend,
    Isabella, of whose fidelity and worth she had enjoyed a fortnight's
    experience, she scarcely saw anything during the evening. Yet, though
    longing to make her acquainted with her happiness, she cheerfully
    submitted to the wish of Mr. Allen, which took them rather early away,
    and her spirits danced within her, as she danced in her chair all the
    way home.

    CHAPTER 11

    The morrow brought a very sober-looking morning, the sun making only
    a few efforts to appear, and Catherine augured from it everything most
    favourable to her wishes. A bright morning so early in the year,
    she allowed, would generally turn to rain, but a cloudy one foretold
    improvement as the day advanced. She applied to Mr. Allen for
    confirmation of her hopes, but Mr. Allen, not having his own skies and
    barometer about him, declined giving any absolute promise of sunshine.
    She applied to Mrs. Allen, and Mrs. Allen's opinion was more positive.
    "She had no doubt in the world of its being a very fine day, if the
    clouds would only go off, and the sun keep out."

    At about eleven o'clock, however, a few specks of small rain upon the
    windows caught Catherine's watchful eye, and "Oh! dear, I do believe it
    will be wet," broke from her in a most desponding tone.

    "I thought how it would be," said Mrs. Allen.

    "No walk for me today," sighed Catherine; "but perhaps it may come to
    nothing, or it may hold up before twelve."

    "Perhaps it may, but then, my dear, it will be so dirty."

    "Oh! That will not signify; I never mind dirt."

    "No," replied her friend very placidly, "I know you never mind dirt."

    After a short pause, "It comes on faster and faster!" said Catherine, as
    she stood watching at a window.

    "So it does indeed. If it keeps raining, the streets will be very wet."

    "There are four umbrellas up already. How I hate the sight of an

    "They are disagreeable things to carry. I would much rather take a chair
    at any time."

    "It was such a nice-looking morning! I felt so convinced it would be

    "Anybody would have thought so indeed. There will be very few people in
    the pump-room, if it rains all the morning. I hope Mr. Allen will put
    on his greatcoat when he goes, but I dare say he will not, for he had
    rather do anything in the world than walk out in a greatcoat; I wonder
    he should dislike it, it must be so comfortable."

    The rain continued--fast, though not heavy. Catherine went every five
    minutes to the clock, threatening on each return that, if it still
    kept on raining another five minutes, she would give up the matter as
    hopeless. The clock struck twelve, and it still rained. "You will not be
    able to go, my dear."

    "I do not quite despair yet. I shall not give it up till a quarter after
    twelve. This is just the time of day for it to clear up, and I do think
    it looks a little lighter. There, it is twenty minutes after twelve, and
    now I shall give it up entirely. Oh! That we had such weather here
    as they had at Udolpho, or at least in Tuscany and the south of
    France!--the night that poor St. Aubin died!--such beautiful weather!"

    At half past twelve, when Catherine's anxious attention to the weather
    was over and she could no longer claim any merit from its amendment, the
    sky began voluntarily to clear. A gleam of sunshine took her quite by
    surprise; she looked round; the clouds were parting, and she instantly
    returned to the window to watch over and encourage the happy appearance.
    Ten minutes more made it certain that a bright afternoon would succeed,
    and justified the opinion of Mrs. Allen, who had "always thought it
    would clear up." But whether Catherine might still expect her friends,
    whether there had not been too much rain for Miss Tilney to venture,
    must yet be a question.

    It was too dirty for Mrs. Allen to accompany her husband to the
    pump-room; he accordingly set off by himself, and Catherine had barely
    watched him down the street when her notice was claimed by the approach
    of the same two open carriages, containing the same three people that
    had surprised her so much a few mornings back.

    "Isabella, my brother, and Mr. Thorpe, I declare! They are coming for
    me perhaps--but I shall not go--I cannot go indeed, for you know Miss
    Tilney may still call." Mrs. Allen agreed to it. John Thorpe was soon
    with them, and his voice was with them yet sooner, for on the stairs he
    was calling out to Miss Morland to be quick. "Make haste! Make haste!"
    as he threw open the door. "Put on your hat this moment--there is no
    time to be lost--we are going to Bristol. How d'ye do, Mrs. Allen?"

    "To Bristol! Is not that a great way off? But, however, I cannot go with
    you today, because I am engaged; I expect some friends every moment."
    This was of course vehemently talked down as no reason at all; Mrs.
    Allen was called on to second him, and the two others walked in, to give
    their assistance. "My sweetest Catherine, is not this delightful? We
    shall have a most heavenly drive. You are to thank your brother and me
    for the scheme; it darted into our heads at breakfast-time, I verily
    believe at the same instant; and we should have been off two hours ago
    if it had not been for this detestable rain. But it does not signify,
    the nights are moonlight, and we shall do delightfully. Oh! I am in such
    ecstasies at the thoughts of a little country air and quiet! So much
    better than going to the Lower Rooms. We shall drive directly to Clifton
    and dine there; and, as soon as dinner is over, if there is time for it,
    go on to Kingsweston."

    "I doubt our being able to do so much," said Morland.

    "You croaking fellow!" cried Thorpe. "We shall be able to do ten times
    more. Kingsweston! Aye, and Blaize Castle too, and anything else we can
    hear of; but here is your sister says she will not go."

    "Blaize Castle!" cried Catherine. "What is that'?"

    "The finest place in England--worth going fifty miles at any time to

    "What, is it really a castle, an old castle?"

    "The oldest in the kingdom."

    "But is it like what one reads of?"

    "Exactly--the very same."

    "But now really--are there towers and long galleries?"

    "By dozens."

    "Then I should like to see it; but I cannot--I cannot go.

    "Not go! My beloved creature, what do you mean'?"

    "I cannot go, because"--looking down as she spoke, fearful of Isabella's
    smile--"I expect Miss Tilney and her brother to call on me to take a
    country walk. They promised to come at twelve, only it rained; but now,
    as it is so fine, I dare say they will be here soon."

    "Not they indeed," cried Thorpe; "for, as we turned into Broad Street, I
    saw them--does he not drive a phaeton with bright chestnuts?"

    "I do not know indeed."

    "Yes, I know he does; I saw him. You are talking of the man you danced
    with last night, are not you?"


    "Well, I saw him at that moment turn up the Lansdown Road, driving a
    smart-looking girl."

    "Did you indeed?"

    "Did upon my soul; knew him again directly, and he seemed to have got
    some very pretty cattle too."

    "It is very odd! But I suppose they thought it would be too dirty for a

    "And well they might, for I never saw so much dirt in my life. Walk!
    You could no more walk than you could fly! It has not been so dirty the
    whole winter; it is ankle-deep everywhere."

    Isabella corroborated it: "My dearest Catherine, you cannot form an idea
    of the dirt; come, you must go; you cannot refuse going now."

    "I should like to see the castle; but may we go all over it? May we go
    up every staircase, and into every suite of rooms?"

    "Yes, yes, every hole and corner."

    "But then, if they should only be gone out for an hour till it is dryer,
    and call by and by?"

    "Make yourself easy, there is no danger of that, for I heard Tilney
    hallooing to a man who was just passing by on horseback, that they were
    going as far as Wick Rocks."

    "Then I will. Shall I go, Mrs. Allen?"

    "Just as you please, my dear."

    "Mrs. Allen, you must persuade her to go," was the general cry. Mrs.
    Allen was not inattentive to it: "Well, my dear," said she, "suppose you
    go." And in two minutes they were off.

    Catherine's feelings, as she got into the carriage, were in a very
    unsettled state; divided between regret for the loss of one great
    pleasure, and the hope of soon enjoying another, almost its equal in
    degree, however unlike in kind. She could not think the Tilneys had
    acted quite well by her, in so readily giving up their engagement,
    without sending her any message of excuse. It was now but an hour later
    than the time fixed on for the beginning of their walk; and, in spite of
    what she had heard of the prodigious accumulation of dirt in the course
    of that hour, she could not from her own observation help thinking that
    they might have gone with very little inconvenience. To feel herself
    slighted by them was very painful. On the other hand, the delight of
    exploring an edifice like Udolpho, as her fancy represented Blaize
    Castle to be, was such a counterpoise of good as might console her for
    almost anything.

    They passed briskly down Pulteney Street, and through Laura Place,
    without the exchange of many words. Thorpe talked to his horse, and she
    meditated, by turns, on broken promises and broken arches, phaetons
    and false hangings, Tilneys and trap-doors. As they entered Argyle
    Buildings, however, she was roused by this address from her companion,
    "Who is that girl who looked at you so hard as she went by?"

    "Who? Where?"

    "On the right-hand pavement--she must be almost out of sight now."
    Catherine looked round and saw Miss Tilney leaning on her brother's arm,
    walking slowly down the street. She saw them both looking back at her.
    "Stop, stop, Mr. Thorpe," she impatiently cried; "it is Miss Tilney; it
    is indeed. How could you tell me they were gone? Stop, stop, I will
    get out this moment and go to them." But to what purpose did she speak?
    Thorpe only lashed his horse into a brisker trot; the Tilneys, who had
    soon ceased to look after her, were in a moment out of sight round the
    corner of Laura Place, and in another moment she was herself whisked
    into the marketplace. Still, however, and during the length of another
    street, she entreated him to stop. "Pray, pray stop, Mr. Thorpe. I
    cannot go on. I will not go on. I must go back to Miss Tilney." But Mr.
    Thorpe only laughed, smacked his whip, encouraged his horse, made odd
    noises, and drove on; and Catherine, angry and vexed as she was, having
    no power of getting away, was obliged to give up the point and submit.
    Her reproaches, however, were not spared. "How could you deceive me so,
    Mr. Thorpe? How could you say that you saw them driving up the Lansdown
    Road? I would not have had it happen so for the world. They must think
    it so strange, so rude of me! To go by them, too, without saying a word!
    You do not know how vexed I am; I shall have no pleasure at Clifton, nor
    in anything else. I had rather, ten thousand times rather, get out now,
    and walk back to them. How could you say you saw them driving out in a
    phaeton?" Thorpe defended himself very stoutly, declared he had never
    seen two men so much alike in his life, and would hardly give up the
    point of its having been Tilney himself.

    Their drive, even when this subject was over, was not likely to be very
    agreeable. Catherine's complaisance was no longer what it had been in
    their former airing. She listened reluctantly, and her replies were
    short. Blaize Castle remained her only comfort; towards that, she still
    looked at intervals with pleasure; though rather than be disappointed of
    the promised walk, and especially rather than be thought ill of by the
    Tilneys, she would willingly have given up all the happiness which its
    walls could supply--the happiness of a progress through a long suite of
    lofty rooms, exhibiting the remains of magnificent furniture, though
    now for many years deserted--the happiness of being stopped in their way
    along narrow, winding vaults, by a low, grated door; or even of having
    their lamp, their only lamp, extinguished by a sudden gust of wind, and
    of being left in total darkness. In the meanwhile, they proceeded on
    their journey without any mischance, and were within view of the town
    of Keynsham, when a halloo from Morland, who was behind them, made his
    friend pull up, to know what was the matter. The others then came close
    enough for conversation, and Morland said, "We had better go back,
    Thorpe; it is too late to go on today; your sister thinks so as well as
    I. We have been exactly an hour coming from Pulteney Street, very little
    more than seven miles; and, I suppose, we have at least eight more to
    go. It will never do. We set out a great deal too late. We had much
    better put it off till another day, and turn round."

    "It is all one to me," replied Thorpe rather angrily; and instantly
    turning his horse, they were on their way back to Bath.

    "If your brother had not got such a d--beast to drive," said he soon
    afterwards, "we might have done it very well. My horse would have
    trotted to Clifton within the hour, if left to himself, and I have
    almost broke my arm with pulling him in to that cursed broken-winded
    jade's pace. Morland is a fool for not keeping a horse and gig of his

    "No, he is not," said Catherine warmly, "for I am sure he could not
    afford it."

    "And why cannot he afford it?"

    "Because he has not money enough."

    "And whose fault is that?"

    "Nobody's, that I know of." Thorpe then said something in the loud,
    incoherent way to which he had often recourse, about its being a
    d--thing to be miserly; and that if people who rolled in money could not
    afford things, he did not know who could, which Catherine did not even
    endeavour to understand. Disappointed of what was to have been the
    consolation for her first disappointment, she was less and less disposed
    either to be agreeable herself or to find her companion so; and they
    returned to Pulteney Street without her speaking twenty words.

    As she entered the house, the footman told her that a gentleman and lady
    had called and inquired for her a few minutes after her setting off;
    that, when he told them she was gone out with Mr. Thorpe, the lady had
    asked whether any message had been left for her; and on his saying no,
    had felt for a card, but said she had none about her, and went away.
    Pondering over these heart-rending tidings, Catherine walked slowly
    upstairs. At the head of them she was met by Mr. Allen, who, on hearing
    the reason of their speedy return, said, "I am glad your brother had so
    much sense; I am glad you are come back. It was a strange, wild scheme."

    They all spent the evening together at Thorpe's. Catherine was disturbed
    and out of spirits; but Isabella seemed to find a pool of commerce, in
    the fate of which she shared, by private partnership with Morland, a
    very good equivalent for the quiet and country air of an inn at Clifton.
    Her satisfaction, too, in not being at the Lower Rooms was spoken more
    than once. "How I pity the poor creatures that are going there! How glad
    I am that I am not amongst them! I wonder whether it will be a full ball
    or not! They have not begun dancing yet. I would not be there for
    all the world. It is so delightful to have an evening now and then
    to oneself. I dare say it will not be a very good ball. I know the
    Mitchells will not be there. I am sure I pity everybody that is. But I
    dare say, Mr. Morland, you long to be at it, do not you? I am sure you
    do. Well, pray do not let anybody here be a restraint on you. I dare say
    we could do very well without you; but you men think yourselves of such

    Catherine could almost have accused Isabella of being wanting in
    tenderness towards herself and her sorrows, so very little did they
    appear to dwell on her mind, and so very inadequate was the comfort she
    offered. "Do not be so dull, my dearest creature," she whispered. "You
    will quite break my heart. It was amazingly shocking, to be sure; but
    the Tilneys were entirely to blame. Why were not they more punctual?
    It was dirty, indeed, but what did that signify? I am sure John and I
    should not have minded it. I never mind going through anything, where a
    friend is concerned; that is my disposition, and John is just the same;
    he has amazing strong feelings. Good heavens! What a delightful hand you
    have got! Kings, I vow! I never was so happy in my life! I would fifty
    times rather you should have them than myself."

    And now I may dismiss my heroine to the sleepless couch, which is the
    true heroine's portion; to a pillow strewed with thorns and wet with
    tears. And lucky may she think herself, if she get another good night's
    rest in the course of the next three months.

    CHAPTER 12

    "Mrs. Allen," said Catherine the next morning, "will there be any harm
    in my calling on Miss Tilney today? I shall not be easy till I have
    explained everything."

    "Go, by all means, my dear; only put on a white gown; Miss Tilney always
    wears white."

    Catherine cheerfully complied, and being properly equipped, was more
    impatient than ever to be at the pump-room, that she might inform
    herself of General Tilney's lodgings, for though she believed they were
    in Milsom Street, she was not certain of the house, and Mrs. Allen's
    wavering convictions only made it more doubtful. To Milsom Street she
    was directed, and having made herself perfect in the number, hastened
    away with eager steps and a beating heart to pay her visit, explain her
    conduct, and be forgiven; tripping lightly through the church-yard, and
    resolutely turning away her eyes, that she might not be obliged to
    see her beloved Isabella and her dear family, who, she had reason to
    believe, were in a shop hard by. She reached the house without any
    impediment, looked at the number, knocked at the door, and inquired for
    Miss Tilney. The man believed Miss Tilney to be at home, but was not
    quite certain. Would she be pleased to send up her name? She gave her
    card. In a few minutes the servant returned, and with a look which did
    not quite confirm his words, said he had been mistaken, for that Miss
    Tilney was walked out. Catherine, with a blush of mortification, left
    the house. She felt almost persuaded that Miss Tilney was at home, and
    too much offended to admit her; and as she retired down the street,
    could not withhold one glance at the drawing-room windows, in
    expectation of seeing her there, but no one appeared at them. At the
    bottom of the street, however, she looked back again, and then, not at a
    window, but issuing from the door, she saw Miss Tilney herself. She was
    followed by a gentleman, whom Catherine believed to be her father,
    and they turned up towards Edgar's Buildings. Catherine, in deep
    mortification, proceeded on her way. She could almost be angry herself
    at such angry incivility; but she checked the resentful sensation; she
    remembered her own ignorance. She knew not how such an offence as hers
    might be classed by the laws of worldly politeness, to what a degree
    of unforgivingness it might with propriety lead, nor to what rigours of
    rudeness in return it might justly make her amenable.

    Dejected and humbled, she had even some thoughts of not going with the
    others to the theatre that night; but it must be confessed that they
    were not of long continuance, for she soon recollected, in the first
    place, that she was without any excuse for staying at home; and, in the
    second, that it was a play she wanted very much to see. To the theatre
    accordingly they all went; no Tilneys appeared to plague or please her;
    she feared that, amongst the many perfections of the family, a fondness
    for plays was not to be ranked; but perhaps it was because they were
    habituated to the finer performances of the London stage, which she
    knew, on Isabella's authority, rendered everything else of the kind
    "quite horrid." She was not deceived in her own expectation of pleasure;
    the comedy so well suspended her care that no one, observing her during
    the first four acts, would have supposed she had any wretchedness about
    her. On the beginning of the fifth, however, the sudden view of Mr.
    Henry Tilney and his father, joining a party in the opposite box,
    recalled her to anxiety and distress. The stage could no longer excite
    genuine merriment--no longer keep her whole attention. Every other look
    upon an average was directed towards the opposite box; and, for the
    space of two entire scenes, did she thus watch Henry Tilney, without
    being once able to catch his eye. No longer could he be suspected of
    indifference for a play; his notice was never withdrawn from the stage
    during two whole scenes. At length, however, he did look towards her,
    and he bowed--but such a bow! No smile, no continued observance attended
    it; his eyes were immediately returned to their former direction.
    Catherine was restlessly miserable; she could almost have run round to
    the box in which he sat and forced him to hear her explanation. Feelings
    rather natural than heroic possessed her; instead of considering her
    own dignity injured by this ready condemnation--instead of proudly
    resolving, in conscious innocence, to show her resentment towards him
    who could harbour a doubt of it, to leave to him all the trouble
    of seeking an explanation, and to enlighten him on the past only by
    avoiding his sight, or flirting with somebody else--she took to herself
    all the shame of misconduct, or at least of its appearance, and was only
    eager for an opportunity of explaining its cause.

    The play concluded--the curtain fell--Henry Tilney was no longer to be
    seen where he had hitherto sat, but his father remained, and perhaps he
    might be now coming round to their box. She was right; in a few minutes
    he appeared, and, making his way through the then thinning rows, spoke
    with like calm politeness to Mrs. Allen and her friend. Not with such
    calmness was he answered by the latter: "Oh! Mr. Tilney, I have been
    quite wild to speak to you, and make my apologies. You must have thought
    me so rude; but indeed it was not my own fault, was it, Mrs. Allen?
    Did not they tell me that Mr. Tilney and his sister were gone out in a
    phaeton together? And then what could I do? But I had ten thousand times
    rather have been with you; now had not I, Mrs. Allen?"

    "My dear, you tumble my gown," was Mrs. Allen's reply.

    Her assurance, however, standing sole as it did, was not thrown away; it
    brought a more cordial, more natural smile into his countenance, and
    he replied in a tone which retained only a little affected reserve:
    "We were much obliged to you at any rate for wishing us a pleasant walk
    after our passing you in Argyle Street: you were so kind as to look back
    on purpose."

    "But indeed I did not wish you a pleasant walk; I never thought of such
    a thing; but I begged Mr. Thorpe so earnestly to stop; I called out to
    him as soon as ever I saw you; now, Mrs. Allen, did not--Oh! You were
    not there; but indeed I did; and, if Mr. Thorpe would only have stopped,
    I would have jumped out and run after you."

    Is there a Henry in the world who could be insensible to such a
    declaration? Henry Tilney at least was not. With a yet sweeter smile, he
    said everything that need be said of his sister's concern, regret, and
    dependence on Catherine's honour. "Oh! Do not say Miss Tilney was not
    angry," cried Catherine, "because I know she was; for she would not see
    me this morning when I called; I saw her walk out of the house the next
    minute after my leaving it; I was hurt, but I was not affronted. Perhaps
    you did not know I had been there."

    "I was not within at the time; but I heard of it from Eleanor, and she
    has been wishing ever since to see you, to explain the reason of such
    incivility; but perhaps I can do it as well. It was nothing more than
    that my father--they were just preparing to walk out, and he being
    hurried for time, and not caring to have it put off--made a point of her
    being denied. That was all, I do assure you. She was very much vexed,
    and meant to make her apology as soon as possible."

    Catherine's mind was greatly eased by this information, yet a something
    of solicitude remained, from which sprang the following question,
    thoroughly artless in itself, though rather distressing to the
    gentleman: "But, Mr. Tilney, why were you less generous than your
    sister? If she felt such confidence in my good intentions, and could
    suppose it to be only a mistake, why should you be so ready to take

    "Me! I take offence!"

    "Nay, I am sure by your look, when you came into the box, you were

    "I angry! I could have no right."

    "Well, nobody would have thought you had no right who saw your face." He
    replied by asking her to make room for him, and talking of the play.

    He remained with them some time, and was only too agreeable for
    Catherine to be contented when he went away. Before they parted,
    however, it was agreed that the projected walk should be taken as soon
    as possible; and, setting aside the misery of his quitting their box,
    she was, upon the whole, left one of the happiest creatures in the

    While talking to each other, she had observed with some surprise that
    John Thorpe, who was never in the same part of the house for ten minutes
    together, was engaged in conversation with General Tilney; and she felt
    something more than surprise when she thought she could perceive herself
    the object of their attention and discourse. What could they have to say
    of her? She feared General Tilney did not like her appearance: she found
    it was implied in his preventing her admittance to his daughter, rather
    than postpone his own walk a few minutes. "How came Mr. Thorpe to know
    your father?" was her anxious inquiry, as she pointed them out to her
    companion. He knew nothing about it; but his father, like every military
    man, had a very large acquaintance.

    When the entertainment was over, Thorpe came to assist them in getting
    out. Catherine was the immediate object of his gallantry; and, while
    they waited in the lobby for a chair, he prevented the inquiry which had
    travelled from her heart almost to the tip of her tongue, by asking, in
    a consequential manner, whether she had seen him talking with General
    Tilney: "He is a fine old fellow, upon my soul! Stout, active--looks
    as young as his son. I have a great regard for him, I assure you: a
    gentleman-like, good sort of fellow as ever lived."

    "But how came you to know him?"

    "Know him! There are few people much about town that I do not know. I
    have met him forever at the Bedford; and I knew his face again today the
    moment he came into the billiard-room. One of the best players we have,
    by the by; and we had a little touch together, though I was almost
    afraid of him at first: the odds were five to four against me; and, if
    I had not made one of the cleanest strokes that perhaps ever was made in
    this world--I took his ball exactly--but I could not make you understand
    it without a table; however, I did beat him. A very fine fellow; as rich
    as a Jew. I should like to dine with him; I dare say he gives famous
    dinners. But what do you think we have been talking of? You. Yes, by
    heavens! And the general thinks you the finest girl in Bath."

    "Oh! Nonsense! How can you say so?"

    "And what do you think I said?"--lowering his voice--"well done,
    general, said I; I am quite of your mind."

    Here Catherine, who was much less gratified by his admiration than by
    General Tilney's, was not sorry to be called away by Mr. Allen. Thorpe,
    however, would see her to her chair, and, till she entered it, continued
    the same kind of delicate flattery, in spite of her entreating him to
    have done.

    That General Tilney, instead of disliking, should admire her, was very
    delightful; and she joyfully thought that there was not one of the
    family whom she need now fear to meet. The evening had done more, much
    more, for her than could have been expected.

    CHAPTER 13

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday have now
    passed in review before the reader; the events of each day, its hopes
    and fears, mortifications and pleasures, have been separately stated,
    and the pangs of Sunday only now remain to be described, and close the
    week. The Clifton scheme had been deferred, not relinquished, and on
    the afternoon's crescent of this day, it was brought forward again. In a
    private consultation between Isabella and James, the former of whom had
    particularly set her heart upon going, and the latter no less anxiously
    placed his upon pleasing her, it was agreed that, provided the weather
    were fair, the party should take place on the following morning; and
    they were to set off very early, in order to be at home in good time.
    The affair thus determined, and Thorpe's approbation secured, Catherine
    only remained to be apprised of it. She had left them for a few minutes
    to speak to Miss Tilney. In that interval the plan was completed, and as
    soon as she came again, her agreement was demanded; but instead of the
    gay acquiescence expected by Isabella, Catherine looked grave, was very
    sorry, but could not go. The engagement which ought to have kept her
    from joining in the former attempt would make it impossible for her to
    accompany them now. She had that moment settled with Miss Tilney to take
    their proposed walk tomorrow; it was quite determined, and she would
    not, upon any account, retract. But that she must and should retract
    was instantly the eager cry of both the Thorpes; they must go to Clifton
    tomorrow, they would not go without her, it would be nothing to put off
    a mere walk for one day longer, and they would not hear of a refusal.
    Catherine was distressed, but not subdued. "Do not urge me, Isabella. I
    am engaged to Miss Tilney. I cannot go." This availed nothing. The same
    arguments assailed her again; she must go, she should go, and they would
    not hear of a refusal. "It would be so easy to tell Miss Tilney that you
    had just been reminded of a prior engagement, and must only beg to put
    off the walk till Tuesday."

    "No, it would not be easy. I could not do it. There has been no prior
    engagement." But Isabella became only more and more urgent, calling
    on her in the most affectionate manner, addressing her by the most
    endearing names. She was sure her dearest, sweetest Catherine would not
    seriously refuse such a trifling request to a friend who loved her so
    dearly. She knew her beloved Catherine to have so feeling a heart, so
    sweet a temper, to be so easily persuaded by those she loved. But all
    in vain; Catherine felt herself to be in the right, and though pained
    by such tender, such flattering supplication, could not allow it to
    influence her. Isabella then tried another method. She reproached her
    with having more affection for Miss Tilney, though she had known her so
    little a while, than for her best and oldest friends, with being grown
    cold and indifferent, in short, towards herself. "I cannot help being
    jealous, Catherine, when I see myself slighted for strangers, I, who
    love you so excessively! When once my affections are placed, it is not
    in the power of anything to change them. But I believe my feelings are
    stronger than anybody's; I am sure they are too strong for my own peace;
    and to see myself supplanted in your friendship by strangers does cut me
    to the quick, I own. These Tilneys seem to swallow up everything else."

    Catherine thought this reproach equally strange and unkind. Was it the
    part of a friend thus to expose her feelings to the notice of others?
    Isabella appeared to her ungenerous and selfish, regardless of
    everything but her own gratification. These painful ideas crossed her
    mind, though she said nothing. Isabella, in the meanwhile, had applied
    her handkerchief to her eyes; and Morland, miserable at such a sight,
    could not help saying, "Nay, Catherine. I think you cannot stand out any
    longer now. The sacrifice is not much; and to oblige such a friend--I
    shall think you quite unkind, if you still refuse."

    This was the first time of her brother's openly siding against her, and
    anxious to avoid his displeasure, she proposed a compromise. If they
    would only put off their scheme till Tuesday, which they might easily
    do, as it depended only on themselves, she could go with them, and
    everybody might then be satisfied. But "No, no, no!" was the immediate
    answer; "that could not be, for Thorpe did not know that he might not
    go to town on Tuesday." Catherine was sorry, but could do no more; and
    a short silence ensued, which was broken by Isabella, who in a voice of
    cold resentment said, "Very well, then there is an end of the party.
    If Catherine does not go, I cannot. I cannot be the only woman. I would
    not, upon any account in the world, do so improper a thing."

    "Catherine, you must go," said James.

    "But why cannot Mr. Thorpe drive one of his other sisters? I dare say
    either of them would like to go."

    "Thank ye," cried Thorpe, "but I did not come to Bath to drive my
    sisters about, and look like a fool. No, if you do not go, d---- me if I
    do. I only go for the sake of driving you."

    "That is a compliment which gives me no pleasure." But her words were
    lost on Thorpe, who had turned abruptly away.

    The three others still continued together, walking in a most
    uncomfortable manner to poor Catherine; sometimes not a word was said,
    sometimes she was again attacked with supplications or reproaches, and
    her arm was still linked within Isabella's, though their hearts were
    at war. At one moment she was softened, at another irritated; always
    distressed, but always steady.

    "I did not think you had been so obstinate, Catherine," said James;
    "you were not used to be so hard to persuade; you once were the kindest,
    best-tempered of my sisters."

    "I hope I am not less so now," she replied, very feelingly; "but indeed
    I cannot go. If I am wrong, I am doing what I believe to be right."

    "I suspect," said Isabella, in a low voice, "there is no great

    Catherine's heart swelled; she drew away her arm, and Isabella made no
    opposition. Thus passed a long ten minutes, till they were again joined
    by Thorpe, who, coming to them with a gayer look, said, "Well, I
    have settled the matter, and now we may all go tomorrow with a safe
    conscience. I have been to Miss Tilney, and made your excuses."

    "You have not!" cried Catherine.

    "I have, upon my soul. Left her this moment. Told her you had sent me to
    say that, having just recollected a prior engagement of going to Clifton
    with us tomorrow, you could not have the pleasure of walking with her
    till Tuesday. She said very well, Tuesday was just as convenient to her;
    so there is an end of all our difficulties. A pretty good thought of

    Isabella's countenance was once more all smiles and good humour, and
    James too looked happy again.

    "A most heavenly thought indeed! Now, my sweet Catherine, all our
    distresses are over; you are honourably acquitted, and we shall have a
    most delightful party."

    "This will not do," said Catherine; "I cannot submit to this. I must run
    after Miss Tilney directly and set her right."

    Isabella, however, caught hold of one hand, Thorpe of the other, and
    remonstrances poured in from all three. Even James was quite angry. When
    everything was settled, when Miss Tilney herself said that Tuesday would
    suit her as well, it was quite ridiculous, quite absurd, to make any
    further objection.

    "I do not care. Mr. Thorpe had no business to invent any such message.
    If I had thought it right to put it off, I could have spoken to Miss
    Tilney myself. This is only doing it in a ruder way; and how do I know
    that Mr. Thorpe has--He may be mistaken again perhaps; he led me into
    one act of rudeness by his mistake on Friday. Let me go, Mr. Thorpe;
    Isabella, do not hold me."

    Thorpe told her it would be in vain to go after the Tilneys; they were
    turning the corner into Brock Street, when he had overtaken them, and
    were at home by this time.

    "Then I will go after them," said Catherine; "wherever they are I will
    go after them. It does not signify talking. If I could not be persuaded
    into doing what I thought wrong, I never will be tricked into it."
    And with these words she broke away and hurried off. Thorpe would have
    darted after her, but Morland withheld him. "Let her go, let her go, if
    she will go. She is as obstinate as--"

    Thorpe never finished the simile, for it could hardly have been a proper

    Away walked Catherine in great agitation, as fast as the crowd would
    permit her, fearful of being pursued, yet determined to persevere. As
    she walked, she reflected on what had passed. It was painful to her to
    disappoint and displease them, particularly to displease her brother;
    but she could not repent her resistance. Setting her own inclination
    apart, to have failed a second time in her engagement to Miss Tilney, to
    have retracted a promise voluntarily made only five minutes before,
    and on a false pretence too, must have been wrong. She had not been
    withstanding them on selfish principles alone, she had not consulted
    merely her own gratification; that might have been ensured in some
    degree by the excursion itself, by seeing Blaize Castle; no, she had
    attended to what was due to others, and to her own character in their
    opinion. Her conviction of being right, however, was not enough to
    restore her composure; till she had spoken to Miss Tilney she could not
    be at ease; and quickening her pace when she got clear of the Crescent,
    she almost ran over the remaining ground till she gained the top of
    Milsom Street. So rapid had been her movements that in spite of the
    Tilneys' advantage in the outset, they were but just turning into
    their lodgings as she came within view of them; and the servant still
    remaining at the open door, she used only the ceremony of saying
    that she must speak with Miss Tilney that moment, and hurrying by him
    proceeded upstairs. Then, opening the first door before her, which
    happened to be the right, she immediately found herself in the
    drawing-room with General Tilney, his son, and daughter. Her
    explanation, defective only in being--from her irritation of nerves and
    shortness of breath--no explanation at all, was instantly given. "I am
    come in a great hurry--It was all a mistake--I never promised to go--I
    told them from the first I could not go.--I ran away in a great hurry
    to explain it.--I did not care what you thought of me.--I would not stay
    for the servant."

    The business, however, though not perfectly elucidated by this speech,
    soon ceased to be a puzzle. Catherine found that John Thorpe had given
    the message; and Miss Tilney had no scruple in owning herself greatly
    surprised by it. But whether her brother had still exceeded her in
    resentment, Catherine, though she instinctively addressed herself as
    much to one as to the other in her vindication, had no means of knowing.
    Whatever might have been felt before her arrival, her eager declarations
    immediately made every look and sentence as friendly as she could

    The affair thus happily settled, she was introduced by Miss Tilney
    to her father, and received by him with such ready, such solicitous
    politeness as recalled Thorpe's information to her mind, and made her
    think with pleasure that he might be sometimes depended on. To such
    anxious attention was the general's civility carried, that not aware of
    her extraordinary swiftness in entering the house, he was quite angry
    with the servant whose neglect had reduced her to open the door of the
    apartment herself. "What did William mean by it? He should make a point
    of inquiring into the matter." And if Catherine had not most warmly
    asserted his innocence, it seemed likely that William would lose the
    favour of his master forever, if not his place, by her rapidity.

    After sitting with them a quarter of an hour, she rose to take leave,
    and was then most agreeably surprised by General Tilney's asking her if
    she would do his daughter the honour of dining and spending the rest
    of the day with her. Miss Tilney added her own wishes. Catherine was
    greatly obliged; but it was quite out of her power. Mr. and Mrs. Allen
    would expect her back every moment. The general declared he could say no
    more; the claims of Mr. and Mrs. Allen were not to be superseded; but on
    some other day he trusted, when longer notice could be given, they would
    not refuse to spare her to her friend. "Oh, no; Catherine was sure they
    would not have the least objection, and she should have great pleasure
    in coming." The general attended her himself to the street-door, saying
    everything gallant as they went downstairs, admiring the elasticity of
    her walk, which corresponded exactly with the spirit of her dancing, and
    making her one of the most graceful bows she had ever beheld, when they

    Catherine, delighted by all that had passed, proceeded gaily to Pulteney
    Street, walking, as she concluded, with great elasticity, though she
    had never thought of it before. She reached home without seeing anything
    more of the offended party; and now that she had been triumphant
    throughout, had carried her point, and was secure of her walk, she began
    (as the flutter of her spirits subsided) to doubt whether she had been
    perfectly right. A sacrifice was always noble; and if she had given way
    to their entreaties, she should have been spared the distressing idea of
    a friend displeased, a brother angry, and a scheme of great happiness
    to both destroyed, perhaps through her means. To ease her mind, and
    ascertain by the opinion of an unprejudiced person what her own conduct
    had really been, she took occasion to mention before Mr. Allen the
    half-settled scheme of her brother and the Thorpes for the following
    day. Mr. Allen caught at it directly. "Well," said he, "and do you think
    of going too?"

    "No; I had just engaged myself to walk with Miss Tilney before they told
    me of it; and therefore you know I could not go with them, could I?"

    "No, certainly not; and I am glad you do not think of it. These schemes
    are not at all the thing. Young men and women driving about the country
    in open carriages! Now and then it is very well; but going to inns and
    public places together! It is not right; and I wonder Mrs. Thorpe should
    allow it. I am glad you do not think of going; I am sure Mrs. Morland
    would not be pleased. Mrs. Allen, are not you of my way of thinking? Do
    not you think these kind of projects objectionable?"

    "Yes, very much so indeed. Open carriages are nasty things. A clean
    gown is not five minutes' wear in them. You are splashed getting in
    and getting out; and the wind takes your hair and your bonnet in every
    direction. I hate an open carriage myself."

    "I know you do; but that is not the question. Do not you think it has an
    odd appearance, if young ladies are frequently driven about in them by
    young men, to whom they are not even related?"

    "Yes, my dear, a very odd appearance indeed. I cannot bear to see it."

    "Dear madam," cried Catherine, "then why did not you tell me so before?
    I am sure if I had known it to be improper, I would not have gone with
    Mr. Thorpe at all; but I always hoped you would tell me, if you thought
    I was doing wrong."

    "And so I should, my dear, you may depend on it; for as I told Mrs.
    Morland at parting, I would always do the best for you in my power. But
    one must not be over particular. Young people will be young people,
    as your good mother says herself. You know I wanted you, when we first
    came, not to buy that sprigged muslin, but you would. Young people do
    not like to be always thwarted."

    "But this was something of real consequence; and I do not think you
    would have found me hard to persuade."

    "As far as it has gone hitherto, there is no harm done," said Mr. Allen;
    "and I would only advise you, my dear, not to go out with Mr. Thorpe any

    "That is just what I was going to say," added his wife.

    Catherine, relieved for herself, felt uneasy for Isabella, and after a
    moment's thought, asked Mr. Allen whether it would not be both proper
    and kind in her to write to Miss Thorpe, and explain the indecorum of
    which she must be as insensible as herself; for she considered that
    Isabella might otherwise perhaps be going to Clifton the next day, in
    spite of what had passed. Mr. Allen, however, discouraged her from doing
    any such thing. "You had better leave her alone, my dear; she is old
    enough to know what she is about, and if not, has a mother to advise
    her. Mrs. Thorpe is too indulgent beyond a doubt; but, however, you had
    better not interfere. She and your brother choose to go, and you will be
    only getting ill will."

    Catherine submitted, and though sorry to think that Isabella should be
    doing wrong, felt greatly relieved by Mr. Allen's approbation of her
    own conduct, and truly rejoiced to be preserved by his advice from the
    danger of falling into such an error herself. Her escape from being one
    of the party to Clifton was now an escape indeed; for what would the
    Tilneys have thought of her, if she had broken her promise to them in
    order to do what was wrong in itself, if she had been guilty of one
    breach of propriety, only to enable her to be guilty of another?

    CHAPTER 14

    The next morning was fair, and Catherine almost expected another attack
    from the assembled party. With Mr. Allen to support her, she felt no
    dread of the event: but she would gladly be spared a contest, where
    victory itself was painful, and was heartily rejoiced therefore at
    neither seeing nor hearing anything of them. The Tilneys called for
    her at the appointed time; and no new difficulty arising, no sudden
    recollection, no unexpected summons, no impertinent intrusion to
    disconcert their measures, my heroine was most unnaturally able to
    fulfil her engagement, though it was made with the hero himself.
    They determined on walking round Beechen Cliff, that noble hill whose
    beautiful verdure and hanging coppice render it so striking an object
    from almost every opening in Bath.

    "I never look at it," said Catherine, as they walked along the side of
    the river, "without thinking of the south of France."

    "You have been abroad then?" said Henry, a little surprised.

    "Oh! No, I only mean what I have read about. It always puts me in mind
    of the country that Emily and her father travelled through, in The
    Mysteries of Udolpho. But you never read novels, I dare say?"

    "Why not?"

    "Because they are not clever enough for you--gentlemen read better

    "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good
    novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe's
    works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho,
    when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember
    finishing it in two days--my hair standing on end the whole time."

    "Yes," added Miss Tilney, "and I remember that you undertook to read it
    aloud to me, and that when I was called away for only five minutes to
    answer a note, instead of waiting for me, you took the volume into the
    Hermitage Walk, and I was obliged to stay till you had finished it."

    "Thank you, Eleanor--a most honourable testimony. You see, Miss Morland,
    the injustice of your suspicions. Here was I, in my eagerness to get on,
    refusing to wait only five minutes for my sister, breaking the promise
    I had made of reading it aloud, and keeping her in suspense at a most
    interesting part, by running away with the volume, which, you are to
    observe, was her own, particularly her own. I am proud when I reflect on
    it, and I think it must establish me in your good opinion."

    "I am very glad to hear it indeed, and now I shall never be ashamed of
    liking Udolpho myself. But I really thought before, young men despised
    novels amazingly."

    "It is amazingly; it may well suggest amazement if they do--for they
    read nearly as many as women. I myself have read hundreds and hundreds.
    Do not imagine that you can cope with me in a knowledge of Julias and
    Louisas. If we proceed to particulars, and engage in the never-ceasing
    inquiry of 'Have you read this?' and 'Have you read that?' I shall soon
    leave you as far behind me as--what shall I say?--I want an appropriate
    simile.--as far as your friend Emily herself left poor Valancourt when
    she went with her aunt into Italy. Consider how many years I have had
    the start of you. I had entered on my studies at Oxford, while you were
    a good little girl working your sampler at home!"

    "Not very good, I am afraid. But now really, do not you think Udolpho
    the nicest book in the world?"

    "The nicest--by which I suppose you mean the neatest. That must depend
    upon the binding."

    "Henry," said Miss Tilney, "you are very impertinent. Miss Morland, he
    is treating you exactly as he does his sister. He is forever finding
    fault with me, for some incorrectness of language, and now he is taking
    the same liberty with you. The word 'nicest,' as you used it, did not
    suit him; and you had better change it as soon as you can, or we shall
    be overpowered with Johnson and Blair all the rest of the way."

    "I am sure," cried Catherine, "I did not mean to say anything wrong; but
    it is a nice book, and why should not I call it so?"

    "Very true," said Henry, "and this is a very nice day, and we are taking
    a very nice walk, and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a
    very nice word indeed! It does for everything. Originally perhaps it
    was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy, or
    refinement--people were nice in their dress, in their sentiments, or
    their choice. But now every commendation on every subject is comprised
    in that one word."

    "While, in fact," cried his sister, "it ought only to be applied to you,
    without any commendation at all. You are more nice than wise. Come,
    Miss Morland, let us leave him to meditate over our faults in the utmost
    propriety of diction, while we praise Udolpho in whatever terms we
    like best. It is a most interesting work. You are fond of that kind of

    "To say the truth, I do not much like any other."


    "That is, I can read poetry and plays, and things of that sort, and
    do not dislike travels. But history, real solemn history, I cannot be
    interested in. Can you?"

    "Yes, I am fond of history."

    "I wish I were too. I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me
    nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and
    kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for
    nothing, and hardly any women at all--it is very tiresome: and yet I
    often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it
    must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes' mouths,
    their thoughts and designs--the chief of all this must be invention, and
    invention is what delights me in other books."

    "Historians, you think," said Miss Tilney, "are not happy in their
    flights of fancy. They display imagination without raising interest. I
    am fond of history--and am very well contented to take the false with
    the true. In the principal facts they have sources of intelligence
    in former histories and records, which may be as much depended on,
    I conclude, as anything that does not actually pass under one's own
    observation; and as for the little embellishments you speak of, they are
    embellishments, and I like them as such. If a speech be well drawn up,
    I read it with pleasure, by whomsoever it may be made--and probably with
    much greater, if the production of Mr. Hume or Mr. Robertson, than if
    the genuine words of Caractacus, Agricola, or Alfred the Great."

    "You are fond of history! And so are Mr. Allen and my father; and I have
    two brothers who do not dislike it. So many instances within my small
    circle of friends is remarkable! At this rate, I shall not pity the
    writers of history any longer. If people like to read their books, it
    is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes,
    which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be
    labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck
    me as a hard fate; and though I know it is all very right and necessary,
    I have often wondered at the person's courage that could sit down on
    purpose to do it."

    "That little boys and girls should be tormented," said Henry, "is what
    no one at all acquainted with human nature in a civilized state can
    deny; but in behalf of our most distinguished historians, I must observe
    that they might well be offended at being supposed to have no higher
    aim, and that by their method and style, they are perfectly well
    qualified to torment readers of the most advanced reason and mature
    time of life. I use the verb 'to torment,' as I observed to be your own
    method, instead of 'to instruct,' supposing them to be now admitted as

    "You think me foolish to call instruction a torment, but if you had been
    as much used as myself to hear poor little children first learning their
    letters and then learning to spell, if you had ever seen how stupid they
    can be for a whole morning together, and how tired my poor mother is
    at the end of it, as I am in the habit of seeing almost every day of my
    life at home, you would allow that 'to torment' and 'to instruct' might
    sometimes be used as synonymous words."

    "Very probably. But historians are not accountable for the difficulty
    of learning to read; and even you yourself, who do not altogether seem
    particularly friendly to very severe, very intense application, may
    perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worth-while to
    be tormented for two or three years of one's life, for the sake of
    being able to read all the rest of it. Consider--if reading had not been
    taught, Mrs. Radcliffe would have written in vain--or perhaps might not
    have written at all."

    Catherine assented--and a very warm panegyric from her on that lady's
    merits closed the subject. The Tilneys were soon engaged in another on
    which she had nothing to say. They were viewing the country with the
    eyes of persons accustomed to drawing, and decided on its capability of
    being formed into pictures, with all the eagerness of real taste. Here
    Catherine was quite lost. She knew nothing of drawing--nothing of taste:
    and she listened to them with an attention which brought her little
    profit, for they talked in phrases which conveyed scarcely any idea
    to her. The little which she could understand, however, appeared to
    contradict the very few notions she had entertained on the matter
    before. It seemed as if a good view were no longer to be taken from the
    top of an high hill, and that a clear blue sky was no longer a proof
    of a fine day. She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance. A misplaced
    shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant.
    To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of
    administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would
    always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of
    knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

    The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already
    set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; and to her treatment
    of the subject I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the
    larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a
    great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them
    too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything
    more in woman than ignorance. But Catherine did not know her own
    advantages--did not know that a good-looking girl, with an affectionate
    heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young
    man, unless circumstances are particularly untoward. In the present
    instance, she confessed and lamented her want of knowledge, declared
    that she would give anything in the world to be able to draw; and
    a lecture on the picturesque immediately followed, in which his
    instructions were so clear that she soon began to see beauty in
    everything admired by him, and her attention was so earnest that he
    became perfectly satisfied of her having a great deal of natural taste.
    He talked of foregrounds, distances, and second distances--side-screens
    and perspectives--lights and shades; and Catherine was so hopeful a
    scholar that when they gained the top of Beechen Cliff, she voluntarily
    rejected the whole city of Bath as unworthy to make part of a landscape.
    Delighted with her progress, and fearful of wearying her with too much
    wisdom at once, Henry suffered the subject to decline, and by an easy
    transition from a piece of rocky fragment and the withered oak which
    he had placed near its summit, to oaks in general, to forests, the
    enclosure of them, waste lands, crown lands and government, he shortly
    found himself arrived at politics; and from politics, it was an
    easy step to silence. The general pause which succeeded his short
    disquisition on the state of the nation was put an end to by Catherine,
    who, in rather a solemn tone of voice, uttered these words, "I have
    heard that something very shocking indeed will soon come out in London."

    Miss Tilney, to whom this was chiefly addressed, was startled, and
    hastily replied, "Indeed! And of what nature?"

    "That I do not know, nor who is the author. I have only heard that it is
    to be more horrible than anything we have met with yet."

    "Good heaven! Where could you hear of such a thing?"

    "A particular friend of mine had an account of it in a letter from
    London yesterday. It is to be uncommonly dreadful. I shall expect murder
    and everything of the kind."

    "You speak with astonishing composure! But I hope your friend's accounts
    have been exaggerated; and if such a design is known beforehand, proper
    measures will undoubtedly be taken by government to prevent its coming
    to effect."

    "Government," said Henry, endeavouring not to smile, "neither desires
    nor dares to interfere in such matters. There must be murder; and
    government cares not how much."

    The ladies stared. He laughed, and added, "Come, shall I make you
    understand each other, or leave you to puzzle out an explanation as
    you can? No--I will be noble. I will prove myself a man, no less by the
    generosity of my soul than the clearness of my head. I have no patience
    with such of my sex as disdain to let themselves sometimes down to the
    comprehension of yours. Perhaps the abilities of women are neither sound
    nor acute--neither vigorous nor keen. Perhaps they may want observation,
    discernment, judgment, fire, genius, and wit."

    "Miss Morland, do not mind what he says; but have the goodness to
    satisfy me as to this dreadful riot."

    "Riot! What riot?"

    "My dear Eleanor, the riot is only in your own brain. The confusion
    there is scandalous. Miss Morland has been talking of nothing more
    dreadful than a new publication which is shortly to come out, in three
    duodecimo volumes, two hundred and seventy-six pages in each, with
    a frontispiece to the first, of two tombstones and a lantern--do you
    understand? And you, Miss Morland--my stupid sister has mistaken all
    your clearest expressions. You talked of expected horrors in London--and
    instead of instantly conceiving, as any rational creature would have
    done, that such words could relate only to a circulating library, she
    immediately pictured to herself a mob of three thousand men assembling
    in St. George's Fields, the Bank attacked, the Tower threatened, the
    streets of London flowing with blood, a detachment of the Twelfth Light
    Dragoons (the hopes of the nation) called up from Northampton to quell
    the insurgents, and the gallant Captain Frederick Tilney, in the
    moment of charging at the head of his troop, knocked off his horse by a
    brickbat from an upper window. Forgive her stupidity. The fears of the
    sister have added to the weakness of the woman; but she is by no means a
    simpleton in general."

    Catherine looked grave. "And now, Henry," said Miss Tilney, "that you
    have made us understand each other, you may as well make Miss Morland
    understand yourself--unless you mean to have her think you intolerably
    rude to your sister, and a great brute in your opinion of women in
    general. Miss Morland is not used to your odd ways."

    "I shall be most happy to make her better acquainted with them."

    "No doubt; but that is no explanation of the present."

    "What am I to do?"

    "You know what you ought to do. Clear your character handsomely before
    her. Tell her that you think very highly of the understanding of women."

    "Miss Morland, I think very highly of the understanding of all the women
    in the world--especially of those--whoever they may be--with whom I
    happen to be in company."

    "That is not enough. Be more serious."

    "Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of
    women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they
    never find it necessary to use more than half."

    "We shall get nothing more serious from him now, Miss Morland. He is
    not in a sober mood. But I do assure you that he must be entirely
    misunderstood, if he can ever appear to say an unjust thing of any woman
    at all, or an unkind one of me."

    It was no effort to Catherine to believe that Henry Tilney could never
    be wrong. His manner might sometimes surprise, but his meaning must
    always be just: and what she did not understand, she was almost as ready
    to admire, as what she did. The whole walk was delightful, and though it
    ended too soon, its conclusion was delightful too; her friends attended
    her into the house, and Miss Tilney, before they parted, addressing
    herself with respectful form, as much to Mrs. Allen as to Catherine,
    petitioned for the pleasure of her company to dinner on the day after
    the next. No difficulty was made on Mrs. Allen's side, and the only
    difficulty on Catherine's was in concealing the excess of her pleasure.

    The morning had passed away so charmingly as to banish all her
    friendship and natural affection, for no thought of Isabella or James
    had crossed her during their walk. When the Tilneys were gone, she
    became amiable again, but she was amiable for some time to little
    effect; Mrs. Allen had no intelligence to give that could relieve her
    anxiety; she had heard nothing of any of them. Towards the end of the
    morning, however, Catherine, having occasion for some indispensable yard
    of ribbon which must be bought without a moment's delay, walked out into
    the town, and in Bond Street overtook the second Miss Thorpe as she was
    loitering towards Edgar's Buildings between two of the sweetest girls in
    the world, who had been her dear friends all the morning. From her, she
    soon learned that the party to Clifton had taken place. "They set off at
    eight this morning," said Miss Anne, "and I am sure I do not envy
    them their drive. I think you and I are very well off to be out of the
    scrape. It must be the dullest thing in the world, for there is not a
    soul at Clifton at this time of year. Belle went with your brother, and
    John drove Maria."

    Catherine spoke the pleasure she really felt on hearing this part of the

    "Oh! yes," rejoined the other, "Maria is gone. She was quite wild to go.
    She thought it would be something very fine. I cannot say I admire her
    taste; and for my part, I was determined from the first not to go, if
    they pressed me ever so much."

    Catherine, a little doubtful of this, could not help answering, "I wish
    you could have gone too. It is a pity you could not all go."

    "Thank you; but it is quite a matter of indifference to me. Indeed, I
    would not have gone on any account. I was saying so to Emily and Sophia
    when you overtook us."

    Catherine was still unconvinced; but glad that Anne should have the
    friendship of an Emily and a Sophia to console her, she bade her adieu
    without much uneasiness, and returned home, pleased that the party had
    not been prevented by her refusing to join it, and very heartily wishing
    that it might be too pleasant to allow either James or Isabella to
    resent her resistance any longer.

    CHAPTER 15

    Early the next day, a note from Isabella, speaking peace and tenderness
    in every line, and entreating the immediate presence of her friend on
    a matter of the utmost importance, hastened Catherine, in the happiest
    state of confidence and curiosity, to Edgar's Buildings. The two
    youngest Miss Thorpes were by themselves in the parlour; and, on Anne's
    quitting it to call her sister, Catherine took the opportunity of asking
    the other for some particulars of their yesterday's party. Maria desired
    no greater pleasure than to speak of it; and Catherine immediately
    learnt that it had been altogether the most delightful scheme in the
    world, that nobody could imagine how charming it had been, and that
    it had been more delightful than anybody could conceive. Such was the
    information of the first five minutes; the second unfolded thus much in
    detail--that they had driven directly to the York Hotel, ate some soup,
    and bespoke an early dinner, walked down to the pump-room, tasted the
    water, and laid out some shillings in purses and spars; thence adjoined
    to eat ice at a pastry-cook's, and hurrying back to the hotel, swallowed
    their dinner in haste, to prevent being in the dark; and then had a
    delightful drive back, only the moon was not up, and it rained a little,
    and Mr. Morland's horse was so tired he could hardly get it along.

    Catherine listened with heartfelt satisfaction. It appeared that Blaize
    Castle had never been thought of; and, as for all the rest, there was
    nothing to regret for half an instant. Maria's intelligence concluded
    with a tender effusion of pity for her sister Anne, whom she represented
    as insupportably cross, from being excluded the party.

    "She will never forgive me, I am sure; but, you know, how could I help
    it? John would have me go, for he vowed he would not drive her, because
    she had such thick ankles. I dare say she will not be in good humour
    again this month; but I am determined I will not be cross; it is not a
    little matter that puts me out of temper."

    Isabella now entered the room with so eager a step, and a look of such
    happy importance, as engaged all her friend's notice. Maria was without
    ceremony sent away, and Isabella, embracing Catherine, thus began: "Yes,
    my dear Catherine, it is so indeed; your penetration has not deceived
    you. Oh! That arch eye of yours! It sees through everything."

    Catherine replied only by a look of wondering ignorance.

    "Nay, my beloved, sweetest friend," continued the other, "compose
    yourself. I am amazingly agitated, as you perceive. Let us sit down and
    talk in comfort. Well, and so you guessed it the moment you had my note?
    Sly creature! Oh! My dear Catherine, you alone, who know my heart, can
    judge of my present happiness. Your brother is the most charming of
    men. I only wish I were more worthy of him. But what will your excellent
    father and mother say? Oh! Heavens! When I think of them I am so

    Catherine's understanding began to awake: an idea of the truth suddenly
    darted into her mind; and, with the natural blush of so new an emotion,
    she cried out, "Good heaven! My dear Isabella, what do you mean? Can
    you--can you really be in love with James?"

    This bold surmise, however, she soon learnt comprehended but half the
    fact. The anxious affection, which she was accused of having continually
    watched in Isabella's every look and action, had, in the course of their
    yesterday's party, received the delightful confession of an equal love.
    Her heart and faith were alike engaged to James. Never had Catherine
    listened to anything so full of interest, wonder, and joy. Her brother
    and her friend engaged! New to such circumstances, the importance of
    it appeared unspeakably great, and she contemplated it as one of those
    grand events, of which the ordinary course of life can hardly afford a
    return. The strength of her feelings she could not express; the nature
    of them, however, contented her friend. The happiness of having such a
    sister was their first effusion, and the fair ladies mingled in embraces
    and tears of joy.

    Delighting, however, as Catherine sincerely did in the prospect of the
    connection, it must be acknowledged that Isabella far surpassed her
    in tender anticipations. "You will be so infinitely dearer to me, my
    Catherine, than either Anne or Maria: I feel that I shall be so much
    more attached to my dear Morland's family than to my own."

    This was a pitch of friendship beyond Catherine.

    "You are so like your dear brother," continued Isabella, "that I quite
    doted on you the first moment I saw you. But so it always is with me;
    the first moment settles everything. The very first day that Morland
    came to us last Christmas--the very first moment I beheld him--my heart
    was irrecoverably gone. I remember I wore my yellow gown, with my hair
    done up in braids; and when I came into the drawing-room, and John
    introduced him, I thought I never saw anybody so handsome before."

    Here Catherine secretly acknowledged the power of love; for, though
    exceedingly fond of her brother, and partial to all his endowments, she
    had never in her life thought him handsome.

    "I remember too, Miss Andrews drank tea with us that evening, and wore
    her puce-coloured sarsenet; and she looked so heavenly that I thought
    your brother must certainly fall in love with her; I could not sleep
    a wink all right for thinking of it. Oh! Catherine, the many sleepless
    nights I have had on your brother's account! I would not have you suffer
    half what I have done! I am grown wretchedly thin, I know; but I will
    not pain you by describing my anxiety; you have seen enough of it. I
    feel that I have betrayed myself perpetually--so unguarded in speaking
    of my partiality for the church! But my secret I was always sure would
    be safe with you."

    Catherine felt that nothing could have been safer; but ashamed of an
    ignorance little expected, she dared no longer contest the point,
    nor refuse to have been as full of arch penetration and affectionate
    sympathy as Isabella chose to consider her. Her brother, she found,
    was preparing to set off with all speed to Fullerton, to make known his
    situation and ask consent; and here was a source of some real agitation
    to the mind of Isabella. Catherine endeavoured to persuade her, as she
    was herself persuaded, that her father and mother would never oppose
    their son's wishes. "It is impossible," said she, "for parents to be
    more kind, or more desirous of their children's happiness; I have no
    doubt of their consenting immediately."

    "Morland says exactly the same," replied Isabella; "and yet I dare not
    expect it; my fortune will be so small; they never can consent to it.
    Your brother, who might marry anybody!"

    Here Catherine again discerned the force of love.

    "Indeed, Isabella, you are too humble. The difference of fortune can be
    nothing to signify."

    "Oh! My sweet Catherine, in your generous heart I know it would signify
    nothing; but we must not expect such disinterestedness in many. As for
    myself, I am sure I only wish our situations were reversed. Had I the
    command of millions, were I mistress of the whole world, your brother
    would be my only choice."

    This charming sentiment, recommended as much by sense as novelty,
    gave Catherine a most pleasing remembrance of all the heroines of her
    acquaintance; and she thought her friend never looked more lovely than
    in uttering the grand idea. "I am sure they will consent," was her
    frequent declaration; "I am sure they will be delighted with you."

    "For my own part," said Isabella, "my wishes are so moderate that the
    smallest income in nature would be enough for me. Where people are
    really attached, poverty itself is wealth; grandeur I detest: I would
    not settle in London for the universe. A cottage in some retired village
    would be ecstasy. There are some charming little villas about Richmond."

    "Richmond!" cried Catherine. "You must settle near Fullerton. You must
    be near us."

    "I am sure I shall be miserable if we do not. If I can but be near you,
    I shall be satisfied. But this is idle talking! I will not allow myself
    to think of such things, till we have your father's answer. Morland
    says that by sending it tonight to Salisbury, we may have it tomorrow.
    Tomorrow? I know I shall never have courage to open the letter. I know
    it will be the death of me."

    A reverie succeeded this conviction--and when Isabella spoke again, it
    was to resolve on the quality of her wedding-gown.

    Their conference was put an end to by the anxious young lover himself,
    who came to breathe his parting sigh before he set off for Wiltshire.
    Catherine wished to congratulate him, but knew not what to say, and her
    eloquence was only in her eyes. From them, however, the eight parts of
    speech shone out most expressively, and James could combine them with
    ease. Impatient for the realization of all that he hoped at home, his
    adieus were not long; and they would have been yet shorter, had he not
    been frequently detained by the urgent entreaties of his fair one that
    he would go. Twice was he called almost from the door by her eagerness
    to have him gone. "Indeed, Morland, I must drive you away. Consider how
    far you have to ride. I cannot bear to see you linger so. For heaven's
    sake, waste no more time. There, go, go--I insist on it."

    The two friends, with hearts now more united than ever, were inseparable
    for the day; and in schemes of sisterly happiness the hours flew along.
    Mrs. Thorpe and her son, who were acquainted with everything, and
    who seemed only to want Mr. Morland's consent, to consider Isabella's
    engagement as the most fortunate circumstance imaginable for their
    family, were allowed to join their counsels, and add their quota of
    significant looks and mysterious expressions to fill up the measure
    of curiosity to be raised in the unprivileged younger sisters. To
    Catherine's simple feelings, this odd sort of reserve seemed neither
    kindly meant, nor consistently supported; and its unkindness she would
    hardly have forborne pointing out, had its inconsistency been less their
    friend; but Anne and Maria soon set her heart at ease by the sagacity of
    their "I know what"; and the evening was spent in a sort of war of wit,
    a display of family ingenuity, on one side in the mystery of an affected
    secret, on the other of undefined discovery, all equally acute.

    Catherine was with her friend again the next day, endeavouring to
    support her spirits and while away the many tedious hours before
    the delivery of the letters; a needful exertion, for as the time
    of reasonable expectation drew near, Isabella became more and more
    desponding, and before the letter arrived, had worked herself into a
    state of real distress. But when it did come, where could distress
    be found? "I have had no difficulty in gaining the consent of my kind
    parents, and am promised that everything in their power shall be done to
    forward my happiness," were the first three lines, and in one moment
    all was joyful security. The brightest glow was instantly spread over
    Isabella's features, all care and anxiety seemed removed, her spirits
    became almost too high for control, and she called herself without
    scruple the happiest of mortals.

    Mrs. Thorpe, with tears of joy, embraced her daughter, her son, her
    visitor, and could have embraced half the inhabitants of Bath with
    satisfaction. Her heart was overflowing with tenderness. It was "dear
    John" and "dear Catherine" at every word; "dear Anne and dear Maria"
    must immediately be made sharers in their felicity; and two "dears" at
    once before the name of Isabella were not more than that beloved child
    had now well earned. John himself was no skulker in joy. He not only
    bestowed on Mr. Morland the high commendation of being one of the finest
    fellows in the world, but swore off many sentences in his praise.

    The letter, whence sprang all this felicity, was short, containing
    little more than this assurance of success; and every particular was
    deferred till James could write again. But for particulars Isabella
    could well afford to wait. The needful was comprised in Mr. Morland's
    promise; his honour was pledged to make everything easy; and by what
    means their income was to be formed, whether landed property were to
    be resigned, or funded money made over, was a matter in which her
    disinterested spirit took no concern. She knew enough to feel secure of
    an honourable and speedy establishment, and her imagination took a rapid
    flight over its attendant felicities. She saw herself at the end of
    a few weeks, the gaze and admiration of every new acquaintance at
    Fullerton, the envy of every valued old friend in Putney, with a
    carriage at her command, a new name on her tickets, and a brilliant
    exhibition of hoop rings on her finger.

    When the contents of the letter were ascertained, John Thorpe, who had
    only waited its arrival to begin his journey to London, prepared to set
    off. "Well, Miss Morland," said he, on finding her alone in the parlour,
    "I am come to bid you good-bye." Catherine wished him a good journey.
    Without appearing to hear her, he walked to the window, fidgeted about,
    hummed a tune, and seemed wholly self-occupied.

    "Shall not you be late at Devizes?" said Catherine. He made no answer;
    but after a minute's silence burst out with, "A famous good thing this
    marrying scheme, upon my soul! A clever fancy of Morland's and Belle's.
    What do you think of it, Miss Morland? I say it is no bad notion."

    "I am sure I think it a very good one."

    "Do you? That's honest, by heavens! I am glad you are no enemy to
    matrimony, however. Did you ever hear the old song 'Going to One Wedding
    Brings on Another?' I say, you will come to Belle's wedding, I hope."

    "Yes; I have promised your sister to be with her, if possible."

    "And then you know"--twisting himself about and forcing a foolish
    laugh--"I say, then you know, we may try the truth of this same old

    "May we? But I never sing. Well, I wish you a good journey. I dine with
    Miss Tilney today, and must now be going home."

    "Nay, but there is no such confounded hurry. Who knows when we may
    be together again? Not but that I shall be down again by the end of a
    fortnight, and a devilish long fortnight it will appear to me."

    "Then why do you stay away so long?" replied Catherine--finding that he
    waited for an answer.

    "That is kind of you, however--kind and good-natured. I shall not forget
    it in a hurry. But you have more good nature and all that, than anybody
    living, I believe. A monstrous deal of good nature, and it is not only
    good nature, but you have so much, so much of everything; and then you
    have such--upon my soul, I do not know anybody like you."

    "Oh! dear, there are a great many people like me, I dare say, only a
    great deal better. Good morning to you."

    "But I say, Miss Morland, I shall come and pay my respects at Fullerton
    before it is long, if not disagreeable."

    "Pray do. My father and mother will be very glad to see you."

    "And I hope--I hope, Miss Morland, you will not be sorry to see me."

    "Oh! dear, not at all. There are very few people I am sorry to see.
    Company is always cheerful."

    "That is just my way of thinking. Give me but a little cheerful company,
    let me only have the company of the people I love, let me only be where
    I like and with whom I like, and the devil take the rest, say I. And
    I am heartily glad to hear you say the same. But I have a notion, Miss
    Morland, you and I think pretty much alike upon most matters."

    "Perhaps we may; but it is more than I ever thought of. And as to most
    matters, to say the truth, there are not many that I know my own mind

    "By Jove, no more do I. It is not my way to bother my brains with what
    does not concern me. My notion of things is simple enough. Let me only
    have the girl I like, say I, with a comfortable house over my head, and
    what care I for all the rest? Fortune is nothing. I am sure of a good
    income of my own; and if she had not a penny, why, so much the better."

    "Very true. I think like you there. If there is a good fortune on one
    side, there can be no occasion for any on the other. No matter which
    has it, so that there is enough. I hate the idea of one great fortune
    looking out for another. And to marry for money I think the wickedest
    thing in existence. Good day. We shall be very glad to see you at
    Fullerton, whenever it is convenient." And away she went. It was not in
    the power of all his gallantry to detain her longer. With such news to
    communicate, and such a visit to prepare for, her departure was not
    to be delayed by anything in his nature to urge; and she hurried away,
    leaving him to the undivided consciousness of his own happy address, and
    her explicit encouragement.

    The agitation which she had herself experienced on first learning her
    brother's engagement made her expect to raise no inconsiderable emotion
    in Mr. and Mrs. Allen, by the communication of the wonderful event. How
    great was her disappointment! The important affair, which many words of
    preparation ushered in, had been foreseen by them both ever since
    her brother's arrival; and all that they felt on the occasion was
    comprehended in a wish for the young people's happiness, with a remark,
    on the gentleman's side, in favour of Isabella's beauty, and on the
    lady's, of her great good luck. It was to Catherine the most surprising
    insensibility. The disclosure, however, of the great secret of James's
    going to Fullerton the day before, did raise some emotion in Mrs. Allen.
    She could not listen to that with perfect calmness, but repeatedly
    regretted the necessity of its concealment, wished she could have known
    his intention, wished she could have seen him before he went, as she
    should certainly have troubled him with her best regards to his father
    and mother, and her kind compliments to all the Skinners.

    CHAPTER 16

    Catherine's expectations of pleasure from her visit in Milsom Street
    were so very high that disappointment was inevitable; and accordingly,
    though she was most politely received by General Tilney, and kindly
    welcomed by his daughter, though Henry was at home, and no one else of
    the party, she found, on her return, without spending many hours in
    the examination of her feelings, that she had gone to her appointment
    preparing for happiness which it had not afforded. Instead of finding
    herself improved in acquaintance with Miss Tilney, from the intercourse
    of the day, she seemed hardly so intimate with her as before; instead
    of seeing Henry Tilney to greater advantage than ever, in the ease of a
    family party, he had never said so little, nor been so little agreeable;
    and, in spite of their father's great civilities to her--in spite of his
    thanks, invitations, and compliments--it had been a release to get
    away from him. It puzzled her to account for all this. It could not
    be General Tilney's fault. That he was perfectly agreeable and
    good-natured, and altogether a very charming man, did not admit of a
    doubt, for he was tall and handsome, and Henry's father. He could not
    be accountable for his children's want of spirits, or for her want of
    enjoyment in his company. The former she hoped at last might have
    been accidental, and the latter she could only attribute to her own
    stupidity. Isabella, on hearing the particulars of the visit, gave
    a different explanation: "It was all pride, pride, insufferable
    haughtiness and pride! She had long suspected the family to be very
    high, and this made it certain. Such insolence of behaviour as Miss
    Tilney's she had never heard of in her life! Not to do the honours of
    her house with common good breeding! To behave to her guest with such
    superciliousness! Hardly even to speak to her!"

    "But it was not so bad as that, Isabella; there was no superciliousness;
    she was very civil."

    "Oh! Don't defend her! And then the brother, he, who had appeared
    so attached to you! Good heavens! Well, some people's feelings are
    incomprehensible. And so he hardly looked once at you the whole day?"

    "I do not say so; but he did not seem in good spirits."

    "How contemptible! Of all things in the world inconstancy is my
    aversion. Let me entreat you never to think of him again, my dear
    Catherine; indeed he is unworthy of you."

    "Unworthy! I do not suppose he ever thinks of me."

    "That is exactly what I say; he never thinks of you. Such fickleness!
    Oh! How different to your brother and to mine! I really believe John has
    the most constant heart."

    "But as for General Tilney, I assure you it would be impossible for
    anybody to behave to me with greater civility and attention; it seemed
    to be his only care to entertain and make me happy."

    "Oh! I know no harm of him; I do not suspect him of pride. I believe he
    is a very gentleman-like man. John thinks very well of him, and John's

    "Well, I shall see how they behave to me this evening; we shall meet
    them at the rooms."

    "And must I go?"

    "Do not you intend it? I thought it was all settled."

    "Nay, since you make such a point of it, I can refuse you nothing. But
    do not insist upon my being very agreeable, for my heart, you know, will
    be some forty miles off. And as for dancing, do not mention it, I beg;
    that is quite out of the question. Charles Hodges will plague me to
    death, I dare say; but I shall cut him very short. Ten to one but he
    guesses the reason, and that is exactly what I want to avoid, so I shall
    insist on his keeping his conjecture to himself."

    Isabella's opinion of the Tilneys did not influence her friend; she was
    sure there had been no insolence in the manners either of brother or
    sister; and she did not credit there being any pride in their hearts.
    The evening rewarded her confidence; she was met by one with the same
    kindness, and by the other with the same attention, as heretofore: Miss
    Tilney took pains to be near her, and Henry asked her to dance.

    Having heard the day before in Milsom Street that their elder brother,
    Captain Tilney, was expected almost every hour, she was at no loss for
    the name of a very fashionable-looking, handsome young man, whom she had
    never seen before, and who now evidently belonged to their party. She
    looked at him with great admiration, and even supposed it possible that
    some people might think him handsomer than his brother, though, in her
    eyes, his air was more assuming, and his countenance less prepossessing.
    His taste and manners were beyond a doubt decidedly inferior; for,
    within her hearing, he not only protested against every thought of
    dancing himself, but even laughed openly at Henry for finding it
    possible. From the latter circumstance it may be presumed that, whatever
    might be our heroine's opinion of him, his admiration of her was not
    of a very dangerous kind; not likely to produce animosities between the
    brothers, nor persecutions to the lady. He cannot be the instigator of
    the three villains in horsemen's greatcoats, by whom she will hereafter
    be forced into a traveling-chaise and four, which will drive off with
    incredible speed. Catherine, meanwhile, undisturbed by presentiments of
    such an evil, or of any evil at all, except that of having but a short
    set to dance down, enjoyed her usual happiness with Henry Tilney,
    listening with sparkling eyes to everything he said; and, in finding him
    irresistible, becoming so herself.

    At the end of the first dance, Captain Tilney came towards them again,
    and, much to Catherine's dissatisfaction, pulled his brother away. They
    retired whispering together; and, though her delicate sensibility did
    not take immediate alarm, and lay it down as fact, that Captain Tilney
    must have heard some malevolent misrepresentation of her, which he now
    hastened to communicate to his brother, in the hope of separating them
    forever, she could not have her partner conveyed from her sight without
    very uneasy sensations. Her suspense was of full five minutes' duration;
    and she was beginning to think it a very long quarter of an hour, when
    they both returned, and an explanation was given, by Henry's requesting
    to know if she thought her friend, Miss Thorpe, would have any objection
    to dancing, as his brother would be most happy to be introduced to
    her. Catherine, without hesitation, replied that she was very sure Miss
    Thorpe did not mean to dance at all. The cruel reply was passed on to
    the other, and he immediately walked away.

    "Your brother will not mind it, I know," said she, "because I heard him
    say before that he hated dancing; but it was very good-natured in him
    to think of it. I suppose he saw Isabella sitting down, and fancied she
    might wish for a partner; but he is quite mistaken, for she would not
    dance upon any account in the world."

    Henry smiled, and said, "How very little trouble it can give you to
    understand the motive of other people's actions."

    "Why? What do you mean?"

    "With you, it is not, How is such a one likely to be influenced, What
    is the inducement most likely to act upon such a person's feelings, age,
    situation, and probable habits of life considered--but, How should I be
    influenced, What would be my inducement in acting so and so?"

    "I do not understand you."

    "Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly

    "Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible."

    "Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language."

    "But pray tell me what you mean."

    "Shall I indeed? Do you really desire it? But you are not aware of the
    consequences; it will involve you in a very cruel embarrassment, and
    certainly bring on a disagreement between us.

    "No, no; it shall not do either; I am not afraid."

    "Well, then, I only meant that your attributing my brother's wish of
    dancing with Miss Thorpe to good nature alone convinced me of your being
    superior in good nature yourself to all the rest of the world."

    Catherine blushed and disclaimed, and the gentleman's predictions were
    verified. There was a something, however, in his words which repaid her
    for the pain of confusion; and that something occupied her mind so much
    that she drew back for some time, forgetting to speak or to listen, and
    almost forgetting where she was; till, roused by the voice of Isabella,
    she looked up and saw her with Captain Tilney preparing to give them
    hands across.

    Isabella shrugged her shoulders and smiled, the only explanation of this
    extraordinary change which could at that time be given; but as it
    was not quite enough for Catherine's comprehension, she spoke her
    astonishment in very plain terms to her partner.

    "I cannot think how it could happen! Isabella was so determined not to

    "And did Isabella never change her mind before?"

    "Oh! But, because--And your brother! After what you told him from me,
    how could he think of going to ask her?"

    "I cannot take surprise to myself on that head. You bid me be surprised
    on your friend's account, and therefore I am; but as for my brother, his
    conduct in the business, I must own, has been no more than I believed
    him perfectly equal to. The fairness of your friend was an open
    attraction; her firmness, you know, could only be understood by

    "You are laughing; but, I assure you, Isabella is very firm in general."

    "It is as much as should be said of anyone. To be always firm must be
    to be often obstinate. When properly to relax is the trial of judgment;
    and, without reference to my brother, I really think Miss Thorpe has by
    no means chosen ill in fixing on the present hour."

    The friends were not able to get together for any confidential discourse
    till all the dancing was over; but then, as they walked about the room
    arm in arm, Isabella thus explained herself: "I do not wonder at your
    surprise; and I am really fatigued to death. He is such a rattle!
    Amusing enough, if my mind had been disengaged; but I would have given
    the world to sit still."

    "Then why did not you?"

    "Oh! My dear! It would have looked so particular; and you know how I
    abhor doing that. I refused him as long as I possibly could, but he
    would take no denial. You have no idea how he pressed me. I begged him
    to excuse me, and get some other partner--but no, not he; after aspiring
    to my hand, there was nobody else in the room he could bear to think of;
    and it was not that he wanted merely to dance, he wanted to be with
    me. Oh! Such nonsense! I told him he had taken a very unlikely way to
    prevail upon me; for, of all things in the world, I hated fine speeches
    and compliments; and so--and so then I found there would be no peace if
    I did not stand up. Besides, I thought Mrs. Hughes, who introduced him,
    might take it ill if I did not: and your dear brother, I am sure he
    would have been miserable if I had sat down the whole evening. I am
    so glad it is over! My spirits are quite jaded with listening to his
    nonsense: and then, being such a smart young fellow, I saw every eye was
    upon us."

    "He is very handsome indeed."

    "Handsome! Yes, I suppose he may. I dare say people would admire him
    in general; but he is not at all in my style of beauty. I hate a florid
    complexion and dark eyes in a man. However, he is very well. Amazingly
    conceited, I am sure. I took him down several times, you know, in my

    When the young ladies next met, they had a far more interesting subject
    to discuss. James Morland's second letter was then received, and the
    kind intentions of his father fully explained. A living, of which Mr.
    Morland was himself patron and incumbent, of about four hundred pounds
    yearly value, was to be resigned to his son as soon as he should be
    old enough to take it; no trifling deduction from the family income, no
    niggardly assignment to one of ten children. An estate of at least equal
    value, moreover, was assured as his future inheritance.

    James expressed himself on the occasion with becoming gratitude; and
    the necessity of waiting between two and three years before they could
    marry, being, however unwelcome, no more than he had expected, was borne
    by him without discontent. Catherine, whose expectations had been as
    unfixed as her ideas of her father's income, and whose judgment was now
    entirely led by her brother, felt equally well satisfied, and heartily
    congratulated Isabella on having everything so pleasantly settled.

    "It is very charming indeed," said Isabella, with a grave face. "Mr.
    Morland has behaved vastly handsome indeed," said the gentle Mrs.
    Thorpe, looking anxiously at her daughter. "I only wish I could do as
    much. One could not expect more from him, you know. If he finds he
    can do more by and by, I dare say he will, for I am sure he must be an
    excellent good-hearted man. Four hundred is but a small income to begin
    on indeed, but your wishes, my dear Isabella, are so moderate, you do
    not consider how little you ever want, my dear."

    "It is not on my own account I wish for more; but I cannot bear to
    be the means of injuring my dear Morland, making him sit down upon an
    income hardly enough to find one in the common necessaries of life. For
    myself, it is nothing; I never think of myself."

    "I know you never do, my dear; and you will always find your reward in
    the affection it makes everybody feel for you. There never was a young
    woman so beloved as you are by everybody that knows you; and I dare say
    when Mr. Morland sees you, my dear child--but do not let us distress
    our dear Catherine by talking of such things. Mr. Morland has behaved so
    very handsome, you know. I always heard he was a most excellent man;
    and you know, my dear, we are not to suppose but what, if you had had a
    suitable fortune, he would have come down with something more, for I am
    sure he must be a most liberal-minded man."

    "Nobody can think better of Mr. Morland than I do, I am sure. But
    everybody has their failing, you know, and everybody has a right to
    do what they like with their own money." Catherine was hurt by these
    insinuations. "I am very sure," said she, "that my father has promised
    to do as much as he can afford."

    Isabella recollected herself. "As to that, my sweet Catherine, there
    cannot be a doubt, and you know me well enough to be sure that a much
    smaller income would satisfy me. It is not the want of more money that
    makes me just at present a little out of spirits; I hate money; and if
    our union could take place now upon only fifty pounds a year, I should
    not have a wish unsatisfied. Ah! my Catherine, you have found me out.
    There's the sting. The long, long, endless two years and half that are
    to pass before your brother can hold the living."

    "Yes, yes, my darling Isabella," said Mrs. Thorpe, "we perfectly see
    into your heart. You have no disguise. We perfectly understand the
    present vexation; and everybody must love you the better for such a
    noble honest affection."

    Catherine's uncomfortable feelings began to lessen. She endeavoured to
    believe that the delay of the marriage was the only source of Isabella's
    regret; and when she saw her at their next interview as cheerful and
    amiable as ever, endeavoured to forget that she had for a minute thought
    otherwise. James soon followed his letter, and was received with the
    most gratifying kindness.

    CHAPTER 17

    The Allens had now entered on the sixth week of their stay in Bath; and
    whether it should be the last was for some time a question, to which
    Catherine listened with a beating heart. To have her acquaintance with
    the Tilneys end so soon was an evil which nothing could counterbalance.
    Her whole happiness seemed at stake, while the affair was in suspense,
    and everything secured when it was determined that the lodgings should
    be taken for another fortnight. What this additional fortnight was to
    produce to her beyond the pleasure of sometimes seeing Henry Tilney made
    but a small part of Catherine's speculation. Once or twice indeed, since
    James's engagement had taught her what could be done, she had got so
    far as to indulge in a secret "perhaps," but in general the felicity of
    being with him for the present bounded her views: the present was now
    comprised in another three weeks, and her happiness being certain for
    that period, the rest of her life was at such a distance as to excite
    but little interest. In the course of the morning which saw this
    business arranged, she visited Miss Tilney, and poured forth her
    joyful feelings. It was doomed to be a day of trial. No sooner had she
    expressed her delight in Mr. Allen's lengthened stay than Miss Tilney
    told her of her father's having just determined upon quitting Bath
    by the end of another week. Here was a blow! The past suspense of
    the morning had been ease and quiet to the present disappointment.
    Catherine's countenance fell, and in a voice of most sincere concern she
    echoed Miss Tilney's concluding words, "By the end of another week!"

    "Yes, my father can seldom be prevailed on to give the waters what I
    think a fair trial. He has been disappointed of some friends' arrival
    whom he expected to meet here, and as he is now pretty well, is in a
    hurry to get home."

    "I am very sorry for it," said Catherine dejectedly; "if I had known
    this before--"

    "Perhaps," said Miss Tilney in an embarrassed manner, "you would be so
    good--it would make me very happy if--"

    The entrance of her father put a stop to the civility, which Catherine
    was beginning to hope might introduce a desire of their corresponding.
    After addressing her with his usual politeness, he turned to his
    daughter and said, "Well, Eleanor, may I congratulate you on being
    successful in your application to your fair friend?"

    "I was just beginning to make the request, sir, as you came in."

    "Well, proceed by all means. I know how much your heart is in it. My
    daughter, Miss Morland," he continued, without leaving his daughter time
    to speak, "has been forming a very bold wish. We leave Bath, as she has
    perhaps told you, on Saturday se'nnight. A letter from my steward tells
    me that my presence is wanted at home; and being disappointed in my hope
    of seeing the Marquis of Longtown and General Courteney here, some of
    my very old friends, there is nothing to detain me longer in Bath. And
    could we carry our selfish point with you, we should leave it without a
    single regret. Can you, in short, be prevailed on to quit this scene
    of public triumph and oblige your friend Eleanor with your company in
    Gloucestershire? I am almost ashamed to make the request, though its
    presumption would certainly appear greater to every creature in Bath
    than yourself. Modesty such as yours--but not for the world would I pain
    it by open praise. If you can be induced to honour us with a visit,
    you will make us happy beyond expression. 'Tis true, we can offer you
    nothing like the gaieties of this lively place; we can tempt you neither
    by amusement nor splendour, for our mode of living, as you see, is plain
    and unpretending; yet no endeavours shall be wanting on our side to make
    Northanger Abbey not wholly disagreeable."

    Northanger Abbey! These were thrilling words, and wound up Catherine's
    feelings to the highest point of ecstasy. Her grateful and gratified
    heart could hardly restrain its expressions within the language of
    tolerable calmness. To receive so flattering an invitation! To have her
    company so warmly solicited! Everything honourable and soothing, every
    present enjoyment, and every future hope was contained in it; and her
    acceptance, with only the saving clause of Papa and Mamma's approbation,
    was eagerly given. "I will write home directly," said she, "and if they
    do not object, as I dare say they will not--"

    General Tilney was not less sanguine, having already waited on her
    excellent friends in Pulteney Street, and obtained their sanction of
    his wishes. "Since they can consent to part with you," said he, "we may
    expect philosophy from all the world."

    Miss Tilney was earnest, though gentle, in her secondary civilities, and
    the affair became in a few minutes as nearly settled as this necessary
    reference to Fullerton would allow.

    The circumstances of the morning had led Catherine's feelings through
    the varieties of suspense, security, and disappointment; but they were
    now safely lodged in perfect bliss; and with spirits elated to rapture,
    with Henry at her heart, and Northanger Abbey on her lips, she
    hurried home to write her letter. Mr. and Mrs. Morland, relying on
    the discretion of the friends to whom they had already entrusted their
    daughter, felt no doubt of the propriety of an acquaintance which had
    been formed under their eye, and sent therefore by return of post their
    ready consent to her visit in Gloucestershire. This indulgence, though
    not more than Catherine had hoped for, completed her conviction of being
    favoured beyond every other human creature, in friends and fortune,
    circumstance and chance. Everything seemed to cooperate for her
    advantage. By the kindness of her first friends, the Allens, she had
    been introduced into scenes where pleasures of every kind had met her.
    Her feelings, her preferences, had each known the happiness of a return.
    Wherever she felt attachment, she had been able to create it. The
    affection of Isabella was to be secured to her in a sister. The Tilneys,
    they, by whom, above all, she desired to be favourably thought of,
    outstripped even her wishes in the flattering measures by which their
    intimacy was to be continued. She was to be their chosen visitor, she
    was to be for weeks under the same roof with the person whose society
    she mostly prized--and, in addition to all the rest, this roof was to
    be the roof of an abbey! Her passion for ancient edifices was next in
    degree to her passion for Henry Tilney--and castles and abbeys made
    usually the charm of those reveries which his image did not fill. To see
    and explore either the ramparts and keep of the one, or the cloisters
    of the other, had been for many weeks a darling wish, though to be more
    than the visitor of an hour had seemed too nearly impossible for desire.
    And yet, this was to happen. With all the chances against her of house,
    hall, place, park, court, and cottage, Northanger turned up an abbey,
    and she was to be its inhabitant. Its long, damp passages, its narrow
    cells and ruined chapel, were to be within her daily reach, and she
    could not entirely subdue the hope of some traditional legends, some
    awful memorials of an injured and ill-fated nun.

    It was wonderful that her friends should seem so little elated by the
    possession of such a home, that the consciousness of it should be so
    meekly borne. The power of early habit only could account for it. A
    distinction to which they had been born gave no pride. Their superiority
    of abode was no more to them than their superiority of person.

    Many were the inquiries she was eager to make of Miss Tilney; but so
    active were her thoughts, that when these inquiries were answered, she
    was hardly more assured than before, of Northanger Abbey having been
    a richly endowed convent at the time of the Reformation, of its having
    fallen into the hands of an ancestor of the Tilneys on its dissolution,
    of a large portion of the ancient building still making a part of the
    present dwelling although the rest was decayed, or of its standing low
    in a valley, sheltered from the north and east by rising woods of oak.

    CHAPTER 18

    With a mind thus full of happiness, Catherine was hardly aware that two
    or three days had passed away, without her seeing Isabella for more than
    a few minutes together. She began first to be sensible of this, and
    to sigh for her conversation, as she walked along the pump-room one
    morning, by Mrs. Allen's side, without anything to say or to hear; and
    scarcely had she felt a five minutes' longing of friendship, before the
    object of it appeared, and inviting her to a secret conference, led the
    way to a seat. "This is my favourite place," said she as they sat
    down on a bench between the doors, which commanded a tolerable view of
    everybody entering at either; "it is so out of the way."

    Catherine, observing that Isabella's eyes were continually bent towards
    one door or the other, as in eager expectation, and remembering how
    often she had been falsely accused of being arch, thought the present a
    fine opportunity for being really so; and therefore gaily said, "Do not
    be uneasy, Isabella, James will soon be here."

    "Psha! My dear creature," she replied, "do not think me such a simpleton
    as to be always wanting to confine him to my elbow. It would be hideous
    to be always together; we should be the jest of the place. And so you
    are going to Northanger! I am amazingly glad of it. It is one of the
    finest old places in England, I understand. I shall depend upon a most
    particular description of it."

    "You shall certainly have the best in my power to give. But who are you
    looking for? Are your sisters coming?"

    "I am not looking for anybody. One's eyes must be somewhere, and you
    know what a foolish trick I have of fixing mine, when my thoughts are an
    hundred miles off. I am amazingly absent; I believe I am the most absent
    creature in the world. Tilney says it is always the case with minds of a
    certain stamp."

    "But I thought, Isabella, you had something in particular to tell me?"

    "Oh! Yes, and so I have. But here is a proof of what I was saying. My
    poor head, I had quite forgot it. Well, the thing is this: I have just
    had a letter from John; you can guess the contents."

    "No, indeed, I cannot."

    "My sweet love, do not be so abominably affected. What can he write
    about, but yourself? You know he is over head and ears in love with

    "With me, dear Isabella!"

    "Nay, my sweetest Catherine, this is being quite absurd! Modesty, and
    all that, is very well in its way, but really a little common honesty is
    sometimes quite as becoming. I have no idea of being so overstrained!
    It is fishing for compliments. His attentions were such as a child must
    have noticed. And it was but half an hour before he left Bath that you
    gave him the most positive encouragement. He says so in this letter,
    says that he as good as made you an offer, and that you received his
    advances in the kindest way; and now he wants me to urge his suit,
    and say all manner of pretty things to you. So it is in vain to affect

    Catherine, with all the earnestness of truth, expressed her astonishment
    at such a charge, protesting her innocence of every thought of Mr.
    Thorpe's being in love with her, and the consequent impossibility of
    her having ever intended to encourage him. "As to any attentions on his
    side, I do declare, upon my honour, I never was sensible of them for a
    moment--except just his asking me to dance the first day of his coming.
    And as to making me an offer, or anything like it, there must be some
    unaccountable mistake. I could not have misunderstood a thing of that
    kind, you know! And, as I ever wish to be believed, I solemnly protest
    that no syllable of such a nature ever passed between us. The last half
    hour before he went away! It must be all and completely a mistake--for I
    did not see him once that whole morning."

    "But that you certainly did, for you spent the whole morning in Edgar's
    Buildings--it was the day your father's consent came--and I am pretty
    sure that you and John were alone in the parlour some time before you
    left the house."

    "Are you? Well, if you say it, it was so, I dare say--but for the life
    of me, I cannot recollect it. I do remember now being with you, and
    seeing him as well as the rest--but that we were ever alone for five
    minutes--However, it is not worth arguing about, for whatever might pass
    on his side, you must be convinced, by my having no recollection of it,
    that I never thought, nor expected, nor wished for anything of the kind
    from him. I am excessively concerned that he should have any regard for
    me--but indeed it has been quite unintentional on my side; I never had
    the smallest idea of it. Pray undeceive him as soon as you can, and tell
    him I beg his pardon--that is--I do not know what I ought to say--but
    make him understand what I mean, in the properest way. I would not speak
    disrespectfully of a brother of yours, Isabella, I am sure; but you know
    very well that if I could think of one man more than another--he is not
    the person." Isabella was silent. "My dear friend, you must not be angry
    with me. I cannot suppose your brother cares so very much about me. And,
    you know, we shall still be sisters."

    "Yes, yes" (with a blush), "there are more ways than one of our being
    sisters. But where am I wandering to? Well, my dear Catherine, the case
    seems to be that you are determined against poor John--is not it so?"

    "I certainly cannot return his affection, and as certainly never meant
    to encourage it."

    "Since that is the case, I am sure I shall not tease you any further.
    John desired me to speak to you on the subject, and therefore I have.
    But I confess, as soon as I read his letter, I thought it a very
    foolish, imprudent business, and not likely to promote the good of
    either; for what were you to live upon, supposing you came together? You
    have both of you something, to be sure, but it is not a trifle that will
    support a family nowadays; and after all that romancers may say, there
    is no doing without money. I only wonder John could think of it; he
    could not have received my last."

    "You do acquit me, then, of anything wrong?--You are convinced that I
    never meant to deceive your brother, never suspected him of liking me
    till this moment?"

    "Oh! As to that," answered Isabella laughingly, "I do not pretend to
    determine what your thoughts and designs in time past may have been. All
    that is best known to yourself. A little harmless flirtation or so will
    occur, and one is often drawn on to give more encouragement than one
    wishes to stand by. But you may be assured that I am the last person in
    the world to judge you severely. All those things should be allowed for
    in youth and high spirits. What one means one day, you know, one may not
    mean the next. Circumstances change, opinions alter."

    "But my opinion of your brother never did alter; it was always the same.
    You are describing what never happened."

    "My dearest Catherine," continued the other without at all listening to
    her, "I would not for all the world be the means of hurrying you into an
    engagement before you knew what you were about. I do not think anything
    would justify me in wishing you to sacrifice all your happiness merely
    to oblige my brother, because he is my brother, and who perhaps after
    all, you know, might be just as happy without you, for people seldom
    know what they would be at, young men especially, they are so amazingly
    changeable and inconstant. What I say is, why should a brother's
    happiness be dearer to me than a friend's? You know I carry my notions
    of friendship pretty high. But, above all things, my dear Catherine, do
    not be in a hurry. Take my word for it, that if you are in too great
    a hurry, you will certainly live to repent it. Tilney says there is
    nothing people are so often deceived in as the state of their own
    affections, and I believe he is very right. Ah! Here he comes; never
    mind, he will not see us, I am sure."

    Catherine, looking up, perceived Captain Tilney; and Isabella,
    earnestly fixing her eye on him as she spoke, soon caught his notice. He
    approached immediately, and took the seat to which her movements invited
    him. His first address made Catherine start. Though spoken low, she
    could distinguish, "What! Always to be watched, in person or by proxy!"

    "Psha, nonsense!" was Isabella's answer in the same half whisper. "Why
    do you put such things into my head? If I could believe it--my spirit,
    you know, is pretty independent."

    "I wish your heart were independent. That would be enough for me."

    "My heart, indeed! What can you have to do with hearts? You men have
    none of you any hearts."

    "If we have not hearts, we have eyes; and they give us torment enough."

    "Do they? I am sorry for it; I am sorry they find anything so
    disagreeable in me. I will look another way. I hope this pleases you"
    (turning her back on him); "I hope your eyes are not tormented now."

    "Never more so; for the edge of a blooming cheek is still in view--at
    once too much and too little."

    Catherine heard all this, and quite out of countenance, could listen
    no longer. Amazed that Isabella could endure it, and jealous for her
    brother, she rose up, and saying she should join Mrs. Allen, proposed
    their walking. But for this Isabella showed no inclination. She was so
    amazingly tired, and it was so odious to parade about the pump-room;
    and if she moved from her seat she should miss her sisters; she was
    expecting her sisters every moment; so that her dearest Catherine must
    excuse her, and must sit quietly down again. But Catherine could be
    stubborn too; and Mrs. Allen just then coming up to propose their
    returning home, she joined her and walked out of the pump-room, leaving
    Isabella still sitting with Captain Tilney. With much uneasiness did
    she thus leave them. It seemed to her that Captain Tilney was falling
    in love with Isabella, and Isabella unconsciously encouraging him;
    unconsciously it must be, for Isabella's attachment to James was as
    certain and well acknowledged as her engagement. To doubt her truth
    or good intentions was impossible; and yet, during the whole of their
    conversation her manner had been odd. She wished Isabella had talked
    more like her usual self, and not so much about money, and had not
    looked so well pleased at the sight of Captain Tilney. How strange that
    she should not perceive his admiration! Catherine longed to give her a
    hint of it, to put her on her guard, and prevent all the pain which
    her too lively behaviour might otherwise create both for him and her

    The compliment of John Thorpe's affection did not make amends for this
    thoughtlessness in his sister. She was almost as far from believing as
    from wishing it to be sincere; for she had not forgotten that he
    could mistake, and his assertion of the offer and of her encouragement
    convinced her that his mistakes could sometimes be very egregious.
    In vanity, therefore, she gained but little; her chief profit was in
    wonder. That he should think it worth his while to fancy himself in love
    with her was a matter of lively astonishment. Isabella talked of his
    attentions; she had never been sensible of any; but Isabella had said
    many things which she hoped had been spoken in haste, and would never
    be said again; and upon this she was glad to rest altogether for present
    ease and comfort.

    CHAPTER 19

    A few days passed away, and Catherine, though not allowing herself to
    suspect her friend, could not help watching her closely. The result of
    her observations was not agreeable. Isabella seemed an altered creature.
    When she saw her, indeed, surrounded only by their immediate friends
    in Edgar's Buildings or Pulteney Street, her change of manners was so
    trifling that, had it gone no farther, it might have passed unnoticed.
    A something of languid indifference, or of that boasted absence of
    mind which Catherine had never heard of before, would occasionally come
    across her; but had nothing worse appeared, that might only have spread
    a new grace and inspired a warmer interest. But when Catherine saw her
    in public, admitting Captain Tilney's attentions as readily as they were
    offered, and allowing him almost an equal share with James in her notice
    and smiles, the alteration became too positive to be passed over. What
    could be meant by such unsteady conduct, what her friend could be at,
    was beyond her comprehension. Isabella could not be aware of the pain
    she was inflicting; but it was a degree of wilful thoughtlessness which
    Catherine could not but resent. James was the sufferer. She saw him
    grave and uneasy; and however careless of his present comfort the woman
    might be who had given him her heart, to her it was always an object.
    For poor Captain Tilney too she was greatly concerned. Though his looks
    did not please her, his name was a passport to her goodwill, and she
    thought with sincere compassion of his approaching disappointment; for,
    in spite of what she had believed herself to overhear in the pump-room,
    his behaviour was so incompatible with a knowledge of Isabella's
    engagement that she could not, upon reflection, imagine him aware of it.
    He might be jealous of her brother as a rival, but if more had seemed
    implied, the fault must have been in her misapprehension. She wished, by
    a gentle remonstrance, to remind Isabella of her situation, and make
    her aware of this double unkindness; but for remonstrance, either
    opportunity or comprehension was always against her. If able to suggest
    a hint, Isabella could never understand it. In this distress, the
    intended departure of the Tilney family became her chief consolation;
    their journey into Gloucestershire was to take place within a few days,
    and Captain Tilney's removal would at least restore peace to every heart
    but his own. But Captain Tilney had at present no intention of removing;
    he was not to be of the party to Northanger; he was to continue at Bath.
    When Catherine knew this, her resolution was directly made. She spoke to
    Henry Tilney on the subject, regretting his brother's evident partiality
    for Miss Thorpe, and entreating him to make known her prior engagement.

    "My brother does know it," was Henry's answer.

    "Does he? Then why does he stay here?"

    He made no reply, and was beginning to talk of something else; but she
    eagerly continued, "Why do not you persuade him to go away? The longer
    he stays, the worse it will be for him at last. Pray advise him for his
    own sake, and for everybody's sake, to leave Bath directly. Absence will
    in time make him comfortable again; but he can have no hope here, and it
    is only staying to be miserable."

    Henry smiled and said, "I am sure my brother would not wish to do that."

    "Then you will persuade him to go away?"

    "Persuasion is not at command; but pardon me, if I cannot even endeavour
    to persuade him. I have myself told him that Miss Thorpe is engaged. He
    knows what he is about, and must be his own master."

    "No, he does not know what he is about," cried Catherine; "he does not
    know the pain he is giving my brother. Not that James has ever told me
    so, but I am sure he is very uncomfortable."

    "And are you sure it is my brother's doing?"

    "Yes, very sure."

    "Is it my brother's attentions to Miss Thorpe, or Miss Thorpe's
    admission of them, that gives the pain?"

    "Is not it the same thing?"

    "I think Mr. Morland would acknowledge a difference. No man is offended
    by another man's admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only
    who can make it a torment."

    Catherine blushed for her friend, and said, "Isabella is wrong. But I
    am sure she cannot mean to torment, for she is very much attached to my
    brother. She has been in love with him ever since they first met, and
    while my father's consent was uncertain, she fretted herself almost into
    a fever. You know she must be attached to him."

    "I understand: she is in love with James, and flirts with Frederick."

    "Oh! no, not flirts. A woman in love with one man cannot flirt with

    "It is probable that she will neither love so well, nor flirt so
    well, as she might do either singly. The gentlemen must each give up a

    After a short pause, Catherine resumed with, "Then you do not believe
    Isabella so very much attached to my brother?"

    "I can have no opinion on that subject."

    "But what can your brother mean? If he knows her engagement, what can he
    mean by his behaviour?"

    "You are a very close questioner."

    "Am I? I only ask what I want to be told."

    "But do you only ask what I can be expected to tell?"

    "Yes, I think so; for you must know your brother's heart."

    "My brother's heart, as you term it, on the present occasion, I assure
    you I can only guess at."


    "Well! Nay, if it is to be guesswork, let us all guess for ourselves. To
    be guided by second-hand conjecture is pitiful. The premises are before
    you. My brother is a lively and perhaps sometimes a thoughtless young
    man; he has had about a week's acquaintance with your friend, and he has
    known her engagement almost as long as he has known her."

    "Well," said Catherine, after some moments' consideration, "you may be
    able to guess at your brother's intentions from all this; but I am sure
    I cannot. But is not your father uncomfortable about it? Does not he
    want Captain Tilney to go away? Sure, if your father were to speak to
    him, he would go."

    "My dear Miss Morland," said Henry, "in this amiable solicitude for your
    brother's comfort, may you not be a little mistaken? Are you not carried
    a little too far? Would he thank you, either on his own account or
    Miss Thorpe's, for supposing that her affection, or at least her good
    behaviour, is only to be secured by her seeing nothing of Captain
    Tilney? Is he safe only in solitude? Or is her heart constant to him
    only when unsolicited by anyone else? He cannot think this--and you may
    be sure that he would not have you think it. I will not say, 'Do not
    be uneasy,' because I know that you are so, at this moment; but be as
    little uneasy as you can. You have no doubt of the mutual attachment
    of your brother and your friend; depend upon it, therefore, that
    real jealousy never can exist between them; depend upon it that no
    disagreement between them can be of any duration. Their hearts are open
    to each other, as neither heart can be to you; they know exactly what
    is required and what can be borne; and you may be certain that one will
    never tease the other beyond what is known to be pleasant."

    Perceiving her still to look doubtful and grave, he added, "Though
    Frederick does not leave Bath with us, he will probably remain but a
    very short time, perhaps only a few days behind us. His leave of absence
    will soon expire, and he must return to his regiment. And what will then
    be their acquaintance? The mess-room will drink Isabella Thorpe for
    a fortnight, and she will laugh with your brother over poor Tilney's
    passion for a month."

    Catherine would contend no longer against comfort. She had resisted its
    approaches during the whole length of a speech, but it now carried her
    captive. Henry Tilney must know best. She blamed herself for the extent
    of her fears, and resolved never to think so seriously on the subject

    Her resolution was supported by Isabella's behaviour in their parting
    interview. The Thorpes spent the last evening of Catherine's stay in
    Pulteney Street, and nothing passed between the lovers to excite
    her uneasiness, or make her quit them in apprehension. James was in
    excellent spirits, and Isabella most engagingly placid. Her tenderness
    for her friend seemed rather the first feeling of her heart; but that
    at such a moment was allowable; and once she gave her lover a flat
    contradiction, and once she drew back her hand; but Catherine remembered
    Henry's instructions, and placed it all to judicious affection. The
    embraces, tears, and promises of the parting fair ones may be fancied.

    CHAPTER 20

    Mr. and Mrs. Allen were sorry to lose their young friend, whose good
    humour and cheerfulness had made her a valuable companion, and in the
    promotion of whose enjoyment their own had been gently increased. Her
    happiness in going with Miss Tilney, however, prevented their wishing
    it otherwise; and, as they were to remain only one more week in Bath
    themselves, her quitting them now would not long be felt. Mr. Allen
    attended her to Milsom Street, where she was to breakfast, and saw her
    seated with the kindest welcome among her new friends; but so great was
    her agitation in finding herself as one of the family, and so fearful
    was she of not doing exactly what was right, and of not being able to
    preserve their good opinion, that, in the embarrassment of the first
    five minutes, she could almost have wished to return with him to
    Pulteney Street.

    Miss Tilney's manners and Henry's smile soon did away some of her
    unpleasant feelings; but still she was far from being at ease; nor could
    the incessant attentions of the general himself entirely reassure her.
    Nay, perverse as it seemed, she doubted whether she might not have felt
    less, had she been less attended to. His anxiety for her comfort--his
    continual solicitations that she would eat, and his often-expressed
    fears of her seeing nothing to her taste--though never in her life
    before had she beheld half such variety on a breakfast-table--made it
    impossible for her to forget for a moment that she was a visitor. She
    felt utterly unworthy of such respect, and knew not how to reply to it.
    Her tranquillity was not improved by the general's impatience for the
    appearance of his eldest son, nor by the displeasure he expressed at his
    laziness when Captain Tilney at last came down. She was quite pained by
    the severity of his father's reproof, which seemed disproportionate to
    the offence; and much was her concern increased when she found herself
    the principal cause of the lecture, and that his tardiness was chiefly
    resented from being disrespectful to her. This was placing her in a
    very uncomfortable situation, and she felt great compassion for Captain
    Tilney, without being able to hope for his goodwill.

    He listened to his father in silence, and attempted not any defence,
    which confirmed her in fearing that the inquietude of his mind, on
    Isabella's account, might, by keeping him long sleepless, have been
    the real cause of his rising late. It was the first time of her being
    decidedly in his company, and she had hoped to be now able to form
    her opinion of him; but she scarcely heard his voice while his father
    remained in the room; and even afterwards, so much were his spirits
    affected, she could distinguish nothing but these words, in a whisper to
    Eleanor, "How glad I shall be when you are all off."

    The bustle of going was not pleasant. The clock struck ten while the
    trunks were carrying down, and the general had fixed to be out of Milsom
    Street by that hour. His greatcoat, instead of being brought for him
    to put on directly, was spread out in the curricle in which he was to
    accompany his son. The middle seat of the chaise was not drawn out,
    though there were three people to go in it, and his daughter's maid had
    so crowded it with parcels that Miss Morland would not have room to sit;
    and, so much was he influenced by this apprehension when he handed her
    in, that she had some difficulty in saving her own new writing-desk from
    being thrown out into the street. At last, however, the door was closed
    upon the three females, and they set off at the sober pace in which
    the handsome, highly fed four horses of a gentleman usually perform a
    journey of thirty miles: such was the distance of Northanger from Bath,
    to be now divided into two equal stages. Catherine's spirits revived as
    they drove from the door; for with Miss Tilney she felt no restraint;
    and, with the interest of a road entirely new to her, of an abbey
    before, and a curricle behind, she caught the last view of Bath without
    any regret, and met with every milestone before she expected it. The
    tediousness of a two hours' wait at Petty France, in which there was
    nothing to be done but to eat without being hungry, and loiter about
    without anything to see, next followed--and her admiration of the style
    in which they travelled, of the fashionable chaise and four--postilions
    handsomely liveried, rising so regularly in their stirrups, and
    numerous outriders properly mounted, sunk a little under this consequent
    inconvenience. Had their party been perfectly agreeable, the delay would
    have been nothing; but General Tilney, though so charming a man, seemed
    always a check upon his children's spirits, and scarcely anything was
    said but by himself; the observation of which, with his discontent at
    whatever the inn afforded, and his angry impatience at the waiters, made
    Catherine grow every moment more in awe of him, and appeared to lengthen
    the two hours into four. At last, however, the order of release was
    given; and much was Catherine then surprised by the general's proposal
    of her taking his place in his son's curricle for the rest of the
    journey: "the day was fine, and he was anxious for her seeing as much of
    the country as possible."

    The remembrance of Mr. Allen's opinion, respecting young men's open
    carriages, made her blush at the mention of such a plan, and her first
    thought was to decline it; but her second was of greater deference for
    General Tilney's judgment; he could not propose anything improper for
    her; and, in the course of a few minutes, she found herself with Henry
    in the curricle, as happy a being as ever existed. A very short trial
    convinced her that a curricle was the prettiest equipage in the world;
    the chaise and four wheeled off with some grandeur, to be sure, but it
    was a heavy and troublesome business, and she could not easily forget
    its having stopped two hours at Petty France. Half the time would
    have been enough for the curricle, and so nimbly were the light horses
    disposed to move, that, had not the general chosen to have his own
    carriage lead the way, they could have passed it with ease in half a
    minute. But the merit of the curricle did not all belong to the horses;
    Henry drove so well--so quietly--without making any disturbance,
    without parading to her, or swearing at them: so different from the only
    gentleman-coachman whom it was in her power to compare him with! And
    then his hat sat so well, and the innumerable capes of his greatcoat
    looked so becomingly important! To be driven by him, next to being
    dancing with him, was certainly the greatest happiness in the world. In
    addition to every other delight, she had now that of listening to her
    own praise; of being thanked at least, on his sister's account, for
    her kindness in thus becoming her visitor; of hearing it ranked as real
    friendship, and described as creating real gratitude. His sister, he
    said, was uncomfortably circumstanced--she had no female companion--and,
    in the frequent absence of her father, was sometimes without any
    companion at all.

    "But how can that be?" said Catherine. "Are not you with her?"

    "Northanger is not more than half my home; I have an establishment at
    my own house in Woodston, which is nearly twenty miles from my father's,
    and some of my time is necessarily spent there."

    "How sorry you must be for that!"

    "I am always sorry to leave Eleanor."

    "Yes; but besides your affection for her, you must be so fond of
    the abbey! After being used to such a home as the abbey, an ordinary
    parsonage-house must be very disagreeable."

    He smiled, and said, "You have formed a very favourable idea of the

    "To be sure, I have. Is not it a fine old place, just like what one
    reads about?"

    "And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such
    as 'what one reads about' may produce? Have you a stout heart? Nerves
    fit for sliding panels and tapestry?"

    "Oh! yes--I do not think I should be easily frightened, because there
    would be so many people in the house--and besides, it has never been
    uninhabited and left deserted for years, and then the family come back
    to it unawares, without giving any notice, as generally happens."

    "No, certainly. We shall not have to explore our way into a hall dimly
    lighted by the expiring embers of a wood fire--nor be obliged to spread
    our beds on the floor of a room without windows, doors, or furniture.
    But you must be aware that when a young lady is (by whatever means)
    introduced into a dwelling of this kind, she is always lodged apart from
    the rest of the family. While they snugly repair to their own end of the
    house, she is formally conducted by Dorothy, the ancient housekeeper, up
    a different staircase, and along many gloomy passages, into an apartment
    never used since some cousin or kin died in it about twenty years
    before. Can you stand such a ceremony as this? Will not your mind
    misgive you when you find yourself in this gloomy chamber--too lofty and
    extensive for you, with only the feeble rays of a single lamp to take
    in its size--its walls hung with tapestry exhibiting figures as large as
    life, and the bed, of dark green stuff or purple velvet, presenting even
    a funereal appearance? Will not your heart sink within you?"

    "Oh! But this will not happen to me, I am sure."

    "How fearfully will you examine the furniture of your apartment! And
    what will you discern? Not tables, toilettes, wardrobes, or drawers,
    but on one side perhaps the remains of a broken lute, on the other a
    ponderous chest which no efforts can open, and over the fireplace
    the portrait of some handsome warrior, whose features will so
    incomprehensibly strike you, that you will not be able to withdraw your
    eyes from it. Dorothy, meanwhile, no less struck by your appearance,
    gazes on you in great agitation, and drops a few unintelligible hints.
    To raise your spirits, moreover, she gives you reason to suppose that
    the part of the abbey you inhabit is undoubtedly haunted, and informs
    you that you will not have a single domestic within call. With this
    parting cordial she curtsies off--you listen to the sound of her
    receding footsteps as long as the last echo can reach you--and when,
    with fainting spirits, you attempt to fasten your door, you discover,
    with increased alarm, that it has no lock."

    "Oh! Mr. Tilney, how frightful! This is just like a book! But it cannot
    really happen to me. I am sure your housekeeper is not really Dorothy.
    Well, what then?"

    "Nothing further to alarm perhaps may occur the first night. After
    surmounting your unconquerable horror of the bed, you will retire to
    rest, and get a few hours' unquiet slumber. But on the second, or at
    farthest the third night after your arrival, you will probably have a
    violent storm. Peals of thunder so loud as to seem to shake the edifice
    to its foundation will roll round the neighbouring mountains--and during
    the frightful gusts of wind which accompany it, you will probably think
    you discern (for your lamp is not extinguished) one part of the hanging
    more violently agitated than the rest. Unable of course to repress your
    curiosity in so favourable a moment for indulging it, you will instantly
    arise, and throwing your dressing-gown around you, proceed to examine
    this mystery. After a very short search, you will discover a division in
    the tapestry so artfully constructed as to defy the minutest inspection,
    and on opening it, a door will immediately appear--which door, being
    only secured by massy bars and a padlock, you will, after a few efforts,
    succeed in opening--and, with your lamp in your hand, will pass through
    it into a small vaulted room."

    "No, indeed; I should be too much frightened to do any such thing."

    "What! Not when Dorothy has given you to understand that there is a
    secret subterraneous communication between your apartment and the chapel
    of St. Anthony, scarcely two miles off? Could you shrink from so simple
    an adventure? No, no, you will proceed into this small vaulted room,
    and through this into several others, without perceiving anything very
    remarkable in either. In one perhaps there may be a dagger, in another
    a few drops of blood, and in a third the remains of some instrument of
    torture; but there being nothing in all this out of the common way,
    and your lamp being nearly exhausted, you will return towards your own
    apartment. In repassing through the small vaulted room, however, your
    eyes will be attracted towards a large, old-fashioned cabinet of ebony
    and gold, which, though narrowly examining the furniture before, you
    had passed unnoticed. Impelled by an irresistible presentiment, you will
    eagerly advance to it, unlock its folding doors, and search into
    every drawer--but for some time without discovering anything of
    importance--perhaps nothing but a considerable hoard of diamonds. At
    last, however, by touching a secret spring, an inner compartment will
    open--a roll of paper appears--you seize it--it contains many sheets of
    manuscript--you hasten with the precious treasure into your own chamber,
    but scarcely have you been able to decipher 'Oh! Thou--whomsoever thou
    mayst be, into whose hands these memoirs of the wretched Matilda may
    fall'--when your lamp suddenly expires in the socket, and leaves you in
    total darkness."

    "Oh! No, no--do not say so. Well, go on."

    But Henry was too much amused by the interest he had raised to be able
    to carry it farther; he could no longer command solemnity either of
    subject or voice, and was obliged to entreat her to use her own fancy
    in the perusal of Matilda's woes. Catherine, recollecting herself, grew
    ashamed of her eagerness, and began earnestly to assure him that her
    attention had been fixed without the smallest apprehension of really
    meeting with what he related. "Miss Tilney, she was sure, would never
    put her into such a chamber as he had described! She was not at all

    As they drew near the end of their journey, her impatience for a sight
    of the abbey--for some time suspended by his conversation on subjects
    very different--returned in full force, and every bend in the road was
    expected with solemn awe to afford a glimpse of its massy walls of grey
    stone, rising amidst a grove of ancient oaks, with the last beams of the
    sun playing in beautiful splendour on its high Gothic windows. But so
    low did the building stand, that she found herself passing through the
    great gates of the lodge into the very grounds of Northanger, without
    having discerned even an antique chimney.

    She knew not that she had any right to be surprised, but there was a
    something in this mode of approach which she certainly had not expected.
    To pass between lodges of a modern appearance, to find herself with such
    ease in the very precincts of the abbey, and driven so rapidly along a
    smooth, level road of fine gravel, without obstacle, alarm, or solemnity
    of any kind, struck her as odd and inconsistent. She was not long
    at leisure, however, for such considerations. A sudden scud of rain,
    driving full in her face, made it impossible for her to observe anything
    further, and fixed all her thoughts on the welfare of her new straw
    bonnet; and she was actually under the abbey walls, was springing, with
    Henry's assistance, from the carriage, was beneath the shelter of the
    old porch, and had even passed on to the hall, where her friend and
    the general were waiting to welcome her, without feeling one awful
    foreboding of future misery to herself, or one moment's suspicion of any
    past scenes of horror being acted within the solemn edifice. The breeze
    had not seemed to waft the sighs of the murdered to her; it had wafted
    nothing worse than a thick mizzling rain; and having given a good shake
    to her habit, she was ready to be shown into the common drawing-room,
    and capable of considering where she was.

    An abbey! Yes, it was delightful to be really in an abbey! But she
    doubted, as she looked round the room, whether anything within her
    observation would have given her the consciousness. The furniture was in
    all the profusion and elegance of modern taste. The fireplace, where she
    had expected the ample width and ponderous carving of former times, was
    contracted to a Rumford, with slabs of plain though handsome marble, and
    ornaments over it of the prettiest English china. The windows, to which
    she looked with peculiar dependence, from having heard the general talk
    of his preserving them in their Gothic form with reverential care, were
    yet less what her fancy had portrayed. To be sure, the pointed arch
    was preserved--the form of them was Gothic--they might be even
    casements--but every pane was so large, so clear, so light! To an
    imagination which had hoped for the smallest divisions, and the heaviest
    stone-work, for painted glass, dirt, and cobwebs, the difference was
    very distressing.

    The general, perceiving how her eye was employed, began to talk of the
    smallness of the room and simplicity of the furniture, where everything,
    being for daily use, pretended only to comfort, etc.; flattering
    himself, however, that there were some apartments in the Abbey not
    unworthy her notice--and was proceeding to mention the costly gilding
    of one in particular, when, taking out his watch, he stopped short to
    pronounce it with surprise within twenty minutes of five! This seemed
    the word of separation, and Catherine found herself hurried away by Miss
    Tilney in such a manner as convinced her that the strictest punctuality
    to the family hours would be expected at Northanger.

    Returning through the large and lofty hall, they ascended a broad
    staircase of shining oak, which, after many flights and many
    landing-places, brought them upon a long, wide gallery. On one side it
    had a range of doors, and it was lighted on the other by windows which
    Catherine had only time to discover looked into a quadrangle, before
    Miss Tilney led the way into a chamber, and scarcely staying to hope she
    would find it comfortable, left her with an anxious entreaty that she
    would make as little alteration as possible in her dress.

    CHAPTER 21

    A moment's glance was enough to satisfy Catherine that her apartment
    was very unlike the one which Henry had endeavoured to alarm her by the
    description of. It was by no means unreasonably large, and contained
    neither tapestry nor velvet. The walls were papered, the floor was
    carpeted; the windows were neither less perfect nor more dim than those
    of the drawing-room below; the furniture, though not of the latest
    fashion, was handsome and comfortable, and the air of the room
    altogether far from uncheerful. Her heart instantaneously at ease on
    this point, she resolved to lose no time in particular examination of
    anything, as she greatly dreaded disobliging the general by any delay.
    Her habit therefore was thrown off with all possible haste, and she was
    preparing to unpin the linen package, which the chaise-seat had conveyed
    for her immediate accommodation, when her eye suddenly fell on a large
    high chest, standing back in a deep recess on one side of the fireplace.
    The sight of it made her start; and, forgetting everything else, she
    stood gazing on it in motionless wonder, while these thoughts crossed

    "This is strange indeed! I did not expect such a sight as this! An
    immense heavy chest! What can it hold? Why should it be placed here?
    Pushed back too, as if meant to be out of sight! I will look into
    it--cost me what it may, I will look into it--and directly too--by
    daylight. If I stay till evening my candle may go out." She advanced and
    examined it closely: it was of cedar, curiously inlaid with some darker
    wood, and raised, about a foot from the ground, on a carved stand of the
    same. The lock was silver, though tarnished from age; at each end
    were the imperfect remains of handles also of silver, broken perhaps
    prematurely by some strange violence; and, on the centre of the lid, was
    a mysterious cipher, in the same metal. Catherine bent over it intently,
    but without being able to distinguish anything with certainty. She could
    not, in whatever direction she took it, believe the last letter to be
    a T; and yet that it should be anything else in that house was
    a circumstance to raise no common degree of astonishment. If not
    originally theirs, by what strange events could it have fallen into the
    Tilney family?

    Her fearful curiosity was every moment growing greater; and seizing,
    with trembling hands, the hasp of the lock, she resolved at all hazards
    to satisfy herself at least as to its contents. With difficulty, for
    something seemed to resist her efforts, she raised the lid a few inches;
    but at that moment a sudden knocking at the door of the room made her,
    starting, quit her hold, and the lid closed with alarming violence. This
    ill-timed intruder was Miss Tilney's maid, sent by her mistress to be of
    use to Miss Morland; and though Catherine immediately dismissed her, it
    recalled her to the sense of what she ought to be doing, and forced her,
    in spite of her anxious desire to penetrate this mystery, to proceed in
    her dressing without further delay. Her progress was not quick, for her
    thoughts and her eyes were still bent on the object so well calculated
    to interest and alarm; and though she dared not waste a moment upon
    a second attempt, she could not remain many paces from the chest. At
    length, however, having slipped one arm into her gown, her toilette
    seemed so nearly finished that the impatience of her curiosity might
    safely be indulged. One moment surely might be spared; and, so desperate
    should be the exertion of her strength, that, unless secured by
    supernatural means, the lid in one moment should be thrown back. With
    this spirit she sprang forward, and her confidence did not deceive her.
    Her resolute effort threw back the lid, and gave to her astonished eyes
    the view of a white cotton counterpane, properly folded, reposing at one
    end of the chest in undisputed possession!

    She was gazing on it with the first blush of surprise when Miss Tilney,
    anxious for her friend's being ready, entered the room, and to the
    rising shame of having harboured for some minutes an absurd expectation,
    was then added the shame of being caught in so idle a search. "That is
    a curious old chest, is not it?" said Miss Tilney, as Catherine hastily
    closed it and turned away to the glass. "It is impossible to say how
    many generations it has been here. How it came to be first put in this
    room I know not, but I have not had it moved, because I thought it might
    sometimes be of use in holding hats and bonnets. The worst of it is that
    its weight makes it difficult to open. In that corner, however, it is at
    least out of the way."

    Catherine had no leisure for speech, being at once blushing, tying her
    gown, and forming wise resolutions with the most violent dispatch. Miss
    Tilney gently hinted her fear of being late; and in half a minute they
    ran downstairs together, in an alarm not wholly unfounded, for General
    Tilney was pacing the drawing-room, his watch in his hand, and having,
    on the very instant of their entering, pulled the bell with violence,
    ordered "Dinner to be on table directly!"

    Catherine trembled at the emphasis with which he spoke, and sat pale
    and breathless, in a most humble mood, concerned for his children, and
    detesting old chests; and the general, recovering his politeness as he
    looked at her, spent the rest of his time in scolding his daughter for
    so foolishly hurrying her fair friend, who was absolutely out of breath
    from haste, when there was not the least occasion for hurry in the
    world: but Catherine could not at all get over the double distress
    of having involved her friend in a lecture and been a great simpleton
    herself, till they were happily seated at the dinner-table, when the
    general's complacent smiles, and a good appetite of her own, restored
    her to peace. The dining-parlour was a noble room, suitable in its
    dimensions to a much larger drawing-room than the one in common use, and
    fitted up in a style of luxury and expense which was almost lost on the
    unpractised eye of Catherine, who saw little more than its spaciousness
    and the number of their attendants. Of the former, she spoke aloud
    her admiration; and the general, with a very gracious countenance,
    acknowledged that it was by no means an ill-sized room, and further
    confessed that, though as careless on such subjects as most people, he
    did look upon a tolerably large eating-room as one of the necessaries
    of life; he supposed, however, "that she must have been used to much
    better-sized apartments at Mr. Allen's?"

    "No, indeed," was Catherine's honest assurance; "Mr. Allen's
    dining-parlour was not more than half as large," and she had never
    seen so large a room as this in her life. The general's good humour
    increased. Why, as he had such rooms, he thought it would be simple not
    to make use of them; but, upon his honour, he believed there might be
    more comfort in rooms of only half their size. Mr. Allen's house, he was
    sure, must be exactly of the true size for rational happiness.

    The evening passed without any further disturbance, and, in the
    occasional absence of General Tilney, with much positive cheerfulness.
    It was only in his presence that Catherine felt the smallest fatigue
    from her journey; and even then, even in moments of languor or
    restraint, a sense of general happiness preponderated, and she could
    think of her friends in Bath without one wish of being with them.

    The night was stormy; the wind had been rising at intervals the whole
    afternoon; and by the time the party broke up, it blew and rained
    violently. Catherine, as she crossed the hall, listened to the tempest
    with sensations of awe; and, when she heard it rage round a corner of
    the ancient building and close with sudden fury a distant door, felt
    for the first time that she was really in an abbey. Yes, these were
    characteristic sounds; they brought to her recollection a countless
    variety of dreadful situations and horrid scenes, which such buildings
    had witnessed, and such storms ushered in; and most heartily did she
    rejoice in the happier circumstances attending her entrance within walls
    so solemn! She had nothing to dread from midnight assassins or drunken
    gallants. Henry had certainly been only in jest in what he had told her
    that morning. In a house so furnished, and so guarded, she could have
    nothing to explore or to suffer, and might go to her bedroom as securely
    as if it had been her own chamber at Fullerton. Thus wisely fortifying
    her mind, as she proceeded upstairs, she was enabled, especially on
    perceiving that Miss Tilney slept only two doors from her, to enter
    her room with a tolerably stout heart; and her spirits were immediately
    assisted by the cheerful blaze of a wood fire. "How much better is
    this," said she, as she walked to the fender--"how much better to find a
    fire ready lit, than to have to wait shivering in the cold till all the
    family are in bed, as so many poor girls have been obliged to do, and
    then to have a faithful old servant frightening one by coming in with a
    faggot! How glad I am that Northanger is what it is! If it had been like
    some other places, I do not know that, in such a night as this, I could
    have answered for my courage: but now, to be sure, there is nothing to
    alarm one."

    She looked round the room. The window curtains seemed in motion. It
    could be nothing but the violence of the wind penetrating through the
    divisions of the shutters; and she stepped boldly forward, carelessly
    humming a tune, to assure herself of its being so, peeped courageously
    behind each curtain, saw nothing on either low window seat to scare her,
    and on placing a hand against the shutter, felt the strongest conviction
    of the wind's force. A glance at the old chest, as she turned away from
    this examination, was not without its use; she scorned the causeless
    fears of an idle fancy, and began with a most happy indifference to
    prepare herself for bed. "She should take her time; she should not hurry
    herself; she did not care if she were the last person up in the house.
    But she would not make up her fire; that would seem cowardly, as if
    she wished for the protection of light after she were in bed." The fire
    therefore died away, and Catherine, having spent the best part of an
    hour in her arrangements, was beginning to think of stepping into bed,
    when, on giving a parting glance round the room, she was struck by the
    appearance of a high, old-fashioned black cabinet, which, though in
    a situation conspicuous enough, had never caught her notice before.
    Henry's words, his description of the ebony cabinet which was to escape
    her observation at first, immediately rushed across her; and though
    there could be nothing really in it, there was something whimsical, it
    was certainly a very remarkable coincidence! She took her candle and
    looked closely at the cabinet. It was not absolutely ebony and gold; but
    it was japan, black and yellow japan of the handsomest kind; and as she
    held her candle, the yellow had very much the effect of gold. The key
    was in the door, and she had a strange fancy to look into it; not,
    however, with the smallest expectation of finding anything, but it was
    so very odd, after what Henry had said. In short, she could not sleep
    till she had examined it. So, placing the candle with great caution on
    a chair, she seized the key with a very tremulous hand and tried to turn
    it; but it resisted her utmost strength. Alarmed, but not discouraged,
    she tried it another way; a bolt flew, and she believed herself
    successful; but how strangely mysterious! The door was still immovable.
    She paused a moment in breathless wonder. The wind roared down the
    chimney, the rain beat in torrents against the windows, and everything
    seemed to speak the awfulness of her situation. To retire to bed,
    however, unsatisfied on such a point, would be vain, since sleep must be
    impossible with the consciousness of a cabinet so mysteriously closed
    in her immediate vicinity. Again, therefore, she applied herself to the
    key, and after moving it in every possible way for some instants with
    the determined celerity of hope's last effort, the door suddenly yielded
    to her hand: her heart leaped with exultation at such a victory, and
    having thrown open each folding door, the second being secured only by
    bolts of less wonderful construction than the lock, though in that her
    eye could not discern anything unusual, a double range of small drawers
    appeared in view, with some larger drawers above and below them; and in
    the centre, a small door, closed also with a lock and key, secured in
    all probability a cavity of importance.

    Catherine's heart beat quick, but her courage did not fail her. With a
    cheek flushed by hope, and an eye straining with curiosity, her fingers
    grasped the handle of a drawer and drew it forth. It was entirely empty.
    With less alarm and greater eagerness she seized a second, a third, a
    fourth; each was equally empty. Not one was left unsearched, and in not
    one was anything found. Well read in the art of concealing a treasure,
    the possibility of false linings to the drawers did not escape her, and
    she felt round each with anxious acuteness in vain. The place in the
    middle alone remained now unexplored; and though she had "never from
    the first had the smallest idea of finding anything in any part of the
    cabinet, and was not in the least disappointed at her ill success thus
    far, it would be foolish not to examine it thoroughly while she was
    about it." It was some time however before she could unfasten the door,
    the same difficulty occurring in the management of this inner lock as of
    the outer; but at length it did open; and not vain, as hitherto, was her
    search; her quick eyes directly fell on a roll of paper pushed back
    into the further part of the cavity, apparently for concealment, and
    her feelings at that moment were indescribable. Her heart fluttered, her
    knees trembled, and her cheeks grew pale. She seized, with an unsteady
    hand, the precious manuscript, for half a glance sufficed to ascertain
    written characters; and while she acknowledged with awful sensations
    this striking exemplification of what Henry had foretold, resolved
    instantly to peruse every line before she attempted to rest.

    The dimness of the light her candle emitted made her turn to it with
    alarm; but there was no danger of its sudden extinction; it had yet some
    hours to burn; and that she might not have any greater difficulty in
    distinguishing the writing than what its ancient date might occasion,
    she hastily snuffed it. Alas! It was snuffed and extinguished in one. A
    lamp could not have expired with more awful effect. Catherine, for a
    few moments, was motionless with horror. It was done completely; not a
    remnant of light in the wick could give hope to the rekindling breath.
    Darkness impenetrable and immovable filled the room. A violent gust
    of wind, rising with sudden fury, added fresh horror to the moment.
    Catherine trembled from head to foot. In the pause which succeeded, a
    sound like receding footsteps and the closing of a distant door struck
    on her affrighted ear. Human nature could support no more. A cold sweat
    stood on her forehead, the manuscript fell from her hand, and groping
    her way to the bed, she jumped hastily in, and sought some suspension of
    agony by creeping far underneath the clothes. To close her eyes in
    sleep that night, she felt must be entirely out of the question. With
    a curiosity so justly awakened, and feelings in every way so agitated,
    repose must be absolutely impossible. The storm too abroad so dreadful!
    She had not been used to feel alarm from wind, but now every blast
    seemed fraught with awful intelligence. The manuscript so wonderfully
    found, so wonderfully accomplishing the morning's prediction, how was it
    to be accounted for? What could it contain? To whom could it relate?
    By what means could it have been so long concealed? And how singularly
    strange that it should fall to her lot to discover it! Till she had made
    herself mistress of its contents, however, she could have neither repose
    nor comfort; and with the sun's first rays she was determined to peruse
    it. But many were the tedious hours which must yet intervene. She
    shuddered, tossed about in her bed, and envied every quiet sleeper. The
    storm still raged, and various were the noises, more terrific even
    than the wind, which struck at intervals on her startled ear. The very
    curtains of her bed seemed at one moment in motion, and at another
    the lock of her door was agitated, as if by the attempt of somebody to
    enter. Hollow murmurs seemed to creep along the gallery, and more than
    once her blood was chilled by the sound of distant moans. Hour after
    hour passed away, and the wearied Catherine had heard three proclaimed
    by all the clocks in the house before the tempest subsided or she
    unknowingly fell fast asleep.

    CHAPTER 22

    The housemaid's folding back her window-shutters at eight o'clock the
    next day was the sound which first roused Catherine; and she opened her
    eyes, wondering that they could ever have been closed, on objects of
    cheerfulness; her fire was already burning, and a bright morning
    had succeeded the tempest of the night. Instantaneously, with the
    consciousness of existence, returned her recollection of the manuscript;
    and springing from the bed in the very moment of the maid's going away,
    she eagerly collected every scattered sheet which had burst from the
    roll on its falling to the ground, and flew back to enjoy the luxury
    of their perusal on her pillow. She now plainly saw that she must not
    expect a manuscript of equal length with the generality of what she had
    shuddered over in books, for the roll, seeming to consist entirely of
    small disjointed sheets, was altogether but of trifling size, and much
    less than she had supposed it to be at first.

    Her greedy eye glanced rapidly over a page. She started at its import.
    Could it be possible, or did not her senses play her false? An inventory
    of linen, in coarse and modern characters, seemed all that was before
    her! If the evidence of sight might be trusted, she held a washing-bill
    in her hand. She seized another sheet, and saw the same articles with
    little variation; a third, a fourth, and a fifth presented nothing
    new. Shirts, stockings, cravats, and waistcoats faced her in each. Two
    others, penned by the same hand, marked an expenditure scarcely more
    interesting, in letters, hair-powder, shoe-string, and breeches-ball.
    And the larger sheet, which had enclosed the rest, seemed by its first
    cramp line, "To poultice chestnut mare"--a farrier's bill! Such was the
    collection of papers (left perhaps, as she could then suppose, by the
    negligence of a servant in the place whence she had taken them) which
    had filled her with expectation and alarm, and robbed her of half her
    night's rest! She felt humbled to the dust. Could not the adventure of
    the chest have taught her wisdom? A corner of it, catching her eye as
    she lay, seemed to rise up in judgment against her. Nothing could now
    be clearer than the absurdity of her recent fancies. To suppose that a
    manuscript of many generations back could have remained undiscovered in
    a room such as that, so modern, so habitable!--Or that she should be the
    first to possess the skill of unlocking a cabinet, the key of which was
    open to all!

    How could she have so imposed on herself? Heaven forbid that Henry
    Tilney should ever know her folly! And it was in a great measure his
    own doing, for had not the cabinet appeared so exactly to agree with his
    description of her adventures, she should never have felt the smallest
    curiosity about it. This was the only comfort that occurred. Impatient
    to get rid of those hateful evidences of her folly, those detestable
    papers then scattered over the bed, she rose directly, and folding them
    up as nearly as possible in the same shape as before, returned them
    to the same spot within the cabinet, with a very hearty wish that no
    untoward accident might ever bring them forward again, to disgrace her
    even with herself.

    Why the locks should have been so difficult to open, however, was still
    something remarkable, for she could now manage them with perfect ease.
    In this there was surely something mysterious, and she indulged in the
    flattering suggestion for half a minute, till the possibility of the
    door's having been at first unlocked, and of being herself its fastener,
    darted into her head, and cost her another blush.

    She got away as soon as she could from a room in which her conduct
    produced such unpleasant reflections, and found her way with all speed
    to the breakfast-parlour, as it had been pointed out to her by Miss
    Tilney the evening before. Henry was alone in it; and his immediate hope
    of her having been undisturbed by the tempest, with an arch reference
    to the character of the building they inhabited, was rather distressing.
    For the world would she not have her weakness suspected, and yet,
    unequal to an absolute falsehood, was constrained to acknowledge that
    the wind had kept her awake a little. "But we have a charming morning
    after it," she added, desiring to get rid of the subject; "and storms
    and sleeplessness are nothing when they are over. What beautiful
    hyacinths! I have just learnt to love a hyacinth."

    "And how might you learn? By accident or argument?"

    "Your sister taught me; I cannot tell how. Mrs. Allen used to take
    pains, year after year, to make me like them; but I never could, till
    I saw them the other day in Milsom Street; I am naturally indifferent
    about flowers."

    "But now you love a hyacinth. So much the better. You have gained a new
    source of enjoyment, and it is well to have as many holds upon happiness
    as possible. Besides, a taste for flowers is always desirable in your
    sex, as a means of getting you out of doors, and tempting you to more
    frequent exercise than you would otherwise take. And though the love
    of a hyacinth may be rather domestic, who can tell, the sentiment once
    raised, but you may in time come to love a rose?"

    "But I do not want any such pursuit to get me out of doors. The pleasure
    of walking and breathing fresh air is enough for me, and in fine weather
    I am out more than half my time. Mamma says I am never within."

    "At any rate, however, I am pleased that you have learnt to love
    a hyacinth. The mere habit of learning to love is the thing; and a
    teachableness of disposition in a young lady is a great blessing. Has my
    sister a pleasant mode of instruction?"

    Catherine was saved the embarrassment of attempting an answer by the
    entrance of the general, whose smiling compliments announced a happy
    state of mind, but whose gentle hint of sympathetic early rising did not
    advance her composure.

    The elegance of the breakfast set forced itself on Catherine's notice
    when they were seated at table; and, lucidly, it had been the general's
    choice. He was enchanted by her approbation of his taste, confessed it
    to be neat and simple, thought it right to encourage the manufacture of
    his country; and for his part, to his uncritical palate, the tea was as
    well flavoured from the clay of Staffordshire, as from that of Dresden
    or Save. But this was quite an old set, purchased two years ago.
    The manufacture was much improved since that time; he had seen some
    beautiful specimens when last in town, and had he not been perfectly
    without vanity of that kind, might have been tempted to order a new
    set. He trusted, however, that an opportunity might ere long occur of
    selecting one--though not for himself. Catherine was probably the only
    one of the party who did not understand him.

    Shortly after breakfast Henry left them for Woodston, where business
    required and would keep him two or three days. They all attended in
    the hall to see him mount his horse, and immediately on re-entering the
    breakfast-room, Catherine walked to a window in the hope of catching
    another glimpse of his figure. "This is a somewhat heavy call upon your
    brother's fortitude," observed the general to Eleanor. "Woodston will
    make but a sombre appearance today."

    "Is it a pretty place?" asked Catherine.

    "What say you, Eleanor? Speak your opinion, for ladies can best tell the
    taste of ladies in regard to places as well as men. I think it would be
    acknowledged by the most impartial eye to have many recommendations. The
    house stands among fine meadows facing the south-east, with an excellent
    kitchen-garden in the same aspect; the walls surrounding which I built
    and stocked myself about ten years ago, for the benefit of my son. It
    is a family living, Miss Morland; and the property in the place being
    chiefly my own, you may believe I take care that it shall not be a bad
    one. Did Henry's income depend solely on this living, he would not be
    ill-provided for. Perhaps it may seem odd, that with only two younger
    children, I should think any profession necessary for him; and certainly
    there are moments when we could all wish him disengaged from every tie
    of business. But though I may not exactly make converts of you young
    ladies, I am sure your father, Miss Morland, would agree with me in
    thinking it expedient to give every young man some employment. The
    money is nothing, it is not an object, but employment is the thing.
    Even Frederick, my eldest son, you see, who will perhaps inherit as
    considerable a landed property as any private man in the county, has his

    The imposing effect of this last argument was equal to his wishes. The
    silence of the lady proved it to be unanswerable.

    Something had been said the evening before of her being shown over the
    house, and he now offered himself as her conductor; and though Catherine
    had hoped to explore it accompanied only by his daughter, it was a
    proposal of too much happiness in itself, under any circumstances, not
    to be gladly accepted; for she had been already eighteen hours in the
    abbey, and had seen only a few of its rooms. The netting-box, just
    leisurely drawn forth, was closed with joyful haste, and she was ready
    to attend him in a moment. "And when they had gone over the house, he
    promised himself moreover the pleasure of accompanying her into the
    shrubberies and garden." She curtsied her acquiescence. "But perhaps
    it might be more agreeable to her to make those her first object.
    The weather was at present favourable, and at this time of year the
    uncertainty was very great of its continuing so. Which would she prefer?
    He was equally at her service. Which did his daughter think would most
    accord with her fair friend's wishes? But he thought he could discern.
    Yes, he certainly read in Miss Morland's eyes a judicious desire of
    making use of the present smiling weather. But when did she judge amiss?
    The abbey would be always safe and dry. He yielded implicitly, and
    would fetch his hat and attend them in a moment." He left the room,
    and Catherine, with a disappointed, anxious face, began to speak of her
    unwillingness that he should be taking them out of doors against his own
    inclination, under a mistaken idea of pleasing her; but she was stopped
    by Miss Tilney's saying, with a little confusion, "I believe it will be
    wisest to take the morning while it is so fine; and do not be uneasy on
    my father's account; he always walks out at this time of day."

    Catherine did not exactly know how this was to be understood. Why
    was Miss Tilney embarrassed? Could there be any unwillingness on the
    general's side to show her over the abbey? The proposal was his own. And
    was not it odd that he should always take his walk so early? Neither her
    father nor Mr. Allen did so. It was certainly very provoking. She was
    all impatience to see the house, and had scarcely any curiosity about
    the grounds. If Henry had been with them indeed! But now she should not
    know what was picturesque when she saw it. Such were her thoughts, but
    she kept them to herself, and put on her bonnet in patient discontent.

    She was struck, however, beyond her expectation, by the grandeur of
    the abbey, as she saw it for the first time from the lawn. The whole
    building enclosed a large court; and two sides of the quadrangle, rich
    in Gothic ornaments, stood forward for admiration. The remainder was
    shut off by knolls of old trees, or luxuriant plantations, and the steep
    woody hills rising behind, to give it shelter, were beautiful even in
    the leafless month of March. Catherine had seen nothing to compare with
    it; and her feelings of delight were so strong, that without waiting for
    any better authority, she boldly burst forth in wonder and praise. The
    general listened with assenting gratitude; and it seemed as if his own
    estimation of Northanger had waited unfixed till that hour.

    The kitchen-garden was to be next admired, and he led the way to it
    across a small portion of the park.

    The number of acres contained in this garden was such as Catherine could
    not listen to without dismay, being more than double the extent of all
    Mr. Allen's, as well her father's, including church-yard and orchard.
    The walls seemed countless in number, endless in length; a village of
    hot-houses seemed to arise among them, and a whole parish to be at
    work within the enclosure. The general was flattered by her looks of
    surprise, which told him almost as plainly, as he soon forced her to
    tell him in words, that she had never seen any gardens at all equal to
    them before; and he then modestly owned that, "without any ambition of
    that sort himself--without any solicitude about it--he did believe them
    to be unrivalled in the kingdom. If he had a hobby-horse, it was that.
    He loved a garden. Though careless enough in most matters of eating, he
    loved good fruit--or if he did not, his friends and children did. There
    were great vexations, however, attending such a garden as his. The
    utmost care could not always secure the most valuable fruits. The pinery
    had yielded only one hundred in the last year. Mr. Allen, he supposed,
    must feel these inconveniences as well as himself."

    "No, not at all. Mr. Allen did not care about the garden, and never went
    into it."

    With a triumphant smile of self-satisfaction, the general wished he
    could do the same, for he never entered his, without being vexed in some
    way or other, by its falling short of his plan.

    "How were Mr. Allen's succession-houses worked?" describing the nature
    of his own as they entered them.

    "Mr. Allen had only one small hot-house, which Mrs. Allen had the use of
    for her plants in winter, and there was a fire in it now and then."

    "He is a happy man!" said the general, with a look of very happy

    Having taken her into every division, and led her under every wall, till
    she was heartily weary of seeing and wondering, he suffered the girls
    at last to seize the advantage of an outer door, and then expressing
    his wish to examine the effect of some recent alterations about the
    tea-house, proposed it as no unpleasant extension of their walk, if Miss
    Morland were not tired. "But where are you going, Eleanor? Why do you
    choose that cold, damp path to it? Miss Morland will get wet. Our best
    way is across the park."

    "This is so favourite a walk of mine," said Miss Tilney, "that I always
    think it the best and nearest way. But perhaps it may be damp."

    It was a narrow winding path through a thick grove of old Scotch firs;
    and Catherine, struck by its gloomy aspect, and eager to enter it,
    could not, even by the general's disapprobation, be kept from stepping
    forward. He perceived her inclination, and having again urged the plea
    of health in vain, was too polite to make further opposition. He excused
    himself, however, from attending them: "The rays of the sun were not too
    cheerful for him, and he would meet them by another course." He turned
    away; and Catherine was shocked to find how much her spirits were
    relieved by the separation. The shock, however, being less real than the
    relief, offered it no injury; and she began to talk with easy gaiety of
    the delightful melancholy which such a grove inspired.

    "I am particularly fond of this spot," said her companion, with a sigh.
    "It was my mother's favourite walk."

    Catherine had never heard Mrs. Tilney mentioned in the family before,
    and the interest excited by this tender remembrance showed itself
    directly in her altered countenance, and in the attentive pause with
    which she waited for something more.

    "I used to walk here so often with her!" added Eleanor; "though I never
    loved it then, as I have loved it since. At that time indeed I used to
    wonder at her choice. But her memory endears it now."

    "And ought it not," reflected Catherine, "to endear it to her husband?
    Yet the general would not enter it." Miss Tilney continuing silent, she
    ventured to say, "Her death must have been a great affliction!"

    "A great and increasing one," replied the other, in a low voice. "I was
    only thirteen when it happened; and though I felt my loss perhaps as
    strongly as one so young could feel it, I did not, I could not, then
    know what a loss it was." She stopped for a moment, and then added, with
    great firmness, "I have no sister, you know--and though Henry--though my
    brothers are very affectionate, and Henry is a great deal here, which I
    am most thankful for, it is impossible for me not to be often solitary."

    "To be sure you must miss him very much."

    "A mother would have been always present. A mother would have been a
    constant friend; her influence would have been beyond all other."

    "Was she a very charming woman? Was she handsome? Was there any picture
    of her in the abbey? And why had she been so partial to that grove? Was
    it from dejection of spirits?"--were questions now eagerly poured forth;
    the first three received a ready affirmative, the two others were passed
    by; and Catherine's interest in the deceased Mrs. Tilney augmented with
    every question, whether answered or not. Of her unhappiness in marriage,
    she felt persuaded. The general certainly had been an unkind husband. He
    did not love her walk: could he therefore have loved her? And besides,
    handsome as he was, there was a something in the turn of his features
    which spoke his not having behaved well to her.

    "Her picture, I suppose," blushing at the consummate art of her own
    question, "hangs in your father's room?"

    "No; it was intended for the drawing-room; but my father was
    dissatisfied with the painting, and for some time it had no place.
    Soon after her death I obtained it for my own, and hung it in my
    bed-chamber--where I shall be happy to show it you; it is very like."
    Here was another proof. A portrait--very like--of a departed wife, not
    valued by the husband! He must have been dreadfully cruel to her!

    Catherine attempted no longer to hide from herself the nature of the
    feelings which, in spite of all his attentions, he had previously
    excited; and what had been terror and dislike before, was now absolute
    aversion. Yes, aversion! His cruelty to such a charming woman made him
    odious to her. She had often read of such characters, characters which
    Mr. Allen had been used to call unnatural and overdrawn; but here was
    proof positive of the contrary.

    She had just settled this point when the end of the path brought them
    directly upon the general; and in spite of all her virtuous indignation,
    she found herself again obliged to walk with him, listen to him, and
    even to smile when he smiled. Being no longer able, however, to receive
    pleasure from the surrounding objects, she soon began to walk with
    lassitude; the general perceived it, and with a concern for her health,
    which seemed to reproach her for her opinion of him, was most urgent
    for returning with his daughter to the house. He would follow them in
    a quarter of an hour. Again they parted--but Eleanor was called back in
    half a minute to receive a strict charge against taking her friend round
    the abbey till his return. This second instance of his anxiety to delay
    what she so much wished for struck Catherine as very remarkable.

    CHAPTER 23

    An hour passed away before the general came in, spent, on the part of
    his young guest, in no very favourable consideration of his character.
    "This lengthened absence, these solitary rambles, did not speak a mind
    at ease, or a conscience void of reproach." At length he appeared; and,
    whatever might have been the gloom of his meditations, he could still
    smile with them. Miss Tilney, understanding in part her friend's
    curiosity to see the house, soon revived the subject; and her father
    being, contrary to Catherine's expectations, unprovided with any
    pretence for further delay, beyond that of stopping five minutes to
    order refreshments to be in the room by their return, was at last ready
    to escort them.

    They set forward; and, with a grandeur of air, a dignified step,
    which caught the eye, but could not shake the doubts of the well-read
    Catherine, he led the way across the hall, through the common
    drawing-room and one useless antechamber, into a room magnificent both
    in size and furniture--the real drawing-room, used only with company of
    consequence. It was very noble--very grand--very charming!--was all that
    Catherine had to say, for her indiscriminating eye scarcely discerned
    the colour of the satin; and all minuteness of praise, all praise
    that had much meaning, was supplied by the general: the costliness or
    elegance of any room's fitting-up could be nothing to her; she cared for
    no furniture of a more modern date than the fifteenth century. When the
    general had satisfied his own curiosity, in a close examination of every
    well-known ornament, they proceeded into the library, an apartment, in
    its way, of equal magnificence, exhibiting a collection of books, on
    which an humble man might have looked with pride. Catherine heard,
    admired, and wondered with more genuine feeling than before--gathered
    all that she could from this storehouse of knowledge, by running over
    the titles of half a shelf, and was ready to proceed. But suites of
    apartments did not spring up with her wishes. Large as was the building,
    she had already visited the greatest part; though, on being told that,
    with the addition of the kitchen, the six or seven rooms she had now
    seen surrounded three sides of the court, she could scarcely believe it,
    or overcome the suspicion of there being many chambers secreted. It was
    some relief, however, that they were to return to the rooms in common
    use, by passing through a few of less importance, looking into the
    court, which, with occasional passages, not wholly unintricate,
    connected the different sides; and she was further soothed in her
    progress by being told that she was treading what had once been a
    cloister, having traces of cells pointed out, and observing several
    doors that were neither opened nor explained to her--by finding herself
    successively in a billiard-room, and in the general's private apartment,
    without comprehending their connection, or being able to turn aright
    when she left them; and lastly, by passing through a dark little room,
    owning Henry's authority, and strewed with his litter of books, guns,
    and greatcoats.

    From the dining-room, of which, though already seen, and always to be
    seen at five o'clock, the general could not forgo the pleasure of pacing
    out the length, for the more certain information of Miss Morland, as
    to what she neither doubted nor cared for, they proceeded by quick
    communication to the kitchen--the ancient kitchen of the convent, rich
    in the massy walls and smoke of former days, and in the stoves and hot
    closets of the present. The general's improving hand had not loitered
    here: every modern invention to facilitate the labour of the cooks had
    been adopted within this, their spacious theatre; and, when the genius
    of others had failed, his own had often produced the perfection wanted.
    His endowments of this spot alone might at any time have placed him high
    among the benefactors of the convent.

    With the walls of the kitchen ended all the antiquity of the abbey; the
    fourth side of the quadrangle having, on account of its decaying state,
    been removed by the general's father, and the present erected in its
    place. All that was venerable ceased here. The new building was not
    only new, but declared itself to be so; intended only for offices, and
    enclosed behind by stable-yards, no uniformity of architecture had been
    thought necessary. Catherine could have raved at the hand which had
    swept away what must have been beyond the value of all the rest, for the
    purposes of mere domestic economy; and would willingly have been spared
    the mortification of a walk through scenes so fallen, had the general
    allowed it; but if he had a vanity, it was in the arrangement of his
    offices; and as he was convinced that, to a mind like Miss Morland's,
    a view of the accommodations and comforts, by which the labours of her
    inferiors were softened, must always be gratifying, he should make
    no apology for leading her on. They took a slight survey of all; and
    Catherine was impressed, beyond her expectation, by their multiplicity
    and their convenience. The purposes for which a few shapeless pantries
    and a comfortless scullery were deemed sufficient at Fullerton, were
    here carried on in appropriate divisions, commodious and roomy. The
    number of servants continually appearing did not strike her less than
    the number of their offices. Wherever they went, some pattened girl
    stopped to curtsy, or some footman in dishabille sneaked off. Yet this
    was an abbey! How inexpressibly different in these domestic arrangements
    from such as she had read about--from abbeys and castles, in which,
    though certainly larger than Northanger, all the dirty work of the house
    was to be done by two pair of female hands at the utmost. How they could
    get through it all had often amazed Mrs. Allen; and, when Catherine saw
    what was necessary here, she began to be amazed herself.

    They returned to the hall, that the chief staircase might be ascended,
    and the beauty of its wood, and ornaments of rich carving might be
    pointed out: having gained the top, they turned in an opposite direction
    from the gallery in which her room lay, and shortly entered one on
    the same plan, but superior in length and breadth. She was here shown
    successively into three large bed-chambers, with their dressing-rooms,
    most completely and handsomely fitted up; everything that money and
    taste could do, to give comfort and elegance to apartments, had been
    bestowed on these; and, being furnished within the last five years, they
    were perfect in all that would be generally pleasing, and wanting in all
    that could give pleasure to Catherine. As they were surveying the last,
    the general, after slightly naming a few of the distinguished characters
    by whom they had at times been honoured, turned with a smiling
    countenance to Catherine, and ventured to hope that henceforward some of
    their earliest tenants might be "our friends from Fullerton." She felt
    the unexpected compliment, and deeply regretted the impossibility of
    thinking well of a man so kindly disposed towards herself, and so full
    of civility to all her family.

    The gallery was terminated by folding doors, which Miss Tilney,
    advancing, had thrown open, and passed through, and seemed on the point
    of doing the same by the first door to the left, in another long reach
    of gallery, when the general, coming forwards, called her hastily, and,
    as Catherine thought, rather angrily back, demanding whether she were
    going?--And what was there more to be seen?--Had not Miss Morland
    already seen all that could be worth her notice?--And did she not
    suppose her friend might be glad of some refreshment after so much
    exercise? Miss Tilney drew back directly, and the heavy doors were
    closed upon the mortified Catherine, who, having seen, in a momentary
    glance beyond them, a narrower passage, more numerous openings, and
    symptoms of a winding staircase, believed herself at last within the
    reach of something worth her notice; and felt, as she unwillingly paced
    back the gallery, that she would rather be allowed to examine that end
    of the house than see all the finery of all the rest. The general's
    evident desire of preventing such an examination was an additional
    stimulant. Something was certainly to be concealed; her fancy, though
    it had trespassed lately once or twice, could not mislead her here;
    and what that something was, a short sentence of Miss Tilney's, as they
    followed the general at some distance downstairs, seemed to point out:
    "I was going to take you into what was my mother's room--the room
    in which she died--" were all her words; but few as they were, they
    conveyed pages of intelligence to Catherine. It was no wonder that the
    general should shrink from the sight of such objects as that room
    must contain; a room in all probability never entered by him since the
    dreadful scene had passed, which released his suffering wife, and left
    him to the stings of conscience.

    She ventured, when next alone with Eleanor, to express her wish of being
    permitted to see it, as well as all the rest of that side of the house;
    and Eleanor promised to attend her there, whenever they should have a
    convenient hour. Catherine understood her: the general must be watched
    from home, before that room could be entered. "It remains as it was, I
    suppose?" said she, in a tone of feeling.

    "Yes, entirely."

    "And how long ago may it be that your mother died?"

    "She has been dead these nine years." And nine years, Catherine knew,
    was a trifle of time, compared with what generally elapsed after the
    death of an injured wife, before her room was put to rights.

    "You were with her, I suppose, to the last?"

    "No," said Miss Tilney, sighing; "I was unfortunately from home. Her
    illness was sudden and short; and, before I arrived it was all over."

    Catherine's blood ran cold with the horrid suggestions which naturally
    sprang from these words. Could it be possible? Could Henry's father--?
    And yet how many were the examples to justify even the blackest
    suspicions! And, when she saw him in the evening, while she worked
    with her friend, slowly pacing the drawing-room for an hour together in
    silent thoughtfulness, with downcast eyes and contracted brow, she felt
    secure from all possibility of wronging him. It was the air and attitude
    of a Montoni! What could more plainly speak the gloomy workings of a
    mind not wholly dead to every sense of humanity, in its fearful review
    of past scenes of guilt? Unhappy man! And the anxiousness of her spirits
    directed her eyes towards his figure so repeatedly, as to catch Miss
    Tilney's notice. "My father," she whispered, "often walks about the room
    in this way; it is nothing unusual."

    "So much the worse!" thought Catherine; such ill-timed exercise was of a
    piece with the strange unseasonableness of his morning walks, and boded
    nothing good.

    After an evening, the little variety and seeming length of which made
    her peculiarly sensible of Henry's importance among them, she was
    heartily glad to be dismissed; though it was a look from the general not
    designed for her observation which sent his daughter to the bell.
    When the butler would have lit his master's candle, however, he was
    forbidden. The latter was not going to retire. "I have many pamphlets to
    finish," said he to Catherine, "before I can close my eyes, and perhaps
    may be poring over the affairs of the nation for hours after you are
    asleep. Can either of us be more meetly employed? My eyes will be
    blinding for the good of others, and yours preparing by rest for future

    But neither the business alleged, nor the magnificent compliment,
    could win Catherine from thinking that some very different object must
    occasion so serious a delay of proper repose. To be kept up for hours,
    after the family were in bed, by stupid pamphlets was not very likely.
    There must be some deeper cause: something was to be done which could
    be done only while the household slept; and the probability that Mrs.
    Tilney yet lived, shut up for causes unknown, and receiving from the
    pitiless hands of her husband a nightly supply of coarse food, was the
    conclusion which necessarily followed. Shocking as was the idea, it
    was at least better than a death unfairly hastened, as, in the natural
    course of things, she must ere long be released. The suddenness of her
    reputed illness, the absence of her daughter, and probably of her other
    children, at the time--all favoured the supposition of her imprisonment.
    Its origin--jealousy perhaps, or wanton cruelty--was yet to be

    In revolving these matters, while she undressed, it suddenly struck her
    as not unlikely that she might that morning have passed near the very
    spot of this unfortunate woman's confinement--might have been within
    a few paces of the cell in which she languished out her days; for what
    part of the abbey could be more fitted for the purpose than that which
    yet bore the traces of monastic division? In the high-arched passage,
    paved with stone, which already she had trodden with peculiar awe, she
    well remembered the doors of which the general had given no account. To
    what might not those doors lead? In support of the plausibility of this
    conjecture, it further occurred to her that the forbidden gallery, in
    which lay the apartments of the unfortunate Mrs. Tilney, must be, as
    certainly as her memory could guide her, exactly over this suspected
    range of cells, and the staircase by the side of those apartments of
    which she had caught a transient glimpse, communicating by some
    secret means with those cells, might well have favoured the barbarous
    proceedings of her husband. Down that staircase she had perhaps been
    conveyed in a state of well-prepared insensibility!

    Catherine sometimes started at the boldness of her own surmises, and
    sometimes hoped or feared that she had gone too far; but they were
    supported by such appearances as made their dismissal impossible.

    The side of the quadrangle, in which she supposed the guilty scene to be
    acting, being, according to her belief, just opposite her own, it struck
    her that, if judiciously watched, some rays of light from the general's
    lamp might glimmer through the lower windows, as he passed to the prison
    of his wife; and, twice before she stepped into bed, she stole gently
    from her room to the corresponding window in the gallery, to see if it
    appeared; but all abroad was dark, and it must yet be too early. The
    various ascending noises convinced her that the servants must still be
    up. Till midnight, she supposed it would be in vain to watch; but then,
    when the clock had struck twelve, and all was quiet, she would, if not
    quite appalled by darkness, steal out and look once more. The clock
    struck twelve--and Catherine had been half an hour asleep.

    CHAPTER 24

    The next day afforded no opportunity for the proposed examination of the
    mysterious apartments. It was Sunday, and the whole time between morning
    and afternoon service was required by the general in exercise abroad or
    eating cold meat at home; and great as was Catherine's curiosity, her
    courage was not equal to a wish of exploring them after dinner, either
    by the fading light of the sky between six and seven o'clock, or by the
    yet more partial though stronger illumination of a treacherous lamp.
    The day was unmarked therefore by anything to interest her imagination
    beyond the sight of a very elegant monument to the memory of Mrs.
    Tilney, which immediately fronted the family pew. By that her eye
    was instantly caught and long retained; and the perusal of the highly
    strained epitaph, in which every virtue was ascribed to her by the
    inconsolable husband, who must have been in some way or other her
    destroyer, affected her even to tears.

    That the general, having erected such a monument, should be able to face
    it, was not perhaps very strange, and yet that he could sit so boldly
    collected within its view, maintain so elevated an air, look so
    fearlessly around, nay, that he should even enter the church, seemed
    wonderful to Catherine. Not, however, that many instances of beings
    equally hardened in guilt might not be produced. She could remember
    dozens who had persevered in every possible vice, going on from crime to
    crime, murdering whomsoever they chose, without any feeling of humanity
    or remorse; till a violent death or a religious retirement closed their
    black career. The erection of the monument itself could not in the
    smallest degree affect her doubts of Mrs. Tilney's actual decease. Were
    she even to descend into the family vault where her ashes were supposed
    to slumber, were she to behold the coffin in which they were said to
    be enclosed--what could it avail in such a case? Catherine had read too
    much not to be perfectly aware of the ease with which a waxen figure
    might be introduced, and a supposititious funeral carried on.

    The succeeding morning promised something better. The general's early
    walk, ill-timed as it was in every other view, was favourable here; and
    when she knew him to be out of the house, she directly proposed to Miss
    Tilney the accomplishment of her promise. Eleanor was ready to oblige
    her; and Catherine reminding her as they went of another promise, their
    first visit in consequence was to the portrait in her bed-chamber. It
    represented a very lovely woman, with a mild and pensive countenance,
    justifying, so far, the expectations of its new observer; but they were
    not in every respect answered, for Catherine had depended upon meeting
    with features, hair, complexion, that should be the very counterpart,
    the very image, if not of Henry's, of Eleanor's--the only portraits of
    which she had been in the habit of thinking, bearing always an equal
    resemblance of mother and child. A face once taken was taken for
    generations. But here she was obliged to look and consider and study
    for a likeness. She contemplated it, however, in spite of this drawback,
    with much emotion, and, but for a yet stronger interest, would have left
    it unwillingly.

    Her agitation as they entered the great gallery was too much for any
    endeavour at discourse; she could only look at her companion. Eleanor's
    countenance was dejected, yet sedate; and its composure spoke her inured
    to all the gloomy objects to which they were advancing. Again she passed
    through the folding doors, again her hand was upon the important lock,
    and Catherine, hardly able to breathe, was turning to close the former
    with fearful caution, when the figure, the dreaded figure of the general
    himself at the further end of the gallery, stood before her! The name of
    "Eleanor" at the same moment, in his loudest tone, resounded through the
    building, giving to his daughter the first intimation of his presence,
    and to Catherine terror upon terror. An attempt at concealment had been
    her first instinctive movement on perceiving him, yet she could
    scarcely hope to have escaped his eye; and when her friend, who with an
    apologizing look darted hastily by her, had joined and disappeared
    with him, she ran for safety to her own room, and, locking herself
    in, believed that she should never have courage to go down again. She
    remained there at least an hour, in the greatest agitation, deeply
    commiserating the state of her poor friend, and expecting a summons
    herself from the angry general to attend him in his own apartment. No
    summons, however, arrived; and at last, on seeing a carriage drive up
    to the abbey, she was emboldened to descend and meet him under the
    protection of visitors. The breakfast-room was gay with company; and
    she was named to them by the general as the friend of his daughter, in
    a complimentary style, which so well concealed his resentful ire, as to
    make her feel secure at least of life for the present. And Eleanor,
    with a command of countenance which did honour to her concern for his
    character, taking an early occasion of saying to her, "My father only
    wanted me to answer a note," she began to hope that she had either been
    unseen by the general, or that from some consideration of policy she
    should be allowed to suppose herself so. Upon this trust she dared still
    to remain in his presence, after the company left them, and nothing
    occurred to disturb it.

    In the course of this morning's reflections, she came to a resolution
    of making her next attempt on the forbidden door alone. It would be much
    better in every respect that Eleanor should know nothing of the matter.
    To involve her in the danger of a second detection, to court her into
    an apartment which must wring her heart, could not be the office of a
    friend. The general's utmost anger could not be to herself what it might
    be to a daughter; and, besides, she thought the examination itself
    would be more satisfactory if made without any companion. It would be
    impossible to explain to Eleanor the suspicions, from which the other
    had, in all likelihood, been hitherto happily exempt; nor could she
    therefore, in her presence, search for those proofs of the general's
    cruelty, which however they might yet have escaped discovery, she felt
    confident of somewhere drawing forth, in the shape of some fragmented
    journal, continued to the last gasp. Of the way to the apartment she was
    now perfectly mistress; and as she wished to get it over before Henry's
    return, who was expected on the morrow, there was no time to be lost.
    The day was bright, her courage high; at four o'clock, the sun was now
    two hours above the horizon, and it would be only her retiring to dress
    half an hour earlier than usual.

    It was done; and Catherine found herself alone in the gallery before the
    clocks had ceased to strike. It was no time for thought; she hurried
    on, slipped with the least possible noise through the folding doors,
    and without stopping to look or breathe, rushed forward to the one in
    question. The lock yielded to her hand, and, luckily, with no sullen
    sound that could alarm a human being. On tiptoe she entered; the room
    was before her; but it was some minutes before she could advance another
    step. She beheld what fixed her to the spot and agitated every feature.
    She saw a large, well-proportioned apartment, an handsome dimity bed,
    arranged as unoccupied with an housemaid's care, a bright Bath stove,
    mahogany wardrobes, and neatly painted chairs, on which the warm beams
    of a western sun gaily poured through two sash windows! Catherine had
    expected to have her feelings worked, and worked they were. Astonishment
    and doubt first seized them; and a shortly succeeding ray of common
    sense added some bitter emotions of shame. She could not be mistaken
    as to the room; but how grossly mistaken in everything else!--in Miss
    Tilney's meaning, in her own calculation! This apartment, to which she
    had given a date so ancient, a position so awful, proved to be one end
    of what the general's father had built. There were two other doors in
    the chamber, leading probably into dressing-closets; but she had no
    inclination to open either. Would the veil in which Mrs. Tilney had last
    walked, or the volume in which she had last read, remain to tell what
    nothing else was allowed to whisper? No: whatever might have been the
    general's crimes, he had certainly too much wit to let them sue for
    detection. She was sick of exploring, and desired but to be safe in her
    own room, with her own heart only privy to its folly; and she was on
    the point of retreating as softly as she had entered, when the sound of
    footsteps, she could hardly tell where, made her pause and tremble.
    To be found there, even by a servant, would be unpleasant; but by the
    general (and he seemed always at hand when least wanted), much worse!
    She listened--the sound had ceased; and resolving not to lose a
    moment, she passed through and closed the door. At that instant a door
    underneath was hastily opened; someone seemed with swift steps to ascend
    the stairs, by the head of which she had yet to pass before she could
    gain the gallery. She had no power to move. With a feeling of terror
    not very definable, she fixed her eyes on the staircase, and in a few
    moments it gave Henry to her view. "Mr. Tilney!" she exclaimed in a
    voice of more than common astonishment. He looked astonished too. "Good
    God!" she continued, not attending to his address. "How came you here?
    How came you up that staircase?"

    "How came I up that staircase!" he replied, greatly surprised. "Because
    it is my nearest way from the stable-yard to my own chamber; and why
    should I not come up it?"

    Catherine recollected herself, blushed deeply, and could say no more. He
    seemed to be looking in her countenance for that explanation which her
    lips did not afford. She moved on towards the gallery. "And may I not,
    in my turn," said he, as he pushed back the folding doors, "ask how you
    came here? This passage is at least as extraordinary a road from the
    breakfast-parlour to your apartment, as that staircase can be from the
    stables to mine."

    "I have been," said Catherine, looking down, "to see your mother's

    "My mother's room! Is there anything extraordinary to be seen there?"

    "No, nothing at all. I thought you did not mean to come back till

    "I did not expect to be able to return sooner, when I went away; but
    three hours ago I had the pleasure of finding nothing to detain me. You
    look pale. I am afraid I alarmed you by running so fast up those stairs.
    Perhaps you did not know--you were not aware of their leading from the
    offices in common use?"

    "No, I was not. You have had a very fine day for your ride."

    "Very; and does Eleanor leave you to find your way into all the rooms in
    the house by yourself?"

    "Oh! No; she showed me over the greatest part on Saturday--and we were
    coming here to these rooms--but only"--dropping her voice--"your father
    was with us."

    "And that prevented you," said Henry, earnestly regarding her. "Have you
    looked into all the rooms in that passage?"

    "No, I only wanted to see--Is not it very late? I must go and dress."

    "It is only a quarter past four" showing his watch--"and you are not now
    in Bath. No theatre, no rooms to prepare for. Half an hour at Northanger
    must be enough."

    She could not contradict it, and therefore suffered herself to be
    detained, though her dread of further questions made her, for the first
    time in their acquaintance, wish to leave him. They walked slowly up the
    gallery. "Have you had any letter from Bath since I saw you?"

    "No, and I am very much surprised. Isabella promised so faithfully to
    write directly."

    "Promised so faithfully! A faithful promise! That puzzles me. I have
    heard of a faithful performance. But a faithful promise--the fidelity
    of promising! It is a power little worth knowing, however, since it can
    deceive and pain you. My mother's room is very commodious, is it not?
    Large and cheerful-looking, and the dressing-closets so well disposed!
    It always strikes me as the most comfortable apartment in the house, and
    I rather wonder that Eleanor should not take it for her own. She sent
    you to look at it, I suppose?"


    "It has been your own doing entirely?" Catherine said nothing. After a
    short silence, during which he had closely observed her, he added, "As
    there is nothing in the room in itself to raise curiosity, this must
    have proceeded from a sentiment of respect for my mother's character,
    as described by Eleanor, which does honour to her memory. The world, I
    believe, never saw a better woman. But it is not often that virtue can
    boast an interest such as this. The domestic, unpretending merits of a
    person never known do not often create that kind of fervent, venerating
    tenderness which would prompt a visit like yours. Eleanor, I suppose,
    has talked of her a great deal?"

    "Yes, a great deal. That is--no, not much, but what she did say was very
    interesting. Her dying so suddenly" (slowly, and with hesitation it
    was spoken), "and you--none of you being at home--and your father, I
    thought--perhaps had not been very fond of her."

    "And from these circumstances," he replied (his quick eye
    fixed on hers), "you infer perhaps the probability of some
    negligence--some"--(involuntarily she shook her head)--"or it may be--of
    something still less pardonable." She raised her eyes towards him
    more fully than she had ever done before. "My mother's illness," he
    continued, "the seizure which ended in her death, was sudden. The malady
    itself, one from which she had often suffered, a bilious fever--its
    cause therefore constitutional. On the third day, in short, as soon as
    she could be prevailed on, a physician attended her, a very respectable
    man, and one in whom she had always placed great confidence. Upon his
    opinion of her danger, two others were called in the next day, and
    remained in almost constant attendance for four and twenty hours. On the
    fifth day she died. During the progress of her disorder, Frederick and I
    (we were both at home) saw her repeatedly; and from our own observation
    can bear witness to her having received every possible attention
    which could spring from the affection of those about her, or which her
    situation in life could command. Poor Eleanor was absent, and at such a
    distance as to return only to see her mother in her coffin."

    "But your father," said Catherine, "was he afflicted?"

    "For a time, greatly so. You have erred in supposing him not attached
    to her. He loved her, I am persuaded, as well as it was possible for him
    to--we have not all, you know, the same tenderness of disposition--and
    I will not pretend to say that while she lived, she might not often have
    had much to bear, but though his temper injured her, his judgment never
    did. His value of her was sincere; and, if not permanently, he was truly
    afflicted by her death."

    "I am very glad of it," said Catherine; "it would have been very

    "If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as
    I have hardly words to--Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature
    of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from?
    Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are
    English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your
    own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing
    around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our
    laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in
    a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a
    footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary
    spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss
    Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?"

    They had reached the end of the gallery, and with tears of shame she ran
    off to her own room.

    CHAPTER 25

    The visions of romance were over. Catherine was completely awakened.
    Henry's address, short as it had been, had more thoroughly opened her
    eyes to the extravagance of her late fancies than all their several
    disappointments had done. Most grievously was she humbled. Most bitterly
    did she cry. It was not only with herself that she was sunk--but with
    Henry. Her folly, which now seemed even criminal, was all exposed to
    him, and he must despise her forever. The liberty which her imagination
    had dared to take with the character of his father--could he ever
    forgive it? The absurdity of her curiosity and her fears--could they
    ever be forgotten? She hated herself more than she could express. He
    had--she thought he had, once or twice before this fatal morning, shown
    something like affection for her. But now--in short, she made herself as
    miserable as possible for about half an hour, went down when the
    clock struck five, with a broken heart, and could scarcely give an
    intelligible answer to Eleanor's inquiry if she was well. The formidable
    Henry soon followed her into the room, and the only difference in his
    behaviour to her was that he paid her rather more attention than usual.
    Catherine had never wanted comfort more, and he looked as if he was
    aware of it.

    The evening wore away with no abatement of this soothing politeness; and
    her spirits were gradually raised to a modest tranquillity. She did not
    learn either to forget or defend the past; but she learned to hope that
    it would never transpire farther, and that it might not cost her Henry's
    entire regard. Her thoughts being still chiefly fixed on what she had
    with such causeless terror felt and done, nothing could shortly be
    clearer than that it had been all a voluntary, self-created delusion,
    each trifling circumstance receiving importance from an imagination
    resolved on alarm, and everything forced to bend to one purpose by
    a mind which, before she entered the abbey, had been craving to be
    frightened. She remembered with what feelings she had prepared for a
    knowledge of Northanger. She saw that the infatuation had been created,
    the mischief settled, long before her quitting Bath, and it seemed as if
    the whole might be traced to the influence of that sort of reading which
    she had there indulged.

    Charming as were all Mrs. Radcliffe's works, and charming even as were
    the works of all her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human
    nature, at least in the Midland counties of England, was to be looked
    for. Of the Alps and Pyrenees, with their pine forests and their vices,
    they might give a faithful delineation; and Italy, Switzerland, and
    the south of France might be as fruitful in horrors as they were there
    represented. Catherine dared not doubt beyond her own country, and even
    of that, if hard pressed, would have yielded the northern and western
    extremities. But in the central part of England there was surely some
    security for the existence even of a wife not beloved, in the laws of
    the land, and the manners of the age. Murder was not tolerated, servants
    were not slaves, and neither poison nor sleeping potions to be procured,
    like rhubarb, from every druggist. Among the Alps and Pyrenees, perhaps,
    there were no mixed characters. There, such as were not as spotless as
    an angel might have the dispositions of a fiend. But in England it was
    not so; among the English, she believed, in their hearts and habits,
    there was a general though unequal mixture of good and bad. Upon this
    conviction, she would not be surprised if even in Henry and Eleanor
    Tilney, some slight imperfection might hereafter appear; and upon this
    conviction she need not fear to acknowledge some actual specks in
    the character of their father, who, though cleared from the grossly
    injurious suspicions which she must ever blush to have entertained, she
    did believe, upon serious consideration, to be not perfectly amiable.

    Her mind made up on these several points, and her resolution formed, of
    always judging and acting in future with the greatest good sense, she
    had nothing to do but to forgive herself and be happier than ever; and
    the lenient hand of time did much for her by insensible gradations in
    the course of another day. Henry's astonishing generosity and nobleness
    of conduct, in never alluding in the slightest way to what had passed,
    was of the greatest assistance to her; and sooner than she could have
    supposed it possible in the beginning of her distress, her spirits
    became absolutely comfortable, and capable, as heretofore, of continual
    improvement by anything he said. There were still some subjects, indeed,
    under which she believed they must always tremble--the mention of a
    chest or a cabinet, for instance--and she did not love the sight of
    japan in any shape: but even she could allow that an occasional memento
    of past folly, however painful, might not be without use.

    The anxieties of common life began soon to succeed to the alarms of
    romance. Her desire of hearing from Isabella grew every day greater.
    She was quite impatient to know how the Bath world went on, and how the
    rooms were attended; and especially was she anxious to be assured of
    Isabella's having matched some fine netting-cotton, on which she had
    left her intent; and of her continuing on the best terms with James. Her
    only dependence for information of any kind was on Isabella. James had
    protested against writing to her till his return to Oxford; and Mrs.
    Allen had given her no hopes of a letter till she had got back to
    Fullerton. But Isabella had promised and promised again; and when she
    promised a thing, she was so scrupulous in performing it! This made it
    so particularly strange!

    For nine successive mornings, Catherine wondered over the repetition
    of a disappointment, which each morning became more severe: but, on
    the tenth, when she entered the breakfast-room, her first object was a
    letter, held out by Henry's willing hand. She thanked him as heartily
    as if he had written it himself. "'Tis only from James, however," as she
    looked at the direction. She opened it; it was from Oxford; and to this

    "Dear Catherine,

    "Though, God knows, with little inclination for writing, I think it my
    duty to tell you that everything is at an end between Miss Thorpe and
    me. I left her and Bath yesterday, never to see either again. I shall
    not enter into particulars--they would only pain you more. You will soon
    hear enough from another quarter to know where lies the blame; and I
    hope will acquit your brother of everything but the folly of too easily
    thinking his affection returned. Thank God! I am undeceived in time!
    But it is a heavy blow! After my father's consent had been so kindly
    given--but no more of this. She has made me miserable forever! Let me
    soon hear from you, dear Catherine; you are my only friend; your love
    I do build upon. I wish your visit at Northanger may be over before
    Captain Tilney makes his engagement known, or you will be uncomfortably
    circumstanced. Poor Thorpe is in town: I dread the sight of him; his
    honest heart would feel so much. I have written to him and my father.
    Her duplicity hurts me more than all; till the very last, if I reasoned
    with her, she declared herself as much attached to me as ever, and
    laughed at my fears. I am ashamed to think how long I bore with it;
    but if ever man had reason to believe himself loved, I was that man. I
    cannot understand even now what she would be at, for there could be no
    need of my being played off to make her secure of Tilney. We parted
    at last by mutual consent--happy for me had we never met! I can never
    expect to know such another woman! Dearest Catherine, beware how you
    give your heart.

    "Believe me," &c.

    Catherine had not read three lines before her sudden change of
    countenance, and short exclamations of sorrowing wonder, declared her to
    be receiving unpleasant news; and Henry, earnestly watching her through
    the whole letter, saw plainly that it ended no better than it began. He
    was prevented, however, from even looking his surprise by his father's
    entrance. They went to breakfast directly; but Catherine could hardly
    eat anything. Tears filled her eyes, and even ran down her cheeks as she
    sat. The letter was one moment in her hand, then in her lap, and then in
    her pocket; and she looked as if she knew not what she did. The general,
    between his cocoa and his newspaper, had luckily no leisure for noticing
    her; but to the other two her distress was equally visible. As soon
    as she dared leave the table she hurried away to her own room; but the
    housemaids were busy in it, and she was obliged to come down again.
    She turned into the drawing-room for privacy, but Henry and Eleanor had
    likewise retreated thither, and were at that moment deep in consultation
    about her. She drew back, trying to beg their pardon, but was, with
    gentle violence, forced to return; and the others withdrew, after
    Eleanor had affectionately expressed a wish of being of use or comfort
    to her.

    After half an hour's free indulgence of grief and reflection, Catherine
    felt equal to encountering her friends; but whether she should make
    her distress known to them was another consideration. Perhaps, if
    particularly questioned, she might just give an idea--just distantly
    hint at it--but not more. To expose a friend, such a friend as Isabella
    had been to her--and then their own brother so closely concerned in it!
    She believed she must waive the subject altogether. Henry and Eleanor
    were by themselves in the breakfast-room; and each, as she entered it,
    looked at her anxiously. Catherine took her place at the table, and,
    after a short silence, Eleanor said, "No bad news from Fullerton, I
    hope? Mr. and Mrs. Morland--your brothers and sisters--I hope they are
    none of them ill?"

    "No, I thank you" (sighing as she spoke); "they are all very well. My
    letter was from my brother at Oxford."

    Nothing further was said for a few minutes; and then speaking through
    her tears, she added, "I do not think I shall ever wish for a letter

    "I am sorry," said Henry, closing the book he had just opened; "if I
    had suspected the letter of containing anything unwelcome, I should have
    given it with very different feelings."

    "It contained something worse than anybody could suppose! Poor James is
    so unhappy! You will soon know why."

    "To have so kind-hearted, so affectionate a sister," replied Henry
    warmly, "must be a comfort to him under any distress."

    "I have one favour to beg," said Catherine, shortly afterwards, in an
    agitated manner, "that, if your brother should be coming here, you will
    give me notice of it, that I may go away."

    "Our brother! Frederick!"

    "Yes; I am sure I should be very sorry to leave you so soon, but
    something has happened that would make it very dreadful for me to be in
    the same house with Captain Tilney."

    Eleanor's work was suspended while she gazed with increasing
    astonishment; but Henry began to suspect the truth, and something, in
    which Miss Thorpe's name was included, passed his lips.

    "How quick you are!" cried Catherine: "you have guessed it, I declare!
    And yet, when we talked about it in Bath, you little thought of its
    ending so. Isabella--no wonder now I have not heard from her--Isabella
    has deserted my brother, and is to marry yours! Could you have believed
    there had been such inconstancy and fickleness, and everything that is
    bad in the world?"

    "I hope, so far as concerns my brother, you are misinformed. I hope
    he has not had any material share in bringing on Mr. Morland's
    disappointment. His marrying Miss Thorpe is not probable. I think you
    must be deceived so far. I am very sorry for Mr. Morland--sorry that
    anyone you love should be unhappy; but my surprise would be greater at
    Frederick's marrying her than at any other part of the story."

    "It is very true, however; you shall read James's letter yourself.
    Stay--There is one part--" recollecting with a blush the last line.

    "Will you take the trouble of reading to us the passages which concern
    my brother?"

    "No, read it yourself," cried Catherine, whose second thoughts were
    clearer. "I do not know what I was thinking of" (blushing again that she
    had blushed before); "James only means to give me good advice."

    He gladly received the letter, and, having read it through, with close
    attention, returned it saying, "Well, if it is to be so, I can only
    say that I am sorry for it. Frederick will not be the first man who has
    chosen a wife with less sense than his family expected. I do not envy
    his situation, either as a lover or a son."

    Miss Tilney, at Catherine's invitation, now read the letter likewise,
    and, having expressed also her concern and surprise, began to inquire
    into Miss Thorpe's connections and fortune.

    "Her mother is a very good sort of woman," was Catherine's answer.

    "What was her father?"

    "A lawyer, I believe. They live at Putney."

    "Are they a wealthy family?"

    "No, not very. I do not believe Isabella has any fortune at all: but
    that will not signify in your family. Your father is so very liberal!
    He told me the other day that he only valued money as it allowed him to
    promote the happiness of his children." The brother and sister looked
    at each other. "But," said Eleanor, after a short pause, "would it be to
    promote his happiness, to enable him to marry such a girl? She must be
    an unprincipled one, or she could not have used your brother so. And how
    strange an infatuation on Frederick's side! A girl who, before his eyes,
    is violating an engagement voluntarily entered into with another man! Is
    not it inconceivable, Henry? Frederick too, who always wore his heart so
    proudly! Who found no woman good enough to be loved!"

    "That is the most unpromising circumstance, the strongest presumption
    against him. When I think of his past declarations, I give him up.
    Moreover, I have too good an opinion of Miss Thorpe's prudence to
    suppose that she would part with one gentleman before the other
    was secured. It is all over with Frederick indeed! He is a deceased
    man--defunct in understanding. Prepare for your sister-in-law, Eleanor,
    and such a sister-in-law as you must delight in! Open, candid, artless,
    guileless, with affections strong but simple, forming no pretensions,
    and knowing no disguise."

    "Such a sister-in-law, Henry, I should delight in," said Eleanor with a

    "But perhaps," observed Catherine, "though she has behaved so ill by our
    family, she may behave better by yours. Now she has really got the man
    she likes, she may be constant."

    "Indeed I am afraid she will," replied Henry; "I am afraid she will
    be very constant, unless a baronet should come in her way; that is
    Frederick's only chance. I will get the Bath paper, and look over the

    "You think it is all for ambition, then? And, upon my word, there are
    some things that seem very like it. I cannot forget that, when she first
    knew what my father would do for them, she seemed quite disappointed
    that it was not more. I never was so deceived in anyone's character in
    my life before."

    "Among all the great variety that you have known and studied."

    "My own disappointment and loss in her is very great; but, as for poor
    James, I suppose he will hardly ever recover it."

    "Your brother is certainly very much to be pitied at present; but we
    must not, in our concern for his sufferings, undervalue yours. You feel,
    I suppose, that in losing Isabella, you lose half yourself: you feel a
    void in your heart which nothing else can occupy. Society is becoming
    irksome; and as for the amusements in which you were wont to share at
    Bath, the very idea of them without her is abhorrent. You would not,
    for instance, now go to a ball for the world. You feel that you have no
    longer any friend to whom you can speak with unreserve, on whose regard
    you can place dependence, or whose counsel, in any difficulty, you could
    rely on. You feel all this?"

    "No," said Catherine, after a few moments' reflection, "I do not--ought
    I? To say the truth, though I am hurt and grieved, that I cannot still
    love her, that I am never to hear from her, perhaps never to see her
    again, I do not feel so very, very much afflicted as one would have

    "You feel, as you always do, what is most to the credit of human nature.
    Such feelings ought to be investigated, that they may know themselves."

    Catherine, by some chance or other, found her spirits so very much
    relieved by this conversation that she could not regret her being led
    on, though so unaccountably, to mention the circumstance which had
    produced it.

    CHAPTER 26

    From this time, the subject was frequently canvassed by the three young
    people; and Catherine found, with some surprise, that her two young
    friends were perfectly agreed in considering Isabella's want of
    consequence and fortune as likely to throw great difficulties in the way
    of her marrying their brother. Their persuasion that the general would,
    upon this ground alone, independent of the objection that might be
    raised against her character, oppose the connection, turned her feelings
    moreover with some alarm towards herself. She was as insignificant,
    and perhaps as portionless, as Isabella; and if the heir of the Tilney
    property had not grandeur and wealth enough in himself, at what point
    of interest were the demands of his younger brother to rest? The very
    painful reflections to which this thought led could only be dispersed by
    a dependence on the effect of that particular partiality, which, as she
    was given to understand by his words as well as his actions, she had
    from the first been so fortunate as to excite in the general; and by a
    recollection of some most generous and disinterested sentiments on the
    subject of money, which she had more than once heard him utter, and
    which tempted her to think his disposition in such matters misunderstood
    by his children.

    They were so fully convinced, however, that their brother would not
    have the courage to apply in person for his father's consent, and so
    repeatedly assured her that he had never in his life been less likely to
    come to Northanger than at the present time, that she suffered her mind
    to be at ease as to the necessity of any sudden removal of her own. But
    as it was not to be supposed that Captain Tilney, whenever he made his
    application, would give his father any just idea of Isabella's conduct,
    it occurred to her as highly expedient that Henry should lay the whole
    business before him as it really was, enabling the general by that means
    to form a cool and impartial opinion, and prepare his objections on
    a fairer ground than inequality of situations. She proposed it to him
    accordingly; but he did not catch at the measure so eagerly as she had
    expected. "No," said he, "my father's hands need not be strengthened,
    and Frederick's confession of folly need not be forestalled. He must
    tell his own story."

    "But he will tell only half of it."

    "A quarter would be enough."

    A day or two passed away and brought no tidings of Captain Tilney. His
    brother and sister knew not what to think. Sometimes it appeared to
    them as if his silence would be the natural result of the suspected
    engagement, and at others that it was wholly incompatible with it.
    The general, meanwhile, though offended every morning by Frederick's
    remissness in writing, was free from any real anxiety about him, and had
    no more pressing solicitude than that of making Miss Morland's time at
    Northanger pass pleasantly. He often expressed his uneasiness on this
    head, feared the sameness of every day's society and employments would
    disgust her with the place, wished the Lady Frasers had been in the
    country, talked every now and then of having a large party to dinner,
    and once or twice began even to calculate the number of young dancing
    people in the neighbourhood. But then it was such a dead time of year,
    no wild-fowl, no game, and the Lady Frasers were not in the country.
    And it all ended, at last, in his telling Henry one morning that when he
    next went to Woodston, they would take him by surprise there some day
    or other, and eat their mutton with him. Henry was greatly honoured and
    very happy, and Catherine was quite delighted with the scheme. "And when
    do you think, sir, I may look forward to this pleasure? I must be at
    Woodston on Monday to attend the parish meeting, and shall probably be
    obliged to stay two or three days."

    "Well, well, we will take our chance some one of those days. There is
    no need to fix. You are not to put yourself at all out of your way.
    Whatever you may happen to have in the house will be enough. I think I
    can answer for the young ladies making allowance for a bachelor's table.
    Let me see; Monday will be a busy day with you, we will not come on
    Monday; and Tuesday will be a busy one with me. I expect my surveyor
    from Brockham with his report in the morning; and afterwards I cannot in
    decency fail attending the club. I really could not face my acquaintance
    if I stayed away now; for, as I am known to be in the country, it would
    be taken exceedingly amiss; and it is a rule with me, Miss Morland,
    never to give offence to any of my neighbours, if a small sacrifice of
    time and attention can prevent it. They are a set of very worthy men.
    They have half a buck from Northanger twice a year; and I dine with them
    whenever I can. Tuesday, therefore, we may say is out of the question.
    But on Wednesday, I think, Henry, you may expect us; and we shall be
    with you early, that we may have time to look about us. Two hours and
    three quarters will carry us to Woodston, I suppose; we shall be in the
    carriage by ten; so, about a quarter before one on Wednesday, you may
    look for us."

    A ball itself could not have been more welcome to Catherine than
    this little excursion, so strong was her desire to be acquainted with
    Woodston; and her heart was still bounding with joy when Henry, about an
    hour afterwards, came booted and greatcoated into the room where she
    and Eleanor were sitting, and said, "I am come, young ladies, in a
    very moralizing strain, to observe that our pleasures in this world
    are always to be paid for, and that we often purchase them at a great
    disadvantage, giving ready-monied actual happiness for a draft on the
    future, that may not be honoured. Witness myself, at this present hour.
    Because I am to hope for the satisfaction of seeing you at Woodston on
    Wednesday, which bad weather, or twenty other causes, may prevent, I
    must go away directly, two days before I intended it."

    "Go away!" said Catherine, with a very long face. "And why?"

    "Why! How can you ask the question? Because no time is to be lost in
    frightening my old housekeeper out of her wits, because I must go and
    prepare a dinner for you, to be sure."

    "Oh! Not seriously!"

    "Aye, and sadly too--for I had much rather stay."

    "But how can you think of such a thing, after what the general said?
    When he so particularly desired you not to give yourself any trouble,
    because anything would do."

    Henry only smiled. "I am sure it is quite unnecessary upon your sister's
    account and mine. You must know it to be so; and the general made such
    a point of your providing nothing extraordinary: besides, if he had not
    said half so much as he did, he has always such an excellent dinner
    at home, that sitting down to a middling one for one day could not

    "I wish I could reason like you, for his sake and my own. Good-bye. As
    tomorrow is Sunday, Eleanor, I shall not return."

    He went; and, it being at any time a much simpler operation to Catherine
    to doubt her own judgment than Henry's, she was very soon obliged to
    give him credit for being right, however disagreeable to her his going.
    But the inexplicability of the general's conduct dwelt much on her
    thoughts. That he was very particular in his eating, she had, by her own
    unassisted observation, already discovered; but why he should say
    one thing so positively, and mean another all the while, was most
    unaccountable! How were people, at that rate, to be understood? Who but
    Henry could have been aware of what his father was at?

    From Saturday to Wednesday, however, they were now to be without Henry.
    This was the sad finale of every reflection: and Captain Tilney's letter
    would certainly come in his absence; and Wednesday she was very sure
    would be wet. The past, present, and future were all equally in gloom.
    Her brother so unhappy, and her loss in Isabella so great; and Eleanor's
    spirits always affected by Henry's absence! What was there to interest
    or amuse her? She was tired of the woods and the shrubberies--always so
    smooth and so dry; and the abbey in itself was no more to her now than
    any other house. The painful remembrance of the folly it had helped
    to nourish and perfect was the only emotion which could spring from a
    consideration of the building. What a revolution in her ideas! She, who
    had so longed to be in an abbey! Now, there was nothing so charming
    to her imagination as the unpretending comfort of a well-connected
    parsonage, something like Fullerton, but better: Fullerton had its
    faults, but Woodston probably had none. If Wednesday should ever come!

    It did come, and exactly when it might be reasonably looked for. It
    came--it was fine--and Catherine trod on air. By ten o'clock, the chaise
    and four conveyed the two from the abbey; and, after an agreeable drive
    of almost twenty miles, they entered Woodston, a large and populous
    village, in a situation not unpleasant. Catherine was ashamed to say
    how pretty she thought it, as the general seemed to think an apology
    necessary for the flatness of the country, and the size of the village;
    but in her heart she preferred it to any place she had ever been at,
    and looked with great admiration at every neat house above the rank of
    a cottage, and at all the little chandler's shops which they passed. At
    the further end of the village, and tolerably disengaged from the rest
    of it, stood the parsonage, a new-built substantial stone house, with
    its semicircular sweep and green gates; and, as they drove up to the
    door, Henry, with the friends of his solitude, a large Newfoundland
    puppy and two or three terriers, was ready to receive and make much of

    Catherine's mind was too full, as she entered the house, for her either
    to observe or to say a great deal; and, till called on by the general
    for her opinion of it, she had very little idea of the room in which she
    was sitting. Upon looking round it then, she perceived in a moment that
    it was the most comfortable room in the world; but she was too guarded
    to say so, and the coldness of her praise disappointed him.

    "We are not calling it a good house," said he. "We are not comparing
    it with Fullerton and Northanger--we are considering it as a mere
    parsonage, small and confined, we allow, but decent, perhaps, and
    habitable; and altogether not inferior to the generality; or, in other
    words, I believe there are few country parsonages in England half so
    good. It may admit of improvement, however. Far be it from me to say
    otherwise; and anything in reason--a bow thrown out, perhaps--though,
    between ourselves, if there is one thing more than another my aversion,
    it is a patched-on bow."

    Catherine did not hear enough of this speech to understand or be pained
    by it; and other subjects being studiously brought forward and supported
    by Henry, at the same time that a tray full of refreshments was
    introduced by his servant, the general was shortly restored to his
    complacency, and Catherine to all her usual ease of spirits.

    The room in question was of a commodious, well-proportioned size, and
    handsomely fitted up as a dining-parlour; and on their quitting it to
    walk round the grounds, she was shown, first into a smaller apartment,
    belonging peculiarly to the master of the house, and made unusually tidy
    on the occasion; and afterwards into what was to be the drawing-room,
    with the appearance of which, though unfurnished, Catherine was
    delighted enough even to satisfy the general. It was a prettily shaped
    room, the windows reaching to the ground, and the view from them
    pleasant, though only over green meadows; and she expressed her
    admiration at the moment with all the honest simplicity with which she
    felt it. "Oh! Why do not you fit up this room, Mr. Tilney? What a pity
    not to have it fitted up! It is the prettiest room I ever saw; it is the
    prettiest room in the world!"

    "I trust," said the general, with a most satisfied smile, "that it will
    very speedily be furnished: it waits only for a lady's taste!"

    "Well, if it was my house, I should never sit anywhere else. Oh! What a
    sweet little cottage there is among the trees--apple trees, too! It is
    the prettiest cottage!"

    "You like it--you approve it as an object--it is enough. Henry, remember
    that Robinson is spoken to about it. The cottage remains."

    Such a compliment recalled all Catherine's consciousness, and silenced
    her directly; and, though pointedly applied to by the general for her
    choice of the prevailing colour of the paper and hangings, nothing like
    an opinion on the subject could be drawn from her. The influence of
    fresh objects and fresh air, however, was of great use in dissipating
    these embarrassing associations; and, having reached the ornamental part
    of the premises, consisting of a walk round two sides of a meadow, on
    which Henry's genius had begun to act about half a year ago, she was
    sufficiently recovered to think it prettier than any pleasure-ground she
    had ever been in before, though there was not a shrub in it higher than
    the green bench in the corner.

    A saunter into other meadows, and through part of the village, with a
    visit to the stables to examine some improvements, and a charming game
    of play with a litter of puppies just able to roll about, brought them
    to four o'clock, when Catherine scarcely thought it could be three. At
    four they were to dine, and at six to set off on their return. Never had
    any day passed so quickly!

    She could not but observe that the abundance of the dinner did not seem
    to create the smallest astonishment in the general; nay, that he was
    even looking at the side-table for cold meat which was not there. His
    son and daughter's observations were of a different kind. They had
    seldom seen him eat so heartily at any table but his own, and never
    before known him so little disconcerted by the melted butter's being

    At six o'clock, the general having taken his coffee, the carriage again
    received them; and so gratifying had been the tenor of his conduct
    throughout the whole visit, so well assured was her mind on the subject
    of his expectations, that, could she have felt equally confident of the
    wishes of his son, Catherine would have quitted Woodston with little
    anxiety as to the How or the When she might return to it.

    CHAPTER 27

    The next morning brought the following very unexpected letter from

    Bath, April

    My dearest Catherine, I received your two kind letters with the greatest
    delight, and have a thousand apologies to make for not answering them
    sooner. I really am quite ashamed of my idleness; but in this horrid
    place one can find time for nothing. I have had my pen in my hand to
    begin a letter to you almost every day since you left Bath, but have
    always been prevented by some silly trifler or other. Pray write to me
    soon, and direct to my own home. Thank God, we leave this vile place
    tomorrow. Since you went away, I have had no pleasure in it--the dust
    is beyond anything; and everybody one cares for is gone. I believe if I
    could see you I should not mind the rest, for you are dearer to me than
    anybody can conceive. I am quite uneasy about your dear brother, not
    having heard from him since he went to Oxford; and am fearful of some
    misunderstanding. Your kind offices will set all right: he is the only
    man I ever did or could love, and I trust you will convince him of it.
    The spring fashions are partly down; and the hats the most frightful you
    can imagine. I hope you spend your time pleasantly, but am afraid you
    never think of me. I will not say all that I could of the family you are
    with, because I would not be ungenerous, or set you against those you
    esteem; but it is very difficult to know whom to trust, and young men
    never know their minds two days together. I rejoice to say that the
    young man whom, of all others, I particularly abhor, has left Bath. You
    will know, from this description, I must mean Captain Tilney, who, as
    you may remember, was amazingly disposed to follow and tease me, before
    you went away. Afterwards he got worse, and became quite my shadow. Many
    girls might have been taken in, for never were such attentions; but I
    knew the fickle sex too well. He went away to his regiment two days ago,
    and I trust I shall never be plagued with him again. He is the greatest
    coxcomb I ever saw, and amazingly disagreeable. The last two days he was
    always by the side of Charlotte Davis: I pitied his taste, but took no
    notice of him. The last time we met was in Bath Street, and I turned
    directly into a shop that he might not speak to me; I would not even
    look at him. He went into the pump-room afterwards; but I would not have
    followed him for all the world. Such a contrast between him and your
    brother! Pray send me some news of the latter--I am quite unhappy about
    him; he seemed so uncomfortable when he went away, with a cold, or
    something that affected his spirits. I would write to him myself, but
    have mislaid his direction; and, as I hinted above, am afraid he
    took something in my conduct amiss. Pray explain everything to his
    satisfaction; or, if he still harbours any doubt, a line from himself
    to me, or a call at Putney when next in town, might set all to rights.
    I have not been to the rooms this age, nor to the play, except going in
    last night with the Hodges, for a frolic, at half price: they teased
    me into it; and I was determined they should not say I shut myself up
    because Tilney was gone. We happened to sit by the Mitchells, and they
    pretended to be quite surprised to see me out. I knew their spite: at
    one time they could not be civil to me, but now they are all friendship;
    but I am not such a fool as to be taken in by them. You know I have a
    pretty good spirit of my own. Anne Mitchell had tried to put on a
    turban like mine, as I wore it the week before at the concert, but made
    wretched work of it--it happened to become my odd face, I believe, at
    least Tilney told me so at the time, and said every eye was upon me; but
    he is the last man whose word I would take. I wear nothing but purple
    now: I know I look hideous in it, but no matter--it is your dear
    brother's favourite colour. Lose no time, my dearest, sweetest
    Catherine, in writing to him and to me, Who ever am, etc.

    Such a strain of shallow artifice could not impose even upon Catherine.
    Its inconsistencies, contradictions, and falsehood struck her from the
    very first. She was ashamed of Isabella, and ashamed of having ever
    loved her. Her professions of attachment were now as disgusting as her
    excuses were empty, and her demands impudent. "Write to James on her
    behalf! No, James should never hear Isabella's name mentioned by her

    On Henry's arrival from Woodston, she made known to him and Eleanor
    their brother's safety, congratulating them with sincerity on it, and
    reading aloud the most material passages of her letter with strong
    indignation. When she had finished it--"So much for Isabella," she
    cried, "and for all our intimacy! She must think me an idiot, or she
    could not have written so; but perhaps this has served to make her
    character better known to me than mine is to her. I see what she has
    been about. She is a vain coquette, and her tricks have not answered. I
    do not believe she had ever any regard either for James or for me, and I
    wish I had never known her."

    "It will soon be as if you never had," said Henry.

    "There is but one thing that I cannot understand. I see that she has
    had designs on Captain Tilney, which have not succeeded; but I do not
    understand what Captain Tilney has been about all this time. Why should
    he pay her such attentions as to make her quarrel with my brother, and
    then fly off himself?"

    "I have very little to say for Frederick's motives, such as I believe
    them to have been. He has his vanities as well as Miss Thorpe, and the
    chief difference is, that, having a stronger head, they have not yet
    injured himself. If the effect of his behaviour does not justify him
    with you, we had better not seek after the cause."

    "Then you do not suppose he ever really cared about her?"

    "I am persuaded that he never did."

    "And only made believe to do so for mischief's sake?"

    Henry bowed his assent.

    "Well, then, I must say that I do not like him at all. Though it has
    turned out so well for us, I do not like him at all. As it happens,
    there is no great harm done, because I do not think Isabella has any
    heart to lose. But, suppose he had made her very much in love with him?"

    "But we must first suppose Isabella to have had a heart to
    lose--consequently to have been a very different creature; and, in that
    case, she would have met with very different treatment."

    "It is very right that you should stand by your brother."

    "And if you would stand by yours, you would not be much distressed by
    the disappointment of Miss Thorpe. But your mind is warped by an innate
    principle of general integrity, and therefore not accessible to the cool
    reasonings of family partiality, or a desire of revenge."

    Catherine was complimented out of further bitterness. Frederick could
    not be unpardonably guilty, while Henry made himself so agreeable. She
    resolved on not answering Isabella's letter, and tried to think no more
    of it.

    CHAPTER 28

    Soon after this, the general found himself obliged to go to London for
    a week; and he left Northanger earnestly regretting that any necessity
    should rob him even for an hour of Miss Morland's company, and anxiously
    recommending the study of her comfort and amusement to his children
    as their chief object in his absence. His departure gave Catherine the
    first experimental conviction that a loss may be sometimes a gain. The
    happiness with which their time now passed, every employment voluntary,
    every laugh indulged, every meal a scene of ease and good humour,
    walking where they liked and when they liked, their hours, pleasures,
    and fatigues at their own command, made her thoroughly sensible of the
    restraint which the general's presence had imposed, and most thankfully
    feel their present release from it. Such ease and such delights made her
    love the place and the people more and more every day; and had it not
    been for a dread of its soon becoming expedient to leave the one, and
    an apprehension of not being equally beloved by the other, she would at
    each moment of each day have been perfectly happy; but she was now in
    the fourth week of her visit; before the general came home, the fourth
    week would be turned, and perhaps it might seem an intrusion if she
    stayed much longer. This was a painful consideration whenever it
    occurred; and eager to get rid of such a weight on her mind, she very
    soon resolved to speak to Eleanor about it at once, propose going away,
    and be guided in her conduct by the manner in which her proposal might
    be taken.

    Aware that if she gave herself much time, she might feel it difficult to
    bring forward so unpleasant a subject, she took the first opportunity of
    being suddenly alone with Eleanor, and of Eleanor's being in the
    middle of a speech about something very different, to start forth her
    obligation of going away very soon. Eleanor looked and declared herself
    much concerned. She had "hoped for the pleasure of her company for a
    much longer time--had been misled (perhaps by her wishes) to suppose
    that a much longer visit had been promised--and could not but think that
    if Mr. and Mrs. Morland were aware of the pleasure it was to her to have
    her there, they would be too generous to hasten her return." Catherine
    explained: "Oh! As to that, Papa and Mamma were in no hurry at all. As
    long as she was happy, they would always be satisfied."

    "Then why, might she ask, in such a hurry herself to leave them?"

    "Oh! Because she had been there so long."

    "Nay, if you can use such a word, I can urge you no farther. If you
    think it long--"

    "Oh! No, I do not indeed. For my own pleasure, I could stay with you as
    long again." And it was directly settled that, till she had, her leaving
    them was not even to be thought of. In having this cause of uneasiness
    so pleasantly removed, the force of the other was likewise weakened. The
    kindness, the earnestness of Eleanor's manner in pressing her to stay,
    and Henry's gratified look on being told that her stay was determined,
    were such sweet proofs of her importance with them, as left her only
    just so much solicitude as the human mind can never do comfortably
    without. She did--almost always--believe that Henry loved her, and quite
    always that his father and sister loved and even wished her to belong
    to them; and believing so far, her doubts and anxieties were merely
    sportive irritations.

    Henry was not able to obey his father's injunction of remaining wholly
    at Northanger in attendance on the ladies, during his absence in London,
    the engagements of his curate at Woodston obliging him to leave them on
    Saturday for a couple of nights. His loss was not now what it had been
    while the general was at home; it lessened their gaiety, but did not
    ruin their comfort; and the two girls agreeing in occupation, and
    improving in intimacy, found themselves so well sufficient for the time
    to themselves, that it was eleven o'clock, rather a late hour at
    the abbey, before they quitted the supper-room on the day of Henry's
    departure. They had just reached the head of the stairs when it seemed,
    as far as the thickness of the walls would allow them to judge, that a
    carriage was driving up to the door, and the next moment confirmed the
    idea by the loud noise of the house-bell. After the first perturbation
    of surprise had passed away, in a "Good heaven! What can be the matter?"
    it was quickly decided by Eleanor to be her eldest brother, whose
    arrival was often as sudden, if not quite so unseasonable, and
    accordingly she hurried down to welcome him.

    Catherine walked on to her chamber, making up her mind as well as she
    could, to a further acquaintance with Captain Tilney, and comforting
    herself under the unpleasant impression his conduct had given her, and
    the persuasion of his being by far too fine a gentleman to approve of
    her, that at least they should not meet under such circumstances as
    would make their meeting materially painful. She trusted he would never
    speak of Miss Thorpe; and indeed, as he must by this time be ashamed of
    the part he had acted, there could be no danger of it; and as long as
    all mention of Bath scenes were avoided, she thought she could behave
    to him very civilly. In such considerations time passed away, and it was
    certainly in his favour that Eleanor should be so glad to see him, and
    have so much to say, for half an hour was almost gone since his arrival,
    and Eleanor did not come up.

    At that moment Catherine thought she heard her step in the gallery, and
    listened for its continuance; but all was silent. Scarcely, however,
    had she convicted her fancy of error, when the noise of something moving
    close to her door made her start; it seemed as if someone was touching
    the very doorway--and in another moment a slight motion of the lock
    proved that some hand must be on it. She trembled a little at the idea
    of anyone's approaching so cautiously; but resolving not to be again
    overcome by trivial appearances of alarm, or misled by a raised
    imagination, she stepped quietly forward, and opened the door. Eleanor,
    and only Eleanor, stood there. Catherine's spirits, however, were
    tranquillized but for an instant, for Eleanor's cheeks were pale, and
    her manner greatly agitated. Though evidently intending to come in, it
    seemed an effort to enter the room, and a still greater to speak when
    there. Catherine, supposing some uneasiness on Captain Tilney's account,
    could only express her concern by silent attention, obliged her to be
    seated, rubbed her temples with lavender-water, and hung over her with
    affectionate solicitude. "My dear Catherine, you must not--you must not
    indeed--" were Eleanor's first connected words. "I am quite well.
    This kindness distracts me--I cannot bear it--I come to you on such an

    "Errand! To me!"

    "How shall I tell you! Oh! How shall I tell you!"

    A new idea now darted into Catherine's mind, and turning as pale as her
    friend, she exclaimed, "'Tis a messenger from Woodston!"

    "You are mistaken, indeed," returned Eleanor, looking at her most
    compassionately; "it is no one from Woodston. It is my father himself."
    Her voice faltered, and her eyes were turned to the ground as she
    mentioned his name. His unlooked-for return was enough in itself to make
    Catherine's heart sink, and for a few moments she hardly supposed
    there were anything worse to be told. She said nothing; and Eleanor,
    endeavouring to collect herself and speak with firmness, but with eyes
    still cast down, soon went on. "You are too good, I am sure, to think
    the worse of me for the part I am obliged to perform. I am indeed a most
    unwilling messenger. After what has so lately passed, so lately been
    settled between us--how joyfully, how thankfully on my side!--as to your
    continuing here as I hoped for many, many weeks longer, how can I tell
    you that your kindness is not to be accepted--and that the happiness
    your company has hitherto given us is to be repaid by--But I must not
    trust myself with words. My dear Catherine, we are to part. My father
    has recollected an engagement that takes our whole family away on
    Monday. We are going to Lord Longtown's, near Hereford, for a fortnight.
    Explanation and apology are equally impossible. I cannot attempt

    "My dear Eleanor," cried Catherine, suppressing her feelings as well as
    she could, "do not be so distressed. A second engagement must give
    way to a first. I am very, very sorry we are to part--so soon, and so
    suddenly too; but I am not offended, indeed I am not. I can finish my
    visit here, you know, at any time; or I hope you will come to me. Can
    you, when you return from this lord's, come to Fullerton?"

    "It will not be in my power, Catherine."

    "Come when you can, then."

    Eleanor made no answer; and Catherine's thoughts recurring to something
    more directly interesting, she added, thinking aloud, "Monday--so soon
    as Monday; and you all go. Well, I am certain of--I shall be able to
    take leave, however. I need not go till just before you do, you know. Do
    not be distressed, Eleanor, I can go on Monday very well. My father
    and mother's having no notice of it is of very little consequence. The
    general will send a servant with me, I dare say, half the way--and then
    I shall soon be at Salisbury, and then I am only nine miles from home."

    "Ah, Catherine! Were it settled so, it would be somewhat less
    intolerable, though in such common attentions you would have received
    but half what you ought. But--how can I tell you?--tomorrow morning is
    fixed for your leaving us, and not even the hour is left to your choice;
    the very carriage is ordered, and will be here at seven o'clock, and no
    servant will be offered you."

    Catherine sat down, breathless and speechless. "I could hardly believe
    my senses, when I heard it; and no displeasure, no resentment that
    you can feel at this moment, however justly great, can be more than I
    myself--but I must not talk of what I felt. Oh! That I could suggest
    anything in extenuation! Good God! What will your father and mother say!
    After courting you from the protection of real friends to this--almost
    double distance from your home, to have you driven out of the house,
    without the considerations even of decent civility! Dear, dear
    Catherine, in being the bearer of such a message, I seem guilty myself
    of all its insult; yet, I trust you will acquit me, for you must have
    been long enough in this house to see that I am but a nominal mistress
    of it, that my real power is nothing."

    "Have I offended the general?" said Catherine in a faltering voice.

    "Alas! For my feelings as a daughter, all that I know, all that I
    answer for, is that you can have given him no just cause of offence. He
    certainly is greatly, very greatly discomposed; I have seldom seen him
    more so. His temper is not happy, and something has now occurred to
    ruffle it in an uncommon degree; some disappointment, some vexation,
    which just at this moment seems important, but which I can hardly
    suppose you to have any concern in, for how is it possible?"

    It was with pain that Catherine could speak at all; and it was only for
    Eleanor's sake that she attempted it. "I am sure," said she, "I am very
    sorry if I have offended him. It was the last thing I would willingly
    have done. But do not be unhappy, Eleanor. An engagement, you know, must
    be kept. I am only sorry it was not recollected sooner, that I might
    have written home. But it is of very little consequence."

    "I hope, I earnestly hope, that to your real safety it will be of none;
    but to everything else it is of the greatest consequence: to comfort,
    appearance, propriety, to your family, to the world. Were your friends,
    the Allens, still in Bath, you might go to them with comparative ease;
    a few hours would take you there; but a journey of seventy miles, to be
    taken post by you, at your age, alone, unattended!"

    "Oh, the journey is nothing. Do not think about that. And if we are to
    part, a few hours sooner or later, you know, makes no difference. I
    can be ready by seven. Let me be called in time." Eleanor saw that she
    wished to be alone; and believing it better for each that they should
    avoid any further conversation, now left her with, "I shall see you in
    the morning."

    Catherine's swelling heart needed relief. In Eleanor's presence
    friendship and pride had equally restrained her tears, but no sooner was
    she gone than they burst forth in torrents. Turned from the house, and
    in such a way! Without any reason that could justify, any apology that
    could atone for the abruptness, the rudeness, nay, the insolence of
    it. Henry at a distance--not able even to bid him farewell. Every hope,
    every expectation from him suspended, at least, and who could say how
    long? Who could say when they might meet again? And all this by such
    a man as General Tilney, so polite, so well bred, and heretofore
    so particularly fond of her! It was as incomprehensible as it was
    mortifying and grievous. From what it could arise, and where it would
    end, were considerations of equal perplexity and alarm. The manner in
    which it was done so grossly uncivil, hurrying her away without any
    reference to her own convenience, or allowing her even the appearance
    of choice as to the time or mode of her travelling; of two days, the
    earliest fixed on, and of that almost the earliest hour, as if resolved
    to have her gone before he was stirring in the morning, that he
    might not be obliged even to see her. What could all this mean but
    an intentional affront? By some means or other she must have had the
    misfortune to offend him. Eleanor had wished to spare her from so
    painful a notion, but Catherine could not believe it possible that any
    injury or any misfortune could provoke such ill will against a person
    not connected, or, at least, not supposed to be connected with it.

    Heavily passed the night. Sleep, or repose that deserved the name
    of sleep, was out of the question. That room, in which her disturbed
    imagination had tormented her on her first arrival, was again the scene
    of agitated spirits and unquiet slumbers. Yet how different now the
    source of her inquietude from what it had been then--how mournfully
    superior in reality and substance! Her anxiety had foundation in
    fact, her fears in probability; and with a mind so occupied in the
    contemplation of actual and natural evil, the solitude of her situation,
    the darkness of her chamber, the antiquity of the building, were felt
    and considered without the smallest emotion; and though the wind was
    high, and often produced strange and sudden noises throughout the house,
    she heard it all as she lay awake, hour after hour, without curiosity or

    Soon after six Eleanor entered her room, eager to show attention or give
    assistance where it was possible; but very little remained to be done.
    Catherine had not loitered; she was almost dressed, and her packing
    almost finished. The possibility of some conciliatory message from the
    general occurred to her as his daughter appeared. What so natural, as
    that anger should pass away and repentance succeed it? And she only
    wanted to know how far, after what had passed, an apology might properly
    be received by her. But the knowledge would have been useless here;
    it was not called for; neither clemency nor dignity was put to the
    trial--Eleanor brought no message. Very little passed between them on
    meeting; each found her greatest safety in silence, and few and trivial
    were the sentences exchanged while they remained upstairs, Catherine in
    busy agitation completing her dress, and Eleanor with more goodwill than
    experience intent upon filling the trunk. When everything was done they
    left the room, Catherine lingering only half a minute behind her friend
    to throw a parting glance on every well-known, cherished object, and
    went down to the breakfast-parlour, where breakfast was prepared. She
    tried to eat, as well to save herself from the pain of being urged as
    to make her friend comfortable; but she had no appetite, and could not
    swallow many mouthfuls. The contrast between this and her last breakfast
    in that room gave her fresh misery, and strengthened her distaste for
    everything before her. It was not four and twenty hours ago since they
    had met there to the same repast, but in circumstances how different!
    With what cheerful ease, what happy, though false, security, had she
    then looked around her, enjoying everything present, and fearing little
    in future, beyond Henry's going to Woodston for a day! Happy, happy
    breakfast! For Henry had been there; Henry had sat by her and helped
    her. These reflections were long indulged undisturbed by any address
    from her companion, who sat as deep in thought as herself; and the
    appearance of the carriage was the first thing to startle and recall
    them to the present moment. Catherine's colour rose at the sight of it;
    and the indignity with which she was treated, striking at that instant
    on her mind with peculiar force, made her for a short time sensible only
    of resentment. Eleanor seemed now impelled into resolution and speech.

    "You must write to me, Catherine," she cried; "you must let me hear from
    you as soon as possible. Till I know you to be safe at home, I shall
    not have an hour's comfort. For one letter, at all risks, all hazards, I
    must entreat. Let me have the satisfaction of knowing that you are safe
    at Fullerton, and have found your family well, and then, till I can ask
    for your correspondence as I ought to do, I will not expect more. Direct
    to me at Lord Longtown's, and, I must ask it, under cover to Alice."

    "No, Eleanor, if you are not allowed to receive a letter from me, I am
    sure I had better not write. There can be no doubt of my getting home

    Eleanor only replied, "I cannot wonder at your feelings. I will not
    importune you. I will trust to your own kindness of heart when I am at
    a distance from you." But this, with the look of sorrow accompanying
    it, was enough to melt Catherine's pride in a moment, and she instantly
    said, "Oh, Eleanor, I will write to you indeed."

    There was yet another point which Miss Tilney was anxious to settle,
    though somewhat embarrassed in speaking of. It had occurred to her that
    after so long an absence from home, Catherine might not be provided with
    money enough for the expenses of her journey, and, upon suggesting it
    to her with most affectionate offers of accommodation, it proved to be
    exactly the case. Catherine had never thought on the subject till that
    moment, but, upon examining her purse, was convinced that but for
    this kindness of her friend, she might have been turned from the house
    without even the means of getting home; and the distress in which she
    must have been thereby involved filling the minds of both, scarcely
    another word was said by either during the time of their remaining
    together. Short, however, was that time. The carriage was soon announced
    to be ready; and Catherine, instantly rising, a long and affectionate
    embrace supplied the place of language in bidding each other adieu; and,
    as they entered the hall, unable to leave the house without some mention
    of one whose name had not yet been spoken by either, she paused a
    moment, and with quivering lips just made it intelligible that she left
    "her kind remembrance for her absent friend." But with this approach to
    his name ended all possibility of restraining her feelings; and, hiding
    her face as well as she could with her handkerchief, she darted across
    the hall, jumped into the chaise, and in a moment was driven from the

    CHAPTER 29

    Catherine was too wretched to be fearful. The journey in itself had no
    terrors for her; and she began it without either dreading its length or
    feeling its solitariness. Leaning back in one corner of the carriage, in
    a violent burst of tears, she was conveyed some miles beyond the walls
    of the abbey before she raised her head; and the highest point of ground
    within the park was almost closed from her view before she was capable
    of turning her eyes towards it. Unfortunately, the road she now
    travelled was the same which only ten days ago she had so happily passed
    along in going to and from Woodston; and, for fourteen miles, every
    bitter feeling was rendered more severe by the review of objects on
    which she had first looked under impressions so different. Every mile,
    as it brought her nearer Woodston, added to her sufferings, and when
    within the distance of five, she passed the turning which led to it, and
    thought of Henry, so near, yet so unconscious, her grief and agitation
    were excessive.

    The day which she had spent at that place had been one of the happiest
    of her life. It was there, it was on that day, that the general had made
    use of such expressions with regard to Henry and herself, had so
    spoken and so looked as to give her the most positive conviction of his
    actually wishing their marriage. Yes, only ten days ago had he
    elated her by his pointed regard--had he even confused her by his too
    significant reference! And now--what had she done, or what had she
    omitted to do, to merit such a change?

    The only offence against him of which she could accuse herself had been
    such as was scarcely possible to reach his knowledge. Henry and her own
    heart only were privy to the shocking suspicions which she had so idly
    entertained; and equally safe did she believe her secret with each.
    Designedly, at least, Henry could not have betrayed her. If, indeed, by
    any strange mischance his father should have gained intelligence of
    what she had dared to think and look for, of her causeless fancies
    and injurious examinations, she could not wonder at any degree of his
    indignation. If aware of her having viewed him as a murderer, she could
    not wonder at his even turning her from his house. But a justification
    so full of torture to herself, she trusted, would not be in his power.

    Anxious as were all her conjectures on this point, it was not, however,
    the one on which she dwelt most. There was a thought yet nearer, a more
    prevailing, more impetuous concern. How Henry would think, and feel,
    and look, when he returned on the morrow to Northanger and heard of
    her being gone, was a question of force and interest to rise over every
    other, to be never ceasing, alternately irritating and soothing; it
    sometimes suggested the dread of his calm acquiescence, and at others
    was answered by the sweetest confidence in his regret and resentment. To
    the general, of course, he would not dare to speak; but to Eleanor--what
    might he not say to Eleanor about her?

    In this unceasing recurrence of doubts and inquiries, on any one article
    of which her mind was incapable of more than momentary repose, the hours
    passed away, and her journey advanced much faster than she looked for.
    The pressing anxieties of thought, which prevented her from noticing
    anything before her, when once beyond the neighbourhood of Woodston,
    saved her at the same time from watching her progress; and though no
    object on the road could engage a moment's attention, she found no stage
    of it tedious. From this, she was preserved too by another cause, by
    feeling no eagerness for her journey's conclusion; for to return in such
    a manner to Fullerton was almost to destroy the pleasure of a meeting
    with those she loved best, even after an absence such as hers--an eleven
    weeks' absence. What had she to say that would not humble herself and
    pain her family, that would not increase her own grief by the confession
    of it, extend an useless resentment, and perhaps involve the innocent
    with the guilty in undistinguishing ill will? She could never do justice
    to Henry and Eleanor's merit; she felt it too strongly for expression;
    and should a dislike be taken against them, should they be thought of
    unfavourably, on their father's account, it would cut her to the heart.

    With these feelings, she rather dreaded than sought for the first view
    of that well-known spire which would announce her within twenty miles of
    home. Salisbury she had known to be her point on leaving Northanger; but
    after the first stage she had been indebted to the post-masters for the
    names of the places which were then to conduct her to it; so great
    had been her ignorance of her route. She met with nothing, however,
    to distress or frighten her. Her youth, civil manners, and liberal
    pay procured her all the attention that a traveller like herself could
    require; and stopping only to change horses, she travelled on for
    about eleven hours without accident or alarm, and between six and seven
    o'clock in the evening found herself entering Fullerton.

    A heroine returning, at the close of her career, to her native village,
    in all the triumph of recovered reputation, and all the dignity of
    a countess, with a long train of noble relations in their several
    phaetons, and three waiting-maids in a travelling chaise and four,
    behind her, is an event on which the pen of the contriver may well
    delight to dwell; it gives credit to every conclusion, and the author
    must share in the glory she so liberally bestows. But my affair is
    widely different; I bring back my heroine to her home in solitude and
    disgrace; and no sweet elation of spirits can lead me into minuteness.
    A heroine in a hack post-chaise is such a blow upon sentiment, as no
    attempt at grandeur or pathos can withstand. Swiftly therefore shall her
    post-boy drive through the village, amid the gaze of Sunday groups, and
    speedy shall be her descent from it.

    But, whatever might be the distress of Catherine's mind, as she thus
    advanced towards the parsonage, and whatever the humiliation of her
    biographer in relating it, she was preparing enjoyment of no everyday
    nature for those to whom she went; first, in the appearance of her
    carriage--and secondly, in herself. The chaise of a traveller being
    a rare sight in Fullerton, the whole family were immediately at the
    window; and to have it stop at the sweep-gate was a pleasure to brighten
    every eye and occupy every fancy--a pleasure quite unlooked for by all
    but the two youngest children, a boy and girl of six and four years old,
    who expected a brother or sister in every carriage. Happy the glance
    that first distinguished Catherine! Happy the voice that proclaimed the
    discovery! But whether such happiness were the lawful property of George
    or Harriet could never be exactly understood.

    Her father, mother, Sarah, George, and Harriet, all assembled at the
    door to welcome her with affectionate eagerness, was a sight to awaken
    the best feelings of Catherine's heart; and in the embrace of each, as
    she stepped from the carriage, she found herself soothed beyond anything
    that she had believed possible. So surrounded, so caressed, she was even
    happy! In the joyfulness of family love everything for a short time was
    subdued, and the pleasure of seeing her, leaving them at first little
    leisure for calm curiosity, they were all seated round the tea-table,
    which Mrs. Morland had hurried for the comfort of the poor traveller,
    whose pale and jaded looks soon caught her notice, before any inquiry so
    direct as to demand a positive answer was addressed to her.

    Reluctantly, and with much hesitation, did she then begin what might
    perhaps, at the end of half an hour, be termed, by the courtesy of her
    hearers, an explanation; but scarcely, within that time, could they
    at all discover the cause, or collect the particulars, of her sudden
    return. They were far from being an irritable race; far from any
    quickness in catching, or bitterness in resenting, affronts: but here,
    when the whole was unfolded, was an insult not to be overlooked, nor,
    for the first half hour, to be easily pardoned. Without suffering any
    romantic alarm, in the consideration of their daughter's long and lonely
    journey, Mr. and Mrs. Morland could not but feel that it might have been
    productive of much unpleasantness to her; that it was what they could
    never have voluntarily suffered; and that, in forcing her on such
    a measure, General Tilney had acted neither honourably nor
    feelingly--neither as a gentleman nor as a parent. Why he had done it,
    what could have provoked him to such a breach of hospitality, and so
    suddenly turned all his partial regard for their daughter into actual
    ill will, was a matter which they were at least as far from divining
    as Catherine herself; but it did not oppress them by any means so long;
    and, after a due course of useless conjecture, that "it was a strange
    business, and that he must be a very strange man," grew enough for all
    their indignation and wonder; though Sarah indeed still indulged in the
    sweets of incomprehensibility, exclaiming and conjecturing with youthful
    ardour. "My dear, you give yourself a great deal of needless trouble,"
    said her mother at last; "depend upon it, it is something not at all
    worth understanding."

    "I can allow for his wishing Catherine away, when he recollected this
    engagement," said Sarah, "but why not do it civilly?"

    "I am sorry for the young people," returned Mrs. Morland; "they must
    have a sad time of it; but as for anything else, it is no matter now;
    Catherine is safe at home, and our comfort does not depend upon General
    Tilney." Catherine sighed. "Well," continued her philosophic mother, "I
    am glad I did not know of your journey at the time; but now it is all
    over, perhaps there is no great harm done. It is always good for
    young people to be put upon exerting themselves; and you know, my dear
    Catherine, you always were a sad little scatter-brained creature; but
    now you must have been forced to have your wits about you, with so much
    changing of chaises and so forth; and I hope it will appear that you
    have not left anything behind you in any of the pockets."

    Catherine hoped so too, and tried to feel an interest in her own
    amendment, but her spirits were quite worn down; and, to be silent and
    alone becoming soon her only wish, she readily agreed to her mother's
    next counsel of going early to bed. Her parents, seeing nothing in
    her ill looks and agitation but the natural consequence of mortified
    feelings, and of the unusual exertion and fatigue of such a journey,
    parted from her without any doubt of their being soon slept away; and
    though, when they all met the next morning, her recovery was not equal
    to their hopes, they were still perfectly unsuspicious of there being
    any deeper evil. They never once thought of her heart, which, for the
    parents of a young lady of seventeen, just returned from her first
    excursion from home, was odd enough!

    As soon as breakfast was over, she sat down to fulfil her promise to
    Miss Tilney, whose trust in the effect of time and distance on her
    friend's disposition was already justified, for already did Catherine
    reproach herself with having parted from Eleanor coldly, with
    having never enough valued her merits or kindness, and never enough
    commiserated her for what she had been yesterday left to endure. The
    strength of these feelings, however, was far from assisting her pen;
    and never had it been harder for her to write than in addressing Eleanor
    Tilney. To compose a letter which might at once do justice to her
    sentiments and her situation, convey gratitude without servile regret,
    be guarded without coldness, and honest without resentment--a letter
    which Eleanor might not be pained by the perusal of--and, above all,
    which she might not blush herself, if Henry should chance to see, was an
    undertaking to frighten away all her powers of performance; and, after
    long thought and much perplexity, to be very brief was all that she
    could determine on with any confidence of safety. The money therefore
    which Eleanor had advanced was enclosed with little more than grateful
    thanks, and the thousand good wishes of a most affectionate heart.

    "This has been a strange acquaintance," observed Mrs. Morland, as the
    letter was finished; "soon made and soon ended. I am sorry it happens
    so, for Mrs. Allen thought them very pretty kind of young people; and
    you were sadly out of luck too in your Isabella. Ah! Poor James! Well,
    we must live and learn; and the next new friends you make I hope will be
    better worth keeping."

    Catherine coloured as she warmly answered, "No friend can be better
    worth keeping than Eleanor."

    "If so, my dear, I dare say you will meet again some time or other; do
    not be uneasy. It is ten to one but you are thrown together again in the
    course of a few years; and then what a pleasure it will be!"

    Mrs. Morland was not happy in her attempt at consolation. The hope
    of meeting again in the course of a few years could only put into
    Catherine's head what might happen within that time to make a meeting
    dreadful to her. She could never forget Henry Tilney, or think of him
    with less tenderness than she did at that moment; but he might forget
    her; and in that case, to meet--! Her eyes filled with tears as she
    pictured her acquaintance so renewed; and her mother, perceiving her
    comfortable suggestions to have had no good effect, proposed, as another
    expedient for restoring her spirits, that they should call on Mrs.

    The two houses were only a quarter of a mile apart; and, as they walked,
    Mrs. Morland quickly dispatched all that she felt on the score of
    James's disappointment. "We are sorry for him," said she; "but otherwise
    there is no harm done in the match going off; for it could not be
    a desirable thing to have him engaged to a girl whom we had not the
    smallest acquaintance with, and who was so entirely without fortune; and
    now, after such behaviour, we cannot think at all well of her. Just at
    present it comes hard to poor James; but that will not last forever; and
    I dare say he will be a discreeter man all his life, for the foolishness
    of his first choice."

    This was just such a summary view of the affair as Catherine could
    listen to; another sentence might have endangered her complaisance,
    and made her reply less rational; for soon were all her thinking powers
    swallowed up in the reflection of her own change of feelings and spirits
    since last she had trodden that well-known road. It was not three months
    ago since, wild with joyful expectation, she had there run backwards
    and forwards some ten times a day, with an heart light, gay, and
    independent; looking forward to pleasures untasted and unalloyed, and
    free from the apprehension of evil as from the knowledge of it. Three
    months ago had seen her all this; and now, how altered a being did she

    She was received by the Allens with all the kindness which her
    unlooked-for appearance, acting on a steady affection, would naturally
    call forth; and great was their surprise, and warm their displeasure,
    on hearing how she had been treated--though Mrs. Morland's account of
    it was no inflated representation, no studied appeal to their passions.
    "Catherine took us quite by surprise yesterday evening," said she. "She
    travelled all the way post by herself, and knew nothing of coming till
    Saturday night; for General Tilney, from some odd fancy or other, all
    of a sudden grew tired of having her there, and almost turned her out
    of the house. Very unfriendly, certainly; and he must be a very odd
    man; but we are so glad to have her amongst us again! And it is a great
    comfort to find that she is not a poor helpless creature, but can shift
    very well for herself."

    Mr. Allen expressed himself on the occasion with the reasonable
    resentment of a sensible friend; and Mrs. Allen thought his expressions
    quite good enough to be immediately made use of again by herself. His
    wonder, his conjectures, and his explanations became in succession hers,
    with the addition of this single remark--"I really have not patience
    with the general"--to fill up every accidental pause. And, "I really
    have not patience with the general," was uttered twice after Mr.
    Allen left the room, without any relaxation of anger, or any material
    digression of thought. A more considerable degree of wandering attended
    the third repetition; and, after completing the fourth, she immediately
    added, "Only think, my dear, of my having got that frightful great rent
    in my best Mechlin so charmingly mended, before I left Bath, that one
    can hardly see where it was. I must show it you some day or other. Bath
    is a nice place, Catherine, after all. I assure you I did not above half
    like coming away. Mrs. Thorpe's being there was such a comfort to us,
    was not it? You know, you and I were quite forlorn at first."

    "Yes, but that did not last long," said Catherine, her eyes brightening
    at the recollection of what had first given spirit to her existence

    "Very true: we soon met with Mrs. Thorpe, and then we wanted for
    nothing. My dear, do not you think these silk gloves wear very well?
    I put them on new the first time of our going to the Lower Rooms, you
    know, and I have worn them a great deal since. Do you remember that

    "Do I! Oh! Perfectly."

    "It was very agreeable, was not it? Mr. Tilney drank tea with us, and I
    always thought him a great addition, he is so very agreeable. I have a
    notion you danced with him, but am not quite sure. I remember I had my
    favourite gown on."

    Catherine could not answer; and, after a short trial of other subjects,
    Mrs. Allen again returned to--"I really have not patience with the
    general! Such an agreeable, worthy man as he seemed to be! I do not
    suppose, Mrs. Morland, you ever saw a better-bred man in your life. His
    lodgings were taken the very day after he left them, Catherine. But no
    wonder; Milsom Street, you know."

    As they walked home again, Mrs. Morland endeavoured to impress on her
    daughter's mind the happiness of having such steady well-wishers as Mr.
    and Mrs. Allen, and the very little consideration which the neglect or
    unkindness of slight acquaintance like the Tilneys ought to have with
    her, while she could preserve the good opinion and affection of her
    earliest friends. There was a great deal of good sense in all this; but
    there are some situations of the human mind in which good sense has
    very little power; and Catherine's feelings contradicted almost every
    position her mother advanced. It was upon the behaviour of these very
    slight acquaintance that all her present happiness depended; and
    while Mrs. Morland was successfully confirming her own opinions by the
    justness of her own representations, Catherine was silently reflecting
    that now Henry must have arrived at Northanger; now he must have heard
    of her departure; and now, perhaps, they were all setting off for

    CHAPTER 30

    Catherine's disposition was not naturally sedentary, nor had her habits
    been ever very industrious; but whatever might hitherto have been her
    defects of that sort, her mother could not but perceive them now to be
    greatly increased. She could neither sit still nor employ herself for
    ten minutes together, walking round the garden and orchard again and
    again, as if nothing but motion was voluntary; and it seemed as if she
    could even walk about the house rather than remain fixed for any time
    in the parlour. Her loss of spirits was a yet greater alteration. In her
    rambling and her idleness she might only be a caricature of herself; but
    in her silence and sadness she was the very reverse of all that she had
    been before.

    For two days Mrs. Morland allowed it to pass even without a hint;
    but when a third night's rest had neither restored her cheerfulness,
    improved her in useful activity, nor given her a greater inclination for
    needlework, she could no longer refrain from the gentle reproof of, "My
    dear Catherine, I am afraid you are growing quite a fine lady. I do not
    know when poor Richard's cravats would be done, if he had no friend
    but you. Your head runs too much upon Bath; but there is a time for
    everything--a time for balls and plays, and a time for work. You have
    had a long run of amusement, and now you must try to be useful."

    Catherine took up her work directly, saying, in a dejected voice, that
    "her head did not run upon Bath--much."

    "Then you are fretting about General Tilney, and that is very simple
    of you; for ten to one whether you ever see him again. You should never
    fret about trifles." After a short silence--"I hope, my Catherine, you
    are not getting out of humour with home because it is not so grand
    as Northanger. That would be turning your visit into an evil indeed.
    Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home,
    because there you must spend the most of your time. I did not quite
    like, at breakfast, to hear you talk so much about the French bread at

    "I am sure I do not care about the bread. It is all the same to me what
    I eat."

    "There is a very clever essay in one of the books upstairs upon much
    such a subject, about young girls that have been spoilt for home by
    great acquaintance--The Mirror, I think. I will look it out for you some
    day or other, because I am sure it will do you good."

    Catherine said no more, and, with an endeavour to do right, applied
    to her work; but, after a few minutes, sunk again, without knowing it
    herself, into languor and listlessness, moving herself in her chair,
    from the irritation of weariness, much oftener than she moved her
    needle. Mrs. Morland watched the progress of this relapse; and seeing,
    in her daughter's absent and dissatisfied look, the full proof of that
    repining spirit to which she had now begun to attribute her want of
    cheerfulness, hastily left the room to fetch the book in question,
    anxious to lose no time in attacking so dreadful a malady. It was some
    time before she could find what she looked for; and other family matters
    occurring to detain her, a quarter of an hour had elapsed ere she
    returned downstairs with the volume from which so much was hoped. Her
    avocations above having shut out all noise but what she created herself,
    she knew not that a visitor had arrived within the last few minutes,
    till, on entering the room, the first object she beheld was a young
    man whom she had never seen before. With a look of much respect, he
    immediately rose, and being introduced to her by her conscious daughter
    as "Mr. Henry Tilney," with the embarrassment of real sensibility began
    to apologize for his appearance there, acknowledging that after what had
    passed he had little right to expect a welcome at Fullerton, and stating
    his impatience to be assured of Miss Morland's having reached her home
    in safety, as the cause of his intrusion. He did not address himself to
    an uncandid judge or a resentful heart. Far from comprehending him or
    his sister in their father's misconduct, Mrs. Morland had been always
    kindly disposed towards each, and instantly, pleased by his appearance,
    received him with the simple professions of unaffected benevolence;
    thanking him for such an attention to her daughter, assuring him that
    the friends of her children were always welcome there, and entreating
    him to say not another word of the past.

    He was not ill-inclined to obey this request, for, though his heart was
    greatly relieved by such unlooked-for mildness, it was not just at that
    moment in his power to say anything to the purpose. Returning in silence
    to his seat, therefore, he remained for some minutes most civilly
    answering all Mrs. Morland's common remarks about the weather and
    roads. Catherine meanwhile--the anxious, agitated, happy, feverish
    Catherine--said not a word; but her glowing cheek and brightened eye
    made her mother trust that this good-natured visit would at least set
    her heart at ease for a time, and gladly therefore did she lay aside the
    first volume of The Mirror for a future hour.

    Desirous of Mr. Morland's assistance, as well in giving encouragement,
    as in finding conversation for her guest, whose embarrassment on his
    father's account she earnestly pitied, Mrs. Morland had very early
    dispatched one of the children to summon him; but Mr. Morland was from
    home--and being thus without any support, at the end of a quarter of
    an hour she had nothing to say. After a couple of minutes' unbroken
    silence, Henry, turning to Catherine for the first time since her
    mother's entrance, asked her, with sudden alacrity, if Mr. and Mrs.
    Allen were now at Fullerton? And on developing, from amidst all her
    perplexity of words in reply, the meaning, which one short syllable
    would have given, immediately expressed his intention of paying his
    respects to them, and, with a rising colour, asked her if she would
    have the goodness to show him the way. "You may see the house from this
    window, sir," was information on Sarah's side, which produced only a
    bow of acknowledgment from the gentleman, and a silencing nod from
    her mother; for Mrs. Morland, thinking it probable, as a secondary
    consideration in his wish of waiting on their worthy neighbours, that he
    might have some explanation to give of his father's behaviour, which it
    must be more pleasant for him to communicate only to Catherine, would
    not on any account prevent her accompanying him. They began their walk,
    and Mrs. Morland was not entirely mistaken in his object in wishing it.
    Some explanation on his father's account he had to give; but his first
    purpose was to explain himself, and before they reached Mr. Allen's
    grounds he had done it so well that Catherine did not think it could
    ever be repeated too often. She was assured of his affection; and that
    heart in return was solicited, which, perhaps, they pretty equally
    knew was already entirely his own; for, though Henry was now sincerely
    attached to her, though he felt and delighted in all the excellencies
    of her character and truly loved her society, I must confess that his
    affection originated in nothing better than gratitude, or, in other
    words, that a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only
    cause of giving her a serious thought. It is a new circumstance in
    romance, I acknowledge, and dreadfully derogatory of an heroine's
    dignity; but if it be as new in common life, the credit of a wild
    imagination will at least be all my own.

    A very short visit to Mrs. Allen, in which Henry talked at random,
    without sense or connection, and Catherine, rapt in the contemplation of
    her own unutterable happiness, scarcely opened her lips, dismissed them
    to the ecstasies of another tete-a-tete; and before it was suffered to
    close, she was enabled to judge how far he was sanctioned by parental
    authority in his present application. On his return from Woodston, two
    days before, he had been met near the abbey by his impatient father,
    hastily informed in angry terms of Miss Morland's departure, and ordered
    to think of her no more.

    Such was the permission upon which he had now offered her his hand.
    The affrighted Catherine, amidst all the terrors of expectation, as she
    listened to this account, could not but rejoice in the kind caution
    with which Henry had saved her from the necessity of a conscientious
    rejection, by engaging her faith before he mentioned the subject; and
    as he proceeded to give the particulars, and explain the motives of
    his father's conduct, her feelings soon hardened into even a triumphant
    delight. The general had had nothing to accuse her of, nothing to lay
    to her charge, but her being the involuntary, unconscious object of a
    deception which his pride could not pardon, and which a better pride
    would have been ashamed to own. She was guilty only of being less rich
    than he had supposed her to be. Under a mistaken persuasion of her
    possessions and claims, he had courted her acquaintance in Bath,
    solicited her company at Northanger, and designed her for his
    daughter-in-law. On discovering his error, to turn her from the house
    seemed the best, though to his feelings an inadequate proof of his
    resentment towards herself, and his contempt of her family.

    John Thorpe had first misled him. The general, perceiving his son
    one night at the theatre to be paying considerable attention to Miss
    Morland, had accidentally inquired of Thorpe if he knew more of her
    than her name. Thorpe, most happy to be on speaking terms with a man
    of General Tilney's importance, had been joyfully and proudly
    communicative; and being at that time not only in daily expectation
    of Morland's engaging Isabella, but likewise pretty well resolved upon
    marrying Catherine himself, his vanity induced him to represent the
    family as yet more wealthy than his vanity and avarice had made him
    believe them. With whomsoever he was, or was likely to be connected, his
    own consequence always required that theirs should be great, and as his
    intimacy with any acquaintance grew, so regularly grew their fortune.
    The expectations of his friend Morland, therefore, from the first
    overrated, had ever since his introduction to Isabella been gradually
    increasing; and by merely adding twice as much for the grandeur of the
    moment, by doubling what he chose to think the amount of Mr. Morland's
    preferment, trebling his private fortune, bestowing a rich aunt, and
    sinking half the children, he was able to represent the whole family
    to the general in a most respectable light. For Catherine, however, the
    peculiar object of the general's curiosity, and his own speculations,
    he had yet something more in reserve, and the ten or fifteen thousand
    pounds which her father could give her would be a pretty addition to Mr.
    Allen's estate. Her intimacy there had made him seriously determine on
    her being handsomely legacied hereafter; and to speak of her therefore
    as the almost acknowledged future heiress of Fullerton naturally
    followed. Upon such intelligence the general had proceeded; for never
    had it occurred to him to doubt its authority. Thorpe's interest in the
    family, by his sister's approaching connection with one of its members,
    and his own views on another (circumstances of which he boasted with
    almost equal openness), seemed sufficient vouchers for his truth; and
    to these were added the absolute facts of the Allens being wealthy and
    childless, of Miss Morland's being under their care, and--as soon as his
    acquaintance allowed him to judge--of their treating her with parental
    kindness. His resolution was soon formed. Already had he discerned a
    liking towards Miss Morland in the countenance of his son; and thankful
    for Mr. Thorpe's communication, he almost instantly determined to spare
    no pains in weakening his boasted interest and ruining his dearest
    hopes. Catherine herself could not be more ignorant at the time of all
    this, than his own children. Henry and Eleanor, perceiving nothing in
    her situation likely to engage their father's particular respect, had
    seen with astonishment the suddenness, continuance, and extent of his
    attention; and though latterly, from some hints which had accompanied an
    almost positive command to his son of doing everything in his power to
    attach her, Henry was convinced of his father's believing it to be
    an advantageous connection, it was not till the late explanation at
    Northanger that they had the smallest idea of the false calculations
    which had hurried him on. That they were false, the general had learnt
    from the very person who had suggested them, from Thorpe himself, whom
    he had chanced to meet again in town, and who, under the influence of
    exactly opposite feelings, irritated by Catherine's refusal, and
    yet more by the failure of a very recent endeavour to accomplish a
    reconciliation between Morland and Isabella, convinced that they were
    separated forever, and spurning a friendship which could be no longer
    serviceable, hastened to contradict all that he had said before to
    the advantage of the Morlands--confessed himself to have been totally
    mistaken in his opinion of their circumstances and character, misled by
    the rhodomontade of his friend to believe his father a man of substance
    and credit, whereas the transactions of the two or three last weeks
    proved him to be neither; for after coming eagerly forward on the first
    overture of a marriage between the families, with the most liberal
    proposals, he had, on being brought to the point by the shrewdness of
    the relator, been constrained to acknowledge himself incapable of
    giving the young people even a decent support. They were, in fact, a
    necessitous family; numerous, too, almost beyond example; by no means
    respected in their own neighbourhood, as he had lately had particular
    opportunities of discovering; aiming at a style of life which their
    fortune could not warrant; seeking to better themselves by wealthy
    connections; a forward, bragging, scheming race.

    The terrified general pronounced the name of Allen with an inquiring
    look; and here too Thorpe had learnt his error. The Allens, he believed,
    had lived near them too long, and he knew the young man on whom the
    Fullerton estate must devolve. The general needed no more. Enraged with
    almost everybody in the world but himself, he set out the next day for
    the abbey, where his performances have been seen.

    I leave it to my reader's sagacity to determine how much of all this
    it was possible for Henry to communicate at this time to Catherine, how
    much of it he could have learnt from his father, in what points his own
    conjectures might assist him, and what portion must yet remain to be
    told in a letter from James. I have united for their case what they must
    divide for mine. Catherine, at any rate, heard enough to feel that in
    suspecting General Tilney of either murdering or shutting up his wife,
    she had scarcely sinned against his character, or magnified his cruelty.

    Henry, in having such things to relate of his father, was almost
    as pitiable as in their first avowal to himself. He blushed for the
    narrow-minded counsel which he was obliged to expose. The conversation
    between them at Northanger had been of the most unfriendly kind. Henry's
    indignation on hearing how Catherine had been treated, on comprehending
    his father's views, and being ordered to acquiesce in them, had been
    open and bold. The general, accustomed on every ordinary occasion to
    give the law in his family, prepared for no reluctance but of feeling,
    no opposing desire that should dare to clothe itself in words, could ill
    brook the opposition of his son, steady as the sanction of reason and
    the dictate of conscience could make it. But, in such a cause, his
    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

    He steadily refused to accompany his father into Herefordshire, an
    engagement formed almost at the moment to promote the dismissal of
    Catherine, and as steadily declared his intention of offering her his
    hand. The general was furious in his anger, and they parted in dreadful
    disagreement. Henry, in an agitation of mind which many solitary hours
    were required to compose, had returned almost instantly to Woodston,
    and, on the afternoon of the following day, had begun his journey to

    CHAPTER 31

    Mr. and Mrs. Morland's surprise on being applied to by Mr. Tilney for
    their consent to his marrying their daughter was, for a few minutes,
    considerable, it having never entered their heads to suspect an
    attachment on either side; but as nothing, after all, could be more
    natural than Catherine's being beloved, they soon learnt to consider it
    with only the happy agitation of gratified pride, and, as far as they
    alone were concerned, had not a single objection to start. His pleasing
    manners and good sense were self-evident recommendations; and having
    never heard evil of him, it was not their way to suppose any evil could
    be told. Goodwill supplying the place of experience, his character
    needed no attestation. "Catherine would make a sad, heedless young
    housekeeper to be sure," was her mother's foreboding remark; but quick
    was the consolation of there being nothing like practice.

    There was but one obstacle, in short, to be mentioned; but till that one
    was removed, it must be impossible for them to sanction the engagement.
    Their tempers were mild, but their principles were steady, and while
    his parent so expressly forbade the connection, they could not allow
    themselves to encourage it. That the general should come forward to
    solicit the alliance, or that he should even very heartily approve it,
    they were not refined enough to make any parading stipulation; but
    the decent appearance of consent must be yielded, and that once
    obtained--and their own hearts made them trust that it could not be
    very long denied--their willing approbation was instantly to follow. His
    consent was all that they wished for. They were no more inclined than
    entitled to demand his money. Of a very considerable fortune, his son
    was, by marriage settlements, eventually secure; his present income was
    an income of independence and comfort, and under every pecuniary view,
    it was a match beyond the claims of their daughter.

    The young people could not be surprised at a decision like this. They
    felt and they deplored--but they could not resent it; and they parted,
    endeavouring to hope that such a change in the general, as each believed
    almost impossible, might speedily take place, to unite them again in
    the fullness of privileged affection. Henry returned to what was now
    his only home, to watch over his young plantations, and extend his
    improvements for her sake, to whose share in them he looked anxiously
    forward; and Catherine remained at Fullerton to cry. Whether the
    torments of absence were softened by a clandestine correspondence, let
    us not inquire. Mr. and Mrs. Morland never did--they had been too kind
    to exact any promise; and whenever Catherine received a letter, as, at
    that time, happened pretty often, they always looked another way.

    The anxiety, which in this state of their attachment must be the portion
    of Henry and Catherine, and of all who loved either, as to its final
    event, can hardly extend, I fear, to the bosom of my readers, who will
    see in the tell-tale compression of the pages before them, that we are
    all hastening together to perfect felicity. The means by which their
    early marriage was effected can be the only doubt: what probable
    circumstance could work upon a temper like the general's? The
    circumstance which chiefly availed was the marriage of his daughter with
    a man of fortune and consequence, which took place in the course of
    the summer--an accession of dignity that threw him into a fit of good
    humour, from which he did not recover till after Eleanor had obtained
    his forgiveness of Henry, and his permission for him "to be a fool if he
    liked it!"

    The marriage of Eleanor Tilney, her removal from all the evils of such
    a home as Northanger had been made by Henry's banishment, to the home of
    her choice and the man of her choice, is an event which I expect to
    give general satisfaction among all her acquaintance. My own joy on the
    occasion is very sincere. I know no one more entitled, by unpretending
    merit, or better prepared by habitual suffering, to receive and enjoy
    felicity. Her partiality for this gentleman was not of recent origin;
    and he had been long withheld only by inferiority of situation from
    addressing her. His unexpected accession to title and fortune had
    removed all his difficulties; and never had the general loved his
    daughter so well in all her hours of companionship, utility, and patient
    endurance as when he first hailed her "Your Ladyship!" Her husband was
    really deserving of her; independent of his peerage, his wealth, and
    his attachment, being to a precision the most charming young man in the
    world. Any further definition of his merits must be unnecessary; the
    most charming young man in the world is instantly before the imagination
    of us all. Concerning the one in question, therefore, I have only to
    add--aware that the rules of composition forbid the introduction of a
    character not connected with my fable--that this was the very
    gentleman whose negligent servant left behind him that collection of
    washing-bills, resulting from a long visit at Northanger, by which my
    heroine was involved in one of her most alarming adventures.

    The influence of the viscount and viscountess in their brother's behalf
    was assisted by that right understanding of Mr. Morland's circumstances
    which, as soon as the general would allow himself to be informed, they
    were qualified to give. It taught him that he had been scarcely
    more misled by Thorpe's first boast of the family wealth than by his
    subsequent malicious overthrow of it; that in no sense of the word were
    they necessitous or poor, and that Catherine would have three thousand
    pounds. This was so material an amendment of his late expectations that
    it greatly contributed to smooth the descent of his pride; and by no
    means without its effect was the private intelligence, which he was at
    some pains to procure, that the Fullerton estate, being entirely at
    the disposal of its present proprietor, was consequently open to every
    greedy speculation.

    On the strength of this, the general, soon after Eleanor's marriage,
    permitted his son to return to Northanger, and thence made him the
    bearer of his consent, very courteously worded in a page full of empty
    professions to Mr. Morland. The event which it authorized soon followed:
    Henry and Catherine were married, the bells rang, and everybody smiled;
    and, as this took place within a twelvemonth from the first day of their
    meeting, it will not appear, after all the dreadful delays occasioned by
    the general's cruelty, that they were essentially hurt by it. To begin
    perfect happiness at the respective ages of twenty-six and eighteen is
    to do pretty well; and professing myself moreover convinced that the
    general's unjust interference, so far from being really injurious to
    their felicity, was perhaps rather conducive to it, by improving their
    knowledge of each other, and adding strength to their attachment,
    I leave it to be settled, by whomsoever it may concern, whether the
    tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or
    reward filial disobedience.

    • Vide a letter from Mr. Richardson, No. 97, Vol. II, Rambler.


    Northanger Abbey was written in 1797-98 under a different title. The
    manuscript was revised around 1803 and sold to a London publisher,
    Crosbie & Co., who sold it back in 1816. The Signet Classic text
    is based on the first edition, published by John Murray, London, in
    1818--the year following Miss Austen's death. Spelling and punctuation
    have been largely brought into conformity with modern British usage.