Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
by Jane Austen.
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE AUTHORESS, TO NORTHANGER ABBEY.
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
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 children.
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
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 party."
"Aye, so we do. That is very disagreeable. I wish we had a large
"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
"Had not we better go away as it is? Here are no tea-things for
us, you see."
"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
"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
"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
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
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 all.
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?"
"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."
"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 say."
"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 particulars."
"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
"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 Gloucestershire.
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
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
"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
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 attornies might be set forth, and
conversations, which had passed twenty years before, be minutely
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
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
"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
"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
"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 me."
"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
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
"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
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
"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 time."
"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
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 do."
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
"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
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 stout."
"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 people."
"Look at that young lady with the white beads round her head,"
whispered Catherine, detaching her friend from James. "It is Mr.
"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
"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 partners."
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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?"
"A famous thing for his next heirs. He is your godfather, is not
"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
"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.
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 head."
Isabella smiled incredulously and talked the rest of the evening
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?"
"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
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 famously."
"Oh, no; they will never think of me, after such a description as
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
"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?"
"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
"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 walk."
"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
"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
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?"
"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 own."
"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 consequence."
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.
"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
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
"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
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 offence?"
"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 world.
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.
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
"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
"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 mine--hey?"
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
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 desire.
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 parted.
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,
"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
"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
"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 more."
"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
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?
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
"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
"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 reading?"
"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 synonymous."
"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
"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
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
"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
"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 arrangement.
"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.
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
"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 agitated!"
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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 about."
"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
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.
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
"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 judgment--"
"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
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
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
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 dance."
"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 yourself."
"You are laughing; but, I assure you, Isabella is very firm in
"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 way."
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
"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.
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
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
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.
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
"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
"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
"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 you."
"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 ignorance."
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
"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
"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
"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 brother.
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
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
"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
"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
"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 little."
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 again.
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.
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
"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
"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
"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 afraid."
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
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 her:
"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
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
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.
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
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
"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 profession."
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
"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
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
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