Northanger Abbey. Who is Catherine Morland?
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her in-
fancy 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 con-
siderable independence besides two good livings — and
he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daugh-
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 sal-
low skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features
— so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for
heroism seemed her mind.
She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught;
and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and
What a strange, unaccountable char-
acter! — 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 cleanli-
ness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down
the green slope at the back of the house. Such was Catherine Morland at ten.
To be continued
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