Northanger Abbey. Part 13

Northanger Abbey. Miss Tilney

Northanger Abbey 13a


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.
Northanger Abbey 13a

 


 

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.
Northanger Abbey 13b (1)Northanger Abbey 13b (2)Northanger Abbey 13b (3)Northanger Abbey 13b (4)Northanger Abbey 13b (5)Northanger Abbey 13b (6)

 


 

‘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 min-

utes longer, when Isabella, who had been talking to James

on the other side of her, turned again to his sister and whis-

pered, ‘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.
Northanger Abbey 13c (1)Northanger Abbey 13c (2)

 


 

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,

‘Goodbye, 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.
Northanger Abbey 13d

 


 

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 dis-

credit 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.
Northanger Abbey 13e

 


 

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 hand-

some 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 op-

portunity of considering him lost to her forever, by being

married already.
Northanger Abbey 13f

 


 

To be continued

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