Northanger Abbey. Part 14

Northanger Abbey. New friendship

Northanger Abbey 14f (2)

 


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 ac-

knowledged. ‘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 morn-

ing after his having had the pleasure of seeing her.
Northanger Abbey 14a

 


 

Mr. Tilney 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 after-

wards, 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.
Northanger Abbey 14b

 


 

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.
Northanger Abbey 14c

 


 

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.’
Northanger Abbey 14d

 


 

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.
Northanger Abbey 14e

 


 

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, at-

tractive, 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.
Northanger Abbey 14f (2)Northanger Abbey 14f (3)Northanger Abbey 14f (4)Northanger Abbey 14f (5)Northanger Abbey 14f (6)

 


 

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.
Northanger Abbey 14g

 


 

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 cer-

emony with such people.’
Northanger Abbey 14h

 


 

‘Look at that young lady with the white beads round

her head,’ whispered Catherine, detaching her friend from

James. ‘It is Mr. Tilney’s sister.’

‘Oh! Heavens! You don’t say so! Let me look at her this

moment. What a delightful girl! I never saw anything half

so beautiful! But where is her all-conquering brother? Is he

in the room? Point him out to me this instant, if he is. I die

to see him. Mr. Morland, you are not to listen. We are not

talking about you.’ Catherine could not avoid a little

suspicion at the total suspension of all Isabella’s impatient

desire to see Mr. Tilney.
Northanger Abbey 14i

 


 

To be continued

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