Northanger Abbey. Part 15

Northanger Abbey. Puzzled

Northanger Abbey 15d (1)


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.’
Northanger Abbey 15a


 

John Thorpe, in the meanwhile, had walked away; and

Catherine, ever willing to give Mr. Tilney an opportunity of

repeating the agreeable request which had already flattered

her once, made her way to Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Thorpe as

fast as she could, in the hope of finding him still with them

— a hope which, when it proved to be fruitless, she felt to

have been highly unreasonable. ‘Well, my dear,’ said Mrs.

Thorpe, impatient for praise of her son, ‘I hope you have had

an agreeable partner.’

‘Very agreeable, madam.’

‘I am glad of it. John has charming spirits, has not he?’
Northanger Abbey 15b


 

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

‘No, where is he?’

‘He was with us just now, and said he was so tired of

lounging about, that he was resolved to go and dance; so I

thought perhaps he would ask you, if he met with you.’

‘Where can he be?’ said Catherine, looking round; but

she had not looked round long before she saw him leading a

young lady to the dance.

‘Ah! He has got a partner; I wish he had asked you,’ said

Mrs. Allen; and after a short silence, she added, ‘he is a very

agreeable young man.’
Northanger Abbey 15c


 

‘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. Al-

len, for after only a moment’s consideration, she said, in a

whisper to Catherine, ‘I dare say she thought I was speak-

ing of her son.’
Northanger Abbey 15d (1)Northanger Abbey 15d (2)


 

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 re-

ply, 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 great-

est quizzers in the room; my two younger sisters and their

partners. I have been laughing at them this half hour.’
Northanger Abbey 15e


 

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 par-

ty 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.’
Northanger Abbey 15f (1)Northanger Abbey 15f (2)


 

To be continued

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