Northanger Abbey. Part 2

Northanger Abbey. Catherine grows up

Northanger Abbey 2d

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.

Northanger Abbey 2a



‘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 receive.

Northanger Abbey 2b



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.

Northanger Abbey 2c



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.

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.

Northanger Abbey 2d



To be continued

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