At half past twelve, when Catherine’s anxious attention
to the weather was over and she could no longer claim any
merit from its amendment, the sky began voluntarily to
clear. But whether Catherine might still expect her friends,
whether there had not been too much rain for Miss Tilney
to venture, must yet be a question.
‘Isabella, my brother, and Mr. Thorpe, I declare! They are
coming for me perhaps — but I shall not go — I cannot go
indeed, for you know Miss Tilney may still call.’ Mrs. Allen
agreed to it. John Thorpe was soon with them, and his voice
was with them yet sooner, for on the stairs he was calling
out to Miss Morland to be quick. ‘Make haste! Make haste!’
as he threw open the door. ‘Put on your hat this moment —
there is no time to be lost — we are going to Bristol. How
d’ye do, Mrs. Allen?’
‘To Bristol! Is not that a great way off? But, however, I
cannot go with you today, because I am engaged; I expect
some friends every moment.’ This was of course vehemently
talked down as no reason at all; Mrs. Allen was called on
to second him, and the two others walked in, to give their
assistance. ‘My sweetest Catherine, is not this delightful?
We shall have a most heavenly drive. You are to thank your
brother and me for the scheme; it darted into our heads at
breakfast-time, I verily believe at the same instant; and we
should have been off two hours ago if it had not been for
this detestable rain.
Oh! I am in such ecstasies at the thoughts of a little country
air and quiet! So much better than going to the Lower Rooms.
We shall drive directly to Clifton and dine there; and, as
soon as dinner is over, if there is time for it, go on to
‘I doubt our being able to do so much,’ said Morland.
‘You croaking fellow!’ cried Thorpe. ‘We shall be able to
do ten times more. Kingsweston! Aye, and Blaize Castle too,
and anything else we can hear of; but here is your sister says
she will not go.’
‘Blaize Castle!’ cried Catherine. ‘What is that’?’
‘The finest place in England — worth going fifty miles at
any time to see.’
‘What, is it really a castle, an old castle?’
‘The oldest in the kingdom.’
‘But is it like what one reads of?’
‘Exactly — the very same.’
‘But now really — are there towers and long galleries?’
‘Then I should like to see it; but I cannot — I cannot go.
‘Not go! My beloved creature, what do you mean’?’
‘I cannot go, because’ — looking down as she spoke,
fearful of Isabella’s smile — ‘I expect Miss Tilney and her
brother to call on me to take a country walk. They promised
to come at twelve, only it rained; but now, as it is so fine, I
dare say they will be here soon.’
‘Not they indeed,’ cried Thorpe; ‘for, as we turned into
Broad Street, I saw them — does he not drive a phaeton with
‘I do not know indeed.’
‘Yes, I know he does; I saw him. You are talking of the
man you danced with last night, are not you?’
‘Well, I saw him at that moment turn up the Lansdown
Road, driving a smart-looking girl.’
‘Did you indeed?’
‘I should like to see the castle; but may we go all over
it? May we go up every staircase, and into every suite of
‘Yes, yes, every hole and corner.’
‘But then, if they should only be gone out for an hour till
it is dryer, and call by and by?’
‘Make yourself easy, there is no danger of that, for I heard
Tilney hallooing to a man who was just passing by on horse-
back, that they were going as far as Wick Rocks.’
‘Then I will. Shall I go, Mrs. Allen?’
‘Just as you please, my dear.’
And in two minutes they were off.
To be continued
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