Northanger Abbey. Part 25

Northanger Abbey. The anticipated meeting

Northanger Abbey 25b


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.
Northanger Abbey 25a


‘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?’
Northanger Abbey 25b


‘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.
Northanger Abbey 25c


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

Kingsweston.’

‘I doubt our being able to do so much,’ said Morland.
Northanger Abbey 25d


‘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?’

‘By dozens.’

‘Then I should like to see it; but I cannot — I cannot go.

‘Not go! My beloved creature, what do you mean’?’
Northanger Abbey 25e


‘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

bright chestnuts?’

‘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?’

‘Yes.

‘Well, I saw him at that moment turn up the Lansdown

Road, driving a smart-looking girl.’

‘Did you indeed?’
Northanger Abbey 25f


‘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

rooms?’

‘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.
Northanger Abbey 25g


To be continued

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