Northanger Abbey. Bath
She had reached the age of seventeen, without having seen
one amiable youth who could call forth her sensibility, without
having inspired one real passion, and without having excited
even any admiration but what was very moderate and very transient.
This was strange indeed! But strange things may be generally
accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out. There was
not one lord in the neighbourhood; no — not even a
baronet. But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness
of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must
and will happen to throw a hero in her way.
Mr. Allen, who owned the chief of the property about
Fullerton, the village in Wiltshire where the Morlands lived,
was ordered to Bath for the benefit of a gouty constitution
— and his lady, a good-humoured woman, fond of Miss
Morland, and probably aware that if adventures will not be-
fall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them
abroad, invited her to go with them. Mr. and Mrs. Morland
were all compliance, and Catherine all happiness.
Her heart was affectionate; her disposi-
tion cheerful and open, without conceit or affectation of
any kind — her manners just removed from the awkward-
ness and shyness of a girl; her person pleasing, and, when in
good looks, pretty — and her mind about as ignorant and
uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is.
They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight —
her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached
its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through
those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was
come to be happy, and she felt happy already.
It is now expedient to give some description of Mrs. Al-
len, that the reader may be able to judge in what manner her
actions will hereafter tend to promote the general distress of
the work, and how she will, probably, contribute to reduce
poor Catherine to all the desperate wretchedness of which
a last volume is capable — whether by her imprudence, vul-
garity, or jealousy — whether by intercepting her letters,
ruining her character, or turning her out of doors.
Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females,
whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at
there being any men in the world who could like them well
enough to marry them. She had neither beauty, genius, ac-
complishment, nor manner.
The air of a gentlewoman, a great deal of quiet, inactive good
temper, and a trifling turn of mind were all that could account for
her being the choice of a sensible, intelligent man like Mr. Allen.
In one respect she was admirably fitted to introduce a young lady into
public, being as fond of going everywhere and seeing everything
herself as any young lady could be.
her passion. She had a most harmless delight in being fine;
and our heroine’s entree into life could not take place till af-
ter three or four days had been spent in learning what was
mostly worn, and her chaperone was provided with a dress
of the newest fashion.
To be continued
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