Northanger Abbey. Part 30

Northanger Abbey. The desired conversation

Northanger Abbey 30f


Not with such calmness was he answered by the lat-

ter: ‘Oh! Mr. Tilney, I have been quite wild to speak to you,

and make my apologies. You must have thought me so rude;

but indeed it was not my own fault, was it, Mrs. Allen? Did

not they tell me that Mr. Tilney and his sister were gone out

in a phaeton together? And then what could I do? But I had

ten thousand times rather have been with you; now had not

I, Mrs. Allen?’

‘My dear, you tumble my gown,’ was Mrs. Allen’s reply.
Northanger Abbey 30a


Her assurance, however, standing sole as it did, was not

thrown away; it brought a more cordial, more natural smile

into his countenance, and he replied in a tone which re-

tained only a little affected reserve: ‘We were much obliged

to you at any rate for wishing us a pleasant walk after our

passing you in Argyle Street: you were so kind as to look

back on purpose.’

‘But indeed I did not wish you a pleasant walk; I never

thought of such a thing; but I begged Mr. Thorpe so earnest-

ly to stop; I called out to him as soon as ever I saw you; now,

Mrs. Allen, did not — Oh! You were not there; but indeed

I did; and, if Mr. Thorpe would only have stopped, I would

have jumped out and run after you.’
Northanger Abbey 30b


Is there a Henry in the world who could be insensible

to such a declaration? Henry Tilney at least was not. With

a yet sweeter smile, he said everything that need be said of

his sister’s concern, regret, and dependence on Catherine’s

honour. ‘Oh! Do not say Miss Tilney was not angry,’ cried

Catherine, ‘because I know she was; for she would not see

me this morning when I called; I saw her walk out of the

house the next minute after my leaving it; I was hurt, but

I was not affronted. Perhaps you did not know I had been

there.’
Northanger Abbey 30c


‘I was not within at the time; but I heard of it from El-

eanor, and she has been wishing ever since to see you, to

explain the reason of such incivility; but perhaps I can do

it as well. It was nothing more than that my father — they

were just preparing to walk out, and he being hurried for

time, and not caring to have it put off — made a point of

her being denied. That was all, I do assure you. She was very

much vexed, and meant to make her apology as soon as pos-

sible.’
Northanger Abbey 30d


Catherine’s mind was greatly eased by this information,

yet a something of solicitude remained, from which sprang

the following question, thoroughly artless in itself, though

rather distressing to the gentleman: ‘But, Mr. Tilney, why

were you less generous than your sister? If she felt such

confidence in my good intentions, and could suppose it to

be only a mistake, why should you be so ready to take of-

fence?’

‘Me! I take offence!’
Northanger Abbey 30e


‘Nay, I am sure by your look, when you came into the

box, you were angry.’

‘I angry! I could have no right.’

‘Well, nobody would have thought you had no right who

saw your face.’ He replied by asking her to make room for

him, and talking of the play.

He remained with them some time, and was only too

agreeable for Catherine to be contented when he went away.
Northanger Abbey 30f


To be continued

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