Northanger Abbey. In the lobby
Before they parted, however, it was agreed that the project-
ed walk should be taken as soon as possible; and, setting
aside the misery of his quitting their box, she was, upon the
While talking to each other, she had observed with some
surprise that John Thorpe, who was never in the same part
of the house for ten minutes together, was engaged in con-
versation with General Tilney; and she felt something more
than surprise when she thought she could perceive herself
the object of their attention and discourse. What could they
have to say of her? She feared General Tilney did not like her
appearance: she found it was implied in his preventing her
admittance to his daughter, rather than postpone his own
walk a few minutes. ‘How came Mr. Thorpe to know your
father?’ was her anxious inquiry, as she pointed them out to
her companion. He knew nothing about it; but his father,
like every military man, had a very large acquaintance.
When the entertainment was over, Thorpe came to assist
them in getting out. Catherine was the immediate object
of his gallantry; and, while they waited in the lobby for a
chair, he prevented the inquiry which had travelled from
her heart almost to the tip of her tongue, by asking, in a
consequential manner, whether she had seen him talking
with General Tilney: ‘He is a fine old fellow, upon my soul!
Stout, active — looks as young as his son. I have a great re-
gard for him, I assure you: a gentleman-like, good sort of
fellow as ever lived.’
‘But how came you to know him?’
‘Know him! There are few people much about town that
I do not know. I have met him forever at the Bedford; and I
knew his face again today the moment he came into the bil-
liard-room. One of the best players we have, by the by; and
we had a little touch together, though I was almost afraid of
him at first: the odds were five to four against me; and, if I
had not made one of the cleanest strokes that perhaps ever
was made in this world — I took his ball exactly — but I
could not make you understand it without a table; however,
I did beat him. A very fine fellow; as rich as a Jew. I should
like to dine with him; I dare say he gives famous dinners.
But what do you think we have been talking of? You. Yes,
by heavens! And the general thinks you the finest girl in
‘Oh! Nonsense! How can you say so?’
‘And what do you think I said?’ — lowering his voice —
‘well done, general, said I; I am quite of your mind.’
Here Catherine, who was much less gratified by his
admiration than by General Tilney’s, was not sorry to be
called away by Mr. Allen. Thorpe, however, would see her to
her chair, and, till she entered it, continued the same kind
of delicate flattery, in spite of her entreating him to have
That General Tilney, instead of disliking, should admire
her, was very delightful; and she joyfully thought that there
was not one of the family whom she need now fear to meet.
The evening had done more, much more, for her than could
have been expected.
To be continued
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