Northanger Abbey. Part 31

Northanger Abbey. In the lobby

Northanger Abbey 31b

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

whole, left one of the happiest creatures in the world.
Northanger Abbey 31a

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.

Northanger Abbey 31b

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?’

Northanger Abbey 31c

‘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

Northanger Abbey 31d

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.

Northanger Abbey 31e

To be continued

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