Northanger Abbey. Part 33

Northanger Abbey. Hearts at war

Northanger Abbey 33e

The three others still continued together, walking in a

most uncomfortable manner to poor Catherine; sometimes

not a word was said, sometimes she was again attacked with

supplications or reproaches, and her arm was still linked

within Isabella’s, though their hearts were at war. At one

moment she was softened, at another irritated; always dis-

tressed, but always steady.

Northanger Abbey 33a

‘I did not think you had been so obstinate, Catherine,’

said James; ‘you were not used to be so hard to persuade;

you once were the kindest, best-tempered of my sisters.’

‘I hope I am not less so now,’ she replied, very feelingly;

‘but indeed I cannot go. If I am wrong, I am doing what I

believe to be right.’

‘I suspect,’ said Isabella, in a low voice, ‘there is no great


Northanger Abbey 33b

Catherine’s heart swelled; she drew away her arm, and

Isabella made no opposition. Thus passed a long ten min-

utes, till they were again joined by Thorpe, who, coming to

them with a gayer look, said, ‘Well, I have settled the matter,

and now we may all go tomorrow with a safe conscience. I

have been to Miss Tilney, and made your excuses.’

‘You have not!’ cried Catherine.

Northanger Abbey 33c

‘I have, upon my soul. Left her this moment. Told her

you had sent me to say that, having just recollected a pri-

or engagement of going to Clifton with us tomorrow, you

could not have the pleasure of walking with her till Tuesday.

She said very well, Tuesday was just as convenient to her; so

there is an end of all our difficulties. A pretty good thought

of mine — hey?’

Isabella’s countenance was once more all smiles and

good humour, and James too looked happy again.

Northanger Abbey 33d

‘A most heavenly thought indeed! Now, my sweet Cath-

erine, all our distresses are over; you are honourably

acquitted, and we shall have a most delightful party.’

‘This will not do,’ said Catherine; ‘I cannot submit to this.

I must run after Miss Tilney directly and set her right.’

Isabella, however, caught hold of one hand, Thorpe of the

other, and remonstrances poured in from all three. Even

James was quite angry. When everything was settled, when

Miss Tilney herself said that Tuesday would suit her as well,

it was quite ridiculous, quite absurd, to make any further


Northanger Abbey 33e

‘I do not care. Mr. Thorpe had no business to invent any

such message. If I had thought it right to put it off, I could

have spoken to Miss Tilney myself. This is only doing it in

a ruder way; and how do I know that Mr. Thorpe has — He

may be mistaken again perhaps; he led me into one act of

rudeness by his mistake on Friday. Let me go, Mr. Thorpe;

Isabella, do not hold me.’

Thorpe told her it would be in vain to go after the Tilneys;

they were turning the corner into Brock Street, when he had

overtaken them, and were at home by this time.

Northanger Abbey 33f

‘Then I will go after them, ’ said Catherine ; ‘wherever

they are I will go after them. It does not signify talking. If

I could not be persuaded into doing what I thought wrong,

I never will be tricked into it.’ And with these words she

broke away and hurried off. Thorpe would have darted after

her, but Morland withheld him. ‘Let her go, let her go, if she

will go. She is as obstinate as — ‘Thorpe never finished the

simile, for it could hardly have been a proper one.

Northanger Abbey 33g (1)Northanger Abbey 33g (2)Northanger Abbey 33g (3)

To be continued

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