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.
‘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
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.
‘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.
‘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
‘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.
‘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.
To be continued
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