Northanger Abbey. Part 34

Northanger Abbey. Hasty explanation

Northanger Abbey 34c

Away walked Catherine in great agitation, as fast as the

crowd would permit her, fearful of being pursued, yet de-

termined to persevere. As she walked, she reflected on what

had passed. It was painful to her to disappoint and displease

them, particularly to displease her brother; but she could

not repent her resistance. Setting her own inclination apart,

to have failed a second time in her engagement to Miss

Tilney, to have retracted a promise voluntarily made only

five minutes before, and on a false pretence too, must have

been wrong.

Northanger Abbey 34a (1)Northanger Abbey 34a (2)Northanger Abbey 34a (3)

So rapid had been her movements that in

spite of the Tilneys’ advantage in the outset, they were but

just turning into their lodgings as she came within view of

them; and the servant still remaining at the open door, she

used only the ceremony of saying that she must speak with

Miss Tilney that moment, and hurrying by him proceeded

upstairs. Then, opening the first door before her, which hap-

pened to be the right, she immediately found herself in the

drawing-room with General Tilney, his son, and daughter.

Northanger Abbey 34b

Her explanation, defective only in being — from her irrita-

tion of nerves and shortness of breath — no explanation at

all, was instantly given. ‘I am come in a great hurry — It was

all a mistake — I never promised to go — I told them from

the first I could not go. — I ran away in a great hurry to ex-

plain it. — I did not care what you thought of me. — I would

not stay for the servant.’

Northanger Abbey 34c

The business, however, though not perfectly elucidated

by this speech, soon ceased to be a puzzle. Catherine found

that John Thorpe had given the message; and Miss Tilney

had no scruple in owning herself greatly surprised by it.

But whether her brother had still exceeded her in resent-

ment, Catherine, though she instinctively addressed herself

as much to one as to the other in her vindication, had no

means of knowing. Whatever might have been felt before

her arrival, her eager declarations immediately made every

look and sentence as friendly as she could desire.

Northanger Abbey 34d

To be continued

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