The affair thus happily settled, she was introduced by
Miss Tilney to her father, and received by him with such
ready, such solicitous politeness as recalled Thorpe’s infor-
mation to her mind, and made her think with pleasure that
he might be sometimes depended on.
After sitting with them a quarter of an hour, she rose to
take leave, and was then most agreeably surprised by Gen-
eral Tilney’s asking her if she would do his daughter the
honour of dining and spending the rest of the day with her.
Miss Tilney added her own wishes. Catherine was great-
ly obliged; but it was quite out of her power. Mr. and Mrs.
Allen would expect her back every moment. The general de-
clared he could say no more; the claims of Mr. and Mrs.
Allen were not to be superseded; but on some other day he
trusted, when longer notice could be given, they would not
refuse to spare her to her friend. ‘Oh, no; Catherine was sure
they would not have the least objection, and she should have
great pleasure in coming.’
She reached home without seeing anything more of the
offended party; and now that she had been triumphant
throughout, had carried her point, and was secure of her
walk, she began (as the flutter of her spirits subsided) to
doubt whether she had been perfectly right. A sacrifice was
always noble; and if she had given way to their entreaties,
she should have been spared the distressing idea of a friend
displeased, a brother angry, and a scheme of great happi-
ness to both destroyed, perhaps through her means.
To ease her mind, and ascertain by the opinion of an unprejudiced
person what her own conduct had really been, she took occasion
to mention before Mr. Allen the half-settled scheme of her brother
and the Thorpes for the following day. Mr. Allen caught at it directly.
‘Well,’ said he, ‘and do you think of going too?’
‘No; I had just engaged myself to walk with Miss Tilney
before they told me of it; and therefore you know I could not
go with them, could I?’
‘No, certainly not; and I am glad you do not think of
it. These schemes are not at all the thing. Young men and
women driving about the country in open carriages! Now
and then it is very well; but going to inns and public places
together! It is not right; and I wonder Mrs. Thorpe should
allow it. I am glad you do not think of going; I am sure Mrs.
Morland would not be pleased.‘
Catherine submitted, and though sorry to think that Is-
abella should be doing wrong, felt greatly relieved by Mr.
Allen’s approbation of her own conduct, and truly rejoiced
to be preserved by his advice from the danger of falling into
such an error herself. Her escape from being one of the par-
ty to Clifton was now an escape indeed; for what would the
Tilneys have thought of her, if she had broken her promise
to them in order to do what was wrong in itself, if she had
been guilty of one breach of propriety, only to enable her to
be guilty of another?
To be continued
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