The next morning was fair, and Catherine almost expect-
ed another attack from the assembled party. With Mr. Allen
to support her, she felt no dread of the event: but she would
gladly be spared a contest, where victory itself was pain-
ful, and was heartily rejoiced therefore at neither seeing nor
hearing anything of them.
The Tilneys called for her at the appointed time; and no new
difficulty arising, no sudden recollection, no unexpected
summons, no impertinent intrusion to disconcert their measures,
my heroine was most unnaturally able to fulfil her engagement,
though it was made with the hero himself.
‘I never look at it,’ said Catherine, as they walked along
the side of the river, ‘without thinking of the south of France.’
‘You have been abroad then?’ said Henry, a little surprised.
‘Oh! No, I only mean what I have read about. It always
puts me in mind of the country that Emily and her father
travelled through, in The Mysteries of Udolpho. But you
never read novels, I dare say?’
‘Because they are not clever enough for you — gentlemen
read better books.’
‘The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not plea-
sure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read
all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great plea-
sure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it,
I could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two
days — my hair standing on end the whole time.’
‘Yes,’ added Miss Tilney, ‘and I remember that you un-
dertook to read it aloud to me, and that when I was called
away for only five minutes to answer a note, instead of wait-
ing for me, you took the volume into the Hermitage Walk,
and I was obliged to stay till you had finished it.’
‘I am very glad to hear it indeed, and now I shall never
be ashamed of liking Udolpho myself. But I really thought
before, young men despised novels amazingly.’
To be continued
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