Northanger Abbey. Part 38

Northanger Abbey. The marrying scheme

Northanger Abbey 38a (3)


Catherine was with her friend again the next day, en-

deavouring to support her spirits and while away the many

tedious hours before the delivery of the letters; a needful ex-

ertion, for as the time of reasonable expectation drew near,

Isabella became more and more desponding, and before the

letter arrived, had worked herself into a state of real distress.

But when it did come, where could distress be found? ‘I have

had no difficulty in gaining the consent of my kind parents,

and am promised that everything in their power shall be

done to forward my happiness,’ were the first three lines,

and in one moment all was joyful security. The brightest

glow was instantly spread over Isabella’s features, all care

and anxiety seemed removed, her spirits became almost too

high for control, and she called herself without scruple the

happiest of mortals.
Northanger Abbey 38a (1)Northanger Abbey 38a (2)Northanger Abbey 38a (3)

 



The letter, whence sprang all this felicity, was short, con-

taining little more than this assurance of success; and every

particular was deferred till James could write again. But for

particulars Isabella could well afford to wait.

She knew enough to feel secure of an honourable and speedy

establishment, and her imagination took a rapid flight over

its attendant felicities. She saw herself at the end of a few

weeks, the gaze and admiration of every new acquaintance

at Fullerton, the envy of every valued old friend in Putney,

with a carriage at her command, a new name on her tickets,

and a brilliant exhibition of hoop rings on her finger.
Northanger Abbey 38b (1)Northanger Abbey 38b (2)

 


 

When the contents of the letter were ascertained, John

Thorpe, who had only waited its arrival to begin his jour-

ney to London, prepared to set off. ‘Well, Miss Morland,’

said he, on finding her alone in the parlour, ‘I am come to

bid you good-bye.’ Catherine wished him a good journey.

Without appearing to hear her, he walked to the window,

fidgeted about, hummed a tune, and seemed wholly self-occupied.
Northanger Abbey 38c (1)Northanger Abbey 38c (2)

 


 

‘Shall not you be late at Devizes?’ said Catherine. He

made no answer; but after a minute’s silence burst out with,

‘A famous good thing this marrying scheme, upon my soul!

A clever fancy of Morland’s and Belle’s. What do you think

of it, Miss Morland? I say it is no bad notion.’

‘I am sure I think it a very good one.’

‘Do you? That’s honest, by heavens! I am glad you are no

enemy to matrimony, however. Did you ever hear the old

song ‘Going to One Wedding Brings on Another?’ I say, you

will come to Belle’s wedding, I hope.’

‘Yes; I have promised your sister to be with her, if possible.’

‘And then you know’ — twisting himself about and forc-

ing a foolish laugh — ‘I say, then you know, we may try the

truth of this same old song.’
Northanger Abbey 38d

 


 

‘May we? But I never sing. Well, I wish you a good jour-

ney. I dine with Miss Tilney today, and must now be going

home.’

‘Nay, but there is no such confounded hurry. Who knows

when we may be together again? Not but that I shall be down

again by the end of a fortnight, and a devilish long fortnight

it will appear to me.’

‘Then why do you stay away so long?’ replied Catherine

— finding that he waited for an answer.

‘That is kind of you, however — kind and good-natured. I

shall not forget it in a hurry. But you have more good nature

and all that, than anybody living, I believe. A monstrous

deal of good nature, and it is not only good nature, but you

have so much, so much of everything; and then you have

such — upon my soul, I do not know anybody like you.’
Northanger Abbey 38e

 


 

‘Oh! dear, there are a great many people like me, I dare

say, only a great deal better. Good morning to you.’

‘But I say, Miss Morland, I shall come and pay my re-

spects at Fullerton before it is long, if not disagreeable.’

‘Pray do. My father and mother will be very glad to see

you.’

‘And I hope — I hope, Miss Morland, you will not be

sorry to see me.’
Northanger Abbey 38f

 


 

‘Oh! dear, not at all. There are very few people I am sorry

to see. Company is always cheerful.

We shall be very glad to see you at Fullerton,

whenever it is convenient.’ And away she went. It was not in

the power of all his gallantry to detain her longer. With such

news to communicate, and such a visit to prepare for, her

departure was not to be delayed by anything in his nature

to urge; and she hurried away, leaving him to the undivided

consciousness of his own happy address, and her explicit

encouragement.
Northanger Abbey 38g


 

To be continued

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