Northanger Abbey. Part 43

Northanger Abbey. The inheritance

Northanger Abbey 43f

When the young ladies next met, they had a far more in-

teresting subject to discuss. James Morland’s second letter

was then received, and the kind intentions of his father fully

explained. A living, of which Mr. Morland was himself pa-

tron and incumbent, of about four hundred pounds yearly

value, was to be resigned to his son as soon as he should be

old enough to take it; no trifling deduction from the family

income, no niggardly assignment to one of ten children. An

estate of at least equal value, moreover, was assured as his

future inheritance.
Northanger Abbey 43a (1)Northanger Abbey 43a (2)

James expressed himself on the occasion with becom-

ing gratitude; and the necessity of waiting between two

and three years before they could marry, being, however

unwelcome, no more than he had expected, was borne by

him without discontent. Catherine, whose expectations

had been as unfixed as her ideas of her father’s income, and

whose judgment was now entirely led by her brother, felt

equally well satisfied, and heartily congratulated Isabella on

having everything so pleasantly settled.
Northanger Abbey 43b

‘It is very charming indeed,’ said Isabella, with a grave

face. ‘Mr. Morland has behaved vastly handsome indeed,’

said the gentle Mrs. Thorpe, looking anxiously at her daugh-

ter. ‘I only wish I could do as much. One could not expect

more from him, you know. If he finds he can do more by

and by, I dare say he will, for I am sure he must be an excel-

lent good-hearted man. Four hundred is but a small income

to begin on indeed, but your wishes, my dear Isabella, are

so moderate, you do not consider how little you ever want,

my dear.’
Northanger Abbey 43c

‘It is not on my own account I wish for more; but I cannot

bear to be the means of injuring my dear Morland, making

him sit down upon an income hardly enough to find one in

the common necessaries of life. For myself, it is nothing; I

never think of myself.’
Northanger Abbey 43d

‘I know you never do, my dear; and you will always find

your reward in the affection it makes everybody feel for you.

There never was a young woman so beloved as you are by

everybody that knows you; and I dare say when Mr. Mor-

land sees you, my dear child — but do not let us distress

our dear Catherine by talking of such things. Mr. Morland

has behaved so very handsome, you know. I always heard he

was a most excellent man; and you know, my dear, we are

not to suppose but what, if you had had a suitable fortune,

he would have come down with something more, for I am

sure he must be a most liberal-minded man.’
Northanger Abbey 43e

‘Nobody can think better of Mr. Morland than I do, I am

sure. But everybody has their failing, you know, and every-

body has a right to do what they like with their own money.’

Catherine was hurt by these insinuations. ‘I am very sure,’

said she, ‘that my father has promised to do as much as he

can afford.’
Northanger Abbey 43f

Isabella recollected herself. ‘As to that, my sweet Cathe-

rine, there cannot be a doubt, and you know me well enough

to be sure that a much smaller income would satisfy me. It is

not the want of more money that makes me just at present

a little out of spirits; I hate money; and if our union could

take place now upon only fifty pounds a year, I should not

have a wish unsatisfied. Ah! my Catherine, you have found

me out. There’s the sting. The long, long, endless two years

and half that are to pass before your brother can hold the

Northanger Abbey 43g

‘Yes, yes, my darling Isabella,’ said Mrs. Thorpe, ‘we

perfectly see into your heart. You have no disguise. We per-

fectly understand the present vexation; and everybody must

love you the better for such a noble honest affection.
Northanger Abbey 43h

Catherine’s uncomfortable feelings began to lessen. She

endeavoured to believe that the delay of the marriage was

the only source of Isabella’s regret; and when she saw her at

their next interview as cheerful and amiable as ever, endeav-

oured to forget that she had for a minute thought otherwise.

James soon followed his letter, and was received with the

most gratifying kindness.
Northanger Abbey 43i (1)Northanger Abbey 43i (2)

To be continued

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