Northanger Abbey. Part 44

Northanger Abbey. The invitation

Northanger Abbey 44d (1)

The Allens had now entered on the sixth week of their

stay in Bath; and whether it should be the last was for some

time a question, to which Catherine listened with a beat-

ing heart. To have her acquaintance with the Tilneys end

so soon was an evil which nothing could counterbalance.

Her whole happiness seemed at stake, while the affair was in

suspense, and everything secured when it was determined

that the lodgings should be taken for another fortnight.
Northanger Abbey 44a

She visited Miss Tilney, and poured forth her joyful feelings.

It was doomed to be a day of trial. No sooner had she expressed

her delight in Mr. Allen’s lengthened stay than Miss Tilney told

her of her father’s having just determined upon quitting Bath

by the end of another week. Catherine’s countenance fell,

and in a voice of most sincere concern she echoed Miss

Tilney’s concluding words, ‘By the end of another week!’

‘Yes, my father can seldom be prevailed on to give the

waters what I think a fair trial. He has been disappointed of

some friends’ arrival whom he expected to meet here, and

as he is now pretty well, is in a hurry to get home.’

‘I am very sorry for it,’ said Catherine dejectedly; ‘if I had

known this before — ‘

‘Perhaps,’ said Miss Tilney in an embarrassed manner,

‘you would be so good — it would make me very happy if — ‘
Northanger Abbey 44b

The entrance of her father put a stop to the civility, which

Catherine was beginning to hope might introduce a desire

of their corresponding. After addressing her with his usual

politeness, he turned to his daughter and said, ‘Well, El-

eanor, may I congratulate you on being successful in your

application to your fair friend?’

‘I was just beginning to make the request, sir, as you

came in.’
Northanger Abbey 44c (1)Northanger Abbey 44c (2)Northanger Abbey 44c (3)

‘Well, proceed by all means. I know how much your

heart is in it. My daughter, Miss Morland,’ he continued,

without leaving his daughter time to speak, ‘has been form-

ing a very bold wish. We leave Bath, as she has perhaps told

you, on Saturday se’nnight. A letter from my steward tells

me that my presence is wanted at home; and being disap-

pointed in my hope of seeing the Marquis of Longtown and

General Courteney here, some of my very old friends, there

is nothing to detain me longer in Bath. And could we car-

ry our selfish point with you, we should leave it without a

single regret. Can you, in short, be prevailed on to quit this

scene of public triumph and oblige your friend Eleanor with

your company in Gloucestershire? I am almost ashamed to

make the request, though its presumption would certain-

ly appear greater to every creature in Bath than yourself.

Modesty such as yours — but not for the world would I pain

it by open praise. If you can be induced to honour us with a

visit, you will make us happy beyond expression. ‘Tis true,

we can offer you nothing like the gaieties of this lively place;

we can tempt you neither by amusement nor splendour, for

our mode of living, as you see, is plain and unpretending;

yet no endeavours shall be wanting on our side to make

Northanger Abbey not wholly disagreeable.’
Northanger Abbey 44d (1)Northanger Abbey 44d (2)

To be continued

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