Northanger Abbey. Part 46

Northanger Abbey. Isabella waiting

Northanger Abbey 46a


With a mind thus full of happiness, Catherine was hardly

aware that two or three days had passed away, without her

seeing Isabella for more than a few minutes together. She

began first to be sensible of this, and to sigh for her conver-

sation, as she walked along the pump-room one morning,

by Mrs. Allen’s side, without anything to say or to hear; and

scarcely had she felt a five minutes’ longing of friendship,

before the object of it appeared, and inviting her to a secret

conference, led the way to a seat. ‘This is my favourite place,’

said she as they sat down on a bench between the doors,

which commanded a tolerable view of everybody entering

at either; ‘it is so out of the way.’
Northanger Abbey 46a


Catherine, observing that Isabella’s eyes were continually

bent towards one door or the other, as in eager expectation,

and remembering how often she had been falsely accused of

being arch, thought the present a fine opportunity for being

really so; and therefore gaily said, ‘Do not be uneasy, Isa-

bella, James will soon be here.’
Northanger Abbey 46b


‘Psha! My dear creature,’ she replied, ‘do not think me

such a simpleton as to be always wanting to confine him

to my elbow. It would be hideous to be always together;

we should be the jest of the place. And so you are going to

Northanger! I am amazingly glad of it. It is one of the finest

old places in England, I understand. I shall depend upon a

most particular description of it.’

‘You shall certainly have the best in my power to give.

But who are you looking for? Are your sisters coming?’

‘I am not looking for anybody. One’s eyes must be some-

where, and you know what a foolish trick I have of fixing

mine, when my thoughts are an hundred miles off. I am

amazingly absent; I believe I am the most absent creature

in the world. Tilney says it is always the case with minds of

a certain stamp.’
Northanger Abbey 46c


‘But I thought, Isabella, you had something in particular

to tell me?’

‘Oh! Yes, and so I have. But here is a proof of what I was

saying. My poor head, I had quite forgot it. Well, the thing

is this: I have just had a letter from John; you can guess the

contents.’

‘No, indeed, I cannot.’

‘My sweet love, do not be so abominably affected. What

can he write about, but yourself? You know he is over head

and ears in love with you.’

‘With me, dear Isabella!’
Northanger Abbey 46d


‘Nay, my sweetest Catherine, this is being quite absurd!

Modesty, and all that, is very well in its way, but really a little

common honesty is sometimes quite as becoming. I have no

idea of being so overstrained! It is fishing for compliments.

His attentions were such as a child must have noticed. And

it was but half an hour before he left Bath that you gave him

the most positive encouragement. He says so in this letter,

says that he as good as made you an offer, and that you re-

ceived his advances in the kindest way; and now he wants

me to urge his suit, and say all manner of pretty things to

you. So it is in vain to affect ignorance.’
Northanger Abbey 46e


To be continued

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