Northanger Abbey. Part 49

Northanger Abbey. Sudden change

Northanger Abbey 49b

A few days passed away, and Catherine, though not allow-

ing herself to suspect her friend, could not help watching

her closely. The result of her observations was not agree-

able. Isabella seemed an altered creature. When she saw her,

indeed, surrounded only by their immediate friends in Ed-

gar’s Buildings or Pulteney Street, her change of manners

was so trifling that, had it gone no farther, it might have

passed unnoticed. A something of languid indifference, or

of that boasted absence of mind which Catherine had never

heard of before, would occasionally come across her; but had

nothing worse appeared, that might only have spread a new

grace and inspired a warmer interest.
Northanger Abbey 49a

But when Catherine saw her in public, admitting Captain

Tilney’s attentions as readily as they were offered, and

allowing him almost an equal share with James in her

notice and smiles, the alteration became too positive

to be passed over. What could be meant by such unsteady

conduct, what her friend could be at, was beyond her

comprehension. Isabella could not be aware of the pain

she was inflicting; but it was a degree of wilful

thoughtlessness which Catherine could not but resent.
Northanger Abbey 49b

James was the sufferer. She saw him grave and uneasy;

and however careless of his present comfort the woman

might be who had given him her heart, to her it was always

an object. Northanger Abbey 49c

To be continued

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