Northanger Abbey. The manuscript
The housemaid’s folding back her window-shutters at
eight o’clock the next day was the sound which first roused
Catherine; and she opened her eyes, wondering that they
could ever have been closed, on objects of cheerfulness; her
fire was already burning, and a bright morning had suc-
ceeded the tempest of the night.
Instantaneously, with the consciousness of existence, returned her recollection of the manuscript; and springing from the bed in the very moment of the maid’s going away, she eagerly collected every scattered sheet which had burst from the roll on its falling to the ground, and flew back to enjoy the luxury of their perusal on her pillow. She now plainly saw that she must not expect a manuscript of equal length with the generality of what she had shuddered over in books, for the roll, seeming to consist entirely of small disjointed sheets, was altogether but of trifling size, and much less than she had supposed it to be at first.
Her greedy eye glanced rapidly over a page. She start-
ed at its import. Could it be possible, or did not her senses
play her false? An inventory of linen, in coarse and modern
characters, seemed all that was before her! If the evidence
of sight might be trusted, she held a washing-bill in her
hand. Such was he collection of papers (left perhaps, as
she could then suppose, by the negligence of a servant
in the place whence she had taken them) which had filled
her with expectation and alarm, and robbed her of half
Impatient to get rid of those hateful evidences of her folly, those detestable papers then scattered over the bed, she rose directly, and folding them up as nearly as possible in the same shape as before, returned them to the same spot within the cabinet, with a very hearty wish that no untoward accident might ever bring them forward again, to disgrace her even with herself.
To be continued
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