Northanger Abbey. Part 61

Northanger Abbey. The first breakfast

Northanger Abbey 61e


She got away as soon as she could from a room in which

her conduct produced such unpleasant reflections, and

found her way with all speed to the breakfast-parlour, as

it had been pointed out to her by Miss Tilney the evening

before. Henry was alone in it; and his immediate hope of

her having been undisturbed by the tempest, with an arch

reference to the character of the building they inhabited,

was rather distressing. For the world would she not have her

weakness suspected, and yet, unequal to an absolute false-

hood, was constrained to acknowledge that the wind had

kept her awake a little. ‘But we have a charming morning

after it,’ she added, desiring to get rid of the subject; ‘and

storms and sleeplessness are nothing when they are over.

What beautiful hyacinths! I have just learnt to love a hya-

cinth.’
Northanger Abbey 61a


 

‘And how might you learn? By accident or argument?’

‘Your sister taught me; I cannot tell how. Mrs. Allen used

to take pains, year after year, to make me like them; but I

never could, till I saw them the other day in Milsom Street;

I am naturally indifferent about flowers.’

‘But now you love a hyacinth. So much the better. You

have gained a new source of enjoyment, and it is well to have

as many holds upon happiness as possible. Besides, a taste

for flowers is always desirable in your sex, as a means of get-

ting you out of doors, and tempting you to more frequent

exercise than you would otherwise take. And though the

love of a hyacinth may be rather domestic, who can tell, the

sentiment once raised, but you may in time come to love a rose?’
Northanger Abbey 61b


 

 

‘And how might you learn? By accident or argument?’

‘Your sister taught me; I cannot tell how. Mrs. Allen used

to take pains, year after year, to make me like them; but I

never could, till I saw them the other day in Milsom Street;

I am naturally indifferent about flowers.’

‘But now you love a hyacinth. So much the better. You

have gained a new source of enjoyment, and it is well to have

as many holds upon happiness as possible. Besides, a taste

for flowers is always desirable in your sex, as a means of get-

ting you out of doors, and tempting you to more frequent

exercise than you would otherwise take. And though the

love of a hyacinth may be rather domestic, who can tell, the

sentiment once raised, but you may in time come to love a rose?’
Northanger Abbey 61c


 

Catherine was saved the embarrassment of attempting

an answer by the entrance of the general, whose smiling

compliments announced a happy state of mind, but whose

gentle hint of sympathetic early rising did not advance her composure.
Northanger Abbey 61d


 

The elegance of the breakfast set forced itself on Cath-

erine’s notice when they were seated at table; and, lucidly,

it had been the general’s choice. He was enchanted by her

approbation of his taste, confessed it to be neat and simple,

thought it right to encourage the manufacture of his country;

and for his part, to his uncritical palate, the tea was as well

flavoured from the clay of Staffordshire, as from that of

Dresden or Save. But this was quite an old set, purchased

two years ago. The manufacture was much improved since

that time; he had seen some beautiful specimens when last

in town, and had he not been perfectly without vanity of

that kind, might have been tempted to order a new set. He

trusted, however, that an opportunity might ere long occur

of selecting one — though not for himself. Catherine was

probably the only one of the party who did not understand him.
Northanger Abbey 61e


 

To be continued

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