Northanger Abbey. Part 7

Northanger Abbey. The new best friend
Northanger Abbey 7g


How proper Mr. Tilney might be as a

dreamer or a lover had not yet perhaps entered Mr. Allen’s

head, but that he was not objectionable as a common ac-

quaintance for his young charge he was on inquiry satisfied;

for he had early in the evening taken pains to know who her

partner was, and had been assured of Mr. Tilney’s being a

clergyman, and of a very respectable family in Gloucester-

shire.
Northanger Abbey 7a

 

With more than usual eagerness did Catherine hasten to

the pump-room the next day, secure within herself of seeing

Mr. Tilney there before the morning were over, and ready

to meet him with a smile; but no smile was demanded —

Mr. Tilney did not appear. Every creature in Bath, except

himself, was to be seen in the room at different periods of

the fashionable hours; crowds of people were every moment

passing in and out, up the steps and down; people whom

nobody cared about, and nobody wanted to see; and he only

was absent.
Northanger Abbey 7b

 

Hardly had Msr. Allen been seated ten minutes before a lady of about

her own age, who was sitting by her, and had been looking at her attentively

for several minutes, addressed her with great complaisance in these words:

‘I think, madam, I cannot be mistaken; it is a long time since I had the

pleasure of seeing you, but is not your name Allen?’ This question answered,

as it readily was, the stranger pronounced hers to be Thorpe; and Mrs. Allen

immediately recognized the features of a former schoolfellow and intimate,

whom she had seen only once since their respective marriages, and that

many years ago.

Northanger Abbey 7c

 

Their joy on this meeting was very great, as well it might, since

they had been contented to know nothing of each other for the

last fifteen years. Compliments on good looks now passed;

and, after observing how time had slipped away since they

were last together, how little they had thought of meeting

in Bath, and what a pleasure it was to see an old friend,

they proceeded to make inquiries and give intelligence as

to their families, sisters, and cousins, talking both togeth-

er, far more ready to give than to receive information, and

each hearing very little of what the other said.

Northanger Abbey 7d

 

‘Here come my dear girls,’ cried Mrs. Thorpe, pointing

at three smart-looking females who, arm in arm, were then

moving towards her. ‘My dear Mrs. Allen, I long to intro-

duce them; they will be so delighted to see you: the tallest is

Isabella, my eldest; is not she a fine young woman? The oth-

ers are very much admired too, but I believe Isabella is the

handsomest.’

Northanger Abbey 7e

 

The Miss Thorpes were introduced; and Miss Morland,

who had been for a short time forgotten, was introduced

likewise. The name seemed to strike them all; and, after

speaking to her with great civility, the eldest young lady ob-

served aloud to the rest, ‘How excessively like her brother

Miss Morland is!’

Northanger Abbey 7f

 

‘The very picture of him indeed!’ cried the mother — and

‘I should have known her anywhere for his sister!’ was re-

peated by them all, two or three times over. For a moment

Catherine was surprised; but Mrs. Thorpe and her daugh-

ters had scarcely begun the history of their acquaintance

with Mr. James Morland, before she remembered that her

eldest brother had lately formed an intimacy with a young

man of his own college, of the name of Thorpe; and that he

had spent the last week of the Christmas vacation with his

family, near London.

Northanger Abbey 7g

 

The whole being explained, many obliging things were

said by the Miss Thorpes of their wish of being better ac-

quainted with her; of being considered as already friends,

through the friendship of their brothers, etc., which Cath-

erine heard with pleasure, and answered with all the pretty

expressions she could command; and, as the first proof of

amity, she was soon invited to accept an arm of the eldest

Miss Thorpe, and take a turn with her about the room.

Northanger Abbey 7h

 

To be continued

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