For nine successive mornings, Catherine wondered over the repetition of a disappointment, which each morning became more severe: but, on the tenth, when she entered the breakfast-room, her first object was a letter, held out by Henry’s willing hand. She thanked him as heartily as if he had written it himself. ‘‘Tis only from James, however,’ as she looked at the direction.
She opened it; it was from Oxford; and to this purpose:
‘Though, God knows, with little inclination for writing,
I think it my duty to tell you that everything is at an end
between Miss Thorpe and me. I left her and Bath yesterday
never to see either again. I shall not enter into particulars —
they would only pain you more. You will soon hear enough
from another quarter to know where lies the blame; and I
hope will acquit your brother of everything but the folly of
too easily thinking his affection returned. Thank God! I am
undeceived in time! But it is a heavy blow! After my father’s
consent had been so kindly given — but no more of this. She
has made me miserable forever! Let me soon hear from you,
dear Catherine; you are my only friend; your love I do build
I wish your visit at Northanger may be over before
Captain Tilney makes his engagement known, or you will
be uncomfortably circumstanced. Poor Thorpe is in town: I
dread the sight of him; his honest heart would feel so much.
I have written to him and my father. Her duplicity hurts me
more than all; till the very last, if I reasoned with her, she
declared herself as much attached to me as ever, and laughed
at my fears. I am ashamed to think how long I bore with it;
but if ever man had reason to believe himself loved, I was
that man. I cannot understand even now what she would be
at, for there could be no need of my being played off to make
her secure of Tilney. We parted at last by mutual consent —
happy for me had we never met! I can never expect to know
such another woman! Dearest Catherine, beware how you
give your heart. ‘Believe me,’ &c.
Catherine had not read three lines before her sudden
change of countenance, and short exclamations of sorrow-
ing wonder, declared her to be receiving unpleasant news;
and Henry, earnestly watching her through the whole let-
ter, saw plainly that it ended no better than it began. He was
prevented, however, from even looking his surprise by his
father’s entrance. They went to breakfast directly; but Cath-
erine could hardly eat anything. Tears filled her eyes, and
even ran down her cheeks as she sat.
To be continued
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