Northanger Abbey. Part 73

Northanger Abbey. The letter


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.
Northanger Abbey 73a (1)


 

She opened it; it was from Oxford; and to this purpose:

‘Dear Catherine,

‘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

upon.


 

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.
Northanger Abbey 73d


 

To be continued

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