Northanger Abbey. Part 75

Northanger Abbey. The question of fortune

Northanger Abbey 75b


Miss Tilney, at Catherine’s invitation, now read the letter

likewise, and, having expressed also her concern and sur-

prise, began to inquire into Miss Thorpe’s connections and fortune.

‘Her mother is a very good sort of woman,’ was Catherine’s answer.

‘What was her father?’

‘A lawyer, I believe. They live at Putney.’

‘Are they a wealthy family?’
Northanger Abbey 75a


 

‘No, not very. I do not believe Isabella has any fortune at

all: but that will not signify in your family. Your father is so

very liberal! He told me the other day that he only valued

money as it allowed him to promote the happiness of his

children.’ The brother and sister looked at each other. ‘But,’

said Eleanor, after a short pause, ‘would it be to promote his

happiness, to enable him to marry such a girl? She must be

an unprincipled one, or she could not have used your broth-

er so. And how strange an infatuation on Frederick’s side! A

girl who, before his eyes, is violating an engagement volun-

tarily entered into with another man! Is not it inconceivable,

Henry? Frederick too, who always wore his heart so proud-

ly! Who found no woman good enough to be loved!’
Northanger Abbey 75b


 

‘That is the most unpromising circumstance, the stron-

gest presumption against him. When I think of his past

declarations, I give him up. Moreover, I have too good an

opinion of Miss Thorpe’s prudence to suppose that she

would part with one gentleman before the other was se-

cured. It is all over with Frederick indeed! He is a deceased

man — defunct in understanding. Prepare for your sister-

in-law, Eleanor, and such a sister-in-law as you must delight

in! Open, candid, artless, guileless, with affections strong

but simple, forming no pretensions, and knowing no disguise.’

‘Such a sister-in-law, Henry, I should delight in,’ said El-

eanor with a smile.

‘But perhaps,’ observed Catherine, ‘though she has be-

haved so ill by our family, she may behave better by yours.

Now she has really got the man she likes, she may be constant.’
Northanger Abbey 75c


 

‘Indeed I am afraid she will,’ replied Henry; ‘I am afraid

she will be very constant, unless a baronet should come in

her way; that is Frederick’s only chance. I will get the Bath

paper, and look over the arrivals.’

‘You think it is all for ambition, then? And, upon my

word, there are some things that seem very like it. I can-

not forget that, when she first knew what my father would

do for them, she seemed quite disappointed that it was not

more. I never was so deceived in anyone’s character in my

life before.’

‘Among all the great variety that you have known and studied.’
Northanger Abbey 75d


 

‘My own disappointment and loss in her is very great;

but, as for poor James, I suppose he will hardly ever recover it.’

‘Your brother is certainly very much to be pitied at pres-

ent; but we must not, in our concern for his sufferings,

undervalue yours. You feel, I suppose, that in losing Isabel-

la, you lose half yourself: you feel a void in your heart which

nothing else can occupy. You feel that you have no longer

any friend to whom you can speak with unreserve, on

whose regard you can place dependence, or whose

counsel, in any difficulty, you could rely on. You feel all this?’
Northanger Abbey 75e


 

‘No,’ said Catherine, after a few moments’ reflection, ‘I

do not — ought I? To say the truth, though I am hurt and

grieved, that I cannot still love her, that I am never to hear

from her, perhaps never to see her again, I do not feel so very,

very much afflicted as one would have thought.’

‘You feel, as you always do, what is most to the credit of

human nature. Such feelings ought to be investigated, that

they may know themselves.’

Catherine, by some chance or other, found her spirits so

very much relieved by this conversation that she could not

regret her being led on, though so unaccountably, to men-

tion the circumstance which had produced it.
Northanger Abbey 75f (1)Northanger Abbey 75f (2)Northanger Abbey 75f (3)


 

To be continued

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