Northanger Abbey. Part 77

Northanger Abbey. Unexpected news

Northanger Abbey 77d

The next morning brought the following very unexpected

letter from Isabella:

Bath, April

My dearest Catherine, I received your two kind letters

with the greatest delight, and have a thousand apologies

to make for not answering them sooner. I really am quite

ashamed of my idleness; but in this horrid place one can

find time for nothing. I have had my pen in my hand to

begin a letter to you almost every day since you left Bath,

but have always been prevented by some silly trifler or

other. Pray write to me soon, and direct to my own home.

Thank God, we leave this vile place tomorrow. Since you

went away, I have had no pleasure in it — the dust is beyond

anything; and everybody one cares for is gone.
Northanger Abbey 77a


I believe if I could see you I should not mind the rest, for you are dearer to me than anybody can conceive. I am quite uneasy about your dear brother, not having heard from him since he went to Oxford; and am fearful of some misunderstanding. Your kind offices will set all right: he is the only man I ever did or could love, and I trust you will convince him of it. I rejoice to say that the young man whom, of all others, I particularly abhor, has left Bath. You will know, from this description, I must mean Captain Tilney, who, as you may remember, was amazingly disposed to follow and tease me, before you went away. Afterwards he got worse, and became quite my shadow. Many girls might have been taken in, for never were such attentions; but I knew the fickle sex too well. He went away to his regiment two days ago, and I trust I shall never be plagued with him again. He is the greatest coxcomb I ever saw, and amazingly disagreeable.
Northanger Abbey 77b


Such a contrast between him and your brother!

Pray send me some news of the latter — I am quite unhap-

py about him; he seemed so uncomfortable when he went

away, with a cold, or something that affected his spirits. I

would write to him myself, but have mislaid his direction;

and, as I hinted above, am afraid he took something in my

conduct amiss. Pray explain everything to his satisfaction;

or, if he still harbours any doubt, a line from himself to me,

or a call at Putney when next in town, might set all to rights.

I wear nothing but purple now: I know I look hideous in it,

but no matter — it is your dear brother’s favourite colour.

Lose no time, my dearest, sweetest Catherine, in writing

to him and to me,

Who ever am, etc.
Northanger Abbey 77c


Such a strain of shallow artifice could not impose even

upon Catherine. Its inconsistencies, contradictions, and

falsehood struck her from the very first. She was ashamed of

Isabella, and ashamed of having ever loved her. Her profes-

sions of attachment were now as disgusting as her excuses

were empty, and her demands impudent. ‘Write to James

on her behalf! No, James should never hear Isabella’s name

mentioned by her again.’
Northanger Abbey 77d


To be continued

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