Northanger Abbey. Part 80

Northanger Abbey. Captain Tilney

Northanger Abbey 80b

Henry was not able to obey his father’s injunction of re-

maining wholly at Northanger in attendance on the ladies,

during his absence in London, the engagements of his cu-

rate at Woodston obliging him to leave them on Saturday

for a couple of nights. His loss was not now what it had been

while the general was at home; it lessened their gaiety, but

did not ruin their comfort; and the two girls agreeing in oc-

cupation, and improving in intimacy, found themselves so

well sufficient for the time to themselves, that it was eleven

o’clock, rather a late hour at the abbey, before they quitted

the supper-room on the day of Henry’s departure.
Northanger Abbey 80a

They had just reached the head of the stairs when it seemed,

as far as the thickness of the walls would allow them to judge,

that a carriage was driving up to the door, and the next moment

confirmed the idea by the loud noise of the house-bell.

After the first perturbation of surprise had passed away,

in a ‘Good heaven! What can be the matter?’ it was quickly de-

cided by Eleanor to be her eldest brother, whose arrival was

often as sudden, if not quite so unseasonable, and accord-

ingly she hurried down to welcome him.
Northanger Abbey 80b

Catherine walked on to her chamber, making up her

mind as well as she could, to a further acquaintance with

Captain Tilney, and comforting herself under the unpleas-

ant impression his conduct had given her, and the persuasion

of his being by far too fine a gentleman to approve of her,

that at least they should not meet under such circumstances

as would make their meeting materially painful. She trust-

ed he would never speak of Miss Thorpe; and indeed, as he

must by this time be ashamed of the part he had acted, there

could be no danger of it; and as long as all mention of Bath

scenes were avoided, she thought she could behave to him

very civilly. In such considerations time passed away, and it

was certainly in his favour that Eleanor should be so glad to

see him, and have so much to say, for half an hour was al-

most gone since his arrival, and Eleanor did not come up.
Northanger Abbey 80c (1)Northanger Abbey 80c (2)

At that moment Catherine thought she heard her step

in the gallery, and listened for its continuance; but all was

silent. Scarcely, however, had she convicted her fancy of er-

ror, when the noise of something moving close to her door

made her start; it seemed as if someone was touching the

very doorway — and in another moment a slight motion of

the lock proved that some hand must be on it. She trembled

a little at the idea of anyone’s approaching so cautiously; but

resolving not to be again overcome by trivial appearances of

alarm, or misled by a raised imagination, she stepped quiet-

ly forward, and opened the door.
Northanger Abbey 80d

Eleanor, and only Eleanor, stood there. Catherine’s spirits,

however, were tranquillized but for an instant, for Eleanor’s

cheeks were pale, and her manner greatly agitated. Though

evidently intending to come in, it seemed an effort to enter

the room, and a still greater to speak when there. Catherine,

supposing some uneasiness on Captain Tilney’s account,

could only express her concern by silent attention, obliged

her to be seated, rubbed her temples with lavender-water,

and hung over her with affectionate solicitude.
Northanger Abbey 80e

To be continued

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