Northanger Abbey. Part 82

Northanger Abbey. Unknown offence

Northanger Abbey 82c


‘Have I offended the general?’ said Catherine in a falter-

ing voice.

‘Alas! For my feelings as a daughter, all that I know, all

that I answer for, is that you can have given him no just

cause of offence. He certainly is greatly, very greatly dis-

composed; I have seldom seen him more so. His temper is

not happy, and something has now occurred to ruffle it in

an uncommon degree; some disappointment, some vexa-

tion, which just at this moment seems important, but which

I can hardly suppose you to have any concern in, for how is

it possible?’
Northanger Abbey 82a


It was with pain that Catherine could speak at all; and it

was only for Eleanor’s sake that she attempted it. ‘I am sure,’

said she, ‘I am very sorry if I have offended him. It was the

last thing I would willingly have done. But do not be unhap-

py, Eleanor. An engagement, you know, must be kept. I am

only sorry it was not recollected sooner, that I might have

written home. But it is of very little consequence.’
Northanger Abbey 82b


‘I hope, I earnestly hope, that to your real safety it will

be of none; but to everything else it is of the greatest conse-

quence: to comfort, appearance, propriety, to your family,

to the world. Were your friends, the Allens, still in Bath, you

might go to them with comparative ease; a few hours would

take you there; but a journey of seventy miles, to be taken

post by you, at your age, alone, unattended!’

‘Oh, the journey is nothing. Do not think about that.

And if we are to part, a few hours sooner or later, you know,

makes no difference. I can be ready by seven. Let me be

called in time.’ Eleanor saw that she wished to be alone; and

believing it better for each that they should avoid any fur-

ther conversation, now left her with, ‘I shall see you in the

morning.’
Northanger Abbey 82c


Catherine’s swelling heart needed relief. In Eleanor’s

presence friendship and pride had equally restrained her

tears, but no sooner was she gone than they burst forth in

torrents. Turned from the house, and in such a way! With-

out any reason that could justify, any apology that could

atone for the abruptness, the rudeness, nay, the insolence of

it. Henry at a distance — not able even to bid him farewell.

Every hope, every expectation from him suspended, at least,

and who could say how long? Who could say when they

might meet again? And all this by such a man as General

Tilney, so polite, so well bred, and heretofore so particularly

fond of her! It was as incomprehensible as it was mortifying

and grievous.

What could all this mean but an intentional affront?

By some means or other she must have had the misfortune

to offend him. Eleanor had wished to spare her from so

painful a notion, but Catherine could not believe it

possible that any injury or any misfortune could provoke

such ill will against a person not connected, or, at least,

not supposed to be connected with it.
Northanger Abbey 82d


To be continued

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