A very short visit to Mrs. Allen, in which Henry talk-
ed at random, without sense or connection, and Catherine,
rapt in the contemplation of her own unutterable happiness,
scarcely opened her lips, dismissed them to the ecstasies of
another tete-a-tete; and before it was suffered to close, she
was enabled to judge how far he was sanctioned by paren-
tal authority in his present application. On his return from
Woodston, two days before, he had been met near the abbey
by his impatient father, hastily informed in angry terms of
Such was the permission upon which he had now offered
her his hand. The affrighted Catherine, amidst all the ter-
rors of expectation, as she listened to this account, could
not but rejoice in the kind caution with which Henry had
saved her from the necessity of a conscientious rejection, by
engaging her faith before he mentioned the subject; and as
he proceeded to give the particulars, and explain the mo-
tives of his father’s conduct, her feelings soon hardened into
The general had had nothing to accuse her of, nothing to lay to her charge, but her being the involuntary, unconscious object of a deception which his pride could not pardon, and which a better pride would have been ashamed to own. She was guilty only of being less rich than he had supposed her to be. Under a mistaken persuasion of her possessions and claims, he had courted her acquaintance in Bath, solicited her company at Northanger, and designed her for his daughter-in-law. On discovering his error, to turn her from the house seemed the best, though to his feelings an inadequate proof of his resentment towards herself, and his contempt of her family.
To be continued
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