Northanger Abbey — EN


Mrs. Allen,” said Cather­ine the next morn­ing, “will there be any harm in my call­ing on Miss Tilney today? I shall not be easy till I have explained everything.”

“Go, by all means, my dear; only put on a white gown; Miss Tilney always wears white.”

Cather­ine cheer­ful­ly com­plied, and being prop­er­ly equipped, was more impa­tient than ever to be at the pump-room, that she might inform her­self of Gen­er­al Tilneys lodg­ings, for though she believed they were in Mil­som Street, she was not cer­tain of the house, and Mrs. Allen’s waver­ing con­vic­tions only made it more doubt­ful. To Mil­som Street she was direct­ed, and hav­ing made her­self per­fect in the num­ber, has­tened away with eager steps and a beat­ing heart to pay her vis­it, explain her con­duct, and be for­giv­en; trip­ping light­ly through the church-yard, and res­olute­ly turn­ing away her eyes, that she might not be oblig­ed to see her beloved Isabel­la and her dear fam­i­ly, who, she had rea­son to believe, were in a shop hard by. She reached the house with­out any imped­i­ment, looked at the num­ber, knocked at the door, and inquired for Miss Tilney. The man believed Miss Tilney to be at home, but was not quite cer­tain. Would she be pleased to send up her name? She gave her card. In a few min­utes the ser­vant returned, and with a look which did not quite con­firm his words, said he had been mis­tak­en, for that Miss Tilney was walked out. Cather­ine, with a blush of mor­ti­fi­ca­tion, left the house. She felt almost per­suad­ed that Miss Tilney was at home, and too much offend­ed to admit her; and as she retired down the street, could not with­hold one glance at the draw­ing-room win­dows, in expec­ta­tion of see­ing her there, but no one appeared at them. At the bot­tom of the street, how­ev­er, she looked back again, and then, not at a win­dow, but issu­ing from the door, she saw Miss Tilney her­self. She was fol­lowed by a gen­tle­man, whom Cather­ine believed to be her father, and they turned up towards Edgar’s Build­ings. Cather­ine, in deep mor­ti­fi­ca­tion, pro­ceed­ed on her way. She could almost be angry her­self at such angry inci­vil­i­ty; but she checked the resent­ful sen­sa­tion; she remem­bered her own igno­rance. She knew not how such an offence as hers might be classed by the laws of world­ly polite­ness, to what a degree of unfor­giv­ing­ness it might with pro­pri­ety lead, nor to what rigours of rude­ness in return it might just­ly make her amenable.

Deject­ed and hum­bled, she had even some thoughts of not going with the oth­ers to the the­atre that night; but it must be con­fessed that they were not of long con­tin­u­ance, for she soon rec­ol­lect­ed, in the first place, that she was with­out any excuse for stay­ing at home; and, in the sec­ond, that it was a play she want­ed very much to see. To the the­atre accord­ing­ly they all went; no Tilneys appeared to plague or please her; she feared that, amongst the many per­fec­tions of the fam­i­ly, a fond­ness for plays was not to be ranked; but per­haps it was because they were habit­u­at­ed to the fin­er per­for­mances of the Lon­don stage, which she knew, on Isabella’s author­i­ty, ren­dered every­thing else of the kind “quite hor­rid.” She was not deceived in her own expec­ta­tion of plea­sure; the com­e­dy so well sus­pend­ed her care that no one, observ­ing her dur­ing the first four acts, would have sup­posed she had any wretched­ness about her. On the begin­ning of the fifth, how­ev­er, the sud­den view of Mr. Hen­ry Tilney and his father, join­ing a par­ty in the oppo­site box, recalled her to anx­i­ety and dis­tress. The stage could no longer excite gen­uine mer­ri­ment—no longer keep her whole atten­tion. Every oth­er look upon an aver­age was direct­ed towards the oppo­site box; and, for the space of two entire scenes, did she thus watch Hen­ry Tilney, with­out being once able to catch his eye. No longer could he be sus­pect­ed of indif­fer­ence for a play; his notice was nev­er with­drawn from the stage dur­ing two whole scenes. At length, how­ev­er, he did look towards her, and he bowed—but such a bow! No smile, no con­tin­ued obser­vance attend­ed it; his eyes were imme­di­ate­ly returned to their for­mer direc­tion. Cather­ine was rest­less­ly mis­er­able; she could almost have run round to the box in which he sat and forced him to hear her expla­na­tion. Feel­ings rather nat­ur­al than hero­ic pos­sessed her; instead of con­sid­er­ing her own dig­ni­ty injured by this ready con­dem­na­tion—instead of proud­ly resolv­ing, in con­scious inno­cence, to show her resent­ment towards him who could har­bour a doubt of it, to leave to him all the trou­ble of seek­ing an expla­na­tion, and to enlight­en him on the past only by avoid­ing his sight, or flirt­ing with some­body else—she took to her­self all the shame of mis­con­duct, or at least of its appear­ance, and was only eager for an oppor­tu­ni­ty of explain­ing its cause.

The play concluded—the cur­tain fell—Henry Tilney was no longer to be seen where he had hith­er­to sat, but his father remained, and per­haps he might be now com­ing round to their box. She was right; in a few min­utes he appeared, and, mak­ing his way through the then thin­ning rows, spoke with like calm polite­ness to Mrs. Allen and her friend. Not with such calm­ness was he answered by the lat­ter: “Oh! Mr. Tilney, I have been quite wild to speak to you, and make my apolo­gies. You must have thought me so rude; but indeed it was not my own fault, was it, Mrs. Allen? Did not they tell me that Mr. Tilney and his sis­ter were gone out in a phaeton togeth­er? And then what could I do? But I had ten thou­sand times rather have been with you; now had not I, Mrs. Allen?”

“My dear, you tum­ble my gown,” was Mrs. Allen’s reply.

Her assur­ance, how­ev­er, stand­ing sole as it did, was not thrown away; it brought a more cor­dial, more nat­ur­al smile into his coun­te­nance, and he replied in a tone which retained only a lit­tle affect­ed reserve: “We were much oblig­ed to you at any rate for wish­ing us a pleas­ant walk after our pass­ing you in Argyle Street^: you were so kind as to look back on pur­pose.”

“But indeed I did not wish you a pleas­ant walk; I nev­er thought of such a thing; but I begged Mr. Thor­pe so earnest­ly to stop; I called out to him as soon as ever I saw you; now, Mrs. Allen, did not—Oh! You were not there; but indeed I did; and, if Mr. Thor­pe would only have stopped, I would have jumped out and run after you.”

Is there a Hen­ry in the world who could be insen­si­ble to such a dec­la­ra­tion? Hen­ry Tilney at least was not. With a yet sweet­er smile, he said every­thing that need be said of his sister’s con­cern, regret, and depen­dence on Catherine’s hon­our. “Oh! Do not say Miss Tilney was not angry,” cried Cather­ine, “because I know she was; for she would not see me this morn­ing when I called; I saw her walk out of the house the next minute after my leav­ing it; I was hurt, but I was not affront­ed. Per­haps you did not know I had been there.”

“I was not with­in at the time; but I heard of it from Eleanor, and she has been wish­ing ever since to see you, to explain the rea­son of such inci­vil­i­ty; but per­haps I can do it as well. It was noth­ing more than that my father—they were just prepar­ing to walk out, and he being hur­ried for time, and not car­ing to have it put offmade a point of her being denied. That was all, I do assure you. She was very much vexed, and meant to make her apol­o­gy as soon as possible.”

Catherine’s mind was great­ly eased by this infor­ma­tion, yet a some­thing of solic­i­tude remained, from which sprang the fol­low­ing ques­tion, thor­ough­ly art­less in itself, though rather dis­tress­ing to the gen­tle­man: “But, Mr. Tilney, why were you less gen­er­ous than your sis­ter? If she felt such con­fi­dence in my good inten­tions, and could sup­pose it to be only a mis­take, why should you be so ready to take offence?”

“Me! I take offence!”

Nay, I am sure by your look, when you came into the box, you were angry.”

“I angry! I could have no right.”

“Well, nobody would have thought you had no right who saw your face.” He replied by ask­ing her to make room for him, and talk­ing of the play.

He remained with them some time, and was only too agree­able for Cather­ine to be con­tent­ed when he went away. Before they part­ed, how­ev­er, it was agreed that the pro­ject­ed walk should be tak­en as soon as pos­si­ble; and, set­ting aside the mis­ery of his quit­ting their box, she was, upon the whole, left one of the hap­pi­est crea­tures in the world.

While talk­ing to each oth­er, she had observed with some sur­prise that John Thor­pe, who was nev­er in the same part of the house for ten min­utes togeth­er, was engaged in con­ver­sa­tion with Gen­er­al Tilney; and she felt some­thing more than sur­prise when she thought she could per­ceive her­self the object of their atten­tion and dis­course. What could they have to say of her? She feared Gen­er­al Tilney did not like her appear­ance: she found it was implied in his pre­vent­ing her admit­tance to his daugh­ter, rather than post­pone his own walk a few min­utes. “How came Mr. Thor­pe to know your father?” was her anx­ious inquiry, as she point­ed them out to her com­pan­ion. He knew noth­ing about it; but his father, like every mil­i­tary man, had a very large acquaintance.

When the enter­tain­ment was over, Thor­pe came to assist them in get­ting out. Cather­ine was the imme­di­ate object of his gal­lantry; and, while they wait­ed in the lob­by for a chair, he pre­vent­ed the inquiry which had trav­elled from her heart almost to the tip of her tongue, by ask­ing, in a con­se­quen­tial man­ner, whether she had seen him talk­ing with Gen­er­al Tilney: “He is a fine old fel­low, upon my soul! Stout, active—looks as young as his son. I have a great regard for him, I assure you: a gen­tle­man-like, good sort of fel­low as ever lived.”

“But how came you to know him?”

“Know him! There are few peo­ple much about town that I do not know. I have met him for­ev­er at the Bed­ford; and I knew his face again today the moment he came into the bil­liard-room. One of the best play­ers we have, by the by; and we had a lit­tle touch togeth­er, though I was almost afraid of him at first: the odds were five to four against me; and, if I had not made one of the clean­est strokes that per­haps ever was made in this world—I took his ball exactly—but I could not make you under­stand it with­out a table; how­ev­er, I did beat him. A very fine fel­low; as rich as a Jew. I should like to dine with him; I dare say he gives famous din­ners. But what do you think we have been talk­ing of? You. Yes, by heav­ens! And the gen­er­al thinks you the finest girl in Bath.”

“Oh! Non­sense! How can you say so?”

“And what do you think I said?”—lowering his voice—“well done, gen­er­al, said I; I am quite of your mind.”

Here Cather­ine, who was much less grat­i­fied by his admi­ra­tion than by Gen­er­al Tilney’s, was not sor­ry to be called away by Mr. Allen. Thor­pe, how­ev­er, would see her to her chair, and, till she entered it, con­tin­ued the same kind of del­i­cate flat­tery, in spite of her entreat­ing him to have done.

That Gen­er­al Tilney, instead of dis­lik­ing, should admire her, was very delight­ful; and she joy­ful­ly thought that there was not one of the fam­i­ly whom she need now fear to meet. The evening had done more, much more, for her than could have been expected.

to call on some­one ⇒ To vis­it someone.

by all means ⇒ Cer­tain­ly; absolutely.

to put on ⇒ To dress.

gown gaʊn v A long, usu­al­ly for­mal woman’s dress.

com­ply kəmˈ­plaɪ adj To act in con­for­mi­ty with: fol­low, conform

pump-room ˈpʌm­pruːm n A room at a spa where med­i­c­i­nal water is dispensed.

lodg­ing ˈlɒʤɪŋ n A place to live, dwellings in gen­er­al: shel­ter, housing

Mil­som Street ⇒ The fash­ion­able shop­ping street in Bath.

waver­ing ˈweɪvərɪŋ adj Uncer­tain in pur­pose or action: irres­olute

con­vic­tion ˈlɒʤɪŋ n An unshak­able belief in some­thing with­out need for proof or evidence. 

has­ten ˈheɪsn v To speed up: hur­ry, accel­er­ate, quicken

to pay some­one a vis­it ⇒ To vis­it someone.

hard by ⇒ Very near.

imped­i­ment ɪmˈpɛdɪmənt n Some­thing imma­te­r­i­al that inter­feres with or delays action or progress: obsta­cle, hin­drance, difficulty

to be at home ⇒ To be avail­able to receive visitors.

blush blʌʃ n A rosy colour, espe­cial­ly in the cheeks, tak­en as a sign of good health: bloom, flush, rosiness

mor­ti­fi­ca­tion ˌmɔːtɪfɪˈkeɪʃən n Strong feel­ings of embar­rass­ment: cha­grin, humiliation


issue ˈɪsjuː v To come out from.

Edgar’s Build­ings ⇒ Edgar’s Build­ings (a ter­race of hous­es on the north side of George Street where the Thor­pes lodged.

inci­vil­i­ty ˌɪn­sɪˈvɪlɪti n Lack of prop­er respect.

check ʧɛk v To cause to stop: cease, halt, stop, restraint

resent­ful rɪˈzɛnt­fʊl adj Bit­ing­ly hos­tile: bit­ter, ran­corous, vir­u­lent, embittered

world­ly ˈrɛstlɪs adj Char­ac­ter­is­tic of or devot­ed to the tem­po­ral world as opposed to the spir­i­tu­al world: earth­ly, mun­dane mate­ri­al­is­tic, pro­fane, material

polite­ness pəˈlaɪt­nɪs n A cour­te­ous man­ner that respects accept­ed social usage: cour­tesy, good manners

pro­pri­ety prəˈpraɪəti n Cor­rect or appro­pri­ate behaviour.

rigour ˈrɪgə n A harsh or try­ing cir­cum­stance: hard­ship

rude­ness ˈruːd­nɪs n A man­ner that is rude and insult­ing: impo­lite­ness, disrespect

just­ly ˈʤʌstli n In accor­dance with moral or social stan­dards: right

amenable əˈmiːnəbl n Open to being act­ed upon in a cer­tain way: sus­cep­ti­ble

deject­ed dɪˈʤɛk­tɪd adj In low spir­its: sad, unhap­py

hum­ble ˈhʌm­bl adj Sub­dued or brought low in con­di­tion or sta­tus: humil­i­at­ed, crushed, bro­ken, low

con­fess kənˈfɛs n To dis­close some­thing incon­ve­nient to some­one; to make known one’s sins to a priest: admit, grant, own, con­cede, avow

rec­ol­lect ˌriːkəˈlɛkt v To renew an image or thought in the mind: recall, remem­ber, bethink

plague pleɪg v To dis­turb by repeat­ed attacks: annoy, harass

fond­ness ˈfɒnd­nɪs n A pre­dis­po­si­tion to like some­thing: lik­ing

rank ræŋk v To take prece­dence over: out­rank

habit­u­ate həˈbɪtjʊeɪt v To accus­tom by fre­quent repetition.

ren­der ˈrɛndə v To cause to become.

of the kind ⇒ Of this kind.

hor­rid ˈhɒrɪd adj Caus­ing hor­ror: dread­ful, horrifying

deceive dɪˈsiːv n Cause some­one to believe an untruth: mis­lead, play false

sus­pend səsˈpɛnd v To put off until a lat­er time: delay, post­pone

wretched­ness ˈrɛʧɪd­nəs n Unhap­pi­ness.

box bɒks n A sep­a­rat­ed com­part­ment in a pub­lic place of enter­tain­ment, such as a the­atre or stadium.

recall rɪˈkɔːl v To take back; to bring back: restore, revoke

dis­tress dɪsˈtrɛst n Acute anx­i­ety, pain, or sor­row: anguish, hard­ship, adversity

mer­ri­ment ˈmɛrɪmənt n A state of joy­ful exu­ber­ance: gai­ety, glee

look upon ⇒ A gaze or peer at some­one or something..

to catch one’s eye ⇒ To attract someone’s attention.

at length ⇒ Even­tu­al­ly; final­ly, at last.

obser­vance əbˈzɜːvəns n The act of observ­ing; tak­ing a patient look: look­ing at, watching

attend əˈtɛnd n To accom­pa­ny as a cir­cum­stance or fol­low as a result.

con­dem­na­tion ˌkɒndɛmˈneɪʃən n An expres­sion of strong dis­ap­proval; pro­nounc­ing as wrong or moral­ly cul­pa­ble: dis­ap­proval

resolve rɪˈzɒlv v To make a firm deci­sion about: decide

resent­ment rɪˈzɛnt­mənt n A feel­ing of deep and bit­ter anger and ill-will: bit­ter­ness, ran­cor, ran­cour, gall

har­bour ˈhɑːbə v Main­tain a the­o­ry, thoughts, or feel­ings: hold

to enlight­en some­body on ⇒ To inform or explain to somebody.

flirt flɜːt v To make play­ful­ly roman­tic or sex­u­al overtures.

mis­con­duct mɪsˈkɒndʌkt n Bad or dis­hon­est man­age­ment by per­sons sup­posed to act on another’s behalf: mis­be­hav­iour, mis­deeds, mis­de­meanours, bad­ness, mis­chief, naugh­ti­ness, rudeness

at least ⇒ If noth­ing else. Not less than.

hith­er­to ˈhɪðəˈ­tuː adv Until this time.

to make one’s way through ⇒ To walk through.

rude ruːd n Lack­ing civil­i­ty or good manners.

phaeton ˈfeɪtn n Large open car seat­ing four with fold­ing top.

had rather do some­thing ⇒ Pre­fer to do something.

now naʊ conj See­ing that; since it has become the case that,

tum­ble ˈtʌm­bl v To fall.

to throw away ⇒ Lose some­thing through fool­ish­ness, neglect, or one’s own act; waste.

cor­dial ˈkɔːdiəl adj Pleas­ant and friend­ly: good-natured, ami­able

coun­te­nance ˈkaʊnt(ə)nəns n The appear­ance con­veyed by a person’s face: vis­age

at any rate ⇒ In any event, what­ev­er the case may be; also, at least; in any case; anyway.

on pur­pose ⇒ Inten­tion­al­ly; deliberately.

earnest­ly ˈɜːnɪstli adv Seriously.

to call out ⇒ Shout.

as soon as ⇒ Imme­di­ate­ly, right after.

depen­dence ˈtʌm­bl v Reliance; trust.

on one’s hon­our ⇒ On one’s chasti­ty or rep­u­ta­tion for chastity.

affront əˈfrʌnt v To cause resent­ment or hurt by rude behav­iour: offend, out­rage, insult

ever since ⇒ Since the time when.

inci­vil­i­ty ˌɪn­sɪˈvɪlɪti n Delib­er­ate dis­cour­tesy: rude­ness, discourtesy

to put off ⇒ To can­cel, to delay.

to make a point of doing some­thing ⇒ To make an effort to do something.

vex vɛks adj Trou­bled per­sis­tent­ly espe­cial­ly with pet­ty annoy­ances: annoyed, harassed, har­ried, pestered, troubled

solic­i­tude səˈlɪsɪtjuːd n A feel­ing of exces­sive con­cern: solic­i­tous­ness, concern

spring sprɪŋ (sprang spræŋ, sprung sprʌŋ v To appear or come into being quick­ly: appear sud­den­ly, appear unex­pect­ed­ly, materialize

dis­tress­ing dɪsˈtrɛsɪŋ adj Caus­ing dis­tress or wor­ry or anx­i­ety: dis­turb­ing, wor­ri­some, trou­bling, worrying

nay neɪ adv Not so: no, nix

room ruːm n A space that is or may be occupied.

quit kwɪt v To go away form: leave, aban­don

per­ceive pəˈsiːv v To become aware of some­thing direct­ly through any of the sens­es: see, behold, feel

dis­course dɪsˈkɔːs n An extend­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion deal­ing with some par­tic­u­lar top­ic: dis­cus­sion

post­pone pəʊstˈpəʊn v To delay until a lat­er time: put off, hold up, sus­pend, adjourn

to point out ⇒ To show.

gal­lantry ˈgælən­tri adj Polite atten­tive­ness to women: cour­tesy

tip tɪp n The end of a point­ed or pro­ject­ing object.

con­se­quen­tial ˌkɒn­sɪˈk­wɛnʃəl adj Hav­ing impor­tant issues or results: event­ful, important

upon my soul ⇒ To be telling the truth.

stout staʊt adj Bulky and over­weight in fig­ure: cor­pu­lent; fat, hulking

to have a great regard for some­body ⇒ To regard or respect some­body highly.

come to know some­body ⇒ Get to know somebody

Bed­ford ⇒ A his­toric mar­ket and the coun­ty town of Bed­ford­shire, England.

bil­liard ˈbɪljəd adj Of, relat­ing to, or used in any of var­i­ous games in which long cues are used to dri­ve balls now made of com­po­si­tion or plas­tic, played on a rec­tan­gu­lar table cov­ered with a smooth tight-fit­ting cloth and hav­ing raised cush­ioned edges. 

by the by ⇒ By the way; incidentally.

to have a lit­tle touch togeth­er ⇒ We have had a cou­ple of con­ver­sa­tions together.

odds ɒdz n The chances or prob­a­bil­i­ty of winning.

stroke strəʊk n A shot in bil­liards in which the cue ball con­tacts one object ball and then the other. 

famous ˈfeɪməs adj An excellent.

to be of one’s mind ⇒ To agree and think alike, to share the same opinion.

grat­i­fy ˈgrætɪ­faɪ v To give great plea­sure to: please, delight

flat­tery ˈflætəri n Exces­sive or insin­cere praise: com­pli­ment, puffery blar­ney, adu­la­tion sweet talk

in spite of ⇒ With­out wor­ry­ing about; although.

entreat ɪnˈtriːt n Ask for or request earnest­ly: beseech, con­jure, press, plead