Northanger Abbey — EN

CHAPTER 4

With more than usu­al eager­ness did Cather­ine has­ten to the pump-room the next day, secure with­in her­self of see­ing Mr. Tilney there before the morn­ing were over, and ready to meet him with a smile; but no smile was demand­ed – Mr. Tilney did not appear. Every crea­ture in Bath, except him­self, was to be seen in the room at dif­fer­ent peri­ods of the fash­ion­able hours; crowds of peo­ple were every moment pass­ing in and out, up the steps and down; peo­ple whom nobody cared about, and nobody want­ed to see; and he only was absent. “What a delight­ful place Bath is,” said Mrs. Allen as they sat down near the great clock, after parad­ing the room till they were tired; “and how pleas­ant it would be if we had any acquain­tance here.”

This sen­ti­ment had been uttered so often in vain that Mrs. Allen had no par­tic­u­lar rea­son to hope it would be fol­lowed with more advan­tage now; but we are told to “despair of noth­ing we would attain,” as “unwea­ried dili­gence our point would gain”; and the unwea­ried dili­gence with which she had every day wished for the same thing was at length to have its just reward, for hard­ly had she been seat­ed ten min­utes before a lady of about her own age, who was sit­ting by her, and had been look­ing at her atten­tive­ly for sev­er­al min­utes, addressed her with great com­plai­sance in these words: “I think, madam, I can­not be mis­tak­en; it is a long time since I had the plea­sure of see­ing you, but is not your name Allen?” This ques­tion answered, as it read­i­ly was, the stranger pro­nounced hers to be Thor­pe; and Mrs. Allen imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nized the fea­tures of a for­mer schoolfel­low and inti­mate, whom she had seen only once since their respec­tive mar­riages, and that many years ago. Their joy on this meet­ing was very great, as well it might, since they had been con­tent­ed to know noth­ing of each oth­er for the last fif­teen years. Com­pli­ments on good looks now passed; and, after observ­ing how time had slipped away since they were last togeth­er, how lit­tle they had thought of meet­ing in Bath, and what a plea­sure it was to see an old friend, they pro­ceed­ed to make inquiries and give intel­li­gence as to their fam­i­lies, sis­ters, and cousins, talk­ing both togeth­er, far more ready to give than to receive infor­ma­tion, and each hear­ing very lit­tle of what the oth­er said. Mrs. Thor­pe, how­ev­er, had one great advan­tage as a talk­er, over Mrs. Allen, in a fam­i­ly of chil­dren; and when she expa­ti­at­ed on the tal­ents of her sons, and the beau­ty of her daugh­ters, when she relat­ed their dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions and views – that John was at Oxford, Edward at Mer­chant Tay­lors’, and William at sea – and all of them more beloved and respect­ed in their dif­fer­ent sta­tion than any oth­er three beings ever were, Mrs. Allen had no sim­i­lar infor­ma­tion to give, no sim­i­lar tri­umphs to press on the unwill­ing and unbe­liev­ing ear of her friend, and was forced to sit and appear to lis­ten to all these mater­nal effu­sions, con­sol­ing her­self, how­ev­er, with the dis­cov­ery, which her keen eye soon made, that the lace on Mrs. Thorpe’s pelisse was not half so hand­some as that on her own.

“Here come my dear girls,” cried Mrs. Thor­pe, point­ing at three smart-look­ing females who, arm in arm, were then mov­ing towards her. “My dear Mrs. Allen, I long to intro­duce them; they will be so delight­ed to see you: the tallest is Isabel­la, my eldest; is not she a fine young woman? The oth­ers are very much admired too, but I believe Isabel­la is the handsomest.”

The Miss Thor­pes were intro­duced; and Miss Mor­land, who had been for a short time for­got­ten, was intro­duced like­wise. The name seemed to strike them all; and, after speak­ing to her with great civil­i­ty, the eldest young lady observed aloud to the rest, “How exces­sive­ly like her broth­er Miss Mor­land is!”

“The very pic­ture of him indeed!” cried the moth­er – and “I should have known her any­where for his sis­ter!” was repeat­ed by them all, two or three times over. For a moment Cather­ine was sur­prised; but Mrs. Thor­pe and her daugh­ters had scarce­ly begun the his­to­ry of their acquain­tance with Mr. James Mor­land, before she remem­bered that her eldest broth­er had late­ly formed an inti­ma­cy with a young man of his own col­lege, of the name of Thor­pe; and that he had spent the last week of the Christ­mas vaca­tion with his fam­i­ly, near London.

The whole being explained, many oblig­ing things were said by the Miss Thor­pes of their wish of being bet­ter acquaint­ed with her; of being con­sid­ered as already friends, through the friend­ship of their broth­ers, etc., which Cather­ine heard with plea­sure, and answered with all the pret­ty expres­sions she could com­mand; and, as the first proof of ami­ty, she was soon invit­ed to accept an arm of the eldest Miss Thor­pe, and take a turn with her about the room. Cather­ine was delight­ed with this exten­sion of her Bath acquain­tance, and almost for­got Mr. Tilney while she talked to Miss Thor­pe. Friend­ship is cer­tain­ly the finest balm for the pangs of dis­ap­point­ed love.

Their con­ver­sa­tion turned upon those sub­jects, of which the free dis­cus­sion has gen­er­al­ly much to do in per­fect­ing a sud­den inti­ma­cy between two young ladies: such as dress, balls, flir­ta­tions, and quizzes. Miss Thor­pe, how­ev­er, being four years old­er than Miss Mor­land, and at least four years bet­ter informed, had a very decid­ed advan­tage in dis­cussing such points; she could com­pare the balls of Bath with those of Tun­bridge, its fash­ions with the fash­ions of Lon­don; could rec­ti­fy the opin­ions of her new friend in many arti­cles of taste­ful attire; could dis­cov­er a flir­ta­tion between any gen­tle­man and lady who only smiled on each oth­er; and point out a quiz through the thick­ness of a crowd. These pow­ers received due admi­ra­tion from Cather­ine, to whom they were entire­ly new; and the respect which they nat­u­ral­ly inspired might have been too great for famil­iar­i­ty, had not the easy gai­ety of Miss Thorpe’s man­ners, and her fre­quent expres­sions of delight on this acquain­tance with her, soft­ened down every feel­ing of awe, and left noth­ing but ten­der affec­tion. Their increas­ing attach­ment was not to be sat­is­fied with half a dozen turns in the pump-room, but required, when they all quit­ted it togeth­er, that Miss Thor­pe should accom­pa­ny Miss Mor­land to the very door of Mr. Allen’s house; and that they should there part with a most affec­tion­ate and length­ened shake of hands, after learn­ing, to their mutu­al relief, that they should see each oth­er across the the­atre at night, and say their prayers in the same chapel the next morn­ing. Cather­ine then ran direct­ly upstairs, and watched Miss Thorpe’s progress down the street from the draw­ing-room win­dow; admired the grace­ful spir­it of her walk, the fash­ion­able air of her fig­ure and dress; and felt grate­ful, as well she might, for the chance which had pro­cured her such a friend.

Mrs. Thor­pe was a wid­ow, and not a very rich one; she was a good-humoured, well-mean­ing woman, and a very indul­gent moth­er. Her eldest daugh­ter had great per­son­al beau­ty, and the younger ones, by pre­tend­ing to be as hand­some as their sis­ter, imi­tat­ing her air, and dress­ing in the same style, did very well.

This brief account of the fam­i­ly is intend­ed to super­sede the neces­si­ty of a long and minute detail from Mrs. Thor­pe her­self, of her past adven­tures and suf­fer­ings, which might oth­er­wise be expect­ed to occu­py the three or four fol­low­ing chap­ters; in which the worth­less­ness of lords and attornies might be set forth, and con­ver­sa­tions, which had passed twen­ty years before, be minute­ly repeated.

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

to care about some­body ⇒ To be con­cerned or interested.

parade pəˈreɪd v To stroll in pub­lic, espe­cial­ly so as to be seen; to behave so as to attract atten­tion: prom­e­nade, troop, march, walk

utter ˈʌtə v To pro­nounce or speak.

in vain ⇒ To no avail. with­out success.

attain əˈteɪn v Suc­ceed in doing or getting.

unwea­ried ˌʌnˈwɪərid adj With unre­duced ener­gy: inex­haustible, tire­less, untir­ing, weariless

dili­gence ˈdɪlɪʤəns n Earnest and per­sis­tent appli­ca­tion to an under­tak­ing; steady effort.

at length ⇒ Even­tu­al­ly; final­ly, at last.

com­plai­sance kəmˈ­pleɪzəns n Readi­ness and will­ing­ness to do what pleas­es oth­ers: ami­a­bil­i­ty

pro­nounce prəˈ­naʊns v To declare offi­cial­ly or formally.

schoolfel­low ˈskuːlˌfɛləʊ n A school­mate.

inti­mate ˈɪn­tɪmɪt n A close friend.

good looks ⇒ Beau­ti­ful appearance.

to slip away ⇒ To pass eas­i­ly or imperceptibly.

intel­li­gence ɪnˈtɛlɪʤəns n News, infor­ma­tion.

talk­er ˈtɔːkə n Some­one who express­es in lan­guagetalk­er — some­one who express­es in lan­guage; some­one who talks (espe­cial­ly some­one who deliv­ers a pub­lic speech or some­one espe­cial­ly gar­ru­lous): speak­er, verbaliser

expa­ti­ate ɛksˈpeɪʃɪeɪt v Add details or speak at great length about something.

Mer­chant Tay­lors’ School ⇒ A high­ly selec­tive British inde­pen­dent day school for boys, found­ed in 1561.

to press on some­body ⇒ To put for­ward impor­tune­ly or insis­tent­ly; to try to influ­ence, as if by insis­tent argument.

effu­sion ɪˈfjuːʒən n An unre­strained expres­sion of feel­ing, as in speech or writing.

con­sole kənˈsəʊl v To allay the sor­row or grief of: com­fort, soothe, solace

lace leɪs n net­like orna­men­tal fab­ric made of threads by hand or machine.

pelisse pɛˈliːs n French A long cloak, usu­al­ly of fur; a woman’s loose, light cloak, often with open­ings for the arms.

arm in arm ⇒ Hold­ing their arms.

long ɪˈfjuːʒən v Desire strong­ly or per­sis­tent­ly: han­ker, yearn

civil­i­ty sɪˈvɪlɪti n The act of show­ing regard for oth­ers: cour­tesy, politeness

to know her for his sis­ter ⇒ To rec­og­nize some­body as one’s sister.

scarce­ly ˈskeəs­li adv Not quite, almost not: bare­ly, hardly

to form an inti­ma­cy ⇒ To become close friends with.

oblig­ing əˈblaɪʤɪŋ adj Show­ing a cheer­ful will­ing­ness to do favours for others.

com­mand kəˈmɑːnd v Be in a posi­tion to use.

ami­ty ˈæmɪti n A state of friend­ship and cor­dial­i­ty: ami­ca­ble­ness, friend­li­ness, friend­ship

to take a turn ⇒ To walk.

balm bɑːm n A sooth­ing, heal­ing or com­fort­ing agent.

pang pæŋ n A sud­den sharp spasm of pain; a sud­den, sharp feel­ing of emo­tion­al distress.

ball lɒŋ n A for­mal gath­er­ing for social dancing.

flir­ta­tion flɜːˈteɪʃən n A super­fi­cial and usu­al­ly tem­po­rary romance: dal­liance

quiz kwɪz n Archa­ic An eccen­tric per­son or thing.

at least ⇒ If noth­ing else. Not less than.

decid­ed dɪˈsaɪdɪd adj Clear, definite.

rec­ti­fy ˈrɛk­tɪ­faɪ v To put right, to take out mis­takes from.

attire əˈtaɪə n Dress, clothes­­.

famil­iar­i­ty fəˌmɪlɪˈærɪti n close acquain­tance­ship or inti­ma­cy: close­ness

gai­ety ˈgeɪəti n A joy­ful feel­ing: hilar­i­ty, good humor

awe ɔː n A mixed emo­tion of rev­er­ence, dread, and won­der inspired by author­i­ty, genius, or great beauty.

attach­ment əˈtæʧmənt n A feel­ing of affec­tion for a person.

half a dozen ⇒ Six; dozen ˈdʌzn n A set of 12.

quit kwɪt v To go away form: leave, aban­don

affec­tion­ate əˈfɛkʃnɪt adj Hav­ing fond feel­ings: fond, lov­ing, tender

length­en ˈlɛŋθən n To extend or cause to be extend­ed in time or made longer spa­tial­ly: elon­gat­ed, pro­longed, extended

mutu­al ˈmjuːtjʊəl adj Pos­sessed in common.

chapel ˈʃæpəl n A place of worship.

grace­ful ˈgreɪs­fʊl adj Show­ing refined, effort­less beau­ty of move­ment, form, or pro­por­tion: ele­gant, exquisite

air n Appearence, man­ner.

pro­cure prəˈkjʊə v To come into pos­ses­sion of: get, obtain, acquire, secure

good-humoured ˈgʊdˈhjuːməd adj Cheer­ful, amiable.

well-mean­ing wɛl-ˈmiːnɪŋ adj Marked by good intentions:well-intentioned

indul­gent ɪnˈdʌlʤənt Giv­en to yield­ing to the wish­es of some­one: con­sid­er­ate, per­mis­sive, tolerant

to do well ⇒ To man­age to do some­thing in a very good way.

account əˈkaʊnt n A nar­ra­tive or record of events.

super­sede ˌsjuːpəˈsiːd v To take the place of, put or use some­thing in the place of: replace, sup­plant

minute maɪˈn­juːt adj Excep­tion­al­ly smal: tiny

attor­ney əˈtɜːni n A per­son legal­ly appoint­ed by anoth­er to act as his or her agent for defen­dants in legal proceedings.

to set forth ⇒ To present in words.

minute­ly maɪˈn­juːtli adv In great detail.

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