The following conversation, which took place between the two friends in the pump-room one morning, after an acquaintance of eight or nine days, is given as a specimen of their very warm attachment, and of the delicacy, discretion, originality of thought, and literary taste which marked the reasonableness of that attachment.
They met by appointment; and as Isabella had arrived nearly five minutes before her friend, her first address naturally was, “My dearest creature, what can have made you so late? I have been waiting for you at least this age!”
“Have you, indeed! I am very sorry for it; but really I thought I was in very good time. It is but just one. I hope you have not been here long?”
“Oh! These ten ages at least. I am sure I have been here this half hour. But now, let us go and sit down at the other end of the room, and enjoy ourselves. I have an hundred things to say to you. In the first place, I was so afraid it would rain this morning, just as I wanted to set off; it looked very showery, and that would have thrown me into agonies! Do you know, I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine, in a shop window in Milsom Street just now—very like yours, only with coquelicot ribbons instead of green; I quite longed for it. But, my dearest Catherine, what have you been doing with yourself all this morning? Have you gone on with Udolpho?”
“Yes, I have been reading it ever since I woke; and I am got to the black veil.”
“Are you, indeed? How delightful! Oh! I would not tell you what is behind the black veil for the world! Are not you wild to know?”
“Oh! Yes, quite; what can it be? But do not tell me—I would not be told upon any account. I know it must be a skeleton, I am sure it is Laurentina’s skeleton. Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it. I assure you, if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world.”
“Dear creature! How much I am obliged to you; and when you have finished Udolpho, we will read the Italian together; and I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you.”
“Have you, indeed! How glad I am! What are they all?”
“I will read you their names directly; here they are, in my pocketbook. Castle of Wolfenbach, Clermont, Mysterious Warnings, Necromancer of the Black Forest, Midnight Bell, Orphan of the Rhine, and Horrid Mysteries. Those will last us some time.”
“Yes, pretty well; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?”
“Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every one of them. I wish you knew Miss Andrews, you would be delighted with her. She is netting herself the sweetest cloak you can conceive. I think her as beautiful as an angel, and I am so vexed with the men for not admiring her! I scold them all amazingly about it.”
“Scold them! Do you scold them for not admiring her?”
“Yes, that I do. There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong. I told Captain Hunt at one of our assemblies this winter that if he was to tease me all night, I would not dance with him, unless he would allow Miss Andrews to be as beautiful as an angel. The men think us incapable of real friendship, you know, and I am determined to show them the difference. Now, if I were to hear anybody speak slightingly of you, I should fire up in a moment: but that is not at all likely, for you are just the kind of girl to be a great favourite with the men.”
“Oh, dear!” cried Catherine, colouring. “How can you say so?”
“I know you very well; you have so much animation, which is exactly what Miss Andrews wants, for I must confess there is something amazingly insipid about her. Oh! I must tell you, that just after we parted yesterday, I saw a young man looking at you so earnestly—I am sure he is in love with you.” Catherine coloured, and disclaimed again. Isabella laughed. “It is very true, upon my honour, but I see how it is; you are indifferent to everybody’s admiration, except that of one gentleman, who shall be nameless. Nay, I cannot blame you”—speaking more seriously—“your feelings are easily understood. Where the heart is really attached, I know very well how little one can be pleased with the attention of anybody else. Everything is so insipid, so uninteresting, that does not relate to the beloved object! I can perfectly comprehend your feelings.”
“But you should not persuade me that I think so very much about Mr. Tilney, for perhaps I may never see him again.”
“Not see him again! My dearest creature, do not talk of it. I am sure you would be miserable if you thought so!”
“No, indeed, I should not. I do not pretend to say that I was not very much pleased with him; but while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable. Oh! The dreadful black veil! My dear Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina’s skeleton behind it.”
“It is so odd to me, that you should never have read Udolpho before; but I suppose Mrs. Morland objects to novels.”
“No, she does not. She very often reads Sir Charles Grandison herself; but new books do not fall in our way.”
“Sir Charles Grandison! That is an amazing horrid book, is it not? I remember Miss Andrews could not get through the first volume.”
“It is not like Udolpho at all; but yet I think it is very entertaining.”
“Do you indeed! You surprise me; I thought it had not been readable. But, my dearest Catherine, have you settled what to wear on your head tonight? I am determined at all events to be dressed exactly like you. The men take notice of that sometimes, you know.”
“But it does not signify if they do,” said Catherine, very innocently.
“Signify! Oh, heavens! I make it a rule never to mind what they say. They are very often amazingly impertinent if you do not treat them with spirit, and make them keep their distance.”
“Are they? Well, I never observed that. They always behave very well to me.”
“Oh! They give themselves such airs. They are the most conceited creatures in the world, and think themselves of so much importance! By the by, though I have thought of it a hundred times, I have always forgot to ask you what is your favourite complexion in a man. Do you like them best dark or fair?”
“I hardly know. I never much thought about it. Something between both, I think. Brown—not fair, and—and not very dark.”
“Very well, Catherine. That is exactly he. I have not forgot your description of Mr. Tilney—‘a brown skin, with dark eyes, and rather dark hair.’ Well, my taste is different. I prefer light eyes, and as to complexion—do you know—I like a sallow better than any other. You must not betray me, if you should ever meet with one of your acquaintance answering that description.”
“Betray you! What do you mean?”
“Nay, do not distress me. I believe I have said too much. Let us drop the subject.”
Catherine, in some amazement, complied, and after remaining a few moments silent, was on the point of reverting to what interested her at that time rather more than anything else in the world, Laurentina’s skeleton, when her friend prevented her, by saying, “For heaven’s sake! Let us move away from this end of the room. Do you know, there are two odious young men who have been staring at me this half hour. They really put me quite out of countenance. Let us go and look at the arrivals. They will hardly follow us there.”
Away they walked to the book; and while Isabella examined the names, it was Catherine’s employment to watch the proceedings of these alarming young men.
“They are not coming this way, are they? I hope they are not so impertinent as to follow us. Pray let me know if they are coming. I am determined I will not look up.”
In a few moments Catherine, with unaffected pleasure, assured her that she need not be longer uneasy, as the gentlemen had just left the pump-room.
“And which way are they gone?” said Isabella, turning hastily round. “One was a very good-looking young man.”
“They went towards the church-yard.”
“Well, I am amazingly glad I have got rid of them! And now, what say you to going to Edgar’s Buildings with me, and looking at my new hat? You said you should like to see it.”
Catherine readily agreed. “Only,” she added, “perhaps we may overtake the two young men.”
“Oh! mind that. If we make haste, we shall pass by them presently, and I am dying to show you my hat.”
“But if we only wait a few minutes, there will be no danger of our seeing them at all.”
“I shall not pay them any such compliment, I assure you. I have no notion of treating men with such respect. That is the way to spoil them.”
Catherine had nothing to oppose against such reasoning; and therefore, to show the independence of Miss Thorpe, and her resolution of humbling the sex, they set off immediately as fast as they could walk, in pursuit of the two young men.
to take place ⇒ To be held; to happen; to occur.
pump-room ˈpʌmpruːm n A room at a spa where medicinal water is dispensed.
specimen ˈspɛsɪmɪn n One as an example of a class: case, example, instance, sample
attachment əˈtæʧmənt n A feeling of affection for a person: affection, affectionateness, fondness
discretion dɪsˈkrɛʃən n Unrestricted freedom to act according to one’s judgement: prudnece
address əˈdrɛs n Archaic Manner or style of speaking or conversation.
at least ⇒ If nothing else. Not less than.
to be in very good time ⇒ Acting or arriving exactly at right time.
but ⇒ Merely, just, only.
in the first place ⇒ Initially; to begin with.
to set off ⇒ To start on a journey: depart
showery ˈʃaʊəri adj Having a lot of rain showers: rainy
to throw somebody into agonies ⇒ To drive to despair.
Milsom Street ⇒ The fashionable shopping street in Bath.
coquelicot ˈkoʊklɪkoʊ n French The colour of the wild poppy; a colour nearly red, like orange mixed with scarlet:
to long for ⇒ Desire earnestly, wish for very much.
to go on ⇒ To continue.
Udolpho ⇒ The quintessential Gothic romance The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Ward Radcliffe, replete with incidents of physical and psychological terror, like remote crumbling castles, seemingly supernatural events, a brooding, scheming villain and a persecuted heroine.
ever since ⇒ Since the time when.
get to someone or something ⇒ To arrive at a destination or at some point.
veil veɪl n Covering of fine net to hide or disguise.
for the world = for all the world ⇒ Not on any account.
to be wild to do something ⇒ To have a strong desire for; to be madly enthusiastic about.
not upon any account ⇒ Under no circumstances.
skeleton ˈskɛlɪtn n The bony framework that supports the body’s soft tissues.
for all the world ⇒ For anything.
The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1797) ⇒ A Gothic novel written by the English author Ann Radcliffe.
The Castle of Wolfenbach (1793) ⇒ The most famous novel written by the English Gothic novelist Eliza Parsons
Clermont ⇒ A Gothic novel by Regina Maria Roche. It was first published in 1798.
The Mysterious Warning ⇒ A German Tale is A novel by the English gothic novelist Eliza Parsons. It was first published in 179
The Necromancer or, The Tale of the Black Forest ⇒ A Gothic novel by Ludwig Flammenberg first published in 1794; necromancer ˈnɛkrəʊmænsə n 1. One who practices divination by conjuring up the dead. 2. One who practices magic or sorcery: magician, sorcerer, thaumaturge, thaumaturgist, wizard
The Midnight Bell ⇒ A gothic novel by Francis Lathom.
The Orphan of the Rhine ⇒ A gothic novel by Eleanor Sleat; orphan ˈɔːfən n Person whose parents has died; The Rhine ⇒ One of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in a mostly northerly direction through Germany and the Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea.
The Horrid Mysteries ⇒ Subtitled “A Story From the German Of The Marquis Of Grosse” is a translation by Peter Will of the German Gothic novel Der Genius by Carl Grosse.; horrid ˈhɒrɪd adj Causing horror: dreadful, horrifying
last lɑːst n To remain in adequate supply.
horrid ˈhɒrɪd adj Causing horror: dreadful, horrifying
net nɛt v Create a piece of cloth by interlacing strands of fabric, such as wool or cotton.
cloak kləʊk n A loose outer garment, such as a cape.
conceive kənˈsiːv v To form or develop in the mind: understand, imagine, picture, fancy
vex vɛks adj Troubled persistently especially with petty annoyances: annoyed, harassed, harried, pestered, troubled
scold skəʊld v To reprimand or criticize harshly: chide, rebuke
to have no notion of ⇒ I do not support the idea.
by halves ⇒ Incompletely, imperfectly.
attachment əˈtæʧmənt n
assembly əˈsɛmbli n A group of persons gathered together for a common reason.
tease tiːz v Annoy persistently: badger, beleaguer, bug, pester
slightingly ˈslaɪtɪŋli adv In a disparaging manner: disparagingly
to fire up ⇒ Become suddenly angry, exited, irritated.
in a moment ⇒ Shortly; in only a small amount of time;. straight away.
at all ⇒ In any way; for any reason; to any extent; whatever.
colour ˈkʌlə v To become red in the face, especially from modesty, embarrassment, or shame: flush, blush
animation ˌænɪˈmeɪʃ(ə)n n Quality of being active or spirited or alive and vigorous: spiritedness, invigoration, activeness, liveliness
to have a taste for ⇒ To like, to be interested in.
confess kənˈfɛs n To disclose something inconvenient to someone; to make known one’s sins to a priest: admit, grant, own, concede, avow
insipid ɪnˈsɪpɪd adj Lacking excitement, stimulation, or interest: banal, dull
earnestly ˈɜːnɪstli adv Seriously.
upon my honour ⇒ Upon one’s reputation for telling the truth.
nay neɪ adv Not so: no, nix
blame bleɪm v Feel or declare that someone is responsible for a fault or wrong: hold responsible, hold accountable
attached əˈtæʧt adj To be bound to by affections: committed
dreadful ˈdrɛdfʊl adj Exceptionally bad or displeasing, causing fear or terror: terrible, horrible, appalling
veil veɪl n A piece of opaque, transparent, or mesh material worn over the face for concealment or protection or to enhance the appearance: cover, mask, cloak, veneer
object to someone or something ⇒ To oppose, disagree with, or disapprove of someone or something.
The History of Sir Charles Grandison ⇒ An epistolary novel by English writer Samuel Richardson first published in February 1753. The book was a response to Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, which parodied the morals presented in Richardson’s previous novels.The novel follows the story of Harriet Byron who is pursued by Sir Hargrave Pollexfen. After she rejects Pollexfen, he kidnaps her, and she is only freed when Sir Charles Grandison comes to her rescue. After his appearance, the novel focuses on his history and life, and he becomes its central figure.
something falls in one’s way ⇒ One receives something by chance.
to get through ⇒ To arrive at the end of; finish or complete.
entertaining ˌɛntəˈteɪnɪŋ adj Agreeably diverting: amusing
signify ˈsɪgnɪfaɪ v To matter; to be of importance: count, matter, weigh
impertinent ɪmˈpɜːtɪnənt adj Not showing proper respect or exceeding the limits of propriety or good manners: rude, irrelevant
spirit ˈspɪrɪt n Cheerfulness.
to keep one’s distance ⇒ To feel respect or esteem for.
to give oneself airs ⇒ To behave as if one is superior to someone.
conceited kənˈsiːtɪd adj Having overhigh opinion of oneself: vain
by the by ⇒ By the way; incidentally.
complexion kəmˈplɛkʃən n The colouring of a person’s skin.
light laɪt adj Pale, whitish, or not deep or dark in color: fair, faded, blonde, blond, bleached, pastel, light-coloured, whitish
sallow ˈsæləʊ adj Unhealthy looking of a sickly yellowish complexion.
betray bɪˈtreɪ v Disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake: disappoint, let down, fail
distress dɪsˈtrɛst v To feel or show extreme unhappiness, strain, anxiety, suffering or pain: bother, worry, upset
to drop the subject ⇒ Stop talking about it.
comply kəmˈplaɪ adj To act in conformity with: follow, conform
to be on the point of ⇒ To be about to.
revert rɪˈvɜːt n To come back to a former condition: return
for heaven’s sake ⇒ A mild oath of surprise, exasperation, annoyance, frustration, or anger.
odious ˈəʊdiəs adj Arousing strong dislike, aversion, or intense displeasure: horrid, abominable
to put someone out of countenance ⇒ Disconcert somebody or cause somebody to feel troubled or at fault. countenance ˈkaʊnt(ə)nəns n The appearance conveyed by a person’s face: visage
proceeding prəˈsiːdɪŋ n Course of action, way of behaving.
look up ⇒ To turn one’s gaze or attention from something else.
uneasy ʌnˈiːzi adj Lacking a sense of confidence or security: afraid, anxious, fearful
to get rid of somebody ⇒ To free from somebody.
Edgar’s Buildings ⇒ Edgar’s Buildings (a terrace of houses on the north side of George Street where the Thorpes lodged.
overtake ˌəʊvəˈteɪk v Come or catch up with.
pass by ⇒ To go past someone or something without stopping or acknowledging.
to be dying ⇒ Colloquial To desire very much.
to pay somebody compliment ⇒ To say a compliment to somebody.
spoil spɔːɪl v To do harm to the character by overindulgence or excessive praise: indulge, pamper, coddle
resolution ˌrɛzəˈluːʃən n Firm determination: decision, conclusion
humble ˈhʌmbl v To give a lower condition or station to: abase
to be in pursuit of ⇒ To be pursuing or chasing someone.