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Title: The Complete Project Gutenberg Works of Jane Austen - A Linked Index of all PG Editions of Jane Austen
Author: Austen, Jane, 1775-1817
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Complete Project Gutenberg Works of Jane Austen - A Linked Index of all PG Editions of Jane Austen" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



THE WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN



             DEDICATION

     This Jane Austen collection
         is dedicated to
     Alice Goodson [Hart] Woodby



[Note: The accompanying HTML file has active links to all the volumes
and chapters in this set.]



CONTENTS:

   PERSUASION

   NORTHANGER ABBEY

   MANSFIELD PARK

   EMMA

   LADY SUSAN

   LOVE AND FREINDSHIP AND OTHER EARLY WORKS

   PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

   SENSE AND SENSIBILITY



PERSUASION


by Jane Austen

(1818)



Chapter 1


Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who,
for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there
he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed
one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by
contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any
unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally
into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations
of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he
could read his own history with an interest which never failed.  This
was the page at which the favourite volume always opened:

           "ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL.

"Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth,
daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of
Gloucester, by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born
June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, November 5,
1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791."

Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's
hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of
himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth--
"Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove,
Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset," and by inserting most
accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife.

Then followed the history and rise of the ancient and respectable
family, in the usual terms; how it had been first settled in Cheshire;
how mentioned in Dugdale, serving the office of high sheriff,
representing a borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of
loyalty, and dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II, with
all the Marys and Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two
handsome duodecimo pages, and concluding with the arms and
motto:--"Principal seat, Kellynch Hall, in the county of Somerset," and
Sir Walter's handwriting again in this finale:--

"Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great grandson of the
second Sir Walter."

Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character;
vanity of person and of situation.  He had been remarkably handsome in
his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man.  Few women
could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could
the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held
in society.  He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to
the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united
these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and
devotion.

His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment; since
to them he must have owed a wife of very superior character to any
thing deserved by his own.  Lady Elliot had been an excellent woman,
sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if they might be
pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never
required indulgence afterwards.--She had humoured, or softened, or
concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for
seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world
herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children,
to attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her
when she was called on to quit them.--Three girls, the two eldest
sixteen and fourteen, was an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath, an
awful charge rather, to confide to the authority and guidance of a
conceited, silly father.  She had, however, one very intimate friend, a
sensible, deserving woman, who had been brought, by strong attachment
to herself, to settle close by her, in the village of Kellynch; and on
her kindness and advice, Lady Elliot mainly relied for the best help
and maintenance of the good principles and instruction which she had
been anxiously giving her daughters.

This friend, and Sir Walter, did not marry, whatever might have been
anticipated on that head by their acquaintance.  Thirteen years had
passed away since Lady Elliot's death, and they were still near
neighbours and intimate friends, and one remained a widower, the other
a widow.

That Lady Russell, of steady age and character, and extremely well
provided for, should have no thought of a second marriage, needs no
apology to the public, which is rather apt to be unreasonably
discontented when a woman does marry again, than when she does not; but
Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation.  Be it
known then, that Sir Walter, like a good father, (having met with one
or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications),
prided himself on remaining single for his dear daughters' sake.  For
one daughter, his eldest, he would really have given up any thing,
which he had not been very much tempted to do.  Elizabeth had
succeeded, at sixteen, to all that was possible, of her mother's rights
and consequence; and being very handsome, and very like himself, her
influence had always been great, and they had gone on together most
happily.  His two other children were of very inferior value.  Mary had
acquired a little artificial importance, by becoming Mrs Charles
Musgrove; but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of
character, which must have placed her high with any people of real
understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no
weight, her convenience was always to give way--she was only Anne.

To Lady Russell, indeed, she was a most dear and highly valued
god-daughter, favourite, and friend.  Lady Russell loved them all; but
it was only in Anne that she could fancy the mother to revive again.

A few years before, Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl, but her
bloom had vanished early; and as even in its height, her father had
found little to admire in her, (so totally different were her delicate
features and mild dark eyes from his own), there could be nothing in
them, now that she was faded and thin, to excite his esteem. He had
never indulged much hope, he had now none, of ever reading her name in
any other page of his favourite work.  All equality of alliance must
rest with Elizabeth, for Mary had merely connected herself with an old
country family of respectability and large fortune, and had therefore
given all the honour and received none: Elizabeth would, one day or
other, marry suitably.

It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she
was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been
neither ill health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely
any charm is lost.  It was so with Elizabeth, still the same handsome
Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago, and Sir Walter
might be excused, therefore, in forgetting her age, or, at least, be
deemed only half a fool, for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming
as ever, amidst the wreck of the good looks of everybody else; for he
could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance
were growing.  Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the
neighbourhood worsting, and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about
Lady Russell's temples had long been a distress to him.

Elizabeth did not quite equal her father in personal contentment.
Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Kellynch Hall, presiding and
directing with a self-possession and decision which could never have
given the idea of her being younger than she was.  For thirteen years
had she been doing the honours, and laying down the domestic law at
home, and leading the way to the chaise and four, and walking
immediately after Lady Russell out of all the drawing-rooms and
dining-rooms in the country.  Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had
seen her opening every ball of credit which a scanty neighbourhood
afforded, and thirteen springs shewn their blossoms, as she travelled
up to London with her father, for a few weeks' annual enjoyment of the
great world.  She had the remembrance of all this, she had the
consciousness of being nine-and-twenty to give her some regrets and
some apprehensions; she was fully satisfied of being still quite as
handsome as ever, but she felt her approach to the years of danger, and
would have rejoiced to be certain of being properly solicited by
baronet-blood within the next twelvemonth or two.  Then might she again
take up the book of books with as much enjoyment as in her early youth,
but now she liked it not.  Always to be presented with the date of her
own birth and see no marriage follow but that of a youngest sister,
made the book an evil; and more than once, when her father had left it
open on the table near her, had she closed it, with averted eyes, and
pushed it away.

She had had a disappointment, moreover, which that book, and especially
the history of her own family, must ever present the remembrance of.
The heir presumptive, the very William Walter Elliot, Esq., whose
rights had been so generously supported by her father, had disappointed
her.

She had, while a very young girl, as soon as she had known him to be,
in the event of her having no brother, the future baronet, meant to
marry him, and her father had always meant that she should.  He had not
been known to them as a boy; but soon after Lady Elliot's death, Sir
Walter had sought the acquaintance, and though his overtures had not
been met with any warmth, he had persevered in seeking it, making
allowance for the modest drawing-back of youth; and, in one of their
spring excursions to London, when Elizabeth was in her first bloom, Mr
Elliot had been forced into the introduction.

He was at that time a very young man, just engaged in the study of the
law; and Elizabeth found him extremely agreeable, and every plan in his
favour was confirmed.  He was invited to Kellynch Hall; he was talked
of and expected all the rest of the year; but he never came.  The
following spring he was seen again in town, found equally agreeable,
again encouraged, invited, and expected, and again he did not come; and
the next tidings were that he was married.  Instead of pushing his
fortune in the line marked out for the heir of the house of Elliot, he
had purchased independence by uniting himself to a rich woman of
inferior birth.

Sir Walter has resented it.  As the head of the house, he felt that he
ought to have been consulted, especially after taking the young man so
publicly by the hand; "For they must have been seen together," he
observed, "once at Tattersall's, and twice in the lobby of the House of
Commons."  His disapprobation was expressed, but apparently very little
regarded.  Mr Elliot had attempted no apology, and shewn himself as
unsolicitous of being longer noticed by the family, as Sir Walter
considered him unworthy of it:  all acquaintance between them had
ceased.

This very awkward history of Mr Elliot was still, after an interval of
several years, felt with anger by Elizabeth, who had liked the man for
himself, and still more for being her father's heir, and whose strong
family pride could see only in him a proper match for Sir Walter
Elliot's eldest daughter.  There was not a baronet from A to Z whom her
feelings could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal.  Yet so
miserably had he conducted himself, that though she was at this present
time (the summer of 1814) wearing black ribbons for his wife, she could
not admit him to be worth thinking of again.  The disgrace of his first
marriage might, perhaps, as there was no reason to suppose it
perpetuated by offspring, have been got over, had he not done worse;
but he had, as by the accustomary intervention of kind friends, they
had been informed, spoken most disrespectfully of them all, most
slightingly and contemptuously of the very blood he belonged to, and
the honours which were hereafter to be his own.  This could not be
pardoned.

Such were Elizabeth Elliot's sentiments and sensations; such the cares
to alloy, the agitations to vary, the sameness and the elegance, the
prosperity and the nothingness of her scene of life; such the feelings
to give interest to a long, uneventful residence in one country circle,
to fill the vacancies which there were no habits of utility abroad, no
talents or accomplishments for home, to occupy.

But now, another occupation and solicitude of mind was beginning to be
added to these.  Her father was growing distressed for money.  She
knew, that when he now took up the Baronetage, it was to drive the
heavy bills of his tradespeople, and the unwelcome hints of Mr
Shepherd, his agent, from his thoughts.  The Kellynch property was
good, but not equal to Sir Walter's apprehension of the state required
in its possessor.  While Lady Elliot lived, there had been method,
moderation, and economy, which had just kept him within his income; but
with her had died all such right-mindedness, and from that period he
had been constantly exceeding it.  It had not been possible for him to
spend less; he had done nothing but what Sir Walter Elliot was
imperiously called on to do; but blameless as he was, he was not only
growing dreadfully in debt, but was hearing of it so often, that it
became vain to attempt concealing it longer, even partially, from his
daughter.  He had given her some hints of it the last spring in town;
he had gone so far even as to say, "Can we retrench?  Does it occur to
you that there is any one article in which we can retrench?" and
Elizabeth, to do her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm,
set seriously to think what could be done, and had finally proposed
these two branches of economy, to cut off some unnecessary charities,
and to refrain from new furnishing the drawing-room; to which
expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no
present down to Anne, as had been the usual yearly custom.  But these
measures, however good in themselves, were insufficient for the real
extent of the evil, the whole of which Sir Walter found himself obliged
to confess to her soon afterwards.  Elizabeth had nothing to propose of
deeper efficacy.  She felt herself ill-used and unfortunate, as did her
father; and they were neither of them able to devise any means of
lessening their expenses without compromising their dignity, or
relinquishing their comforts in a way not to be borne.

There was only a small part of his estate that Sir Walter could dispose
of; but had every acre been alienable, it would have made no
difference.  He had condescended to mortgage as far as he had the
power, but he would never condescend to sell.  No; he would never
disgrace his name so far.  The Kellynch estate should be transmitted
whole and entire, as he had received it.

Their two confidential friends, Mr Shepherd, who lived in the
neighbouring market town, and Lady Russell, were called to advise them;
and both father and daughter seemed to expect that something should be
struck out by one or the other to remove their embarrassments and
reduce their expenditure, without involving the loss of any indulgence
of taste or pride.



Chapter 2


Mr Shepherd, a civil, cautious lawyer, who, whatever might be his hold
or his views on Sir Walter, would rather have the disagreeable prompted
by anybody else, excused himself from offering the slightest hint, and
only begged leave to recommend an implicit reference to the excellent
judgement of Lady Russell, from whose known good sense he fully
expected to have just such resolute measures advised as he meant to see
finally adopted.

Lady Russell was most anxiously zealous on the subject, and gave it
much serious consideration.  She was a woman rather of sound than of
quick abilities, whose difficulties in coming to any decision in this
instance were great, from the opposition of two leading principles.
She was of strict integrity herself, with a delicate sense of honour;
but she was as desirous of saving Sir Walter's feelings, as solicitous
for the credit of the family, as aristocratic in her ideas of what was
due to them, as anybody of sense and honesty could well be.  She was a
benevolent, charitable, good woman, and capable of strong attachments,
most correct in her conduct, strict in her notions of decorum, and with
manners that were held a standard of good-breeding.  She had a
cultivated mind, and was, generally speaking, rational and consistent;
but she had prejudices on the side of ancestry; she had a value for
rank and consequence, which blinded her a little to the faults of those
who possessed them.  Herself the widow of only a knight, she gave the
dignity of a baronet all its due; and Sir Walter, independent of his
claims as an old acquaintance, an attentive neighbour, an obliging
landlord, the husband of her very dear friend, the father of Anne and
her sisters, was, as being Sir Walter, in her apprehension, entitled to
a great deal of compassion and consideration under his present
difficulties.

They must retrench; that did not admit of a doubt.  But she was very
anxious to have it done with the least possible pain to him and
Elizabeth. She drew up plans of economy, she made exact calculations,
and she did what nobody else thought of doing:  she consulted Anne, who
never seemed considered by the others as having any interest in the
question. She consulted, and in a degree was influenced by her in
marking out the scheme of retrenchment which was at last submitted to
Sir Walter. Every emendation of Anne's had been on the side of honesty
against importance.  She wanted more vigorous measures, a more complete
reformation, a quicker release from debt, a much higher tone of
indifference for everything but justice and equity.

"If we can persuade your father to all this," said Lady Russell,
looking over her paper, "much may be done.  If he will adopt these
regulations, in seven years he will be clear; and I hope we may be able
to convince him and Elizabeth, that Kellynch Hall has a respectability
in itself which cannot be affected by these reductions; and that the
true dignity of Sir Walter Elliot will be very far from lessened in the
eyes of sensible people, by acting like a man of principle.  What will
he be doing, in fact, but what very many of our first families have
done, or ought to do?  There will be nothing singular in his case; and
it is singularity which often makes the worst part of our suffering, as
it always does of our conduct.  I have great hope of prevailing.  We
must be serious and decided; for after all, the person who has
contracted debts must pay them; and though a great deal is due to the
feelings of the gentleman, and the head of a house, like your father,
there is still more due to the character of an honest man."

This was the principle on which Anne wanted her father to be
proceeding, his friends to be urging him.  She considered it as an act
of indispensable duty to clear away the claims of creditors with all
the expedition which the most comprehensive retrenchments could secure,
and saw no dignity in anything short of it.  She wanted it to be
prescribed, and felt as a duty.  She rated Lady Russell's influence
highly; and as to the severe degree of self-denial which her own
conscience prompted, she believed there might be little more difficulty
in persuading them to a complete, than to half a reformation.  Her
knowledge of her father and Elizabeth inclined her to think that the
sacrifice of one pair of horses would be hardly less painful than of
both, and so on, through the whole list of Lady Russell's too gentle
reductions.

How Anne's more rigid requisitions might have been taken is of little
consequence.  Lady Russell's had no success at all: could not be put up
with, were not to be borne. "What! every comfort of life knocked off!
Journeys, London, servants, horses, table--contractions and
restrictions every where!  To live no longer with the decencies even of
a private gentleman!  No, he would sooner quit Kellynch Hall at once,
than remain in it on such disgraceful terms."

"Quit Kellynch Hall."  The hint was immediately taken up by Mr
Shepherd, whose interest was involved in the reality of Sir Walter's
retrenching, and who was perfectly persuaded that nothing would be done
without a change of abode.  "Since the idea had been started in the
very quarter which ought to dictate, he had no scruple," he said, "in
confessing his judgement to be entirely on that side.  It did not
appear to him that Sir Walter could materially alter his style of
living in a house which had such a character of hospitality and ancient
dignity to support.  In any other place Sir Walter might judge for
himself; and would be looked up to, as regulating the modes of life in
whatever way he might choose to model his household."

Sir Walter would quit Kellynch Hall; and after a very few days more of
doubt and indecision, the great question of whither he should go was
settled, and the first outline of this important change made out.

There had been three alternatives, London, Bath, or another house in
the country.  All Anne's wishes had been for the latter.  A small house
in their own neighbourhood, where they might still have Lady Russell's
society, still be near Mary, and still have the pleasure of sometimes
seeing the lawns and groves of Kellynch, was the object of her
ambition.  But the usual fate of Anne attended her, in having something
very opposite from her inclination fixed on.  She disliked Bath, and
did not think it agreed with her; and Bath was to be her home.

Sir Walter had at first thought more of London; but Mr Shepherd felt
that he could not be trusted in London, and had been skilful enough to
dissuade him from it, and make Bath preferred.  It was a much safer
place for a gentleman in his predicament:  he might there be important
at comparatively little expense.  Two material advantages of Bath over
London had of course been given all their weight:  its more convenient
distance from Kellynch, only fifty miles, and Lady Russell's spending
some part of every winter there; and to the very great satisfaction of
Lady Russell, whose first views on the projected change had been for
Bath, Sir Walter and Elizabeth were induced to believe that they should
lose neither consequence nor enjoyment by settling there.

Lady Russell felt obliged to oppose her dear Anne's known wishes.  It
would be too much to expect Sir Walter to descend into a small house in
his own neighbourhood.  Anne herself would have found the
mortifications of it more than she foresaw, and to Sir Walter's
feelings they must have been dreadful.  And with regard to Anne's
dislike of Bath, she considered it as a prejudice and mistake arising,
first, from the circumstance of her having been three years at school
there, after her mother's death; and secondly, from her happening to be
not in perfectly good spirits the only winter which she had afterwards
spent there with herself.

Lady Russell was fond of Bath, in short, and disposed to think it must
suit them all; and as to her young friend's health, by passing all the
warm months with her at Kellynch Lodge, every danger would be avoided;
and it was in fact, a change which must do both health and spirits
good.  Anne had been too little from home, too little seen. Her spirits
were not high.  A larger society would improve them.  She wanted her to
be more known.

The undesirableness of any other house in the same neighbourhood for
Sir Walter was certainly much strengthened by one part, and a very
material part of the scheme, which had been happily engrafted on the
beginning.  He was not only to quit his home, but to see it in the
hands of others; a trial of fortitude, which stronger heads than Sir
Walter's have found too much.  Kellynch Hall was to be let.  This,
however, was a profound secret, not to be breathed beyond their own
circle.

Sir Walter could not have borne the degradation of being known to
design letting his house.  Mr Shepherd had once mentioned the word
"advertise," but never dared approach it again.  Sir Walter spurned the
idea of its being offered in any manner; forbad the slightest hint
being dropped of his having such an intention; and it was only on the
supposition of his being spontaneously solicited by some most
unexceptionable applicant, on his own terms, and as a great favour,
that he would let it at all.

How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!  Lady Russell
had another excellent one at hand, for being extremely glad that Sir
Walter and his family were to remove from the country.  Elizabeth had
been lately forming an intimacy, which she wished to see interrupted.
It was with the daughter of Mr Shepherd, who had returned, after an
unprosperous marriage, to her father's house, with the additional
burden of two children.  She was a clever young woman, who understood
the art of pleasing--the art of pleasing, at least, at Kellynch Hall;
and who had made herself so acceptable to Miss Elliot, as to have been
already staying there more than once, in spite of all that Lady
Russell, who thought it a friendship quite out of place, could hint of
caution and reserve.

Lady Russell, indeed, had scarcely any influence with Elizabeth, and
seemed to love her, rather because she would love her, than because
Elizabeth deserved it.  She had never received from her more than
outward attention, nothing beyond the observances of complaisance; had
never succeeded in any point which she wanted to carry, against
previous inclination.  She had been repeatedly very earnest in trying
to get Anne included in the visit to London, sensibly open to all the
injustice and all the discredit of the selfish arrangements which shut
her out, and on many lesser occasions had endeavoured to give Elizabeth
the advantage of her own better judgement and experience; but always in
vain:  Elizabeth would go her own way; and never had she pursued it in
more decided opposition to Lady Russell than in this selection of Mrs
Clay; turning from the society of so deserving a sister, to bestow her
affection and confidence on one who ought to have been nothing to her
but the object of distant civility.

From situation, Mrs Clay was, in Lady Russell's estimate, a very
unequal, and in her character she believed a very dangerous companion;
and a removal that would leave Mrs Clay behind, and bring a choice of
more suitable intimates within Miss Elliot's reach, was therefore an
object of first-rate importance.



Chapter 3


"I must take leave to observe, Sir Walter," said Mr Shepherd one
morning at Kellynch Hall, as he laid down the newspaper, "that the
present juncture is much in our favour.  This peace will be turning all
our rich naval officers ashore.  They will be all wanting a home.
Could not be a better time, Sir Walter, for having a choice of tenants,
very responsible tenants.  Many a noble fortune has been made during
the war.  If a rich admiral were to come in our way, Sir Walter--"

"He would be a very lucky man, Shepherd," replied Sir Walter; "that's
all I have to remark.  A prize indeed would Kellynch Hall be to him;
rather the greatest prize of all, let him have taken ever so many
before; hey, Shepherd?"

Mr Shepherd laughed, as he knew he must, at this wit, and then added--

"I presume to observe, Sir Walter, that, in the way of business,
gentlemen of the navy are well to deal with.  I have had a little
knowledge of their methods of doing business; and I am free to confess
that they have very liberal notions, and are as likely to make
desirable tenants as any set of people one should meet with.
Therefore, Sir Walter, what I would take leave to suggest is, that if
in consequence of any rumours getting abroad of your intention; which
must be contemplated as a possible thing, because we know how difficult
it is to keep the actions and designs of one part of the world from the
notice and curiosity of the other; consequence has its tax; I, John
Shepherd, might conceal any family-matters that I chose, for nobody
would think it worth their while to observe me; but Sir Walter Elliot
has eyes upon him which it may be very difficult to elude; and
therefore, thus much I venture upon, that it will not greatly surprise
me if, with all our caution, some rumour of the truth should get
abroad; in the supposition of which, as I was going to observe, since
applications will unquestionably follow, I should think any from our
wealthy naval commanders particularly worth attending to; and beg leave
to add, that two hours will bring me over at any time, to save you the
trouble of replying."

Sir Walter only nodded.  But soon afterwards, rising and pacing the
room, he observed sarcastically--

"There are few among the gentlemen of the navy, I imagine, who would
not be surprised to find themselves in a house of this description."

"They would look around them, no doubt, and bless their good fortune,"
said Mrs Clay, for Mrs Clay was present:  her father had driven her
over, nothing being of so much use to Mrs Clay's health as a drive to
Kellynch: "but I quite agree with my father in thinking a sailor might
be a very desirable tenant.  I have known a good deal of the
profession; and besides their liberality, they are so neat and careful
in all their ways!  These valuable pictures of yours, Sir Walter, if
you chose to leave them, would be perfectly safe.  Everything in and
about the house would be taken such excellent care of!  The gardens and
shrubberies would be kept in almost as high order as they are now.  You
need not be afraid, Miss Elliot, of your own sweet flower gardens being
neglected."

"As to all that," rejoined Sir Walter coolly, "supposing I were induced
to let my house, I have by no means made up my mind as to the
privileges to be annexed to it.  I am not particularly disposed to
favour a tenant.  The park would be open to him of course, and few navy
officers, or men of any other description, can have had such a range;
but what restrictions I might impose on the use of the
pleasure-grounds, is another thing.  I am not fond of the idea of my
shrubberies being always approachable; and I should recommend Miss
Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower garden.  I am very
little disposed to grant a tenant of Kellynch Hall any extraordinary
favour, I assure you, be he sailor or soldier."

After a short pause, Mr Shepherd presumed to say--

"In all these cases, there are established usages which make everything
plain and easy between landlord and tenant.  Your interest, Sir Walter,
is in pretty safe hands.  Depend upon me for taking care that no tenant
has more than his just rights.  I venture to hint, that Sir Walter
Elliot cannot be half so jealous for his own, as John Shepherd will be
for him."

Here Anne spoke--

"The navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an
equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the
privileges which any home can give.  Sailors work hard enough for their
comforts, we must all allow."

"Very true, very true.  What Miss Anne says, is very true," was Mr
Shepherd's rejoinder, and "Oh! certainly," was his daughter's; but Sir
Walter's remark was, soon afterwards--

"The profession has its utility, but I should be sorry to see any
friend of mine belonging to it."

"Indeed!" was the reply, and with a look of surprise.

"Yes; it is in two points offensive to me; I have two strong grounds of
objection to it.  First, as being the means of bringing persons of
obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which
their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it
cuts up a man's youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old
sooner than any other man.  I have observed it all my life.  A man is
in greater danger in the navy of being insulted by the rise of one
whose father, his father might have disdained to speak to, and of
becoming prematurely an object of disgust himself, than in any other
line.  One day last spring, in town, I was in company with two men,
striking instances of what I am talking of; Lord St Ives, whose father
we all know to have been a country curate, without bread to eat; I was
to give place to Lord St Ives, and a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most
deplorable-looking personage you can imagine; his face the colour of
mahogany, rough and rugged to the last degree; all lines and wrinkles,
nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder at top.  'In
the name of heaven, who is that old fellow?' said I to a friend of mine
who was standing near, (Sir Basil Morley).  'Old fellow!' cried Sir
Basil, 'it is Admiral Baldwin.  What do you take his age to be?'
'Sixty,' said I, 'or perhaps sixty-two.' 'Forty,' replied Sir Basil,
'forty, and no more.'  Picture to yourselves my amazement; I shall not
easily forget Admiral Baldwin.  I never saw quite so wretched an
example of what a sea-faring life can do; but to a degree, I know it is
the same with them all:  they are all knocked about, and exposed to
every climate, and every weather, till they are not fit to be seen.  It
is a pity they are not knocked on the head at once, before they reach
Admiral Baldwin's age."

"Nay, Sir Walter," cried Mrs Clay, "this is being severe indeed.  Have
a little mercy on the poor men.  We are not all born to be handsome.
The sea is no beautifier, certainly; sailors do grow old betimes; I
have observed it; they soon lose the look of youth.  But then, is not
it the same with many other professions, perhaps most other?  Soldiers,
in active service, are not at all better off:  and even in the quieter
professions, there is a toil and a labour of the mind, if not of the
body, which seldom leaves a man's looks to the natural effect of time.
The lawyer plods, quite care-worn; the physician is up at all hours,
and travelling in all weather; and even the clergyman--" she stopt a
moment to consider what might do for the clergyman;--"and even the
clergyman, you know is obliged to go into infected rooms, and expose
his health and looks to all the injury of a poisonous atmosphere.  In
fact, as I have long been convinced, though every profession is
necessary and honourable in its turn, it is only the lot of those who
are not obliged to follow any, who can live in a regular way, in the
country, choosing their own hours, following their own pursuits, and
living on their own property, without the torment of trying for more;
it is only their lot, I say, to hold the blessings of health and a good
appearance to the utmost: I know no other set of men but what lose
something of their personableness when they cease to be quite young."

It seemed as if Mr Shepherd, in this anxiety to bespeak Sir Walter's
good will towards a naval officer as tenant, had been gifted with
foresight; for the very first application for the house was from an
Admiral Croft, with whom he shortly afterwards fell into company in
attending the quarter sessions at Taunton; and indeed, he had received
a hint of the Admiral from a London correspondent.  By the report which
he hastened over to Kellynch to make, Admiral Croft was a native of
Somersetshire, who having acquired a very handsome fortune, was wishing
to settle in his own country, and had come down to Taunton in order to
look at some advertised places in that immediate neighbourhood, which,
however, had not suited him; that accidentally hearing--(it was just as
he had foretold, Mr Shepherd observed, Sir Walter's concerns could not
be kept a secret,)--accidentally hearing of the possibility of
Kellynch Hall being to let, and understanding his (Mr Shepherd's)
connection with the owner, he had introduced himself to him in order to
make particular inquiries, and had, in the course of a pretty long
conference, expressed as strong an inclination for the place as a man
who knew it only by description could feel; and given Mr Shepherd, in
his explicit account of himself, every proof of his being a most
responsible, eligible tenant.

"And who is Admiral Croft?" was Sir Walter's cold suspicious inquiry.

Mr Shepherd answered for his being of a gentleman's family, and
mentioned a place; and Anne, after the little pause which followed,
added--

"He is a rear admiral of the white.  He was in the Trafalgar action,
and has been in the East Indies since; he was stationed there, I
believe, several years."

"Then I take it for granted," observed Sir Walter, "that his face is
about as orange as the cuffs and capes of my livery."

Mr Shepherd hastened to assure him, that Admiral Croft was a very hale,
hearty, well-looking man, a little weather-beaten, to be sure, but not
much, and quite the gentleman in all his notions and behaviour; not
likely to make the smallest difficulty about terms, only wanted a
comfortable home, and to get into it as soon as possible; knew he must
pay for his convenience; knew what rent a ready-furnished house of that
consequence might fetch; should not have been surprised if Sir Walter
had asked more; had inquired about the manor; would be glad of the
deputation, certainly, but made no great point of it; said he sometimes
took out a gun, but never killed; quite the gentleman.

Mr Shepherd was eloquent on the subject; pointing out all the
circumstances of the Admiral's family, which made him peculiarly
desirable as a tenant.  He was a married man, and without children; the
very state to be wished for.  A house was never taken good care of, Mr
Shepherd observed, without a lady: he did not know, whether furniture
might not be in danger of suffering as much where there was no lady, as
where there were many children.  A lady, without a family, was the very
best preserver of furniture in the world.  He had seen Mrs Croft, too;
she was at Taunton with the admiral, and had been present almost all
the time they were talking the matter over.

"And a very well-spoken, genteel, shrewd lady, she seemed to be,"
continued he; "asked more questions about the house, and terms, and
taxes, than the Admiral himself, and seemed more conversant with
business; and moreover, Sir Walter, I found she was not quite
unconnected in this country, any more than her husband; that is to say,
she is sister to a gentleman who did live amongst us once; she told me
so herself: sister to the gentleman who lived a few years back at
Monkford. Bless me! what was his name? At this moment I cannot
recollect his name, though I have heard it so lately. Penelope, my
dear, can you help me to the name of the gentleman who lived at
Monkford: Mrs Croft's brother?"

But Mrs Clay was talking so eagerly with Miss Elliot, that she did not
hear the appeal.

"I have no conception whom you can mean, Shepherd; I remember no
gentleman resident at Monkford since the time of old Governor Trent."

"Bless me! how very odd!  I shall forget my own name soon, I suppose.
A name that I am so very well acquainted with; knew the gentleman so
well by sight; seen him a hundred times; came to consult me once, I
remember, about a trespass of one of his neighbours; farmer's man
breaking into his orchard; wall torn down; apples stolen; caught in the
fact; and afterwards, contrary to my judgement, submitted to an
amicable compromise.  Very odd indeed!"

After waiting another moment--

"You mean Mr Wentworth, I suppose?" said Anne.

Mr Shepherd was all gratitude.

"Wentworth was the very name!  Mr Wentworth was the very man.  He had
the curacy of Monkford, you know, Sir Walter, some time back, for two
or three years.  Came there about the year ---5, I take it.  You
remember him, I am sure."

"Wentworth?  Oh! ay,--Mr Wentworth, the curate of Monkford.  You misled
me by the term gentleman.  I thought you were speaking of some man of
property:  Mr Wentworth was nobody, I remember; quite unconnected;
nothing to do with the Strafford family.  One wonders how the names of
many of our nobility become so common."

As Mr Shepherd perceived that this connexion of the Crofts did them no
service with Sir Walter, he mentioned it no more; returning, with all
his zeal, to dwell on the circumstances more indisputably in their
favour; their age, and number, and fortune; the high idea they had
formed of Kellynch Hall, and extreme solicitude for the advantage of
renting it; making it appear as if they ranked nothing beyond the
happiness of being the tenants of Sir Walter Elliot: an extraordinary
taste, certainly, could they have been supposed in the secret of Sir
Walter's estimate of the dues of a tenant.

It succeeded, however; and though Sir Walter must ever look with an
evil eye on anyone intending to inhabit that house, and think them
infinitely too well off in being permitted to rent it on the highest
terms, he was talked into allowing Mr Shepherd to proceed in the
treaty, and authorising him to wait on Admiral Croft, who still
remained at Taunton, and fix a day for the house being seen.

Sir Walter was not very wise; but still he had experience enough of the
world to feel, that a more unobjectionable tenant, in all essentials,
than Admiral Croft bid fair to be, could hardly offer.  So far went his
understanding; and his vanity supplied a little additional soothing, in
the Admiral's situation in life, which was just high enough, and not
too high.  "I have let my house to Admiral Croft," would sound
extremely well; very much better than to any mere Mr--; a Mr (save,
perhaps, some half dozen in the nation,) always needs a note of
explanation.  An admiral speaks his own consequence, and, at the same
time, can never make a baronet look small.  In all their dealings and
intercourse, Sir Walter Elliot must ever have the precedence.

Nothing could be done without a reference to Elizabeth: but her
inclination was growing so strong for a removal, that she was happy to
have it fixed and expedited by a tenant at hand; and not a word to
suspend decision was uttered by her.

Mr Shepherd was completely empowered to act; and no sooner had such an
end been reached, than Anne, who had been a most attentive listener to
the whole, left the room, to seek the comfort of cool air for her
flushed cheeks; and as she walked along a favourite grove, said, with a
gentle sigh, "A few months more, and he, perhaps, may be walking here."



Chapter 4


He was not Mr Wentworth, the former curate of Monkford, however
suspicious appearances may be, but a Captain Frederick Wentworth, his
brother, who being made commander in consequence of the action off St
Domingo, and not immediately employed, had come into Somersetshire, in
the summer of 1806; and having no parent living, found a home for half
a year at Monkford.  He was, at that time, a remarkably fine young man,
with a great deal of intelligence, spirit, and brilliancy; and Anne an
extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty, taste, and feeling.
Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough, for
he had nothing to do, and she had hardly anybody to love; but the
encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail.  They were
gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love.
It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the
other, or which had been the happiest: she, in receiving his
declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.

A short period of exquisite felicity followed, and but a short one.
Troubles soon arose.  Sir Walter, on being applied to, without actually
withholding his consent, or saying it should never be, gave it all the
negative of great astonishment, great coldness, great silence, and a
professed resolution of doing nothing for his daughter.  He thought it
a very degrading alliance; and Lady Russell, though with more tempered
and pardonable pride, received it as a most unfortunate one.

Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to throw
herself away at nineteen; involve herself at nineteen in an engagement
with a young man, who had nothing but himself to recommend him, and no
hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances of a most uncertain
profession, and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in the
profession, would be, indeed, a throwing away, which she grieved to
think of!  Anne Elliot, so young; known to so few, to be snatched off
by a stranger without alliance or fortune; or rather sunk by him into a
state of most wearing, anxious, youth-killing dependence!  It must not
be, if by any fair interference of friendship, any representations from
one who had almost a mother's love, and mother's rights, it would be
prevented.

Captain Wentworth had no fortune.  He had been lucky in his profession;
but spending freely, what had come freely, had realized nothing.  But
he was confident that he should soon be rich: full of life and ardour,
he knew that he should soon have a ship, and soon be on a station that
would lead to everything he wanted.  He had always been lucky; he knew
he should be so still.  Such confidence, powerful in its own warmth,
and bewitching in the wit which often expressed it, must have been
enough for Anne; but Lady Russell saw it very differently.  His
sanguine temper, and fearlessness of mind, operated very differently on
her.  She saw in it but an aggravation of the evil.  It only added a
dangerous character to himself.  He was brilliant, he was headstrong.
Lady Russell had little taste for wit, and of anything approaching to
imprudence a horror.  She deprecated the connexion in every light.

Such opposition, as these feelings produced, was more than Anne could
combat.  Young and gentle as she was, it might yet have been possible
to withstand her father's ill-will, though unsoftened by one kind word
or look on the part of her sister; but Lady Russell, whom she had
always loved and relied on, could not, with such steadiness of opinion,
and such tenderness of manner, be continually advising her in vain.
She was persuaded to believe the engagement a wrong thing:  indiscreet,
improper, hardly capable of success, and not deserving it.  But it was
not a merely selfish caution, under which she acted, in putting an end
to it.  Had she not imagined herself consulting his good, even more
than her own, she could hardly have given him up.  The belief of being
prudent, and self-denying, principally for his advantage, was her chief
consolation, under the misery of a parting, a final parting; and every
consolation was required, for she had to encounter all the additional
pain of opinions, on his side, totally unconvinced and unbending, and
of his feeling himself ill used by so forced a relinquishment.  He had
left the country in consequence.

A few months had seen the beginning and the end of their acquaintance;
but not with a few months ended Anne's share of suffering from it.  Her
attachment and regrets had, for a long time, clouded every enjoyment of
youth, and an early loss of bloom and spirits had been their lasting
effect.

More than seven years were gone since this little history of sorrowful
interest had reached its close; and time had softened down much,
perhaps nearly all of peculiar attachment to him, but she had been too
dependent on time alone; no aid had been given in change of place
(except in one visit to Bath soon after the rupture), or in any novelty
or enlargement of society.  No one had ever come within the Kellynch
circle, who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth, as he
stood in her memory.  No second attachment, the only thoroughly
natural, happy, and sufficient cure, at her time of life, had been
possible to the nice tone of her mind, the fastidiousness of her taste,
in the small limits of the society around them.  She had been
solicited, when about two-and-twenty, to change her name, by the young
man, who not long afterwards found a more willing mind in her younger
sister; and Lady Russell had lamented her refusal; for Charles Musgrove
was the eldest son of a man, whose landed property and general
importance were second in that country, only to Sir Walter's, and of
good character and appearance; and however Lady Russell might have
asked yet for something more, while Anne was nineteen, she would have
rejoiced to see her at twenty-two so respectably removed from the
partialities and injustice of her father's house, and settled so
permanently near herself.  But in this case, Anne had left nothing for
advice to do; and though Lady Russell, as satisfied as ever with her
own discretion, never wished the past undone, she began now to have the
anxiety which borders on hopelessness for Anne's being tempted, by some
man of talents and independence, to enter a state for which she held
her to be peculiarly fitted by her warm affections and domestic habits.

They knew not each other's opinion, either its constancy or its change,
on the one leading point of Anne's conduct, for the subject was never
alluded to; but Anne, at seven-and-twenty, thought very differently
from what she had been made to think at nineteen.  She did not blame
Lady Russell, she did not blame herself for having been guided by her;
but she felt that were any young person, in similar circumstances, to
apply to her for counsel, they would never receive any of such certain
immediate wretchedness, such uncertain future good.  She was persuaded
that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home, and every
anxiety attending his profession, all their probable fears, delays, and
disappointments, she should yet have been a happier woman in
maintaining the engagement, than she had been in the sacrifice of it;
and this, she fully believed, had the usual share, had even more than
the usual share of all such solicitudes and suspense been theirs,
without reference to the actual results of their case, which, as it
happened, would have bestowed earlier prosperity than could be
reasonably calculated on.  All his sanguine expectations, all his
confidence had been justified.  His genius and ardour had seemed to
foresee and to command his prosperous path.  He had, very soon after
their engagement ceased, got employ: and all that he had told her would
follow, had taken place.  He had distinguished himself, and early
gained the other step in rank, and must now, by successive captures,
have made a handsome fortune.  She had only navy lists and newspapers
for her authority, but she could not doubt his being rich; and, in
favour of his constancy, she had no reason to believe him married.

How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been! how eloquent, at least, were
her wishes on the side of early warm attachment, and a cheerful
confidence in futurity, against that over-anxious caution which seems
to insult exertion and distrust Providence!  She had been forced into
prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the
natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.

With all these circumstances, recollections and feelings, she could not
hear that Captain Wentworth's sister was likely to live at Kellynch
without a revival of former pain; and many a stroll, and many a sigh,
were necessary to dispel the agitation of the idea.  She often told
herself it was folly, before she could harden her nerves sufficiently
to feel the continual discussion of the Crofts and their business no
evil.  She was assisted, however, by that perfect indifference and
apparent unconsciousness, among the only three of her own friends in
the secret of the past, which seemed almost to deny any recollection of
it.  She could do justice to the superiority of Lady Russell's motives
in this, over those of her father and Elizabeth; she could honour all
the better feelings of her calmness; but the general air of oblivion
among them was highly important from whatever it sprung; and in the
event of Admiral Croft's really taking Kellynch Hall, she rejoiced anew
over the conviction which had always been most grateful to her, of the
past being known to those three only among her connexions, by whom no
syllable, she believed, would ever be whispered, and in the trust that
among his, the brother only with whom he had been residing, had
received any information of their short-lived engagement.  That brother
had been long removed from the country and being a sensible man, and,
moreover, a single man at the time, she had a fond dependence on no
human creature's having heard of it from him.

The sister, Mrs Croft, had then been out of England, accompanying her
husband on a foreign station, and her own sister, Mary, had been at
school while it all occurred; and never admitted by the pride of some,
and the delicacy of others, to the smallest knowledge of it afterwards.

With these supports, she hoped that the acquaintance between herself
and the Crofts, which, with Lady Russell, still resident in Kellynch,
and Mary fixed only three miles off, must be anticipated, need not
involve any particular awkwardness.



Chapter 5


On the morning appointed for Admiral and Mrs Croft's seeing Kellynch
Hall, Anne found it most natural to take her almost daily walk to Lady
Russell's, and keep out of the way till all was over; when she found it
most natural to be sorry that she had missed the opportunity of seeing
them.

This meeting of the two parties proved highly satisfactory, and decided
the whole business at once.  Each lady was previously well disposed for
an agreement, and saw nothing, therefore, but good manners in the
other; and with regard to the gentlemen, there was such an hearty good
humour, such an open, trusting liberality on the Admiral's side, as
could not but influence Sir Walter, who had besides been flattered into
his very best and most polished behaviour by Mr Shepherd's assurances
of his being known, by report, to the Admiral, as a model of good
breeding.

The house and grounds, and furniture, were approved, the Crofts were
approved, terms, time, every thing, and every body, was right; and Mr
Shepherd's clerks were set to work, without there having been a single
preliminary difference to modify of all that "This indenture sheweth."

Sir Walter, without hesitation, declared the Admiral to be the
best-looking sailor he had ever met with, and went so far as to say,
that if his own man might have had the arranging of his hair, he should
not be ashamed of being seen with him any where; and the Admiral, with
sympathetic cordiality, observed to his wife as they drove back through
the park, "I thought we should soon come to a deal, my dear, in spite
of what they told us at Taunton.  The Baronet will never set the Thames
on fire, but there seems to be no harm in him."--reciprocal
compliments, which would have been esteemed about equal.

The Crofts were to have possession at Michaelmas; and as Sir Walter
proposed removing to Bath in the course of the preceding month, there
was no time to be lost in making every dependent arrangement.

Lady Russell, convinced that Anne would not be allowed to be of any
use, or any importance, in the choice of the house which they were
going to secure, was very unwilling to have her hurried away so soon,
and wanted to make it possible for her to stay behind till she might
convey her to Bath herself after Christmas; but having engagements of
her own which must take her from Kellynch for several weeks, she was
unable to give the full invitation she wished, and Anne though dreading
the possible heats of September in all the white glare of Bath, and
grieving to forego all the influence so sweet and so sad of the
autumnal months in the country, did not think that, everything
considered, she wished to remain.  It would be most right, and most
wise, and, therefore must involve least suffering to go with the others.

Something occurred, however, to give her a different duty.  Mary, often
a little unwell, and always thinking a great deal of her own
complaints, and always in the habit of claiming Anne when anything was
the matter, was indisposed; and foreseeing that she should not have a
day's health all the autumn, entreated, or rather required her, for it
was hardly entreaty, to come to Uppercross Cottage, and bear her
company as long as she should want her, instead of going to Bath.

"I cannot possibly do without Anne," was Mary's reasoning; and
Elizabeth's reply was, "Then I am sure Anne had better stay, for nobody
will want her in Bath."

To be claimed as a good, though in an improper style, is at least
better than being rejected as no good at all; and Anne, glad to be
thought of some use, glad to have anything marked out as a duty, and
certainly not sorry to have the scene of it in the country, and her own
dear country, readily agreed to stay.

This invitation of Mary's removed all Lady Russell's difficulties, and
it was consequently soon settled that Anne should not go to Bath till
Lady Russell took her, and that all the intervening time should be
divided between Uppercross Cottage and Kellynch Lodge.

So far all was perfectly right; but Lady Russell was almost startled by
the wrong of one part of the Kellynch Hall plan, when it burst on her,
which was, Mrs Clay's being engaged to go to Bath with Sir Walter and
Elizabeth, as a most important and valuable assistant to the latter in
all the business before her.  Lady Russell was extremely sorry that
such a measure should have been resorted to at all, wondered, grieved,
and feared; and the affront it contained to Anne, in Mrs Clay's being
of so much use, while Anne could be of none, was a very sore
aggravation.

Anne herself was become hardened to such affronts; but she felt the
imprudence of the arrangement quite as keenly as Lady Russell.  With a
great deal of quiet observation, and a knowledge, which she often
wished less, of her father's character, she was sensible that results
the most serious to his family from the intimacy were more than
possible.  She did not imagine that her father had at present an idea
of the kind.  Mrs Clay had freckles, and a projecting tooth, and a
clumsy wrist, which he was continually making severe remarks upon, in
her absence; but she was young, and certainly altogether well-looking,
and possessed, in an acute mind and assiduous pleasing manners,
infinitely more dangerous attractions than any merely personal might
have been.  Anne was so impressed by the degree of their danger, that
she could not excuse herself from trying to make it perceptible to her
sister.  She had little hope of success; but Elizabeth, who in the
event of such a reverse would be so much more to be pitied than
herself, should never, she thought, have reason to reproach her for
giving no warning.

She spoke, and seemed only to offend.  Elizabeth could not conceive how
such an absurd suspicion should occur to her, and indignantly answered
for each party's perfectly knowing their situation.

"Mrs Clay," said she, warmly, "never forgets who she is; and as I am
rather better acquainted with her sentiments than you can be, I can
assure you, that upon the subject of marriage they are particularly
nice, and that she reprobates all inequality of condition and rank more
strongly than most people.  And as to my father, I really should not
have thought that he, who has kept himself single so long for our
sakes, need be suspected now.  If Mrs Clay were a very beautiful woman,
I grant you, it might be wrong to have her so much with me; not that
anything in the world, I am sure, would induce my father to make a
degrading match, but he might be rendered unhappy.  But poor Mrs Clay
who, with all her merits, can never have been reckoned tolerably
pretty, I really think poor Mrs Clay may be staying here in perfect
safety.  One would imagine you had never heard my father speak of her
personal misfortunes, though I know you must fifty times.  That tooth
of her's and those freckles.  Freckles do not disgust me so very much
as they do him.  I have known a face not materially disfigured by a
few, but he abominates them.  You must have heard him notice Mrs Clay's
freckles."

"There is hardly any personal defect," replied Anne, "which an
agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to."

"I think very differently," answered Elizabeth, shortly; "an agreeable
manner may set off handsome features, but can never alter plain ones.
However, at any rate, as I have a great deal more at stake on this
point than anybody else can have, I think it rather unnecessary in you
to be advising me."

Anne had done; glad that it was over, and not absolutely hopeless of
doing good.  Elizabeth, though resenting the suspicion, might yet be
made observant by it.

The last office of the four carriage-horses was to draw Sir Walter,
Miss Elliot, and Mrs Clay to Bath. The party drove off in very good
spirits; Sir Walter prepared with condescending bows for all the
afflicted tenantry and cottagers who might have had a hint to show
themselves, and Anne walked up at the same time, in a sort of desolate
tranquillity, to the Lodge, where she was to spend the first week.

Her friend was not in better spirits than herself. Lady Russell felt
this break-up of the family exceedingly.  Their respectability was as
dear to her as her own, and a daily intercourse had become precious by
habit.  It was painful to look upon their deserted grounds, and still
worse to anticipate the new hands they were to fall into; and to escape
the solitariness and the melancholy of so altered a village, and be out
of the way when Admiral and Mrs Croft first arrived, she had determined
to make her own absence from home begin when she must give up Anne.
Accordingly their removal was made together, and Anne was set down at
Uppercross Cottage, in the first stage of Lady Russell's journey.

Uppercross was a moderate-sized village, which a few years back had
been completely in the old English style, containing only two houses
superior in appearance to those of the yeomen and labourers; the
mansion of the squire, with its high walls, great gates, and old trees,
substantial and unmodernized, and the compact, tight parsonage,
enclosed in its own neat garden, with a vine and a pear-tree trained
round its casements; but upon the marriage of the young 'squire, it had
received the improvement of a farm-house elevated into a cottage, for
his residence, and Uppercross Cottage, with its veranda, French
windows, and other prettiness, was quite as likely to catch the
traveller's eye as the more consistent and considerable aspect and
premises of the Great House, about a quarter of a mile farther on.

Here Anne had often been staying. She knew the ways of Uppercross as
well as those of Kellynch. The two families were so continually
meeting, so much in the habit of running in and out of each other's
house at all hours, that it was rather a surprise to her to find Mary
alone; but being alone, her being unwell and out of spirits was almost
a matter of course. Though better endowed than the elder sister, Mary
had not Anne's understanding nor temper. While well, and happy, and
properly attended to, she had great good humour and excellent spirits;
but any indisposition sunk her completely. She had no resources for
solitude; and inheriting a considerable share of the Elliot
self-importance, was very prone to add to every other distress that of
fancying herself neglected and ill-used. In person, she was inferior to
both sisters, and had, even in her bloom, only reached the dignity of
being "a fine girl." She was now lying on the faded sofa of the pretty
little drawing-room, the once elegant furniture of which had been
gradually growing shabby, under the influence of four summers and two
children; and, on Anne's appearing, greeted her with--

"So, you are come at last!  I began to think I should never see you.  I
am so ill I can hardly speak.  I have not seen a creature the whole
morning!"

"I am sorry to find you unwell," replied Anne.  "You sent me such a
good account of yourself on Thursday!"

"Yes, I made the best of it; I always do:  but I was very far from well
at the time; and I do not think I ever was so ill in my life as I have
been all this morning:  very unfit to be left alone, I am sure.
Suppose I were to be seized of a sudden in some dreadful way, and not
able to ring the bell!  So, Lady Russell would not get out.  I do not
think she has been in this house three times this summer."

Anne said what was proper, and enquired after her husband.  "Oh!
Charles is out shooting.  I have not seen him since seven o'clock.  He
would go, though I told him how ill I was.  He said he should not stay
out long; but he has never come back, and now it is almost one.  I
assure you, I have not seen a soul this whole long morning."

"You have had your little boys with you?"

"Yes, as long as I could bear their noise; but they are so unmanageable
that they do me more harm than good.  Little Charles does not mind a
word I say, and Walter is growing quite as bad."

"Well, you will soon be better now," replied Anne, cheerfully.  "You
know I always cure you when I come.  How are your neighbours at the
Great House?"

"I can give you no account of them.  I have not seen one of them
to-day, except Mr Musgrove, who just stopped and spoke through the
window, but without getting off his horse; and though I told him how
ill I was, not one of them have been near me.  It did not happen to
suit the Miss Musgroves, I suppose, and they never put themselves out
of their way."

"You will see them yet, perhaps, before the morning is gone.  It is
early."

"I never want them, I assure you.  They talk and laugh a great deal too
much for me.  Oh! Anne, I am so very unwell!  It was quite unkind of
you not to come on Thursday."

"My dear Mary, recollect what a comfortable account you sent me of
yourself!  You wrote in the cheerfullest manner, and said you were
perfectly well, and in no hurry for me; and that being the case, you
must be aware that my wish would be to remain with Lady Russell to the
last: and besides what I felt on her account, I have really been so
busy, have had so much to do, that I could not very conveniently have
left Kellynch sooner."

"Dear me! what can you possibly have to do?"

"A great many things, I assure you.  More than I can recollect in a
moment; but I can tell you some.  I have been making a duplicate of the
catalogue of my father's books and pictures.  I have been several times
in the garden with Mackenzie, trying to understand, and make him
understand, which of Elizabeth's plants are for Lady Russell.  I have
had all my own little concerns to arrange, books and music to divide,
and all my trunks to repack, from not having understood in time what
was intended as to the waggons: and one thing I have had to do, Mary,
of a more trying nature: going to almost every house in the parish, as
a sort of take-leave.  I was told that they wished it.  But all these
things took up a great deal of time."

"Oh! well!" and after a moment's pause, "but you have never asked me
one word about our dinner at the Pooles yesterday."

"Did you go then?  I have made no enquiries, because I concluded you
must have been obliged to give up the party."

"Oh yes! I went.  I was very well yesterday; nothing at all the matter
with me till this morning.  It would have been strange if I had not
gone."

"I am very glad you were well enough, and I hope you had a pleasant
party."

"Nothing remarkable.  One always knows beforehand what the dinner will
be, and who will be there; and it is so very uncomfortable not having a
carriage of one's own.  Mr and Mrs Musgrove took me, and we were so
crowded!  They are both so very large, and take up so much room; and Mr
Musgrove always sits forward.  So, there was I, crowded into the back
seat with Henrietta and Louise; and I think it very likely that my
illness to-day may be owing to it."

A little further perseverance in patience and forced cheerfulness on
Anne's side produced nearly a cure on Mary's.  She could soon sit
upright on the sofa, and began to hope she might be able to leave it by
dinner-time.  Then, forgetting to think of it, she was at the other end
of the room, beautifying a nosegay; then, she ate her cold meat; and
then she was well enough to propose a little walk.

"Where shall we go?" said she, when they were ready.  "I suppose you
will not like to call at the Great House before they have been to see
you?"

"I have not the smallest objection on that account," replied Anne.  "I
should never think of standing on such ceremony with people I know so
well as Mrs and the Miss Musgroves."

"Oh! but they ought to call upon you as soon as possible.  They ought
to feel what is due to you as my sister.  However, we may as well go
and sit with them a little  while, and when we have that over, we can
enjoy our walk."

Anne had always thought such a style of intercourse highly imprudent;
but she had ceased to endeavour to check it, from believing that,
though there were on each side continual subjects of offence, neither
family could now do without it.  To the Great House accordingly they
went, to sit the full half hour in the old-fashioned square parlour,
with a small carpet and shining floor, to which the present daughters
of the house were gradually giving the proper air of confusion by a
grand piano-forte and a harp, flower-stands and little tables placed in
every direction.  Oh! could the originals of the portraits against the
wainscot, could the gentlemen in brown velvet and the ladies in blue
satin have seen what was going on, have been conscious of such an
overthrow of all order and neatness!  The portraits themselves seemed
to be staring in astonishment.

The Musgroves, like their houses, were in a state of alteration,
perhaps of improvement.  The father and mother were in the old English
style, and the young people in the new.  Mr and Mrs Musgrove were a
very good sort of people; friendly and hospitable, not much educated,
and not at all elegant.  Their children had more modern minds and
manners.  There was a numerous family; but the only two grown up,
excepting Charles, were Henrietta and Louisa, young ladies of nineteen
and twenty, who had brought from school at Exeter all the usual stock
of accomplishments, and were now like thousands of other young ladies,
living to be fashionable, happy, and merry.  Their dress had every
advantage, their faces were rather pretty, their spirits extremely
good, their manner unembarrassed and pleasant; they were of consequence
at home, and favourites abroad.  Anne always contemplated them as some
of the happiest creatures of her acquaintance; but still, saved as we
all are, by some comfortable feeling of superiority from wishing for
the possibility of exchange, she would not have given up her own more
elegant and cultivated mind for all their enjoyments; and envied them
nothing but that seemingly perfect good understanding and agreement
together, that good-humoured mutual affection, of which she had known
so little herself with either of her sisters.

They were received with great cordiality.  Nothing seemed amiss on the
side of the Great House family, which was generally, as Anne very well
knew, the least to blame.  The half hour was chatted away pleasantly
enough; and she was not at all surprised at the end of it, to have
their walking party joined by both the Miss Musgroves, at Mary's
particular invitation.



Chapter 6


Anne had not wanted this visit to Uppercross, to learn that a removal
from one set of people to another, though at a distance of only three
miles, will often include a total change of conversation, opinion, and
idea.  She had never been staying there before, without being struck by
it, or without wishing that other Elliots could have her advantage in
seeing how unknown, or unconsidered there, were the affairs which at
Kellynch Hall were treated as of such general publicity and pervading
interest; yet, with all this experience, she believed she must now
submit to feel that another lesson, in the art of knowing our own
nothingness beyond our own circle, was become necessary for her; for
certainly, coming as she did, with a heart full of the subject which
had been completely occupying both houses in Kellynch for many weeks,
she had expected rather more curiosity and sympathy than she found in
the separate but very similar remark of Mr and Mrs Musgrove: "So, Miss
Anne, Sir Walter and your sister are gone; and what part of Bath do you
think they will settle in?" and this, without much waiting for an
answer; or in the young ladies' addition of, "I hope we shall be in
Bath in the winter; but remember, papa, if we do go, we must be in a
good situation:  none of your Queen Squares for us!" or in the anxious
supplement from Mary, of--"Upon my word, I shall be pretty well off,
when you are all gone away to be happy at Bath!"

She could only resolve to avoid such self-delusion in future, and think
with heightened gratitude of the extraordinary blessing of having one
such truly sympathising friend as Lady Russell.

The Mr Musgroves had their own game to guard, and to destroy, their own
horses, dogs, and newspapers to engage them, and the females were fully
occupied in all the other common subjects of housekeeping, neighbours,
dress, dancing, and music.  She acknowledged it to be very fitting,
that every little social commonwealth should dictate its own matters of
discourse; and hoped, ere long, to become a not unworthy member of the
one she was now transplanted into.  With the prospect of spending at
least two months at Uppercross, it was highly incumbent on her to
clothe her imagination, her memory, and all her ideas in as much of
Uppercross as possible.

She had no dread of these two months.  Mary was not so repulsive and
unsisterly as Elizabeth, nor so inaccessible to all influence of hers;
neither was there anything among the other component parts of the
cottage inimical to comfort.  She was always on friendly terms with her
brother-in-law; and in the children, who loved her nearly as well, and
respected her a great deal more than their mother, she had an object of
interest, amusement, and wholesome exertion.

Charles Musgrove was civil and agreeable; in sense and temper he was
undoubtedly superior to his wife, but not of powers, or conversation,
or grace, to make the past, as they were connected together, at all a
dangerous contemplation; though, at the same time, Anne could believe,
with Lady Russell, that a more equal match might have greatly improved
him; and that a woman of real understanding might have given more
consequence to his character, and more usefulness, rationality, and
elegance to his habits and pursuits.  As it was, he did nothing with
much zeal, but sport; and his time was otherwise trifled away, without
benefit from books or anything else.  He had very good spirits, which
never seemed much affected by his wife's occasional lowness, bore with
her unreasonableness sometimes to Anne's admiration, and upon the
whole, though there was very often a little disagreement (in which she
had sometimes more share than she wished, being appealed to by both
parties), they might pass for a happy couple.  They were always
perfectly agreed in the want of more money, and a strong inclination
for a handsome present from his father; but here, as on most topics, he
had the superiority, for while Mary thought it a great shame that such
a present was not made, he always contended for his father's having
many other uses for his money, and a right to spend it as he liked.

As to the management of their children, his theory was much better than
his wife's, and his practice not so bad.  "I could manage them very
well, if it were not for Mary's interference," was what Anne often
heard him say, and had a good deal of faith in; but when listening in
turn to Mary's reproach of "Charles spoils the children so that I
cannot get them into any order," she never had the smallest temptation
to say, "Very true."

One of the least agreeable circumstances of her residence there was her
being treated with too much confidence by all parties, and being too
much in the secret of the complaints of each house.  Known to have some
influence with her sister, she was continually requested, or at least
receiving hints to exert it, beyond what was practicable.  "I wish you
could persuade Mary not to be always fancying herself ill," was
Charles's language; and, in an unhappy mood, thus spoke Mary: "I do
believe if Charles were to see me dying, he would not think there was
anything the matter with me.  I am sure, Anne, if you would, you might
persuade him that I really am very ill--a great deal worse than I ever
own."

Mary's declaration was, "I hate sending the children to the Great
House, though their grandmamma is always wanting to see them, for she
humours and indulges them to such a degree, and gives them so much
trash and sweet things, that they are sure to come back sick and cross
for the rest of the day."  And Mrs Musgrove took the first opportunity
of being alone with Anne, to say, "Oh! Miss Anne, I cannot help wishing
Mrs Charles had a little of your method with those children.  They are
quite different creatures with you!  But to be sure, in general they
are so spoilt!  It is a pity you cannot put your sister in the way of
managing them.  They are as fine healthy children as ever were seen,
poor little dears! without partiality; but Mrs Charles knows no more
how they should be treated--!  Bless me! how troublesome they are
sometimes.  I assure you, Miss Anne, it prevents my wishing to see them
at our house so often as I otherwise should.  I believe Mrs Charles is
not quite pleased with my not inviting them oftener; but you know it is
very bad to have children with one that one is obligated to be checking
every moment; "don't do this," and "don't do that;" or that one can
only keep in tolerable order by more cake than is good for them."

She had this communication, moreover, from Mary.  "Mrs Musgrove thinks
all her servants so steady, that it would be high treason to call it in
question; but I am sure, without exaggeration, that her upper
house-maid and laundry-maid, instead of being in their business, are
gadding about the village, all day long.  I meet them wherever I go;
and I declare, I never go twice into my nursery without seeing
something of them.  If Jemima were not the trustiest, steadiest
creature in the world, it would be enough to spoil her; for she tells
me, they are always tempting her to take a walk with them." And on Mrs
Musgrove's side, it was, "I make a rule of never interfering in any of
my daughter-in-law's concerns, for I know it would not do; but I shall
tell you, Miss Anne, because you may be able to set things to rights,
that I have no very good opinion of Mrs Charles's nursery-maid: I hear
strange stories of her; she is always upon the gad; and from my own
knowledge, I can declare, she is such a fine-dressing lady, that she is
enough to ruin any servants she comes near.  Mrs Charles quite swears
by her, I know; but I just give you this hint, that you may be upon the
watch; because, if you see anything amiss, you need not be afraid of
mentioning it."

Again, it was Mary's complaint, that Mrs Musgrove was very apt not to
give her the precedence that was her due, when they dined at the Great
House with other families; and she did not see any reason why she was
to be considered so much at home as to lose her place.  And one day
when Anne was walking with only the Musgroves, one of them after
talking of rank, people of rank, and jealousy of rank, said, "I have no
scruple of observing to you, how nonsensical some persons are about
their place, because all the world knows how easy and indifferent you
are about it; but I wish anybody could give Mary a hint that it would
be a great deal better if she were not so very tenacious, especially if
she would not be always putting herself forward to take place of mamma.
Nobody doubts her right to have precedence of mamma, but it would be
more becoming in her not to be always insisting on it.  It is not that
mamma cares about it the least in the world, but I know it is taken
notice of by many persons."

How was Anne to set all these matters to rights?  She could do little
more than listen patiently, soften every grievance, and excuse each to
the other; give them all hints of the forbearance necessary between
such near neighbours, and make those hints broadest which were meant
for her sister's benefit.

In all other respects, her visit began and proceeded very well.  Her
own spirits improved by change of place and subject, by being removed
three miles from Kellynch; Mary's ailments lessened by having a
constant companion, and their daily intercourse with the other family,
since there was neither superior affection, confidence, nor employment
in the cottage, to be interrupted by it, was rather an advantage.  It
was certainly carried nearly as far as possible, for they met every
morning, and hardly ever spent an evening asunder; but she believed
they should not have done so well without the sight of Mr and Mrs
Musgrove's respectable forms in the usual places, or without the
talking, laughing, and singing of their daughters.

She played a great deal better than either of the Miss Musgroves, but
having no voice, no knowledge of the harp, and no fond parents, to sit
by and fancy themselves delighted, her performance was little thought
of, only out of civility, or to refresh the others, as she was well
aware.  She knew that when she played she was giving pleasure only to
herself; but this was no new sensation.  Excepting one short period of
her life, she had never, since the age of fourteen, never since the
loss of her dear mother, known the happiness of being listened to, or
encouraged by any just appreciation or real taste.  In music she had
been always used to feel alone in the world; and Mr and Mrs Musgrove's
fond partiality for their own daughters' performance, and total
indifference to any other person's, gave her much more pleasure for
their sakes, than mortification for her own.

The party at the Great House was sometimes increased by other company.
The neighbourhood was not large, but the Musgroves were visited by
everybody, and had more dinner-parties, and more callers, more visitors
by invitation and by chance, than any other family.  There were more
completely popular.

The girls were wild for dancing; and the evenings ended, occasionally,
in an unpremeditated little ball.  There was a family of cousins within
a walk of Uppercross, in less affluent circumstances, who depended on
the Musgroves for all their pleasures:  they would come at any time,
and help play at anything, or dance anywhere; and Anne, very much
preferring the office of musician to a more active post, played country
dances to them by the hour together; a kindness which always
recommended her musical powers to the notice of Mr and Mrs Musgrove
more than anything else, and often drew this compliment;--"Well done,
Miss Anne! very well done indeed!  Lord bless me!  how those little
fingers of yours fly about!"

So passed the first three weeks.  Michaelmas came; and now Anne's heart
must be in Kellynch again.  A beloved home made over to others; all the
precious rooms and furniture, groves, and prospects, beginning to own
other eyes and other limbs!  She could not think of much else on the
29th of September; and she had this sympathetic touch in the evening
from Mary, who, on having occasion to note down the day of the month,
exclaimed, "Dear me, is not this the day the Crofts were to come to
Kellynch?  I am glad I did not think of it before.  How low it makes
me!"

The Crofts took possession with true naval alertness, and were to be
visited.  Mary deplored the necessity for herself.  "Nobody knew how
much she should suffer.  She should put it off as long as she could;"
but was not easy till she had talked Charles into driving her over on
an early day, and was in a very animated, comfortable state of
imaginary agitation, when she came back.  Anne had very sincerely
rejoiced in there being no means of her going.  She wished, however to
see the Crofts, and was glad to be within when the visit was returned.
They came:  the master of the house was not at home, but the two
sisters were together; and as it chanced that Mrs Croft fell to the
share of Anne, while the Admiral sat by Mary, and made himself very
agreeable by his good-humoured notice of her little boys, she was well
able to watch for a likeness, and if it failed her in the features, to
catch it in the voice, or in the turn of sentiment and expression.

Mrs Croft, though neither tall nor fat, had a squareness, uprightness,
and vigour of form, which gave importance to her person.  She had
bright dark eyes, good teeth, and altogether an agreeable face; though
her reddened and weather-beaten complexion, the consequence of her
having been almost as much at sea as her husband, made her seem to have
lived some years longer in the world than her real eight-and-thirty.
Her manners were open, easy, and decided, like one who had no distrust
of herself, and no doubts of what to do; without any approach to
coarseness, however, or any want of good humour.  Anne gave her credit,
indeed, for feelings of great consideration towards herself, in all
that related to Kellynch, and it pleased her: especially, as she had
satisfied herself in the very first half minute, in the instant even of
introduction, that there was not the smallest symptom of any knowledge
or suspicion on Mrs Croft's side, to give a bias of any sort.  She was
quite easy on that head, and consequently full of strength and courage,
till for a moment electrified by Mrs Croft's suddenly saying,--

"It was you, and not your sister, I find, that my brother had the
pleasure of being acquainted with, when he was in this country."

Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion
she certainly had not.

"Perhaps you may not have heard that he is married?" added Mrs Croft.

She could now answer as she ought; and was happy to feel, when Mrs
Croft's next words explained it to be Mr Wentworth of whom she spoke,
that she had said nothing which might not do for either brother. She
immediately felt how reasonable it was, that Mrs Croft should be
thinking and speaking of Edward, and not of Frederick; and with shame
at her own forgetfulness applied herself to the knowledge of their
former neighbour's present state with proper interest.

The rest was all tranquillity; till, just as they were moving, she
heard the Admiral say to Mary--

"We are expecting a brother of Mrs Croft's here soon; I dare say you
know him by name."

He was cut short by the eager attacks of the little boys, clinging to
him like an old friend, and declaring he should not go; and being too
much engrossed by proposals of carrying them away in his coat pockets,
&c., to have another moment for finishing or recollecting what he had
begun, Anne was left to persuade herself, as well as she could, that
the same brother must still be in question.  She could not, however,
reach such a degree of certainty, as not to be anxious to hear whether
anything had been said on the subject at the other house, where the
Crofts had previously been calling.

The folks of the Great House were to spend the evening of this day at
the Cottage; and it being now too late in the year for such visits to
be made on foot, the coach was beginning to be listened for, when the
youngest Miss Musgrove walked in.  That she was coming to apologize,
and that they should have to spend the evening by themselves, was the
first black idea; and Mary was quite ready to be affronted, when Louisa
made all right by saying, that she only came on foot, to leave more
room for the harp, which was bringing in the carriage.

"And I will tell you our reason," she added, "and all about it.  I am
come on to give you notice, that papa and mamma are out of spirits this
evening, especially mamma; she is thinking so much of poor Richard!
And we agreed it would be best to have the harp, for it seems to amuse
her more than the piano-forte.  I will tell you why she is out of
spirits.  When the Crofts called this morning, (they called here
afterwards, did not they?), they happened to say, that her brother,
Captain Wentworth, is just returned to England, or paid off, or
something, and is coming to see them almost directly; and most
unluckily it came into mamma's head, when they were gone, that
Wentworth, or something very like it, was the name of poor Richard's
captain at one time; I do not know when or where, but a great while
before he died, poor fellow!  And upon looking over his letters and
things, she found it was so, and is perfectly sure that this must be
the very man, and her head is quite full of it, and of poor Richard!
So we must be as merry as we can, that she may not be dwelling upon
such gloomy things."

The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were,
that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome,
hopeless son; and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his
twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea because he was stupid and
unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any
time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard
of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death
abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before.

He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for
him, by calling him "poor Richard," been nothing better than a
thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done
anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name,
living or dead.

He had been several years at sea, and had, in the course of those
removals to which all midshipmen are liable, and especially such
midshipmen as every captain wishes to get rid of, been six months on
board Captain Frederick Wentworth's frigate, the Laconia; and from the
Laconia he had, under the influence of his captain, written the only
two letters which his father and mother had ever received from him
during the whole of his absence; that is to say, the only two
disinterested letters; all the rest had been mere applications for
money.

In each letter he had spoken well of his captain; but yet, so little
were they in the habit of attending to such matters, so unobservant and
incurious were they as to the names of men or ships, that it had made
scarcely any impression at the time; and that Mrs Musgrove should have
been suddenly struck, this very day, with a recollection of the name of
Wentworth, as connected with her son, seemed one of those extraordinary
bursts of mind which do sometimes occur.

She had gone to her letters, and found it all as she supposed; and the
re-perusal of these letters, after so long an interval, her poor son
gone for ever, and all the strength of his faults forgotten, had
affected her spirits exceedingly, and thrown her into greater grief for
him than she had known on first hearing of his death.  Mr Musgrove was,
in a lesser degree, affected likewise; and when they reached the
cottage, they were evidently in want, first, of being listened to anew
on this subject, and afterwards, of all the relief which cheerful
companions could give them.

To hear them talking so much of Captain Wentworth, repeating his name
so often, puzzling over past years, and at last ascertaining that it
might, that it probably would, turn out to be the very same Captain
Wentworth whom they recollected meeting, once or twice, after their
coming back from Clifton--a very fine young man--but they could not say
whether it was seven or eight years ago, was a new sort of trial to
Anne's nerves.  She found, however, that it was one to which she must
inure herself.  Since he actually was expected in the country, she must
teach herself to be insensible on such points.  And not only did it
appear that he was expected, and speedily, but the Musgroves, in their
warm gratitude for the kindness he had shewn poor Dick, and very high
respect for his character, stamped as it was by poor Dick's having been
six months under his care, and mentioning him in strong, though not
perfectly well-spelt praise, as "a fine dashing felow, only two
perticular about the schoolmaster," were bent on introducing
themselves, and seeking his acquaintance, as soon as they could hear of
his arrival.

The resolution of doing so helped to form the comfort of their evening.



Chapter 7


A very few days more, and Captain Wentworth was known to be at
Kellynch, and Mr Musgrove had called on him, and come back warm in his
praise, and he was engaged with the Crofts to dine at Uppercross, by
the end of another week.  It had been a great disappointment to Mr
Musgrove to find that no earlier day could be fixed, so impatient was
he to shew his gratitude, by seeing Captain Wentworth under his own
roof, and welcoming him to all that was strongest and best in his
cellars.  But a week must pass; only a week, in Anne's reckoning, and
then, she supposed, they must meet; and soon she began to wish that she
could feel secure even for a week.

Captain Wentworth made a very early return to Mr Musgrove's civility,
and she was all but calling there in the same half hour.  She and Mary
were actually setting forward for the Great House, where, as she
afterwards learnt, they must inevitably have found him, when they were
stopped by the eldest boy's being at that moment brought home in
consequence of a bad fall.  The child's situation put the visit
entirely aside; but she could not hear of her escape with indifference,
even in the midst of the serious anxiety which they afterwards felt on
his account.

His collar-bone was found to be dislocated, and such injury received in
the back, as roused the most alarming ideas.  It was an afternoon of
distress, and Anne had every thing to do at once; the apothecary to
send for, the father to have pursued and informed, the mother to
support and keep from hysterics, the servants to control, the youngest
child to banish, and the poor suffering one to attend and soothe;
besides sending, as soon as she recollected it, proper notice to the
other house, which brought her an accession rather of frightened,
enquiring companions, than of very useful assistants.

Her brother's return was the first comfort; he could take best care of
his wife; and the second blessing was the arrival of the apothecary.
Till he came and had examined the child, their apprehensions were the
worse for being vague; they suspected great injury, but knew not where;
but now the collar-bone was soon replaced, and though Mr Robinson felt
and felt, and rubbed, and looked grave, and spoke low words both to the
father and the aunt, still they were all to hope the best, and to be
able to part and eat their dinner in tolerable ease of mind; and then
it was, just before they parted, that the two young aunts were able so
far to digress from their nephew's state, as to give the information of
Captain Wentworth's visit; staying five minutes behind their father and
mother, to endeavour to express how perfectly delighted they were with
him, how much handsomer, how infinitely more agreeable they thought him
than any individual among their male acquaintance, who had been at all
a favourite before.  How glad they had been to hear papa invite him to
stay dinner, how sorry when he said it was quite out of his power, and
how glad again when he had promised in reply to papa and mamma's
farther pressing invitations to come and dine with them on the
morrow--actually on the morrow; and he had promised it in so pleasant a
manner, as if he felt all the motive of their attention just as he
ought.  And in short, he had looked and said everything with such
exquisite grace, that they could assure them all, their heads were both
turned by him; and off they ran, quite as full of glee as of love, and
apparently more full of Captain Wentworth than of little Charles.

The same story and the same raptures were repeated, when the two girls
came with their father, through the gloom of the evening, to make
enquiries; and Mr Musgrove, no longer under the first uneasiness about
his heir, could add his confirmation and praise, and hope there would
be now no occasion for putting Captain Wentworth off, and only be sorry
to think that the cottage party, probably, would not like to leave the
little boy, to give him the meeting.  "Oh no; as to leaving the little
boy," both father and mother were in much too strong and recent alarm
to bear the thought; and Anne, in the joy of the escape, could not help
adding her warm protestations to theirs.

Charles Musgrove, indeed, afterwards, shewed more of inclination; "the
child was going on so well, and he wished so much to be introduced to
Captain Wentworth, that, perhaps, he might join them in the evening; he
would not dine from home, but he might walk in for half an hour." But
in this he was eagerly opposed by his wife, with "Oh! no, indeed,
Charles, I cannot bear to have you go away.  Only think if anything
should happen?"

The child had a good night, and was going on well the next day.  It
must be a work of time to ascertain that no injury had been done to the
spine; but Mr Robinson found nothing to increase alarm, and Charles
Musgrove began, consequently, to feel no necessity for longer
confinement.  The child was to be kept in bed and amused as quietly as
possible; but what was there for a father to do?  This was quite a
female case, and it would be highly absurd in him, who could be of no
use at home, to shut himself up.  His father very much wished him to
meet Captain Wentworth, and there being no sufficient reason against
it, he ought to go; and it ended in his making a bold, public
declaration, when he came in from shooting, of his meaning to dress
directly, and dine at the other house.

"Nothing can be going on better than the child," said he; "so I told my
father, just now, that I would come, and he thought me quite right.
Your sister being with you, my love, I have no scruple at all.  You
would not like to leave him yourself, but you see I can be of no use.
Anne will send for me if anything is the matter."

Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition will be vain.
Mary knew, from Charles's manner of speaking, that he was quite
determined on going, and that it would be of no use to teaze him.  She
said nothing, therefore, till he was out of the room, but as soon as
there was only Anne to hear--

"So you and I are to be left to shift by ourselves, with this poor sick
child; and not a creature coming near us all the evening!  I knew how
it would be.  This is always my luck.  If there is anything
disagreeable going on men are always sure to get out of it, and Charles
is as bad as any of them.  Very unfeeling!  I must say it is very
unfeeling of him to be running away from his poor little boy.  Talks of
his being going on so well!  How does he know that he is going on well,
or that there may not be a sudden change half an hour hence?  I did not
think Charles would have been so unfeeling.  So here he is to go away
and enjoy himself, and because I am the poor mother, I am not to be
allowed to stir; and yet, I am sure, I am more unfit than anybody else
to be about the child.  My being the mother is the very reason why my
feelings should not be tried.  I am not at all equal to it.  You saw
how hysterical I was yesterday."

"But that was only the effect of the suddenness of your alarm--of the
shock.  You will not be hysterical again.  I dare say we shall have
nothing to distress us.  I perfectly understand Mr Robinson's
directions, and have no fears; and indeed, Mary, I cannot wonder at
your husband.  Nursing does not belong to a man; it is not his
province.  A sick child is always the mother's property:  her own
feelings generally make it so."

"I hope I am as fond of my child as any mother, but I do not know that
I am of any more use in the sick-room than Charles, for I cannot be
always scolding and teazing the poor child when it is ill; and you saw,
this morning, that if I told him to keep quiet, he was sure to begin
kicking about.  I have not nerves for the sort of thing."

"But, could you be comfortable yourself, to be spending the whole
evening away from the poor boy?"

"Yes; you see his papa can, and why should not I?  Jemima is so
careful; and she could send us word every hour how he was.  I really
think Charles might as well have told his father we would all come.  I
am not more alarmed about little Charles now than he is.  I was
dreadfully alarmed yesterday, but the case is very different to-day."

"Well, if you do not think it too late to give notice for yourself,
suppose you were to go, as well as your husband.  Leave little Charles
to my care.  Mr and Mrs Musgrove cannot think it wrong while I remain
with him."

"Are you serious?" cried Mary, her eyes brightening.  "Dear me!  that's
a very good thought, very good, indeed.  To be sure, I may just as well
go as not, for I am of no use at home--am I?  and it only harasses me.
You, who have not a mother's feelings, are a great deal the properest
person.  You can make little Charles do anything; he always minds you
at a word.  It will be a great deal better than leaving him only with
Jemima.  Oh! I shall certainly go; I am sure I ought if I can, quite as
much as Charles, for they want me excessively to be acquainted with
Captain Wentworth, and I know you do not mind being left alone.  An
excellent thought of yours, indeed, Anne.  I will go and tell Charles,
and get ready directly.  You can send for us, you know, at a moment's
notice, if anything is the matter; but I dare say there will be nothing
to alarm you.  I should not go, you may be sure, if I did not feel
quite at ease about my dear child."

The next moment she was tapping at her husband's dressing-room door,
and as Anne followed her up stairs, she was in time for the whole
conversation, which began with Mary's saying, in a tone of great
exultation--

"I mean to go with you, Charles, for I am of no more use at home than
you are.  If I were to shut myself up for ever with the child, I should
not be able to persuade him to do anything he did not like.  Anne will
stay; Anne undertakes to stay at home and take care of him.  It is
Anne's own proposal, and so I shall go with you, which will be a great
deal better, for I have not dined at the other house since Tuesday."

"This is very kind of Anne," was her husband's answer, "and I should be
very glad to have you go; but it seems rather hard that she should be
left at home by herself, to nurse our sick child."

Anne was now at hand to take up her own cause, and the sincerity of her
manner being soon sufficient to convince him, where conviction was at
least very agreeable, he had no farther scruples as to her being left
to dine alone, though he still wanted her to join them in the evening,
when the child might be at rest for the night, and kindly urged her to
let him come and fetch her, but she was quite unpersuadable; and this
being the case, she had ere long the pleasure of seeing them set off
together in high spirits.  They were gone, she hoped, to be happy,
however oddly constructed such happiness might seem; as for herself,
she was left with as many sensations of comfort, as were, perhaps, ever
likely to be hers.  She knew herself to be of the first utility to the
child; and what was it to her if Frederick Wentworth were only half a
mile distant, making himself agreeable to others?

She would have liked to know how he felt as to a meeting.  Perhaps
indifferent, if indifference could exist under such circumstances.  He
must be either indifferent or unwilling.  Had he wished ever to see her
again, he need not have waited till this time; he would have done what
she could not but believe that in his place she should have done long
ago, when events had been early giving him the independence which alone
had been wanting.

Her brother and sister came back delighted with their new acquaintance,
and their visit in general.  There had been music, singing, talking,
laughing, all that was most agreeable; charming manners in Captain
Wentworth, no shyness or reserve; they seemed all to know each other
perfectly, and he was coming the very next morning to shoot with
Charles.  He was to come to breakfast, but not at the Cottage, though
that had been proposed at first; but then he had been pressed to come
to the Great House instead, and he seemed afraid of being in Mrs
Charles Musgrove's way, on account of the child, and therefore,
somehow, they hardly knew how, it ended in Charles's being to meet him
to breakfast at his father's.

Anne understood it.  He wished to avoid seeing her.  He had inquired
after her, she found, slightly, as might suit a former slight
acquaintance, seeming to acknowledge such as she had acknowledged,
actuated, perhaps, by the same view of escaping introduction when they
were to meet.

The morning hours of the Cottage were always later than those of the
other house, and on the morrow the difference was so great that Mary
and Anne were not more than beginning breakfast when Charles came in to
say that they were just setting off, that he was come for his dogs,
that his sisters were following with Captain Wentworth; his sisters
meaning to visit Mary and the child, and Captain Wentworth proposing
also to wait on her for a few minutes if not inconvenient; and though
Charles had answered for the child's being in no such state as could
make it inconvenient, Captain Wentworth would not be satisfied without
his running on to give notice.

Mary, very much gratified by this attention, was delighted to receive
him, while a thousand feelings rushed on Anne, of which this was the
most consoling, that it would soon be over.  And it was soon over.  In
two minutes after Charles's preparation, the others appeared; they were
in the drawing-room.  Her eye half met Captain Wentworth's, a bow, a
curtsey passed; she heard his voice; he talked to Mary, said all that
was right, said something to the Miss Musgroves, enough to mark an easy
footing; the room seemed full, full of persons and voices, but a few
minutes ended it.  Charles shewed himself at the window, all was ready,
their visitor had bowed and was gone, the Miss Musgroves were gone too,
suddenly resolving to walk to the end of the village with the
sportsmen:  the room was cleared, and Anne might finish her breakfast
as she could.

"It is over! it is over!" she repeated to herself again and again, in
nervous gratitude.  "The worst is over!"

Mary talked, but she could not attend.  She had seen him.  They had
met.  They had been once more in the same room.

Soon, however, she began to reason with herself, and try to be feeling
less.  Eight years, almost eight years had passed, since all had been
given up.  How absurd to be resuming the agitation which such an
interval had banished into distance and indistinctness!  What might not
eight years do?  Events of every description, changes, alienations,
removals--all, all must be comprised in it, and oblivion of the past--
how natural, how certain too!  It included nearly a third part of her
own life.

Alas! with all her reasoning, she found, that to retentive feelings
eight years may be little more than nothing.

Now, how were his sentiments to be read?  Was this like wishing to
avoid her?  And the next moment she was hating herself for the folly
which asked the question.

On one other question which perhaps her utmost wisdom might not have
prevented, she was soon spared all suspense; for, after the Miss
Musgroves had returned and finished their visit at the Cottage she had
this spontaneous information from Mary:--

"Captain Wentworth is not very gallant by you, Anne, though he was so
attentive to me.  Henrietta asked him what he thought of you, when they
went away, and he said, 'You were so altered he should not have known
you again.'"

Mary had no feelings to make her respect her sister's in a common way,
but she was perfectly unsuspicious of being inflicting any peculiar
wound.

"Altered beyond his knowledge."  Anne fully submitted, in silent, deep
mortification.  Doubtless it was so, and she could take no revenge, for
he was not altered, or not for the worse.  She had already acknowledged
it to herself, and she could not think differently, let him think of
her as he would.  No:  the years which had destroyed her youth and
bloom had only given him a more glowing, manly, open look, in no
respect lessening his personal advantages.  She had seen the same
Frederick Wentworth.

"So altered that he should not have known her again!"  These were words
which could not but dwell with her.  Yet she soon began to rejoice that
she had heard them.  They were of sobering tendency; they allayed
agitation; they composed, and consequently must make her happier.

Frederick Wentworth had used such words, or something like them, but
without an idea that they would be carried round to her.  He had
thought her wretchedly altered, and in the first moment of appeal, had
spoken as he felt.  He had not forgiven Anne Elliot.  She had used him
ill, deserted and disappointed him; and worse, she had shewn a
feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident
temper could not endure.  She had given him up to oblige others.  It
had been the effect of over-persuasion.  It had been weakness and
timidity.

He had been most warmly attached to her, and had never seen a woman
since whom he thought her equal; but, except from some natural
sensation of curiosity, he had no desire of meeting her again.  Her
power with him was gone for ever.

It was now his object to marry.  He was rich, and being turned on
shore, fully intended to settle as soon as he could be properly
tempted; actually looking round, ready to fall in love with all the
speed which a clear head and a quick taste could allow.  He had a heart
for either of the Miss Musgroves, if they could catch it; a heart, in
short, for any pleasing young woman who came in his way, excepting Anne
Elliot.  This was his only secret exception, when he said to his
sister, in answer to her suppositions:--

"Yes, here I am, Sophia, quite ready to make a foolish match.  Anybody
between fifteen and thirty may have me for asking.  A little beauty,
and a few smiles, and a few compliments to the navy, and I am a lost
man.  Should not this be enough for a sailor, who has had no society
among women to make him nice?"

He said it, she knew, to be contradicted.  His bright proud eye spoke
the conviction that he was nice; and Anne Elliot was not out of his
thoughts, when he more seriously described the woman he should wish to
meet with.  "A strong mind, with sweetness of manner," made the first
and the last of the description.

"That is the woman I want," said he.  "Something a little inferior I
shall of course put up with, but it must not be much.  If I am a fool,
I shall be a fool indeed, for I have thought on the subject more than
most men."



Chapter 8


From this time Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot were repeatedly in the
same circle.  They were soon dining in company together at Mr
Musgrove's, for the little boy's state could no longer supply his aunt
with a pretence for absenting herself; and this was but the beginning
of other dinings and other meetings.

Whether former feelings were to be renewed must be brought to the
proof; former times must undoubtedly be brought to the recollection of
each; they could not but be reverted to; the year of their engagement
could not but be named by him, in the little narratives or descriptions
which conversation called forth.  His profession qualified him, his
disposition lead him, to talk; and "That was in the year six;" "That
happened before I went to sea in the year six," occurred in the course
of the first evening they spent together: and though his voice did not
falter, and though she had no reason to suppose his eye wandering
towards her while he spoke, Anne felt the utter impossibility, from her
knowledge of his mind, that he could be unvisited by remembrance any
more than herself.  There must be the same immediate association of
thought, though she was very far from conceiving it to be of equal pain.

They had no conversation together, no intercourse but what the
commonest civility required.  Once so much to each other!  Now nothing!
There had been a time, when of all the large party now filling the
drawing-room at Uppercross, they would have found it most difficult to
cease to speak to one another.  With the exception, perhaps, of Admiral
and Mrs Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy, (Anne could
allow no other exceptions even among the married couples), there could
have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so
in unison, no countenances so beloved.  Now they were as strangers;
nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted.  It
was a perpetual estrangement.

When he talked, she heard the same voice, and discerned the same mind.
There was a very general ignorance of all naval matters throughout the
party; and he was very much questioned, and especially by the two Miss
Musgroves, who seemed hardly to have any eyes but for him, as to the
manner of living on board, daily regulations, food, hours, &c., and
their surprise at his accounts, at learning the degree of accommodation
and arrangement which was practicable, drew from him some pleasant
ridicule, which reminded Anne of the early days when she too had been
ignorant, and she too had been accused of supposing sailors to be
living on board without anything to eat, or any cook to dress it if
there were, or any servant to wait, or any knife and fork to use.

From thus listening and thinking, she was roused by a whisper of Mrs
Musgrove's who, overcome by fond regrets, could not help saying--

"Ah! Miss Anne, if it had pleased Heaven to spare my poor son, I dare
say he would have been just such another by this time."

Anne suppressed a smile, and listened kindly, while Mrs Musgrove
relieved her heart a little more; and for a few minutes, therefore,
could not keep pace with the conversation of the others.

When she could let her attention take its natural course again, she
found the Miss Musgroves just fetching the Navy List (their own navy
list, the first that had ever been at Uppercross), and sitting down
together to pore over it, with the professed view of finding out the
ships that Captain Wentworth had commanded.

"Your first was the Asp, I remember; we will look for the Asp."

"You will not find her there.  Quite worn out and broken up.  I was the
last man who commanded her.  Hardly fit for service then.  Reported fit
for home service for a year or two, and so I was sent off to the West
Indies."

The girls looked all amazement.

"The Admiralty," he continued, "entertain themselves now and then, with
sending a few hundred men to sea, in a ship not fit to be employed.
But they have a great many to provide for; and among the thousands that
may just as well go to the bottom as not, it is impossible for them to
distinguish the very set who may be least missed."

"Phoo! phoo!" cried the Admiral, "what stuff these young fellows talk!
Never was a better sloop than the Asp in her day.  For an old built
sloop, you would not see her equal.  Lucky fellow to get her!  He knows
there must have been twenty better men than himself applying for her at
the same time.  Lucky fellow to get anything so soon, with no more
interest than his."

"I felt my luck, Admiral, I assure you;" replied Captain Wentworth,
seriously.  "I was as well satisfied with my appointment as you can
desire.  It was a great object with me at that time to be at sea; a
very great object, I wanted to be doing something."

"To be sure you did.  What should a young fellow like you do ashore for
half a year together?  If a man had not a wife, he soon wants to be
afloat again."

"But, Captain Wentworth," cried Louisa, "how vexed you must have been
when you came to the Asp, to see what an old thing they had given you."

"I knew pretty well what she was before that day;" said he, smiling.
"I had no more discoveries to make than you would have as to the
fashion and strength of any old pelisse, which you had seen lent about
among half your acquaintance ever since you could remember, and which
at last, on some very wet day, is lent to yourself.  Ah! she was a dear
old Asp to me.  She did all that I wanted.  I knew she would.  I knew
that we should either go to the bottom together, or that she would be
the making of me; and I never had two days of foul weather all the time
I was at sea in her; and after taking privateers enough to be very
entertaining, I had the good luck in my passage home the next autumn,
to fall in with the very French frigate I wanted.  I brought her into
Plymouth; and here another instance of luck.  We had not been six hours
in the Sound, when a gale came on, which lasted four days and nights,
and which would have done for poor old Asp in half the time; our touch
with the Great Nation not having much improved our condition.
Four-and-twenty hours later, and I should only have been a gallant
Captain Wentworth, in a small paragraph at one corner of the
newspapers; and being lost in only a sloop, nobody would have thought
about me." Anne's shudderings were to herself alone; but the Miss
Musgroves could be as open as they were sincere, in their exclamations
of pity and horror.

"And so then, I suppose," said Mrs Musgrove, in a low voice, as if
thinking aloud, "so then he went away to the Laconia, and there he met
with our poor boy. Charles, my dear," (beckoning him to her), "do ask
Captain Wentworth where it was he first met with your poor brother.  I
always forgot."

"It was at Gibraltar, mother, I know.  Dick had been left ill at
Gibraltar, with a recommendation from his former captain to Captain
Wentworth."

"Oh! but, Charles, tell Captain Wentworth, he need not be afraid of
mentioning poor Dick before me, for it would be rather a pleasure to
hear him talked of by such a good friend."

Charles, being somewhat more mindful of the probabilities of the case,
only nodded in reply, and walked away.

The girls were now hunting for the Laconia; and Captain Wentworth could
not deny himself the pleasure of taking the precious volume into his
own hands to save them the trouble, and once more read aloud the little
statement of her name and rate, and present non-commissioned class,
observing over it that she too had been one of the best friends man
ever had.

"Ah! those were pleasant days when I had the Laconia!  How fast I made
money in her.  A friend of mine and I had such a lovely cruise together
off the Western Islands.  Poor Harville, sister!  You know how much he
wanted money:  worse than myself.  He had a wife.  Excellent fellow.  I
shall never forget his happiness.  He felt it all, so much for her
sake.  I wished for him again the next summer, when I had still the
same luck in the Mediterranean."

"And I am sure, Sir," said Mrs Musgrove, "it was a lucky day for us,
when you were put captain into that ship.  We shall never forget what
you did."

Her feelings made her speak low; and Captain Wentworth, hearing only in
part, and probably not having Dick Musgrove at all near his thoughts,
looked rather in suspense, and as if waiting for more.

"My brother," whispered one of the girls; "mamma is thinking of poor
Richard."

"Poor dear fellow!" continued Mrs Musgrove; "he was grown so steady,
and such an excellent correspondent, while he was under your care!  Ah!
it would have been a happy thing, if he had never left you.  I assure
you, Captain Wentworth, we are very sorry he ever left you."

There was a momentary expression in Captain Wentworth's face at this
speech, a certain glance of his bright eye, and curl of his handsome
mouth, which convinced Anne, that instead of sharing in Mrs Musgrove's
kind wishes, as to her son, he had probably been at some pains to get
rid of him; but it was too transient an indulgence of self-amusement to
be detected by any who understood him less than herself; in another
moment he was perfectly collected and serious, and almost instantly
afterwards coming up to the sofa, on which she and Mrs Musgrove were
sitting, took a place by the latter, and entered into conversation with
her, in a low voice, about her son, doing it with so much sympathy and
natural grace, as shewed the kindest consideration for all that was
real and unabsurd in the parent's feelings.

They were actually on the same sofa, for Mrs Musgrove had most readily
made room for him; they were divided only by Mrs Musgrove.  It was no
insignificant barrier, indeed.  Mrs Musgrove was of a comfortable,
substantial size, infinitely more fitted by nature to express good
cheer and good humour, than tenderness and sentiment; and while the
agitations of Anne's slender form, and pensive face, may be considered
as very completely screened, Captain Wentworth should be allowed some
credit for the self-command with which he attended to her large fat
sighings over the destiny of a son, whom alive nobody had cared for.

Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary
proportions.  A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep
affliction, as the most graceful set of limbs in the world.  But, fair
or not fair, there are unbecoming conjunctions, which reason will
patronize in vain--which taste cannot tolerate--which ridicule will
seize.

The Admiral, after taking two or three refreshing turns about the room
with his hands behind him, being called to order by his wife, now came
up to Captain Wentworth, and without any observation of what he might
be interrupting, thinking only of his own thoughts, began with--

"If you had been a week later at Lisbon, last spring, Frederick, you
would have been asked to give a passage to Lady Mary Grierson and her
daughters."

"Should I?  I am glad I was not a week later then."

The Admiral abused him for his want of gallantry.  He defended himself;
though professing that he would never willingly admit any ladies on
board a ship of his, excepting for a ball, or a visit, which a few
hours might comprehend.

"But, if I know myself," said he, "this is from no want of gallantry
towards them.  It is rather from feeling how impossible it is, with all
one's efforts, and all one's sacrifices, to make the accommodations on
board such as women ought to have.  There can be no want of gallantry,
Admiral, in rating the claims of women to every personal comfort high,
and this is what I do.  I hate to hear of women on board, or to see
them on board; and no ship under my command shall ever convey a family
of ladies anywhere, if I can help it."

This brought his sister upon him.

"Oh! Frederick!  But I cannot believe it of you.--All idle
refinement!--Women may be as comfortable on board, as in the best house
in England.  I believe I have lived as much on board as most women, and
I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a man-of-war.  I
declare I have not a comfort or an indulgence about me, even at
Kellynch Hall," (with a kind bow to Anne), "beyond what I always had in
most of the ships I have lived in; and they have been five altogether."

"Nothing to the purpose," replied her brother.  "You were living with
your husband, and were the only woman on board."

"But you, yourself, brought Mrs Harville, her sister, her cousin, and
three children, round from Portsmouth to Plymouth.  Where was this
superfine, extraordinary sort of gallantry of yours then?"

"All merged in my friendship, Sophia.  I would assist any brother
officer's wife that I could, and I would bring anything of Harville's
from the world's end, if he wanted it.  But do not imagine that I did
not feel it an evil in itself."

"Depend upon it, they were all perfectly comfortable."

"I might not like them the better for that perhaps.  Such a number of
women and children have no right to be comfortable on board."

"My dear Frederick, you are talking quite idly.  Pray, what would
become of us poor sailors' wives, who often want to be conveyed to one
port or another, after our husbands, if everybody had your feelings?"

"My feelings, you see, did not prevent my taking Mrs Harville and all
her family to Plymouth."

"But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman, and as if
women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures.  We none of
us expect to be in smooth water all our days."

"Ah! my dear," said the Admiral, "when he had got a wife, he will sing
a different tune.  When he is married, if we have the good luck to live
to another war, we shall see him do as you and I, and a great many
others, have done.  We shall have him very thankful to anybody that
will bring him his wife."

"Ay, that we shall."

"Now I have done," cried Captain Wentworth.  "When once married people
begin to attack me with,--'Oh! you will think very differently, when
you are married.'  I can only say, 'No, I shall not;' and then they say
again, 'Yes, you will,' and there is an end of it."

He got up and moved away.

"What a great traveller you must have been, ma'am!" said Mrs Musgrove
to Mrs Croft.

"Pretty well, ma'am in the fifteen years of my marriage; though many
women have done more.  I have crossed the Atlantic four times, and have
been once to the East Indies, and back again, and only once; besides
being in different places about home: Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar.
But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the West
Indies.  We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies."

Mrs Musgrove had not a word to say in dissent; she could not accuse
herself of having ever called them anything in the whole course of her
life.

"And I do assure you, ma'am," pursued Mrs Croft, "that nothing can
exceed the accommodations of a man-of-war; I speak, you know, of the
higher rates.  When you come to a frigate, of course, you are more
confined; though any reasonable woman may be perfectly happy in one of
them; and I can safely say, that the happiest part of my life has been
spent on board a ship.  While we were together, you know, there was
nothing to be feared.  Thank God!  I have always been blessed with
excellent health, and no climate disagrees with me.  A little
disordered always the first twenty-four hours of going to sea, but
never knew what sickness was afterwards.  The only time I ever really
suffered in body or mind, the only time that I ever fancied myself
unwell, or had any ideas of danger, was the winter that I passed by
myself at Deal, when the Admiral (Captain Croft then) was in the North
Seas.  I lived in perpetual fright at that time, and had all manner of
imaginary complaints from not knowing what to do with myself, or when I
should hear from him next; but as long as we could be together, nothing
ever ailed me, and I never met with the smallest inconvenience."

"Aye, to be sure.  Yes, indeed, oh yes!  I am quite of your opinion,
Mrs Croft," was Mrs Musgrove's hearty answer.  "There is nothing so bad
as a separation.  I am quite of your opinion.  I know what it is, for
Mr Musgrove always attends the assizes, and I am so glad when they are
over, and he is safe back again."

The evening ended with dancing.  On its being proposed, Anne offered
her services, as usual; and though her eyes would sometimes fill with
tears as she sat at the instrument, she was extremely glad to be
employed, and desired nothing in return but to be unobserved.

It was a merry, joyous party, and no one seemed in higher spirits than
Captain Wentworth.  She felt that he had every thing to elevate him
which general attention and deference, and especially the attention of
all the young women, could do.  The Miss Hayters, the females of the
family of cousins already mentioned, were apparently admitted to the
honour of being in love with him; and as for Henrietta and Louisa, they
both seemed so entirely occupied by him, that nothing but the continued
appearance of the most perfect good-will between themselves could have
made it credible that they were not decided rivals.  If he were a
little spoilt by such universal, such eager admiration, who could
wonder?

These were some of the thoughts which occupied Anne, while her fingers
were mechanically at work, proceeding for half an hour together,
equally without error, and without consciousness.  Once she felt that
he was looking at herself,  observing her altered features, perhaps,
trying to trace in them the ruins of the face which had once charmed
him; and once she knew that he must have spoken of her; she was hardly
aware of it, till she heard the answer; but then she was sure of his
having asked his partner whether Miss Elliot never danced?  The answer
was, "Oh, no; never; she has quite given up dancing.  She had rather
play.  She is never tired of playing."  Once, too, he spoke to her.
She had left the instrument on the dancing being over, and he had sat
down to try to make out an air which he wished to give the Miss
Musgroves an idea of.  Unintentionally she returned to that part of the
room; he saw her, and, instantly rising, said, with studied politeness--

"I beg your pardon, madam, this is your seat;" and though she
immediately drew back with a decided negative, he was not to be induced
to sit down again.

Anne did not wish for more of such looks and speeches.  His cold
politeness, his ceremonious grace, were worse than anything.



Chapter 9


Captain Wentworth was come to Kellynch as to a home, to stay as long as
he liked, being as thoroughly the object of the Admiral's fraternal
kindness as of his wife's.  He had intended, on first arriving, to
proceed very soon into Shropshire, and visit the brother settled in
that country, but the attractions of Uppercross induced him to put this
off.  There was so much of friendliness, and of flattery, and of
everything most bewitching in his reception there; the old were so
hospitable, the young so agreeable, that he could not but resolve to
remain where he was, and take all the charms and perfections of
Edward's wife upon credit a little longer.

It was soon Uppercross with him almost every day.  The Musgroves could
hardly be more ready to invite than he to come, particularly in the
morning, when he had no companion at home, for the Admiral and Mrs
Croft were generally out of doors together, interesting themselves in
their new possessions, their grass, and their sheep, and dawdling about
in a way not endurable to a third person, or driving out in a gig,
lately added to their establishment.

Hitherto there had been but one opinion of Captain Wentworth among the
Musgroves and their dependencies.  It was unvarying, warm admiration
everywhere; but this intimate footing was not more than established,
when a certain Charles Hayter returned among them, to be a good deal
disturbed by it, and to think Captain Wentworth very much in the way.

Charles Hayter was the eldest of all the cousins, and a very amiable,
pleasing young man, between whom and Henrietta there had been a
considerable appearance of attachment previous to Captain Wentworth's
introduction.  He was in orders; and having a curacy in the
neighbourhood, where residence was not required, lived at his father's
house, only two miles from Uppercross.  A short absence from home had
left his fair one unguarded by his attentions at this critical period,
and when he came back he had the pain of finding very altered manners,
and of seeing Captain Wentworth.

Mrs Musgrove and Mrs Hayter were sisters.  They had each had money, but
their marriages had made a material difference in their degree of
consequence.  Mr Hayter had some property of his own, but it was
insignificant compared with Mr Musgrove's; and while the Musgroves were
in the first class of society in the country, the young Hayters would,
from their parents' inferior, retired, and unpolished way of living,
and their own defective education, have been hardly in any class at
all, but for their connexion with Uppercross, this eldest son of course
excepted, who had chosen to be a scholar and a gentleman, and who was
very superior in cultivation and manners to all the rest.

The two families had always been on excellent terms, there being no
pride on one side, and no envy on the other, and only such a
consciousness of superiority in the Miss Musgroves, as made them
pleased to improve their cousins.  Charles's attentions to Henrietta
had been observed by her father and mother without any disapprobation.
"It would not be a great match for her; but if Henrietta liked him,"--
and Henrietta did seem to like him.

Henrietta fully thought so herself, before Captain Wentworth came; but
from that time Cousin Charles had been very much forgotten.

Which of the two sisters was preferred by Captain Wentworth was as yet
quite doubtful, as far as Anne's observation reached.  Henrietta was
perhaps the prettiest, Louisa had the higher spirits; and she knew not
now, whether the more gentle or the more lively character were most
likely to attract him.

Mr and Mrs Musgrove, either from seeing little, or from an entire
confidence in the discretion of both their daughters, and of all the
young men who came near them, seemed to leave everything to take its
chance.  There was not the smallest appearance of solicitude or remark
about them in the Mansion-house; but it was different at the Cottage:
the young couple there were more disposed to speculate and wonder; and
Captain Wentworth had not been above four or five times in the Miss
Musgroves' company, and Charles Hayter had but just reappeared, when
Anne had to listen to the opinions of her brother and sister, as to
which was the one liked best.  Charles gave it for Louisa, Mary for
Henrietta, but quite agreeing that to have him marry either could be
extremely delightful.

Charles "had never seen a pleasanter man in his life; and from what he
had once heard Captain Wentworth himself say, was very sure that he had
not made less than twenty thousand pounds by the war.  Here was a
fortune at once; besides which, there would be the chance of what might
be done in any future war; and he was sure Captain Wentworth was as
likely a man to distinguish himself as any officer in the navy.  Oh! it
would be a capital match for either of his sisters."

"Upon my word it would," replied Mary.  "Dear me!  If he should rise to
any very great honours!  If he should ever be made a baronet!  'Lady
Wentworth' sounds very well.  That would be a noble thing, indeed, for
Henrietta!  She would take place of me then, and Henrietta would not
dislike that.  Sir Frederick and Lady Wentworth!  It would be but a new
creation, however, and I never think much of your new creations."

It suited Mary best to think Henrietta the one preferred on the very
account of Charles Hayter, whose pretensions she wished to see put an
end to.  She looked down very decidedly upon the Hayters, and thought
it would be quite a misfortune to have the existing connection between
the families renewed--very sad for herself and her children.

"You know," said she, "I cannot think him at all a fit match for
Henrietta; and considering the alliances which the Musgroves have made,
she has no right to throw herself away.  I do not think any young woman
has a right to make a choice that may be disagreeable and inconvenient
to the principal part of her family, and be giving bad connections to
those who have not been used to them.  And, pray, who is Charles
Hayter?  Nothing but a country curate.  A most improper match for Miss
Musgrove of Uppercross."

Her husband, however, would not agree with her here; for besides having
a regard for his cousin, Charles Hayter was an eldest son, and he saw
things as an eldest son himself.

"Now you are talking nonsense, Mary," was therefore his answer.  "It
would not be a great match for Henrietta, but Charles has a very fair
chance, through the Spicers, of getting something from the Bishop in
the course of a year or two; and you will please to remember, that he
is the eldest son; whenever my uncle dies, he steps into very pretty
property.  The estate at Winthrop is not less than two hundred and
fifty acres, besides the farm near Taunton, which is some of the best
land in the country.  I grant you, that any of them but Charles would
be a very shocking match for Henrietta, and indeed it could not be; he
is the only one that could be possible; but he is a very good-natured,
good sort of a fellow; and whenever Winthrop comes into his hands, he
will make a different sort of place of it, and live in a very different
sort of way; and with that property, he will never be a contemptible
man--good, freehold property.  No, no; Henrietta might do worse than
marry Charles Hayter; and if she has him, and Louisa can get Captain
Wentworth, I shall be very well satisfied."

"Charles may say what he pleases," cried Mary to Anne, as soon as he
was out of the room, "but it would be shocking to have Henrietta marry
Charles Hayter; a very bad thing for her, and still worse for me; and
therefore it is very much to be wished that Captain Wentworth may soon
put him quite out of her head, and I have very little doubt that he
has.  She took hardly any notice of Charles Hayter yesterday.  I wish
you had been there to see her behaviour.  And as to Captain Wentworth's
liking Louisa as well as Henrietta, it is nonsense to say so; for he
certainly does like Henrietta a great deal the best.  But Charles is so
positive!  I wish you had been with us yesterday, for then you might
have decided between us; and I am sure you would have thought as I did,
unless you had been determined to give it against me."

A dinner at Mr Musgrove's had been the occasion when all these things
should have been seen by Anne; but she had staid at home, under the
mixed plea of a headache of her own, and some return of indisposition
in little Charles.  She had thought only of avoiding Captain Wentworth;
but an escape from being appealed to as umpire was now added to the
advantages of a quiet evening.

As to Captain Wentworth's views, she deemed it of more consequence that
he should know his own mind early enough not to be endangering the
happiness of either sister, or impeaching his own honour, than that he
should prefer Henrietta to Louisa, or Louisa to Henrietta.  Either of
them would, in all probability, make him an affectionate, good-humoured
wife.  With regard to Charles Hayter, she had delicacy which must be
pained by any lightness of conduct in a well-meaning young woman, and a
heart to sympathize in any of the sufferings it occasioned; but if
Henrietta found herself mistaken in the nature of her feelings, the
alternation could not be understood too soon.

Charles Hayter had met with much to disquiet and mortify him in his
cousin's behaviour.  She had too old a regard for him to be so wholly
estranged as might in two meetings extinguish every past hope, and
leave him nothing to do but to keep away from Uppercross:  but there
was such a change as became very alarming, when such a man as Captain
Wentworth was to be regarded as the probable cause.  He had been absent
only two Sundays, and when they parted, had left her interested, even
to the height of his wishes, in his prospect of soon quitting his
present curacy, and obtaining that of Uppercross instead.  It had then
seemed the object nearest her heart, that Dr Shirley, the rector, who
for more than forty years had been zealously discharging all the duties
of his office, but was now growing too infirm for many of them, should
be quite fixed on engaging a curate; should make his curacy quite as
good as he could afford, and should give Charles Hayter the promise of
it.  The advantage of his having to come only to Uppercross, instead of
going six miles another way; of his having, in every respect, a better
curacy; of his belonging to their dear Dr Shirley, and of dear, good Dr
Shirley's being relieved from the duty which he could no longer get
through without most injurious fatigue, had been a great deal, even to
Louisa, but had been almost everything to Henrietta.  When he came
back, alas!  the zeal of the business was gone by.  Louisa could not
listen at all to his account of a conversation which he had just held
with Dr Shirley: she was at a window, looking out for Captain
Wentworth; and even Henrietta had at best only a divided attention to
give, and seemed to have forgotten all the former doubt and solicitude
of the negotiation.

"Well, I am very glad indeed:  but I always thought you would have it;
I always thought you sure.  It did not appear to me that--in short, you
know, Dr Shirley must have a curate, and you had secured his promise.
Is he coming, Louisa?"

One morning, very soon after the dinner at the Musgroves, at which Anne
had not been present, Captain Wentworth walked into the drawing-room at
the Cottage, where were only herself and the little invalid Charles,
who was lying on the sofa.

The surprise of finding himself almost alone with Anne Elliot, deprived
his manners of their usual composure:  he started, and could only say,
"I thought the Miss Musgroves had been here: Mrs Musgrove told me I
should find them here," before he walked to the window to recollect
himself, and feel how he ought to behave.

"They are up stairs with my sister:  they will be down in a few
moments, I dare say," had been Anne's reply, in all the confusion that
was natural; and if the child had not called her to come and do
something for him, she would have been out of the room the next moment,
and released Captain Wentworth as well as herself.

He continued at the window; and after calmly and politely saying, "I
hope the little boy is better," was silent.

She was obliged to kneel down by the sofa, and remain there to satisfy
her patient; and thus they continued a few minutes, when, to her very
great satisfaction, she heard some other person crossing the little
vestibule.  She hoped, on turning her head, to see the master of the
house; but it proved to be one much less calculated for making matters
easy--Charles Hayter, probably not at all better pleased by the sight
of Captain Wentworth than Captain Wentworth had been by the sight of
Anne.

She only attempted to say, "How do you do?  Will you not sit down?  The
others will be here presently."

Captain Wentworth, however, came from his window, apparently not
ill-disposed for conversation; but Charles Hayter soon put an end to
his attempts by seating himself near the table, and taking up the
newspaper; and Captain Wentworth returned to his window.

Another minute brought another addition.  The younger boy, a remarkable
stout, forward child, of two years old, having got the door opened for
him by some one without, made his determined appearance among them, and
went straight to the sofa to see what was going on, and put in his
claim to anything good that might be giving away.

There being nothing to eat, he could only have some play; and as his
aunt would not let him tease his sick brother, he began to fasten
himself upon her, as she knelt, in such a way that, busy as she was
about Charles, she could not shake him off.  She spoke to him, ordered,
entreated, and insisted in vain.  Once she did contrive to push him
away, but the boy had the greater pleasure in getting upon her back
again directly.

"Walter," said she, "get down this moment.  You are extremely
troublesome.  I am very angry with you."

"Walter," cried Charles Hayter, "why do you not do as you are bid?  Do
not you hear your aunt speak?  Come to me, Walter, come to cousin
Charles."

But not a bit did Walter stir.

In another moment, however, she found herself in the state of being
released from him; some one was taking him from her, though he had bent
down her head so much, that his little sturdy hands were unfastened
from around her neck, and he was resolutely borne away, before she knew
that Captain Wentworth had done it.

Her sensations on the discovery made her perfectly speechless.  She
could not even thank him.  She could only hang over little Charles,
with most disordered feelings.  His kindness in stepping forward to her
relief, the manner, the silence in which it had passed, the little
particulars of the circumstance, with the conviction soon forced on her
by the noise he was studiously making with the child, that he meant to
avoid hearing her thanks, and rather sought to testify that her
conversation was the last of his wants, produced such a confusion of
varying, but very painful agitation, as she could not recover from,
till enabled by the entrance of Mary and the Miss Musgroves to make
over her little patient to their cares, and leave the room.  She could
not stay.  It might have been an opportunity of watching the loves and
jealousies of the four--they were now altogether; but she could stay
for none of it.  It was evident that Charles Hayter was not well
inclined towards Captain Wentworth.  She had a strong impression of his
having said, in a vext tone of voice, after Captain Wentworth's
interference, "You ought to have minded me, Walter; I told you not to
teaze your aunt;" and could comprehend his regretting that Captain
Wentworth should do what he ought to have done himself.  But neither
Charles Hayter's feelings, nor anybody's feelings, could interest her,
till she had a little better arranged her own.  She was ashamed of
herself, quite ashamed of being so nervous, so overcome by such a
trifle; but so it was, and it required a long application of solitude
and reflection to recover her.



Chapter 10


Other opportunities of making her observations could not fail to occur.
Anne had soon been in company with all the four together often enough
to have an opinion, though too wise to acknowledge as much at home,
where she knew it would have satisfied neither husband nor wife; for
while she considered Louisa to be rather the favourite, she could not
but think, as far as she might dare to judge from memory and
experience, that Captain Wentworth was not in love with either.  They
were more in love with him; yet there it was not love.  It was a little
fever of admiration; but it might, probably must, end in love with
some.  Charles Hayter seemed aware of being slighted, and yet Henrietta
had sometimes the air of being divided between them.  Anne longed for
the power of representing to them all what they were about, and of
pointing out some of the evils they were exposing themselves to.  She
did not attribute guile to any.  It was the highest satisfaction to her
to believe Captain Wentworth not in the least aware of the pain he was
occasioning.  There was no triumph, no pitiful triumph in his manner.
He had, probably, never heard, and never thought of any claims of
Charles Hayter.  He was only wrong in accepting the attentions (for
accepting must be the word) of two young women at once.

After a short struggle, however, Charles Hayter seemed to quit the
field.  Three days had passed without his coming once to Uppercross; a
most decided change.  He had even refused one regular invitation to
dinner; and having been found on the occasion by Mr Musgrove with some
large books before him, Mr and Mrs Musgrove were sure all could not be
right, and talked, with grave faces, of his studying himself to death.
It was Mary's hope and belief that he had received a positive dismissal
from Henrietta, and her husband lived under the constant dependence of
seeing him to-morrow.  Anne could only feel that Charles Hayter was
wise.

One morning, about this time Charles Musgrove and Captain Wentworth
being gone a-shooting together, as the sisters in the Cottage were
sitting quietly at work, they were visited at the window by the sisters
from the Mansion-house.

It was a very fine November day, and the Miss Musgroves came through
the little grounds, and stopped for no other purpose than to say, that
they were going to take a long walk, and therefore concluded Mary could
not like to go with them; and when Mary immediately replied, with some
jealousy at not being supposed a good walker, "Oh, yes, I should like
to join you very much, I am very fond of a long walk;" Anne felt
persuaded, by the looks of the two girls, that it was precisely what
they did not wish, and admired again the sort of necessity which the
family habits seemed to produce, of everything being to be
communicated, and everything being to be done together, however
undesired and inconvenient.  She tried to dissuade Mary from going, but
in vain; and that being the case, thought it best to accept the Miss
Musgroves' much more cordial invitation to herself to go likewise, as
she might be useful in turning back with her sister, and lessening the
interference in any plan of their own.

"I cannot imagine why they should suppose I should not like a long
walk," said Mary, as she went up stairs.  "Everybody is always
supposing that I am not a good walker; and yet they would not have been
pleased, if we had refused to join them.  When people come in this
manner on purpose to ask us, how can one say no?"

Just as they were setting off, the gentlemen returned.  They had taken
out a young dog, who had spoilt their sport, and sent them back early.
Their time and strength, and spirits, were, therefore, exactly ready
for this walk, and they entered into it with pleasure.  Could Anne have
foreseen such a junction, she would have staid at home; but, from some
feelings of interest and curiosity, she fancied now that it was too
late to retract, and the whole six set forward together in the
direction chosen by the Miss Musgroves, who evidently considered the
walk as under their guidance.

Anne's object was, not to be in the way of anybody; and where the
narrow paths across the fields made many separations necessary, to keep
with her brother and sister.  Her pleasure in the walk must arise from
the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year
upon the tawny leaves, and withered hedges, and from repeating to
herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of
autumn, that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind
of taste and tenderness, that season which had drawn from every poet,
worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of
feeling.  She occupied her mind as much as possible in such like
musings and quotations; but it was not possible, that when within reach
of Captain Wentworth's conversation with either of the Miss Musgroves,
she should not try to hear it; yet she caught little very remarkable.
It was mere lively chat, such as any young persons, on an intimate
footing, might fall into.  He was more engaged with Louisa than with
Henrietta.  Louisa certainly put more forward for his notice than her
sister.  This distinction appeared to increase, and there was one
speech of Louisa's which struck her.  After one of the many praises of
the day, which were continually bursting forth, Captain Wentworth
added:--

"What glorious weather for the Admiral and my sister!  They meant to
take a long drive this morning; perhaps we may hail them from some of
these hills.  They talked of coming into this side of the country.  I
wonder whereabouts they will upset to-day.  Oh! it does happen very
often, I assure you; but my sister makes nothing of it; she would as
lieve be tossed out as not."

"Ah! You make the most of it, I know," cried Louisa, "but if it were
really so, I should do just the same in her place.  If I loved a man,
as she loves the Admiral, I would always be with him, nothing should
ever separate us, and I would rather be overturned by him, than driven
safely by anybody else."

It was spoken with enthusiasm.

"Had you?" cried he, catching the same tone; "I honour you!" And there
was silence between them for a little while.

Anne could not immediately fall into a quotation again.  The sweet
scenes of autumn were for a while put by, unless some tender sonnet,
fraught with the apt analogy of the declining year, with declining
happiness, and the images of youth and hope, and spring, all gone
together, blessed her memory.  She roused herself to say, as they
struck by order into another path, "Is not this one of the ways to
Winthrop?" But nobody heard, or, at least, nobody answered her.

Winthrop, however, or its environs--for young men are, sometimes to be
met with, strolling about near home--was their destination; and after
another half mile of gradual ascent through large enclosures, where the
ploughs at work, and the fresh made path spoke the farmer counteracting
the sweets of poetical despondence, and meaning to have spring again,
they gained the summit of the most considerable hill, which parted
Uppercross and Winthrop, and soon commanded a full view of the latter,
at the foot of the hill on the other side.

Winthrop, without beauty and without dignity, was stretched before them
an indifferent house, standing low, and hemmed in by the barns and
buildings of a farm-yard.

Mary exclaimed, "Bless me! here is Winthrop.  I declare I had no idea!
Well now, I think we had better turn back; I am excessively tired."

Henrietta, conscious and ashamed, and seeing no cousin Charles walking
along any path, or leaning against any gate, was ready to do as Mary
wished; but "No!" said Charles Musgrove, and "No, no!" cried Louisa
more eagerly, and taking her sister aside, seemed to be arguing the
matter warmly.

Charles, in the meanwhile, was very decidedly declaring his resolution
of calling on his aunt, now that he was so near; and very evidently,
though more fearfully, trying to induce his wife to go too.  But this
was one of the points on which the lady shewed her strength; and when
he recommended the advantage of resting herself a quarter of an hour at
Winthrop, as she felt so tired, she resolutely answered, "Oh! no,
indeed! walking up that hill again would do her more harm than any
sitting down could do her good;" and, in short, her look and manner
declared, that go she would not.

After a little succession of these sort of debates and consultations,
it was settled between Charles and his two sisters, that he and
Henrietta should just run down for a few minutes, to see their aunt and
cousins, while the rest of the party waited for them at the top of the
hill.  Louisa seemed the principal arranger of the plan; and, as she
went a little way with them, down the hill, still talking to Henrietta,
Mary took the opportunity of looking scornfully around her, and saying
to Captain Wentworth--

"It is very unpleasant, having such connexions!  But, I assure you, I
have never been in the house above twice in my life."

She received no other answer, than an artificial, assenting smile,
followed by a contemptuous glance, as he turned away, which Anne
perfectly knew the meaning of.

The brow of the hill, where they remained, was a cheerful spot: Louisa
returned; and Mary, finding a comfortable seat for herself on the step
of a stile, was very well satisfied so long as the others all stood
about her; but when Louisa drew Captain Wentworth away, to try for a
gleaning of nuts in an adjoining hedge-row, and they were gone by
degrees quite out of sight and sound, Mary was happy no longer; she
quarrelled with her own seat, was sure Louisa had got a much better
somewhere, and nothing could prevent her from going to look for a
better also.  She turned through the same gate, but could not see them.
Anne found a nice seat for her, on a dry sunny bank, under the
hedge-row, in which she had no doubt of their still being, in some spot
or other.  Mary sat down for a moment, but it would not do; she was
sure Louisa had found a better seat somewhere else, and she would go on
till she overtook her.

Anne, really tired herself, was glad to sit down; and she very soon
heard Captain Wentworth and Louisa in the hedge-row, behind her, as if
making their way back along the rough, wild sort of channel, down the
centre.  They were speaking as they drew near.  Louisa's voice was the
first distinguished.  She seemed to be in the middle of some eager
speech.  What Anne first heard was--

"And so, I made her go.  I could not bear that she should be frightened
from the visit by such nonsense.  What! would I be turned back from
doing a thing that I had determined to do, and that I knew to be right,
by the airs and interference of such a person, or of any person I may
say?  No, I have no idea of being so easily persuaded.  When I have
made up my mind, I have made it; and Henrietta seemed entirely to have
made up hers to call at Winthrop to-day; and yet, she was as near
giving it up, out of nonsensical complaisance!"

"She would have turned back then, but for you?"

"She would indeed.  I am almost ashamed to say it."

"Happy for her, to have such a mind as yours at hand!  After the hints
you gave just now, which did but confirm my own observations, the last
time I was in company with him,  I need not affect to have no
comprehension of what is going on.  I see that more than a mere dutiful
morning visit to your aunt was in question; and woe betide him, and her
too, when it comes to things of consequence, when they are placed in
circumstances requiring fortitude and strength of mind, if she have not
resolution enough to resist idle interference in such a trifle as this.
Your sister is an amiable creature; but yours is the character of
decision and firmness, I see.  If you value her conduct or happiness,
infuse as much of your own spirit into her as you can.  But this, no
doubt, you have been always doing.  It is the worst evil of too
yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be
depended on.  You are never sure of a good impression being durable;
everybody may sway it.  Let those who would be happy be firm.  Here is
a nut," said he, catching one down from an upper bough, "to exemplify:
a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength, has
outlived all the storms of autumn.  Not a puncture, not a weak spot
anywhere.  This nut," he continued, with playful solemnity, "while so
many of his brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still
in possession of all the happiness that a hazel nut can be supposed
capable of."  Then returning to his former earnest tone--"My first
wish for all whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm.  If
Louisa Musgrove would be beautiful and happy in her November of life,
she will cherish all her present powers of mind."

He had done, and was unanswered.  It would have surprised Anne if
Louisa could have readily answered such a speech:  words of such
interest, spoken with such serious warmth!  She could imagine what
Louisa was feeling.  For herself, she feared to move, lest she should
be seen.  While she remained, a bush of low rambling holly protected
her, and they were moving on.  Before they were beyond her hearing,
however, Louisa spoke again.

"Mary is good-natured enough in many respects," said she; "but she does
sometimes provoke me excessively, by her nonsense and pride--the Elliot
pride.  She has a great deal too much of the Elliot pride.  We do so
wish that Charles had married Anne instead.  I suppose you know he
wanted to marry Anne?"

After a moment's pause, Captain Wentworth said--

"Do you mean that she refused him?"

"Oh! yes; certainly."

"When did that happen?"

"I do not exactly know, for Henrietta and I were at school at the time;
but I believe about a year before he married Mary.  I wish she had
accepted him.  We should all have liked her a great deal better; and
papa and mamma always think it was her great friend Lady Russell's
doing, that she did not.  They think Charles might not be learned and
bookish enough to please Lady Russell, and that therefore, she
persuaded Anne to refuse him."

The sounds were retreating, and Anne distinguished no more.  Her own
emotions still kept her fixed.  She had much to recover from, before
she could move.  The listener's proverbial fate was not absolutely
hers; she had heard no evil of herself, but she had heard a great deal
of very painful import.  She saw how her own character was considered
by Captain Wentworth, and there had been just that degree of feeling
and curiosity about her in his manner which must give her extreme
agitation.

As soon as she could, she went after Mary, and having found, and walked
back with her to their former station, by the stile, felt some comfort
in their whole party being immediately afterwards collected, and once
more in motion together.  Her spirits wanted the solitude and silence
which only numbers could give.

Charles and Henrietta returned, bringing, as may be conjectured,
Charles Hayter with them.  The minutiae of the business Anne could not
attempt to understand; even Captain Wentworth did not seem admitted to
perfect confidence here; but that there had been a withdrawing on the
gentleman's side, and a relenting on the lady's, and that they were now
very glad to be together again, did not admit a doubt.  Henrietta
looked a little ashamed, but very well pleased;--Charles Hayter
exceedingly happy:  and they were devoted to each other almost from the
first instant of their all setting forward for Uppercross.

Everything now marked out Louisa for Captain Wentworth; nothing could
be plainer; and where many divisions were necessary, or even where they
were not, they walked side by side nearly as much as the other two.  In
a long strip of meadow land, where there was ample space for all, they
were thus divided, forming three distinct parties; and to that party of
the three which boasted least animation, and least complaisance, Anne
necessarily belonged.  She joined Charles and Mary, and was tired
enough to be very glad of Charles's other arm; but Charles, though in
very good humour with her, was out of temper with his wife.  Mary had
shewn herself disobliging to him, and was now to reap the consequence,
which consequence was his dropping her arm almost every moment to cut
off the heads of some nettles in the hedge with his switch; and when
Mary began to complain of it, and lament her being ill-used, according
to custom, in being on the hedge side, while Anne was never incommoded
on the other, he dropped the arms of both to hunt after a weasel which
he had a momentary glance of, and they could hardly get him along at
all.

This long meadow bordered a lane, which their footpath, at the end of
it was to cross, and when the party had all reached the gate of exit,
the carriage advancing in the same direction, which had been some time
heard, was just coming up, and proved to be Admiral Croft's gig.  He
and his wife had taken their intended drive, and were returning home.
Upon hearing how long a walk the young people had engaged in, they
kindly offered a seat to any lady who might be particularly tired; it
would save her a full mile, and they were going through Uppercross.
The invitation was general, and generally declined.  The Miss Musgroves
were not at all tired, and Mary was either offended, by not being asked
before any of the others, or what Louisa called the Elliot pride could
not endure to make a third in a one horse chaise.

The walking party had crossed the lane, and were surmounting an
opposite stile, and the Admiral was putting his horse in motion again,
when Captain Wentworth cleared the hedge in a moment to say something
to his sister.  The something might be guessed by its effects.

"Miss Elliot, I am sure you are tired," cried Mrs Croft.  "Do let us
have the pleasure of taking you home.  Here is excellent room for
three, I assure you.  If we were all like you, I believe we might sit
four.  You must, indeed, you must."

Anne was still in the lane; and though instinctively beginning to
decline, she was not allowed to proceed.  The Admiral's kind urgency
came in support of his wife's; they would not be refused; they
compressed themselves into the smallest possible space to leave her a
corner, and Captain Wentworth, without saying a word, turned to her,
and quietly obliged her to be assisted into the carriage.

Yes; he had done it.  She was in the carriage, and felt that he had
placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it, that she
owed it to his perception of her fatigue, and his resolution to give
her rest.  She was very much affected by the view of his disposition
towards her, which all these things made apparent.  This little
circumstance seemed the completion of all that had gone before.  She
understood him.  He could not forgive her, but he could not be
unfeeling.  Though condemning her for the past, and considering it with
high and unjust resentment, though perfectly careless of her, and
though becoming attached to another, still he could not see her suffer,
without the desire of giving her relief.  It was a remainder of former
sentiment; it was an impulse of pure, though unacknowledged friendship;
it was a proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not
contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain, that
she knew not which prevailed.

Her answers to the kindness and the remarks of her companions were at
first unconsciously given.  They had travelled half their way along the
rough lane, before she was quite awake to what they said.  She then
found them talking of "Frederick."

"He certainly means to have one or other of those two girls, Sophy,"
said the Admiral; "but there is no saying which.  He has been running
after them, too, long enough, one would think, to make up his mind.
Ay, this comes of the peace.  If it were war now, he would have settled
it long ago.  We sailors, Miss Elliot, cannot afford to make long
courtships in time of war.  How many days was it, my dear, between the
first time of my seeing you and our sitting down together in our
lodgings at North Yarmouth?"

"We had better not talk about it, my dear," replied Mrs Croft,
pleasantly; "for if Miss Elliot were to hear how soon we came to an
understanding, she would never be persuaded that we could be happy
together.  I had known you by character, however, long before."

"Well, and I had heard of you as a very pretty girl, and what were we
to wait for besides?  I do not like having such things so long in hand.
I wish Frederick would spread a little more canvass, and bring us home
one of these young ladies to Kellynch.  Then there would always be
company for them.  And very nice young ladies they both are; I hardly
know one from the other."

"Very good humoured, unaffected girls, indeed," said Mrs Croft, in a
tone of calmer praise, such as made Anne suspect that her keener powers
might not consider either of them as quite worthy of her brother; "and
a very respectable family.  One could not be connected with better
people.  My dear Admiral, that post!  we shall certainly take that
post."

But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they happily
passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her
hand they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and
Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined
no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found
herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage.



Chapter 11


The time now approached for Lady Russell's return:  the day was even
fixed; and Anne, being engaged to join her as soon as she was
resettled, was looking forward to an early removal to Kellynch, and
beginning to think how her own comfort was likely to be affected by it.

It would place her in the same village with Captain Wentworth, within
half a mile of him; they would have to frequent the same church, and
there must be intercourse between the two families.  This was against
her; but on the other hand, he spent so much of his time at Uppercross,
that in removing thence she might be considered rather as leaving him
behind, than as going towards him; and, upon the whole, she believed
she must, on this interesting question, be the gainer, almost as
certainly as in her change of domestic society, in leaving poor Mary
for Lady Russell.

She wished it might be possible for her to avoid ever seeing Captain
Wentworth at the Hall:  those rooms had witnessed former meetings which
would be brought too painfully before her; but she was yet more anxious
for the possibility of Lady Russell and Captain Wentworth never meeting
anywhere.  They did not like each other, and no renewal of acquaintance
now could do any good; and were Lady Russell to see them together, she
might think that he had too much self-possession, and she too little.

These points formed her chief solicitude in anticipating her removal
from Uppercross, where she felt she had been stationed quite long
enough.  Her usefulness to little Charles would always give some
sweetness to the memory of her two months' visit there, but he was
gaining strength apace, and she had nothing else to stay for.

The conclusion of her visit, however, was diversified in a way which
she had not at all imagined.  Captain Wentworth, after being unseen and
unheard of at Uppercross for two whole days, appeared again among them
to justify himself by a relation of what had kept him away.

A letter from his friend, Captain Harville, having found him out at
last, had brought intelligence of Captain Harville's being settled with
his family at Lyme for the winter; of their being therefore, quite
unknowingly, within twenty miles of each other.  Captain Harville had
never been in good health since a severe wound which he received two
years before, and Captain Wentworth's anxiety to see him had determined
him to go immediately to Lyme.  He had been there for four-and-twenty
hours.  His acquittal was complete, his friendship warmly honoured, a
lively interest excited for his friend, and his description of the fine
country about Lyme so feelingly attended to by the party, that an
earnest desire to see Lyme themselves, and a project for going thither
was the consequence.

The young people were all wild to see Lyme.  Captain Wentworth talked
of going there again himself, it was only seventeen miles from
Uppercross; though November, the weather was by no means bad; and, in
short, Louisa, who was the most eager of the eager, having formed the
resolution to go, and besides the pleasure of doing as she liked, being
now armed with the idea of merit in maintaining her own way, bore down
all the wishes of her father and mother for putting it off till summer;
and to Lyme they were to go--Charles, Mary, Anne, Henrietta, Louisa,
and Captain Wentworth.

The first heedless scheme had been to go in the morning and return at
night; but to this Mr Musgrove, for the sake of his horses, would not
consent; and when it came to be rationally considered, a day in the
middle of November would not leave much time for seeing a new place,
after deducting seven hours, as the nature of the country required, for
going and returning.  They were, consequently, to stay the night there,
and not to be expected back till the next day's dinner.  This was felt
to be a considerable amendment; and though they all met at the Great
House at rather an early breakfast hour, and set off very punctually,
it was so much past noon before the two carriages, Mr Musgrove's coach
containing the four ladies, and Charles's curricle, in which he drove
Captain Wentworth, were descending the long hill into Lyme, and
entering upon the still steeper street of the town itself, that it was
very evident they would not have more than time for looking about them,
before the light and warmth of the day were gone.

After securing accommodations, and ordering a dinner at one of the
inns, the next thing to be done was unquestionably to walk directly
down to the sea.  They were come too late in the year for any amusement
or variety which Lyme, as a public place, might offer.  The rooms were
shut up, the lodgers almost all gone, scarcely any family but of the
residents left; and, as there is nothing to admire in the buildings
themselves, the remarkable situation of the town, the principal street
almost hurrying into the water, the walk to the Cobb, skirting round
the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing
machines and company; the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new
improvements, with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to
the east of the town, are what the stranger's eye will seek; and a very
strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in the immediate
environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better.  The scenes in
its neighbourhood, Charmouth, with its high grounds and extensive
sweeps of country, and still more, its sweet, retired bay, backed by
dark cliffs, where fragments of low rock among the sands, make it the
happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide, for sitting in
unwearied contemplation; the woody varieties of the cheerful village of
Up Lyme; and, above all, Pinny, with its green chasms between romantic
rocks, where the scattered forest trees and orchards of luxuriant
growth, declare that many a generation must have passed away since the
first partial falling of the cliff prepared the ground for such a
state, where a scene so wonderful and so lovely is exhibited, as may
more than equal any of the resembling scenes of the far-famed Isle of
Wight:  these places must be visited, and visited again, to make the
worth of Lyme understood.

The party from Uppercross passing down by the now deserted and
melancholy looking rooms, and still descending, soon found themselves
on the sea-shore; and lingering only, as all must linger and gaze on a
first return to the sea, who ever deserved to look on it at all,
proceeded towards the Cobb, equally their object in itself and on
Captain Wentworth's account:  for in a small house, near the foot of an
old pier of unknown date, were the Harvilles settled.  Captain
Wentworth turned in to call on his friend; the others walked on, and he
was to join them on the Cobb.

They were by no means tired of wondering and admiring; and not even
Louisa seemed to feel that they had parted with Captain Wentworth long,
when they saw him coming after them, with three companions, all well
known already, by description, to be Captain and Mrs Harville, and a
Captain Benwick, who was staying with them.

Captain Benwick had some time ago been first lieutenant of the Laconia;
and the account which Captain Wentworth had given of him, on his return
from Lyme before, his warm praise of him as an excellent young man and
an officer, whom he had always valued highly, which must have stamped
him well in the esteem of every listener, had been followed by a little
history of his private life, which rendered him perfectly interesting
in the eyes of all the ladies.  He had been engaged to Captain
Harville's sister, and was now mourning her loss.  They had been a year
or two waiting for fortune and promotion.  Fortune came, his
prize-money as lieutenant being great; promotion, too, came at last;
but Fanny Harville did not live to know it.  She had died the preceding
summer while he was at sea.  Captain Wentworth believed it impossible
for man to be more attached to woman than poor Benwick had been to
Fanny Harville, or to be more deeply afflicted under the dreadful
change.  He considered his disposition as of the sort which must suffer
heavily, uniting very strong feelings with quiet, serious, and retiring
manners, and a decided taste for reading, and sedentary pursuits.  To
finish the interest of the story, the friendship between him and the
Harvilles seemed, if possible, augmented by the event which closed all
their views of alliance, and Captain Benwick was now living with them
entirely.  Captain Harville had taken his present house for half a
year; his taste, and his health, and his fortune, all directing him to
a residence inexpensive, and by the sea; and the grandeur of the
country, and the retirement of Lyme in the winter, appeared exactly
adapted to Captain Benwick's state of mind.  The sympathy and good-will
excited towards Captain Benwick was very great.

"And yet," said Anne to herself, as they now moved forward to meet the
party, "he has not, perhaps, a more sorrowing heart than I have.  I
cannot believe his prospects so blighted for ever.  He is younger than
I am; younger in feeling, if not in fact; younger as a man.  He will
rally again, and be happy with another."

They all met, and were introduced.  Captain Harville was a tall, dark
man, with a sensible, benevolent countenance; a little lame; and from
strong features and want of health, looking much older than Captain
Wentworth.  Captain Benwick looked, and was, the youngest of the three,
and, compared with either of them, a little man.  He had a pleasing
face and a melancholy air, just as he ought to have, and drew back from
conversation.

Captain Harville, though not equalling Captain Wentworth in manners,
was a perfect gentleman, unaffected, warm, and obliging.  Mrs Harville,
a degree less polished than her husband, seemed, however, to have the
same good feelings; and nothing could be more pleasant than their
desire of considering the whole party as friends of their own, because
the friends of Captain Wentworth, or more kindly hospitable than their
entreaties for their all promising to dine with them.  The dinner,
already ordered at the inn, was at last, though unwillingly, accepted
as a excuse; but they seemed almost hurt that Captain Wentworth should
have brought any such party to Lyme, without considering it as a thing
of course that they should dine with them.

There was so much attachment to Captain Wentworth in all this, and such
a bewitching charm in a degree of hospitality so uncommon, so unlike
the usual style of give-and-take invitations, and dinners of formality
and display, that Anne felt her spirits not likely to be benefited by
an increasing acquaintance among his brother-officers.  "These would
have been all my friends," was her thought; and she had to struggle
against a great tendency to lowness.

On quitting the Cobb, they all went in-doors with their new friends,
and found rooms so small as none but those who invite from the heart
could think capable of accommodating so many.  Anne had a moment's
astonishment on the subject herself; but it was soon lost in the
pleasanter feelings which sprang from the sight of all the ingenious
contrivances and nice arrangements of Captain Harville, to turn the
actual space to the best account, to supply the deficiencies of
lodging-house furniture, and defend the windows and doors against the
winter storms to be expected.  The varieties in the fitting-up of the
rooms, where the common necessaries provided by the owner, in the
common indifferent plight, were contrasted with some few articles of a
rare species of wood, excellently worked up, and with something curious
and valuable from all the distant countries Captain Harville had
visited, were more than amusing to Anne; connected as it all was with
his profession, the fruit of its labours, the effect of its influence
on his habits, the picture of repose and domestic happiness it
presented, made it to her a something more, or less, than gratification.

Captain Harville was no reader; but he had contrived excellent
accommodations, and fashioned very pretty shelves, for a tolerable
collection of well-bound volumes, the property of Captain Benwick.  His
lameness prevented him from taking much exercise; but a mind of
usefulness and ingenuity seemed to furnish him with constant employment
within.  He drew, he varnished, he carpentered, he glued; he made toys
for the children; he fashioned new netting-needles and pins with
improvements; and if everything else was done, sat down to his large
fishing-net at one corner of the room.

Anne thought she left great happiness behind her when they quitted the
house; and Louisa, by whom she found herself walking, burst forth into
raptures of admiration and delight on the character of the navy; their
friendliness, their brotherliness, their openness, their uprightness;
protesting that she was convinced of sailors having more worth and
warmth than any other set of men in England; that they only knew how to
live, and they only deserved to be respected and loved.

They went back to dress and dine; and so well had the scheme answered
already, that nothing was found amiss; though its being "so entirely
out of season," and the "no thoroughfare of Lyme," and the "no
expectation of company," had brought many apologies from the heads of
the inn.

Anne found herself by this time growing so much more hardened to being
in Captain Wentworth's company than she had at first imagined could
ever be, that the sitting down to the same table with him now, and the
interchange of the common civilities attending on it (they never got
beyond), was become a mere nothing.

The nights were too dark for the ladies to meet again till the morrow,
but Captain Harville had promised them a visit in the evening; and he
came, bringing his friend also, which was more than had been expected,
it having been agreed that Captain Benwick had all the appearance of
being oppressed by the presence of so many strangers.  He ventured
among them again, however, though his spirits certainly did not seem
fit for the mirth of the party in general.

While Captains Wentworth and Harville led the talk on one side of the
room, and by recurring to former days, supplied anecdotes in abundance
to occupy and entertain the others, it fell to Anne's lot to be placed
rather apart with Captain Benwick; and a very good impulse of her
nature obliged her to begin an acquaintance with him.  He was shy, and
disposed to abstraction; but the engaging mildness of her countenance,
and gentleness of her manners, soon had their effect; and Anne was well
repaid the first trouble of exertion.  He was evidently a young man of
considerable taste in reading, though principally in poetry; and
besides the persuasion of having given him at least an evening's
indulgence in the discussion of subjects, which his usual companions
had probably no concern in, she had the hope of being of real use to
him in some suggestions as to the duty and benefit of struggling
against affliction, which had naturally grown out of their
conversation.  For, though shy, he did not seem reserved; it had rather
the appearance of feelings glad to burst their usual restraints; and
having talked of poetry, the richness of the present age, and gone
through a brief comparison of opinion as to the first-rate poets,
trying to ascertain whether Marmion or The Lady of the Lake were to be
preferred, and how ranked the Giaour and The Bride of Abydos; and
moreover, how the Giaour was to be pronounced, he showed himself so
intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of the one poet, and
all the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of the other; he
repeated, with such tremulous feeling, the various lines which imaged a
broken heart, or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so
entirely as if he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he
did not always read only poetry, and to say, that she thought it was
the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who
enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could
estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but
sparingly.

His looks shewing him not pained, but pleased with this allusion to his
situation, she was emboldened to go on; and feeling in herself the
right of seniority of mind, she ventured to recommend a larger
allowance of prose in his daily study; and on being requested to
particularize, mentioned such works of our best moralists, such
collections of the finest letters, such memoirs of characters of worth
and suffering, as occurred to her at the moment as calculated to rouse
and fortify the mind by the highest precepts, and the strongest
examples of moral and religious endurances.

Captain Benwick listened attentively, and seemed grateful for the
interest implied; and though with a shake of the head, and sighs which
declared his little faith in the efficacy of any books on grief like
his, noted down the names of those she recommended, and promised to
procure and read them.

When the evening was over, Anne could not but be amused at the idea of
her coming to Lyme to preach patience and resignation to a young man
whom she had never seen before; nor could she help fearing, on more
serious reflection, that, like many other great moralists and
preachers, she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct
would ill bear examination.



Chapter 12


Anne and Henrietta, finding themselves the earliest of the party the
next morning, agreed to stroll down to the sea before breakfast.  They
went to the sands, to watch the flowing of the tide, which a fine
south-easterly breeze was bringing in with all the grandeur which so
flat a shore admitted.  They praised the morning; gloried in the sea;
sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze--and were
silent; till Henrietta suddenly began again with--

"Oh! yes,--I am quite convinced that, with very few exceptions, the
sea-air always does good.  There can be no doubt of its having been of
the greatest service to Dr Shirley, after his illness, last spring
twelve-month.  He declares himself, that coming to Lyme for a month,
did him more good than all the medicine he took; and, that being by the
sea, always makes him feel young again.  Now, I cannot help thinking it
a pity that he does not live entirely by the sea.  I do think he had
better leave Uppercross entirely, and fix at Lyme.  Do not you, Anne?
Do not you agree with me, that it is the best thing he could do, both
for himself and Mrs Shirley?  She has cousins here, you know, and many
acquaintance, which would make it cheerful for her, and I am sure she
would be glad to get to a place where she could have medical attendance
at hand, in case of his having another seizure.  Indeed I think it
quite melancholy to have such excellent people as Dr and Mrs Shirley,
who have been doing good all their lives, wearing out their last days
in a place like Uppercross, where, excepting our family, they seem shut
out from all the world.  I wish his friends would propose it to him.  I
really think they ought.  And, as to procuring a dispensation, there
could be no difficulty at his time of life, and with his character.  My
only doubt is, whether anything could persuade him to leave his parish.
He is so very strict and scrupulous in his notions; over-scrupulous I
must say.  Do not you think, Anne, it is being over-scrupulous?  Do not
you think it is quite a mistaken point of conscience, when a clergyman
sacrifices his health for the sake of duties, which may be just as well
performed by another person?  And at Lyme too, only seventeen miles
off, he would be near enough to hear, if people thought there was
anything to complain of."

Anne smiled more than once to herself during this speech, and entered
into the subject, as ready to do good by entering into the feelings of
a young lady as of a young man, though here it was good of a lower
standard, for what could be offered but general acquiescence?  She said
all that was reasonable and proper on the business; felt the claims of
Dr Shirley to repose as she ought; saw how very desirable it was that
he should have some active, respectable young man, as a resident
curate, and was even courteous enough to hint at the advantage of such
resident curate's being married.

"I wish," said Henrietta, very well pleased with her companion, "I wish
Lady Russell lived at Uppercross, and were intimate with Dr Shirley.  I
have always heard of Lady Russell as a woman of the greatest influence
with everybody!  I always look upon her as able to persuade a person to
anything!  I am afraid of her, as I have told you before, quite afraid
of her, because she is so very clever; but I respect her amazingly, and
wish we had such a neighbour at Uppercross."

Anne was amused by Henrietta's manner of being grateful, and amused
also that the course of events and the new interests of Henrietta's
views should have placed her friend at all in favour with any of the
Musgrove family; she had only time, however, for a general answer, and
a wish that such another woman were at Uppercross, before all subjects
suddenly ceased, on seeing Louisa and Captain Wentworth coming towards
them.  They came also for a stroll till breakfast was likely to be
ready; but Louisa recollecting, immediately afterwards that she had
something to procure at a shop, invited them all to go back with her
into the town.  They were all at her disposal.

When they came to the steps, leading upwards from the beach, a
gentleman, at the same moment preparing to come down, politely drew
back, and stopped to give them way.  They ascended and passed him; and
as they passed, Anne's face caught his eye, and he looked at her with a
degree of earnest admiration, which she could not be insensible of.
She was looking remarkably well; her very regular, very pretty
features, having the bloom and freshness of youth restored by the fine
wind which had been blowing on her complexion, and by the animation of
eye which it had also produced.  It was evident that the gentleman,
(completely a gentleman in manner) admired her exceedingly.  Captain
Wentworth looked round at her instantly in a way which shewed his
noticing of it.  He gave her a momentary glance, a glance of
brightness, which seemed to say, "That man is struck with you, and even
I, at this moment, see something like Anne Elliot again."

After attending Louisa through her business, and loitering about a
little longer, they returned to the inn; and Anne, in passing
afterwards quickly from her own chamber to their dining-room, had
nearly run against the very same gentleman, as he came out of an
adjoining apartment.  She had before conjectured him to be a stranger
like themselves, and determined that a well-looking groom, who was
strolling about near the two inns as they came back, should be his
servant.  Both master and man being in mourning assisted the idea.  It
was now proved that he belonged to the same inn as themselves; and this
second meeting, short as it was, also proved again by the gentleman's
looks, that he thought hers very lovely, and by the readiness and
propriety of his apologies, that he was a man of exceedingly good
manners.  He seemed about thirty, and though not handsome, had an
agreeable person.  Anne felt that she should like to know who he was.

They had nearly done breakfast, when the sound of a carriage, (almost
the first they had heard since entering Lyme) drew half the party to
the window.  It was a gentleman's carriage, a curricle, but only coming
round from the stable-yard to the front door; somebody must be going
away.  It was driven by a servant in mourning.

The word curricle made Charles Musgrove jump up that he might compare
it with his own; the servant in mourning roused Anne's curiosity, and
the whole six were collected to look, by the time the owner of the
curricle was to be seen issuing from the door amidst the bows and
civilities of the household, and taking his seat, to drive off.

"Ah!" cried Captain Wentworth, instantly, and with half a glance at
Anne, "it is the very man we passed."

The Miss Musgroves agreed to it; and having all kindly watched him as
far up the hill as they could, they returned to the breakfast table.
The waiter came into the room soon afterwards.

"Pray," said Captain Wentworth, immediately, "can you tell us the name
of the gentleman who is just gone away?"

"Yes, Sir, a Mr Elliot, a gentleman of large fortune, came in last
night from Sidmouth.  Dare say you heard the carriage, sir, while you
were at dinner; and going on now for Crewkherne, in his way to Bath and
London."

"Elliot!"  Many had looked on each other, and many had repeated the
name, before all this had been got through, even by the smart rapidity
of a waiter.

"Bless me!" cried Mary; "it must be our cousin; it must be our Mr
Elliot, it must, indeed!  Charles, Anne, must not it?  In mourning, you
see, just as our Mr Elliot must be.  How very extraordinary!  In the
very same inn with us!  Anne, must not it be our Mr Elliot?  my
father's next heir?  Pray sir," turning to the waiter, "did not you
hear, did not his servant say whether he belonged to the Kellynch
family?"

"No, ma'am, he did not mention no particular family; but he said his
master was a very rich gentleman, and would be a baronight some day."

"There! you see!" cried Mary in an ecstasy, "just as I said!  Heir to
Sir Walter Elliot!  I was sure that would come out, if it was so.
Depend upon it, that is a circumstance which his servants take care to
publish, wherever he goes.  But, Anne, only conceive how extraordinary!
I wish I had looked at him more.  I wish we had been aware in time, who
it was, that he might have been introduced to us.  What a pity that we
should not have been introduced to each other!  Do you think he had the
Elliot countenance?  I hardly looked at him, I was looking at the
horses; but I think he had something of the Elliot countenance, I
wonder the arms did not strike me!  Oh! the great-coat was hanging over
the panel, and hid the arms, so it did; otherwise, I am sure, I should
have observed them, and the livery too; if the servant had not been in
mourning, one should have known him by the livery."

"Putting all these very extraordinary circumstances together," said
Captain Wentworth, "we must consider it to be the arrangement of
Providence, that you should not be introduced to your cousin."

When she could command Mary's attention, Anne quietly tried to convince
her that their father and Mr Elliot had not, for many years, been on
such terms as to make the power of attempting an introduction at all
desirable.

At the same time, however, it was a secret gratification to herself to
have seen her cousin, and to know that the future owner of Kellynch was
undoubtedly a gentleman, and had an air of good sense.  She would not,
upon any account, mention her having met with him the second time;
luckily Mary did not much attend to their having passed close by him in
their earlier walk, but she would have felt quite ill-used by Anne's
having actually run against him in the passage, and received his very
polite excuses, while she had never been near him at all; no, that
cousinly little interview must remain a perfect secret.

"Of course," said Mary, "you will mention our seeing Mr Elliot, the
next time you write to Bath.  I think my father certainly ought to hear
of it; do mention all about him."

Anne avoided a direct reply, but it was just the circumstance which she
considered as not merely unnecessary to be communicated, but as what
ought to be suppressed.  The offence which had been given her father,
many years back, she knew; Elizabeth's particular share in it she
suspected; and that Mr Elliot's idea always produced irritation in both
was beyond a doubt.  Mary never wrote to Bath herself; all the toil of
keeping up a slow and unsatisfactory correspondence with Elizabeth fell
on Anne.

Breakfast had not been long over, when they were joined by Captain and
Mrs Harville and Captain Benwick; with whom they had appointed to take
their last walk about Lyme.  They ought to be setting off for
Uppercross by one, and in the mean while were to be all together, and
out of doors as long as they could.

Anne found Captain Benwick getting near her, as soon as they were all
fairly in the street.  Their conversation the preceding evening did not
disincline him to seek her again; and they walked together some time,
talking as before of Mr Scott and Lord Byron, and still as unable as
before, and as unable as any other two readers, to think exactly alike
of the merits of either, till something occasioned an almost general
change amongst their party, and instead of Captain Benwick, she had
Captain Harville by her side.

"Miss Elliot," said he, speaking rather low, "you have done a good deed
in making that poor fellow talk so much.  I wish he could have such
company oftener.  It is bad for him, I know, to be shut up as he is;
but what can we do?  We cannot part."

"No," said Anne, "that I can easily believe to be impossible; but in
time, perhaps--we know what time does in every case of affliction, and
you must remember, Captain Harville, that your friend may yet be called
a young mourner--only last summer, I understand."

"Ay, true enough," (with a deep sigh) "only June."

"And not known to him, perhaps, so soon."

"Not till the first week of August, when he came home from the Cape,
just made into the Grappler.  I was at Plymouth dreading to hear of
him; he sent in letters, but the Grappler was under orders for
Portsmouth.  There the news must follow him, but who was to tell it?
not I.  I would as soon have been run up to the yard-arm.  Nobody could
do it, but that good fellow" (pointing to Captain Wentworth.)  "The
Laconia had come into Plymouth the week before; no danger of her being
sent to sea again.  He stood his chance for the rest; wrote up for
leave of absence, but without waiting the return, travelled night and
day till he got to Portsmouth, rowed off to the Grappler that instant,
and never left the poor fellow for a week.  That's what he did, and
nobody else could have saved poor James.  You may think, Miss Elliot,
whether he is dear to us!"

Anne did think on the question with perfect decision, and said as much
in reply as her own feeling could accomplish, or as his seemed able to
bear, for he was too much affected to renew the subject, and when he
spoke again, it was of something totally different.

Mrs Harville's giving it as her opinion that her husband would have
quite walking enough by the time he reached home, determined the
direction of all the party in what was to be their last walk; they
would accompany them to their door, and then return and set off
themselves.  By all their calculations there was just time for this;
but as they drew near the Cobb, there was such a general wish to walk
along it once more, all were so inclined, and Louisa soon grew so
determined, that the difference of a quarter of an hour, it was found,
would be no difference at all; so with all the kind leave-taking, and
all the kind interchange of invitations and promises which may be
imagined, they parted from Captain and Mrs Harville at their own door,
and still accompanied by Captain Benwick, who seemed to cling to them
to the last, proceeded to make the proper adieus to the Cobb.

Anne found Captain Benwick again drawing near her.  Lord Byron's "dark
blue seas" could not fail of being brought forward by their present
view, and she gladly gave him all her attention as long as attention
was possible.  It was soon drawn, perforce another way.

There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant
for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower, and
all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight,
excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth.
In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the stiles; the
sensation was delightful to her.  The hardness of the pavement for her
feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it,
however.  She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment,
ran up the steps to be jumped down again.  He advised her against it,
thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she
smiled and said, "I am determined I will:" he put out his hands; she
was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the
Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!  There was no wound, no blood,
no visible bruise; but her eyes were closed, she breathed not, her face
was like death.  The horror of the moment to all who stood around!

Captain Wentworth, who had caught her up, knelt with her in his arms,
looking on her with a face as pallid as her own, in an agony of
silence.  "She is dead! she is dead!" screamed Mary, catching hold of
her husband, and contributing with his own horror to make him
immoveable; and in another moment, Henrietta, sinking under the
conviction, lost her senses too, and would have fallen on the steps,
but for Captain Benwick and Anne, who caught and supported her between
them.

"Is there no one to help me?" were the first words which burst from
Captain Wentworth, in a tone of despair, and as if all his own strength
were gone.

"Go to him, go to him," cried Anne, "for heaven's sake go to him.  I
can support her myself.  Leave me, and go to him.  Rub her hands, rub
her temples; here are salts; take them, take them."

Captain Benwick obeyed, and Charles at the same moment, disengaging
himself from his wife, they were both with him; and Louisa was raised
up and supported more firmly between them, and everything was done that
Anne had prompted, but in vain; while Captain Wentworth, staggering
against the wall for his support, exclaimed in the bitterest agony--

"Oh God! her father and mother!"

"A surgeon!" said Anne.

He caught the word; it seemed to rouse him at once, and saying only--
"True, true, a surgeon this instant," was darting away, when Anne
eagerly suggested--

"Captain Benwick, would not it be better for Captain Benwick?  He knows
where a surgeon is to be found."

Every one capable of thinking felt the advantage of the idea, and in a
moment (it was all done in rapid moments) Captain Benwick had resigned
the poor corpse-like  figure entirely to the brother's care, and was
off for the town with the utmost rapidity.

As to the wretched party left behind, it could scarcely be said which
of the three, who were completely rational, was suffering most: Captain
Wentworth, Anne, or Charles, who, really a very affectionate brother,
hung over Louisa with sobs of grief, and could only turn his eyes from
one sister, to see the other in a state as insensible, or to witness
the hysterical agitations of his wife, calling on him for help which he
could not give.

Anne, attending with all the strength and zeal, and thought, which
instinct supplied, to Henrietta, still tried, at intervals, to suggest
comfort to the others, tried to quiet Mary, to animate Charles, to
assuage the feelings of Captain Wentworth.  Both seemed to look to her
for directions.

"Anne, Anne," cried Charles, "What is to be done next?  What, in
heaven's name, is to be done next?"

Captain Wentworth's eyes were also turned towards her.

"Had not she better be carried to the inn?  Yes, I am sure: carry her
gently to the inn."

"Yes, yes, to the inn," repeated Captain Wentworth, comparatively
collected, and eager to be doing something.  "I will carry her myself.
Musgrove, take care of the others."

By this time the report of the accident had spread among the workmen
and boatmen about the Cobb, and many were collected near them, to be
useful if wanted, at any rate, to enjoy the sight of a dead young lady,
nay, two dead young ladies, for it proved twice as fine as the first
report.  To some of the best-looking of these good people Henrietta was
consigned, for, though partially revived, she was quite helpless; and
in this manner, Anne walking by her side, and Charles attending to his
wife, they set forward, treading back with feelings unutterable, the
ground, which so lately, so very lately, and so light of heart, they
had passed along.

They were not off the Cobb, before the Harvilles met them.  Captain
Benwick had been seen flying by their house, with a countenance which
showed something to be wrong; and they had set off immediately,
informed and directed as they passed, towards the spot.  Shocked as
Captain Harville was, he brought senses and nerves that could be
instantly useful; and a look between him and his wife decided what was
to be done.  She must be taken to their house; all must go to their
house; and await the surgeon's arrival there.  They would not listen to
scruples:  he was obeyed; they were all beneath his roof; and while
Louisa, under Mrs Harville's direction, was conveyed up stairs, and
given possession of her own bed, assistance, cordials, restoratives
were supplied by her husband to all who needed them.

Louisa had once opened her eyes, but soon closed them again, without
apparent consciousness.  This had been a proof of life, however, of
service to her sister; and Henrietta, though perfectly incapable of
being in the same room with Louisa, was kept, by the agitation of hope
and fear, from a return of her own insensibility.  Mary, too, was
growing calmer.

The surgeon was with them almost before it had seemed possible.  They
were sick with horror, while he examined; but he was not hopeless.  The
head had received a severe contusion, but he had seen greater injuries
recovered from:  he was by no means hopeless; he spoke cheerfully.

That he did not regard it as a desperate case, that he did not say a
few hours must end it, was at first felt, beyond the hope of most; and
the ecstasy of such a reprieve, the rejoicing, deep and silent, after a
few fervent ejaculations of gratitude to Heaven had been offered, may
be conceived.

The tone, the look, with which "Thank God!" was uttered by Captain
Wentworth, Anne was sure could never be forgotten by her; nor the sight
of him afterwards, as he sat near a table, leaning over it with folded
arms and face concealed, as if overpowered by the various feelings of
his soul, and trying by prayer and reflection to calm them.

Louisa's limbs had escaped.  There was no injury but to the head.

It now became necessary for the party to consider what was best to be
done, as to their general situation.  They were now able to speak to
each other and consult.  That Louisa must remain where she was, however
distressing to her friends to be involving the Harvilles in such
trouble, did not admit a doubt.  Her removal was impossible.  The
Harvilles silenced all scruples; and, as much as they could, all
gratitude.  They had looked forward and arranged everything before the
others began to reflect.  Captain Benwick must give up his room to
them, and get another bed elsewhere; and the whole was settled.  They
were only concerned that the house could accommodate no more; and yet
perhaps, by "putting the children away in the maid's room, or swinging
a cot somewhere," they could hardly bear to think of not finding room
for two or three besides, supposing they might wish to stay; though,
with regard to any attendance on Miss Musgrove, there need not be the
least uneasiness in leaving her to Mrs Harville's care entirely.  Mrs
Harville was a very experienced nurse, and her nursery-maid, who had
lived with her long, and gone about with her everywhere, was just such
another.  Between these two, she could want no possible attendance by
day or night.  And all this was said with a truth and sincerity of
feeling irresistible.

Charles, Henrietta, and Captain Wentworth were the three in
consultation, and for a little while it was only an interchange of
perplexity and terror.  "Uppercross, the necessity of some one's going
to Uppercross; the news to be conveyed; how it could be broken to Mr
and Mrs Musgrove; the lateness of the morning; an hour already gone
since they ought to have been off; the impossibility of being in
tolerable time." At first, they were capable of nothing more to the
purpose than such exclamations; but, after a while, Captain Wentworth,
exerting himself, said--

"We must be decided, and without the loss of another minute.  Every
minute is valuable.  Some one must resolve on being off for Uppercross
instantly.  Musgrove, either you or I must go."

Charles agreed, but declared his resolution of not going away.  He
would be as little incumbrance as possible to Captain and Mrs Harville;
but as to leaving his sister in such a state, he neither ought, nor
would.  So far it was decided; and Henrietta at first declared the
same.  She, however, was soon persuaded to think differently.  The
usefulness of her staying!  She who had not been able to remain in
Louisa's room, or to look at her, without sufferings which made her
worse than helpless!  She was forced to acknowledge that she could do
no good, yet was still unwilling to be away, till, touched by the
thought of her father and mother, she gave it up; she consented, she
was anxious to be at home.

The plan had reached this point, when Anne, coming quietly down from
Louisa's room, could not but hear what followed, for the parlour door
was open.

"Then it is settled, Musgrove," cried Captain Wentworth, "that you
stay, and that I take care of your sister home.  But as to the rest, as
to the others, if one stays to assist Mrs Harville, I think it need be
only one.  Mrs Charles Musgrove will, of course, wish to get back to
her children; but if Anne will stay, no one so proper, so capable as
Anne."

She paused a moment to recover from the emotion of hearing herself so
spoken of.  The other two warmly agreed with what he said, and she then
appeared.

"You will stay, I am sure; you will stay and nurse her;" cried he,
turning to her and speaking with a glow, and yet a gentleness, which
seemed almost restoring the past.  She coloured deeply, and he
recollected himself and moved away.  She expressed herself most
willing, ready, happy to remain.  "It was what she had been thinking
of, and wishing to be allowed to do.  A bed on the floor in Louisa's
room would be sufficient for her, if Mrs Harville would but think so."

One thing more, and all seemed arranged.  Though it was rather
desirable that Mr and Mrs Musgrove should be previously alarmed by some
share of delay; yet the time required by the Uppercross horses to take
them back, would be a dreadful extension of suspense; and Captain
Wentworth proposed, and Charles Musgrove agreed, that it would be much
better for him to take a chaise from the inn, and leave Mr Musgrove's
carriage and horses to be sent home the next morning early, when there
would be the farther advantage of sending an account of Louisa's night.

Captain Wentworth now hurried off to get everything ready on his part,
and to be soon followed by the two ladies.  When the plan was made
known to Mary, however, there was an end of all peace in it.  She was
so wretched and so vehement, complained so much of injustice in being
expected to go away instead of Anne; Anne, who was nothing to Louisa,
while she was her sister, and had the best right to stay in Henrietta's
stead!  Why was not she to be as useful as Anne?  And to go home
without Charles, too, without her husband!  No, it was too unkind.  And
in short, she said more than her husband could long withstand, and as
none of the others could oppose when he gave way, there was no help for
it; the change of Mary for Anne was inevitable.

Anne had never submitted more reluctantly to the jealous and
ill-judging claims of Mary; but so it must be, and they set off for the
town, Charles taking care of his sister, and Captain Benwick attending
to her.  She gave a moment's recollection, as they hurried along, to
the little circumstances which the same spots had witnessed earlier in
the morning.  There she had listened to Henrietta's schemes for Dr
Shirley's leaving Uppercross; farther on, she had first seen Mr Elliot;
a moment seemed all that could now be given to any one but Louisa, or
those who were wrapt up in her welfare.

Captain Benwick was most considerately attentive to her; and, united as
they all seemed by the distress of the day, she felt an increasing
degree of good-will towards him, and a pleasure even in thinking that
it might, perhaps, be the occasion of continuing their acquaintance.

Captain Wentworth was on the watch for them, and a chaise and four in
waiting, stationed for their convenience in the lowest part of the
street; but his evident surprise and vexation at the substitution of
one sister for the other, the change in his countenance, the
astonishment, the expressions begun and suppressed, with which Charles
was listened to, made but a mortifying reception of Anne; or must at
least convince her that she was valued only as she could be useful to
Louisa.

She endeavoured to be composed, and to be just.  Without emulating the
feelings of an Emma towards her Henry, she would have attended on
Louisa with a zeal above the common claims of regard, for his sake; and
she hoped he would not long be so unjust as to suppose she would shrink
unnecessarily from the office of a friend.

In the mean while she was in the carriage.  He had handed them both in,
and placed himself between them; and in this manner, under these
circumstances, full of astonishment and emotion to Anne, she quitted
Lyme.  How the long stage would pass; how it was to affect their
manners; what was to be their sort of intercourse, she could not
foresee.  It was all quite natural, however.  He was devoted to
Henrietta; always turning towards her; and when he spoke at all, always
with the view of supporting her hopes and raising her spirits.  In
general, his voice and manner were studiously calm.  To spare Henrietta
from agitation seemed the governing principle.  Once only, when she had
been grieving over the last ill-judged, ill-fated walk to the Cobb,
bitterly lamenting that it ever had been thought of, he burst forth, as
if wholly overcome--

"Don't talk of it, don't talk of it," he cried.  "Oh God! that I had
not given way to her at the fatal moment!  Had I done as I ought!  But
so eager and so resolute! Dear, sweet Louisa!"

Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the
justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and
advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him
that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its
proportions and limits.  She thought it could scarcely escape him to
feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of
happiness as a very resolute character.

They got on fast.  Anne was astonished to recognise the same hills and
the same objects so soon.  Their actual speed, heightened by some dread
of the conclusion, made the road appear but half as long as on the day
before.  It was growing quite dusk, however, before they were in the
neighbourhood of Uppercross, and there had been total silence among
them for some time, Henrietta leaning back in the corner, with a shawl
over her face, giving the hope of her having cried herself to sleep;
when, as they were going up their last hill, Anne found herself all at
once addressed by Captain Wentworth.  In a low, cautious voice, he
said:--

"I have been considering what we had best do.  She must not appear at
first.  She could not stand it.  I have been thinking whether you had
not better remain in the carriage with her, while I go in and break it
to Mr and Mrs Musgrove.  Do you think this is a good plan?"

She did:  he was satisfied, and said no more.  But the remembrance of
the appeal remained a pleasure to her, as a proof of friendship, and of
deference for her judgement, a great pleasure; and when it became a
sort of parting proof, its value did not lessen.

When the distressing communication at Uppercross was over, and he had
seen the father and mother quite as composed as could be hoped, and the
daughter all the better for being with them, he announced his intention
of returning in the same carriage to Lyme; and when the horses were
baited, he was off.

(End of volume one.)



Chapter 13


The remainder of Anne's time at Uppercross, comprehending only two
days, was spent entirely at the Mansion House; and she had the
satisfaction of knowing herself extremely useful there, both as an
immediate companion, and as assisting in all those arrangements for the
future, which, in Mr and Mrs Musgrove's distressed state of spirits,
would have been difficulties.

They had an early account from Lyme the next morning.  Louisa was much
the same.  No symptoms worse than before had appeared.  Charles came a
few hours afterwards, to bring a later and more particular account.  He
was tolerably cheerful.  A speedy cure must not be hoped, but
everything was going on as well as the nature of the case admitted.  In
speaking of the Harvilles, he seemed unable to satisfy his own sense of
their kindness, especially of Mrs Harville's exertions as a nurse.
"She really left nothing for Mary to do.  He and Mary had been
persuaded to go early to their inn last night.  Mary had been
hysterical again this morning.  When he came away, she was going to
walk out with Captain Benwick, which, he hoped, would do her good.  He
almost wished she had been prevailed on to come home the day before;
but the truth was, that Mrs Harville left nothing for anybody to do."

Charles was to return to Lyme the same afternoon, and his father had at
first half a mind to go with him, but the ladies could not consent.  It
would be going only to multiply trouble to the others, and increase his
own distress; and a much better scheme followed and was acted upon.  A
chaise was sent for from Crewkherne, and Charles conveyed back a far
more useful person in the old nursery-maid of the family, one who
having brought up all the children, and seen the very last, the
lingering and long-petted Master Harry, sent to school after his
brothers, was now living in her deserted nursery to mend stockings and
dress all the blains and bruises she could get near her, and who,
consequently, was only too happy in being allowed to go and help nurse
dear Miss Louisa.  Vague wishes of getting Sarah thither, had occurred
before to Mrs Musgrove and Henrietta; but without Anne, it would hardly
have been resolved on, and found practicable so soon.

They were indebted, the next day, to Charles Hayter, for all the minute
knowledge of Louisa, which it was so essential to obtain every
twenty-four hours.  He made it his business to go to Lyme, and his
account was still encouraging.  The intervals of sense and
consciousness were believed to be stronger.  Every report agreed in
Captain Wentworth's appearing fixed in Lyme.

Anne was to leave them on the morrow, an event which they all dreaded.
"What should they do without her?  They were wretched comforters for
one another."  And so much was said in this way, that Anne thought she
could not do better than impart among them the general inclination to
which she was privy, and persuaded them all to go to Lyme at once.  She
had little difficulty; it was soon determined that they would go; go
to-morrow, fix themselves at the inn, or get into lodgings, as it
suited, and there remain till dear Louisa could be moved.  They must be
taking off some trouble from the good people she was with; they might
at least relieve Mrs Harville from the care of her own children; and in
short, they were so happy in the decision, that Anne was delighted with
what she had done, and felt that she could not spend her last morning
at Uppercross better than in assisting their preparations, and sending
them off at an early hour, though her being left to the solitary range
of the house was the consequence.

She was the last, excepting the little boys at the cottage, she was the
very last, the only remaining one of all that had filled and animated
both houses, of all that had given Uppercross its cheerful character.
A few days had made a change indeed!

If Louisa recovered, it would all be well again.  More than former
happiness would be restored.  There could not be a doubt, to her mind
there was none, of what would follow her recovery.  A few months hence,
and the room now so deserted, occupied but by her silent, pensive self,
might be filled again with all that was happy and gay, all that was
glowing and bright in prosperous love, all that was most unlike Anne
Elliot!

An hour's complete leisure for such reflections as these, on a dark
November day, a small thick rain almost blotting out the very few
objects ever to be discerned from the windows, was enough to make the
sound of Lady Russell's carriage exceedingly welcome; and yet, though
desirous to be gone, she could not quit the Mansion House, or look an
adieu to the Cottage, with its black, dripping and comfortless veranda,
or even notice through the misty glasses the last humble tenements of
the village, without a saddened heart.  Scenes had passed in Uppercross
which made it precious.  It stood the record of many sensations of
pain, once severe, but now softened; and of some instances of relenting
feeling, some breathings of friendship and reconciliation, which could
never be looked for again, and which could never cease to be dear.  She
left it all behind her, all but the recollection that such things had
been.

Anne had never entered Kellynch since her quitting Lady Russell's house
in September.  It had not been necessary, and the few occasions of its
being possible for her to go to the Hall she had contrived to evade and
escape from.  Her first return was to resume her place in the modern
and elegant apartments of the Lodge, and to gladden the eyes of its
mistress.

There was some anxiety mixed with Lady Russell's joy in meeting her.
She knew who had been frequenting Uppercross.  But happily, either Anne
was improved in plumpness and looks, or Lady Russell fancied her so;
and Anne, in receiving her compliments on the occasion, had the
amusement of connecting them with the silent admiration of her cousin,
and of hoping that she was to be blessed with a second spring of youth
and beauty.

When they came to converse, she was soon sensible of some mental
change.  The subjects of which her heart had been full on leaving
Kellynch, and which she had felt slighted, and been compelled to
smother among the Musgroves, were now become but of secondary interest.
She had lately lost sight even of her father and sister and Bath.
Their concerns had been sunk under those of Uppercross; and when Lady
Russell reverted to their former hopes and fears, and spoke her
satisfaction in the house in Camden Place, which had been taken, and
her regret that Mrs Clay should still be with them, Anne would have
been ashamed to have it known how much more she was thinking of Lyme
and Louisa Musgrove, and all her acquaintance there; how much more
interesting to her was the home and the friendship of the Harvilles and
Captain Benwick, than her own father's house in Camden Place, or her
own sister's intimacy with Mrs Clay.  She was actually forced to exert
herself to meet Lady Russell with anything like the appearance of equal
solicitude, on topics which had by nature the first claim on her.

There was a little awkwardness at first in their discourse on another
subject.  They must speak of the accident at Lyme.  Lady Russell had
not been arrived five minutes the day before, when a full account of
the whole had burst on her; but still it must be talked of, she must
make enquiries, she must regret the imprudence, lament the result, and
Captain Wentworth's name must be mentioned by both.  Anne was conscious
of not doing it so well as Lady Russell.  She could not speak the name,
and look straight forward to Lady Russell's eye, till she had adopted
the expedient of telling her briefly what she thought of the attachment
between him and Louisa.  When this was told, his name distressed her no
longer.

Lady Russell had only to listen composedly, and wish them happy, but
internally her heart revelled in angry pleasure, in pleased contempt,
that the man who at twenty-three had seemed to understand somewhat of
the value of an Anne Elliot, should, eight years afterwards, be charmed
by a Louisa Musgrove.

The first three or four days passed most quietly, with no circumstance
to mark them excepting the receipt of a note or two from Lyme, which
found their way to Anne, she could not tell how, and brought a rather
improving account of Louisa.  At the end of that period, Lady Russell's
politeness could repose no longer, and the fainter self-threatenings of
the past became in a decided tone, "I must call on Mrs Croft; I really
must call upon her soon.  Anne, have you courage to go with me, and pay
a visit in that house?  It will be some trial to us both."

Anne did not shrink from it; on the contrary, she truly felt as she
said, in observing--

"I think you are very likely to suffer the most of the two; your
feelings are less reconciled to the change than mine.  By remaining in
the neighbourhood, I am become inured to it."

She could have said more on the subject; for she had in fact so high an
opinion of the Crofts, and considered her father so very fortunate in
his tenants, felt the parish to be so sure of a good example, and the
poor of the best attention and relief, that however sorry and ashamed
for the necessity of the removal, she could not but in conscience feel
that they were gone who deserved not to stay, and that Kellynch Hall
had passed into better hands than its owners'.  These convictions must
unquestionably have their own pain, and severe was its kind; but they
precluded that pain which Lady Russell would suffer in entering the
house again, and returning through the well-known apartments.

In such moments Anne had no power of saying to herself, "These rooms
ought to belong only to us.  Oh, how fallen in their destination!  How
unworthily occupied!  An ancient family to be so driven away!
Strangers filling their place!" No, except when she thought of her
mother, and remembered where she had been used to sit and preside, she
had no sigh of that description to heave.

Mrs Croft always met her with a kindness which gave her the pleasure of
fancying herself a favourite, and on the present occasion, receiving
her in that house, there was particular attention.

The sad accident at Lyme was soon the prevailing topic, and on
comparing their latest accounts of the invalid, it appeared that each
lady dated her intelligence from the same hour of yestermorn; that
Captain Wentworth had been in Kellynch yesterday (the first time since
the accident), had brought Anne the last note, which she had not been
able to trace the exact steps of; had staid a few hours and then
returned again to Lyme, and without any present intention of quitting
it any more.  He had enquired after her, she found, particularly; had
expressed his hope of Miss Elliot's not being the worse for her
exertions, and had spoken of those exertions as great.  This was
handsome, and gave her more pleasure than almost anything else could
have done.

As to the sad catastrophe itself, it could be canvassed only in one
style by a couple of steady, sensible women, whose judgements had to
work on ascertained events; and it was perfectly decided that it had
been the consequence of much thoughtlessness and much imprudence; that
its effects were most alarming, and that it was frightful to think, how
long Miss Musgrove's recovery might yet be doubtful, and how liable she
would still remain to suffer from the concussion hereafter!  The
Admiral wound it up summarily by exclaiming--

"Ay, a very bad business indeed.  A new sort of way this, for a young
fellow to be making love, by breaking his mistress's head, is not it,
Miss Elliot?  This is breaking a head and giving a plaster, truly!"

Admiral Croft's manners were not quite of the tone to suit Lady
Russell, but they delighted Anne.  His goodness of heart and simplicity
of character were irresistible.

"Now, this must be very bad for you," said he, suddenly rousing from a
little reverie, "to be coming and finding us here.  I had not
recollected it before, I declare, but it must be very bad.  But now, do
not stand upon ceremony.  Get up and go over all the rooms in the house
if you like it."

"Another time, Sir, I thank you, not now."

"Well, whenever it suits you.  You can slip in from the shrubbery at
any time; and there you will find we keep our umbrellas hanging up by
that door.  A good place is not it?  But," (checking himself), "you
will not think it a good place, for yours were always kept in the
butler's room.  Ay, so it always is, I believe.  One man's ways may be
as good as another's, but we all like our own best.  And so you must
judge for yourself, whether it would be better for you to go about the
house or not."

Anne, finding she might decline it, did so, very gratefully.

"We have made very few changes either," continued the Admiral, after
thinking a moment.  "Very few.  We told you about the laundry-door, at
Uppercross.  That has been a very great improvement.  The wonder was,
how any family upon earth could bear with the inconvenience of its
opening as it did, so long!  You will tell Sir Walter what we have
done, and that Mr Shepherd thinks it the greatest improvement the house
ever had.  Indeed, I must do ourselves the justice to say, that the few
alterations we have made have been all very much for the better.  My
wife should have the credit of them, however.  I have done very little
besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my
dressing-room, which was your father's.  A very good man, and very much
the gentleman I am sure: but I should think, Miss Elliot," (looking
with serious reflection), "I should think he must be rather a dressy
man for his time of life.  Such a number of looking-glasses! oh Lord!
there was no getting away from one's self.  So I got Sophy to lend me a
hand, and we soon shifted their quarters; and now I am quite snug, with
my little shaving glass in one corner, and another great thing that I
never go near."

Anne, amused in spite of herself, was rather distressed for an answer,
and the Admiral, fearing he might not have been civil enough, took up
the subject again, to say--

"The next time you write to your good father, Miss Elliot, pray give
him my compliments and Mrs Croft's, and say that we are settled here
quite to our liking, and have no fault at all to find with the place.
The breakfast-room chimney smokes a little, I grant you, but it is only
when the wind is due north and blows hard, which may not happen three
times a winter.  And take it altogether, now that we have been into
most of the houses hereabouts and can judge, there is not one that we
like better than this.  Pray say so, with my compliments.  He will be
glad to hear it."

Lady Russell and Mrs Croft were very well pleased with each other: but
the acquaintance which this visit began was fated not to proceed far at
present; for when it was returned, the Crofts announced themselves to
be going away for a few weeks, to visit their connexions in the north
of the county, and probably might not be at home again before Lady
Russell would be removing to Bath.

So ended all danger to Anne of meeting Captain Wentworth at Kellynch
Hall, or of seeing him in company with her friend.  Everything was safe
enough, and she smiled over the many anxious feelings she had wasted on
the subject.



Chapter 14


Though Charles and Mary had remained at Lyme much longer after Mr and
Mrs Musgrove's going than Anne conceived they could have been at all
wanted, they were yet the first of the family to be at home again; and
as soon as possible after their return to Uppercross they drove over to
the Lodge.  They had left Louisa beginning to sit up; but her head,
though clear, was exceedingly weak, and her nerves susceptible to the
highest extreme of tenderness; and though she might be pronounced to be
altogether doing very well, it was still impossible to say when she
might be able to bear the removal home; and her father and mother, who
must return in time to receive their younger children for the Christmas
holidays, had hardly a hope of being allowed to bring her with them.

They had been all in lodgings together.  Mrs Musgrove had got Mrs
Harville's children away as much as she could, every possible supply
from Uppercross had been furnished, to lighten the inconvenience to the
Harvilles, while the Harvilles had been wanting them to come to dinner
every day; and in short, it seemed to have been only a struggle on each
side as to which should be most disinterested and hospitable.

Mary had had her evils; but upon the whole, as was evident by her
staying so long, she had found more to enjoy than to suffer.  Charles
Hayter had been at Lyme oftener than suited her; and when they dined
with the Harvilles there had been only a maid-servant to wait, and at
first Mrs Harville had always given Mrs Musgrove precedence; but then,
she had received so very handsome an apology from her on finding out
whose daughter she was, and there had been so much going on every day,
there had been so many walks between their lodgings and the Harvilles,
and she had got books from the library, and changed them so often, that
the balance had certainly been much in favour of Lyme.  She had been
taken to Charmouth too, and she had bathed, and she had gone to church,
and there were a great many more people to look at in the church at
Lyme than at Uppercross; and all this, joined to the sense of being so
very useful, had made really an agreeable fortnight.

Anne enquired after Captain Benwick, Mary's face was clouded directly.
Charles laughed.

"Oh! Captain Benwick is very well, I believe, but he is a very odd
young man.  I do not know what he would be at.  We asked him to come
home with us for a day or two:  Charles undertook to give him some
shooting, and he seemed quite delighted, and, for my part, I thought it
was all settled; when behold! on Tuesday night, he made a very awkward
sort of excuse; 'he never shot' and he had 'been quite misunderstood,'
and he had promised this and he had promised that, and the end of it
was, I found, that he did not mean to come.  I suppose he was afraid of
finding it dull; but upon my word I should have thought we were lively
enough at the Cottage for such a heart-broken man as Captain Benwick."

Charles laughed again and said, "Now Mary, you know very well how it
really was.  It was all your doing," (turning to Anne.) "He fancied
that if he went with us, he should find you close by: he fancied
everybody to be living in Uppercross; and when he discovered that Lady
Russell lived three miles off, his heart failed him, and he had not
courage to come.  That is the fact, upon my honour, Mary knows it is."

But Mary did not give into it very graciously, whether from not
considering Captain Benwick entitled by birth and situation to be in
love with an Elliot, or from not wanting to believe Anne a greater
attraction to Uppercross than herself, must be left to be guessed.
Anne's good-will, however, was not to be lessened by what she heard.
She boldly acknowledged herself flattered, and continued her enquiries.

"Oh! he talks of you," cried Charles, "in such terms--" Mary
interrupted him. "I declare, Charles, I never heard him mention Anne
twice all the time I was there.  I declare, Anne, he never talks of you
at all."

"No," admitted Charles, "I do not know that he ever does, in a general
way; but however, it is a very clear thing that he admires you
exceedingly.  His head is full of some books that he is reading upon
your recommendation, and he wants to talk to you about them; he has
found out something or other in one of them which he thinks--oh! I
cannot pretend to remember it, but it was something very fine--I
overheard him telling Henrietta all about it; and then 'Miss Elliot'
was spoken of in the highest terms!  Now Mary, I declare it was so, I
heard it myself, and you were in the other room.  'Elegance, sweetness,
beauty.' Oh! there was no end of Miss Elliot's charms."

"And I am sure," cried Mary, warmly, "it was a very little to his
credit, if he did.  Miss Harville only died last June.  Such a heart is
very little worth having; is it, Lady Russell?  I am sure you will
agree with me."

"I must see Captain Benwick before I decide," said Lady Russell,
smiling.

"And that you are very likely to do very soon, I can tell you, ma'am,"
said Charles.  "Though he had not nerves for coming away with us, and
setting off again afterwards to pay a formal visit here, he will make
his way over to Kellynch one day by himself, you may depend on it.  I
told him the distance and the road, and I told him of the church's
being so very well worth seeing; for as he has a taste for those sort
of things, I thought that would be a good excuse, and he listened with
all his understanding and soul; and I am sure from his manner that you
will have him calling here soon.  So, I give you notice, Lady Russell."

"Any acquaintance of Anne's will always be welcome to me," was Lady
Russell's kind answer.

"Oh! as to being Anne's acquaintance," said Mary, "I think he is rather
my acquaintance, for I have been seeing him every day this last
fortnight."

"Well, as your joint acquaintance, then, I shall be very happy to see
Captain Benwick."

"You will not find anything very agreeable in him, I assure you, ma'am.
He is one of the dullest young men that ever lived.  He has walked with
me, sometimes, from one end of the sands to the other, without saying a
word.  He is not at all a well-bred young man.  I am sure you will not
like him."

"There we differ, Mary," said Anne.  "I think Lady Russell would like
him.  I think she would be so much pleased with his mind, that she
would very soon see no deficiency in his manner."

"So do I, Anne," said Charles.  "I am sure Lady Russell would like him.
He is just Lady Russell's sort.  Give him a book, and he will read all
day long."

"Yes, that he will!" exclaimed Mary, tauntingly.  "He will sit poring
over his book, and not know when a person speaks to him, or when one
drop's one's scissors, or anything that happens.  Do you think Lady
Russell would like that?"

Lady Russell could not help laughing.  "Upon my word," said she, "I
should not have supposed that my opinion of any one could have admitted
of such difference of conjecture, steady and matter of fact as I may
call myself.  I have really a curiosity to see the person who can give
occasion to such directly opposite notions.  I wish he may be induced
to call here.  And when he does, Mary, you may depend upon hearing my
opinion; but I am determined not to judge him beforehand."

"You will not like him, I will answer for it."

Lady Russell began talking of something else.  Mary spoke with
animation of their meeting with, or rather missing, Mr Elliot so
extraordinarily.

"He is a man," said Lady Russell, "whom I have no wish to see.  His
declining to be on cordial terms with the head of his family, has left
a very strong impression in his disfavour with me."

This decision checked Mary's eagerness, and stopped her short in the
midst of the Elliot countenance.

With regard to Captain Wentworth, though Anne hazarded no enquiries,
there was voluntary communication sufficient.  His spirits had been
greatly recovering lately as might be expected.  As Louisa improved, he
had improved, and he was now quite a different creature from what he
had been the first week.  He had not seen Louisa; and was so extremely
fearful of any ill consequence to her from an interview, that he did
not press for it at all; and, on the contrary, seemed to have a plan of
going away for a week or ten days, till her head was stronger.  He had
talked of going down to Plymouth for a week, and wanted to persuade
Captain Benwick to go with him; but, as Charles maintained to the last,
Captain Benwick seemed much more disposed to ride over to Kellynch.

There can be no doubt that Lady Russell and Anne were both occasionally
thinking of Captain Benwick, from this time.  Lady Russell could not
hear the door-bell without feeling that it might be his herald; nor
could Anne return from any stroll of solitary indulgence in her
father's grounds, or any visit of charity in the village, without
wondering whether she might see him or hear of him.  Captain Benwick
came not, however.  He was either less disposed for it than Charles had
imagined, or he was too shy; and after giving him a week's indulgence,
Lady Russell determined him to be unworthy of the interest which he had
been beginning to excite.

The Musgroves came back to receive their happy boys and girls from
school, bringing with them Mrs Harville's little children, to improve
the noise of Uppercross, and lessen that of Lyme.  Henrietta remained
with Louisa; but all the rest of the family were again in their usual
quarters.

Lady Russell and Anne paid their compliments to them once, when Anne
could not but feel that Uppercross was already quite alive again.
Though neither Henrietta, nor Louisa, nor Charles Hayter, nor Captain
Wentworth were there, the room presented as strong a contrast as could
be wished to the last state she had seen it in.

Immediately surrounding Mrs Musgrove were the little Harvilles, whom
she was sedulously guarding from the tyranny of the two children from
the Cottage, expressly arrived to amuse them.  On one side was a table
occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and
on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn
and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole
completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined to be
heard, in spite of all the noise of the others.  Charles and Mary also
came in, of course, during their visit, and Mr Musgrove made a point of
paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten
minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but from the clamour of the
children on his knees, generally in vain.  It was a fine family-piece.

Anne, judging from her own temperament, would have deemed such a
domestic hurricane a bad restorative of the nerves, which Louisa's
illness must have so greatly shaken.  But Mrs Musgrove, who got Anne
near her on purpose to thank her most cordially, again and again, for
all her attentions to them, concluded a short recapitulation of what
she had suffered herself by observing, with a happy glance round the
room, that after all she had gone through, nothing was so likely to do
her good as a little quiet cheerfulness at home.

Louisa was now recovering apace.  Her mother could even think of her
being able to join their party at home, before her brothers and sisters
went to school again.  The Harvilles had promised to come with her and
stay at Uppercross, whenever she returned.  Captain Wentworth was gone,
for the present, to see his brother in Shropshire.

"I hope I shall remember, in future," said Lady Russell, as soon as
they were reseated in the carriage, "not to call at Uppercross in the
Christmas holidays."

Everybody has their taste in noises as well as in other matters; and
sounds are quite innoxious, or most distressing, by their sort rather
than their quantity.  When Lady Russell not long afterwards, was
entering Bath on a wet afternoon, and driving through the long course
of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden Place, amidst the dash of
other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of
newspapermen, muffin-men and milkmen, and the ceaseless clink of
pattens, she made no complaint.  No, these were noises which belonged
to the winter pleasures; her spirits rose under their influence; and
like Mrs Musgrove, she was feeling, though not saying, that after being
long in the country, nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet
cheerfulness.

Anne did not share these feelings.  She persisted in a very determined,
though very silent disinclination for Bath; caught the first dim view
of the extensive buildings, smoking in rain, without any wish of seeing
them better; felt their progress through the streets to be, however
disagreeable, yet too rapid; for who would be glad to see her when she
arrived?  And looked back, with fond regret, to the bustles of
Uppercross and the seclusion of Kellynch.

Elizabeth's last letter had communicated a piece of news of some
interest.  Mr Elliot was in Bath.  He had called in Camden Place; had
called a second time, a third; had been pointedly attentive.  If
Elizabeth and her father did not deceive themselves, had been taking
much pains to seek the acquaintance, and proclaim the value of the
connection, as he had formerly taken pains to shew neglect.  This was
very wonderful if it were true; and Lady Russell was in a state of very
agreeable curiosity and perplexity about Mr Elliot, already recanting
the sentiment she had so lately expressed to Mary, of his being "a man
whom she had no wish to see."  She had a great wish to see him.  If he
really sought to reconcile himself like a dutiful branch, he must be
forgiven for having dismembered himself from the paternal tree.

Anne was not animated to an equal pitch by the circumstance, but she
felt that she would rather see Mr Elliot again than not, which was more
than she could say for many other persons in Bath.

She was put down in Camden Place; and Lady Russell then drove to her
own lodgings, in Rivers Street.



Chapter 15


Sir Walter had taken a very good house in Camden Place, a lofty
dignified situation, such as becomes a man of consequence; and both he
and Elizabeth were settled there, much to their satisfaction.

Anne entered it with a sinking heart, anticipating an imprisonment of
many months, and anxiously saying to herself, "Oh! when shall I leave
you again?"  A degree of unexpected cordiality, however, in the welcome
she received, did her good.  Her father and sister were glad to see
her, for the sake of shewing her the house and furniture, and met her
with kindness.  Her making a fourth, when they sat down to dinner, was
noticed as an advantage.

Mrs Clay was very pleasant, and very smiling, but her courtesies and
smiles were more a matter of course.  Anne had always felt that she
would pretend what was proper on her arrival, but the complaisance of
the others was unlooked for.  They were evidently in excellent spirits,
and she was soon to listen to the causes.  They had no inclination to
listen to her.  After laying out for some compliments of being deeply
regretted in their old neighbourhood, which Anne could not pay, they
had only a few faint enquiries to make, before the talk must be all
their own.  Uppercross excited no interest, Kellynch very little: it
was all Bath.

They had the pleasure of assuring her that Bath more than answered
their expectations in every respect.  Their house was undoubtedly the
best in Camden Place; their drawing-rooms had many decided advantages
over all the others which they had either seen or heard of, and the
superiority was not less in the style of the fitting-up, or the taste
of the furniture.  Their acquaintance was exceedingly sought after.
Everybody was wanting to visit them.  They had drawn back from many
introductions, and still were perpetually having cards left by people
of whom they knew nothing.

Here were funds of enjoyment.  Could Anne wonder that her father and
sister were happy?  She might not wonder, but she must sigh that her
father should feel no degradation in his change, should see nothing to
regret in the duties and dignity of the resident landholder, should
find so much to be vain of in the littlenesses of a town; and she must
sigh, and smile, and wonder too, as Elizabeth threw open the
folding-doors and walked with exultation from one drawing-room to the
other, boasting of their space; at the possibility of that woman, who
had been mistress of Kellynch Hall, finding extent to be proud of
between two walls, perhaps thirty feet asunder.

But this was not all which they had to make them happy.  They had Mr
Elliot too.  Anne had a great deal to hear of Mr Elliot.  He was not
only pardoned, they were delighted with him.  He had been in Bath about
a fortnight; (he had passed through Bath in November, in his way to
London, when the intelligence of Sir Walter's being settled there had
of course reached him, though only twenty-four hours in the place, but
he had not been able to avail himself of it;) but he had now been a
fortnight in Bath, and his first object on arriving, had been to leave
his card in Camden Place, following it up by such assiduous endeavours
to meet, and when they did meet, by such great openness of conduct,
such readiness to apologize for the past, such solicitude to be
received as a relation again, that their former good understanding was
completely re-established.

They had not a fault to find in him.  He had explained away all the
appearance of neglect on his own side.  It had originated in
misapprehension entirely.  He had never had an idea of throwing himself
off; he had feared that he was thrown off, but knew not why, and
delicacy had kept him silent.  Upon the hint of having spoken
disrespectfully or carelessly of the family and the family honours, he
was quite indignant.  He, who had ever boasted of being an Elliot, and
whose feelings, as to connection, were only too strict to suit the
unfeudal tone of the present day.  He was astonished, indeed, but his
character and general conduct must refute it.  He could refer Sir
Walter to all who knew him; and certainly, the pains he had been taking
on this, the first opportunity of reconciliation, to be restored to the
footing of a relation and heir-presumptive, was a strong proof of his
opinions on the subject.

The circumstances of his marriage, too, were found to admit of much
extenuation.  This was an article not to be entered on by himself; but
a very intimate friend of his, a Colonel Wallis, a highly respectable
man, perfectly the gentleman, (and not an ill-looking man, Sir Walter
added), who was living in very good style in Marlborough Buildings, and
had, at his own particular request, been admitted to their acquaintance
through Mr Elliot, had mentioned one or two things relative to the
marriage, which made a material difference in the discredit of it.

Colonel Wallis had known Mr Elliot long, had been well acquainted also
with his wife, had perfectly understood the whole story.  She was
certainly not a woman of family, but well educated, accomplished, rich,
and excessively in love with his friend.  There had been the charm.
She had sought him.  Without that attraction, not all her money would
have tempted Elliot, and Sir Walter was, moreover, assured of her
having been a very fine woman.  Here was a great deal to soften the
business.  A very fine woman with a large fortune, in love with him!
Sir Walter seemed to admit it as complete apology; and though Elizabeth
could not see the circumstance in quite so favourable a light, she
allowed it be a great extenuation.

Mr Elliot had called repeatedly, had dined with them once, evidently
delighted by the distinction of being asked, for they gave no dinners
in general; delighted, in short, by every proof of cousinly notice, and
placing his whole happiness in being on intimate terms in Camden Place.

Anne listened, but without quite understanding it.  Allowances, large
allowances, she knew, must be made for the ideas of those who spoke.
She heard it all under embellishment.  All that sounded extravagant or
irrational in the progress of the reconciliation might have no origin
but in the language of the relators.  Still, however, she had the
sensation of there being something more than immediately appeared, in
Mr Elliot's wishing, after an interval of so many years, to be well
received by them.  In a worldly view, he had nothing to gain by being
on terms with Sir Walter; nothing to risk by a state of variance.  In
all probability he was already the richer of the two, and the Kellynch
estate would as surely be his hereafter as the title.  A sensible man,
and he had looked like a very sensible man, why should it be an object
to him?  She could only offer one solution; it was, perhaps, for
Elizabeth's sake.  There might really have been a liking formerly,
though convenience and accident had drawn him a different way; and now
that he could afford to please himself, he might mean to pay his
addresses to her.  Elizabeth was certainly very handsome, with
well-bred, elegant manners, and her character might never have been
penetrated by Mr Elliot, knowing her but in public, and when very young
himself.  How her temper and understanding might bear the investigation
of his present keener time of life was another concern and rather a
fearful one.  Most earnestly did she wish that he might not be too
nice, or too observant if Elizabeth were his object; and that Elizabeth
was disposed to believe herself so, and that her friend Mrs Clay was
encouraging the idea, seemed apparent by a glance or two between them,
while Mr Elliot's frequent visits were talked of.

Anne mentioned the glimpses she had had of him at Lyme, but without
being much attended to.  "Oh! yes, perhaps, it had been Mr Elliot.
They did not know.  It might be him, perhaps."  They could not listen
to her description of him.  They were describing him themselves; Sir
Walter especially.  He did justice to his very gentlemanlike
appearance, his air of elegance and fashion, his good shaped face, his
sensible eye; but, at the same time, "must lament his being very much
under-hung, a defect which time seemed to have increased; nor could he
pretend to say that ten years had not altered almost every feature for
the worse.  Mr Elliot appeared to think that he (Sir Walter) was
looking exactly as he had done when they last parted;" but Sir Walter
had "not been able to return the compliment entirely, which had
embarrassed him.  He did not mean to complain, however.  Mr Elliot was
better to look at than most men, and he had no objection to being seen
with him anywhere."

Mr Elliot, and his friends in Marlborough Buildings, were talked of the
whole evening.  "Colonel Wallis had been so impatient to be introduced
to them! and Mr Elliot so anxious that he should!" and there was a Mrs
Wallis, at present known only to them by description, as she was in
daily expectation of her confinement; but Mr Elliot spoke of her as "a
most charming woman, quite worthy of being known in Camden Place," and
as soon as she recovered they were to be acquainted.  Sir Walter
thought much of Mrs Wallis; she was said to be an excessively pretty
woman, beautiful.  "He longed to see her.  He hoped she might make some
amends for the many very plain faces he was continually passing in the
streets.  The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women.  He did
not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the
plain was out of all proportion.  He had frequently observed, as he
walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or
five-and-thirty frights; and once, as he had stood in a shop on Bond
Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another,
without there being a tolerable face among them.  It had been a frosty
morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a
thousand could stand the test of.  But still, there certainly were a
dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men!  they
were infinitely worse.  Such scarecrows as the streets were full of!
It was evident how little the women were used to the sight of anything
tolerable, by the effect which a man of decent appearance produced.  He
had never walked anywhere arm-in-arm with Colonel Wallis (who was a
fine military figure, though sandy-haired) without observing that every
woman's eye was upon him; every woman's eye was sure to be upon Colonel
Wallis."  Modest Sir Walter!  He was not allowed to escape, however.
His daughter and Mrs Clay united in hinting that Colonel Wallis's
companion might have as good a figure as Colonel Wallis, and certainly
was not sandy-haired.

"How is Mary looking?" said Sir Walter, in the height of his good
humour.  "The last time I saw her she had a red nose, but I hope that
may not happen every day."

"Oh! no, that must have been quite accidental.  In general she has been
in very good health and very good looks since Michaelmas."

"If I thought it would not tempt her to go out in sharp winds, and grow
coarse, I would send her a new hat and pelisse."

Anne was considering whether she should venture to suggest that a gown,
or a cap, would not be liable to any such misuse, when a knock at the
door suspended everything.  "A knock at the door! and so late!  It was
ten o'clock.  Could it be Mr Elliot?  They knew he was to dine in
Lansdown Crescent.  It was possible that he might stop in his way home
to ask them how they did.  They could think of no one else.  Mrs Clay
decidedly thought it Mr Elliot's knock."  Mrs Clay was right.  With all
the state which a butler and foot-boy could give, Mr Elliot was ushered
into the room.

It was the same, the very same man, with no difference but of dress.
Anne drew a little back, while the others received his compliments, and
her sister his apologies for calling at so unusual an hour, but "he
could not be so near without wishing to know that neither she nor her
friend had taken cold the day before," &c. &c; which was all as
politely done, and as politely taken, as possible, but her part must
follow then.  Sir Walter talked of his youngest daughter; "Mr Elliot
must give him leave to present him to his youngest daughter" (there was
no occasion for remembering Mary); and Anne, smiling and blushing, very
becomingly shewed to Mr Elliot the pretty features which he had by no
means forgotten, and instantly saw, with amusement at his little start
of surprise, that he had not been at all aware of who she was.  He
looked completely astonished, but not more astonished than pleased; his
eyes brightened! and with the most perfect alacrity he welcomed the
relationship, alluded to the past, and entreated to be received as an
acquaintance already.  He was quite as good-looking as he had appeared
at Lyme, his countenance improved by speaking, and his manners were so
exactly what they ought to be, so polished, so easy, so particularly
agreeable, that she could compare them in excellence to only one
person's manners.  They were not the same, but they were, perhaps,
equally good.

He sat down with them, and improved their conversation very much.
There could be no doubt of his being a sensible man.  Ten minutes were
enough to certify that.  His tone, his expressions, his choice of
subject, his knowing where to stop; it was all the operation of a
sensible, discerning mind.  As soon as he could, he began to talk to
her of Lyme, wanting to compare opinions respecting the place, but
especially wanting to speak of the circumstance of their happening to
be guests in the same inn at the same time; to give his own route,
understand something of hers, and regret that he should have lost such
an opportunity of paying his respects to her.  She gave him a short
account of her party and business at Lyme.  His regret increased as he
listened.  He had spent his whole solitary evening in the room
adjoining theirs; had heard voices, mirth continually; thought they
must be a most delightful set of people, longed to be with them, but
certainly without the smallest suspicion of his possessing the shadow
of a right to introduce himself.  If he had but asked who the party
were!  The name of Musgrove would have told him enough.  "Well, it
would serve to cure him of an absurd practice of never asking a
question at an inn, which he had adopted, when quite a young man, on
the principal of its being very ungenteel to be curious.

"The notions of a young man of one or two and twenty," said he, "as to
what is necessary in manners to make him quite the thing, are more
absurd, I believe, than those of any other set of beings in the world.
The folly of the means they often employ is only to be equalled by the
folly of what they have in view."

But he must not be addressing his reflections to Anne alone: he knew
it; he was soon diffused again among the others, and it was only at
intervals that he could return to Lyme.

His enquiries, however, produced at length an account of the scene she
had been engaged in there, soon after his leaving the place.  Having
alluded to "an accident,"  he must hear the whole.  When he questioned,
Sir Walter and Elizabeth began to question also, but the difference in
their manner of doing it could not be unfelt.  She could only compare
Mr Elliot to Lady Russell, in the wish of really comprehending what had
passed, and in the degree of concern for what she must have suffered in
witnessing it.

He staid an hour with them.  The elegant little clock on the mantel-piece
had struck "eleven with its silver sounds," and the watchman was
beginning to be heard at a distance telling the same tale, before Mr
Elliot or any of them seemed to feel that he had been there long.

Anne could not have supposed it possible that her first evening in
Camden Place could have passed so well!



Chapter 16


There was one point which Anne, on returning to her family, would have
been more thankful to ascertain even than Mr Elliot's being in love
with Elizabeth, which was, her father's not being in love with Mrs
Clay; and she was very far from easy about it, when she had been at
home a few hours.  On going down to breakfast the next morning, she
found there had just been a decent pretence on the lady's side of
meaning to leave them.  She could imagine Mrs Clay to have said, that
"now Miss Anne was come, she could not suppose herself at all wanted;"
for Elizabeth was replying in a sort of whisper, "That must not be any
reason, indeed.  I assure you I feel it none.  She is nothing to me,
compared with you;"  and she was in full time to hear her father say,
"My dear madam, this must not be.  As yet, you have seen nothing of
Bath.  You have been here only to be useful.  You must not run away
from us now.  You must stay to be acquainted with Mrs Wallis, the
beautiful Mrs Wallis.  To your fine mind, I well know the sight of
beauty is a real gratification."

He spoke and looked so much in earnest, that Anne was not surprised to
see Mrs Clay stealing a glance at Elizabeth and herself.  Her
countenance, perhaps, might express some watchfulness; but the praise
of the fine mind did not appear to excite a thought in her sister.  The
lady could not but yield to such joint entreaties, and promise to stay.

In the course of the same morning, Anne and her father chancing to be
alone together, he began to compliment her on her improved looks; he
thought her "less thin in her person, in her cheeks; her skin, her
complexion, greatly improved; clearer, fresher.  Had she been using any
thing in particular?"  "No, nothing."  "Merely Gowland," he supposed.
"No, nothing at all."  "Ha! he was surprised at that;" and added,
"certainly you cannot do better than to continue as you are; you cannot
be better than well; or I should recommend Gowland, the constant use of
Gowland, during the spring months.  Mrs Clay has been using it at my
recommendation, and you see what it has done for her.  You see how it
has carried away her freckles."

If Elizabeth could but have heard this!  Such personal praise might
have struck her, especially as it did not appear to Anne that the
freckles were at all lessened.  But everything must take its chance.
The evil of a marriage would be much diminished, if Elizabeth were also
to marry.  As for herself, she might always command a home with Lady
Russell.

Lady Russell's composed mind and polite manners were put to some trial
on this point, in her intercourse in Camden Place.  The sight of Mrs
Clay in such favour, and of Anne so overlooked, was a perpetual
provocation to her there; and vexed her as much when she was away, as a
person in Bath who drinks the water, gets all the new publications, and
has a very large acquaintance, has time to be vexed.

As Mr Elliot became known to her, she grew more charitable, or more
indifferent, towards the others.  His manners were an immediate
recommendation; and on conversing with him she found the solid so fully
supporting the superficial, that she was at first, as she told Anne,
almost ready to exclaim, "Can this be Mr Elliot?" and could not
seriously picture to herself a more agreeable or estimable man.
Everything united in him; good understanding, correct opinions,
knowledge of the world, and a warm heart.  He had strong feelings of
family attachment and family honour, without pride or weakness; he
lived with the liberality of a man of fortune, without display; he
judged for himself in everything essential, without defying public
opinion in any point of worldly decorum.  He was steady, observant,
moderate, candid; never run away with by spirits or by selfishness,
which fancied itself strong feeling; and yet, with a sensibility to
what was amiable and lovely, and a value for all the felicities of
domestic life, which characters of fancied enthusiasm and violent
agitation seldom really possess.  She was sure that he had not been
happy in marriage.  Colonel Wallis said it, and Lady Russell saw it;
but it had been no unhappiness to sour his mind, nor (she began pretty
soon to suspect) to prevent his thinking of a second choice.  Her
satisfaction in Mr Elliot outweighed all the plague of Mrs Clay.

It was now some years since Anne had begun to learn that she and her
excellent friend could sometimes think differently; and it did not
surprise her, therefore, that Lady Russell should see nothing
suspicious or inconsistent, nothing to require more motives than
appeared, in Mr Elliot's great desire of a reconciliation.  In Lady
Russell's view, it was perfectly natural that Mr Elliot, at a mature
time of life, should feel it a most desirable object, and what would
very generally recommend him among all sensible people, to be on good
terms with the head of his family; the simplest process in the world of
time upon a head naturally clear, and only erring in the heyday of
youth.  Anne presumed, however, still to smile about it, and at last to
mention "Elizabeth."  Lady Russell listened, and looked, and made only
this cautious reply:--"Elizabeth! very well; time will explain."

It was a reference to the future, which Anne, after a little
observation, felt she must submit to.  She could determine nothing at
present.  In that house Elizabeth must be first; and she was in the
habit of such general observance as "Miss Elliot," that any
particularity of attention seemed almost impossible.  Mr Elliot, too,
it must be remembered, had not been a widower seven months.  A little
delay on his side might be very excusable.  In fact, Anne could never
see the crape round his hat, without fearing that she was the
inexcusable one, in attributing to him such imaginations; for though
his marriage had not been very happy, still it had existed so many
years that she could not comprehend a very rapid recovery from the
awful impression of its being dissolved.

However it might end, he was without any question their pleasantest
acquaintance in Bath:  she saw nobody equal to him; and it was a great
indulgence now and then to talk to him about Lyme, which he seemed to
have as lively a wish to see again, and to see more of, as herself.
They went through the particulars of their first meeting a great many
times.  He gave her to understand that he had looked at her with some
earnestness.  She knew it well; and she remembered another person's
look also.

They did not always think alike.  His value for rank and connexion she
perceived was greater than hers.  It was not merely complaisance, it
must be a liking to the cause, which made him enter warmly into her
father and sister's solicitudes on a subject which she thought unworthy
to excite them.  The Bath paper one morning announced the arrival of
the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple, and her daughter, the Honourable
Miss Carteret; and all the comfort of No. --, Camden Place, was swept
away for many days; for the Dalrymples (in Anne's opinion, most
unfortunately) were cousins of the Elliots; and the agony was how to
introduce themselves properly.

Anne had never seen her father and sister before in contact with
nobility, and she must acknowledge herself disappointed.  She had hoped
better things from their high ideas of their own situation in life, and
was reduced to form a wish which she had never foreseen; a wish that
they had more pride; for "our cousins Lady Dalrymple and Miss
Carteret;" "our cousins, the Dalrymples," sounded in her ears all day
long.

Sir Walter had once been in company with the late viscount, but had
never seen any of the rest of the family; and the difficulties of the
case arose from there having been a suspension of all intercourse by
letters of ceremony, ever since the death of that said late viscount,
when, in consequence of a dangerous illness of Sir Walter's at the same
time, there had been an unlucky omission at Kellynch.  No letter of
condolence had been sent to Ireland.  The neglect had been visited on
the head of the sinner; for when poor Lady Elliot died herself, no
letter of condolence was received at Kellynch, and, consequently, there
was but too much reason to apprehend that the Dalrymples considered the
relationship as closed.  How to have this anxious business set to
rights, and be admitted as cousins again, was the question:  and it was
a question which, in a more rational manner, neither Lady Russell nor
Mr Elliot thought unimportant.  "Family connexions were always worth
preserving, good company always worth seeking; Lady Dalrymple had taken
a house, for three months, in Laura Place, and would be living in
style.  She had been at Bath the year before, and Lady Russell had
heard her spoken of as a charming woman.  It was very desirable that
the connexion should be renewed, if it could be done, without any
compromise of propriety on the side of the Elliots."

Sir Walter, however, would choose his own means, and at last wrote a
very fine letter of ample explanation, regret, and entreaty, to his
right honourable cousin.  Neither Lady Russell nor Mr Elliot could
admire the letter; but it did all that was wanted, in bringing three
lines of scrawl from the Dowager Viscountess.  "She was very much
honoured, and should be happy in their acquaintance." The toils of the
business were over, the sweets began.  They visited in Laura Place,
they had the cards of Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple, and the Honourable
Miss Carteret, to be arranged wherever they might be most visible:  and
"Our cousins in Laura Place,"--"Our cousin, Lady Dalrymple and Miss
Carteret," were talked of to everybody.

Anne was ashamed.  Had Lady Dalrymple and her daughter even been very
agreeable, she would still have been ashamed of the agitation they
created, but they were nothing.  There was no superiority of manner,
accomplishment, or understanding.  Lady Dalrymple had acquired the name
of "a charming woman," because she had a smile and a civil answer for
everybody.  Miss Carteret, with still less to say, was so plain and so
awkward, that she would never have been tolerated in Camden Place but
for her birth.

Lady Russell confessed she had expected something better; but yet "it
was an acquaintance worth having;" and when Anne ventured to speak her
opinion of them to Mr Elliot, he agreed to their being nothing in
themselves, but still maintained that, as a family connexion, as good
company, as those who would collect good company around them, they had
their value.  Anne smiled and said,

"My idea of good company, Mr Elliot, is the company of clever,
well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is
what I call good company."

"You are mistaken," said he gently, "that is not good company; that is
the best.  Good company requires only birth, education, and manners,
and with regard to education is not very nice.  Birth and good manners
are essential; but a little learning is by no means a dangerous thing
in good company; on the contrary, it will do very well.  My cousin Anne
shakes her head.  She is not satisfied.  She is fastidious.  My dear
cousin" (sitting down by her), "you have a better right to be
fastidious than almost any other woman I know; but will it answer?
Will it make you happy?  Will it not be wiser to accept the society of
those good ladies in Laura Place, and enjoy all the advantages of the
connexion as far as possible?  You may depend upon it, that they will
move in the first set in Bath this winter, and as rank is rank, your
being known to be related to them will have its use in fixing your
family (our family let me say) in that degree of consideration which we
must all wish for."

"Yes," sighed Anne, "we shall, indeed, be known to be related to them!"
then recollecting herself, and not wishing to be answered, she added,
"I certainly do think there has been by far too much trouble taken to
procure the acquaintance.  I suppose" (smiling) "I have more pride than
any of you; but I confess it does vex me, that we should be so
solicitous to have the relationship acknowledged, which we may be very
sure is a matter of perfect indifference to them."

"Pardon me, dear cousin, you are unjust in your own claims.  In London,
perhaps, in your present quiet style of living, it might be as you say:
but in Bath; Sir Walter Elliot and his family will always be worth
knowing:  always acceptable as acquaintance."

"Well," said Anne, "I certainly am proud, too proud to enjoy a welcome
which depends so entirely upon place."

"I love your indignation," said he; "it is very natural.  But here you
are in Bath, and the object is to be established here with all the
credit and dignity which ought to belong to Sir Walter Elliot.  You
talk of being proud; I am called proud, I know, and I shall not wish to
believe myself otherwise; for our pride, if investigated, would have
the same object, I have no doubt, though the kind may seem a little
different.  In one point, I am sure, my dear cousin," (he continued,
speaking lower, though there was no one else in the room) "in one
point, I am sure, we must feel alike.  We must feel that every addition
to your father's society, among his equals or superiors, may be of use
in diverting his thoughts from those who are beneath him."

He looked, as he spoke, to the seat which Mrs Clay had been lately
occupying:  a sufficient explanation of what he particularly meant; and
though Anne could not believe in their having the same sort of pride,
she was pleased with him for not liking Mrs Clay; and her conscience
admitted that his wishing to promote her father's getting great
acquaintance was more than excusable in the view of defeating her.



Chapter 17


While Sir Walter and Elizabeth were assiduously pushing their good
fortune in Laura Place, Anne was renewing an acquaintance of a very
different description.

She had called on her former governess, and had heard from her of there
being an old school-fellow in Bath, who had the two strong claims on
her attention of past kindness and present suffering.  Miss Hamilton,
now Mrs Smith, had shewn her kindness in one of those periods of her
life when it had been most valuable.  Anne had gone unhappy to school,
grieving for the loss of a mother whom she had dearly loved, feeling
her separation from home, and suffering as a girl of fourteen, of
strong sensibility and not high spirits, must suffer at such a time;
and Miss Hamilton, three years older than herself, but still from the
want of near relations and a settled home, remaining another year at
school, had been useful and good to her in a way which had considerably
lessened her misery, and could never be remembered with indifference.

Miss Hamilton had left school, had married not long afterwards, was
said to have married a man of fortune, and this was all that Anne had
known of her, till now that their governess's account brought her
situation forward in a more decided but very different form.

She was a widow and poor.  Her husband had been extravagant; and at his
death, about two years before, had left his affairs dreadfully
involved.  She had had difficulties of every sort to contend with, and
in addition to these distresses had been afflicted with a severe
rheumatic fever, which, finally settling in her legs, had made her for
the present a cripple.  She had come to Bath on that account, and was
now in lodgings near the hot baths, living in a very humble way, unable
even to afford herself the comfort of a servant, and of course almost
excluded from society.

Their mutual friend answered for the satisfaction which a visit from
Miss Elliot would give Mrs Smith, and Anne therefore lost no time in
going.  She mentioned nothing of what she had heard, or what she
intended, at home.  It would excite no proper interest there.  She only
consulted Lady Russell, who entered thoroughly into her sentiments, and
was most happy to convey her as near to Mrs Smith's lodgings in
Westgate Buildings, as Anne chose to be taken.

The visit was paid, their acquaintance re-established, their interest
in each other more than re-kindled.  The first ten minutes had its
awkwardness and its emotion.  Twelve years were gone since they had
parted, and each presented a somewhat different person from what the
other had imagined.  Twelve years had changed Anne from the blooming,
silent, unformed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little woman of
seven-and-twenty, with every beauty except bloom, and with manners as
consciously right as they were invariably gentle; and twelve years had
transformed the fine-looking, well-grown Miss Hamilton, in all the glow
of health and confidence of superiority, into a poor, infirm, helpless
widow, receiving the visit of her former protegee as a favour; but all
that was uncomfortable in the meeting had soon passed away, and left
only the interesting charm of remembering former partialities and
talking over old times.

Anne found in Mrs Smith the good sense and agreeable manners which she
had almost ventured to depend on, and a disposition to converse and be
cheerful beyond her expectation.  Neither the dissipations of the
past--and she had lived very much in the world--nor the restrictions of
the present, neither sickness nor sorrow seemed to have closed her
heart or ruined her spirits.

In the course of a second visit she talked with great openness, and
Anne's astonishment increased.  She could scarcely imagine a more
cheerless situation in itself than Mrs Smith's.  She had been very fond
of her husband:  she had buried him.  She had been used to affluence:
it was gone.  She had no child to connect her with life and happiness
again, no relations to assist in the arrangement of perplexed affairs,
no health to make all the rest supportable.  Her accommodations were
limited to a noisy parlour, and a dark bedroom behind, with no
possibility of moving from one to the other without assistance, which
there was only one servant in the house to afford, and she never
quitted the house but to be conveyed into the warm bath.  Yet, in spite
of all this, Anne had reason to believe that she had moments only of
languor and depression, to hours of occupation and enjoyment.  How
could it be?  She watched, observed, reflected, and finally determined
that this was not a case of fortitude or of resignation only.  A
submissive spirit might be patient, a strong understanding would supply
resolution, but here was something more; here was that elasticity of
mind, that disposition to be comforted, that power of turning readily
from evil to good, and of finding employment which carried her out of
herself, which was from nature alone.  It was the choicest gift of
Heaven; and Anne viewed her friend as one of those instances in which,
by a merciful appointment, it seems designed to counterbalance almost
every other want.

There had been a time, Mrs Smith told her, when her spirits had nearly
failed.  She could not call herself an invalid now, compared with her
state on first reaching Bath.  Then she had, indeed, been a pitiable
object; for she had caught cold on the journey, and had hardly taken
possession of her lodgings before she was again confined to her bed and
suffering under severe and constant pain; and all this among strangers,
with the absolute necessity of having a regular nurse, and finances at
that moment particularly unfit to meet any extraordinary expense.  She
had weathered it, however, and could truly say that it had done her
good.  It had increased her comforts by making her feel herself to be
in good hands.  She had seen too much of the world, to expect sudden or
disinterested attachment anywhere, but her illness had proved to her
that her landlady had a character to preserve, and would not use her
ill; and she had been particularly fortunate in her nurse, as a sister
of her landlady, a nurse by profession, and who had always a home in
that house when unemployed, chanced to be at liberty just in time to
attend her.  "And she," said Mrs Smith, "besides nursing me most
admirably, has really proved an invaluable acquaintance.  As soon as I
could use my hands she taught me to knit, which has been a great
amusement; and she put me in the way of making these little
thread-cases, pin-cushions and card-racks, which you always find me so
busy about, and which supply me with the means of doing a little good
to one or two very poor families in this neighbourhood.  She had a
large acquaintance, of course professionally, among those who can
afford to buy, and she disposes of my merchandise.  She always takes
the right time for applying.  Everybody's heart is open, you know, when
they have recently escaped from severe pain, or are recovering the
blessing of health, and Nurse Rooke thoroughly understands when to
speak.  She is a shrewd, intelligent, sensible woman.  Hers is a line
for seeing human nature; and she has a fund of good sense and
observation, which, as a companion, make her infinitely superior to
thousands of those who having only received 'the best education in the
world,' know nothing worth attending to.  Call it gossip, if you will,
but when Nurse Rooke has half an hour's leisure to bestow on me, she is
sure to have something to relate that is entertaining and profitable:
something that makes one know one's species better.  One likes to hear
what is going on, to be au fait as to the newest modes of being
trifling and silly.  To me, who live so much alone, her conversation, I
assure you, is a treat."

Anne, far from wishing to cavil at the pleasure, replied, "I can easily
believe it.  Women of that class have great opportunities, and if they
are intelligent may be well worth listening to.  Such varieties of
human nature as they are in the habit of witnessing!  And it is not
merely in its follies, that they are well read; for they see it
occasionally under every circumstance that can be most interesting or
affecting.  What instances must pass before them of ardent,
disinterested, self-denying attachment, of heroism, fortitude,
patience, resignation:  of all the conflicts and all the sacrifices
that ennoble us most.  A sick chamber may often furnish the worth of
volumes."

"Yes," said Mrs Smith more doubtingly, "sometimes it may, though I fear
its lessons are not often in the elevated style you describe.  Here and
there, human nature may be great in times of trial; but generally
speaking, it is its weakness and not its strength that appears in a
sick chamber:  it is selfishness and impatience rather than generosity
and fortitude, that one hears of.  There is so little real friendship
in the world! and unfortunately" (speaking low and tremulously) "there
are so many who forget to think seriously till it is almost too late."

Anne saw the misery of such feelings.  The husband had not been what he
ought, and the wife had been led among that part of mankind which made
her think worse of the world than she hoped it deserved.  It was but a
passing emotion however with Mrs Smith; she shook it off, and soon
added in a different tone--

"I do not suppose the situation my friend Mrs Rooke is in at present,
will furnish much either to interest or edify me.  She is only nursing
Mrs Wallis of Marlborough Buildings; a mere pretty, silly, expensive,
fashionable woman, I believe; and of course will have nothing to report
but of lace and finery.  I mean to make my profit of Mrs Wallis,
however.  She has plenty of money, and I intend she shall buy all the
high-priced things I have in hand now."

Anne had called several times on her friend, before the existence of
such a person was known in Camden Place.  At last, it became necessary
to speak of her. Sir Walter, Elizabeth and Mrs Clay, returned one
morning from Laura Place, with a sudden invitation from Lady Dalrymple
for the same evening, and Anne was already engaged, to spend that
evening in Westgate Buildings.  She was not sorry for the excuse.  They
were only asked, she was sure, because Lady Dalrymple being kept at
home by a bad cold, was glad to make use of the relationship which had
been so pressed on her; and she declined on her own account with great
alacrity--"She was engaged to spend the evening with an old
schoolfellow."  They were not much interested in anything relative to
Anne; but still there were questions enough asked, to make it
understood what this old schoolfellow was; and Elizabeth was
disdainful, and Sir Walter severe.

"Westgate Buildings!" said he, "and who is Miss Anne Elliot to be
visiting in Westgate Buildings?  A Mrs Smith.  A widow Mrs Smith; and
who was her husband?  One of five thousand Mr Smiths whose names are to
be met with everywhere.  And what is her attraction?  That she is old
and sickly.  Upon my word, Miss Anne Elliot, you have the most
extraordinary taste!  Everything that revolts other people, low
company, paltry rooms, foul air, disgusting associations are inviting
to you.  But surely you may put off this old lady till to-morrow:  she
is not so near her end, I presume, but that she may hope to see another
day.  What is her age?  Forty?"

"No, sir, she is not one-and-thirty; but I do not think I can put off
my engagement, because it is the only evening for some time which will
at once suit her and myself.  She goes into the warm bath to-morrow,
and for the rest of the week, you know, we are engaged."

"But what does Lady Russell think of this acquaintance?" asked
Elizabeth.

"She sees nothing to blame in it," replied Anne; "on the contrary, she
approves it, and has generally taken me when I have called on Mrs
Smith."

"Westgate Buildings must have been rather surprised by the appearance
of a carriage drawn up near its pavement," observed Sir Walter.  "Sir
Henry Russell's widow, indeed, has no honours to distinguish her arms,
but still it is a handsome equipage, and no doubt is well known to
convey a Miss Elliot.  A widow Mrs Smith lodging in Westgate Buildings!
A poor widow barely able to live, between thirty and forty; a mere Mrs
Smith, an every-day Mrs Smith, of all people and all names in the
world, to be the chosen friend of Miss Anne Elliot, and to be preferred
by her to her own family connections among the nobility of England and
Ireland!  Mrs Smith!  Such a name!"

Mrs Clay, who had been present while all this passed, now thought it
advisable to leave the room, and Anne could have said much, and did
long to say a little in defence of her friend's not very dissimilar
claims to theirs, but her sense of personal respect to her father
prevented her.  She made no reply.  She left it to himself to
recollect, that Mrs Smith was not the only widow in Bath between thirty
and forty, with little to live on, and no surname of dignity.

Anne kept her appointment; the others kept theirs, and of course she
heard the next morning that they had had a delightful evening.  She had
been the only one of the set absent, for Sir Walter and Elizabeth had
not only been quite at her ladyship's service themselves, but had
actually been happy to be employed by her in collecting others, and had
been at the trouble of inviting both Lady Russell and Mr Elliot; and Mr
Elliot had made a point of leaving Colonel Wallis early, and Lady
Russell had fresh arranged all her evening engagements in order to wait
on her.  Anne had the whole history of all that such an evening could
supply from Lady Russell.  To her, its greatest interest must be, in
having been very much talked of between her friend and Mr Elliot; in
having been wished for, regretted, and at the same time honoured for
staying away in such a cause.  Her kind, compassionate visits to this
old schoolfellow, sick and reduced, seemed to have quite delighted Mr
Elliot.  He thought her a most extraordinary young woman; in her
temper, manners, mind, a model of female excellence.  He could meet
even Lady Russell in a discussion of her merits; and Anne could not be
given to understand so much by her friend, could not know herself to be
so highly rated by a sensible man, without many of those agreeable
sensations which her friend meant to create.

Lady Russell was now perfectly decided in her opinion of Mr Elliot.
She was as much convinced of his meaning to gain Anne in time as of his
deserving her, and was beginning to calculate the number of weeks which
would free him from all the remaining restraints of widowhood, and
leave him at liberty to exert his most open powers of pleasing.  She
would not speak to Anne with half the certainty she felt on the
subject, she would venture on little more than hints of what might be
hereafter, of a possible attachment on his side, of the desirableness
of the alliance, supposing such attachment to be real and returned.
Anne heard her, and made no violent exclamations; she only smiled,
blushed, and gently shook her head.

"I am no match-maker, as you well know," said Lady Russell, "being much
too well aware of the uncertainty of all human events and calculations.
I only mean that if Mr Elliot should some time hence pay his addresses
to you, and if you should be disposed to accept him, I think there
would be every possibility of your being happy together.  A most
suitable connection everybody must consider it, but I think it might be
a very happy one."

"Mr Elliot is an exceedingly agreeable man, and in many respects I
think highly of him," said Anne; "but we should not suit."

Lady Russell let this pass, and only said in rejoinder, "I own that to
be able to regard you as the future mistress of Kellynch, the future
Lady Elliot, to look forward and see you occupying your dear mother's
place, succeeding to all her rights, and all her popularity, as well as
to all her virtues, would be the highest possible gratification to me.
You are your mother's self in countenance and disposition; and if I
might be allowed to fancy you such as she was, in situation and name,
and home, presiding and blessing in the same spot, and only superior to
her in being more highly valued!  My dearest Anne, it would give me
more delight than is often felt at my time of life!"

Anne was obliged to turn away, to rise, to walk to a distant table,
and, leaning there in pretended employment, try to subdue the feelings
this picture excited.  For a few moments her imagination and her heart
were bewitched.  The idea of becoming what her mother had been; of
having the precious name of "Lady Elliot" first revived in herself; of
being restored to Kellynch, calling it her home again, her home for
ever, was a charm which she could not immediately resist.  Lady Russell
said not another word, willing to leave the matter to its own
operation; and believing that, could Mr Elliot at that moment with
propriety have spoken for himself!--she believed, in short, what Anne
did not believe.  The same image of Mr Elliot speaking for himself
brought Anne to composure again.  The charm of Kellynch and of "Lady
Elliot" all faded away.  She never could accept him.  And it was not
only that her feelings were still adverse to any man save one; her
judgement, on a serious consideration of the possibilities of such a
case was against Mr Elliot.

Though they had now been acquainted a month, she could not be satisfied
that she really knew his character.  That he was a sensible man, an
agreeable man, that he talked well, professed good opinions, seemed to
judge properly and as a man of principle, this was all clear enough.
He certainly knew what was right, nor could she fix on any one article
of moral duty evidently transgressed; but yet she would have been
afraid to answer for his conduct.  She distrusted the past, if not the
present.  The names which occasionally dropt of former associates, the
allusions to former practices and pursuits, suggested suspicions not
favourable of what he had been.  She saw that there had been bad
habits; that Sunday travelling had been a common thing; that there had
been a period of his life (and probably not a short one) when he had
been, at least, careless in all serious matters; and, though he might
now think very differently, who could answer for the true sentiments of
a clever, cautious man, grown old enough to appreciate a fair
character?  How could it ever be ascertained that his mind was truly
cleansed?

Mr Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open.  There
was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight,
at the evil or good of others.  This, to Anne, was a decided
imperfection.  Her early impressions were incurable.  She prized the
frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others.  Warmth
and enthusiasm did captivate her still.  She felt that she could so
much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or
said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind
never varied, whose tongue never slipped.

Mr Elliot was too generally agreeable.  Various as were the tempers in
her father's house, he pleased them all.  He endured too well, stood
too well with every body.  He had spoken to her with some degree of
openness of Mrs Clay; had appeared completely to see what Mrs Clay was
about, and to hold her in contempt; and yet Mrs Clay found him as
agreeable as any body.

Lady Russell saw either less or more than her young friend, for she saw
nothing to excite distrust.  She could not imagine a man more exactly
what he ought to be than Mr Elliot; nor did she ever enjoy a sweeter
feeling than the hope of seeing him receive the hand of her beloved
Anne in Kellynch church, in the course of the following autumn.



Chapter 18


It was the beginning of February; and Anne, having been a month in
Bath, was growing very eager for news from Uppercross and Lyme.  She
wanted to hear much more than Mary had communicated.  It was three
weeks since she had heard at all.  She only knew that Henrietta was at
home again; and that Louisa, though considered to be recovering fast,
was still in Lyme; and she was thinking of them all very intently one
evening, when a thicker letter than usual from Mary was delivered to
her; and, to quicken the pleasure and surprise, with Admiral and Mrs
Croft's compliments.

The Crofts must be in Bath!  A circumstance to interest her.  They were
people whom her heart turned to very naturally.

"What is this?" cried Sir Walter.  "The Crofts have arrived in Bath?
The Crofts who rent Kellynch?  What have they brought you?"

"A letter from Uppercross Cottage, Sir."

"Oh! those letters are convenient passports.  They secure an
introduction.  I should have visited Admiral Croft, however, at any
rate.  I know what is due to my tenant."

Anne could listen no longer; she could not even have told how the poor
Admiral's complexion escaped; her letter engrossed her.  It had been
begun several days back.


"February 1st.

"My dear Anne,--I make no apology for my silence, because I know how
little people think of letters in such a place as Bath.  You must be a
great deal too happy to care for Uppercross, which, as you well know,
affords little to write about.  We have had a very dull Christmas; Mr
and Mrs Musgrove have not had one dinner party all the holidays.  I do
not reckon the Hayters as anybody.  The holidays, however, are over at
last:  I believe no children ever had such long ones.  I am sure I had
not.  The house was cleared yesterday, except of the little Harvilles;
but you will be surprised to hear they have never gone home.  Mrs
Harville must be an odd mother to part with them so long.  I do not
understand it.  They are not at all nice children, in my opinion; but
Mrs Musgrove seems to like them quite as well, if not better, than her
grandchildren.  What dreadful weather we have had!  It may not be felt
in Bath, with your nice pavements; but in the country it is of some
consequence.  I have not had a creature call on me since the second
week in January, except Charles Hayter, who had been calling much
oftener than was welcome.  Between ourselves, I think it a great pity
Henrietta did not remain at Lyme as long as Louisa; it would have kept
her a little out of his way.  The carriage is gone to-day, to bring
Louisa and the Harvilles to-morrow.  We are not asked to dine with
them, however, till the day after, Mrs Musgrove is so afraid of her
being fatigued by the journey, which is not very likely, considering
the care that will be taken of her; and it would be much more
convenient to me to dine there to-morrow.  I am glad you find Mr Elliot
so agreeable, and wish I could be acquainted with him too; but I have
my usual luck:  I am always out of the way when any thing desirable is
going on; always the last of my family to be noticed.  What an immense
time Mrs Clay has been staying with Elizabeth!  Does she never mean to
go away?  But perhaps if she were to leave the room vacant, we might
not be invited.  Let me know what you think of this.  I do not expect
my children to be asked, you know.  I can leave them at the Great House
very well, for a month or six weeks.  I have this moment heard that the
Crofts are going to Bath almost immediately; they think the Admiral
gouty.  Charles heard it quite by chance; they have not had the
civility to give me any notice, or of offering to take anything.  I do
not think they improve at all as neighbours.  We see nothing of them,
and this is really an instance of gross inattention.  Charles joins me
in love, and everything proper.  Yours affectionately,

"Mary M---.

"I am sorry to say that I am very far from well; and Jemima has just
told me that the butcher says there is a bad sore-throat very much
about.  I dare say I shall catch it; and my sore-throats, you know, are
always worse than anybody's."


So ended the first part, which had been afterwards put into an
envelope, containing nearly as much more.


"I kept my letter open, that I might send you word how Louisa bore her
journey, and now I am extremely glad I did, having a great deal to add.
In the first place, I had a note from Mrs Croft yesterday, offering to
convey anything to you; a very kind, friendly note indeed, addressed to
me, just as it ought; I shall therefore be able to make my letter as
long as I like.  The Admiral does not seem very ill, and I sincerely
hope Bath will do him all the good he wants.  I shall be truly glad to
have them back again.  Our neighbourhood cannot spare such a pleasant
family.  But now for Louisa.  I have something to communicate that will
astonish you not a little.  She and the Harvilles came on Tuesday very
safely, and in the evening we went to ask her how she did, when we were
rather surprised not to find Captain Benwick of the party, for he had
been invited as well as the Harvilles; and what do you think was the
reason?  Neither more nor less than his being in love with Louisa, and
not choosing to venture to Uppercross till he had had an answer from Mr
Musgrove; for it was all settled between him and her before she came
away, and he had written to her father by Captain Harville.  True, upon
my honour!  Are not you astonished?  I shall be surprised at least if
you ever received a hint of it, for I never did.  Mrs Musgrove protests
solemnly that she knew nothing of the matter.  We are all very well
pleased, however, for though it is not equal to her marrying Captain
Wentworth, it is infinitely better than Charles Hayter; and Mr Musgrove
has written his consent, and Captain Benwick is expected to-day.  Mrs
Harville says her husband feels a good deal on his poor sister's
account; but, however, Louisa is a great favourite with both.  Indeed,
Mrs Harville and I quite agree that we love her the better for having
nursed her.  Charles wonders what Captain Wentworth will say; but if
you remember, I never thought him attached to Louisa; I never could see
anything of it.  And this is the end, you see, of Captain Benwick's
being supposed to be an admirer of yours.  How Charles could take such
a thing into his head was always incomprehensible to me.  I hope he
will be more agreeable now.  Certainly not a great match for Louisa
Musgrove, but a million times better than marrying among the Hayters."


Mary need not have feared her sister's being in any degree prepared for
the news.  She had never in her life been more astonished.  Captain
Benwick and Louisa Musgrove!  It was almost too wonderful for belief,
and it was with the greatest effort that she could remain in the room,
preserve an air of calmness, and answer the common questions of the
moment.  Happily for her, they were not many.  Sir Walter wanted to
know whether the Crofts travelled with four horses, and whether they
were likely to be situated in such a part of Bath as it might suit Miss
Elliot and himself to visit in; but had little curiosity beyond.

"How is Mary?" said Elizabeth; and without waiting for an answer, "And
pray what brings the Crofts to Bath?"

"They come on the Admiral's account.  He is thought to be gouty."

"Gout and decrepitude!" said Sir Walter.  "Poor old gentleman."

"Have they any acquaintance here?" asked Elizabeth.

"I do not know; but I can hardly suppose that, at Admiral Croft's time
of life, and in his profession, he should not have many acquaintance in
such a place as this."

"I suspect," said Sir Walter coolly, "that Admiral Croft will be best
known in Bath as the renter of Kellynch Hall.  Elizabeth, may we
venture to present him and his wife in Laura Place?"

"Oh, no! I think not.  Situated as we are with Lady Dalrymple, cousins,
we ought to be very careful not to embarrass her with acquaintance she
might not approve.  If we were not related, it would not signify; but
as cousins, she would feel scrupulous as to any proposal of ours.  We
had better leave the Crofts to find their own level.  There are several
odd-looking men walking about here, who, I am told, are sailors.  The
Crofts will associate with them."

This was Sir Walter and Elizabeth's share of interest in the letter;
when Mrs Clay had paid her tribute of more decent attention, in an
enquiry after Mrs Charles Musgrove, and her fine little boys, Anne was
at liberty.

In her own room, she tried to comprehend it.  Well might Charles wonder
how Captain Wentworth would feel!  Perhaps he had quitted the field,
had given Louisa up, had ceased to love, had found he did not love her.
She could not endure the idea of treachery or levity, or anything akin
to ill usage between him and his friend.  She could not endure that
such a friendship as theirs should be severed unfairly.

Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove!  The high-spirited, joyous-talking
Louisa Musgrove, and the dejected, thinking, feeling, reading, Captain
Benwick, seemed each of them everything that would not suit the other.
Their minds most dissimilar!  Where could have been the attraction?
The answer soon presented itself.  It had been in situation.  They had
been thrown together several weeks; they had been living in the same
small family party:  since Henrietta's coming away, they must have been
depending almost entirely on each other, and Louisa, just recovering
from illness, had been in an interesting state, and Captain Benwick was
not inconsolable.  That was a point which Anne had not been able to
avoid suspecting before; and instead of drawing the same conclusion as
Mary, from the present course of events, they served only to confirm
the idea of his having felt some dawning of tenderness toward herself.
She did not mean, however, to derive much more from it to gratify her
vanity, than Mary might have allowed.  She was persuaded that any
tolerably pleasing young woman who had listened and seemed to feel for
him would have received the same compliment.  He had an affectionate
heart.  He must love somebody.

She saw no reason against their being happy.  Louisa had fine naval
fervour to begin with, and they would soon grow more alike.  He would
gain cheerfulness, and she would learn to be an enthusiast for Scott
and Lord Byron; nay, that was probably learnt already; of course they
had fallen in love over poetry.  The idea of Louisa Musgrove turned
into a person of literary taste, and sentimental reflection was
amusing, but she had no doubt of its being so.  The day at Lyme, the
fall from the Cobb, might influence her health, her nerves, her
courage, her character to the end of her life, as thoroughly as it
appeared to have influenced her fate.

The conclusion of the whole was, that if the woman who had been
sensible of Captain Wentworth's merits could be allowed to prefer
another man, there was nothing in the engagement to excite lasting
wonder; and if Captain Wentworth lost no friend by it, certainly
nothing to be regretted.  No, it was not regret which made Anne's heart
beat in spite of herself, and brought the colour into her cheeks when
she thought of Captain Wentworth unshackled and free.  She had some
feelings which she was ashamed to investigate.  They were too much like
joy, senseless joy!

She longed to see the Crofts; but when the meeting took place, it was
evident that no rumour of the news had yet reached them.  The visit of
ceremony was paid and returned; and Louisa Musgrove was mentioned, and
Captain Benwick, too, without even half a smile.

The Crofts had placed themselves in lodgings in Gay Street, perfectly
to Sir Walter's satisfaction.  He was not at all ashamed of the
acquaintance, and did, in fact, think and talk a great deal more about
the Admiral, than the Admiral ever thought or talked about him.

The Crofts knew quite as many people in Bath as they wished for, and
considered their intercourse with the Elliots as a mere matter of form,
and not in the least likely to afford them any pleasure.  They brought
with them their country habit of being almost always together.  He was
ordered to walk to keep off the gout, and Mrs Croft seemed to go shares
with him in everything, and to walk for her life to do him good.  Anne
saw them wherever she went.  Lady Russell took her out in her carriage
almost every morning, and she never failed to think of them, and never
failed to see them.  Knowing their feelings as she did, it was a most
attractive picture of happiness to her.  She always watched them as
long as she could, delighted to fancy she understood what they might be
talking of, as they walked along in happy independence, or equally
delighted to see the Admiral's hearty shake of the hand when he
encountered an old friend, and observe their eagerness of conversation
when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy, Mrs Croft
looking as intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her.

Anne was too much engaged with Lady Russell to be often walking
herself; but it so happened that one morning, about a week or ten days
after the Croft's arrival, it suited her best to leave her friend, or
her friend's carriage, in the lower part of the town, and return alone
to Camden Place, and in walking up Milsom Street she had the good
fortune to meet with the Admiral.  He was standing by himself at a
printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation
of some print, and she not only might have passed him unseen, but was
obliged to touch as well as address him before she could catch his
notice.  When he did perceive and acknowledge her, however, it was done
with all his usual frankness and good humour.  "Ha! is it you?  Thank
you, thank you.  This is treating me like a friend.  Here I am, you
see, staring at a picture.  I can never get by this shop without
stopping.  But what a thing here is, by way of a boat!  Do look at it.
Did you ever see the like?  What queer fellows your fine painters must
be, to think that anybody would venture their lives in such a shapeless
old cockleshell as that?  And yet here are two gentlemen stuck up in it
mightily at their ease, and looking about them at the rocks and
mountains, as if they were not to be upset the next moment, which they
certainly must be.  I wonder where that boat was built!" (laughing
heartily); "I would not venture over a horsepond in it.  Well,"
(turning away), "now, where are you bound?  Can I go anywhere for you,
or with you?  Can I be of any use?"

"None, I thank you, unless you will give me the pleasure of your
company the little way our road lies together.  I am going home."


"That I will, with all my heart, and farther, too.  Yes, yes we will
have a snug walk together, and I have something to tell you as we go
along.  There, take my arm; that's right; I do not feel comfortable if
I have not a woman there.  Lord! what a boat it is!" taking a last look
at the picture, as they began to be in motion.

"Did you say that you had something to tell me, sir?"

"Yes, I have, presently.  But here comes a friend, Captain Brigden; I
shall only say, 'How d'ye do?' as we pass, however.  I shall not stop.
'How d'ye do?'  Brigden stares to see anybody with me but my wife.
She, poor soul, is tied by the leg.  She has a blister on one of her
heels, as large as a three-shilling piece.  If you look across the
street, you will see Admiral Brand coming down and his brother.  Shabby
fellows, both of them!  I am glad they are not on this side of the way.
Sophy cannot bear them.  They played me a pitiful trick once: got away
with some of my best men.  I will tell you the whole story another
time.  There comes old Sir Archibald Drew and his grandson.  Look, he
sees us; he kisses his hand to you; he takes you for my wife.  Ah! the
peace has come too soon for that younker.  Poor old Sir Archibald!  How
do you like Bath, Miss Elliot?  It suits us very well.  We are always
meeting with some old friend or other; the streets full of them every
morning; sure to have plenty of chat; and then we get away from them
all, and shut ourselves in our lodgings, and draw in our chairs, and
are snug as if we were at Kellynch, ay, or as we used to be even at
North Yarmouth and Deal.  We do not like our lodgings here the worse, I
can tell you, for putting us in mind of those we first had at North
Yarmouth.  The wind blows through one of the cupboards just in the same
way."

When they were got a little farther, Anne ventured to press again for
what he had to communicate.  She hoped when clear of Milsom Street to
have her curiosity gratified; but she was still obliged to wait, for
the Admiral had made up his mind not to begin till they had gained the
greater space and quiet of Belmont; and as she was not really Mrs
Croft, she must let him have his own way.  As soon as they were fairly
ascending Belmont, he began--

"Well, now you shall hear something that will surprise you.  But first
of all, you must tell me the name of the young lady I am going to talk
about.  That young lady, you know, that we have all been so concerned
for.  The Miss Musgrove, that all this has been happening to.  Her
Christian name:  I always forget her Christian name."

Anne had been ashamed to appear to comprehend so soon as she really
did; but now she could safely suggest the name of "Louisa."

"Ay, ay, Miss Louisa Musgrove, that is the name.  I wish young ladies
had not such a number of fine Christian names.  I should never be out
if they were all Sophys, or something of that sort.  Well, this Miss
Louisa, we all thought, you know, was to marry Frederick.  He was
courting her week after week.  The only wonder was, what they could be
waiting for, till the business at Lyme came; then, indeed, it was clear
enough that they must wait till her brain was set to right.  But even
then there was something odd in their way of going on.  Instead of
staying at Lyme, he went off to Plymouth, and then he went off to see
Edward.  When we came back from Minehead he was gone down to Edward's,
and there he has been ever since.  We have seen nothing of him since
November.  Even Sophy could not understand it.  But now, the matter has
taken the strangest turn of all; for this young lady, the same Miss
Musgrove, instead of being to marry Frederick, is to marry James
Benwick.  You know James Benwick."

"A little.  I am a little acquainted with Captain Benwick."

"Well, she is to marry him.  Nay, most likely they are married already,
for I do not know what they should wait for."

"I thought Captain Benwick a very pleasing young man," said Anne, "and
I understand that he bears an excellent character."

"Oh! yes, yes, there is not a word to be said against James Benwick.
He is only a commander, it is true, made last summer, and these are bad
times for getting on, but he has not another fault that I know of.  An
excellent, good-hearted fellow, I assure you; a very active, zealous
officer too, which is more than you would think for, perhaps, for that
soft sort of manner does not do him justice."

"Indeed you are mistaken there, sir; I should never augur want of
spirit from Captain Benwick's manners.  I thought them particularly
pleasing, and I will answer for it, they would generally please."

"Well, well, ladies are the best judges; but James Benwick is rather
too piano for me; and though very likely it is all our partiality,
Sophy and I cannot help thinking Frederick's manners better than his.
There is something about Frederick more to our taste."

Anne was caught.  She had only meant to oppose the too common idea of
spirit and gentleness being incompatible with each other, not at all to
represent Captain Benwick's manners as the very best that could
possibly be; and, after a little hesitation, she was beginning to say,
"I was not entering into any comparison of the two friends," but the
Admiral interrupted her with--

"And the thing is certainly true.  It is not a mere bit of gossip.  We
have it from Frederick himself.  His sister had a letter from him
yesterday, in which he tells us of it, and he had just had it in a
letter from Harville, written upon the spot, from Uppercross.  I fancy
they are all at Uppercross."

This was an opportunity which Anne could not resist; she said,
therefore, "I hope, Admiral, I hope there is nothing in the style of
Captain Wentworth's letter to make you and Mrs Croft particularly
uneasy.  It did seem, last autumn, as if there were an attachment
between him and Louisa Musgrove; but I hope it may be understood to
have worn out on each side equally, and without violence.  I hope his
letter does not breathe the spirit of an ill-used man."

"Not at all, not at all; there is not an oath or a murmur from
beginning to end."

Anne looked down to hide her smile.

"No, no; Frederick is not a man to whine and complain; he has too much
spirit for that.  If the girl likes another man better, it is very fit
she should have him."

"Certainly.  But what I mean is, that I hope there is nothing in
Captain Wentworth's manner of writing to make you suppose he thinks
himself ill-used by his friend, which might appear, you know, without
its being absolutely said.  I should be very sorry that such a
friendship as has subsisted between him and Captain Benwick should be
destroyed, or even wounded, by a circumstance of this sort."

"Yes, yes, I understand you.  But there is nothing at all of that
nature in the letter.  He does not give the least fling at Benwick;
does not so much as say, 'I wonder at it, I have a reason of my own for
wondering at it.'  No, you would not guess, from his way of writing,
that he had ever thought of this Miss (what's her name?) for himself.
He very handsomely hopes they will be happy together; and there is
nothing very unforgiving in that, I think."

Anne did not receive the perfect conviction which the Admiral meant to
convey, but it would have been useless to press the enquiry farther.
She therefore satisfied herself with common-place remarks or quiet
attention, and the Admiral had it all his own way.

"Poor Frederick!" said he at last.  "Now he must begin all over again
with somebody else.  I think we must get him to Bath.  Sophy must
write, and beg him to come to Bath.  Here are pretty girls enough, I am
sure.  It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other
Miss Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson.  Do
not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?"



Chapter 19


While Admiral Croft was taking this walk with Anne, and expressing his
wish of getting Captain Wentworth to Bath, Captain Wentworth was
already on his way thither.  Before Mrs Croft had written, he was
arrived, and the very next time Anne walked out, she saw him.

Mr Elliot was attending his two cousins and Mrs Clay.  They were in
Milsom Street.  It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter
desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for
Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady
Dalrymple's carriage, which was seen waiting at a little distance; she,
Anne, and Mrs Clay, therefore, turned into Molland's, while Mr Elliot
stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request her assistance.  He soon joined
them again, successful, of course; Lady Dalrymple would be most happy
to take them home, and would call for them in a few minutes.

Her ladyship's carriage was a barouche, and did not hold more than four
with any comfort.  Miss Carteret was with her mother; consequently it
was not reasonable to expect accommodation for all the three Camden
Place ladies.  There could be no doubt as to Miss Elliot.  Whoever
suffered inconvenience, she must suffer none, but it occupied a little
time to settle the point of civility between the other two.  The rain
was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with
Mr Elliot.  But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs Clay; she would
hardly allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much
thicker than Miss Anne's; and, in short, her civility rendered her
quite as anxious to be left to walk with Mr Elliot as Anne could be,
and it was discussed between them with a generosity so polite and so
determined, that the others were obliged to settle it for them; Miss
Elliot maintaining that Mrs Clay had a little cold already, and Mr
Elliot deciding on appeal, that his cousin Anne's boots were rather the
thickest.

It was fixed accordingly, that Mrs Clay should be of the party in the
carriage; and they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat
near the window, descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain
Wentworth walking down the street.

Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that
she was the greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and
absurd!  For a few minutes she saw nothing before her; it was all
confusion.  She was lost, and when she had scolded back her senses, she
found the others still waiting for the carriage, and Mr Elliot (always
obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a commission of Mrs
Clay's.

She now felt a great inclination to go to the outer door; she wanted to
see if it rained.  Why was she to suspect herself of another motive?
Captain Wentworth must be out of sight.  She left her seat, she would
go; one half of her should not be always so much wiser than the other
half, or always suspecting the other of being worse than it was.  She
would see if it rained.  She was sent back, however, in a moment by the
entrance of Captain Wentworth himself, among a party of gentlemen and
ladies, evidently his acquaintance, and whom he must have joined a
little below Milsom Street.  He was more obviously struck and confused
by the sight of her than she had ever observed before; he looked quite
red.  For the first time, since their renewed acquaintance, she felt
that she was betraying the least sensibility of the two.  She had the
advantage of him in the preparation of the last few moments.  All the
overpowering, blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise
were over with her.  Still, however, she had enough to feel!  It was
agitation, pain, pleasure, a something between delight and misery.

He spoke to her, and then turned away.  The character of his manner was
embarrassment.  She could not have called it either cold or friendly,
or anything so certainly as embarrassed.

After a short interval, however, he came towards her, and spoke again.
Mutual enquiries on common subjects passed:  neither of them, probably,
much the wiser for what they heard, and Anne continuing fully sensible
of his being less at ease than formerly.  They had by dint of being so
very much together, got to speak to each other with a considerable
portion of apparent indifference and calmness; but he could not do it
now.  Time had changed him, or Louisa had changed him.  There was
consciousness of some sort or other.  He looked very well, not as if he
had been suffering in health or spirits, and he talked of Uppercross,
of the Musgroves, nay, even of Louisa, and had even a momentary look of
his own arch significance as he named her; but yet it was Captain
Wentworth not comfortable, not easy, not able to feign that he was.

It did not surprise, but it grieved Anne to observe that Elizabeth
would not know him.  She saw that he saw Elizabeth, that Elizabeth saw
him, that there was complete internal recognition on each side; she was
convinced that he was ready to be acknowledged as an acquaintance,
expecting it, and she had the pain of seeing her sister turn away with
unalterable coldness.

Lady Dalrymple's carriage, for which Miss Elliot was growing very
impatient, now drew up; the servant came in to announce it.  It was
beginning to rain again, and altogether there was a delay, and a
bustle, and a talking, which must make all the little crowd in the shop
understand that Lady Dalrymple was calling to convey Miss Elliot.  At
last Miss Elliot and her friend, unattended but by the servant, (for
there was no cousin returned), were walking off; and Captain Wentworth,
watching them, turned again to Anne, and by manner, rather than words,
was offering his services to her.

"I am much obliged to you," was her answer, "but I am not going with
them.  The carriage would not accommodate so many.  I walk:  I prefer
walking."

"But it rains."

"Oh! very little,  Nothing that I regard."

After a moment's pause he said:  "Though I came only yesterday, I have
equipped myself properly for Bath already, you see," (pointing to a new
umbrella); "I wish you would make use of it, if you are determined to
walk; though I think it would be more prudent to let me get you a
chair."

She was very much obliged to him, but declined it all, repeating her
conviction, that the rain would come to nothing at present, and adding,
"I am only waiting for Mr Elliot.  He will be here in a moment, I am
sure."

She had hardly spoken the words when Mr Elliot walked in.  Captain
Wentworth recollected him perfectly.  There was no difference between
him and the man who had stood on the steps at Lyme, admiring Anne as
she passed, except in the air and look and manner of the privileged
relation and friend.  He came in with eagerness, appeared to see and
think only of her, apologised for his stay, was grieved to have kept
her waiting, and anxious to get her away without further loss of time
and before the rain increased; and in another moment they walked off
together, her arm under his, a gentle and embarrassed glance, and a
"Good morning to you!" being all that she had time for, as she passed
away.

As soon as they were out of sight, the ladies of Captain Wentworth's
party began talking of them.

"Mr Elliot does not dislike his cousin, I fancy?"

"Oh! no, that is clear enough.  One can guess what will happen there.
He is always with them; half lives in the family, I believe.  What a
very good-looking man!"

"Yes, and Miss Atkinson, who dined with him once at the Wallises, says
he is the most agreeable man she ever was in company with."

"She is pretty, I think; Anne Elliot; very pretty, when one comes to
look at her.  It is not the fashion to say so, but I confess I admire
her more than her sister."

"Oh! so do I."

"And so do I.  No comparison.  But the men are all wild after Miss
Elliot.  Anne is too delicate for them."

Anne would have been particularly obliged to her cousin, if he would
have walked by her side all the way to Camden Place, without saying a
word.  She had never found it so difficult to listen to him, though
nothing could exceed his solicitude and care, and though his subjects
were principally such as were wont to be always interesting: praise,
warm, just, and discriminating, of Lady Russell, and insinuations
highly rational against Mrs Clay.  But just now she could think only of
Captain Wentworth.  She could not understand his present feelings,
whether he were really suffering much from disappointment or not; and
till that point were settled, she could not be quite herself.

She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! alas!  she must
confess to herself that she was not wise yet.

Another circumstance very essential for her to know, was how long he
meant to be in Bath; he had not mentioned it, or she could not
recollect it.  He might be only passing through.  But it was more
probable that he should be come to stay.  In that case, so liable as
every body was to meet every body in Bath, Lady Russell would in all
likelihood see him somewhere.  Would she recollect him?  How would it
all be?

She had already been obliged to tell Lady Russell that Louisa Musgrove
was to marry Captain Benwick.  It had cost her something to encounter
Lady Russell's surprise; and now, if she were by any chance to be
thrown into company with Captain Wentworth, her imperfect knowledge of
the matter might add another shade of prejudice against him.

The following morning Anne was out with her friend, and for the first
hour, in an incessant and fearful sort of watch for him in vain; but at
last, in returning down Pulteney Street, she distinguished him on the
right hand pavement at such a distance as to have him in view the
greater part of the street.  There were many other men about him, many
groups walking the same way, but there was no mistaking him.  She
looked instinctively at Lady Russell; but not from any mad idea of her
recognising him so soon as she did herself.  No, it was not to be
supposed that Lady Russell would perceive him till they were nearly
opposite.  She looked at her however, from time to time, anxiously; and
when the moment approached which must point him out, though not daring
to look again (for her own countenance she knew was unfit to be seen),
she was yet perfectly conscious of Lady Russell's eyes being turned
exactly in the direction for him--of her being, in short, intently
observing him.  She could thoroughly comprehend the sort of fascination
he must possess over Lady Russell's mind, the difficulty it must be for
her to withdraw her eyes, the astonishment she must be feeling that
eight or nine years should have passed over him, and in foreign climes
and in active service too, without robbing him of one personal grace!

At last, Lady Russell drew back her head.  "Now, how would she speak of
him?"

"You will wonder," said she, "what has been fixing my eye so long; but
I was looking after some window-curtains, which Lady Alicia and Mrs
Frankland were telling me of last night.  They described the
drawing-room window-curtains of one of the houses on this side of the
way, and this part of the street, as being the handsomest and best hung
of any in Bath, but could not recollect the exact number, and I have
been trying to find out which it could be; but I confess I can see no
curtains hereabouts that answer their description."

Anne sighed and blushed and smiled, in pity and disdain, either at her
friend or herself.  The part which provoked her most, was that in all
this waste of foresight and caution, she should have lost the right
moment for seeing whether he saw them.

A day or two passed without producing anything.  The theatre or the
rooms, where he was most likely to be, were not fashionable enough for
the Elliots, whose evening amusements were solely in the elegant
stupidity of private parties, in which they were getting more and more
engaged; and Anne, wearied of such a state of stagnation, sick of
knowing nothing, and fancying herself stronger because her strength was
not tried, was quite impatient for the concert evening.  It was a
concert for the benefit of a person patronised by Lady Dalrymple.  Of
course they must attend.  It was really expected to be a good one, and
Captain Wentworth was very fond of music.  If she could only have a few
minutes conversation with him again, she fancied she should be
satisfied; and as to the power of addressing him, she felt all over
courage if the opportunity occurred.  Elizabeth had turned from him,
Lady Russell overlooked him; her nerves were strengthened by these
circumstances; she felt that she owed him attention.

She had once partly promised Mrs Smith to spend the evening with her;
but in a short hurried call she excused herself and put it off, with
the more decided promise of a longer visit on the morrow.  Mrs Smith
gave a most good-humoured acquiescence.

"By all means," said she; "only tell me all about it, when you do come.
Who is your party?"

Anne named them all.  Mrs Smith made no reply; but when she was leaving
her said, and with an expression half serious, half arch, "Well, I
heartily wish your concert may answer; and do not fail me to-morrow if
you can come; for I begin to have a foreboding that I may not have many
more visits from you."

Anne was startled and confused; but after standing in a moment's
suspense, was obliged, and not sorry to be obliged, to hurry away.



Chapter 20


Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs Clay, were the earliest of all
their party at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple must be
waited for, they took their station by one of the fires in the Octagon
Room.  But hardly were they so settled, when the door opened again, and
Captain Wentworth walked in alone.  Anne was the nearest to him, and
making yet a little advance, she instantly spoke.  He was preparing
only to bow and pass on, but her gentle "How do you do?" brought him
out of the straight line to stand near her, and make enquiries in
return, in spite of the formidable father and sister in the back
ground.  Their being in the back ground was a support to Anne; she knew
nothing of their looks, and felt equal to everything which she believed
right to be done.

While they were speaking, a whispering between her father and Elizabeth
caught her ear.  She could not distinguish, but she must guess the
subject; and on Captain Wentworth's making a distant bow, she
comprehended that her father had judged so well as to give him that
simple acknowledgement of acquaintance, and she was just in time by a
side glance to see a slight curtsey from Elizabeth herself.  This,
though late, and reluctant, and ungracious, was yet better than
nothing, and her spirits improved.

After talking, however, of the weather, and Bath, and the concert,
their conversation began to flag, and so little was said at last, that
she was expecting him to go every moment, but he did not; he seemed in
no hurry to leave her; and presently with renewed spirit, with a little
smile, a little glow, he said--

"I have hardly seen you since our day at Lyme.  I am afraid you must
have suffered from the shock, and the more from its not overpowering
you at the time."

She assured him that she had not.

"It was a frightful hour," said he, "a frightful day!" and he passed
his hand across his eyes, as if the remembrance were still too painful,
but in a moment, half smiling again, added, "The day has produced some
effects however; has had some consequences which must be considered as
the very reverse of frightful.  When you had the presence of mind to
suggest that Benwick would be the properest person to fetch a surgeon,
you could have little idea of his being eventually one of those most
concerned in her recovery."

"Certainly I could have none.  But it appears--I should hope it would
be a very happy match.  There are on both sides good principles and
good temper."

"Yes," said he, looking not exactly forward; "but there, I think, ends
the resemblance.  With all my soul I wish them happy, and rejoice over
every circumstance in favour of it.  They have no difficulties to
contend with at home, no opposition, no caprice, no delays.  The
Musgroves are behaving like themselves, most honourably and kindly,
only anxious with true parental hearts to promote their daughter's
comfort.  All this is much, very much in favour of their happiness;
more than perhaps--"

He stopped.  A sudden recollection seemed to occur, and to give him
some taste of that emotion which was reddening Anne's cheeks and fixing
her eyes on the ground.  After clearing his throat, however, he
proceeded thus--

"I confess that I do think there is a disparity, too great a disparity,
and in a point no less essential than mind.  I regard Louisa Musgrove
as a very amiable, sweet-tempered girl, and not deficient in
understanding, but Benwick is something more.  He is a clever man, a
reading man; and I confess, that I do consider his attaching himself to
her with some surprise.  Had it been the effect of gratitude, had he
learnt to love her, because he believed her to be preferring him, it
would have been another thing.  But I have no reason to suppose it so.
It seems, on the contrary, to have been a perfectly spontaneous,
untaught feeling on his side, and this surprises me.  A man like him,
in his situation! with a heart pierced, wounded, almost broken!  Fanny
Harville was a very superior creature, and his attachment to her was
indeed attachment.  A man does not recover from such a devotion of the
heart to such a woman.  He ought not; he does not."

Either from the consciousness, however, that his friend had recovered,
or from other consciousness, he went no farther; and Anne who, in spite
of the agitated voice in which the latter part had been uttered, and in
spite of all the various noises of the room, the almost ceaseless slam
of the door, and ceaseless buzz of persons walking through, had
distinguished every word, was struck, gratified, confused, and
beginning to breathe very quick, and feel an hundred things in a
moment.  It was impossible for her to enter on such a subject; and yet,
after a pause, feeling the necessity of speaking, and having not the
smallest wish for a total change, she only deviated so far as to say--

"You were a good while at Lyme, I think?"

"About a fortnight.  I could not leave it till Louisa's doing well was
quite ascertained.  I had been too deeply concerned in the mischief to
be soon at peace.  It had been my doing, solely mine.  She would not
have been obstinate if I had not been weak.  The country round Lyme is
very fine.  I walked and rode a great deal; and the more I saw, the
more I found to admire."

"I should very much like to see Lyme again," said Anne.

"Indeed!  I should not have supposed that you could have found anything
in Lyme to inspire such a feeling.  The horror and distress you were
involved in, the stretch of mind, the wear of spirits!  I should have
thought your last impressions of Lyme must have been strong disgust."

"The last hours were certainly very painful," replied Anne; "but when
pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure.  One does
not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been
all suffering, nothing but suffering, which was by no means the case at
Lyme.  We were only in anxiety and distress during the last two hours,
and previously there had been a great deal of enjoyment.  So much
novelty and beauty! I have travelled so little, that every fresh place
would be interesting to me; but there is real beauty at Lyme; and in
short" (with a faint blush at some recollections), "altogether my
impressions of the place are very agreeable."

As she ceased, the entrance door opened again, and the very party
appeared for whom they were waiting.  "Lady Dalrymple, Lady Dalrymple,"
was the rejoicing sound; and with all the eagerness compatible with
anxious elegance, Sir Walter and his two ladies stepped forward to meet
her.  Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, escorted by Mr Elliot and
Colonel Wallis, who had happened to arrive nearly at the same instant,
advanced into the room.  The others joined them, and it was a group in
which Anne found herself also necessarily included.  She was divided
from Captain Wentworth.  Their interesting, almost too interesting
conversation must be broken up for a time, but slight was the penance
compared with the happiness which brought it on!  She had learnt, in
the last ten minutes, more of his feelings towards Louisa, more of all
his feelings than she dared to think of; and she gave herself up to the
demands of the party, to the needful civilities of the moment, with
exquisite, though agitated sensations.  She was in good humour with
all.  She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and
kind to all, and to pity every one, as being less happy than herself.

The delightful emotions were a little subdued, when on stepping back
from the group, to be joined again by Captain Wentworth, she saw that
he was gone.  She was just in time to see him turn into the Concert
Room.  He was gone; he had disappeared, she felt a moment's regret.
But "they should meet again.  He would look for her, he would find her
out before the evening were over, and at present, perhaps, it was as
well to be asunder.  She was in need of a little interval for
recollection."

Upon Lady Russell's appearance soon afterwards, the whole party was
collected, and all that remained was to marshal themselves, and proceed
into the Concert Room; and be of all the consequence in their power,
draw as many eyes, excite as many whispers, and disturb as many people
as they could.

Very, very happy were both Elizabeth and Anne Elliot as they walked in.
Elizabeth arm in arm with Miss Carteret, and looking on the broad back
of the dowager Viscountess Dalrymple before her, had nothing to wish
for which did not seem within her reach; and Anne--but it would be an
insult to the nature of Anne's felicity, to draw any comparison between
it and her sister's; the origin of one all selfish vanity, of the other
all generous attachment.

Anne saw nothing, thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room.  Her
happiness was from within.  Her eyes were bright and her cheeks glowed;
but she knew nothing about it.  She was thinking only of the last half
hour, and as they passed to their seats, her mind took a hasty range
over it.  His choice of subjects, his expressions, and still more his
manner and look, had been such as she could see in only one light.  His
opinion of Louisa Musgrove's inferiority, an opinion which he had
seemed solicitous to give, his wonder at Captain Benwick, his feelings
as to a first, strong attachment; sentences begun which he could not
finish, his half averted eyes and more than half expressive glance,
all, all declared that he had a heart returning to her at least; that
anger, resentment, avoidance, were no more; and that they were
succeeded, not merely by friendship and regard, but by the tenderness
of the past.  Yes, some share of the tenderness of the past.  She could
not contemplate the change as implying less.  He must love her.

These were thoughts, with their attendant visions, which occupied and
flurried her too much to leave her any power of observation; and she
passed along the room without having a glimpse of him, without even
trying to discern him.  When their places were determined on, and they
were all properly arranged, she looked round to see if he should happen
to be in the same part of the room, but he was not; her eye could not
reach him; and the concert being just opening, she must consent for a
time to be happy in a humbler way.

The party was divided and disposed of on two contiguous benches: Anne
was among those on the foremost, and Mr Elliot had manoeuvred so well,
with the assistance of his friend Colonel Wallis, as to have a seat by
her.  Miss Elliot, surrounded by her cousins, and the principal object
of Colonel Wallis's gallantry, was quite contented.

Anne's mind was in a most favourable state for the entertainment of the
evening; it was just occupation enough:  she had feelings for the
tender, spirits for the gay, attention for the scientific, and patience
for the wearisome; and had never liked a concert better, at least
during the first act.  Towards the close of it, in the interval
succeeding an Italian song, she explained the words of the song to Mr
Elliot.  They had a concert bill between them.

"This," said she, "is nearly the sense, or rather the meaning of the
words, for certainly the sense of an Italian love-song must not be
talked of, but it is as nearly the meaning as I can give; for I do not
pretend to understand the language.  I am a very poor Italian scholar."

"Yes, yes, I see you are.  I see you know nothing of the matter.  You
have only knowledge enough of the language to translate at sight these
inverted, transposed, curtailed Italian lines, into clear,
comprehensible, elegant English.  You need not say anything more of
your ignorance.  Here is complete proof."

"I will not oppose such kind politeness; but I should be sorry to be
examined by a real proficient."

"I have not had the pleasure of visiting in Camden Place so long,"
replied he, "without knowing something of Miss Anne Elliot; and I do
regard her as one who is too modest for the world in general to be
aware of half her accomplishments, and too highly accomplished for
modesty to be natural in any other woman."

"For shame! for shame! this is too much flattery.  I forget what we are
to have next," turning to the bill.

"Perhaps," said Mr Elliot, speaking low, "I have had a longer
acquaintance with your character than you are aware of."

"Indeed!  How so?  You can have been acquainted with it only since I
came to Bath, excepting as you might hear me previously spoken of in my
own family."

"I knew you by report long before you came to Bath.  I had heard you
described by those who knew you intimately.  I have been acquainted
with you by character many years.  Your person, your disposition,
accomplishments, manner; they were all present to me."

Mr Elliot was not disappointed in the interest he hoped to raise.  No
one can withstand the charm of such a mystery.  To have been described
long ago to a recent acquaintance, by nameless people, is irresistible;
and Anne was all curiosity.  She wondered, and questioned him eagerly;
but in vain.  He delighted in being asked, but he would not tell.

"No, no, some time or other, perhaps, but not now.  He would mention no
names now; but such, he could assure her, had been the fact.  He had
many years ago received such a description of Miss Anne Elliot as had
inspired him with the highest idea of her merit, and excited the
warmest curiosity to know her."

Anne could think of no one so likely to have spoken with partiality of
her many years ago as the Mr Wentworth of Monkford, Captain Wentworth's
brother.  He might have been in Mr Elliot's company, but she had not
courage to ask the question.

"The name of Anne Elliot," said he, "has long had an interesting sound
to me.  Very long has it possessed a charm over my fancy; and, if I
dared, I would breathe my wishes that the name might never change."

Such, she believed, were his words; but scarcely had she received their
sound, than her attention was caught by other sounds immediately behind
her, which rendered every thing else trivial.  Her father and Lady
Dalrymple were speaking.

"A well-looking man," said Sir Walter, "a very well-looking man."

"A very fine young man indeed!" said Lady Dalrymple.  "More air than
one often sees in Bath.  Irish, I dare say."

"No, I just know his name.  A bowing acquaintance.  Wentworth; Captain
Wentworth of the navy.  His sister married my tenant in Somersetshire,
the Croft, who rents Kellynch."

Before Sir Walter had reached this point, Anne's eyes had caught the
right direction, and distinguished Captain Wentworth standing among a
cluster of men at a little distance.  As her eyes fell on him, his
seemed to be withdrawn from her.  It had that appearance.  It seemed as
if she had been one moment too late; and as long as she dared observe,
he did not look again:  but the performance was recommencing, and she
was forced to seem to restore her attention to the orchestra and look
straight forward.

When she could give another glance, he had moved away.  He could not
have come nearer to her if he would; she was so surrounded and shut in:
but she would rather have caught his eye.

Mr Elliot's speech, too, distressed her.  She had no longer any
inclination to talk to him.  She wished him not so near her.

The first act was over.  Now she hoped for some beneficial change; and,
after a period of nothing-saying amongst the party, some of them did
decide on going in quest of tea.  Anne was one of the few who did not
choose to move.  She remained in her seat, and so did Lady Russell; but
she had the pleasure of getting rid of Mr Elliot; and she did not mean,
whatever she might feel on Lady Russell's account, to shrink from
conversation with Captain Wentworth, if he gave her the opportunity.
She was persuaded by Lady Russell's countenance that she had seen him.

He did not come however.  Anne sometimes fancied she discerned him at a
distance, but he never came.  The anxious interval wore away
unproductively.  The others returned, the room filled again, benches
were reclaimed and repossessed, and another hour of pleasure or of
penance was to be sat out, another hour of music was to give delight or
the gapes, as real or affected taste for it prevailed.  To Anne, it
chiefly wore the prospect of an hour of agitation.  She could not quit
that room in peace without seeing Captain Wentworth once more, without
the interchange of one friendly look.

In re-settling themselves there were now many changes, the result of
which was favourable for her.  Colonel Wallis declined sitting down
again, and Mr Elliot was invited by Elizabeth and Miss Carteret, in a
manner not to be refused, to sit between them; and by some other
removals, and a little scheming of her own,  Anne was enabled to place
herself much nearer the end of the bench than she had been before, much
more within reach of a passer-by.  She could not do so, without
comparing herself with Miss Larolles, the inimitable Miss Larolles; but
still she did it, and not with much happier effect; though by what
seemed prosperity in the shape of an early abdication in her next
neighbours, she found herself at the very end of the bench before the
concert closed.

Such was her situation, with a vacant space at hand, when Captain
Wentworth was again in sight.  She saw him not far off.  He saw her
too; yet he looked grave, and seemed irresolute, and only by very slow
degrees came at last near enough to speak to her.  She felt that
something must be the matter.  The change was indubitable.  The
difference between his present air and what it had been in the Octagon
Room was strikingly great.  Why was it?  She thought of her father, of
Lady Russell.  Could there have been any unpleasant glances?  He began
by speaking of the concert gravely, more like the Captain Wentworth of
Uppercross; owned himself disappointed, had expected singing; and in
short, must confess that he should not be sorry when it was over.  Anne
replied, and spoke in defence of the performance so well, and yet in
allowance for his feelings so pleasantly, that his countenance
improved, and he replied again with almost a smile.  They talked for a
few minutes more; the improvement held; he even looked down towards the
bench, as if he saw a place on it well worth occupying; when at that
moment a touch on her shoulder obliged Anne to turn round.  It came
from Mr Elliot.  He begged her pardon, but she must be applied to, to
explain Italian again.  Miss Carteret was very anxious to have a
general idea of what was next to be sung.  Anne could not refuse; but
never had she sacrificed to politeness with a more suffering spirit.

A few minutes, though as few as possible, were inevitably consumed; and
when her own mistress again, when able to turn and look as she had done
before, she found herself accosted by Captain Wentworth, in a reserved
yet hurried sort of farewell.  "He must wish her good night; he was
going; he should get home as fast as he could."

"Is not this song worth staying for?" said Anne, suddenly struck by an
idea which made her yet more anxious to be encouraging.

"No!" he replied impressively, "there is nothing worth my staying for;"
and he was gone directly.

Jealousy of Mr Elliot!  It was the only intelligible motive.  Captain
Wentworth jealous of her affection!  Could she have believed it a week
ago; three hours ago!  For a moment the gratification was exquisite.
But, alas! there were very different thoughts to succeed.  How was such
jealousy to be quieted?  How was the truth to reach him?  How, in all
the peculiar disadvantages of their respective situations, would he
ever learn of her real sentiments?  It was misery to think of Mr
Elliot's attentions.  Their evil was incalculable.



Chapter 21


Anne recollected with pleasure the next morning her promise of going to
Mrs Smith, meaning that it should engage her from home at the time when
Mr Elliot would be most likely to call; for to avoid Mr Elliot was
almost a first object.

She felt a great deal of good-will towards him.  In spite of the
mischief of his attentions, she owed him gratitude and regard, perhaps
compassion.  She could not help thinking much of the extraordinary
circumstances attending their acquaintance, of the right which he
seemed to have to interest her, by everything in situation, by his own
sentiments, by his early prepossession.  It was altogether very
extraordinary; flattering, but painful.  There was much to regret.  How
she might have felt had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case,
was not worth enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth; and be the
conclusion of the present suspense good or bad, her affection would be
his for ever.  Their union, she believed, could not divide her more
from other men, than their final separation.

Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy, could
never have passed along the streets of Bath, than Anne was sporting
with from Camden Place to Westgate Buildings.  It was almost enough to
spread purification and perfume all the way.

She was sure of a pleasant reception; and her friend seemed this
morning particularly obliged to her for coming, seemed hardly to have
expected her, though it had been an appointment.

An account of the concert was immediately claimed; and Anne's
recollections of the concert were quite happy enough to animate her
features and make her rejoice to talk of it.  All that she could tell
she told most gladly, but the all was little for one who had been
there, and unsatisfactory for such an enquirer as Mrs Smith, who had
already heard, through the short cut of a laundress and a waiter,
rather more of the general success and produce of the evening than Anne
could relate, and who now asked in vain for several particulars of the
company.  Everybody of any consequence or notoriety in Bath was well
know by name to Mrs Smith.

"The little Durands were there, I conclude," said she, "with their
mouths open to catch the music, like unfledged sparrows ready to be
fed.  They never miss a concert."

"Yes; I did not see them myself, but I heard Mr Elliot say they were in
the room."

"The Ibbotsons, were they there? and the two new beauties, with the
tall Irish officer, who is talked of for one of them."

"I do not know.  I do not think they were."

"Old Lady Mary Maclean?  I need not ask after her.  She never misses, I
know; and you must have seen her.  She must have been in your own
circle; for as you went with Lady Dalrymple, you were in the seats of
grandeur, round the orchestra, of course."

"No, that was what I dreaded.  It would have been very unpleasant to me
in every respect.  But happily Lady Dalrymple always chooses to be
farther off; and we were exceedingly well placed, that is, for hearing;
I must not say for seeing, because I appear to have seen very little."

"Oh! you saw enough for your own amusement.  I can understand.  There
is a sort of domestic enjoyment to be known even in a crowd, and this
you had.  You were a large party in yourselves, and you wanted nothing
beyond."

"But I ought to have looked about me more," said Anne, conscious while
she spoke that there had in fact been no want of looking about, that
the object only had been deficient.

"No, no; you were better employed.  You need not tell me that you had a
pleasant evening.  I see it in your eye.  I perfectly see how the hours
passed:  that you had always something agreeable to listen to.  In the
intervals of the concert it was conversation."

Anne half smiled and said, "Do you see that in my eye?"

"Yes, I do.  Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were in
company last night with the person whom you think the most agreeable in
the world, the person who interests you at this present time more than
all the rest of the world put together."

A blush overspread Anne's cheeks.  She could say nothing.

"And such being the case," continued Mrs Smith, after a short pause, "I
hope you believe that I do know how to value your kindness in coming to
me this morning.  It is really very good of you to come and sit with
me, when you must have so many pleasanter demands upon your time."

Anne heard nothing of this.  She was still in the astonishment and
confusion excited by her friend's penetration, unable to imagine how
any report of Captain Wentworth could have reached her.  After another
short silence--

"Pray," said Mrs Smith, "is Mr Elliot aware of your acquaintance with
me?  Does he know that I am in Bath?"

"Mr Elliot!" repeated Anne, looking up surprised.  A moment's
reflection shewed her the mistake she had been under.  She caught it
instantaneously; and recovering her courage with the feeling of safety,
soon added, more composedly, "Are you acquainted with Mr Elliot?"

"I have been a good deal acquainted with him," replied Mrs Smith,
gravely, "but it seems worn out now.  It is a great while since we met."

"I was not at all aware of this.  You never mentioned it before.  Had I
known it, I would have had the pleasure of talking to him about you."

"To confess the truth," said Mrs Smith, assuming her usual air of
cheerfulness, "that is exactly the pleasure I want you to have.  I want
you to talk about me to Mr Elliot.  I want your interest with him.  He
can be of essential service to me; and if you would have the goodness,
my dear Miss Elliot, to make it an object to yourself, of course it is
done."

"I should be extremely happy; I hope you cannot doubt my willingness to
be of even the slightest use to you," replied Anne; "but I suspect that
you are considering me as having a higher claim on Mr Elliot, a greater
right to influence him, than is really the case.  I am sure you have,
somehow or other, imbibed such a notion.  You must consider me only as
Mr Elliot's relation.  If in that light there is anything which you
suppose his cousin might fairly ask of him, I beg you would not
hesitate to employ me."

Mrs Smith gave her a penetrating glance, and then, smiling, said--

"I have been a little premature, I perceive; I beg your pardon.  I
ought to have waited for official information,  But now, my dear Miss
Elliot, as an old friend, do give me a hint as to when I may speak.
Next week?  To be sure by next week I may be allowed to think it all
settled, and build my own selfish schemes on Mr Elliot's good fortune."

"No," replied Anne, "nor next week, nor next, nor next.  I assure you
that nothing of the sort you are thinking of will be settled any week.
I am not going to marry Mr Elliot.  I should like to know why you
imagine I am?"

Mrs Smith looked at her again, looked earnestly, smiled, shook her
head, and exclaimed--

"Now, how I do wish I understood you!  How I do wish I knew what you
were at!  I have a great idea that you do not design to be cruel, when
the right moment occurs.  Till it does come, you know, we women never
mean to have anybody.  It is a thing of course among us, that every man
is refused, till he offers.  But why should you be cruel?  Let me plead
for my--present friend I cannot call him, but for my former friend.
Where can you look for a more suitable match?  Where could you expect a
more gentlemanlike, agreeable man?  Let me recommend Mr Elliot.  I am
sure you hear nothing but good of him from Colonel Wallis; and who can
know him better than Colonel Wallis?"

"My dear Mrs Smith, Mr Elliot's wife has not been dead much above half
a year.  He ought not to be supposed to be paying his addresses to any
one."

"Oh! if these are your only objections," cried Mrs Smith, archly, "Mr
Elliot is safe, and I shall give myself no more trouble about him.  Do
not forget me when you are married, that's all.  Let him know me to be
a friend of yours, and then he will think little of the trouble
required, which it is very natural for him now, with so many affairs
and engagements of his own, to avoid and get rid of as he can; very
natural, perhaps.  Ninety-nine out of a hundred would do the same.  Of
course, he cannot be aware of the importance to me.  Well, my dear Miss
Elliot, I hope and trust you will be very happy.  Mr Elliot has sense
to understand the value of such a woman.  Your peace will not be
shipwrecked as mine has been.  You are safe in all worldly matters, and
safe in his character.  He will not be led astray; he will not be
misled by others to his ruin."

"No," said Anne, "I can readily believe all that of my cousin.  He
seems to have a calm decided temper, not at all open to dangerous
impressions.  I consider him with great respect.  I have no reason,
from any thing that has fallen within my observation, to do otherwise.
But I have not known him long; and he is not a man, I think, to be
known intimately soon.  Will not this manner of speaking of him, Mrs
Smith, convince you that he is nothing to me?  Surely this must be calm
enough.  And, upon my word, he is nothing to me.  Should he ever
propose to me (which I have very little reason to imagine he has any
thought of doing), I shall not accept him.  I assure you I shall not.
I assure you, Mr Elliot had not the share which you have been
supposing, in whatever pleasure the concert of last night might afford:
not Mr Elliot; it is not Mr Elliot that--"

She stopped, regretting with a deep blush that she had implied so much;
but less would hardly have been sufficient.  Mrs Smith would hardly
have believed so soon in Mr Elliot's failure, but from the perception
of there being a somebody else.  As it was, she instantly submitted,
and with all the semblance of seeing nothing beyond; and Anne, eager to
escape farther notice, was impatient to know why Mrs Smith should have
fancied she was to marry Mr Elliot; where she could have received the
idea, or from whom she could have heard it.

"Do tell me how it first came into your head."

"It first came into my head," replied Mrs Smith, "upon finding how much
you were together, and feeling it to be the most probable thing in the
world to be wished for by everybody belonging to either of you; and you
may depend upon it that all your acquaintance have disposed of you in
the same way.  But I never heard it spoken of till two days ago."

"And has it indeed been spoken of?"

"Did you observe the woman who opened the door to you when you called
yesterday?"

"No.  Was not it Mrs Speed, as usual, or the maid?  I observed no one
in particular."

"It was my friend Mrs Rooke; Nurse Rooke; who, by-the-bye, had a great
curiosity to see you, and was delighted to be in the way to let you in.
She came away from Marlborough Buildings only on Sunday; and she it was
who told me you were to marry Mr Elliot.  She had had it from Mrs
Wallis herself, which did not seem bad authority.  She sat an hour with
me on Monday evening, and gave me the whole history." "The whole
history," repeated Anne, laughing.  "She could not make a very long
history, I think, of one such little article of unfounded news."

Mrs Smith said nothing.

"But," continued Anne, presently, "though there is no truth in my
having this claim on Mr Elliot, I should be extremely happy to be of
use to you in any way that I could.  Shall I mention to him your being
in Bath?  Shall I take any message?"

"No, I thank you:  no, certainly not.  In the warmth of the moment, and
under a mistaken impression, I might, perhaps, have endeavoured to
interest you in some circumstances; but not now.  No, I thank you, I
have nothing to trouble you with."

"I think you spoke of having known Mr Elliot many years?"

"I did."

"Not before he was married, I suppose?"

"Yes; he was not married when I knew him first."

"And--were you much acquainted?"

"Intimately."

"Indeed!  Then do tell me what he was at that time of life.  I have a
great curiosity to know what Mr Elliot was as a very young man.  Was he
at all such as he appears now?"

"I have not seen Mr Elliot these three years," was Mrs Smith's answer,
given so gravely that it was impossible to pursue the subject farther;
and Anne felt that she had gained nothing but an increase of curiosity.
They were both silent:  Mrs Smith very thoughtful.  At last--

"I beg your pardon, my dear Miss Elliot," she cried, in her natural
tone of cordiality, "I beg your pardon for the short answers I have
been giving you, but I have been uncertain what I ought to do.  I have
been doubting and considering as to what I ought to tell you.  There
were many things to be taken into the account.  One hates to be
officious, to be giving bad impressions, making mischief.  Even the
smooth surface of family-union seems worth preserving, though there may
be nothing durable beneath.  However, I have determined; I think I am
right; I think you ought to be made acquainted with Mr Elliot's real
character.  Though I fully believe that, at present, you have not the
smallest intention of accepting him, there is no saying what may
happen.  You might, some time or other, be differently affected towards
him.  Hear the truth, therefore, now, while you are unprejudiced.  Mr
Elliot is a man without heart or conscience; a designing, wary,
cold-blooded being, who thinks only of himself; whom for his own
interest or ease, would be guilty of any cruelty, or any treachery,
that could be perpetrated without risk of his general character.  He
has no feeling for others.  Those whom he has been the chief cause of
leading into ruin, he can neglect and desert without the smallest
compunction.  He is totally beyond the reach of any sentiment of
justice or compassion.  Oh! he is black at heart, hollow and black!"

Anne's astonished air, and exclamation of wonder, made her pause, and
in a calmer manner, she added,

"My expressions startle you.  You must allow for an injured, angry
woman.  But I will try to command myself.  I will not abuse him.  I
will only tell you what I have found him.  Facts shall speak.  He was
the intimate friend of my dear husband, who trusted and loved him, and
thought him as good as himself.  The intimacy had been formed before
our marriage.  I found them most intimate friends; and I, too, became
excessively pleased with Mr Elliot, and entertained the highest opinion
of him.  At nineteen, you know, one does not think very seriously; but
Mr Elliot appeared to me quite as good as others, and much more
agreeable than most others, and we were almost always together.  We
were principally in town, living in very good style.  He was then the
inferior in circumstances; he was then the poor one; he had chambers in
the Temple, and it was as much as he could do to support the appearance
of a gentleman.  He had always a home with us whenever he chose it; he
was always welcome; he was like a brother.  My poor Charles, who had
the finest, most generous spirit in the world, would have divided his
last farthing with him; and I know that his purse was open to him; I
know that he often assisted him."

"This must have been about that very period of Mr Elliot's life," said
Anne, "which has always excited my particular curiosity.  It must have
been about the same time that he became known to my father and sister.
I never knew him myself; I only heard of him; but there was a something
in his conduct then, with regard to my father and sister, and
afterwards in the circumstances of his marriage, which I never could
quite reconcile with present times.  It seemed to announce a different
sort of man."

"I know it all, I know it all," cried Mrs Smith.  "He had been
introduced to Sir Walter and your sister before I was acquainted with
him, but I heard him speak of them for ever.  I know he was invited and
encouraged, and I know he did not choose to go.  I can satisfy you,
perhaps, on points which you would little expect; and as to his
marriage, I knew all about it at the time.  I was privy to all the fors
and againsts; I was the friend to whom he confided his hopes and plans;
and though I did not know his wife previously, her inferior situation
in society, indeed, rendered that impossible, yet I knew her all her
life afterwards, or at least till within the last two years of her
life, and can answer any question you may wish to put."

"Nay," said Anne, "I have no particular enquiry to make about her.  I
have always understood they were not a happy couple.  But I should like
to know why, at that time of his life, he should slight my father's
acquaintance as he did.  My father was certainly disposed to take very
kind and proper notice of him.  Why did Mr Elliot draw back?"

"Mr Elliot," replied Mrs Smith, "at that period of his life, had one
object in view:  to make his fortune, and by a rather quicker process
than the law.  He was determined to make it by marriage.  He was
determined, at least, not to mar it by an imprudent marriage; and I
know it was his belief (whether justly or not, of course I cannot
decide), that your father and sister, in their civilities and
invitations, were designing a match between the heir and the young
lady, and it was impossible that such a match should have answered his
ideas of wealth and independence.  That was his motive for drawing
back, I can assure you.  He told me the whole story.  He had no
concealments with me.  It was curious, that having just left you behind
me in Bath, my first and principal acquaintance on marrying should be
your cousin; and that, through him, I should be continually hearing of
your father and sister.  He described one Miss Elliot, and I thought
very affectionately of the other."

"Perhaps," cried Anne, struck by a sudden idea, "you sometimes spoke of
me to Mr Elliot?"

"To be sure I did; very often.  I used to boast of my own Anne Elliot,
and vouch for your being a very different creature from--"

She checked herself just in time.

"This accounts for something which Mr Elliot said last night," cried
Anne.  "This explains it.  I found he had been used to hear of me.  I
could not comprehend how.  What wild imaginations one forms where dear
self is concerned!  How sure to be mistaken!  But I beg your pardon; I
have interrupted you.  Mr Elliot married then completely for money?
The circumstances, probably, which first opened your eyes to his
character."

Mrs Smith hesitated a little here.  "Oh! those things are too common.
When one lives in the world, a man or woman's marrying for money is too
common to strike one as it ought.  I was very young, and associated
only with the young, and we were a thoughtless, gay set, without any
strict rules of conduct.  We lived for enjoyment.  I think differently
now; time and sickness and sorrow have given me other notions; but at
that period I must own I saw nothing reprehensible in what Mr Elliot
was doing.  'To do the best for himself,' passed as a duty."

"But was not she a very low woman?"

"Yes; which I objected to, but he would not regard.  Money, money, was
all that he wanted.  Her father was a grazier, her grandfather had been
a butcher, but that was all nothing.  She was a fine woman, had had a
decent education, was brought forward by some cousins, thrown by chance
into Mr Elliot's company, and fell in love with him; and not a
difficulty or a scruple was there on his side, with respect to her
birth.  All his caution was spent in being secured of the real amount
of her fortune, before he committed himself.  Depend upon it, whatever
esteem Mr Elliot may have for his own situation in life now, as a young
man he had not the smallest value for it.  His chance for the Kellynch
estate was something, but all the honour of the family he held as cheap
as dirt.  I have often heard him declare, that if baronetcies were
saleable, anybody should have his for fifty pounds, arms and motto,
name and livery included; but I will not pretend to repeat half that I
used to hear him say on that subject.  It would not be fair; and yet
you ought to have proof, for what is all this but assertion, and you
shall have proof."

"Indeed, my dear Mrs Smith, I want none," cried Anne.  "You have
asserted nothing contradictory to what Mr Elliot appeared to be some
years ago.  This is all in confirmation, rather, of what we used to
hear and believe.  I am more curious to know why he should be so
different now."

"But for my satisfaction, if you will have the goodness to ring for
Mary; stay:  I am sure you will have the still greater goodness of
going yourself into my bedroom, and bringing me the small inlaid box
which you will find on the upper shelf of the closet."

Anne, seeing her friend to be earnestly bent on it, did as she was
desired.  The box was brought and placed before her, and Mrs Smith,
sighing over it as she unlocked it, said--

"This is full of papers belonging to him, to my husband; a small
portion only of what I had to look over when I lost him.  The letter I
am looking for was one written by Mr Elliot to him before our marriage,
and happened to be saved; why, one can hardly imagine.  But he was
careless and immethodical, like other men, about those things; and when
I came to examine his papers, I found it with others still more
trivial, from different people scattered here and there, while many
letters and memorandums of real importance had been destroyed.  Here it
is; I would not burn it, because being even then very little satisfied
with Mr Elliot, I was determined to preserve every document of former
intimacy.  I have now another motive for being glad that I can produce
it."

This was the letter, directed to "Charles Smith, Esq. Tunbridge Wells,"
and dated from London, as far back as July, 1803:--

"Dear Smith,--I have received yours.  Your kindness almost overpowers
me.  I wish nature had made such hearts as yours more common, but I
have lived three-and-twenty years in the world, and have seen none like
it.  At present, believe me, I have no need of your services, being in
cash again.  Give me joy:  I have got rid of Sir Walter and Miss.  They
are gone back to Kellynch, and almost made me swear to visit them this
summer; but my first visit to Kellynch will be with a surveyor, to tell
me how to bring it with best advantage to the hammer.  The baronet,
nevertheless, is not unlikely to marry again; he is quite fool enough.
If he does, however, they will leave me in peace, which may be a decent
equivalent  for the reversion.  He is worse than last year.

"I wish I had any name but Elliot.  I am sick of it.  The name of
Walter I can drop, thank God! and I desire you will never insult me
with my second W. again, meaning, for the rest of my life, to be only
yours truly,--Wm. Elliot."

Such a letter could not be read without putting Anne in a glow; and Mrs
Smith, observing the high colour in her face, said--

"The language, I know, is highly disrespectful.  Though I have forgot
the exact terms, I have a perfect impression of the general meaning.
But it shows you the man.  Mark his professions to my poor husband.
Can any thing be stronger?"

Anne could not immediately get over the shock and mortification of
finding such words applied to her father.  She was obliged to recollect
that her seeing the letter was a violation of the laws of honour, that
no one ought to be judged or to be known by such testimonies, that no
private correspondence could bear the eye of others, before she could
recover calmness enough to return the letter which she had been
meditating over, and say--

"Thank you.  This is full proof undoubtedly; proof of every thing you
were saying.  But why be acquainted with us now?"

"I can explain this too," cried Mrs Smith, smiling.

"Can you really?"

"Yes.  I have shewn you Mr Elliot as he was a dozen years ago, and I
will shew him as he is now.  I cannot produce written proof again, but
I can give as authentic oral testimony as you can desire, of what he is
now wanting, and what he is now doing.  He is no hypocrite now.  He
truly wants to marry you.  His present attentions to your family are
very sincere:  quite from the heart.  I will give you my authority: his
friend Colonel Wallis."

"Colonel Wallis! you are acquainted with him?"

"No.  It does not come to me in quite so direct a line as that; it
takes a bend or two, but nothing of consequence.  The stream is as good
as at first; the little rubbish it collects in the turnings is easily
moved away.  Mr Elliot talks unreservedly to Colonel Wallis of his
views on you, which said Colonel Wallis, I imagine to be, in himself, a
sensible, careful, discerning sort of character; but Colonel Wallis has
a very pretty silly wife, to whom he tells things which he had better
not, and he repeats it all to her.  She in the overflowing spirits of
her recovery, repeats it all to her nurse; and the nurse  knowing my
acquaintance with you, very naturally brings it all to me.  On Monday
evening, my good friend Mrs Rooke let me thus much into the secrets of
Marlborough Buildings.  When I talked of a whole history, therefore,
you see I was not romancing so much as you supposed."

"My dear Mrs Smith, your authority is deficient.  This will not do.  Mr
Elliot's having any views on me will not in the least account for the
efforts he made towards a reconciliation with my father.  That was all
prior to my coming to Bath.  I found them on the most friendly terms
when I arrived."

"I know you did; I know it all perfectly, but--"

"Indeed, Mrs Smith, we must not expect to get real information in such
a line.  Facts or opinions which are to pass through the hands of so
many, to be misconceived by folly in one, and ignorance in another, can
hardly have much truth left."

"Only give me a hearing.  You will soon be able to judge of the general
credit due, by listening to some particulars which you can yourself
immediately contradict or confirm.  Nobody supposes that you were his
first inducement.  He had seen you indeed, before he came to Bath, and
admired you, but without knowing it to be you.  So says my historian,
at least.  Is this true?  Did he see you last summer or autumn,
'somewhere down in the west,' to use her own words, without knowing it
to be you?"

"He certainly did.  So far it is very true.  At Lyme.  I happened to be
at Lyme."

"Well," continued Mrs Smith, triumphantly, "grant my friend the credit
due to the establishment of the first point asserted.  He saw you then
at Lyme, and liked you so well as to be exceedingly pleased to meet
with you again in Camden Place, as Miss Anne Elliot, and from that
moment, I have no doubt, had a double motive in his visits there.  But
there was another, and an earlier, which I will now explain.  If there
is anything in my story which you know to be either false or
improbable, stop me.  My account states, that your sister's friend, the
lady now staying with you, whom I have heard you mention, came to Bath
with Miss Elliot and Sir Walter as long ago as September (in short when
they first came themselves), and has been staying there ever since;
that she is a clever, insinuating, handsome woman, poor and plausible,
and altogether such in situation and manner, as to give a general idea,
among Sir Walter's acquaintance, of her meaning to be Lady Elliot, and
as general a surprise that Miss Elliot should be apparently, blind to
the danger."

Here Mrs Smith paused a moment; but Anne had not a word to say, and she
continued--

"This was the light in which it appeared to those who knew the family,
long before you returned to it; and Colonel Wallis had his eye upon
your father enough to be sensible of it, though he did not then visit
in Camden Place; but his regard for Mr Elliot gave him an interest in
watching all that was going on there, and when Mr Elliot came to Bath
for a day or two, as he happened to do a little before Christmas,
Colonel Wallis made him acquainted with the appearance of things, and
the reports beginning to prevail.  Now you are to understand, that time
had worked a very material change in Mr Elliot's opinions as to the
value of a baronetcy.  Upon all points of blood and connexion he is a
completely altered man.  Having long had as much money as he could
spend, nothing to wish for on the side of avarice or indulgence, he has
been gradually learning to pin his happiness upon the consequence he is
heir to.  I thought it coming on before our acquaintance ceased, but it
is now a confirmed feeling.  He cannot bear the idea of not being Sir
William.  You may guess, therefore, that the news he heard from his
friend could not be very agreeable, and you may guess what it produced;
the resolution of coming back to Bath as soon as possible, and of
fixing himself here for a time, with the view of renewing his former
acquaintance, and recovering such a footing in the family as might give
him the means of ascertaining the degree of his danger, and of
circumventing the lady if he found it material.  This was agreed upon
between the two friends as the only thing to be done; and Colonel
Wallis was to assist in every way that he could.  He was to be
introduced, and Mrs Wallis was to be introduced, and everybody was to
be introduced.  Mr Elliot came back accordingly; and on application was
forgiven, as you know, and re-admitted into the family; and there it
was his constant object, and his only object (till your arrival added
another motive), to watch Sir Walter and Mrs Clay.  He omitted no
opportunity of being with them, threw himself in their way, called at
all hours; but I need not be particular on this subject.  You can
imagine what an artful man would do; and with this guide, perhaps, may
recollect what you have seen him do."

"Yes," said Anne, "you tell me nothing which does not accord with what
I have known, or could imagine.  There is always something offensive in
the details of cunning.  The manoeuvres of selfishness and duplicity
must ever be revolting, but I have heard nothing which really surprises
me.  I know those who would be shocked by such a representation of Mr
Elliot, who would have difficulty in believing it; but I have never
been satisfied.  I have always wanted some other motive for his conduct
than appeared.  I should like to know his present opinion, as to the
probability of the event he has been in dread of; whether he considers
the danger to be lessening or not."

"Lessening, I understand," replied Mrs Smith.  "He thinks Mrs Clay
afraid of him, aware that he sees through her, and not daring to
proceed as she might do in his absence.  But since he must be absent
some time or other, I do not perceive how he can ever be secure while
she holds her present influence.  Mrs Wallis has an amusing idea, as
nurse tells me, that it is to be put into the marriage articles when
you and Mr Elliot marry, that your father is not to marry Mrs Clay.  A
scheme, worthy of Mrs Wallis's understanding, by all accounts; but my
sensible nurse Rooke sees the absurdity of it.  'Why, to be sure,
ma'am,' said she, 'it would not prevent his marrying anybody else.'
And, indeed, to own the truth, I do not think nurse, in her heart, is a
very strenuous opposer of Sir Walter's making a second match.  She must
be allowed to be a favourer of matrimony, you know; and (since self
will intrude) who can say that she may not have some flying visions of
attending the next Lady Elliot, through Mrs Wallis's recommendation?"

"I am very glad to know all this," said Anne, after a little
thoughtfulness.  "It will be more painful to me in some respects to be
in company with him, but I shall know better what to do.  My line of
conduct will be more direct.  Mr Elliot is evidently a disingenuous,
artificial, worldly man, who has never had any better principle to
guide him than selfishness."

But Mr Elliot was not done with.  Mrs Smith had been carried away from
her first direction, and Anne had forgotten, in the interest of her own
family concerns, how much had been originally implied against him; but
her attention was now called to the explanation of those first hints,
and she listened to a recital which, if it did not perfectly justify
the unqualified bitterness of Mrs Smith, proved him to have been very
unfeeling in his conduct towards her; very deficient both in justice
and compassion.

She learned that (the intimacy between them continuing unimpaired by Mr
Elliot's marriage) they had been as before always together, and Mr
Elliot had led his friend into expenses much beyond his fortune.  Mrs
Smith did not want to take blame to herself, and was most tender of
throwing any on her husband; but Anne could collect that their income
had never been equal to their style of living, and that from the first
there had been a great deal of general and joint extravagance.  From
his wife's account of him she could discern Mr Smith to have been a man
of warm feelings, easy temper, careless habits, and not strong
understanding, much more amiable than his friend, and very unlike him,
led by him, and probably despised by him.  Mr Elliot, raised by his
marriage to great affluence, and disposed to every gratification of
pleasure and vanity which could be commanded without involving himself,
(for with all his self-indulgence he had become a prudent man), and
beginning to be rich, just as his friend ought to have found himself to
be poor, seemed to have had no concern at all for that friend's
probable finances, but, on the contrary, had been prompting and
encouraging expenses which could end only in ruin; and the Smiths
accordingly had been ruined.

The husband had died just in time to be spared the full knowledge of
it.  They had previously known embarrassments enough to try the
friendship of their friends, and to prove that Mr Elliot's had better
not be tried; but it was not till his death that the wretched state of
his affairs was fully known.  With a confidence in Mr Elliot's regard,
more creditable to his feelings than his judgement, Mr Smith had
appointed him the executor of his will; but Mr Elliot would not act,
and the difficulties and distress which this refusal had heaped on her,
in addition to the inevitable sufferings of her situation, had been
such as could not be related without anguish of spirit, or listened to
without corresponding indignation.

Anne was shewn some letters of his on the occasion, answers to urgent
applications from Mrs Smith, which all breathed the same stern
resolution of not engaging in a fruitless trouble, and, under a cold
civility, the same hard-hearted indifference to any of the evils it
might bring on her.  It was a dreadful picture of ingratitude and
inhumanity; and Anne felt, at some moments, that no flagrant open crime
could have been worse.  She had a great deal to listen to; all the
particulars of past sad scenes, all the minutiae of distress upon
distress, which in former conversations had been merely hinted at, were
dwelt on now with a natural indulgence.  Anne could perfectly
comprehend the exquisite relief, and was only the more inclined to
wonder at the composure of her friend's usual state of mind.

There was one circumstance in the history of her grievances of
particular irritation.  She had good reason to believe that some
property of her husband in the West Indies, which had been for many
years under a sort of sequestration for the payment of its own
incumbrances, might be recoverable by proper measures; and this
property, though not large, would be enough to make her comparatively
rich.  But there was nobody to stir in it.  Mr Elliot would do nothing,
and she could do nothing herself, equally disabled from personal
exertion by her state of bodily weakness, and from employing others by
her want of money.  She had no natural connexions to assist her even
with their counsel, and she could not afford to purchase the assistance
of the law.  This was a cruel aggravation of actually straitened means.
To feel that she ought to be in better circumstances, that a little
trouble in the right place might do it, and to fear that delay might be
even weakening her claims, was hard to bear.

It was on this point that she had hoped to engage Anne's good offices
with Mr Elliot.  She had previously, in the anticipation of their
marriage, been very apprehensive of losing her friend by it; but on
being assured that he could have made no attempt of that nature, since
he did not even know her to be in Bath, it immediately occurred, that
something might be done in her favour by the influence of the woman he
loved, and she had been hastily preparing to interest Anne's feelings,
as far as the observances due to Mr Elliot's character would allow,
when Anne's refutation of the supposed engagement changed the face of
everything; and while it took from her the new-formed hope of
succeeding in the object of her first anxiety, left her at least the
comfort of telling the whole story her own way.

After listening to this full description of Mr Elliot, Anne could not
but express some surprise at Mrs Smith's having spoken of him so
favourably in the beginning of their conversation.  "She had seemed to
recommend and praise him!"

"My dear," was Mrs Smith's reply, "there was nothing else to be done.
I considered your marrying him as certain, though he might not yet have
made the offer, and I could no more speak the truth of him, than if he
had been your husband.  My heart bled for you, as I talked of
happiness; and yet he is sensible, he is agreeable, and with such a
woman as you, it was not absolutely hopeless.  He was very unkind to
his first wife.  They were wretched together.  But she was too ignorant
and giddy for respect, and he had never loved her.  I was willing to
hope that you must fare better."

Anne could just acknowledge within herself such a possibility of having
been induced to marry him, as made her shudder at the idea of the
misery which must have followed.  It was just possible that she might
have been persuaded by Lady Russell!  And under such a supposition,
which would have been most miserable, when time had disclosed all, too
late?

It was very desirable that Lady Russell should be no longer deceived;
and one of the concluding arrangements of this important conference,
which carried them through the greater part of the morning, was, that
Anne had full liberty to communicate to her friend everything relative
to Mrs Smith, in which his conduct was involved.



Chapter 22


Anne went home to think over all that she had heard.  In one point, her
feelings were relieved by this knowledge of Mr Elliot.  There was no
longer anything of tenderness due to him.  He stood as opposed to
Captain Wentworth, in all his own unwelcome obtrusiveness; and the evil
of his attentions last night, the irremediable mischief he might have
done, was considered with sensations unqualified, unperplexed.  Pity
for him was all over.  But this was the only point of relief.  In every
other respect, in looking around her, or penetrating forward, she saw
more to distrust and to apprehend.  She was concerned for the
disappointment and pain Lady Russell would be feeling; for the
mortifications which must be hanging over her father and sister, and
had all the distress of foreseeing many evils, without knowing how to
avert any one of them.  She was most thankful for her own knowledge of
him.  She had never considered herself as entitled to reward for not
slighting an old friend like Mrs Smith, but here was a reward indeed
springing from it!  Mrs Smith had been able to tell her what no one
else could have done.  Could the knowledge have been extended through
her family?  But this was a vain idea.  She must talk to Lady Russell,
tell her, consult with her, and having done her best, wait the event
with as much composure as possible; and after all, her greatest want of
composure would be in that quarter of the mind which could not be
opened to Lady Russell; in that flow of anxieties and fears which must
be all to herself.


She found, on reaching home, that she had, as she intended, escaped
seeing Mr Elliot; that he had called and paid them a long morning
visit; but hardly had she congratulated herself, and felt safe, when
she heard that he was coming again in the evening.

"I had not the smallest intention of asking him," said Elizabeth, with
affected carelessness, "but he gave so many hints; so Mrs Clay says, at
least."

"Indeed, I do say it.  I never saw anybody in my life spell harder for
an invitation.  Poor man!  I was really in pain for him; for your
hard-hearted sister, Miss Anne, seems bent on cruelty."

"Oh!" cried Elizabeth, "I have been rather too much used to the game to
be soon overcome by a gentleman's hints.  However, when I found how
excessively he was regretting that he should miss my father this
morning, I gave way immediately, for I would never really omit an
opportunity of bring him and Sir Walter together.  They appear to so
much advantage in company with each other.  Each behaving so
pleasantly.  Mr Elliot looking up with so much respect."

"Quite delightful!" cried Mrs Clay, not daring, however, to turn her
eyes towards Anne.  "Exactly like father and son!  Dear Miss Elliot,
may I not say father and son?"

"Oh! I lay no embargo on any body's words.  If you will have such
ideas!  But, upon my word, I am scarcely sensible of his attentions
being beyond those of other men."

"My dear Miss Elliot!" exclaimed Mrs Clay, lifting her hands and eyes,
and sinking all the rest of her astonishment in a convenient silence.

"Well, my dear Penelope, you need not be so alarmed about him.  I did
invite him, you know.  I sent him away with smiles.  When I found he
was really going to his friends at Thornberry Park for the whole day
to-morrow, I had compassion on him."

Anne admired the good acting of the friend, in being able to shew such
pleasure as she did, in the expectation and in the actual arrival of
the very person whose presence must really be interfering with her
prime object.  It was impossible but that Mrs Clay must hate the sight
of Mr Elliot; and yet she could assume a most obliging, placid look,
and appear quite satisfied with the curtailed license of devoting
herself only half as much to Sir Walter as she would have done
otherwise.

To Anne herself it was most distressing to see Mr Elliot enter the
room; and quite painful to have him approach and speak to her.  She had
been used before to feel that he could not be always quite sincere, but
now she saw insincerity in everything.  His attentive deference to her
father, contrasted with his former language, was odious; and when she
thought of his cruel conduct towards Mrs Smith, she could hardly bear
the sight of his present smiles and mildness, or the sound of his
artificial good sentiments.

She meant to avoid any such alteration of manners as might provoke a
remonstrance on his side.  It was a great object to her to escape all
enquiry or eclat; but it was her intention to be as decidedly cool to
him as might be compatible with their relationship; and to retrace, as
quietly as she could, the few steps of unnecessary intimacy she had
been gradually led along.  She was accordingly more guarded, and more
cool, than she had been the night before.

He wanted to animate her curiosity again as to how and where he could
have heard her formerly praised; wanted very much to be gratified by
more solicitation; but the charm was broken: he found that the heat and
animation of a public room was necessary to kindle his modest cousin's
vanity; he found, at least, that it was not to be done now, by any of
those attempts which he could hazard among the too-commanding claims of
the others.  He little surmised that it was a subject acting now
exactly against his interest, bringing immediately to her thoughts all
those parts of his conduct which were least excusable.

She had some satisfaction in finding that he was really going out of
Bath the next morning, going early, and that he would be gone the
greater part of two days.  He was invited again to Camden Place the
very evening of his return; but from Thursday to Saturday evening his
absence was certain.  It was bad enough that a Mrs Clay should be
always before her; but that a deeper hypocrite should be added to their
party, seemed the destruction of everything like peace and comfort.  It
was so humiliating to reflect on the constant deception practised on
her father and Elizabeth; to consider the various sources of
mortification preparing for them!  Mrs Clay's selfishness was not so
complicate nor so revolting as his; and Anne would have compounded for
the marriage at once, with all its evils, to be clear of Mr Elliot's
subtleties in endeavouring to prevent it.

On Friday morning she meant to go very early to Lady Russell, and
accomplish the necessary communication; and she would have gone
directly after breakfast, but that Mrs Clay was also going out on some
obliging purpose of saving her sister trouble, which determined her to
wait till she might be safe from such a companion.  She saw Mrs Clay
fairly off, therefore, before she began to talk of spending the morning
in Rivers Street.

"Very well," said Elizabeth, "I have nothing to send but my love.  Oh!
you may as well take back that tiresome book she would lend me, and
pretend I have read it through.  I really cannot be plaguing myself for
ever with all the new poems and states of the nation that come out.
Lady Russell quite bores one with her new publications.  You need not
tell her so, but I thought her dress hideous the other night.  I used
to think she had some taste in dress, but I was ashamed of her at the
concert.  Something so formal and arrange in her air!  and she sits so
upright!  My best love, of course."

"And mine," added Sir Walter.  "Kindest regards.  And you may say, that
I mean to call upon her soon.  Make a civil message; but I shall only
leave my card.  Morning visits are never fair by women at her time of
life, who make themselves up so little.  If she would only wear rouge
she would not be afraid of being seen; but last time I called, I
observed the blinds were let down immediately."

While her father spoke, there was a knock at the door.  Who could it
be?  Anne, remembering the preconcerted visits, at all hours, of Mr
Elliot, would have expected him, but for his known engagement seven
miles off.  After the usual period of suspense, the usual sounds of
approach were heard, and "Mr and Mrs Charles Musgrove" were ushered
into the room.

Surprise was the strongest emotion raised by their appearance; but Anne
was really glad to see them; and the others were not so sorry but that
they could put on a decent air of welcome; and as soon as it became
clear that these, their nearest relations, were not arrived with any
views of accommodation in that house, Sir Walter and Elizabeth were
able to rise in cordiality, and do the honours of it very well.  They
were come to Bath for a few days with Mrs Musgrove, and were at the
White Hart.  So much was pretty soon understood; but till Sir Walter
and Elizabeth were walking Mary into the other drawing-room, and
regaling themselves with her admiration, Anne could not draw upon
Charles's brain for a regular history of their coming, or an
explanation of some smiling hints of particular business, which had
been ostentatiously dropped by Mary, as well as of some apparent
confusion as to whom their party consisted of.

She then found that it consisted of Mrs Musgrove, Henrietta, and
Captain Harville, beside their two selves.  He gave her a very plain,
intelligible account of the whole; a narration in which she saw a great
deal of most characteristic proceeding.  The scheme had received its
first impulse by Captain Harville's wanting to come to Bath on
business.  He had begun to talk of it a week ago; and by way of doing
something, as shooting was over, Charles had proposed coming with him,
and Mrs Harville had seemed to like the idea of it very much, as an
advantage to her husband; but Mary could not bear to be left, and had
made herself so unhappy about it, that for a day or two everything
seemed to be in suspense, or at an end.  But then, it had been taken up
by his father and mother.  His mother had some old friends in Bath whom
she wanted to see; it was thought a good opportunity for Henrietta to
come and buy wedding-clothes for herself and her sister; and, in short,
it ended in being his mother's party, that everything might be
comfortable and easy to Captain Harville; and he and Mary were included
in it by way of general convenience.  They had arrived late the night
before.  Mrs Harville, her children, and Captain Benwick, remained with
Mr Musgrove and Louisa at Uppercross.

Anne's only surprise was, that affairs should be in forwardness enough
for Henrietta's wedding-clothes to be talked of.  She had imagined such
difficulties of fortune to exist there as must prevent the marriage
from being near at hand; but she learned from Charles that, very
recently, (since Mary's last letter to herself), Charles Hayter had
been applied to by a friend to hold a living for a youth who could not
possibly claim it under many years; and that on the strength of his
present income, with almost a certainty of something more permanent
long before the term in question, the two families had consented to the
young people's wishes, and that their marriage was likely to take place
in a few months, quite as soon as Louisa's.  "And a very good living it
was," Charles added:  "only five-and-twenty miles from Uppercross, and
in a very fine country: fine part of Dorsetshire.  In the centre of
some of the best preserves in the kingdom, surrounded by three great
proprietors, each more careful and jealous than the other; and to two
of the three at least, Charles Hayter might get a special
recommendation.  Not that he will value it as he ought," he observed,
"Charles is too cool about sporting. That's the worst of him."

"I am extremely glad, indeed," cried Anne, "particularly glad that this
should happen; and that of two sisters, who both deserve equally well,
and who have always been such good friends, the pleasant prospect of
one should not be dimming those of the other--that they should be so
equal in their prosperity and comfort.  I hope your father and mother
are quite happy with regard to both."

"Oh! yes.  My father would be well pleased if the gentlemen were
richer, but he has no other fault to find.  Money, you know, coming
down with money--two daughters at once--it cannot be a very agreeable
operation, and it streightens him as to many things.  However, I do not
mean to say they have not a right to it.  It is very fit they should
have daughters' shares; and I am sure he has always been a very kind,
liberal father to me.  Mary does not above half like Henrietta's match.
She never did, you know.  But she does not do him justice, nor think
enough about Winthrop.  I cannot make her attend to the value of the
property.  It is a very fair match, as times go; and I have liked
Charles Hayter all my life, and I shall not leave off now."

"Such excellent parents as Mr and Mrs Musgrove," exclaimed Anne,
"should be happy in their children's marriages.  They do everything to
confer happiness, I am sure.  What a blessing to young people to be in
such hands!  Your father and mother seem so totally free from all those
ambitious feelings which have led to so much misconduct and misery,
both in young and old.  I hope you think Louisa perfectly recovered
now?"

He answered rather hesitatingly, "Yes, I believe I do; very much
recovered; but she is altered; there is no running or jumping about, no
laughing or dancing; it is quite different.  If one happens only to
shut the door a little hard, she starts and wriggles like a young
dab-chick in the water; and Benwick sits at her elbow, reading verses,
or whispering to her, all day long."

Anne could not help laughing.  "That cannot be much to your taste, I
know," said she; "but I do believe him to be an excellent young man."

"To be sure he is.  Nobody doubts it; and I hope you do not think I am
so illiberal as to want every man to have the same objects and
pleasures as myself.  I have a great value for Benwick; and when one
can but get him to talk, he has plenty to say.  His reading has done
him no harm, for he has fought as well as read.  He is a brave fellow.
I got more acquainted with him last Monday than ever I did before.  We
had a famous set-to at rat-hunting all the morning in my father's great
barns; and he played his part so well that I have liked him the better
ever since."

Here they were interrupted by the absolute necessity of Charles's
following the others to admire mirrors and china; but Anne had heard
enough to understand the present state of Uppercross, and rejoice in
its happiness; and though she sighed as she rejoiced, her sigh had none
of the ill-will of envy in it.  She would certainly have risen to their
blessings if she could, but she did not want to lessen theirs.

The visit passed off altogether in high good humour.  Mary was in
excellent spirits, enjoying the gaiety and the change, and so well
satisfied with the journey in her mother-in-law's carriage with four
horses, and with her own complete independence of Camden Place, that
she was exactly in a temper to admire everything as she ought, and
enter most readily into all the superiorities of the house, as they
were detailed to her.  She had no demands on her father or sister, and
her consequence was just enough increased by their handsome
drawing-rooms.

Elizabeth was, for a short time, suffering a good deal.  She felt that
Mrs Musgrove and all her party ought to be asked to dine with them; but
she could not bear to have the difference of style, the reduction of
servants, which a dinner must betray, witnessed by those who had been
always so inferior to the Elliots of Kellynch.  It was a struggle
between propriety and vanity; but vanity got the better, and then
Elizabeth was happy again.  These were her internal persuasions: "Old
fashioned notions; country hospitality; we do not profess to give
dinners; few people in Bath do; Lady Alicia never does; did not even
ask her own sister's family, though they were here a month: and I dare
say it would be very inconvenient to Mrs Musgrove; put her quite out of
her way.  I am sure she would rather not come; she cannot feel easy
with us.  I will ask them all for an evening; that will be much better;
that will be a novelty and a treat.  They have not seen two such
drawing rooms before.  They will be delighted to come to-morrow
evening.  It shall be a regular party, small, but most elegant."  And
this satisfied Elizabeth:  and when the invitation was given to the two
present, and promised for the absent, Mary was as completely satisfied.
She was particularly asked to meet Mr Elliot, and be introduced to Lady
Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, who were fortunately already engaged to
come; and she could not have received a more gratifying attention.
Miss Elliot was to have the honour of calling on Mrs Musgrove in the
course of the morning; and Anne walked off with Charles and Mary, to go
and see her and Henrietta directly.

Her plan of sitting with Lady Russell must give way for the present.
They all three called in Rivers Street for a couple of minutes; but
Anne convinced herself that a day's delay of the intended communication
could be of no consequence, and hastened forward to the White Hart, to
see again the friends and companions of the last autumn, with an
eagerness of good-will which many associations contributed to form.

They found Mrs Musgrove and her daughter within, and by themselves, and
Anne had the kindest welcome from each.  Henrietta was exactly in that
state of recently-improved views, of fresh-formed happiness, which made
her full of regard and interest for everybody she had ever liked before
at all; and Mrs Musgrove's real affection had been won by her
usefulness when they were in distress.  It was a heartiness, and a
warmth, and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from the sad
want of such blessings at home.  She was entreated to give them as much
of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long, or
rather claimed as part of the family; and, in return, she naturally
fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance, and on
Charles's leaving them together, was listening to Mrs Musgrove's
history of Louisa, and to Henrietta's of herself, giving opinions on
business, and recommendations to shops; with intervals of every help
which Mary required, from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts;
from finding her keys, and assorting her trinkets, to trying to
convince her that she was not ill-used by anybody; which Mary, well
amused as she generally was, in her station at a window overlooking the
entrance to the Pump Room, could not but have her moments of imagining.

A morning of thorough confusion was to be expected.  A large party in
an hotel ensured a quick-changing, unsettled scene.  One five minutes
brought a note, the next a parcel; and Anne had not been there half an
hour, when their dining-room, spacious as it was, seemed more than half
filled:  a party of steady old friends were seated around Mrs Musgrove,
and Charles came back with Captains Harville and Wentworth.  The
appearance of the latter could not be more than the surprise of the
moment.  It was impossible for her to have forgotten to feel that this
arrival of their common friends must be soon bringing them together
again.  Their last meeting had been most important in opening his
feelings; she had derived from it a delightful conviction; but she
feared from his looks, that the same unfortunate persuasion, which had
hastened him away from the Concert Room, still governed.  He did not
seem to want to be near enough for conversation.

She tried to be calm, and leave things to take their course, and tried
to dwell much on this argument of rational dependence:--"Surely, if
there be constant attachment on each side, our hearts must understand
each other ere long.  We are not boy and girl, to be captiously
irritable, misled by every moment's inadvertence, and wantonly playing
with our own happiness."  And yet, a few minutes afterwards, she felt
as if their being in company with each other, under their present
circumstances, could only be exposing them to inadvertencies and
misconstructions of the most mischievous kind.

"Anne," cried Mary, still at her window, "there is Mrs Clay, I am sure,
standing under the colonnade, and a gentleman with her.  I saw them
turn the corner from Bath Street just now.  They seemed deep in talk.
Who is it?  Come, and tell me.  Good heavens! I recollect.  It is Mr
Elliot himself."

"No," cried Anne, quickly, "it cannot be Mr Elliot, I assure you.  He
was to leave Bath at nine this morning, and does not come back till
to-morrow."

As she spoke, she felt that Captain Wentworth was looking at her, the
consciousness of which vexed and embarrassed her, and made her regret
that she had said so much, simple as it was.

Mary, resenting that she should be supposed not to know her own cousin,
began talking very warmly about the family features, and protesting
still more positively that it was Mr Elliot, calling again upon Anne to
come and look for herself, but Anne did not mean to stir, and tried to
be cool and unconcerned.  Her distress returned, however, on perceiving
smiles and intelligent glances pass between two or three of the lady
visitors, as if they believed themselves quite in the secret.  It was
evident that the report concerning her had spread, and a short pause
succeeded, which seemed to ensure that it would now spread farther.

"Do come, Anne" cried Mary, "come and look yourself.  You will be too
late if you do not make haste.  They are parting; they are shaking
hands.  He is turning away.  Not know Mr Elliot, indeed!  You seem to
have forgot all about Lyme."

To pacify Mary, and perhaps screen her own embarrassment, Anne did move
quietly to the window.  She was just in time to ascertain that it
really was Mr Elliot, which she had never believed, before he
disappeared on one side, as Mrs Clay walked quickly off on the other;
and checking the surprise which she could not but feel at such an
appearance of friendly conference between two persons of totally
opposite interest, she calmly said, "Yes, it is Mr Elliot, certainly.
He has changed his hour of going, I suppose, that is all, or I may be
mistaken, I might not attend;" and walked back to her chair,
recomposed, and with the comfortable hope of having acquitted herself
well.

The visitors took their leave; and Charles, having civilly seen them
off, and then made a face at them, and abused them for coming, began
with--

"Well, mother, I have done something for you that you will like.  I
have been to the theatre, and secured a box for to-morrow night.  A'n't
I a good boy?  I know you love a play; and there is room for us all.
It holds nine.  I have engaged Captain Wentworth.  Anne will not be
sorry to join us, I am sure.  We all like a play.  Have not I done
well, mother?"

Mrs Musgrove was good humouredly beginning to express her perfect
readiness for the play, if Henrietta and all the others liked it, when
Mary eagerly interrupted her by exclaiming--

"Good heavens, Charles! how can you think of such a thing?  Take a box
for to-morrow night!  Have you forgot that we are engaged to Camden
Place to-morrow night? and that we were most particularly asked to meet
Lady Dalrymple and her daughter, and Mr Elliot, and all the principal
family connexions, on purpose to be introduced to them?  How can you be
so forgetful?"

"Phoo! phoo!" replied Charles, "what's an evening party?  Never worth
remembering.  Your father might have asked us to dinner, I think, if he
had wanted to see us.  You may do as you like, but I shall go to the
play."

"Oh! Charles, I declare it will be too abominable if you do, when you
promised to go."

"No, I did not promise.  I only smirked and bowed, and said the word
'happy.'  There was no promise."

"But you must go, Charles.  It would be unpardonable to fail.  We were
asked on purpose to be introduced.  There was always such a great
connexion between the Dalrymples and ourselves.  Nothing ever happened
on either side that was not announced immediately.  We are quite near
relations, you know; and Mr Elliot too, whom you ought so particularly
to be acquainted with!  Every attention is due to Mr Elliot.  Consider,
my father's heir:  the future representative of the family."

"Don't talk to me about heirs and representatives," cried Charles.  "I
am not one of those who neglect the reigning power to bow to the rising
sun.  If I would not go for the sake of your father, I should think it
scandalous to go for the sake of his heir.  What is Mr Elliot to me?"
The careless expression was life to Anne, who saw that Captain
Wentworth was all attention, looking and listening with his whole soul;
and that the last words brought his enquiring eyes from Charles to
herself.

Charles and Mary still talked on in the same style; he, half serious
and half jesting, maintaining the scheme for the play, and she,
invariably serious, most warmly opposing it, and not omitting to make
it known that, however determined to go to Camden Place herself, she
should not think herself very well used, if they went to the play
without her.  Mrs Musgrove interposed.

"We had better put it off.  Charles, you had much better go back and
change the box for Tuesday.  It would be a pity to be divided, and we
should be losing Miss Anne, too, if there is a party at her father's;
and I am sure neither Henrietta nor I should care at all for the play,
if Miss Anne could not be with us."

Anne felt truly obliged to her for such kindness; and quite as much so
for the opportunity it gave her of decidedly saying--

"If it depended only on my inclination, ma'am, the party at home
(excepting on Mary's account) would not be the smallest impediment.  I
have no pleasure in the sort of meeting, and should be too happy to
change it for a play, and with you.  But, it had better not be
attempted, perhaps."  She had spoken it; but she trembled when it was
done, conscious that her words were listened to, and daring not even to
try to observe their effect.

It was soon generally agreed that Tuesday should be the day; Charles
only reserving the advantage of still teasing his wife, by persisting
that he would go to the play to-morrow if nobody else would.

Captain Wentworth left his seat, and walked to the fire-place; probably
for the sake of walking away from it soon afterwards, and taking a
station, with less bare-faced design, by Anne.

"You have not been long enough in Bath," said he, "to enjoy the evening
parties of the place."

"Oh! no.  The usual character of them has nothing for me.  I am no
card-player."

"You were not formerly, I know.  You did not use to like cards; but
time makes many changes."

"I am not yet so much changed," cried Anne, and stopped, fearing she
hardly knew what misconstruction.  After waiting a few moments he said,
and as if it were the result of immediate feeling, "It is a period,
indeed!  Eight years and a half is a period."

Whether he would have proceeded farther was left to Anne's imagination
to ponder over in a calmer hour; for while still hearing the sounds he
had uttered, she was startled to other subjects by Henrietta, eager to
make use of the present leisure for getting out, and calling on her
companions to lose no time, lest somebody else should come in.

They were obliged to move.  Anne talked of being perfectly ready, and
tried to look it; but she felt that could Henrietta have known the
regret and reluctance of her heart in quitting that chair, in preparing
to quit the room, she would have found, in all her own sensations for
her cousin, in the very security of his affection, wherewith to pity
her.

Their preparations, however, were stopped short.  Alarming sounds were
heard; other visitors approached, and the door was thrown open for Sir
Walter and Miss Elliot, whose entrance seemed to give a general chill.
Anne felt an instant oppression, and wherever she looked saw symptoms
of the same.  The comfort, the freedom, the gaiety of the room was
over, hushed into cold composure, determined silence, or insipid talk,
to meet the heartless elegance of her father and sister.  How
mortifying to feel that it was so!

Her jealous eye was satisfied in one particular.  Captain Wentworth was
acknowledged again by each, by Elizabeth more graciously than before.
She even addressed him once, and looked at him more than once.
Elizabeth was, in fact, revolving a great measure.  The sequel
explained it.  After the waste of a few minutes in saying the proper
nothings, she began to give the invitation which was to comprise all
the remaining dues of the Musgroves.  "To-morrow evening, to meet a few
friends:  no formal party." It was all said very gracefully, and the
cards with which she had provided herself, the "Miss Elliot at home,"
were laid on the table, with a courteous, comprehensive smile to all,
and one smile and one card more decidedly for Captain Wentworth.  The
truth was, that Elizabeth had been long enough in Bath to understand
the importance of a man of such an air and appearance as his.  The past
was nothing.  The present was that Captain Wentworth would move about
well in her drawing-room.  The card was pointedly given, and Sir Walter
and Elizabeth arose and disappeared.

The interruption had been short, though severe, and ease and animation
returned to most of those they left as the door shut them out, but not
to Anne.  She could think only of the invitation she had with such
astonishment witnessed, and of the manner in which it had been
received; a manner of doubtful meaning, of surprise rather than
gratification, of polite acknowledgement rather than acceptance.  She
knew him; she saw disdain in his eye, and could not venture to believe
that he had determined to accept such an offering, as an atonement for
all the insolence of the past.  Her spirits sank.  He held the card in
his hand after they were gone, as if deeply considering it.

"Only think of Elizabeth's including everybody!" whispered Mary very
audibly.  "I do not wonder Captain Wentworth is delighted!  You see he
cannot put the card out of his hand."

Anne caught his eye, saw his cheeks glow, and his mouth form itself
into a momentary expression of contempt, and turned away, that she
might neither see nor hear more to vex her.

The party separated.  The gentlemen had their own pursuits, the ladies
proceeded on their own business, and they met no more while Anne
belonged to them.  She was earnestly begged to return and dine, and
give them all the rest of the day, but her spirits had been so long
exerted that at present she felt unequal to more, and fit only for
home, where she might be sure of being as silent as she chose.

Promising to be with them the whole of the following morning,
therefore, she closed the fatigues of the present by a toilsome walk to
Camden Place, there to spend the evening chiefly in listening to the
busy arrangements of Elizabeth and Mrs Clay for the morrow's party, the
frequent enumeration of the persons invited, and the continually
improving detail of all the embellishments which were to make it the
most completely elegant of its kind in Bath, while harassing herself
with the never-ending question, of whether Captain Wentworth would come
or not?  They were reckoning him as certain, but with her it was a
gnawing solicitude never appeased for five minutes together.  She
generally thought he would come, because she generally thought he
ought; but it was a case which she could not so shape into any positive
act of duty or discretion, as inevitably to defy the suggestions of
very opposite feelings.

She only roused herself from the broodings of this restless agitation,
to let Mrs Clay know that she had been seen with Mr Elliot three hours
after his being supposed to be out of Bath, for having watched in vain
for some intimation of the interview from the lady herself, she
determined to mention it, and it seemed to her there was guilt in Mrs
Clay's face as she listened.  It was transient: cleared away in an
instant; but Anne could imagine she read there the consciousness of
having, by some complication of mutual trick, or some overbearing
authority of his, been obliged to attend (perhaps for half an hour) to
his lectures and restrictions on her designs on Sir Walter.  She
exclaimed, however, with a very tolerable imitation of nature:--

"Oh! dear! very true.  Only think, Miss Elliot, to my great surprise I
met with Mr Elliot in Bath Street.  I was never more astonished.  He
turned back and walked with me to the Pump Yard.  He had been prevented
setting off for Thornberry, but I really forget by what; for I was in a
hurry, and could not much attend, and I can only answer for his being
determined not to be delayed in his return.  He wanted to know how
early he might be admitted to-morrow.  He was full of 'to-morrow,' and
it is very evident that I have been full of it too, ever since I
entered the house, and learnt the extension of your plan and all that
had happened, or my seeing him could never have gone so entirely out of
my head."



Chapter 23


One day only had passed since Anne's conversation with Mrs Smith; but a
keener interest had succeeded, and she was now so little touched by Mr
Elliot's conduct, except by its effects in one quarter, that it became
a matter of course the next morning, still to defer her explanatory
visit in Rivers Street.  She had promised to be with the Musgroves from
breakfast to dinner.  Her faith was plighted, and Mr Elliot's
character, like the Sultaness Scheherazade's head, must live another
day.

She could not keep her appointment punctually, however; the weather was
unfavourable, and she had grieved over the rain on her friends'
account, and felt it very much on her own, before she was able to
attempt the walk.  When she reached the White Hart, and made her way to
the proper apartment, she found herself neither arriving quite in time,
nor the first to arrive.  The party before her were, Mrs Musgrove,
talking to Mrs Croft, and Captain Harville to Captain Wentworth; and
she immediately heard that Mary and Henrietta, too impatient to wait,
had gone out the moment it had cleared, but would be back again soon,
and that the strictest injunctions had been left with Mrs Musgrove to
keep her there till they returned.  She had only to submit, sit down,
be outwardly composed, and feel herself plunged at once in all the
agitations which she had merely laid her account of tasting a little
before the morning closed.  There was no delay, no waste of time.  She
was deep in the happiness of such misery, or the misery of such
happiness, instantly.  Two minutes after her entering the room, Captain
Wentworth said--

"We will write the letter we were talking of, Harville, now, if you
will give me materials."

Materials were at hand, on a separate table; he went to it, and nearly
turning his back to them all, was engrossed by writing.

Mrs Musgrove was giving Mrs Croft the history of her eldest daughter's
engagement, and just in that inconvenient tone of voice which was
perfectly audible while it pretended to be a whisper.  Anne felt that
she did not belong to the conversation, and yet, as Captain Harville
seemed thoughtful and not disposed to talk, she could not avoid hearing
many undesirable particulars; such as, "how Mr Musgrove and my brother
Hayter had met again and again to talk it over; what my brother Hayter
had said one day, and what Mr Musgrove had proposed the next, and what
had occurred to my sister Hayter, and what the young people had wished,
and what I said at first I never could consent to, but was afterwards
persuaded to think might do very well," and a great deal in the same
style of open-hearted communication:  minutiae which, even with every
advantage of taste and delicacy, which good Mrs Musgrove could not
give, could be properly interesting only to the principals.  Mrs Croft
was attending with great good-humour, and whenever she spoke at all, it
was very sensibly.  Anne hoped the gentlemen might each be too much
self-occupied to hear.

"And so, ma'am, all these thing considered," said Mrs Musgrove, in her
powerful whisper, "though we could have wished it different, yet,
altogether, we did not think it fair to stand out any longer, for
Charles Hayter was quite wild about it, and Henrietta was pretty near
as bad; and so we thought they had better marry at once, and make the
best of it, as many others have done before them.  At any rate, said I,
it will be better than a long engagement."

"That is precisely what I was going to observe," cried Mrs Croft.  "I
would rather have young people settle on a small income at once, and
have to struggle with a few difficulties together, than be involved in
a long engagement.  I always think that no mutual--"

"Oh! dear Mrs Croft," cried Mrs Musgrove, unable to let her finish her
speech, "there is nothing I so abominate for young people as a long
engagement.  It is what I always protested against for my children.  It
is all very well, I used to say, for young people to be engaged, if
there is a certainty of their being able to marry in six months, or
even in twelve; but a long engagement--"

"Yes, dear ma'am," said Mrs Croft, "or an uncertain engagement, an
engagement which may be long.  To begin without knowing that at such a
time there will be the means of marrying, I hold to be very unsafe and
unwise, and what I think all parents should prevent as far as they can."

Anne found an unexpected interest here.  She felt its application to
herself, felt it in a nervous thrill all over her; and at the same
moment that her eyes instinctively glanced towards the distant table,
Captain Wentworth's pen ceased to move, his head was raised, pausing,
listening, and he turned round the next instant to give a look, one
quick, conscious look at her.

The two ladies continued to talk, to re-urge the same admitted truths,
and enforce them with such examples of the ill effect of a contrary
practice as had fallen within their observation, but Anne heard nothing
distinctly; it was only a buzz of words in her ear, her mind was in
confusion.

Captain Harville, who had in truth been hearing none of it, now left
his seat, and moved to a window, and Anne seeming to watch him, though
it was from thorough absence of mind, became gradually sensible that he
was inviting her to join him where he stood.  He looked at her with a
smile, and a little motion of the head, which expressed, "Come to me, I
have something to say;" and the unaffected, easy kindness of manner
which denoted the feelings of an older acquaintance than he really was,
strongly enforced the invitation.  She roused herself and went to him.
The window at which he stood was at the other end of the room from
where the two ladies were sitting, and though nearer to Captain
Wentworth's table, not very near.  As she joined him, Captain
Harville's countenance re-assumed the serious, thoughtful expression
which seemed its natural character.

"Look here," said he, unfolding a parcel in his hand, and displaying a
small miniature painting, "do you know who that is?"

"Certainly:  Captain Benwick."

"Yes, and you may guess who it is for.  But," (in a deep tone,) "it was
not done for her.  Miss Elliot, do you remember our walking together at
Lyme, and grieving for him?  I little thought then--but no matter.
This was drawn at the Cape.  He met with a clever young German artist
at the Cape, and in compliance with a promise to my poor sister, sat to
him, and was bringing it home for her; and I have now the charge of
getting it properly set for another!  It was a commission to me!  But
who else was there to employ?  I hope I can allow for him.  I am not
sorry, indeed, to make it over to another.  He undertakes it;" (looking
towards Captain Wentworth,) "he is writing about it now."  And with a
quivering lip he wound up the whole by adding, "Poor Fanny! she would
not have forgotten him so soon!"

"No," replied Anne, in a low, feeling voice. "That I can easily
believe."

"It was not in her nature.  She doted on him."

"It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved."

Captain Harville smiled, as much as to say, "Do you claim that for your
sex?" and she answered the question, smiling also, "Yes.  We certainly
do not forget you as soon as you forget us.  It is, perhaps, our fate
rather than our merit.  We cannot help ourselves.  We live at home,
quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us.  You are forced on
exertion.  You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some
sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and
continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions."

"Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men
(which, however, I do not think I shall grant), it does not apply to
Benwick.  He has not been forced upon any exertion.  The peace turned
him on shore at the very moment, and he has been living with us, in our
little family circle, ever since."

"True," said Anne, "very true; I did not recollect; but what shall we
say now, Captain Harville?  If the change be not from outward
circumstances, it must be from within; it must be nature, man's nature,
which has done the business for Captain Benwick."

"No, no, it is not man's nature.  I will not allow it to be more man's
nature than woman's to be inconstant and forget those they do love, or
have loved.  I believe the reverse.  I believe in a true analogy
between our bodily frames and our mental; and that as our bodies are
the strongest, so are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough
usage, and riding out the heaviest weather."

"Your feelings may be the strongest," replied Anne, "but the same
spirit of analogy will authorise me to assert that ours are the most
tender.  Man is more robust than woman, but he is not longer lived;
which exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments.
Nay, it would be too hard upon you, if it were otherwise.  You have
difficulties, and privations, and dangers enough to struggle with.  You
are always labouring and toiling, exposed to every risk and hardship.
Your home, country, friends, all quitted.  Neither time, nor health,
nor life, to be called your own.  It would be hard, indeed" (with a
faltering voice), "if woman's feelings were to be added to all this."

"We shall never agree upon this question," Captain Harville was
beginning to say, when a slight noise called their attention to Captain
Wentworth's hitherto perfectly quiet division of the room.  It was
nothing more than that his pen had fallen down; but Anne was startled
at finding him nearer than she had supposed, and half inclined to
suspect that the pen had only fallen because he had been occupied by
them, striving to catch sounds, which yet she did not think he could
have caught.

"Have you finished your letter?" said Captain Harville.

"Not quite, a few lines more.  I shall have done in five minutes."

"There is no hurry on my side.  I am only ready whenever you are.  I am
in very good anchorage here," (smiling at Anne,) "well supplied, and
want for nothing.  No hurry for a signal at all.  Well, Miss Elliot,"
(lowering his voice,) "as I was saying we shall never agree, I suppose,
upon this point.  No man and woman, would, probably.  But let me
observe that all histories are against you--all stories, prose and
verse.  If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty
quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I
ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon
woman's inconstancy.  Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's
fickleness.  But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men."

"Perhaps I shall.  Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in
books.  Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story.
Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been
in their hands.  I will not allow books to prove anything."

"But how shall we prove anything?"

"We never shall.  We never can expect to prove any thing upon such a
point.  It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof.
We each begin, probably, with a little bias towards our own sex; and
upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has
occurred within our own circle; many of which circumstances (perhaps
those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as
cannot be brought forward without betraying a confidence, or in some
respect saying what should not be said."

"Ah!" cried Captain Harville, in a tone of strong feeling, "if I could
but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look at
his wife and children, and watches the boat that he has sent them off
in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, 'God knows
whether we ever meet again!' And then, if I could convey to you the
glow of his soul when he does see them again; when, coming back after a
twelvemonth's absence, perhaps, and obliged to put into another port,
he calculates how soon it be possible to get them there, pretending to
deceive himself, and saying, 'They cannot be here till such a day,' but
all the while hoping for them twelve hours sooner, and seeing them
arrive at last, as if Heaven had given them wings, by many hours sooner
still!  If I could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear
and do, and glories to do, for the sake of these treasures of his
existence!  I speak, you know, only of such men as have hearts!"
pressing his own with emotion.

"Oh!" cried Anne eagerly, "I hope I do justice to all that is felt by
you, and by those who resemble you.  God forbid that I should
undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my
fellow-creatures!  I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to
suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woman.
No, I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married
lives.  I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every
domestic forbearance, so long as--if I may be allowed the
expression--so long as you have an object.  I mean while the woman you
love lives, and lives for you.  All the privilege I claim for my own
sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it), is that of
loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone."

She could not immediately have uttered another sentence; her heart was
too full, her breath too much oppressed.

"You are a good soul," cried Captain Harville, putting his hand on her
arm, quite affectionately.  "There is no quarrelling with you.  And
when I think of Benwick, my tongue is tied."

Their attention was called towards the others.  Mrs Croft was taking
leave.

"Here, Frederick, you and I part company, I believe," said she.  "I am
going home, and you have an engagement with your friend.  To-night we
may have the pleasure of all meeting again at your party," (turning to
Anne.)  "We had your sister's card yesterday, and I understood
Frederick had a card too, though I did not see it; and you are
disengaged, Frederick, are you not, as well as ourselves?"

Captain Wentworth was folding up a letter in great haste, and either
could not or would not answer fully.

"Yes," said he, "very true; here we separate, but Harville and I shall
soon be after you; that is, Harville, if you are ready, I am in half a
minute.  I know you will not be sorry to be off.  I shall be at your
service in half a minute."

Mrs Croft left them, and Captain Wentworth, having sealed his letter
with great rapidity, was indeed ready, and had even a hurried, agitated
air, which shewed impatience to be gone.  Anne knew not how to
understand it.  She had the kindest "Good morning, God bless you!" from
Captain Harville, but from him not a word, nor a look!  He had passed
out of the room without a look!

She had only time, however, to move closer to the table where he had
been writing, when footsteps were heard returning; the door opened, it
was himself.  He begged their pardon, but he had forgotten his gloves,
and instantly crossing the room to the writing table, he drew out a
letter from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes
of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a time, and hastily collecting his
gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs Musgrove was aware
of his being in it: the work of an instant!

The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost beyond
expression.  The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to "Miss A.
E.--," was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily.
While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also
addressing her!  On the contents of that letter depended all which this
world could do for her.  Anything was possible, anything might be
defied rather than suspense.  Mrs Musgrove had little arrangements of
her own at her own table; to their protection she must trust, and
sinking into the chair which he had occupied, succeeding to the very
spot where he had leaned and written, her eyes devoured the following
words:


"I can listen no longer in silence.  I must speak to you by such means
as are within my reach.  You pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half
hope.  Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are
gone for ever.  I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your
own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.  Dare
not say that man forgets sooner than  woman, that his love has an
earlier death.  I have loved none but you.  Unjust I may have been,
weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.  You alone have
brought me to Bath.  For you alone, I think and plan.  Have you not
seen this?  Can you fail to have understood my wishes?  I had not
waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think
you must have penetrated mine.  I can hardly write.  I am every instant
hearing something which overpowers me.  You sink your voice, but I can
distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others.
Too good, too excellent creature!  You do us justice, indeed.  You do
believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men.  Believe
it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

"I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow
your party, as soon as possible.  A word, a look, will be enough to
decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never."


Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from.  Half an hour's
solitude and reflection might have tranquillized her; but the ten
minutes only which now passed before she was interrupted, with all the
restraints of her situation, could do nothing towards tranquillity.
Every moment rather brought fresh agitation.  It was overpowering
happiness.  And before she was beyond the first stage of full
sensation, Charles, Mary, and Henrietta all came in.

The absolute necessity of seeming like herself produced then an
immediate struggle; but after a while she could do no more.  She began
not to understand a word they said, and was obliged to plead
indisposition and excuse herself.  They could then see that she looked
very ill, were shocked and concerned, and would not stir without her
for the world.  This was dreadful.  Would they only have gone away, and
left her in the quiet possession of that room it would have been her
cure; but to have them all standing or waiting around her was
distracting, and in desperation, she said she would go home.

"By all means, my dear," cried Mrs Musgrove, "go home directly, and
take care of yourself, that you may be fit for the evening.  I wish
Sarah was here to doctor you, but I am no doctor myself.  Charles, ring
and order a chair.  She must not walk."

But the chair would never do.  Worse than all!  To lose the possibility
of speaking two words to Captain Wentworth in the course of her quiet,
solitary progress up the town (and she felt almost certain of meeting
him) could not be borne.  The chair was earnestly protested against,
and Mrs Musgrove, who thought only of one sort of illness, having
assured herself with some anxiety, that there had been no fall in the
case; that Anne had not at any time lately slipped down, and got a blow
on her head; that she was perfectly convinced of having had no fall;
could part with her cheerfully, and depend on finding her better at
night.

Anxious to omit no possible precaution, Anne struggled, and said--

"I am afraid, ma'am, that it is not perfectly understood.  Pray be so
good as to mention to the other gentlemen that we hope to see your
whole party this evening.  I am afraid there had been some mistake; and
I wish you particularly to assure Captain Harville and Captain
Wentworth, that we hope to see them both."

"Oh! my dear, it is quite understood, I give you my word.  Captain
Harville has no thought but of going."

"Do you think so?  But I am afraid; and I should be so very sorry.
Will you promise me to mention it, when you see them again?  You will
see them both this morning, I dare say.  Do promise me."

"To be sure I will, if you wish it.  Charles, if you see Captain
Harville anywhere, remember to give Miss Anne's message.  But indeed,
my dear, you need not be uneasy.  Captain Harville holds himself quite
engaged, I'll answer for it; and Captain Wentworth the same, I dare
say."

Anne could do no more; but her heart prophesied some mischance to damp
the perfection of her felicity.  It could not be very lasting, however.
Even if he did not come to Camden Place himself, it would be in her
power to send an intelligible sentence by Captain Harville.  Another
momentary vexation occurred.  Charles, in his real concern and good
nature, would go home with her; there was no preventing him.  This was
almost cruel.  But she could not be long ungrateful; he was sacrificing
an engagement at a gunsmith's, to be of use to her; and she set off
with him, with no feeling but gratitude apparent.

They were on Union Street, when a quicker step behind, a something of
familiar sound, gave her two moments' preparation for the sight of
Captain Wentworth.  He joined them; but, as if irresolute whether to
join or to pass on, said nothing, only looked.  Anne could command
herself enough to receive that look, and not repulsively.  The cheeks
which had been pale now glowed, and the movements which had hesitated
were decided.  He walked by her side.  Presently, struck by a sudden
thought, Charles said--

"Captain Wentworth, which way are you going?  Only to Gay Street, or
farther up the town?"

"I hardly know," replied Captain Wentworth, surprised.

"Are you going as high as Belmont?  Are you going near Camden Place?
Because, if you are, I shall have no scruple in asking you to take my
place, and give Anne your arm to her father's door.  She is rather done
for this morning, and must not go so far without help, and I ought to
be at that fellow's in the Market Place.  He promised me the sight of a
capital gun he is just going to send off; said he would keep it
unpacked to the last possible moment, that I might see it; and if I do
not turn back now, I have no chance.  By his description, a good deal
like the second size double-barrel of mine, which you shot with one day
round Winthrop."

There could not be an objection.  There could be only the most proper
alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view; and smiles reined
in and spirits dancing in private rapture.  In half a minute Charles
was at the bottom of Union Street again, and the other two proceeding
together:  and soon words enough had passed between them to decide
their direction towards the comparatively quiet and retired gravel
walk, where the power of conversation would make the present hour a
blessing indeed, and prepare it for all the immortality which the
happiest recollections of their own future lives could bestow.  There
they exchanged again those feelings and those promises which had once
before seemed to secure everything, but which had been followed by so
many, many years of division and estrangement.  There they returned
again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their
re-union, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more
tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other's character, truth, and
attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting.  And there, as
they slowly paced the gradual ascent, heedless of every group around
them, seeing neither sauntering politicians, bustling housekeepers,
flirting girls, nor nursery-maids and children, they could indulge in
those retrospections and acknowledgements, and especially in those
explanations of what had directly preceded the present moment, which
were so poignant and so ceaseless in interest.  All the little
variations of the last week were gone through; and of yesterday and
today there could scarcely be an end.

She had not mistaken him.  Jealousy of Mr Elliot had been the retarding
weight, the doubt, the torment.  That had begun to operate in the very
hour of first meeting her in Bath; that had returned, after a short
suspension, to ruin the concert; and that had influenced him in
everything he had said and done, or omitted to say and do, in the last
four-and-twenty hours.  It had been gradually yielding to the better
hopes which her looks, or words, or actions occasionally encouraged; it
had been vanquished at last by those sentiments and those tones which
had reached him while she talked with Captain Harville; and under the
irresistible governance of which he had seized a sheet of paper, and
poured out his feelings.

Of what he had then written, nothing was to be retracted or qualified.
He persisted in having loved none but her.  She had never been
supplanted.  He never even believed himself to see her equal.  Thus
much indeed he was obliged to acknowledge:  that he had been constant
unconsciously, nay unintentionally; that he had meant to forget her,
and believed it to be done.  He had imagined himself indifferent, when
he had only been angry; and he had been unjust to her merits, because
he had been a sufferer from them.  Her character was now fixed on his
mind as perfection itself, maintaining the loveliest medium of
fortitude and gentleness; but he was obliged to acknowledge that only
at Uppercross had he learnt to do her justice, and only at Lyme had he
begun to understand himself.  At Lyme, he had received lessons of more
than one sort.  The passing admiration of Mr Elliot had at least roused
him, and the scenes on the Cobb and at Captain Harville's had fixed her
superiority.

In his preceding attempts to attach himself to Louisa Musgrove (the
attempts of angry pride), he protested that he had for ever felt it to
be impossible; that he had not cared, could not care, for Louisa;
though till that day, till the leisure for reflection which followed
it, he had not understood the perfect excellence of the mind with which
Louisa's could so ill bear a comparison, or the perfect unrivalled hold
it possessed over his own.  There, he had learnt to distinguish between
the steadiness of principle and the obstinacy of self-will, between the
darings of heedlessness and the resolution of a collected mind.  There
he had seen everything to exalt in his estimation the woman he had
lost; and there begun to deplore the pride, the folly, the madness of
resentment, which had kept him from trying to regain her when thrown in
his way.

From that period his penance had become severe.  He had no sooner been
free from the horror and remorse attending the first few days of
Louisa's accident, no sooner begun to feel himself alive again, than he
had begun to feel himself, though alive, not at liberty.

"I found," said he, "that I was considered by Harville an engaged man!
That neither Harville nor his wife entertained a doubt of our mutual
attachment.  I was startled and shocked.  To a degree, I could
contradict this instantly; but, when I began to reflect that others
might have felt the same--her own family, nay, perhaps herself--I was
no longer at my own disposal.  I was hers in honour if she wished it.
I had been unguarded.  I had not thought seriously on this subject
before.  I had not considered that my excessive intimacy must have its
danger of ill consequence in many ways; and that I had no right to be
trying whether I could attach myself to either of the girls, at the
risk of raising even an unpleasant report, were there no other ill
effects.  I had been grossly wrong, and must abide the consequences."

He found too late, in short, that he had entangled himself; and that
precisely as he became fully satisfied of his not caring for Louisa at
all, he must regard himself as bound to her, if her sentiments for him
were what the Harvilles supposed.  It determined him to leave Lyme, and
await her complete recovery elsewhere.  He would gladly weaken, by any
fair means, whatever feelings or speculations concerning him might
exist; and he went, therefore, to his brother's, meaning after a while
to return to Kellynch, and act as circumstances might require.

"I was six weeks with Edward," said he, "and saw him happy.  I could
have no other pleasure.  I deserved none.  He enquired after you very
particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little
suspecting that to my eye you could never alter."

Anne smiled, and let it pass.  It was too pleasing a blunder for a
reproach.  It is something for a woman to be assured, in her
eight-and-twentieth year, that she has not lost one charm of earlier
youth; but the value of such homage was inexpressibly increased to
Anne, by comparing it with former words, and feeling it to be the
result, not the cause of a revival of his warm attachment.

He had remained in Shropshire, lamenting the blindness of his own
pride, and the blunders of his own calculations, till at once released
from Louisa by the astonishing and felicitous intelligence of her
engagement with Benwick.

"Here," said he, "ended the worst of my state; for now I could at least
put myself in the way of happiness; I could exert myself; I could do
something.  But to be waiting so long in inaction, and waiting only for
evil, had been dreadful.  Within the first five minutes I said, 'I will
be at Bath on Wednesday,' and I was.  Was it unpardonable to think it
worth my while to come? and to arrive with some degree of hope?  You
were single.  It was possible that you might retain the feelings of the
past, as I did; and one encouragement happened to be mine.  I could
never doubt that you would be loved and sought by others, but I knew to
a certainty that you had refused one man, at least, of better
pretensions than myself; and I could not help often saying, 'Was this
for me?'"

Their first meeting in Milsom Street afforded much to be said, but the
concert still more.  That evening seemed to be made up of exquisite
moments.  The moment of her stepping forward in the Octagon Room to
speak to him:  the moment of Mr Elliot's appearing and tearing her
away, and one or two subsequent moments, marked by returning hope or
increasing despondency, were dwelt on with energy.

"To see you," cried he, "in the midst of those who could not be my
well-wishers; to see your cousin close by you, conversing and smiling,
and feel all the horrible eligibilities and proprieties of the match!
To consider it as the certain wish of every being who could hope to
influence you!  Even if your own feelings were reluctant or
indifferent, to consider what powerful supports would be his!  Was it
not enough to make the fool of me which I appeared?  How could I look
on without agony?  Was not the very sight of the friend who sat behind
you, was not the recollection of what had been, the knowledge of her
influence, the indelible, immoveable impression of what persuasion had
once done--was it not all against me?"

"You should have distinguished," replied Anne.  "You should not have
suspected me now; the case is so different, and my age is so different.
If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to
persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk.  When I yielded,
I thought it was to duty, but no duty could be called in aid here.  In
marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred,
and all duty violated."

"Perhaps I ought to have reasoned thus," he replied, "but I could not.
I could not derive benefit from the late knowledge I had acquired of
your character.  I could not bring it into play; it was overwhelmed,
buried, lost in those earlier feelings which I had been smarting under
year after year.  I could think of you only as one who had yielded, who
had given me up, who had been influenced by any one rather than by me.
I saw you with the very person who had guided you in that year of
misery.  I had no reason to believe her of less authority now.  The
force of habit was to be added."

"I should have thought," said Anne, "that my manner to yourself might
have spared you much or all of this."

"No, no! your manner might be only the ease which your engagement to
another man would give.  I left you in this belief; and yet, I was
determined to see you again.  My spirits rallied with the morning, and
I felt that I had still a motive for remaining here."

At last Anne was at home again, and happier than any one in that house
could have conceived.  All the surprise and suspense, and every other
painful part of the morning dissipated by this conversation, she
re-entered the house so happy as to be obliged to find an alloy in some
momentary apprehensions of its being impossible to last.  An interval
of meditation, serious and grateful, was the best corrective of
everything dangerous in such high-wrought felicity; and she went to her
room, and grew steadfast and fearless in the thankfulness of her
enjoyment.

The evening came, the drawing-rooms were lighted up, the company
assembled.  It was but a card party, it was but a mixture of those who
had never met before, and those who met too often; a commonplace
business, too numerous for intimacy, too small for variety; but Anne
had never found an evening shorter.  Glowing and lovely in sensibility
and happiness, and more generally admired than she thought about or
cared for, she had cheerful or forbearing feelings for every creature
around her.  Mr Elliot was there; she avoided, but she could pity him.
The Wallises, she had amusement in understanding them.  Lady Dalrymple
and Miss Carteret--they would soon be innoxious cousins to her.  She
cared not for Mrs Clay, and had nothing to blush for in the public
manners of her father and sister.  With the Musgroves, there was the
happy chat of perfect ease; with Captain Harville, the kind-hearted
intercourse of brother and sister; with Lady Russell, attempts at
conversation, which a delicious consciousness cut short; with Admiral
and Mrs Croft, everything of peculiar cordiality and fervent interest,
which the same consciousness sought to conceal; and with Captain
Wentworth, some moments of communications continually occurring, and
always the hope of more, and always the knowledge of his being there.

It was in one of these short meetings, each apparently occupied in
admiring a fine display of greenhouse plants, that she said--

"I have been thinking over the past, and trying impartially to judge of
the right and wrong, I mean with regard to myself; and I must believe
that I was right, much as I suffered from it, that I was perfectly
right in being guided by the friend whom you will love better than you
do now.  To me, she was in the place of a parent.  Do not mistake me,
however.  I am not saying that she did not err in her advice.  It was,
perhaps, one of those cases in which advice is good or bad only as the
event decides; and for myself, I certainly never should, in any
circumstance of tolerable similarity, give such advice.  But I mean,
that I was right in submitting to her, and that if I had done
otherwise, I should have suffered more in continuing the engagement
than I did even in giving it up, because I should have suffered in my
conscience.  I have now, as far as such a sentiment is allowable in
human nature, nothing to reproach myself with; and if I mistake not, a
strong sense of duty is no bad part of a woman's portion."

He looked at her, looked at Lady Russell, and looking again at her,
replied, as if in cool deliberation--

"Not yet.  But there are hopes of her being forgiven in time.  I trust
to being in charity with her soon.  But I too have been thinking over
the past, and a  question has suggested itself, whether there may not
have been one person more my enemy even than that lady?  My own self.
Tell me if, when I returned to England in the year eight, with a few
thousand pounds, and was posted into the Laconia, if I had then written
to you, would you have answered my letter?  Would you, in short, have
renewed the engagement then?"

"Would I!" was all her answer; but the accent was decisive enough.

"Good God!" he cried, "you would!  It is not that I did not think of
it, or desire it, as what could alone crown all my other success; but I
was proud, too proud to ask again.  I did not understand you.  I shut
my eyes, and would not understand you, or do you justice.  This is a
recollection which ought to make me forgive every one sooner than
myself.  Six years of separation and suffering might have been spared.
It is a sort of pain, too, which is new to me.  I have been used to the
gratification of believing myself to earn every blessing that I
enjoyed.  I have valued myself on honourable toils and just rewards.
Like other great men under reverses," he added, with a smile. "I must
endeavour to subdue my mind to my fortune.  I must learn to brook being
happier than I deserve."



Chapter 24


Who can be in doubt of what followed?  When any two young people take
it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to
carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever
so little likely to be necessary to each other's ultimate comfort.
This may be bad morality to conclude with, but I believe it to be
truth; and if such parties succeed, how should a Captain Wentworth and
an Anne Elliot, with the advantage of maturity of mind, consciousness
of right, and one independent fortune between them, fail of bearing
down every opposition?  They might in fact, have borne down a great
deal more than they met with, for there was little to distress them
beyond the want of graciousness and warmth.  Sir Walter made no
objection, and Elizabeth did nothing worse than look cold and
unconcerned.  Captain Wentworth, with five-and-twenty thousand pounds,
and as high in his profession as merit and activity could place him,
was no longer nobody.  He was now esteemed quite worthy to address the
daughter of a foolish, spendthrift baronet, who had not had principle
or sense enough to maintain himself in the situation in which
Providence had placed him, and who could give his daughter at present
but a small part of the share of ten thousand pounds which must be hers
hereafter.

Sir Walter, indeed, though he had no affection for Anne, and no vanity
flattered, to make him really happy on the occasion, was very far from
thinking it a bad match for her.  On the contrary, when he saw more of
Captain Wentworth, saw him repeatedly by daylight, and eyed him well,
he was very much struck by his personal claims, and felt that his
superiority of appearance might be not unfairly balanced against her
superiority of rank; and all this, assisted by his well-sounding name,
enabled Sir Walter at last to prepare his pen, with a very good grace,
for the insertion of the marriage in the volume of honour.

The only one among them, whose opposition of feeling could excite any
serious anxiety was Lady Russell.  Anne knew that Lady Russell must be
suffering some pain in understanding and relinquishing Mr Elliot, and
be making some struggles to become truly acquainted with, and do
justice to Captain Wentworth.  This however was what Lady Russell had
now to do.  She must learn to feel that she had been mistaken with
regard to both; that she had been unfairly influenced by appearances in
each; that because Captain Wentworth's manners had not suited her own
ideas, she had been too quick in suspecting them to indicate a
character of dangerous impetuosity; and that because Mr Elliot's
manners had precisely pleased her in their propriety and correctness,
their general politeness and suavity, she had been too quick in
receiving them as the certain result of the most correct opinions and
well-regulated mind.  There was nothing less for Lady Russell to do,
than to admit that she had been pretty completely wrong, and to take up
a new set of opinions and of hopes.

There is a quickness of perception in some, a nicety in the discernment
of character, a natural penetration, in short, which no experience in
others can equal, and Lady Russell had been less gifted in this part of
understanding than her young friend.  But she was a very good woman,
and if her second object was to be sensible and well-judging, her first
was to see Anne happy.  She loved Anne better than she loved her own
abilities; and when the awkwardness of the beginning was over, found
little hardship in attaching herself as a mother to the man who was
securing the happiness of her other child.

Of all the family, Mary was probably the one most immediately gratified
by the circumstance.  It was creditable to have a sister married, and
she might flatter herself with having been greatly instrumental to the
connexion, by keeping Anne with her in the autumn; and as her own
sister must be better than her husband's sisters, it was very agreeable
that Captain Wentworth should be a richer man than either Captain
Benwick or Charles Hayter.  She had something to suffer, perhaps, when
they came into contact again, in seeing Anne restored to the rights of
seniority, and the mistress of a very pretty landaulette; but she had a
future to look forward to, of powerful consolation.  Anne had no
Uppercross Hall before her, no landed estate, no headship of a family;
and if they could but keep Captain Wentworth from being made a baronet,
she would not change situations with Anne.

It would be well for the eldest sister if she were equally satisfied
with her situation, for a change is not very probable there.  She had
soon the mortification of seeing Mr Elliot withdraw, and no one of
proper condition has since presented himself to raise even the
unfounded hopes which sunk with him.

The news of his cousins Anne's engagement burst on Mr Elliot most
unexpectedly.  It deranged his best plan of domestic happiness, his
best hope of keeping Sir Walter single by the watchfulness which a
son-in-law's rights would have given.  But, though discomfited and
disappointed, he could still do something for his own interest and his
own enjoyment.  He soon quitted Bath; and on Mrs Clay's quitting it
soon afterwards, and being next heard of as established under his
protection in London, it was evident how double a game he had been
playing, and how determined he was to save himself from being cut out
by one artful woman, at least.

Mrs Clay's affections had overpowered her interest, and she had
sacrificed, for the young man's sake, the possibility of scheming
longer for Sir Walter.  She has abilities, however, as well as
affections; and it is now a doubtful point whether his cunning, or
hers, may finally carry the day; whether, after preventing her from
being the wife of Sir Walter, he may not be wheedled and caressed at
last into making her the wife of Sir William.

It cannot be doubted that Sir Walter and Elizabeth were shocked and
mortified by the loss of their companion, and the discovery of their
deception in her.  They had their great cousins, to be sure, to resort
to for comfort; but they must long feel that to flatter and follow
others, without being flattered and followed in turn, is but a state of
half enjoyment.

Anne, satisfied at a very early period of Lady Russell's meaning to
love Captain Wentworth as she ought, had no other alloy to the
happiness of her prospects than what arose from the consciousness of
having no relations to bestow on him which a man of sense could value.
There she felt her own inferiority very keenly.  The disproportion in
their fortune was nothing; it did not give her a moment's regret; but
to have no family to receive and estimate him properly, nothing of
respectability, of harmony, of good will to offer in return for all the
worth and all the prompt welcome which met her in his brothers and
sisters, was a source of as lively pain as her mind could well be
sensible of under circumstances of otherwise strong felicity.  She had
but two friends in the world to add to his list, Lady Russell and Mrs
Smith.  To those, however, he was very well disposed to attach himself.
Lady Russell, in spite of all her former transgressions, he could now
value from his heart.  While he was not obliged to say that he believed
her to have been right in originally dividing them, he was ready to say
almost everything else in her favour, and as for Mrs Smith, she had
claims of various kinds to recommend her quickly and permanently.

Her recent good offices by Anne had been enough in themselves, and
their marriage, instead of depriving her of one friend, secured her
two.  She was their earliest visitor in their settled life; and Captain
Wentworth, by putting her in the way of recovering her husband's
property in the West Indies, by writing for her, acting for her, and
seeing her through all the petty difficulties of the case with the
activity and exertion of a fearless man and a determined friend, fully
requited the services which she had rendered, or ever meant to render,
to his wife.

Mrs Smith's enjoyments were not spoiled by this improvement of income,
with some improvement of health, and the acquisition of such friends to
be often with, for her cheerfulness and mental alacrity did not fail
her; and while these prime supplies of good remained, she might have
bid defiance even to greater accessions of worldly prosperity.  She
might have been absolutely rich and perfectly healthy, and yet be
happy.  Her spring of felicity was in the glow of her spirits, as her
friend Anne's was in the warmth of her heart.  Anne was tenderness
itself, and she had the full worth of it in Captain Wentworth's
affection.  His profession was all that could ever make her friends
wish that tenderness less, the dread of a future war all that could dim
her sunshine.  She gloried in being a sailor's wife, but she must pay
the tax of quick alarm for belonging to that profession which is, if
possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its
national importance.



Finis



NORTHANGER ABBEY


by Jane Austen (1803)



ADVERTISEMENT BY THE AUTHORESS, TO NORTHANGER ABBEY

THIS little work was finished in the year 1803, and intended for
immediate publication. It was disposed of to a bookseller, it was even
advertised, and why the business proceeded no farther, the author
has never been able to learn. That any bookseller should think it
worth-while to purchase what he did not think it worth-while to publish
seems extraordinary. But with this, neither the author nor the public
have any other concern than as some observation is necessary upon those
parts of the work which thirteen years have made comparatively obsolete.
The public are entreated to bear in mind that thirteen years have passed
since it was finished, many more since it was begun, and that during
that period, places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone
considerable changes.



CHAPTER 1


No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have
supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character
of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were
all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being
neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name
was Richard--and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable
independence besides two good livings--and he was not in the least
addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful
plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a
good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and
instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might
expect, she still lived on--lived to have six children more--to see them
growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family
of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are
heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had
little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and
Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin
awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong
features--so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism
seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred
cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of
infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a
rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered
flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief--at least
so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was
forbidden to take. Such were her propensities--her abilities were quite
as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything
before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often
inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in
teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her
next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine
was always stupid--by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and
Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her
to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was
very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinnet; so, at eight
years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs.
Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in
spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which
dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life.
Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain
the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd
piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses
and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing
and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her
proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in
both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character!--for
with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither
a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever
quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions
of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and
cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the
green slope at the back of the house.

Such was Catherine Morland at ten. At fifteen, appearances were mending;
she began to curl her hair and long for balls; her complexion improved,
her features were softened by plumpness and colour, her eyes gained more
animation, and her figure more consequence. Her love of dirt gave way to
an inclination for finery, and she grew clean as she grew smart; she had
now the pleasure of sometimes hearing her father and mother remark
on her personal improvement. "Catherine grows quite a good-looking
girl--she is almost pretty today," were words which caught her ears now
and then; and how welcome were the sounds! To look almost pretty is an
acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the
first fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever
receive.

Mrs. Morland was a very good woman, and wished to see her children
everything they ought to be; but her time was so much occupied in
lying-in and teaching the little ones, that her elder daughters were
inevitably left to shift for themselves; and it was not very wonderful
that Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her, should
prefer cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about
the country at the age of fourteen, to books--or at least books of
information--for, provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be
gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she
had never any objection to books at all. But from fifteen to seventeen
she was in training for a heroine; she read all such works as heroines
must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so
serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives.

From Pope, she learnt to censure those who

   "bear about the mockery of woe."


From Gray, that

   "Many a flower is born to blush unseen,
   "And waste its fragrance on the desert air."


From Thompson, that--

   "It is a delightful task
   "To teach the young idea how to shoot."


And from Shakespeare she gained a great store of information--amongst
the rest, that--

   "Trifles light as air,
   "Are, to the jealous, confirmation strong,
   "As proofs of Holy Writ."


That

   "The poor beetle, which we tread upon,
   "In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
   "As when a giant dies."


And that a young woman in love always looks--

   "like Patience on a monument
   "Smiling at Grief."


So far her improvement was sufficient--and in many other points she came
on exceedingly well; for though she could not write sonnets, she brought
herself to read them; and though there seemed no chance of her throwing
a whole party into raptures by a prelude on the pianoforte, of her own
composition, she could listen to other people's performance with very
little fatigue. Her greatest deficiency was in the pencil--she had no
notion of drawing--not enough even to attempt a sketch of her lover's
profile, that she might be detected in the design. There she fell
miserably short of the true heroic height. At present she did not know
her own poverty, for she had no lover to portray. She had reached the
age of seventeen, without having seen one amiable youth who could call
forth her sensibility, without having inspired one real passion, and
without having excited even any admiration but what was very moderate
and very transient. This was strange indeed! But strange things may be
generally accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out. There was
not one lord in the neighbourhood; no--not even a baronet. There was not
one family among their acquaintance who had reared and supported a boy
accidentally found at their door--not one young man whose origin
was unknown. Her father had no ward, and the squire of the parish no
children.

But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty
surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen
to throw a hero in her way.

Mr. Allen, who owned the chief of the property about Fullerton, the
village in Wiltshire where the Morlands lived, was ordered to Bath
for the benefit of a gouty constitution--and his lady, a good-humoured
woman, fond of Miss Morland, and probably aware that if adventures will
not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad,
invited her to go with them. Mr. and Mrs. Morland were all compliance,
and Catherine all happiness.



CHAPTER 2


In addition to what has been already said of Catherine Morland's
personal and mental endowments, when about to be launched into all the
difficulties and dangers of a six weeks' residence in Bath, it may be
stated, for the reader's more certain information, lest the following
pages should otherwise fail of giving any idea of what her character is
meant to be, that her heart was affectionate; her disposition cheerful
and open, without conceit or affectation of any kind--her manners just
removed from the awkwardness and shyness of a girl; her person pleasing,
and, when in good looks, pretty--and her mind about as ignorant and
uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is.

When the hour of departure drew near, the maternal anxiety of Mrs.
Morland will be naturally supposed to be most severe. A thousand
alarming presentiments of evil to her beloved Catherine from this
terrific separation must oppress her heart with sadness, and drown her
in tears for the last day or two of their being together; and advice of
the most important and applicable nature must of course flow from her
wise lips in their parting conference in her closet. Cautions against
the violence of such noblemen and baronets as delight in forcing young
ladies away to some remote farm-house, must, at such a moment, relieve
the fulness of her heart. Who would not think so? But Mrs. Morland knew
so little of lords and baronets, that she entertained no notion of their
general mischievousness, and was wholly unsuspicious of danger to her
daughter from their machinations. Her cautions were confined to the
following points. "I beg, Catherine, you will always wrap yourself up
very warm about the throat, when you come from the rooms at night; and
I wish you would try to keep some account of the money you spend; I will
give you this little book on purpose."

Sally, or rather Sarah (for what young lady of common gentility will
reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as she can?),
must from situation be at this time the intimate friend and confidante
of her sister. It is remarkable, however, that she neither insisted
on Catherine's writing by every post, nor exacted her promise of
transmitting the character of every new acquaintance, nor a detail
of every interesting conversation that Bath might produce. Everything
indeed relative to this important journey was done, on the part of the
Morlands, with a degree of moderation and composure, which seemed
rather consistent with the common feelings of common life, than with the
refined susceptibilities, the tender emotions which the first separation
of a heroine from her family ought always to excite. Her father, instead
of giving her an unlimited order on his banker, or even putting an
hundred pounds bank-bill into her hands, gave her only ten guineas, and
promised her more when she wanted it.

Under these unpromising auspices, the parting took place, and the
journey began. It was performed with suitable quietness and uneventful
safety. Neither robbers nor tempests befriended them, nor one lucky
overturn to introduce them to the hero. Nothing more alarming occurred
than a fear, on Mrs. Allen's side, of having once left her clogs behind
her at an inn, and that fortunately proved to be groundless.

They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight--her eyes were
here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking
environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted
them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already.

They were soon settled in comfortable lodgings in Pulteney Street.

It is now expedient to give some description of Mrs. Allen, that the
reader may be able to judge in what manner her actions will hereafter
tend to promote the general distress of the work, and how she will,
probably, contribute to reduce poor Catherine to all the desperate
wretchedness of which a last volume is capable--whether by her
imprudence, vulgarity, or jealousy--whether by intercepting her letters,
ruining her character, or turning her out of doors.

Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can
raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world
who could like them well enough to marry them. She had neither beauty,
genius, accomplishment, nor manner. The air of a gentlewoman, a great
deal of quiet, inactive good temper, and a trifling turn of mind
were all that could account for her being the choice of a sensible,
intelligent man like Mr. Allen. In one respect she was admirably fitted
to introduce a young lady into public, being as fond of going everywhere
and seeing everything herself as any young lady could be. Dress was
her passion. She had a most harmless delight in being fine; and our
heroine's entree into life could not take place till after three or four
days had been spent in learning what was mostly worn, and her chaperone
was provided with a dress of the newest fashion. Catherine too made
some purchases herself, and when all these matters were arranged, the
important evening came which was to usher her into the Upper Rooms. Her
hair was cut and dressed by the best hand, her clothes put on with care,
and both Mrs. Allen and her maid declared she looked quite as she should
do. With such encouragement, Catherine hoped at least to pass uncensured
through the crowd. As for admiration, it was always very welcome when it
came, but she did not depend on it.

Mrs. Allen was so long in dressing that they did not enter the ballroom
till late. The season was full, the room crowded, and the two ladies
squeezed in as well as they could. As for Mr. Allen, he repaired
directly to the card-room, and left them to enjoy a mob by themselves.
With more care for the safety of her new gown than for the comfort of
her protegee, Mrs. Allen made her way through the throng of men by
the door, as swiftly as the necessary caution would allow; Catherine,
however, kept close at her side, and linked her arm too firmly within
her friend's to be torn asunder by any common effort of a struggling
assembly. But to her utter amazement she found that to proceed along the
room was by no means the way to disengage themselves from the crowd; it
seemed rather to increase as they went on, whereas she had imagined that
when once fairly within the door, they should easily find seats and be
able to watch the dances with perfect convenience. But this was far from
being the case, and though by unwearied diligence they gained even the
top of the room, their situation was just the same; they saw nothing
of the dancers but the high feathers of some of the ladies. Still they
moved on--something better was yet in view; and by a continued exertion
of strength and ingenuity they found themselves at last in the passage
behind the highest bench. Here there was something less of crowd than
below; and hence Miss Morland had a comprehensive view of all the
company beneath her, and of all the dangers of her late passage through
them. It was a splendid sight, and she began, for the first time that
evening, to feel herself at a ball: she longed to dance, but she had
not an acquaintance in the room. Mrs. Allen did all that she could do
in such a case by saying very placidly, every now and then, "I wish you
could dance, my dear--I wish you could get a partner." For some time
her young friend felt obliged to her for these wishes; but they were
repeated so often, and proved so totally ineffectual, that Catherine
grew tired at last, and would thank her no more.

They were not long able, however, to enjoy the repose of the eminence
they had so laboriously gained. Everybody was shortly in motion for
tea, and they must squeeze out like the rest. Catherine began to feel
something of disappointment--she was tired of being continually pressed
against by people, the generality of whose faces possessed nothing to
interest, and with all of whom she was so wholly unacquainted that she
could not relieve the irksomeness of imprisonment by the exchange of a
syllable with any of her fellow captives; and when at last arrived in
the tea-room, she felt yet more the awkwardness of having no party to
join, no acquaintance to claim, no gentleman to assist them. They saw
nothing of Mr. Allen; and after looking about them in vain for a more
eligible situation, were obliged to sit down at the end of a table, at
which a large party were already placed, without having anything to do
there, or anybody to speak to, except each other.

Mrs. Allen congratulated herself, as soon as they were seated, on having
preserved her gown from injury. "It would have been very shocking to
have it torn," said she, "would not it? It is such a delicate muslin.
For my part I have not seen anything I like so well in the whole room, I
assure you."

"How uncomfortable it is," whispered Catherine, "not to have a single
acquaintance here!"

"Yes, my dear," replied Mrs. Allen, with perfect serenity, "it is very
uncomfortable indeed."

"What shall we do? The gentlemen and ladies at this table look as if
they wondered why we came here--we seem forcing ourselves into their
party."

"Aye, so we do. That is very disagreeable. I wish we had a large
acquaintance here."

"I wish we had any--it would be somebody to go to."

"Very true, my dear; and if we knew anybody we would join them directly.
The Skinners were here last year--I wish they were here now."

"Had not we better go away as it is? Here are no tea-things for us, you
see."

"No more there are, indeed. How very provoking! But I think we had
better sit still, for one gets so tumbled in such a crowd! How is my
head, my dear? Somebody gave me a push that has hurt it, I am afraid."

"No, indeed, it looks very nice. But, dear Mrs. Allen, are you sure
there is nobody you know in all this multitude of people? I think you
must know somebody."

"I don't, upon my word--I wish I did. I wish I had a large acquaintance
here with all my heart, and then I should get you a partner. I should be
so glad to have you dance. There goes a strange-looking woman! What an
odd gown she has got on! How old-fashioned it is! Look at the back."

After some time they received an offer of tea from one of their
neighbours; it was thankfully accepted, and this introduced a light
conversation with the gentleman who offered it, which was the only time
that anybody spoke to them during the evening, till they were discovered
and joined by Mr. Allen when the dance was over.

"Well, Miss Morland," said he, directly, "I hope you have had an
agreeable ball."

"Very agreeable indeed," she replied, vainly endeavouring to hide a
great yawn.

"I wish she had been able to dance," said his wife; "I wish we could
have got a partner for her. I have been saying how glad I should be if
the Skinners were here this winter instead of last; or if the Parrys had
come, as they talked of once, she might have danced with George Parry. I
am so sorry she has not had a partner!"

"We shall do better another evening I hope," was Mr. Allen's
consolation.

The company began to disperse when the dancing was over--enough to leave
space for the remainder to walk about in some comfort; and now was the
time for a heroine, who had not yet played a very distinguished part
in the events of the evening, to be noticed and admired. Every five
minutes, by removing some of the crowd, gave greater openings for her
charms. She was now seen by many young men who had not been near her
before. Not one, however, started with rapturous wonder on beholding
her, no whisper of eager inquiry ran round the room, nor was she once
called a divinity by anybody. Yet Catherine was in very good looks, and
had the company only seen her three years before, they would now have
thought her exceedingly handsome.

She was looked at, however, and with some admiration; for, in her own
hearing, two gentlemen pronounced her to be a pretty girl. Such words
had their due effect; she immediately thought the evening pleasanter
than she had found it before--her humble vanity was contented--she
felt more obliged to the two young men for this simple praise than a
true-quality heroine would have been for fifteen sonnets in celebration
of her charms, and went to her chair in good humour with everybody, and
perfectly satisfied with her share of public attention.



CHAPTER 3


Every morning now brought its regular duties--shops were to be visited;
some new part of the town to be looked at; and the pump-room to be
attended, where they paraded up and down for an hour, looking at
everybody and speaking to no one. The wish of a numerous acquaintance
in Bath was still uppermost with Mrs. Allen, and she repeated it after
every fresh proof, which every morning brought, of her knowing nobody at
all.

They made their appearance in the Lower Rooms; and here fortune was more
favourable to our heroine. The master of the ceremonies introduced to
her a very gentlemanlike young man as a partner; his name was Tilney.
He seemed to be about four or five and twenty, was rather tall, had a
pleasing countenance, a very intelligent and lively eye, and, if not
quite handsome, was very near it. His address was good, and Catherine
felt herself in high luck. There was little leisure for speaking
while they danced; but when they were seated at tea, she found him as
agreeable as she had already given him credit for being. He talked with
fluency and spirit--and there was an archness and pleasantry in his
manner which interested, though it was hardly understood by her. After
chatting some time on such matters as naturally arose from the objects
around them, he suddenly addressed her with--"I have hitherto been very
remiss, madam, in the proper attentions of a partner here; I have not
yet asked you how long you have been in Bath; whether you were ever here
before; whether you have been at the Upper Rooms, the theatre, and
the concert; and how you like the place altogether. I have been
very negligent--but are you now at leisure to satisfy me in these
particulars? If you are I will begin directly."

"You need not give yourself that trouble, sir."

"No trouble, I assure you, madam." Then forming his features into a set
smile, and affectedly softening his voice, he added, with a simpering
air, "Have you been long in Bath, madam?"

"About a week, sir," replied Catherine, trying not to laugh.

"Really!" with affected astonishment.

"Why should you be surprised, sir?"

"Why, indeed!" said he, in his natural tone. "But some emotion must
appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed,
and not less reasonable than any other. Now let us go on. Were you never
here before, madam?"

"Never, sir."

"Indeed! Have you yet honoured the Upper Rooms?"

"Yes, sir, I was there last Monday."

"Have you been to the theatre?"

"Yes, sir, I was at the play on Tuesday."

"To the concert?"

"Yes, sir, on Wednesday."

"And are you altogether pleased with Bath?"

"Yes--I like it very well."

"Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again."
Catherine turned away her head, not knowing whether she might venture to
laugh. "I see what you think of me," said he gravely--"I shall make but
a poor figure in your journal tomorrow."

"My journal!"

"Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower
Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings--plain black
shoes--appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a
queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed
me by his nonsense."

"Indeed I shall say no such thing."

"Shall I tell you what you ought to say?"

"If you please."

"I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had
a great deal of conversation with him--seems a most extraordinary
genius--hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to
say."

"But, perhaps, I keep no journal."

"Perhaps you are not sitting in this room, and I am not sitting by
you. These are points in which a doubt is equally possible. Not keep a
journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your
life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of
every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every
evening in a journal? How are your various dresses to be remembered,
and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be
described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to
a journal? My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies' ways as
you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journaling which
largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies
are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing
agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something,
but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping
a journal."

"I have sometimes thought," said Catherine, doubtingly, "whether ladies
do write so much better letters than gentlemen! That is--I should not
think the superiority was always on our side."

"As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the
usual style of letter-writing among women is faultless, except in three
particulars."

"And what are they?"

"A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a
very frequent ignorance of grammar."

"Upon my word! I need not have been afraid of disclaiming the
compliment. You do not think too highly of us in that way."

"I should no more lay it down as a general rule that women write better
letters than men, than that they sing better duets, or draw better
landscapes. In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence
is pretty fairly divided between the sexes."

They were interrupted by Mrs. Allen: "My dear Catherine," said she, "do
take this pin out of my sleeve; I am afraid it has torn a hole already;
I shall be quite sorry if it has, for this is a favourite gown, though
it cost but nine shillings a yard."

"That is exactly what I should have guessed it, madam," said Mr. Tilney,
looking at the muslin.

"Do you understand muslins, sir?"

"Particularly well; I always buy my own cravats, and am allowed to be an
excellent judge; and my sister has often trusted me in the choice of a
gown. I bought one for her the other day, and it was pronounced to be a
prodigious bargain by every lady who saw it. I gave but five shillings a
yard for it, and a true Indian muslin."

Mrs. Allen was quite struck by his genius. "Men commonly take so little
notice of those things," said she; "I can never get Mr. Allen to know
one of my gowns from another. You must be a great comfort to your
sister, sir."

"I hope I am, madam."

"And pray, sir, what do you think of Miss Morland's gown?"

"It is very pretty, madam," said he, gravely examining it; "but I do not
think it will wash well; I am afraid it will fray."

"How can you," said Catherine, laughing, "be so--" She had almost said
"strange."

"I am quite of your opinion, sir," replied Mrs. Allen; "and so I told
Miss Morland when she bought it."

"But then you know, madam, muslin always turns to some account or other;
Miss Morland will get enough out of it for a handkerchief, or a cap, or
a cloak. Muslin can never be said to be wasted. I have heard my sister
say so forty times, when she has been extravagant in buying more than
she wanted, or careless in cutting it to pieces."

"Bath is a charming place, sir; there are so many good shops here. We
are sadly off in the country; not but what we have very good shops in
Salisbury, but it is so far to go--eight miles is a long way; Mr. Allen
says it is nine, measured nine; but I am sure it cannot be more than
eight; and it is such a fag--I come back tired to death. Now, here one
can step out of doors and get a thing in five minutes."

Mr. Tilney was polite enough to seem interested in what she said; and
she kept him on the subject of muslins till the dancing recommenced.
Catherine feared, as she listened to their discourse, that he indulged
himself a little too much with the foibles of others. "What are you
thinking of so earnestly?" said he, as they walked back to the ballroom;
"not of your partner, I hope, for, by that shake of the head, your
meditations are not satisfactory."

Catherine coloured, and said, "I was not thinking of anything."

"That is artful and deep, to be sure; but I had rather be told at once
that you will not tell me."

"Well then, I will not."

"Thank you; for now we shall soon be acquainted, as I am authorized to
tease you on this subject whenever we meet, and nothing in the world
advances intimacy so much."

They danced again; and, when the assembly closed, parted, on the
lady's side at least, with a strong inclination for continuing the
acquaintance. Whether she thought of him so much, while she drank her
warm wine and water, and prepared herself for bed, as to dream of him
when there, cannot be ascertained; but I hope it was no more than in
a slight slumber, or a morning doze at most; for if it be true, as a
celebrated writer has maintained, that no young lady can be justified
in falling in love before the gentleman's love is declared,* it must be
very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the
gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her. How proper Mr. Tilney
might be as a dreamer or a lover had not yet perhaps entered Mr. Allen's
head, but that he was not objectionable as a common acquaintance for
his young charge he was on inquiry satisfied; for he had early in the
evening taken pains to know who her partner was, and had been assured
of Mr. Tilney's being a clergyman, and of a very respectable family in
Gloucestershire.



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 attorneys might be set forth, and conversations, which had
passed twenty years before, be minutely repeated.



CHAPTER 5


Catherine was not so much engaged at the theatre that evening, in
returning the nods and smiles of Miss Thorpe, though they certainly
claimed much of her leisure, as to forget to look with an inquiring eye
for Mr. Tilney in every box which her eye could reach; but she looked in
vain. Mr. Tilney was no fonder of the play than the pump-room. She hoped
to be more fortunate the next day; and when her wishes for fine weather
were answered by seeing a beautiful morning, she hardly felt a doubt of
it; for a fine Sunday in Bath empties every house of its inhabitants,
and all the world appears on such an occasion to walk about and tell
their acquaintance what a charming day it is.

As soon as divine service was over, the Thorpes and Allens eagerly
joined each other; and after staying long enough in the pump-room to
discover that the crowd was insupportable, and that there was not
a genteel face to be seen, which everybody discovers every Sunday
throughout the season, they hastened away to the Crescent, to breathe
the fresh air of better company. Here Catherine and Isabella, arm
in arm, again tasted the sweets of friendship in an unreserved
conversation; they talked much, and with much enjoyment; but again
was Catherine disappointed in her hope of reseeing her partner. He was
nowhere to be met with; every search for him was equally unsuccessful,
in morning lounges or evening assemblies; neither at the Upper nor Lower
Rooms, at dressed or undressed balls, was he perceivable; nor among the
walkers, the horsemen, or the curricle-drivers of the morning. His name
was not in the pump-room book, and curiosity could do no more. He must
be gone from Bath. Yet he had not mentioned that his stay would be so
short! This sort of mysteriousness, which is always so becoming in a
hero, threw a fresh grace in Catherine's imagination around his person
and manners, and increased her anxiety to know more of him. From the
Thorpes she could learn nothing, for they had been only two days in Bath
before they met with Mrs. Allen. It was a subject, however, in which
she often indulged with her fair friend, from whom she received every
possible encouragement to continue to think of him; and his impression
on her fancy was not suffered therefore to weaken. Isabella was very
sure that he must be a charming young man, and was equally sure that he
must have been delighted with her dear Catherine, and would therefore
shortly return. She liked him the better for being a clergyman, "for she
must confess herself very partial to the profession"; and something like
a sigh escaped her as she said it. Perhaps Catherine was wrong in not
demanding the cause of that gentle emotion--but she was not experienced
enough in the finesse of love, or the duties of friendship, to know when
delicate raillery was properly called for, or when a confidence should
be forced.

Mrs. Allen was now quite happy--quite satisfied with Bath. She had found
some acquaintance, had been so lucky too as to find in them the family
of a most worthy old friend; and, as the completion of good fortune, had
found these friends by no means so expensively dressed as herself. Her
daily expressions were no longer, "I wish we had some acquaintance in
Bath!" They were changed into, "How glad I am we have met with Mrs.
Thorpe!" and she was as eager in promoting the intercourse of the two
families, as her young charge and Isabella themselves could be; never
satisfied with the day unless she spent the chief of it by the side of
Mrs. Thorpe, in what they called conversation, but in which there was
scarcely ever any exchange of opinion, and not often any resemblance of
subject, for Mrs. Thorpe talked chiefly of her children, and Mrs. Allen
of her gowns.

The progress of the friendship between Catherine and Isabella was quick
as its beginning had been warm, and they passed so rapidly through every
gradation of increasing tenderness that there was shortly no fresh proof
of it to be given to their friends or themselves. They called each other
by their Christian name, were always arm in arm when they walked, pinned
up each other's train for the dance, and were not to be divided in the
set; and if a rainy morning deprived them of other enjoyments, they
were still resolute in meeting in defiance of wet and dirt, and shut
themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; for I will not
adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel-writers,
of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the
number of which they are themselves adding--joining with their greatest
enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely
ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she
accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages
with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the
heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I
cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such
effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in
threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us
not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions
have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any
other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has
been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes
are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the
nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who
collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and
Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne,
are eulogized by a thousand pens--there seems almost a general wish of
decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and
of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to
recommend them. "I am no novel-reader--I seldom look into novels--Do not
imagine that I often read novels--It is really very well for a novel."
Such is the common cant. "And what are you reading, Miss--?" "Oh! It is
only a novel!" replies the young lady, while she lays down her book
with affected indifference, or momentary shame. "It is only Cecilia, or
Camilla, or Belinda"; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest
powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge
of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the
liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the
best-chosen language. Now, had the same young lady been engaged with a
volume of the Spectator, instead of such a work, how proudly would she
have produced the book, and told its name; though the chances must be
against her being occupied by any part of that voluminous publication,
of which either the matter or manner would not disgust a young person of
taste: the substance of its papers so often consisting in the statement
of improbable circumstances, unnatural characters, and topics of
conversation which no longer concern anyone living; and their language,
too, frequently so coarse as to give no very favourable idea of the age
that could endure it.



CHAPTER 6


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! Never 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.



CHAPTER 7


Half a minute conducted them through the pump-yard to the archway,
opposite Union Passage; but here they were stopped. Everybody acquainted
with Bath may remember the difficulties of crossing Cheap Street at
this point; it is indeed a street of so impertinent a nature, so
unfortunately connected with the great London and Oxford roads, and the
principal inn of the city, that a day never passes in which parties of
ladies, however important their business, whether in quest of pastry,
millinery, or even (as in the present case) of young men, are not
detained on one side or other by carriages, horsemen, or carts. This
evil had been felt and lamented, at least three times a day, by Isabella
since her residence in Bath; and she was now fated to feel and lament it
once more, for at the very moment of coming opposite to Union Passage,
and within view of the two gentlemen who were proceeding through the
crowds, and threading the gutters of that interesting alley, they
were prevented crossing by the approach of a gig, driven along on bad
pavement by a most knowing-looking coachman with all the vehemence that
could most fitly endanger the lives of himself, his companion, and his
horse.

"Oh, these odious gigs!" said Isabella, looking up. "How I detest them."
But this detestation, though so just, was of short duration, for she
looked again and exclaimed, "Delightful! Mr. Morland and my brother!"

"Good heaven! 'Tis James!" was uttered at the same moment by Catherine;
and, on catching the young men's eyes, the horse was immediately checked
with a violence which almost threw him on his haunches, and the servant
having now scampered up, the gentlemen jumped out, and the equipage was
delivered to his care.

Catherine, by whom this meeting was wholly unexpected, received her
brother with the liveliest pleasure; and he, being of a very amiable
disposition, and sincerely attached to her, gave every proof on his
side of equal satisfaction, which he could have leisure to do, while the
bright eyes of Miss Thorpe were incessantly challenging his notice;
and to her his devoirs were speedily paid, with a mixture of joy and
embarrassment which might have informed Catherine, had she been more
expert in the development of other people's feelings, and less simply
engrossed by her own, that her brother thought her friend quite as
pretty as she could do herself.

John Thorpe, who in the meantime had been giving orders about the
horses, soon joined them, and from him she directly received the amends
which were her due; for while he slightly and carelessly touched the
hand of Isabella, on her he bestowed a whole scrape and half a short
bow. He was a stout young man of middling height, who, with a plain face
and ungraceful form, seemed fearful of being too handsome unless he wore
the dress of a groom, and too much like a gentleman unless he were easy
where he ought to be civil, and impudent where he might be allowed to be
easy. He took out his watch: "How long do you think we have been running
it from Tetbury, Miss Morland?"

"I do not know the distance." Her brother told her that it was
twenty-three miles.

"Three and twenty!" cried Thorpe. "Five and twenty if it is an inch."
Morland remonstrated, pleaded the authority of road-books, innkeepers,
and milestones; but his friend disregarded them all; he had a surer test
of distance. "I know it must be five and twenty," said he, "by the time
we have been doing it. It is now half after one; we drove out of the
inn-yard at Tetbury as the town clock struck eleven; and I defy any man
in England to make my horse go less than ten miles an hour in harness;
that makes it exactly twenty-five."

"You have lost an hour," said Morland; "it was only ten o'clock when we
came from Tetbury."

"Ten o'clock! It was eleven, upon my soul! I counted every stroke. This
brother of yours would persuade me out of my senses, Miss Morland; do
but look at my horse; did you ever see an animal so made for speed in
your life?" (The servant had just mounted the carriage and was driving
off.) "Such true blood! Three hours and and a half indeed coming only
three and twenty miles! Look at that creature, and suppose it possible
if you can."

"He does look very hot, to be sure."

"Hot! He had not turned a hair till we came to Walcot Church; but look
at his forehand; look at his loins; only see how he moves; that horse
cannot go less than ten miles an hour: tie his legs and he will get on.
What do you think of my gig, Miss Morland? A neat one, is not it?
Well hung; town-built; I have not had it a month. It was built for a
Christchurch man, a friend of mine, a very good sort of fellow; he ran
it a few weeks, till, I believe, it was convenient to have done with it.
I happened just then to be looking out for some light thing of the kind,
though I had pretty well determined on a curricle too; but I chanced to
meet him on Magdalen Bridge, as he was driving into Oxford, last term:
'Ah! Thorpe,' said he, 'do you happen to want such a little thing as
this? It is a capital one of the kind, but I am cursed tired of it.'
'Oh! D--,' said I; 'I am your man; what do you ask?' And how much do you
think he did, Miss Morland?"

"I am sure I cannot guess at all."

"Curricle-hung, you see; seat, trunk, sword-case, splashing-board,
lamps, silver moulding, all you see complete; the iron-work as good
as new, or better. He asked fifty guineas; I closed with him directly,
threw down the money, and the carriage was mine."

"And I am sure," said Catherine, "I know so little of such things that I
cannot judge whether it was cheap or dear."

"Neither one nor t'other; I might have got it for less, I dare say; but
I hate haggling, and poor Freeman wanted cash."

"That was very good-natured of you," said Catherine, quite pleased.

"Oh! D---- it, when one has the means of doing a kind thing by a friend,
I hate to be pitiful."

An inquiry now took place into the intended movements of the young
ladies; and, on finding whither they were going, it was decided that
the gentlemen should accompany them to Edgar's Buildings, and pay their
respects to Mrs. Thorpe. James and Isabella led the way; and so
well satisfied was the latter with her lot, so contentedly was she
endeavouring to ensure a pleasant walk to him who brought the double
recommendation of being her brother's friend, and her friend's brother,
so pure and uncoquettish were her feelings, that, though they overtook
and passed the two offending young men in Milsom Street, she was so far
from seeking to attract their notice, that she looked back at them only
three times.

John Thorpe kept of course with Catherine, and, after a few minutes'
silence, renewed the conversation about his gig. "You will find,
however, Miss Morland, it would be reckoned a cheap thing by some
people, for I might have sold it for ten guineas more the next day;
Jackson, of Oriel, bid me sixty at once; Morland was with me at the
time."

"Yes," said Morland, who overheard this; "but you forget that your horse
was included."

"My horse! Oh, d---- it! I would not sell my horse for a hundred. Are
you fond of an open carriage, Miss Morland?"

"Yes, very; I have hardly ever an opportunity of being in one; but I am
particularly fond of it."

"I am glad of it; I will drive you out in mine every day."

"Thank you," said Catherine, in some distress, from a doubt of the
propriety of accepting such an offer.

"I will drive you up Lansdown Hill tomorrow."

"Thank you; but will not your horse want rest?"

"Rest! He has only come three and twenty miles today; all nonsense;
nothing ruins horses so much as rest; nothing knocks them up so soon.
No, no; I shall exercise mine at the average of four hours every day
while I am here."

"Shall you indeed!" said Catherine very seriously. "That will be forty
miles a day."

"Forty! Aye, fifty, for what I care. Well, I will drive you up Lansdown
tomorrow; mind, I am engaged."

"How delightful that will be!" cried Isabella, turning round. "My
dearest Catherine, I quite envy you; but I am afraid, brother, you will
not have room for a third."

"A third indeed! No, no; I did not come to Bath to drive my sisters
about; that would be a good joke, faith! Morland must take care of you."

This brought on a dialogue of civilities between the other two; but
Catherine heard neither the particulars nor the result. Her companion's
discourse now sunk from its hitherto animated pitch to nothing more than
a short decisive sentence of praise or condemnation on the face of every
woman they met; and Catherine, after listening and agreeing as long as
she could, with all the civility and deference of the youthful female
mind, fearful of hazarding an opinion of its own in opposition to that
of a self-assured man, especially where the beauty of her own sex is
concerned, ventured at length to vary the subject by a question which
had been long uppermost in her thoughts; it was, "Have you ever read
Udolpho, Mr. Thorpe?"

"Udolpho! Oh, Lord! Not I; I never read novels; I have something else to
do."

Catherine, humbled and ashamed, was going to apologize for her question,
but he prevented her by saying, "Novels are all so full of nonsense
and stuff; there has not been a tolerably decent one come out since
Tom Jones, except The Monk; I read that t'other day; but as for all the
others, they are the stupidest things in creation."

"I think you must like Udolpho, if you were to read it; it is so very
interesting."

"Not I, faith! No, if I read any, it shall be Mrs. Radcliffe's; her
novels are amusing enough; they are worth reading; some fun and nature
in them."

"Udolpho was written by Mrs. Radcliffe," said Catherine, with some
hesitation, from the fear of mortifying him.

"No sure; was it? Aye, I remember, so it was; I was thinking of that
other stupid book, written by that woman they make such a fuss about,
she who married the French emigrant."

"I suppose you mean Camilla?"

"Yes, that's the book; such unnatural stuff! An old man playing at
see-saw, I took up the first volume once and looked it over, but I soon
found it would not do; indeed I guessed what sort of stuff it must be
before I saw it: as soon as I heard she had married an emigrant, I was
sure I should never be able to get through it."

"I have never read it."

"You had no loss, I assure you; it is the horridest nonsense you can
imagine; there is nothing in the world in it but an old man's playing at
see-saw and learning Latin; upon my soul there is not."

This critique, the justness of which was unfortunately lost on poor
Catherine, brought them to the door of Mrs. Thorpe's lodgings, and the
feelings of the discerning and unprejudiced reader of Camilla gave way
to the feelings of the dutiful and affectionate son, as they met Mrs.
Thorpe, who had descried them from above, in the passage. "Ah, Mother!
How do you do?" said he, giving her a hearty shake of the hand. "Where
did you get that quiz of a hat? It makes you look like an old witch.
Here is Morland and I come to stay a few days with you, so you must look
out for a couple of good beds somewhere near." And this address seemed
to satisfy all the fondest wishes of the mother's heart, for she
received him with the most delighted and exulting affection. On his
two younger sisters he then bestowed an equal portion of his fraternal
tenderness, for he asked each of them how they did, and observed that
they both looked very ugly.

These manners did not please Catherine; but he was James's friend
and Isabella's brother; and her judgment was further bought off by
Isabella's assuring her, when they withdrew to see the new hat, that
John thought her the most charming girl in the world, and by John's
engaging her before they parted to dance with him that evening. Had she
been older or vainer, such attacks might have done little; but, where
youth and diffidence are united, it requires uncommon steadiness of
reason to resist the attraction of being called the most charming girl
in the world, and of being so very early engaged as a partner; and the
consequence was that, when the two Morlands, after sitting an hour with
the Thorpes, set off to walk together to Mr. Allen's, and James, as
the door was closed on them, said, "Well, Catherine, how do you like my
friend Thorpe?" instead of answering, as she probably would have done,
had there been no friendship and no flattery in the case, "I do not like
him at all," she directly replied, "I like him very much; he seems very
agreeable."

"He is as good-natured a fellow as ever lived; a little of a rattle; but
that will recommend him to your sex, I believe: and how do you like the
rest of the family?"

"Very, very much indeed: Isabella particularly."

"I am very glad to hear you say so; she is just the kind of young woman
I could wish to see you attached to; she has so much good sense, and is
so thoroughly unaffected and amiable; I always wanted you to know her;
and she seems very fond of you. She said the highest things in your
praise that could possibly be; and the praise of such a girl as Miss
Thorpe even you, Catherine," taking her hand with affection, "may be
proud of."

"Indeed I am," she replied; "I love her exceedingly, and am delighted
to find that you like her too. You hardly mentioned anything of her when
you wrote to me after your visit there."

"Because I thought I should soon see you myself. I hope you will be a
great deal together while you are in Bath. She is a most amiable girl;
such a superior understanding! How fond all the family are of her; she
is evidently the general favourite; and how much she must be admired in
such a place as this--is not she?"

"Yes, very much indeed, I fancy; Mr. Allen thinks her the prettiest girl
in Bath."

"I dare say he does; and I do not know any man who is a better judge of
beauty than Mr. Allen. I need not ask you whether you are happy here, my
dear Catherine; with such a companion and friend as Isabella Thorpe, it
would be impossible for you to be otherwise; and the Allens, I am sure,
are very kind to you?"

"Yes, very kind; I never was so happy before; and now you are come it
will be more delightful than ever; how good it is of you to come so far
on purpose to see me."

James accepted this tribute of gratitude, and qualified his conscience
for accepting it too, by saying with perfect sincerity, "Indeed,
Catherine, I love you dearly."

Inquiries and communications concerning brothers and sisters, the
situation of some, the growth of the rest, and other family matters now
passed between them, and continued, with only one small digression
on James's part, in praise of Miss Thorpe, till they reached Pulteney
Street, where he was welcomed with great kindness by Mr. and Mrs. Allen,
invited by the former to dine with them, and summoned by the latter
to guess the price and weigh the merits of a new muff and tippet.
A pre-engagement in Edgar's Buildings prevented his accepting the
invitation of one friend, and obliged him to hurry away as soon as he
had satisfied the demands of the other. The time of the two parties
uniting in the Octagon Room being correctly adjusted, Catherine was then
left to the luxury of a raised, restless, and frightened imagination
over the pages of Udolpho, lost from all worldly concerns of dressing
and dinner, incapable of soothing Mrs. Allen's fears on the delay of an
expected dressmaker, and having only one minute in sixty to bestow even
on the reflection of her own felicity, in being already engaged for the
evening.



CHAPTER 8


In spite of Udolpho and the dressmaker, however, the party from Pulteney
Street reached the Upper Rooms in very good time. The Thorpes and James
Morland were there only two minutes before them; and Isabella having
gone through the usual ceremonial of meeting her friend with the most
smiling and affectionate haste, of admiring the set of her gown, and
envying the curl of her hair, they followed their chaperones, arm in
arm, into the ballroom, whispering to each other whenever a thought
occurred, and supplying the place of many ideas by a squeeze of the hand
or a smile of affection.

The dancing began within a few minutes after they were seated; and
James, who had been engaged quite as long as his sister, was very
importunate with Isabella to stand up; but John was gone into the
card-room to speak to a friend, and nothing, she declared, should induce
her to join the set before her dear Catherine could join it too. "I
assure you," said she, "I would not stand up without your dear sister
for all the world; for if I did we should certainly be separated the
whole evening." Catherine accepted this kindness with gratitude, and
they continued as they were for three minutes longer, when Isabella, who
had been talking to James on the other side of her, turned again to his
sister and whispered, "My dear creature, I am afraid I must leave you,
your brother is so amazingly impatient to begin; I know you will not
mind my going away, and I dare say John will be back in a moment,
and then you may easily find me out." Catherine, though a little
disappointed, had too much good nature to make any opposition, and the
others rising up, Isabella had only time to press her friend's hand and
say, "Good-bye, my dear love," before they hurried off. The younger
Miss Thorpes being also dancing, Catherine was left to the mercy of Mrs.
Thorpe and Mrs. Allen, between whom she now remained. She could not help
being vexed at the non-appearance of Mr. Thorpe, for she not only longed
to be dancing, but was likewise aware that, as the real dignity of her
situation could not be known, she was sharing with the scores of other
young ladies still sitting down all the discredit of wanting a partner.
To be disgraced in the eye of the world, to wear the appearance of
infamy while her heart is all purity, her actions all innocence, and the
misconduct of another the true source of her debasement, is one of those
circumstances which peculiarly belong to the heroine's life, and her
fortitude under it what particularly dignifies her character. Catherine
had fortitude too; she suffered, but no murmur passed her lips.

From this state of humiliation, she was roused, at the end of ten
minutes, to a pleasanter feeling, by seeing, not Mr. Thorpe, but Mr.
Tilney, within three yards of the place where they sat; he seemed to be
moving that way, but he did not see her, and therefore the smile and the
blush, which his sudden reappearance raised in Catherine, passed away
without sullying her heroic importance. He looked as handsome and as
lively as ever, and was talking with interest to a fashionable and
pleasing-looking young woman, who leant on his arm, and whom Catherine
immediately guessed to be his sister; thus unthinkingly throwing away
a fair opportunity of considering him lost to her forever, by being
married already. But guided only by what was simple and probable, it
had never entered her head that Mr. Tilney could be married; he had not
behaved, he had not talked, like the married men to whom she had been
used; he had never mentioned a wife, and he had acknowledged a sister.
From these circumstances sprang the instant conclusion of his sister's
now being by his side; and therefore, instead of turning of a deathlike
paleness and falling in a fit on Mrs. Allen's bosom, Catherine sat
erect, in the perfect use of her senses, and with cheeks only a little
redder than usual.

Mr. Tilney and his companion, who continued, though slowly, to approach,
were immediately preceded by a lady, an acquaintance of Mrs. Thorpe; and
this lady stopping to speak to her, they, as belonging to her, stopped
likewise, and Catherine, catching Mr. Tilney's eye, instantly received
from him the smiling tribute of recognition. She returned it with
pleasure, and then advancing still nearer, he spoke both to her and Mrs.
Allen, by whom he was very civilly acknowledged. "I am very happy to see
you again, sir, indeed; I was afraid you had left Bath." He thanked her
for her fears, and said that he had quitted it for a week, on the very
morning after his having had the pleasure of seeing her.

"Well, sir, and I dare say you are not sorry to be back again, for it
is just the place for young people--and indeed for everybody else too.
I tell Mr. Allen, when he talks of being sick of it, that I am sure he
should not complain, for it is so very agreeable a place, that it is
much better to be here than at home at this dull time of year. I tell
him he is quite in luck to be sent here for his health."

"And I hope, madam, that Mr. Allen will be obliged to like the place,
from finding it of service to him."

"Thank you, sir. I have no doubt that he will. A neighbour of ours,
Dr. Skinner, was here for his health last winter, and came away quite
stout."

"That circumstance must give great encouragement."

"Yes, sir--and Dr. Skinner and his family were here three months; so I
tell Mr. Allen he must not be in a hurry to get away."

Here they were interrupted by a request from Mrs. Thorpe to Mrs. Allen,
that she would move a little to accommodate Mrs. Hughes and Miss Tilney
with seats, as they had agreed to join their party. This was accordingly
done, Mr. Tilney still continuing standing before them; and after a
few minutes' consideration, he asked Catherine to dance with him. This
compliment, delightful as it was, produced severe mortification to the
lady; and in giving her denial, she expressed her sorrow on the occasion
so very much as if she really felt it that had Thorpe, who joined her
just afterwards, been half a minute earlier, he might have thought her
sufferings rather too acute. The very easy manner in which he then told
her that he had kept her waiting did not by any means reconcile her more
to her lot; nor did the particulars which he entered into while they
were standing up, of the horses and dogs of the friend whom he had just
left, and of a proposed exchange of terriers between them, interest her
so much as to prevent her looking very often towards that part of the
room where she had left Mr. Tilney. Of her dear Isabella, to whom she
particularly longed to point out that gentleman, she could see nothing.
They were in different sets. She was separated from all her party, and
away from all her acquaintance; one mortification succeeded another,
and from the whole she deduced this useful lesson, that to go previously
engaged to a ball does not necessarily increase either the dignity or
enjoyment of a young lady. From such a moralizing strain as this, she
was suddenly roused by a touch on the shoulder, and turning round,
perceived Mrs. Hughes directly behind her, attended by Miss Tilney and
a gentleman. "I beg your pardon, Miss Morland," said she, "for this
liberty--but I cannot anyhow get to Miss Thorpe, and Mrs. Thorpe said
she was sure you would not have the least objection to letting in this
young lady by you." Mrs. Hughes could not have applied to any creature
in the room more happy to oblige her than Catherine. The young ladies
were introduced to each other, Miss Tilney expressing a proper sense of
such goodness, Miss Morland with the real delicacy of a generous mind
making light of the obligation; and Mrs. Hughes, satisfied with having
so respectably settled her young charge, returned to her party.

Miss Tilney had a good figure, a pretty face, and a very agreeable
countenance; and her air, though it had not all the decided pretension,
the resolute stylishness of Miss Thorpe's, had more real elegance. Her
manners showed good sense and good breeding; they were neither shy nor
affectedly open; and she seemed capable of being young, attractive, and
at a ball without wanting to fix the attention of every man near her,
and without exaggerated feelings of ecstatic delight or inconceivable
vexation on every little trifling occurrence. Catherine, interested at
once by her appearance and her relationship to Mr. Tilney, was desirous
of being acquainted with her, and readily talked therefore whenever she
could think of anything to say, and had courage and leisure for saying
it. But the hindrance thrown in the way of a very speedy intimacy, by
the frequent want of one or more of these requisites, prevented their
doing more than going through the first rudiments of an acquaintance, by
informing themselves how well the other liked Bath, how much she admired
its buildings and surrounding country, whether she drew, or played, or
sang, and whether she was fond of riding on horseback.

The two dances were scarcely concluded before Catherine found her arm
gently seized by her faithful Isabella, who in great spirits exclaimed,
"At last I have got you. My dearest creature, I have been looking for
you this hour. What could induce you to come into this set, when you
knew I was in the other? I have been quite wretched without you."

"My dear Isabella, how was it possible for me to get at you? I could not
even see where you were."

"So I told your brother all the time--but he would not believe me. Do go
and see for her, Mr. Morland, said I--but all in vain--he would not stir
an inch. Was not it so, Mr. Morland? But you men are all so immoderately
lazy! I have been scolding him to such a degree, my dear Catherine, you
would be quite amazed. You know I never stand upon ceremony with such
people."

"Look at that young lady with the white beads round her head," whispered
Catherine, detaching her friend from James. "It is Mr. Tilney's sister."

"Oh! Heavens! You don't say so! Let me look at her this moment. What a
delightful girl! I never saw anything half so beautiful! But where is
her all-conquering brother? Is he in the room? Point him out to me this
instant, if he is. I die to see him. Mr. Morland, you are not to listen.
We are not talking about you."

"But what is all this whispering about? What is going on?"

"There now, I knew how it would be. You men have such restless
curiosity! Talk of the curiosity of women, indeed! 'Tis nothing. But be
satisfied, for you are not to know anything at all of the matter."

"And is that likely to satisfy me, do you think?"

"Well, I declare I never knew anything like you. What can it signify to
you, what we are talking of. Perhaps we are talking about you; therefore
I would advise you not to listen, or you may happen to hear something
not very agreeable."

In this commonplace chatter, which lasted some time, the original
subject seemed entirely forgotten; and though Catherine was very well
pleased to have it dropped for a while, she could not avoid a little
suspicion at the total suspension of all Isabella's impatient desire to
see Mr. Tilney. When the orchestra struck up a fresh dance, James would
have led his fair partner away, but she resisted. "I tell you, Mr.
Morland," she cried, "I would not do such a thing for all the world.
How can you be so teasing; only conceive, my dear Catherine, what your
brother wants me to do. He wants me to dance with him again, though
I tell him that it is a most improper thing, and entirely against the
rules. It would make us the talk of the place, if we were not to change
partners."

"Upon my honour," said James, "in these public assemblies, it is as
often done as not."

"Nonsense, how can you say so? But when you men have a point to carry,
you never stick at anything. My sweet Catherine, do support me; persuade
your brother how impossible it is. Tell him that it would quite shock
you to see me do such a thing; now would not it?"

"No, not at all; but if you think it wrong, you had much better change."

"There," cried Isabella, "you hear what your sister says, and yet you
will not mind her. Well, remember that it is not my fault, if we set all
the old ladies in Bath in a bustle. Come along, my dearest Catherine,
for heaven's sake, and stand by me." And off they went, to regain
their former place. John Thorpe, in the meanwhile, had walked away; and
Catherine, ever willing to give Mr. Tilney an opportunity of repeating
the agreeable request which had already flattered her once, made her
way to Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Thorpe as fast as she could, in the hope
of finding him still with them--a hope which, when it proved to be
fruitless, she felt to have been highly unreasonable. "Well, my dear,"
said Mrs. Thorpe, impatient for praise of her son, "I hope you have had
an agreeable partner."

"Very agreeable, madam."

"I am glad of it. John has charming spirits, has not he?"

"Did you meet Mr. Tilney, my dear?" said Mrs. Allen.

"No, where is he?"

"He was with us just now, and said he was so tired of lounging about,
that he was resolved to go and dance; so I thought perhaps he would ask
you, if he met with you."

"Where can he be?" said Catherine, looking round; but she had not looked
round long before she saw him leading a young lady to the dance.

"Ah! He has got a partner; I wish he had asked you," said Mrs. Allen;
and after a short silence, she added, "he is a very agreeable young
man."

"Indeed he is, Mrs. Allen," said Mrs. Thorpe, smiling complacently; "I
must say it, though I am his mother, that there is not a more agreeable
young man in the world."

This inapplicable answer might have been too much for the comprehension
of many; but it did not puzzle Mrs. Allen, for after only a moment's
consideration, she said, in a whisper to Catherine, "I dare say she
thought I was speaking of her son."

Catherine was disappointed and vexed. She seemed to have missed by so
little the very object she had had in view; and this persuasion did not
incline her to a very gracious reply, when John Thorpe came up to her
soon afterwards and said, "Well, Miss Morland, I suppose you and I are
to stand up and jig it together again."

"Oh, no; I am much obliged to you, our two dances are over; and,
besides, I am tired, and do not mean to dance any more."

"Do not you? Then let us walk about and quiz people. Come along with
me, and I will show you the four greatest quizzers in the room; my two
younger sisters and their partners. I have been laughing at them this
half hour."

Again Catherine excused herself; and at last he walked off to quiz his
sisters by himself. The rest of the evening she found very dull; Mr.
Tilney was drawn away from their party at tea, to attend that of his
partner; Miss Tilney, though belonging to it, did not sit near her, and
James and Isabella were so much engaged in conversing together that the
latter had no leisure to bestow more on her friend than one smile, one
squeeze, and one "dearest Catherine."



CHAPTER 9


The progress of Catherine's unhappiness from the events of the evening
was as follows. It appeared first in a general dissatisfaction with
everybody about her, while she remained in the rooms, which speedily
brought on considerable weariness and a violent desire to go home. This,
on arriving in Pulteney Street, took the direction of extraordinary
hunger, and when that was appeased, changed into an earnest longing to
be in bed; such was the extreme point of her distress; for when there
she immediately fell into a sound sleep which lasted nine hours, and
from which she awoke perfectly revived, in excellent spirits, with fresh
hopes and fresh schemes. The first wish of her heart was to improve her
acquaintance with Miss Tilney, and almost her first resolution, to seek
her for that purpose, in the pump-room at noon. In the pump-room, one
so newly arrived in Bath must be met with, and that building she had
already found so favourable for the discovery of female excellence,
and the completion of female intimacy, so admirably adapted for secret
discourses and unlimited confidence, that she was most reasonably
encouraged to expect another friend from within its walls. Her plan
for the morning thus settled, she sat quietly down to her book after
breakfast, resolving to remain in the same place and the same employment
till the clock struck one; and from habitude very little incommoded by
the remarks and ejaculations of Mrs. Allen, whose vacancy of mind and
incapacity for thinking were such, that as she never talked a great
deal, so she could never be entirely silent; and, therefore, while she
sat at her work, if she lost her needle or broke her thread, if she
heard a carriage in the street, or saw a speck upon her gown, she must
observe it aloud, whether there were anyone at leisure to answer her or
not. At about half past twelve, a remarkably loud rap drew her in haste
to the window, and scarcely had she time to inform Catherine of there
being two open carriages at the door, in the first only a servant,
her brother driving Miss Thorpe in the second, before John Thorpe came
running upstairs, calling out, "Well, Miss Morland, here I am. Have
you been waiting long? We could not come before; the old devil of a
coachmaker was such an eternity finding out a thing fit to be got into,
and now it is ten thousand to one but they break down before we are out
of the street. How do you do, Mrs. Allen? A famous ball last night, was
not it? Come, Miss Morland, be quick, for the others are in a confounded
hurry to be off. They want to get their tumble over."

"What do you mean?" said Catherine. "Where are you all going to?"

"Going to? Why, you have not forgot our engagement! Did not we agree
together to take a drive this morning? What a head you have! We are
going up Claverton Down."

"Something was said about it, I remember," said Catherine, looking at
Mrs. Allen for her opinion; "but really I did not expect you."

"Not expect me! That's a good one! And what a dust you would have made,
if I had not come."

Catherine's silent appeal to her friend, meanwhile, was entirely thrown
away, for Mrs. Allen, not being at all in the habit of conveying any
expression herself by a look, was not aware of its being ever intended
by anybody else; and Catherine, whose desire of seeing Miss Tilney again
could at that moment bear a short delay in favour of a drive, and who
thought there could be no impropriety in her going with Mr. Thorpe, as
Isabella was going at the same time with James, was therefore obliged to
speak plainer. "Well, ma'am, what do you say to it? Can you spare me for
an hour or two? Shall I go?"

"Do just as you please, my dear," replied Mrs. Allen, with the most
placid indifference. Catherine took the advice, and ran off to get
ready. In a very few minutes she reappeared, having scarcely allowed
the two others time enough to get through a few short sentences in her
praise, after Thorpe had procured Mrs. Allen's admiration of his gig;
and then receiving her friend's parting good wishes, they both hurried
downstairs. "My dearest creature," cried Isabella, to whom the duty
of friendship immediately called her before she could get into the
carriage, "you have been at least three hours getting ready. I was
afraid you were ill. What a delightful ball we had last night. I have a
thousand things to say to you; but make haste and get in, for I long to
be off."

Catherine followed her orders and turned away, but not too soon to hear
her friend exclaim aloud to James, "What a sweet girl she is! I quite
dote on her."

"You will not be frightened, Miss Morland," said Thorpe, as he handed
her in, "if my horse should dance about a little at first setting off.
He will, most likely, give a plunge or two, and perhaps take the rest
for a minute; but he will soon know his master. He is full of spirits,
playful as can be, but there is no vice in him."

Catherine did not think the portrait a very inviting one, but it was too
late to retreat, and she was too young to own herself frightened; so,
resigning herself to her fate, and trusting to the animal's boasted
knowledge of its owner, she sat peaceably down, and saw Thorpe sit down
by her. Everything being then arranged, the servant who stood at the
horse's head was bid in an important voice "to let him go," and off they
went in the quietest manner imaginable, without a plunge or a caper, or
anything like one. Catherine, delighted at so happy an escape, spoke
her pleasure aloud with grateful surprise; and her companion immediately
made the matter perfectly simple by assuring her that it was entirely
owing to the peculiarly judicious manner in which he had then held the
reins, and the singular discernment and dexterity with which he had
directed his whip. Catherine, though she could not help wondering that
with such perfect command of his horse, he should think it necessary to
alarm her with a relation of its tricks, congratulated herself sincerely
on being under the care of so excellent a coachman; and perceiving that
the animal continued to go on in the same quiet manner, without
showing the smallest propensity towards any unpleasant vivacity, and
(considering its inevitable pace was ten miles an hour) by no means
alarmingly fast, gave herself up to all the enjoyment of air and
exercise of the most invigorating kind, in a fine mild day of February,
with the consciousness of safety. A silence of several minutes succeeded
their first short dialogue; it was broken by Thorpe's saying very
abruptly, "Old Allen is as rich as a Jew--is not he?" Catherine did not
understand him--and he repeated his question, adding in explanation,
"Old Allen, the man you are with."

"Oh! Mr. Allen, you mean. Yes, I believe, he is very rich."

"And no children at all?"

"No--not any."

"A famous thing for his next heirs. He is your godfather, is not he?"

"My godfather! No."

"But you are always very much with them."

"Yes, very much."

"Aye, that is what I meant. He seems a good kind of old fellow enough,
and has lived very well in his time, I dare say; he is not gouty for
nothing. Does he drink his bottle a day now?"

"His bottle a day! No. Why should you think of such a thing? He is a
very temperate man, and you could not fancy him in liquor last night?"

"Lord help you! You women are always thinking of men's being in liquor.
Why, you do not suppose a man is overset by a bottle? I am sure of
this--that if everybody was to drink their bottle a day, there would not
be half the disorders in the world there are now. It would be a famous
good thing for us all."

"I cannot believe it."

"Oh! Lord, it would be the saving of thousands. There is not the
hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to
be. Our foggy climate wants help."

"And yet I have heard that there is a great deal of wine drunk in
Oxford."

"Oxford! There is no drinking at Oxford now, I assure you. Nobody drinks
there. You would hardly meet with a man who goes beyond his four pints
at the utmost. Now, for instance, it was reckoned a remarkable thing, at
the last party in my rooms, that upon an average we cleared about five
pints a head. It was looked upon as something out of the common way.
Mine is famous good stuff, to be sure. You would not often meet with
anything like it in Oxford--and that may account for it. But this will
just give you a notion of the general rate of drinking there."

"Yes, it does give a notion," said Catherine warmly, "and that is, that
you all drink a great deal more wine than I thought you did. However, I
am sure James does not drink so much."

This declaration brought on a loud and overpowering reply, of which
no part was very distinct, except the frequent exclamations, amounting
almost to oaths, which adorned it, and Catherine was left, when it
ended, with rather a strengthened belief of there being a great deal
of wine drunk in Oxford, and the same happy conviction of her brother's
comparative sobriety.

Thorpe's ideas then all reverted to the merits of his own equipage, and
she was called on to admire the spirit and freedom with which his horse
moved along, and the ease which his paces, as well as the excellence of
the springs, gave the motion of the carriage. She followed him in all
his admiration as well as she could. To go before or beyond him was
impossible. His knowledge and her ignorance of the subject, his rapidity
of expression, and her diffidence of herself put that out of her power;
she could strike out nothing new in commendation, but she readily echoed
whatever he chose to assert, and it was finally settled between them
without any difficulty that his equipage was altogether the most
complete of its kind in England, his carriage the neatest, his horse the
best goer, and himself the best coachman. "You do not really think,
Mr. Thorpe," said Catherine, venturing after some time to consider the
matter as entirely decided, and to offer some little variation on the
subject, "that James's gig will break down?"

"Break down! Oh! Lord! Did you ever see such a little tittuppy thing in
your life? There is not a sound piece of iron about it. The wheels have
been fairly worn out these ten years at least--and as for the body! Upon
my soul, you might shake it to pieces yourself with a touch. It is the
most devilish little rickety business I ever beheld! Thank God! we
have got a better. I would not be bound to go two miles in it for fifty
thousand pounds."

"Good heavens!" cried Catherine, quite frightened. "Then pray let us
turn back; they will certainly meet with an accident if we go on. Do let
us turn back, Mr. Thorpe; stop and speak to my brother, and tell him how
very unsafe it is."

"Unsafe! Oh, lord! What is there in that? They will only get a roll if
it does break down; and there is plenty of dirt; it will be excellent
falling. Oh, curse it! The carriage is safe enough, if a man knows how
to drive it; a thing of that sort in good hands will last above twenty
years after it is fairly worn out. Lord bless you! I would undertake for
five pounds to drive it to York and back again, without losing a nail."

Catherine listened with astonishment; she knew not how to reconcile two
such very different accounts of the same thing; for she had not been
brought up to understand the propensities of a rattle, nor to know to
how many idle assertions and impudent falsehoods the excess of vanity
will lead. Her own family were plain, matter-of-fact people who seldom
aimed at wit of any kind; her father, at the utmost, being contented
with a pun, and her mother with a proverb; they were not in the habit
therefore of telling lies to increase their importance, or of asserting
at one moment what they would contradict the next. She reflected on the
affair for some time in much perplexity, and was more than once on the
point of requesting from Mr. Thorpe a clearer insight into his real
opinion on the subject; but she checked herself, because it appeared to
her that he did not excel in giving those clearer insights, in making
those things plain which he had before made ambiguous; and, joining to
this, the consideration that he would not really suffer his sister and
his friend to be exposed to a danger from which he might easily preserve
them, she concluded at last that he must know the carriage to be in fact
perfectly safe, and therefore would alarm herself no longer. By him
the whole matter seemed entirely forgotten; and all the rest of his
conversation, or rather talk, began and ended with himself and his own
concerns. He told her of horses which he had bought for a trifle and
sold for incredible sums; of racing matches, in which his judgment had
infallibly foretold the winner; of shooting parties, in which he had
killed more birds (though without having one good shot) than all his
companions together; and described to her some famous day's sport, with
the fox-hounds, in which his foresight and skill in directing the dogs
had repaired the mistakes of the most experienced huntsman, and in which
the boldness of his riding, though it had never endangered his own life
for a moment, had been constantly leading others into difficulties,
which he calmly concluded had broken the necks of many.

Little as Catherine was in the habit of judging for herself, and unfixed
as were her general notions of what men ought to be, she could not
entirely repress a doubt, while she bore with the effusions of his
endless conceit, of his being altogether completely agreeable. It was a
bold surmise, for he was Isabella's brother; and she had been assured by
James that his manners would recommend him to all her sex; but in spite
of this, the extreme weariness of his company, which crept over her
before they had been out an hour, and which continued unceasingly to
increase till they stopped in Pulteney Street again, induced her, in
some small degree, to resist such high authority, and to distrust his
powers of giving universal pleasure.

When they arrived at Mrs. Allen's door, the astonishment of Isabella was
hardly to be expressed, on finding that it was too late in the day for
them to attend her friend into the house: "Past three o'clock!" It was
inconceivable, incredible, impossible! And she would neither believe her
own watch, nor her brother's, nor the servant's; she would believe no
assurance of it founded on reason or reality, till Morland produced his
watch, and ascertained the fact; to have doubted a moment longer then
would have been equally inconceivable, incredible, and impossible; and
she could only protest, over and over again, that no two hours and a
half had ever gone off so swiftly before, as Catherine was called on to
confirm; Catherine could not tell a falsehood even to please Isabella;
but the latter was spared the misery of her friend's dissenting voice,
by not waiting for her answer. Her own feelings entirely engrossed
her; her wretchedness was most acute on finding herself obliged to go
directly home. It was ages since she had had a moment's conversation
with her dearest Catherine; and, though she had such thousands of things
to say to her, it appeared as if they were never to be together again;
so, with smiles of most exquisite misery, and the laughing eye of utter
despondency, she bade her friend adieu and went on.

Catherine found Mrs. Allen just returned from all the busy idleness of
the morning, and was immediately greeted with, "Well, my dear, here
you are," a truth which she had no greater inclination than power to
dispute; "and I hope you have had a pleasant airing?"

"Yes, ma'am, I thank you; we could not have had a nicer day."

"So Mrs. Thorpe said; she was vastly pleased at your all going."

"You have seen Mrs. Thorpe, then?"

"Yes, I went to the pump-room as soon as you were gone, and there I met
her, and we had a great deal of talk together. She says there was hardly
any veal to be got at market this morning, it is so uncommonly scarce."

"Did you see anybody else of our acquaintance?"

"Yes; we agreed to take a turn in the Crescent, and there we met Mrs.
Hughes, and Mr. and Miss Tilney walking with her."

"Did you indeed? And did they speak to you?"

"Yes, we walked along the Crescent together for half an hour. They seem
very agreeable people. Miss Tilney was in a very pretty spotted
muslin, and I fancy, by what I can learn, that she always dresses very
handsomely. Mrs. Hughes talked to me a great deal about the family."

"And what did she tell you of them?"

"Oh! A vast deal indeed; she hardly talked of anything else."

"Did she tell you what part of Gloucestershire they come from?"

"Yes, she did; but I cannot recollect now. But they are very good kind
of people, and very rich. Mrs. Tilney was a Miss Drummond, and she
and Mrs. Hughes were schoolfellows; and Miss Drummond had a very large
fortune; and, when she married, her father gave her twenty thousand
pounds, and five hundred to buy wedding-clothes. Mrs. Hughes saw all the
clothes after they came from the warehouse."

"And are Mr. and Mrs. Tilney in Bath?"

"Yes, I fancy they are, but I am not quite certain. Upon recollection,
however, I have a notion they are both dead; at least the mother is;
yes, I am sure Mrs. Tilney is dead, because Mrs. Hughes told me there
was a very beautiful set of pearls that Mr. Drummond gave his daughter
on her wedding-day and that Miss Tilney has got now, for they were put
by for her when her mother died."

"And is Mr. Tilney, my partner, the only son?"

"I cannot be quite positive about that, my dear; I have some idea he is;
but, however, he is a very fine young man, Mrs. Hughes says, and likely
to do very well."

Catherine inquired no further; she had heard enough to feel that
Mrs. Allen had no real intelligence to give, and that she was most
particularly unfortunate herself in having missed such a meeting with
both brother and sister. Could she have foreseen such a circumstance,
nothing should have persuaded her to go out with the others; and, as
it was, she could only lament her ill luck, and think over what she had
lost, till it was clear to her that the drive had by no means been very
pleasant and that John Thorpe himself was quite disagreeable.



CHAPTER 10


The Allens, Thorpes, and Morlands all met in the evening at the
theatre; and, as Catherine and Isabella sat together, there was then an
opportunity for the latter to utter some few of the many thousand
things which had been collecting within her for communication in the
immeasurable length of time which had divided them. "Oh, heavens!
My beloved Catherine, have I got you at last?" was her address on
Catherine's entering the box and sitting by her. "Now, Mr. Morland," for
he was close to her on the other side, "I shall not speak another word
to you all the rest of the evening; so I charge you not to expect it. My
sweetest Catherine, how have you been this long age? But I need not ask
you, for you look delightfully. You really have done your hair in a
more heavenly style than ever; you mischievous creature, do you want to
attract everybody? I assure you, my brother is quite in love with you
already; and as for Mr. Tilney--but that is a settled thing--even your
modesty cannot doubt his attachment now; his coming back to Bath makes
it too plain. Oh! What would not I give to see him! I really am quite
wild with impatience. My mother says he is the most delightful young man
in the world; she saw him this morning, you know; you must introduce him
to me. Is he in the house now? Look about, for heaven's sake! I assure
you, I can hardly exist till I see him."

"No," said Catherine, "he is not here; I cannot see him anywhere."

"Oh, horrid! Am I never to be acquainted with him? How do you like my
gown? I think it does not look amiss; the sleeves were entirely my own
thought. Do you know, I get so immoderately sick of Bath; your brother
and I were agreeing this morning that, though it is vastly well to be
here for a few weeks, we would not live here for millions. We soon found
out that our tastes were exactly alike in preferring the country to
every other place; really, our opinions were so exactly the same, it was
quite ridiculous! There was not a single point in which we differed; I
would not have had you by for the world; you are such a sly thing, I am
sure you would have made some droll remark or other about it."

"No, indeed I should not."

"Oh, yes you would indeed; I know you better than you know yourself. You
would have told us that we seemed born for each other, or some nonsense
of that kind, which would have distressed me beyond conception; my
cheeks would have been as red as your roses; I would not have had you by
for the world."

"Indeed you do me injustice; I would not have made so improper a remark
upon any account; and besides, I am sure it would never have entered my
head."

Isabella smiled incredulously and talked the rest of the evening to
James.

Catherine's resolution of endeavouring to meet Miss Tilney again
continued in full force the next morning; and till the usual moment of
going to the pump-room, she felt some alarm from the dread of a second
prevention. But nothing of that kind occurred, no visitors appeared to
delay them, and they all three set off in good time for the pump-room,
where the ordinary course of events and conversation took place; Mr.
Allen, after drinking his glass of water, joined some gentlemen to
talk over the politics of the day and compare the accounts of their
newspapers; and the ladies walked about together, noticing every new
face, and almost every new bonnet in the room. The female part of the
Thorpe family, attended by James Morland, appeared among the crowd in
less than a quarter of an hour, and Catherine immediately took her
usual place by the side of her friend. James, who was now in constant
attendance, maintained a similar position, and separating themselves
from the rest of their party, they walked in that manner for some
time, till Catherine began to doubt the happiness of a situation which,
confining her entirely to her friend and brother, gave her very
little share in the notice of either. They were always engaged in
some sentimental discussion or lively dispute, but their sentiment was
conveyed in such whispering voices, and their vivacity attended with
so much laughter, that though Catherine's supporting opinion was not
unfrequently called for by one or the other, she was never able to give
any, from not having heard a word of the subject. At length however
she was empowered to disengage herself from her friend, by the avowed
necessity of speaking to Miss Tilney, whom she most joyfully saw just
entering the room with Mrs. Hughes, and whom she instantly joined, with
a firmer determination to be acquainted, than she might have had courage
to command, had she not been urged by the disappointment of the day
before. Miss Tilney met her with great civility, returned her advances
with equal goodwill, and they continued talking together as long as
both parties remained in the room; and though in all probability not
an observation was made, nor an expression used by either which had not
been made and used some thousands of times before, under that roof, in
every Bath season, yet the merit of their being spoken with simplicity
and truth, and without personal conceit, might be something uncommon.

"How well your brother dances!" was an artless exclamation of
Catherine's towards the close of their conversation, which at once
surprised and amused her companion.

"Henry!" she replied with a smile. "Yes, he does dance very well."

"He must have thought it very odd to hear me say I was engaged the other
evening, when he saw me sitting down. But I really had been engaged
the whole day to Mr. Thorpe." Miss Tilney could only bow. "You cannot
think," added Catherine after a moment's silence, "how surprised I was
to see him again. I felt so sure of his being quite gone away."

"When Henry had the pleasure of seeing you before, he was in Bath but
for a couple of days. He came only to engage lodgings for us."

"That never occurred to me; and of course, not seeing him anywhere, I
thought he must be gone. Was not the young lady he danced with on Monday
a Miss Smith?"

"Yes, an acquaintance of Mrs. Hughes."

"I dare say she was very glad to dance. Do you think her pretty?"

"Not very."

"He never comes to the pump-room, I suppose?"

"Yes, sometimes; but he has rid out this morning with my father."

Mrs. Hughes now joined them, and asked Miss Tilney if she was ready to
go. "I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you again soon," said
Catherine. "Shall you be at the cotillion ball tomorrow?"

"Perhaps we--Yes, I think we certainly shall."

"I am glad of it, for we shall all be there." This civility was duly
returned; and they parted--on Miss Tilney's side with some knowledge
of her new acquaintance's feelings, and on Catherine's, without the
smallest consciousness of having explained them.

She went home very happy. The morning had answered all her hopes, and
the evening of the following day was now the object of expectation,
the future good. What gown and what head-dress she should wear on the
occasion became her chief concern. She cannot be justified in it. Dress
is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about
it often destroys its own aim. Catherine knew all this very well; her
great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas
before; and yet she lay awake ten minutes on Wednesday night debating
between her spotted and her tamboured muslin, and nothing but the
shortness of the time prevented her buying a new one for the evening.
This would have been an error in judgment, great though not uncommon,
from which one of the other sex rather than her own, a brother rather
than a great aunt, might have warned her, for man only can be aware of
the insensibility of man towards a new gown. It would be mortifying to
the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little
the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire;
how little it is biased by the texture of their muslin, and how
unsusceptible of peculiar tenderness towards the spotted, the sprigged,
the mull, or the jackonet. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone.
No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for
it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of
shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter. But not
one of these grave reflections troubled the tranquillity of Catherine.

She entered the rooms on Thursday evening with feelings very different
from what had attended her thither the Monday before. She had then been
exulting in her engagement to Thorpe, and was now chiefly anxious to
avoid his sight, lest he should engage her again; for though she could
not, dared not expect that Mr. Tilney should ask her a third time to
dance, her wishes, hopes, and plans all centred in nothing less. Every
young lady may feel for my heroine in this critical moment, for every
young lady has at some time or other known the same agitation. All have
been, or at least all have believed themselves to be, in danger from the
pursuit of someone whom they wished to avoid; and all have been anxious
for the attentions of someone whom they wished to please. As soon as
they were joined by the Thorpes, Catherine's agony began; she fidgeted
about if John Thorpe came towards her, hid herself as much as possible
from his view, and when he spoke to her pretended not to hear him. The
cotillions were over, the country-dancing beginning, and she saw nothing
of the Tilneys.

"Do not be frightened, my dear Catherine," whispered Isabella, "but I am
really going to dance with your brother again. I declare positively it
is quite shocking. I tell him he ought to be ashamed of himself, but you
and John must keep us in countenance. Make haste, my dear creature, and
come to us. John is just walked off, but he will be back in a moment."

Catherine had neither time nor inclination to answer. The others walked
away, John Thorpe was still in view, and she gave herself up for lost.
That she might not appear, however, to observe or expect him, she kept
her eyes intently fixed on her fan; and a self-condemnation for her
folly, in supposing that among such a crowd they should even meet with
the Tilneys in any reasonable time, had just passed through her mind,
when she suddenly found herself addressed and again solicited to dance,
by Mr. Tilney himself. With what sparkling eyes and ready motion she
granted his request, and with how pleasing a flutter of heart she went
with him to the set, may be easily imagined. To escape, and, as
she believed, so narrowly escape John Thorpe, and to be asked, so
immediately on his joining her, asked by Mr. Tilney, as if he had sought
her on purpose!--it did not appear to her that life could supply any
greater felicity.

Scarcely had they worked themselves into the quiet possession of a
place, however, when her attention was claimed by John Thorpe, who stood
behind her. "Heyday, Miss Morland!" said he. "What is the meaning of
this? I thought you and I were to dance together."

"I wonder you should think so, for you never asked me."

"That is a good one, by Jove! I asked you as soon as I came into the
room, and I was just going to ask you again, but when I turned round,
you were gone! This is a cursed shabby trick! I only came for the sake
of dancing with you, and I firmly believe you were engaged to me ever
since Monday. Yes; I remember, I asked you while you were waiting in the
lobby for your cloak. And here have I been telling all my acquaintance
that I was going to dance with the prettiest girl in the room; and
when they see you standing up with somebody else, they will quiz me
famously."

"Oh, no; they will never think of me, after such a description as that."

"By heavens, if they do not, I will kick them out of the room for
blockheads. What chap have you there?" Catherine satisfied his
curiosity. "Tilney," he repeated. "Hum--I do not know him. A good figure
of a man; well put together. Does he want a horse? Here is a friend
of mine, Sam Fletcher, has got one to sell that would suit anybody. A
famous clever animal for the road--only forty guineas. I had fifty minds
to buy it myself, for it is one of my maxims always to buy a good horse
when I meet with one; but it would not answer my purpose, it would not
do for the field. I would give any money for a real good hunter. I
have three now, the best that ever were backed. I would not take
eight hundred guineas for them. Fletcher and I mean to get a house in
Leicestershire, against the next season. It is so d--uncomfortable,
living at an inn."

This was the last sentence by which he could weary Catherine's
attention, for he was just then borne off by the resistless pressure of
a long string of passing ladies. Her partner now drew near, and said,
"That gentleman would have put me out of patience, had he stayed with
you half a minute longer. He has no business to withdraw the attention
of my partner from me. We have entered into a contract of mutual
agreeableness for the space of an evening, and all our agreeableness
belongs solely to each other for that time. Nobody can fasten themselves
on the notice of one, without injuring the rights of the other.
I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and
complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not
choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners
or wives of their neighbours."

"But they are such very different things!"

"--That you think they cannot be compared together."

"To be sure not. People that marry can never part, but must go and keep
house together. People that dance only stand opposite each other in a
long room for half an hour."

"And such is your definition of matrimony and dancing. Taken in that
light certainly, their resemblance is not striking; but I think I could
place them in such a view. You will allow, that in both, man has the
advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal; that in both,
it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of
each; and that when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each
other till the moment of its dissolution; that it is their duty, each
to endeavour to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had
bestowed themselves elsewhere, and their best interest to keep their own
imaginations from wandering towards the perfections of their neighbours,
or fancying that they should have been better off with anyone else. You
will allow all this?"

"Yes, to be sure, as you state it, all this sounds very well; but still
they are so very different. I cannot look upon them at all in the same
light, nor think the same duties belong to them."

"In one respect, there certainly is a difference. In marriage, the man
is supposed to provide for the support of the woman, the woman to make
the home agreeable to the man; he is to purvey, and she is to smile.
But in dancing, their duties are exactly changed; the agreeableness, the
compliance are expected from him, while she furnishes the fan and the
lavender water. That, I suppose, was the difference of duties which
struck you, as rendering the conditions incapable of comparison."

"No, indeed, I never thought of that."

"Then I am quite at a loss. One thing, however, I must observe. This
disposition on your side is rather alarming. You totally disallow any
similarity in the obligations; and may I not thence infer that your
notions of the duties of the dancing state are not so strict as your
partner might wish? Have I not reason to fear that if the gentleman who
spoke to you just now were to return, or if any other gentleman were to
address you, there would be nothing to restrain you from conversing with
him as long as you chose?"

"Mr. Thorpe is such a very particular friend of my brother's, that if he
talks to me, I must talk to him again; but there are hardly three young
men in the room besides him that I have any acquaintance with."

"And is that to be my only security? Alas, alas!"

"Nay, I am sure you cannot have a better; for if I do not know anybody,
it is impossible for me to talk to them; and, besides, I do not want to
talk to anybody."

"Now you have given me a security worth having; and I shall proceed
with courage. Do you find Bath as agreeable as when I had the honour of
making the inquiry before?"

"Yes, quite--more so, indeed."

"More so! Take care, or you will forget to be tired of it at the proper
time. You ought to be tired at the end of six weeks."

"I do not think I should be tired, if I were to stay here six months."

"Bath, compared with London, has little variety, and so everybody finds
out every year. 'For six weeks, I allow Bath is pleasant enough; but
beyond that, it is the most tiresome place in the world.' You would be
told so by people of all descriptions, who come regularly every winter,
lengthen their six weeks into ten or twelve, and go away at last because
they can afford to stay no longer."

"Well, other people must judge for themselves, and those who go to
London may think nothing of Bath. But I, who live in a small retired
village in the country, can never find greater sameness in such a place
as this than in my own home; for here are a variety of amusements, a
variety of things to be seen and done all day long, which I can know
nothing of there."

"You are not fond of the country."

"Yes, I am. I have always lived there, and always been very happy. But
certainly there is much more sameness in a country life than in a Bath
life. One day in the country is exactly like another."

"But then you spend your time so much more rationally in the country."

"Do I?"

"Do you not?"

"I do not believe there is much difference."

"Here you are in pursuit only of amusement all day long."

"And so I am at home--only I do not find so much of it. I walk about
here, and so I do there; but here I see a variety of people in every
street, and there I can only go and call on Mrs. Allen."

Mr. Tilney was very much amused.

"Only go and call on Mrs. Allen!" he repeated. "What a picture of
intellectual poverty! However, when you sink into this abyss again, you
will have more to say. You will be able to talk of Bath, and of all that
you did here."

"Oh! Yes. I shall never be in want of something to talk of again to Mrs.
Allen, or anybody else. I really believe I shall always be talking of
Bath, when I am at home again--I do like it so very much. If I could but
have Papa and Mamma, and the rest of them here, I suppose I should be
too happy! James's coming (my eldest brother) is quite delightful--and
especially as it turns out that the very family we are just got so
intimate with are his intimate friends already. Oh! Who can ever be
tired of Bath?"

"Not those who bring such fresh feelings of every sort to it as you do.
But papas and mammas, and brothers, and intimate friends are a good deal
gone by, to most of the frequenters of Bath--and the honest relish of
balls and plays, and everyday sights, is past with them." Here
their conversation closed, the demands of the dance becoming now too
importunate for a divided attention.

Soon after their reaching the bottom of the set, Catherine perceived
herself to be earnestly regarded by a gentleman who stood among the
lookers-on, immediately behind her partner. He was a very handsome man,
of a commanding aspect, past the bloom, but not past the vigour of
life; and with his eye still directed towards her, she saw him presently
address Mr. Tilney in a familiar whisper. Confused by his notice, and
blushing from the fear of its being excited by something wrong in
her appearance, she turned away her head. But while she did so, the
gentleman retreated, and her partner, coming nearer, said, "I see that
you guess what I have just been asked. That gentleman knows your name,
and you have a right to know his. It is General Tilney, my father."

Catherine's answer was only "Oh!"--but it was an "Oh!" expressing
everything needful: attention to his words, and perfect reliance on
their truth. With real interest and strong admiration did her eye now
follow the general, as he moved through the crowd, and "How handsome a
family they are!" was her secret remark.

In chatting with Miss Tilney before the evening concluded, a new source
of felicity arose to her. She had never taken a country walk since
her arrival in Bath. Miss Tilney, to whom all the commonly frequented
environs were familiar, spoke of them in terms which made her all
eagerness to know them too; and on her openly fearing that she might
find nobody to go with her, it was proposed by the brother and sister
that they should join in a walk, some morning or other. "I shall like
it," she cried, "beyond anything in the world; and do not let us put
it off--let us go tomorrow." This was readily agreed to, with only a
proviso of Miss Tilney's, that it did not rain, which Catherine was sure
it would not. At twelve o'clock, they were to call for her in Pulteney
Street; and "Remember--twelve o'clock," was her parting speech to
her new friend. Of her other, her older, her more established friend,
Isabella, of whose fidelity and worth she had enjoyed a fortnight's
experience, she scarcely saw anything during the evening. Yet, though
longing to make her acquainted with her happiness, she cheerfully
submitted to the wish of Mr. Allen, which took them rather early away,
and her spirits danced within her, as she danced in her chair all the
way home.



CHAPTER 11


The morrow brought a very sober-looking morning, the sun making only
a few efforts to appear, and Catherine augured from it everything most
favourable to her wishes. A bright morning so early in the year,
she allowed, would generally turn to rain, but a cloudy one foretold
improvement as the day advanced. She applied to Mr. Allen for
confirmation of her hopes, but Mr. Allen, not having his own skies and
barometer about him, declined giving any absolute promise of sunshine.
She applied to Mrs. Allen, and Mrs. Allen's opinion was more positive.
"She had no doubt in the world of its being a very fine day, if the
clouds would only go off, and the sun keep out."

At about eleven o'clock, however, a few specks of small rain upon the
windows caught Catherine's watchful eye, and "Oh! dear, I do believe it
will be wet," broke from her in a most desponding tone.

"I thought how it would be," said Mrs. Allen.

"No walk for me today," sighed Catherine; "but perhaps it may come to
nothing, or it may hold up before twelve."

"Perhaps it may, but then, my dear, it will be so dirty."

"Oh! That will not signify; I never mind dirt."

"No," replied her friend very placidly, "I know you never mind dirt."

After a short pause, "It comes on faster and faster!" said Catherine, as
she stood watching at a window.

"So it does indeed. If it keeps raining, the streets will be very wet."

"There are four umbrellas up already. How I hate the sight of an
umbrella!"

"They are disagreeable things to carry. I would much rather take a chair
at any time."

"It was such a nice-looking morning! I felt so convinced it would be
dry!"

"Anybody would have thought so indeed. There will be very few people in
the pump-room, if it rains all the morning. I hope Mr. Allen will put
on his greatcoat when he goes, but I dare say he will not, for he had
rather do anything in the world than walk out in a greatcoat; I wonder
he should dislike it, it must be so comfortable."

The rain continued--fast, though not heavy. Catherine went every five
minutes to the clock, threatening on each return that, if it still
kept on raining another five minutes, she would give up the matter as
hopeless. The clock struck twelve, and it still rained. "You will not be
able to go, my dear."

"I do not quite despair yet. I shall not give it up till a quarter after
twelve. This is just the time of day for it to clear up, and I do think
it looks a little lighter. There, it is twenty minutes after twelve, and
now I shall give it up entirely. Oh! That we had such weather here
as they had at Udolpho, or at least in Tuscany and the south of
France!--the night that poor St. Aubin died!--such beautiful weather!"

At half past twelve, when Catherine's anxious attention to the weather
was over and she could no longer claim any merit from its amendment, the
sky began voluntarily to clear. A gleam of sunshine took her quite by
surprise; she looked round; the clouds were parting, and she instantly
returned to the window to watch over and encourage the happy appearance.
Ten minutes more made it certain that a bright afternoon would succeed,
and justified the opinion of Mrs. Allen, who had "always thought it
would clear up." But whether Catherine might still expect her friends,
whether there had not been too much rain for Miss Tilney to venture,
must yet be a question.

It was too dirty for Mrs. Allen to accompany her husband to the
pump-room; he accordingly set off by himself, and Catherine had barely
watched him down the street when her notice was claimed by the approach
of the same two open carriages, containing the same three people that
had surprised her so much a few mornings back.

"Isabella, my brother, and Mr. Thorpe, I declare! They are coming for
me perhaps--but I shall not go--I cannot go indeed, for you know Miss
Tilney may still call." Mrs. Allen agreed to it. John Thorpe was soon
with them, and his voice was with them yet sooner, for on the stairs he
was calling out to Miss Morland to be quick. "Make haste! Make haste!"
as he threw open the door. "Put on your hat this moment--there is no
time to be lost--we are going to Bristol. How d'ye do, Mrs. Allen?"

"To Bristol! Is not that a great way off? But, however, I cannot go with
you today, because I am engaged; I expect some friends every moment."
This was of course vehemently talked down as no reason at all; Mrs.
Allen was called on to second him, and the two others walked in, to give
their assistance. "My sweetest Catherine, is not this delightful? We
shall have a most heavenly drive. You are to thank your brother and me
for the scheme; it darted into our heads at breakfast-time, I verily
believe at the same instant; and we should have been off two hours ago
if it had not been for this detestable rain. But it does not signify,
the nights are moonlight, and we shall do delightfully. Oh! I am in such
ecstasies at the thoughts of a little country air and quiet! So much
better than going to the Lower Rooms. We shall drive directly to Clifton
and dine there; and, as soon as dinner is over, if there is time for it,
go on to Kingsweston."

"I doubt our being able to do so much," said Morland.

"You croaking fellow!" cried Thorpe. "We shall be able to do ten times
more. Kingsweston! Aye, and Blaize Castle too, and anything else we can
hear of; but here is your sister says she will not go."

"Blaize Castle!" cried Catherine. "What is that'?"

"The finest place in England--worth going fifty miles at any time to
see."

"What, is it really a castle, an old castle?"

"The oldest in the kingdom."

"But is it like what one reads of?"

"Exactly--the very same."

"But now really--are there towers and long galleries?"

"By dozens."

"Then I should like to see it; but I cannot--I cannot go.

"Not go! My beloved creature, what do you mean'?"

"I cannot go, because"--looking down as she spoke, fearful of Isabella's
smile--"I expect Miss Tilney and her brother to call on me to take a
country walk. They promised to come at twelve, only it rained; but now,
as it is so fine, I dare say they will be here soon."

"Not they indeed," cried Thorpe; "for, as we turned into Broad Street, I
saw them--does he not drive a phaeton with bright chestnuts?"

"I do not know indeed."

"Yes, I know he does; I saw him. You are talking of the man you danced
with last night, are not you?"

"Yes.

"Well, I saw him at that moment turn up the Lansdown Road, driving a
smart-looking girl."

"Did you indeed?"

"Did upon my soul; knew him again directly, and he seemed to have got
some very pretty cattle too."

"It is very odd! But I suppose they thought it would be too dirty for a
walk."

"And well they might, for I never saw so much dirt in my life. Walk!
You could no more walk than you could fly! It has not been so dirty the
whole winter; it is ankle-deep everywhere."

Isabella corroborated it: "My dearest Catherine, you cannot form an idea
of the dirt; come, you must go; you cannot refuse going now."

"I should like to see the castle; but may we go all over it? May we go
up every staircase, and into every suite of rooms?"

"Yes, yes, every hole and corner."

"But then, if they should only be gone out for an hour till it is dryer,
and call by and by?"

"Make yourself easy, there is no danger of that, for I heard Tilney
hallooing to a man who was just passing by on horseback, that they were
going as far as Wick Rocks."

"Then I will. Shall I go, Mrs. Allen?"

"Just as you please, my dear."

"Mrs. Allen, you must persuade her to go," was the general cry. Mrs.
Allen was not inattentive to it: "Well, my dear," said she, "suppose you
go." And in two minutes they were off.

Catherine's feelings, as she got into the carriage, were in a very
unsettled state; divided between regret for the loss of one great
pleasure, and the hope of soon enjoying another, almost its equal in
degree, however unlike in kind. She could not think the Tilneys had
acted quite well by her, in so readily giving up their engagement,
without sending her any message of excuse. It was now but an hour later
than the time fixed on for the beginning of their walk; and, in spite of
what she had heard of the prodigious accumulation of dirt in the course
of that hour, she could not from her own observation help thinking that
they might have gone with very little inconvenience. To feel herself
slighted by them was very painful. On the other hand, the delight of
exploring an edifice like Udolpho, as her fancy represented Blaize
Castle to be, was such a counterpoise of good as might console her for
almost anything.

They passed briskly down Pulteney Street, and through Laura Place,
without the exchange of many words. Thorpe talked to his horse, and she
meditated, by turns, on broken promises and broken arches, phaetons
and false hangings, Tilneys and trap-doors. As they entered Argyle
Buildings, however, she was roused by this address from her companion,
"Who is that girl who looked at you so hard as she went by?"

"Who? Where?"

"On the right-hand pavement--she must be almost out of sight now."
Catherine looked round and saw Miss Tilney leaning on her brother's arm,
walking slowly down the street. She saw them both looking back at her.
"Stop, stop, Mr. Thorpe," she impatiently cried; "it is Miss Tilney; it
is indeed. How could you tell me they were gone? Stop, stop, I will
get out this moment and go to them." But to what purpose did she speak?
Thorpe only lashed his horse into a brisker trot; the Tilneys, who had
soon ceased to look after her, were in a moment out of sight round the
corner of Laura Place, and in another moment she was herself whisked
into the marketplace. Still, however, and during the length of another
street, she entreated him to stop. "Pray, pray stop, Mr. Thorpe. I
cannot go on. I will not go on. I must go back to Miss Tilney." But Mr.
Thorpe only laughed, smacked his whip, encouraged his horse, made odd
noises, and drove on; and Catherine, angry and vexed as she was, having
no power of getting away, was obliged to give up the point and submit.
Her reproaches, however, were not spared. "How could you deceive me so,
Mr. Thorpe? How could you say that you saw them driving up the Lansdown
Road? I would not have had it happen so for the world. They must think
it so strange, so rude of me! To go by them, too, without saying a word!
You do not know how vexed I am; I shall have no pleasure at Clifton, nor
in anything else. I had rather, ten thousand times rather, get out now,
and walk back to them. How could you say you saw them driving out in a
phaeton?" Thorpe defended himself very stoutly, declared he had never
seen two men so much alike in his life, and would hardly give up the
point of its having been Tilney himself.

Their drive, even when this subject was over, was not likely to be very
agreeable. Catherine's complaisance was no longer what it had been in
their former airing. She listened reluctantly, and her replies were
short. Blaize Castle remained her only comfort; towards that, she still
looked at intervals with pleasure; though rather than be disappointed of
the promised walk, and especially rather than be thought ill of by the
Tilneys, she would willingly have given up all the happiness which its
walls could supply--the happiness of a progress through a long suite of
lofty rooms, exhibiting the remains of magnificent furniture, though
now for many years deserted--the happiness of being stopped in their way
along narrow, winding vaults, by a low, grated door; or even of having
their lamp, their only lamp, extinguished by a sudden gust of wind, and
of being left in total darkness. In the meanwhile, they proceeded on
their journey without any mischance, and were within view of the town
of Keynsham, when a halloo from Morland, who was behind them, made his
friend pull up, to know what was the matter. The others then came close
enough for conversation, and Morland said, "We had better go back,
Thorpe; it is too late to go on today; your sister thinks so as well as
I. We have been exactly an hour coming from Pulteney Street, very little
more than seven miles; and, I suppose, we have at least eight more to
go. It will never do. We set out a great deal too late. We had much
better put it off till another day, and turn round."

"It is all one to me," replied Thorpe rather angrily; and instantly
turning his horse, they were on their way back to Bath.

"If your brother had not got such a d--beast to drive," said he soon
afterwards, "we might have done it very well. My horse would have
trotted to Clifton within the hour, if left to himself, and I have
almost broke my arm with pulling him in to that cursed broken-winded
jade's pace. Morland is a fool for not keeping a horse and gig of his
own."

"No, he is not," said Catherine warmly, "for I am sure he could not
afford it."

"And why cannot he afford it?"

"Because he has not money enough."

"And whose fault is that?"

"Nobody's, that I know of." Thorpe then said something in the loud,
incoherent way to which he had often recourse, about its being a
d--thing to be miserly; and that if people who rolled in money could not
afford things, he did not know who could, which Catherine did not even
endeavour to understand. Disappointed of what was to have been the
consolation for her first disappointment, she was less and less disposed
either to be agreeable herself or to find her companion so; and they
returned to Pulteney Street without her speaking twenty words.

As she entered the house, the footman told her that a gentleman and lady
had called and inquired for her a few minutes after her setting off;
that, when he told them she was gone out with Mr. Thorpe, the lady had
asked whether any message had been left for her; and on his saying no,
had felt for a card, but said she had none about her, and went away.
Pondering over these heart-rending tidings, Catherine walked slowly
upstairs. At the head of them she was met by Mr. Allen, who, on hearing
the reason of their speedy return, said, "I am glad your brother had so
much sense; I am glad you are come back. It was a strange, wild scheme."

They all spent the evening together at Thorpe's. Catherine was disturbed
and out of spirits; but Isabella seemed to find a pool of commerce, in
the fate of which she shared, by private partnership with Morland, a
very good equivalent for the quiet and country air of an inn at Clifton.
Her satisfaction, too, in not being at the Lower Rooms was spoken more
than once. "How I pity the poor creatures that are going there! How glad
I am that I am not amongst them! I wonder whether it will be a full ball
or not! They have not begun dancing yet. I would not be there for
all the world. It is so delightful to have an evening now and then
to oneself. I dare say it will not be a very good ball. I know the
Mitchells will not be there. I am sure I pity everybody that is. But I
dare say, Mr. Morland, you long to be at it, do not you? I am sure you
do. Well, pray do not let anybody here be a restraint on you. I dare say
we could do very well without you; but you men think yourselves of such
consequence."

Catherine could almost have accused Isabella of being wanting in
tenderness towards herself and her sorrows, so very little did they
appear to dwell on her mind, and so very inadequate was the comfort she
offered. "Do not be so dull, my dearest creature," she whispered. "You
will quite break my heart. It was amazingly shocking, to be sure; but
the Tilneys were entirely to blame. Why were not they more punctual?
It was dirty, indeed, but what did that signify? I am sure John and I
should not have minded it. I never mind going through anything, where a
friend is concerned; that is my disposition, and John is just the same;
he has amazing strong feelings. Good heavens! What a delightful hand you
have got! Kings, I vow! I never was so happy in my life! I would fifty
times rather you should have them than myself."

And now I may dismiss my heroine to the sleepless couch, which is the
true heroine's portion; to a pillow strewed with thorns and wet with
tears. And lucky may she think herself, if she get another good night's
rest in the course of the next three months.



CHAPTER 12


"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 Tilney's 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 off--made 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.



CHAPTER 13


Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday have now
passed in review before the reader; the events of each day, its hopes
and fears, mortifications and pleasures, have been separately stated,
and the pangs of Sunday only now remain to be described, and close the
week. The Clifton scheme had been deferred, not relinquished, and on
the afternoon's crescent of this day, it was brought forward again. In a
private consultation between Isabella and James, the former of whom had
particularly set her heart upon going, and the latter no less anxiously
placed his upon pleasing her, it was agreed that, provided the weather
were fair, the party should take place on the following morning; and
they were to set off very early, in order to be at home in good time.
The affair thus determined, and Thorpe's approbation secured, Catherine
only remained to be apprised of it. She had left them for a few minutes
to speak to Miss Tilney. In that interval the plan was completed, and as
soon as she came again, her agreement was demanded; but instead of the
gay acquiescence expected by Isabella, Catherine looked grave, was very
sorry, but could not go. The engagement which ought to have kept her
from joining in the former attempt would make it impossible for her to
accompany them now. She had that moment settled with Miss Tilney to take
their proposed walk tomorrow; it was quite determined, and she would
not, upon any account, retract. But that she must and should retract
was instantly the eager cry of both the Thorpes; they must go to Clifton
tomorrow, they would not go without her, it would be nothing to put off
a mere walk for one day longer, and they would not hear of a refusal.
Catherine was distressed, but not subdued. "Do not urge me, Isabella. I
am engaged to Miss Tilney. I cannot go." This availed nothing. The same
arguments assailed her again; she must go, she should go, and they would
not hear of a refusal. "It would be so easy to tell Miss Tilney that you
had just been reminded of a prior engagement, and must only beg to put
off the walk till Tuesday."

"No, it would not be easy. I could not do it. There has been no prior
engagement." But Isabella became only more and more urgent, calling
on her in the most affectionate manner, addressing her by the most
endearing names. She was sure her dearest, sweetest Catherine would not
seriously refuse such a trifling request to a friend who loved her so
dearly. She knew her beloved Catherine to have so feeling a heart, so
sweet a temper, to be so easily persuaded by those she loved. But all
in vain; Catherine felt herself to be in the right, and though pained
by such tender, such flattering supplication, could not allow it to
influence her. Isabella then tried another method. She reproached her
with having more affection for Miss Tilney, though she had known her so
little a while, than for her best and oldest friends, with being grown
cold and indifferent, in short, towards herself. "I cannot help being
jealous, Catherine, when I see myself slighted for strangers, I, who
love you so excessively! When once my affections are placed, it is not
in the power of anything to change them. But I believe my feelings are
stronger than anybody's; I am sure they are too strong for my own peace;
and to see myself supplanted in your friendship by strangers does cut me
to the quick, I own. These Tilneys seem to swallow up everything else."

Catherine thought this reproach equally strange and unkind. Was it the
part of a friend thus to expose her feelings to the notice of others?
Isabella appeared to her ungenerous and selfish, regardless of
everything but her own gratification. These painful ideas crossed her
mind, though she said nothing. Isabella, in the meanwhile, had applied
her handkerchief to her eyes; and Morland, miserable at such a sight,
could not help saying, "Nay, Catherine. I think you cannot stand out any
longer now. The sacrifice is not much; and to oblige such a friend--I
shall think you quite unkind, if you still refuse."

This was the first time of her brother's openly siding against her, and
anxious to avoid his displeasure, she proposed a compromise. If they
would only put off their scheme till Tuesday, which they might easily
do, as it depended only on themselves, she could go with them, and
everybody might then be satisfied. But "No, no, no!" was the immediate
answer; "that could not be, for Thorpe did not know that he might not
go to town on Tuesday." Catherine was sorry, but could do no more; and
a short silence ensued, which was broken by Isabella, who in a voice of
cold resentment said, "Very well, then there is an end of the party.
If Catherine does not go, I cannot. I cannot be the only woman. I would
not, upon any account in the world, do so improper a thing."

"Catherine, you must go," said James.

"But why cannot Mr. Thorpe drive one of his other sisters? I dare say
either of them would like to go."

"Thank ye," cried Thorpe, "but I did not come to Bath to drive my
sisters about, and look like a fool. No, if you do not go, d---- me if I
do. I only go for the sake of driving you."

"That is a compliment which gives me no pleasure." But her words were
lost on Thorpe, who had turned abruptly away.

The three others still continued together, walking in a most
uncomfortable manner to poor Catherine; sometimes not a word was said,
sometimes she was again attacked with supplications or reproaches, and
her arm was still linked within Isabella's, though their hearts were
at war. At one moment she was softened, at another irritated; always
distressed, but always steady.

"I did not think you had been so obstinate, Catherine," said James;
"you were not used to be so hard to persuade; you once were the kindest,
best-tempered of my sisters."

"I hope I am not less so now," she replied, very feelingly; "but indeed
I cannot go. If I am wrong, I am doing what I believe to be right."

"I suspect," said Isabella, in a low voice, "there is no great
struggle."

Catherine's heart swelled; she drew away her arm, and Isabella made no
opposition. Thus passed a long ten minutes, till they were again joined
by Thorpe, who, coming to them with a gayer look, said, "Well, I
have settled the matter, and now we may all go tomorrow with a safe
conscience. I have been to Miss Tilney, and made your excuses."

"You have not!" cried Catherine.

"I have, upon my soul. Left her this moment. Told her you had sent me to
say that, having just recollected a prior engagement of going to Clifton
with us tomorrow, you could not have the pleasure of walking with her
till Tuesday. She said very well, Tuesday was just as convenient to her;
so there is an end of all our difficulties. A pretty good thought of
mine--hey?"

Isabella's countenance was once more all smiles and good humour, and
James too looked happy again.

"A most heavenly thought indeed! Now, my sweet Catherine, all our
distresses are over; you are honourably acquitted, and we shall have a
most delightful party."

"This will not do," said Catherine; "I cannot submit to this. I must run
after Miss Tilney directly and set her right."

Isabella, however, caught hold of one hand, Thorpe of the other, and
remonstrances poured in from all three. Even James was quite angry. When
everything was settled, when Miss Tilney herself said that Tuesday would
suit her as well, it was quite ridiculous, quite absurd, to make any
further objection.

"I do not care. Mr. Thorpe had no business to invent any such message.
If I had thought it right to put it off, I could have spoken to Miss
Tilney myself. This is only doing it in a ruder way; and how do I know
that Mr. Thorpe has--He may be mistaken again perhaps; he led me into
one act of rudeness by his mistake on Friday. Let me go, Mr. Thorpe;
Isabella, do not hold me."

Thorpe told her it would be in vain to go after the Tilneys; they were
turning the corner into Brock Street, when he had overtaken them, and
were at home by this time.

"Then I will go after them," said Catherine; "wherever they are I will
go after them. It does not signify talking. If I could not be persuaded
into doing what I thought wrong, I never will be tricked into it."
And with these words she broke away and hurried off. Thorpe would have
darted after her, but Morland withheld him. "Let her go, let her go, if
she will go. She is as obstinate as--"

Thorpe never finished the simile, for it could hardly have been a proper
one.

Away walked Catherine in great agitation, as fast as the crowd would
permit her, fearful of being pursued, yet determined to persevere. As
she walked, she reflected on what had passed. It was painful to her to
disappoint and displease them, particularly to displease her brother;
but she could not repent her resistance. Setting her own inclination
apart, to have failed a second time in her engagement to Miss Tilney, to
have retracted a promise voluntarily made only five minutes before,
and on a false pretence too, must have been wrong. She had not been
withstanding them on selfish principles alone, she had not consulted
merely her own gratification; that might have been ensured in some
degree by the excursion itself, by seeing Blaize Castle; no, she had
attended to what was due to others, and to her own character in their
opinion. Her conviction of being right, however, was not enough to
restore her composure; till she had spoken to Miss Tilney she could not
be at ease; and quickening her pace when she got clear of the Crescent,
she almost ran over the remaining ground till she gained the top of
Milsom Street. So rapid had been her movements that in spite of the
Tilneys' advantage in the outset, they were but just turning into
their lodgings as she came within view of them; and the servant still
remaining at the open door, she used only the ceremony of saying
that she must speak with Miss Tilney that moment, and hurrying by him
proceeded upstairs. Then, opening the first door before her, which
happened to be the right, she immediately found herself in the
drawing-room with General Tilney, his son, and daughter. Her
explanation, defective only in being--from her irritation of nerves and
shortness of breath--no explanation at all, was instantly given. "I am
come in a great hurry--It was all a mistake--I never promised to go--I
told them from the first I could not go.--I ran away in a great hurry
to explain it.--I did not care what you thought of me.--I would not stay
for the servant."

The business, however, though not perfectly elucidated by this speech,
soon ceased to be a puzzle. Catherine found that John Thorpe had given
the message; and Miss Tilney had no scruple in owning herself greatly
surprised by it. But whether her brother had still exceeded her in
resentment, Catherine, though she instinctively addressed herself as
much to one as to the other in her vindication, had no means of knowing.
Whatever might have been felt before her arrival, her eager declarations
immediately made every look and sentence as friendly as she could
desire.

The affair thus happily settled, she was introduced by Miss Tilney
to her father, and received by him with such ready, such solicitous
politeness as recalled Thorpe's information to her mind, and made her
think with pleasure that he might be sometimes depended on. To such
anxious attention was the general's civility carried, that not aware of
her extraordinary swiftness in entering the house, he was quite angry
with the servant whose neglect had reduced her to open the door of the
apartment herself. "What did William mean by it? He should make a point
of inquiring into the matter." And if Catherine had not most warmly
asserted his innocence, it seemed likely that William would lose the
favour of his master forever, if not his place, by her rapidity.

After sitting with them a quarter of an hour, she rose to take leave,
and was then most agreeably surprised by General Tilney's asking her if
she would do his daughter the honour of dining and spending the rest
of the day with her. Miss Tilney added her own wishes. Catherine was
greatly obliged; but it was quite out of her power. Mr. and Mrs. Allen
would expect her back every moment. The general declared he could say no
more; the claims of Mr. and Mrs. Allen were not to be superseded; but on
some other day he trusted, when longer notice could be given, they would
not refuse to spare her to her friend. "Oh, no; Catherine was sure they
would not have the least objection, and she should have great pleasure
in coming." The general attended her himself to the street-door, saying
everything gallant as they went downstairs, admiring the elasticity of
her walk, which corresponded exactly with the spirit of her dancing, and
making her one of the most graceful bows she had ever beheld, when they
parted.

Catherine, delighted by all that had passed, proceeded gaily to Pulteney
Street, walking, as she concluded, with great elasticity, though she
had never thought of it before. She reached home without seeing anything
more of the offended party; and now that she had been triumphant
throughout, had carried her point, and was secure of her walk, she began
(as the flutter of her spirits subsided) to doubt whether she had been
perfectly right. A sacrifice was always noble; and if she had given way
to their entreaties, she should have been spared the distressing idea of
a friend displeased, a brother angry, and a scheme of great happiness
to both destroyed, perhaps through her means. To ease her mind, and
ascertain by the opinion of an unprejudiced person what her own conduct
had really been, she took occasion to mention before Mr. Allen the
half-settled scheme of her brother and the Thorpes for the following
day. Mr. Allen caught at it directly. "Well," said he, "and do you think
of going too?"

"No; I had just engaged myself to walk with Miss Tilney before they told
me of it; and therefore you know I could not go with them, could I?"

"No, certainly not; and I am glad you do not think of it. These schemes
are not at all the thing. Young men and women driving about the country
in open carriages! Now and then it is very well; but going to inns and
public places together! It is not right; and I wonder Mrs. Thorpe should
allow it. I am glad you do not think of going; I am sure Mrs. Morland
would not be pleased. Mrs. Allen, are not you of my way of thinking? Do
not you think these kind of projects objectionable?"

"Yes, very much so indeed. Open carriages are nasty things. A clean
gown is not five minutes' wear in them. You are splashed getting in
and getting out; and the wind takes your hair and your bonnet in every
direction. I hate an open carriage myself."

"I know you do; but that is not the question. Do not you think it has an
odd appearance, if young ladies are frequently driven about in them by
young men, to whom they are not even related?"

"Yes, my dear, a very odd appearance indeed. I cannot bear to see it."

"Dear madam," cried Catherine, "then why did not you tell me so before?
I am sure if I had known it to be improper, I would not have gone with
Mr. Thorpe at all; but I always hoped you would tell me, if you thought
I was doing wrong."

"And so I should, my dear, you may depend on it; for as I told Mrs.
Morland at parting, I would always do the best for you in my power. But
one must not be over particular. Young people will be young people,
as your good mother says herself. You know I wanted you, when we first
came, not to buy that sprigged muslin, but you would. Young people do
not like to be always thwarted."

"But this was something of real consequence; and I do not think you
would have found me hard to persuade."

"As far as it has gone hitherto, there is no harm done," said Mr. Allen;
"and I would only advise you, my dear, not to go out with Mr. Thorpe any
more."

"That is just what I was going to say," added his wife.

Catherine, relieved for herself, felt uneasy for Isabella, and after a
moment's thought, asked Mr. Allen whether it would not be both proper
and kind in her to write to Miss Thorpe, and explain the indecorum of
which she must be as insensible as herself; for she considered that
Isabella might otherwise perhaps be going to Clifton the next day, in
spite of what had passed. Mr. Allen, however, discouraged her from doing
any such thing. "You had better leave her alone, my dear; she is old
enough to know what she is about, and if not, has a mother to advise
her. Mrs. Thorpe is too indulgent beyond a doubt; but, however, you had
better not interfere. She and your brother choose to go, and you will be
only getting ill will."

Catherine submitted, and though sorry to think that Isabella should be
doing wrong, felt greatly relieved by Mr. Allen's approbation of her
own conduct, and truly rejoiced to be preserved by his advice from the
danger of falling into such an error herself. Her escape from being one
of the party to Clifton was now an escape indeed; for what would the
Tilneys have thought of her, if she had broken her promise to them in
order to do what was wrong in itself, if she had been guilty of one
breach of propriety, only to enable her to be guilty of another?



CHAPTER 14


The next morning was fair, and Catherine almost expected another attack
from the assembled party. With Mr. Allen to support her, she felt no
dread of the event: but she would gladly be spared a contest, where
victory itself was painful, and was heartily rejoiced therefore at
neither seeing nor hearing anything of them. The Tilneys called for
her at the appointed time; and no new difficulty arising, no sudden
recollection, no unexpected summons, no impertinent intrusion to
disconcert their measures, my heroine was most unnaturally able to
fulfil her engagement, though it was made with the hero himself.
They determined on walking round Beechen Cliff, that noble hill whose
beautiful verdure and hanging coppice render it so striking an object
from almost every opening in Bath.

"I never look at it," said Catherine, as they walked along the side of
the river, "without thinking of the south of France."

"You have been abroad then?" said Henry, a little surprised.

"Oh! No, I only mean what I have read about. It always puts me in mind
of the country that Emily and her father travelled through, in The
Mysteries of Udolpho. But you never read novels, I dare say?"

"Why not?"

"Because they are not clever enough for you--gentlemen read better
books."

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good
novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe's
works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho,
when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember
finishing it in two days--my hair standing on end the whole time."

"Yes," added Miss Tilney, "and I remember that you undertook to read it
aloud to me, and that when I was called away for only five minutes to
answer a note, instead of waiting for me, you took the volume into the
Hermitage Walk, and I was obliged to stay till you had finished it."

"Thank you, Eleanor--a most honourable testimony. You see, Miss Morland,
the injustice of your suspicions. Here was I, in my eagerness to get on,
refusing to wait only five minutes for my sister, breaking the promise
I had made of reading it aloud, and keeping her in suspense at a most
interesting part, by running away with the volume, which, you are to
observe, was her own, particularly her own. I am proud when I reflect on
it, and I think it must establish me in your good opinion."

"I am very glad to hear it indeed, and now I shall never be ashamed of
liking Udolpho myself. But I really thought before, young men despised
novels amazingly."

"It is amazingly; it may well suggest amazement if they do--for they
read nearly as many as women. I myself have read hundreds and hundreds.
Do not imagine that you can cope with me in a knowledge of Julias and
Louisas. If we proceed to particulars, and engage in the never-ceasing
inquiry of 'Have you read this?' and 'Have you read that?' I shall soon
leave you as far behind me as--what shall I say?--I want an appropriate
simile.--as far as your friend Emily herself left poor Valancourt when
she went with her aunt into Italy. Consider how many years I have had
the start of you. I had entered on my studies at Oxford, while you were
a good little girl working your sampler at home!"

"Not very good, I am afraid. But now really, do not you think Udolpho
the nicest book in the world?"

"The nicest--by which I suppose you mean the neatest. That must depend
upon the binding."

"Henry," said Miss Tilney, "you are very impertinent. Miss Morland, he
is treating you exactly as he does his sister. He is forever finding
fault with me, for some incorrectness of language, and now he is taking
the same liberty with you. The word 'nicest,' as you used it, did not
suit him; and you had better change it as soon as you can, or we shall
be overpowered with Johnson and Blair all the rest of the way."

"I am sure," cried Catherine, "I did not mean to say anything wrong; but
it is a nice book, and why should not I call it so?"

"Very true," said Henry, "and this is a very nice day, and we are taking
a very nice walk, and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a
very nice word indeed! It does for everything. Originally perhaps it
was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy, or
refinement--people were nice in their dress, in their sentiments, or
their choice. But now every commendation on every subject is comprised
in that one word."

"While, in fact," cried his sister, "it ought only to be applied to you,
without any commendation at all. You are more nice than wise. Come,
Miss Morland, let us leave him to meditate over our faults in the utmost
propriety of diction, while we praise Udolpho in whatever terms we
like best. It is a most interesting work. You are fond of that kind of
reading?"

"To say the truth, I do not much like any other."

"Indeed!"

"That is, I can read poetry and plays, and things of that sort, and
do not dislike travels. But history, real solemn history, I cannot be
interested in. Can you?"

"Yes, I am fond of history."

"I wish I were too. I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me
nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and
kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for
nothing, and hardly any women at all--it is very tiresome: and yet I
often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it
must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes' mouths,
their thoughts and designs--the chief of all this must be invention, and
invention is what delights me in other books."

"Historians, you think," said Miss Tilney, "are not happy in their
flights of fancy. They display imagination without raising interest. I
am fond of history--and am very well contented to take the false with
the true. In the principal facts they have sources of intelligence
in former histories and records, which may be as much depended on,
I conclude, as anything that does not actually pass under one's own
observation; and as for the little embellishments you speak of, they are
embellishments, and I like them as such. If a speech be well drawn up,
I read it with pleasure, by whomsoever it may be made--and probably with
much greater, if the production of Mr. Hume or Mr. Robertson, than if
the genuine words of Caractacus, Agricola, or Alfred the Great."

"You are fond of history! And so are Mr. Allen and my father; and I have
two brothers who do not dislike it. So many instances within my small
circle of friends is remarkable! At this rate, I shall not pity the
writers of history any longer. If people like to read their books, it
is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes,
which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be
labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck
me as a hard fate; and though I know it is all very right and necessary,
I have often wondered at the person's courage that could sit down on
purpose to do it."

"That little boys and girls should be tormented," said Henry, "is what
no one at all acquainted with human nature in a civilized state can
deny; but in behalf of our most distinguished historians, I must observe
that they might well be offended at being supposed to have no higher
aim, and that by their method and style, they are perfectly well
qualified to torment readers of the most advanced reason and mature
time of life. I use the verb 'to torment,' as I observed to be your own
method, instead of 'to instruct,' supposing them to be now admitted as
synonymous."

"You think me foolish to call instruction a torment, but if you had been
as much used as myself to hear poor little children first learning their
letters and then learning to spell, if you had ever seen how stupid they
can be for a whole morning together, and how tired my poor mother is
at the end of it, as I am in the habit of seeing almost every day of my
life at home, you would allow that 'to torment' and 'to instruct' might
sometimes be used as synonymous words."

"Very probably. But historians are not accountable for the difficulty
of learning to read; and even you yourself, who do not altogether seem
particularly friendly to very severe, very intense application, may
perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worth-while to
be tormented for two or three years of one's life, for the sake of
being able to read all the rest of it. Consider--if reading had not been
taught, Mrs. Radcliffe would have written in vain--or perhaps might not
have written at all."

Catherine assented--and a very warm panegyric from her on that lady's
merits closed the subject. The Tilneys were soon engaged in another on
which she had nothing to say. They were viewing the country with the
eyes of persons accustomed to drawing, and decided on its capability of
being formed into pictures, with all the eagerness of real taste. Here
Catherine was quite lost. She knew nothing of drawing--nothing of taste:
and she listened to them with an attention which brought her little
profit, for they talked in phrases which conveyed scarcely any idea
to her. The little which she could understand, however, appeared to
contradict the very few notions she had entertained on the matter
before. It seemed as if a good view were no longer to be taken from the
top of an high hill, and that a clear blue sky was no longer a proof
of a fine day. She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance. A misplaced
shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant.
To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of
administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would
always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of
knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already
set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; and to her treatment
of the subject I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the
larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a
great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them
too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything
more in woman than ignorance. But Catherine did not know her own
advantages--did not know that a good-looking girl, with an affectionate
heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young
man, unless circumstances are particularly untoward. In the present
instance, she confessed and lamented her want of knowledge, declared
that she would give anything in the world to be able to draw; and
a lecture on the picturesque immediately followed, in which his
instructions were so clear that she soon began to see beauty in
everything admired by him, and her attention was so earnest that he
became perfectly satisfied of her having a great deal of natural taste.
He talked of foregrounds, distances, and second distances--side-screens
and perspectives--lights and shades; and Catherine was so hopeful a
scholar that when they gained the top of Beechen Cliff, she voluntarily
rejected the whole city of Bath as unworthy to make part of a landscape.
Delighted with her progress, and fearful of wearying her with too much
wisdom at once, Henry suffered the subject to decline, and by an easy
transition from a piece of rocky fragment and the withered oak which
he had placed near its summit, to oaks in general, to forests, the
enclosure of them, waste lands, crown lands and government, he shortly
found himself arrived at politics; and from politics, it was an
easy step to silence. The general pause which succeeded his short
disquisition on the state of the nation was put an end to by Catherine,
who, in rather a solemn tone of voice, uttered these words, "I have
heard that something very shocking indeed will soon come out in London."

Miss Tilney, to whom this was chiefly addressed, was startled, and
hastily replied, "Indeed! And of what nature?"

"That I do not know, nor who is the author. I have only heard that it is
to be more horrible than anything we have met with yet."

"Good heaven! Where could you hear of such a thing?"

"A particular friend of mine had an account of it in a letter from
London yesterday. It is to be uncommonly dreadful. I shall expect murder
and everything of the kind."

"You speak with astonishing composure! But I hope your friend's accounts
have been exaggerated; and if such a design is known beforehand, proper
measures will undoubtedly be taken by government to prevent its coming
to effect."

"Government," said Henry, endeavouring not to smile, "neither desires
nor dares to interfere in such matters. There must be murder; and
government cares not how much."

The ladies stared. He laughed, and added, "Come, shall I make you
understand each other, or leave you to puzzle out an explanation as
you can? No--I will be noble. I will prove myself a man, no less by the
generosity of my soul than the clearness of my head. I have no patience
with such of my sex as disdain to let themselves sometimes down to the
comprehension of yours. Perhaps the abilities of women are neither sound
nor acute--neither vigorous nor keen. Perhaps they may want observation,
discernment, judgment, fire, genius, and wit."

"Miss Morland, do not mind what he says; but have the goodness to
satisfy me as to this dreadful riot."

"Riot! What riot?"

"My dear Eleanor, the riot is only in your own brain. The confusion
there is scandalous. Miss Morland has been talking of nothing more
dreadful than a new publication which is shortly to come out, in three
duodecimo volumes, two hundred and seventy-six pages in each, with
a frontispiece to the first, of two tombstones and a lantern--do you
understand? And you, Miss Morland--my stupid sister has mistaken all
your clearest expressions. You talked of expected horrors in London--and
instead of instantly conceiving, as any rational creature would have
done, that such words could relate only to a circulating library, she
immediately pictured to herself a mob of three thousand men assembling
in St. George's Fields, the Bank attacked, the Tower threatened, the
streets of London flowing with blood, a detachment of the Twelfth Light
Dragoons (the hopes of the nation) called up from Northampton to quell
the insurgents, and the gallant Captain Frederick Tilney, in the
moment of charging at the head of his troop, knocked off his horse by a
brickbat from an upper window. Forgive her stupidity. The fears of the
sister have added to the weakness of the woman; but she is by no means a
simpleton in general."

Catherine looked grave. "And now, Henry," said Miss Tilney, "that you
have made us understand each other, you may as well make Miss Morland
understand yourself--unless you mean to have her think you intolerably
rude to your sister, and a great brute in your opinion of women in
general. Miss Morland is not used to your odd ways."

"I shall be most happy to make her better acquainted with them."

"No doubt; but that is no explanation of the present."

"What am I to do?"

"You know what you ought to do. Clear your character handsomely before
her. Tell her that you think very highly of the understanding of women."

"Miss Morland, I think very highly of the understanding of all the women
in the world--especially of those--whoever they may be--with whom I
happen to be in company."

"That is not enough. Be more serious."

"Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of
women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they
never find it necessary to use more than half."

"We shall get nothing more serious from him now, Miss Morland. He is
not in a sober mood. But I do assure you that he must be entirely
misunderstood, if he can ever appear to say an unjust thing of any woman
at all, or an unkind one of me."

It was no effort to Catherine to believe that Henry Tilney could never
be wrong. His manner might sometimes surprise, but his meaning must
always be just: and what she did not understand, she was almost as ready
to admire, as what she did. The whole walk was delightful, and though it
ended too soon, its conclusion was delightful too; her friends attended
her into the house, and Miss Tilney, before they parted, addressing
herself with respectful form, as much to Mrs. Allen as to Catherine,
petitioned for the pleasure of her company to dinner on the day after
the next. No difficulty was made on Mrs. Allen's side, and the only
difficulty on Catherine's was in concealing the excess of her pleasure.

The morning had passed away so charmingly as to banish all her
friendship and natural affection, for no thought of Isabella or James
had crossed her during their walk. When the Tilneys were gone, she
became amiable again, but she was amiable for some time to little
effect; Mrs. Allen had no intelligence to give that could relieve her
anxiety; she had heard nothing of any of them. Towards the end of the
morning, however, Catherine, having occasion for some indispensable yard
of ribbon which must be bought without a moment's delay, walked out into
the town, and in Bond Street overtook the second Miss Thorpe as she was
loitering towards Edgar's Buildings between two of the sweetest girls in
the world, who had been her dear friends all the morning. From her, she
soon learned that the party to Clifton had taken place. "They set off at
eight this morning," said Miss Anne, "and I am sure I do not envy
them their drive. I think you and I are very well off to be out of the
scrape. It must be the dullest thing in the world, for there is not a
soul at Clifton at this time of year. Belle went with your brother, and
John drove Maria."

Catherine spoke the pleasure she really felt on hearing this part of the
arrangement.

"Oh! yes," rejoined the other, "Maria is gone. She was quite wild to go.
She thought it would be something very fine. I cannot say I admire her
taste; and for my part, I was determined from the first not to go, if
they pressed me ever so much."

Catherine, a little doubtful of this, could not help answering, "I wish
you could have gone too. It is a pity you could not all go."

"Thank you; but it is quite a matter of indifference to me. Indeed, I
would not have gone on any account. I was saying so to Emily and Sophia
when you overtook us."

Catherine was still unconvinced; but glad that Anne should have the
friendship of an Emily and a Sophia to console her, she bade her adieu
without much uneasiness, and returned home, pleased that the party had
not been prevented by her refusing to join it, and very heartily wishing
that it might be too pleasant to allow either James or Isabella to
resent her resistance any longer.



CHAPTER 15


Early the next day, a note from Isabella, speaking peace and tenderness
in every line, and entreating the immediate presence of her friend on
a matter of the utmost importance, hastened Catherine, in the happiest
state of confidence and curiosity, to Edgar's Buildings. The two
youngest Miss Thorpes were by themselves in the parlour; and, on Anne's
quitting it to call her sister, Catherine took the opportunity of asking
the other for some particulars of their yesterday's party. Maria desired
no greater pleasure than to speak of it; and Catherine immediately
learnt that it had been altogether the most delightful scheme in the
world, that nobody could imagine how charming it had been, and that
it had been more delightful than anybody could conceive. Such was the
information of the first five minutes; the second unfolded thus much in
detail--that they had driven directly to the York Hotel, ate some soup,
and bespoke an early dinner, walked down to the pump-room, tasted the
water, and laid out some shillings in purses and spars; thence adjoined
to eat ice at a pastry-cook's, and hurrying back to the hotel, swallowed
their dinner in haste, to prevent being in the dark; and then had a
delightful drive back, only the moon was not up, and it rained a little,
and Mr. Morland's horse was so tired he could hardly get it along.

Catherine listened with heartfelt satisfaction. It appeared that Blaize
Castle had never been thought of; and, as for all the rest, there was
nothing to regret for half an instant. Maria's intelligence concluded
with a tender effusion of pity for her sister Anne, whom she represented
as insupportably cross, from being excluded the party.

"She will never forgive me, I am sure; but, you know, how could I help
it? John would have me go, for he vowed he would not drive her, because
she had such thick ankles. I dare say she will not be in good humour
again this month; but I am determined I will not be cross; it is not a
little matter that puts me out of temper."

Isabella now entered the room with so eager a step, and a look of such
happy importance, as engaged all her friend's notice. Maria was without
ceremony sent away, and Isabella, embracing Catherine, thus began: "Yes,
my dear Catherine, it is so indeed; your penetration has not deceived
you. Oh! That arch eye of yours! It sees through everything."

Catherine replied only by a look of wondering ignorance.

"Nay, my beloved, sweetest friend," continued the other, "compose
yourself. I am amazingly agitated, as you perceive. Let us sit down and
talk in comfort. Well, and so you guessed it the moment you had my note?
Sly creature! Oh! My dear Catherine, you alone, who know my heart, can
judge of my present happiness. Your brother is the most charming of
men. I only wish I were more worthy of him. But what will your excellent
father and mother say? Oh! Heavens! When I think of them I am so
agitated!"

Catherine's understanding began to awake: an idea of the truth suddenly
darted into her mind; and, with the natural blush of so new an emotion,
she cried out, "Good heaven! My dear Isabella, what do you mean? Can
you--can you really be in love with James?"

This bold surmise, however, she soon learnt comprehended but half the
fact. The anxious affection, which she was accused of having continually
watched in Isabella's every look and action, had, in the course of their
yesterday's party, received the delightful confession of an equal love.
Her heart and faith were alike engaged to James. Never had Catherine
listened to anything so full of interest, wonder, and joy. Her brother
and her friend engaged! New to such circumstances, the importance of
it appeared unspeakably great, and she contemplated it as one of those
grand events, of which the ordinary course of life can hardly afford a
return. The strength of her feelings she could not express; the nature
of them, however, contented her friend. The happiness of having such a
sister was their first effusion, and the fair ladies mingled in embraces
and tears of joy.

Delighting, however, as Catherine sincerely did in the prospect of the
connection, it must be acknowledged that Isabella far surpassed her
in tender anticipations. "You will be so infinitely dearer to me, my
Catherine, than either Anne or Maria: I feel that I shall be so much
more attached to my dear Morland's family than to my own."

This was a pitch of friendship beyond Catherine.

"You are so like your dear brother," continued Isabella, "that I quite
doted on you the first moment I saw you. But so it always is with me;
the first moment settles everything. The very first day that Morland
came to us last Christmas--the very first moment I beheld him--my heart
was irrecoverably gone. I remember I wore my yellow gown, with my hair
done up in braids; and when I came into the drawing-room, and John
introduced him, I thought I never saw anybody so handsome before."

Here Catherine secretly acknowledged the power of love; for, though
exceedingly fond of her brother, and partial to all his endowments, she
had never in her life thought him handsome.

"I remember too, Miss Andrews drank tea with us that evening, and wore
her puce-coloured sarsenet; and she looked so heavenly that I thought
your brother must certainly fall in love with her; I could not sleep
a wink all right for thinking of it. Oh! Catherine, the many sleepless
nights I have had on your brother's account! I would not have you suffer
half what I have done! I am grown wretchedly thin, I know; but I will
not pain you by describing my anxiety; you have seen enough of it. I
feel that I have betrayed myself perpetually--so unguarded in speaking
of my partiality for the church! But my secret I was always sure would
be safe with you."

Catherine felt that nothing could have been safer; but ashamed of an
ignorance little expected, she dared no longer contest the point,
nor refuse to have been as full of arch penetration and affectionate
sympathy as Isabella chose to consider her. Her brother, she found,
was preparing to set off with all speed to Fullerton, to make known his
situation and ask consent; and here was a source of some real agitation
to the mind of Isabella. Catherine endeavoured to persuade her, as she
was herself persuaded, that her father and mother would never oppose
their son's wishes. "It is impossible," said she, "for parents to be
more kind, or more desirous of their children's happiness; I have no
doubt of their consenting immediately."

"Morland says exactly the same," replied Isabella; "and yet I dare not
expect it; my fortune will be so small; they never can consent to it.
Your brother, who might marry anybody!"

Here Catherine again discerned the force of love.

"Indeed, Isabella, you are too humble. The difference of fortune can be
nothing to signify."

"Oh! My sweet Catherine, in your generous heart I know it would signify
nothing; but we must not expect such disinterestedness in many. As for
myself, I am sure I only wish our situations were reversed. Had I the
command of millions, were I mistress of the whole world, your brother
would be my only choice."

This charming sentiment, recommended as much by sense as novelty,
gave Catherine a most pleasing remembrance of all the heroines of her
acquaintance; and she thought her friend never looked more lovely than
in uttering the grand idea. "I am sure they will consent," was her
frequent declaration; "I am sure they will be delighted with you."

"For my own part," said Isabella, "my wishes are so moderate that the
smallest income in nature would be enough for me. Where people are
really attached, poverty itself is wealth; grandeur I detest: I would
not settle in London for the universe. A cottage in some retired village
would be ecstasy. There are some charming little villas about Richmond."

"Richmond!" cried Catherine. "You must settle near Fullerton. You must
be near us."

"I am sure I shall be miserable if we do not. If I can but be near you,
I shall be satisfied. But this is idle talking! I will not allow myself
to think of such things, till we have your father's answer. Morland
says that by sending it tonight to Salisbury, we may have it tomorrow.
Tomorrow? I know I shall never have courage to open the letter. I know
it will be the death of me."

A reverie succeeded this conviction--and when Isabella spoke again, it
was to resolve on the quality of her wedding-gown.

Their conference was put an end to by the anxious young lover himself,
who came to breathe his parting sigh before he set off for Wiltshire.
Catherine wished to congratulate him, but knew not what to say, and her
eloquence was only in her eyes. From them, however, the eight parts of
speech shone out most expressively, and James could combine them with
ease. Impatient for the realization of all that he hoped at home, his
adieus were not long; and they would have been yet shorter, had he not
been frequently detained by the urgent entreaties of his fair one that
he would go. Twice was he called almost from the door by her eagerness
to have him gone. "Indeed, Morland, I must drive you away. Consider how
far you have to ride. I cannot bear to see you linger so. For heaven's
sake, waste no more time. There, go, go--I insist on it."

The two friends, with hearts now more united than ever, were inseparable
for the day; and in schemes of sisterly happiness the hours flew along.
Mrs. Thorpe and her son, who were acquainted with everything, and
who seemed only to want Mr. Morland's consent, to consider Isabella's
engagement as the most fortunate circumstance imaginable for their
family, were allowed to join their counsels, and add their quota of
significant looks and mysterious expressions to fill up the measure
of curiosity to be raised in the unprivileged younger sisters. To
Catherine's simple feelings, this odd sort of reserve seemed neither
kindly meant, nor consistently supported; and its unkindness she would
hardly have forborne pointing out, had its inconsistency been less their
friend; but Anne and Maria soon set her heart at ease by the sagacity of
their "I know what"; and the evening was spent in a sort of war of wit,
a display of family ingenuity, on one side in the mystery of an affected
secret, on the other of undefined discovery, all equally acute.

Catherine was with her friend again the next day, endeavouring to
support her spirits and while away the many tedious hours before
the delivery of the letters; a needful exertion, for as the time
of reasonable expectation drew near, Isabella became more and more
desponding, and before the letter arrived, had worked herself into a
state of real distress. But when it did come, where could distress
be found? "I have had no difficulty in gaining the consent of my kind
parents, and am promised that everything in their power shall be done to
forward my happiness," were the first three lines, and in one moment
all was joyful security. The brightest glow was instantly spread over
Isabella's features, all care and anxiety seemed removed, her spirits
became almost too high for control, and she called herself without
scruple the happiest of mortals.

Mrs. Thorpe, with tears of joy, embraced her daughter, her son, her
visitor, and could have embraced half the inhabitants of Bath with
satisfaction. Her heart was overflowing with tenderness. It was "dear
John" and "dear Catherine" at every word; "dear Anne and dear Maria"
must immediately be made sharers in their felicity; and two "dears" at
once before the name of Isabella were not more than that beloved child
had now well earned. John himself was no skulker in joy. He not only
bestowed on Mr. Morland the high commendation of being one of the finest
fellows in the world, but swore off many sentences in his praise.

The letter, whence sprang all this felicity, was short, containing
little more than this assurance of success; and every particular was
deferred till James could write again. But for particulars Isabella
could well afford to wait. The needful was comprised in Mr. Morland's
promise; his honour was pledged to make everything easy; and by what
means their income was to be formed, whether landed property were to
be resigned, or funded money made over, was a matter in which her
disinterested spirit took no concern. She knew enough to feel secure of
an honourable and speedy establishment, and her imagination took a rapid
flight over its attendant felicities. She saw herself at the end of
a few weeks, the gaze and admiration of every new acquaintance at
Fullerton, the envy of every valued old friend in Putney, with a
carriage at her command, a new name on her tickets, and a brilliant
exhibition of hoop rings on her finger.

When the contents of the letter were ascertained, John Thorpe, who had
only waited its arrival to begin his journey to London, prepared to set
off. "Well, Miss Morland," said he, on finding her alone in the parlour,
"I am come to bid you good-bye." Catherine wished him a good journey.
Without appearing to hear her, he walked to the window, fidgeted about,
hummed a tune, and seemed wholly self-occupied.

"Shall not you be late at Devizes?" said Catherine. He made no answer;
but after a minute's silence burst out with, "A famous good thing this
marrying scheme, upon my soul! A clever fancy of Morland's and Belle's.
What do you think of it, Miss Morland? I say it is no bad notion."

"I am sure I think it a very good one."

"Do you? That's honest, by heavens! I am glad you are no enemy to
matrimony, however. Did you ever hear the old song 'Going to One Wedding
Brings on Another?' I say, you will come to Belle's wedding, I hope."

"Yes; I have promised your sister to be with her, if possible."

"And then you know"--twisting himself about and forcing a foolish
laugh--"I say, then you know, we may try the truth of this same old
song."

"May we? But I never sing. Well, I wish you a good journey. I dine with
Miss Tilney today, and must now be going home."

"Nay, but there is no such confounded hurry. Who knows when we may
be together again? Not but that I shall be down again by the end of a
fortnight, and a devilish long fortnight it will appear to me."

"Then why do you stay away so long?" replied Catherine--finding that he
waited for an answer.

"That is kind of you, however--kind and good-natured. I shall not forget
it in a hurry. But you have more good nature and all that, than anybody
living, I believe. A monstrous deal of good nature, and it is not only
good nature, but you have so much, so much of everything; and then you
have such--upon my soul, I do not know anybody like you."

"Oh! dear, there are a great many people like me, I dare say, only a
great deal better. Good morning to you."

"But I say, Miss Morland, I shall come and pay my respects at Fullerton
before it is long, if not disagreeable."

"Pray do. My father and mother will be very glad to see you."

"And I hope--I hope, Miss Morland, you will not be sorry to see me."

"Oh! dear, not at all. There are very few people I am sorry to see.
Company is always cheerful."

"That is just my way of thinking. Give me but a little cheerful company,
let me only have the company of the people I love, let me only be where
I like and with whom I like, and the devil take the rest, say I. And
I am heartily glad to hear you say the same. But I have a notion, Miss
Morland, you and I think pretty much alike upon most matters."

"Perhaps we may; but it is more than I ever thought of. And as to most
matters, to say the truth, there are not many that I know my own mind
about."

"By Jove, no more do I. It is not my way to bother my brains with what
does not concern me. My notion of things is simple enough. Let me only
have the girl I like, say I, with a comfortable house over my head, and
what care I for all the rest? Fortune is nothing. I am sure of a good
income of my own; and if she had not a penny, why, so much the better."

"Very true. I think like you there. If there is a good fortune on one
side, there can be no occasion for any on the other. No matter which
has it, so that there is enough. I hate the idea of one great fortune
looking out for another. And to marry for money I think the wickedest
thing in existence. Good day. We shall be very glad to see you at
Fullerton, whenever it is convenient." And away she went. It was not in
the power of all his gallantry to detain her longer. With such news to
communicate, and such a visit to prepare for, her departure was not
to be delayed by anything in his nature to urge; and she hurried away,
leaving him to the undivided consciousness of his own happy address, and
her explicit encouragement.

The agitation which she had herself experienced on first learning her
brother's engagement made her expect to raise no inconsiderable emotion
in Mr. and Mrs. Allen, by the communication of the wonderful event. How
great was her disappointment! The important affair, which many words of
preparation ushered in, had been foreseen by them both ever since
her brother's arrival; and all that they felt on the occasion was
comprehended in a wish for the young people's happiness, with a remark,
on the gentleman's side, in favour of Isabella's beauty, and on the
lady's, of her great good luck. It was to Catherine the most surprising
insensibility. The disclosure, however, of the great secret of James's
going to Fullerton the day before, did raise some emotion in Mrs. Allen.
She could not listen to that with perfect calmness, but repeatedly
regretted the necessity of its concealment, wished she could have known
his intention, wished she could have seen him before he went, as she
should certainly have troubled him with her best regards to his father
and mother, and her kind compliments to all the Skinners.



CHAPTER 16


Catherine's expectations of pleasure from her visit in Milsom Street
were so very high that disappointment was inevitable; and accordingly,
though she was most politely received by General Tilney, and kindly
welcomed by his daughter, though Henry was at home, and no one else of
the party, she found, on her return, without spending many hours in
the examination of her feelings, that she had gone to her appointment
preparing for happiness which it had not afforded. Instead of finding
herself improved in acquaintance with Miss Tilney, from the intercourse
of the day, she seemed hardly so intimate with her as before; instead
of seeing Henry Tilney to greater advantage than ever, in the ease of a
family party, he had never said so little, nor been so little agreeable;
and, in spite of their father's great civilities to her--in spite of his
thanks, invitations, and compliments--it had been a release to get
away from him. It puzzled her to account for all this. It could not
be General Tilney's fault. That he was perfectly agreeable and
good-natured, and altogether a very charming man, did not admit of a
doubt, for he was tall and handsome, and Henry's father. He could not
be accountable for his children's want of spirits, or for her want of
enjoyment in his company. The former she hoped at last might have
been accidental, and the latter she could only attribute to her own
stupidity. Isabella, on hearing the particulars of the visit, gave
a different explanation: "It was all pride, pride, insufferable
haughtiness and pride! She had long suspected the family to be very
high, and this made it certain. Such insolence of behaviour as Miss
Tilney's she had never heard of in her life! Not to do the honours of
her house with common good breeding! To behave to her guest with such
superciliousness! Hardly even to speak to her!"

"But it was not so bad as that, Isabella; there was no superciliousness;
she was very civil."

"Oh! Don't defend her! And then the brother, he, who had appeared
so attached to you! Good heavens! Well, some people's feelings are
incomprehensible. And so he hardly looked once at you the whole day?"

"I do not say so; but he did not seem in good spirits."

"How contemptible! Of all things in the world inconstancy is my
aversion. Let me entreat you never to think of him again, my dear
Catherine; indeed he is unworthy of you."

"Unworthy! I do not suppose he ever thinks of me."

"That is exactly what I say; he never thinks of you. Such fickleness!
Oh! How different to your brother and to mine! I really believe John has
the most constant heart."

"But as for General Tilney, I assure you it would be impossible for
anybody to behave to me with greater civility and attention; it seemed
to be his only care to entertain and make me happy."

"Oh! I know no harm of him; I do not suspect him of pride. I believe he
is a very gentleman-like man. John thinks very well of him, and John's
judgment--"

"Well, I shall see how they behave to me this evening; we shall meet
them at the rooms."

"And must I go?"

"Do not you intend it? I thought it was all settled."

"Nay, since you make such a point of it, I can refuse you nothing. But
do not insist upon my being very agreeable, for my heart, you know, will
be some forty miles off. And as for dancing, do not mention it, I beg;
that is quite out of the question. Charles Hodges will plague me to
death, I dare say; but I shall cut him very short. Ten to one but he
guesses the reason, and that is exactly what I want to avoid, so I shall
insist on his keeping his conjecture to himself."

Isabella's opinion of the Tilneys did not influence her friend; she was
sure there had been no insolence in the manners either of brother or
sister; and she did not credit there being any pride in their hearts.
The evening rewarded her confidence; she was met by one with the same
kindness, and by the other with the same attention, as heretofore: Miss
Tilney took pains to be near her, and Henry asked her to dance.

Having heard the day before in Milsom Street that their elder brother,
Captain Tilney, was expected almost every hour, she was at no loss for
the name of a very fashionable-looking, handsome young man, whom she had
never seen before, and who now evidently belonged to their party. She
looked at him with great admiration, and even supposed it possible that
some people might think him handsomer than his brother, though, in her
eyes, his air was more assuming, and his countenance less prepossessing.
His taste and manners were beyond a doubt decidedly inferior; for,
within her hearing, he not only protested against every thought of
dancing himself, but even laughed openly at Henry for finding it
possible. From the latter circumstance it may be presumed that, whatever
might be our heroine's opinion of him, his admiration of her was not
of a very dangerous kind; not likely to produce animosities between the
brothers, nor persecutions to the lady. He cannot be the instigator of
the three villains in horsemen's greatcoats, by whom she will hereafter
be forced into a traveling-chaise and four, which will drive off with
incredible speed. Catherine, meanwhile, undisturbed by presentiments of
such an evil, or of any evil at all, except that of having but a short
set to dance down, enjoyed her usual happiness with Henry Tilney,
listening with sparkling eyes to everything he said; and, in finding him
irresistible, becoming so herself.

At the end of the first dance, Captain Tilney came towards them again,
and, much to Catherine's dissatisfaction, pulled his brother away. They
retired whispering together; and, though her delicate sensibility did
not take immediate alarm, and lay it down as fact, that Captain Tilney
must have heard some malevolent misrepresentation of her, which he now
hastened to communicate to his brother, in the hope of separating them
forever, she could not have her partner conveyed from her sight without
very uneasy sensations. Her suspense was of full five minutes' duration;
and she was beginning to think it a very long quarter of an hour, when
they both returned, and an explanation was given, by Henry's requesting
to know if she thought her friend, Miss Thorpe, would have any objection
to dancing, as his brother would be most happy to be introduced to
her. Catherine, without hesitation, replied that she was very sure Miss
Thorpe did not mean to dance at all. The cruel reply was passed on to
the other, and he immediately walked away.

"Your brother will not mind it, I know," said she, "because I heard him
say before that he hated dancing; but it was very good-natured in him
to think of it. I suppose he saw Isabella sitting down, and fancied she
might wish for a partner; but he is quite mistaken, for she would not
dance upon any account in the world."

Henry smiled, and said, "How very little trouble it can give you to
understand the motive of other people's actions."

"Why? What do you mean?"

"With you, it is not, How is such a one likely to be influenced, What
is the inducement most likely to act upon such a person's feelings, age,
situation, and probable habits of life considered--but, How should I be
influenced, What would be my inducement in acting so and so?"

"I do not understand you."

"Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly
well."

"Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible."

"Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language."

"But pray tell me what you mean."

"Shall I indeed? Do you really desire it? But you are not aware of the
consequences; it will involve you in a very cruel embarrassment, and
certainly bring on a disagreement between us.

"No, no; it shall not do either; I am not afraid."

"Well, then, I only meant that your attributing my brother's wish of
dancing with Miss Thorpe to good nature alone convinced me of your being
superior in good nature yourself to all the rest of the world."

Catherine blushed and disclaimed, and the gentleman's predictions were
verified. There was a something, however, in his words which repaid her
for the pain of confusion; and that something occupied her mind so much
that she drew back for some time, forgetting to speak or to listen, and
almost forgetting where she was; till, roused by the voice of Isabella,
she looked up and saw her with Captain Tilney preparing to give them
hands across.

Isabella shrugged her shoulders and smiled, the only explanation of this
extraordinary change which could at that time be given; but as it
was not quite enough for Catherine's comprehension, she spoke her
astonishment in very plain terms to her partner.

"I cannot think how it could happen! Isabella was so determined not to
dance."

"And did Isabella never change her mind before?"

"Oh! But, because--And your brother! After what you told him from me,
how could he think of going to ask her?"

"I cannot take surprise to myself on that head. You bid me be surprised
on your friend's account, and therefore I am; but as for my brother, his
conduct in the business, I must own, has been no more than I believed
him perfectly equal to. The fairness of your friend was an open
attraction; her firmness, you know, could only be understood by
yourself."

"You are laughing; but, I assure you, Isabella is very firm in general."

"It is as much as should be said of anyone. To be always firm must be
to be often obstinate. When properly to relax is the trial of judgment;
and, without reference to my brother, I really think Miss Thorpe has by
no means chosen ill in fixing on the present hour."

The friends were not able to get together for any confidential discourse
till all the dancing was over; but then, as they walked about the room
arm in arm, Isabella thus explained herself: "I do not wonder at your
surprise; and I am really fatigued to death. He is such a rattle!
Amusing enough, if my mind had been disengaged; but I would have given
the world to sit still."

"Then why did not you?"

"Oh! My dear! It would have looked so particular; and you know how I
abhor doing that. I refused him as long as I possibly could, but he
would take no denial. You have no idea how he pressed me. I begged him
to excuse me, and get some other partner--but no, not he; after aspiring
to my hand, there was nobody else in the room he could bear to think of;
and it was not that he wanted merely to dance, he wanted to be with
me. Oh! Such nonsense! I told him he had taken a very unlikely way to
prevail upon me; for, of all things in the world, I hated fine speeches
and compliments; and so--and so then I found there would be no peace if
I did not stand up. Besides, I thought Mrs. Hughes, who introduced him,
might take it ill if I did not: and your dear brother, I am sure he
would have been miserable if I had sat down the whole evening. I am
so glad it is over! My spirits are quite jaded with listening to his
nonsense: and then, being such a smart young fellow, I saw every eye was
upon us."

"He is very handsome indeed."

"Handsome! Yes, I suppose he may. I dare say people would admire him
in general; but he is not at all in my style of beauty. I hate a florid
complexion and dark eyes in a man. However, he is very well. Amazingly
conceited, I am sure. I took him down several times, you know, in my
way."

When the young ladies next met, they had a far more interesting subject
to discuss. James Morland's second letter was then received, and the
kind intentions of his father fully explained. A living, of which Mr.
Morland was himself patron and incumbent, of about four hundred pounds
yearly value, was to be resigned to his son as soon as he should be
old enough to take it; no trifling deduction from the family income, no
niggardly assignment to one of ten children. An estate of at least equal
value, moreover, was assured as his future inheritance.

James expressed himself on the occasion with becoming gratitude; and
the necessity of waiting between two and three years before they could
marry, being, however unwelcome, no more than he had expected, was borne
by him without discontent. Catherine, whose expectations had been as
unfixed as her ideas of her father's income, and whose judgment was now
entirely led by her brother, felt equally well satisfied, and heartily
congratulated Isabella on having everything so pleasantly settled.

"It is very charming indeed," said Isabella, with a grave face. "Mr.
Morland has behaved vastly handsome indeed," said the gentle Mrs.
Thorpe, looking anxiously at her daughter. "I only wish I could do as
much. One could not expect more from him, you know. If he finds he
can do more by and by, I dare say he will, for I am sure he must be an
excellent good-hearted man. Four hundred is but a small income to begin
on indeed, but your wishes, my dear Isabella, are so moderate, you do
not consider how little you ever want, my dear."

"It is not on my own account I wish for more; but I cannot bear to
be the means of injuring my dear Morland, making him sit down upon an
income hardly enough to find one in the common necessaries of life. For
myself, it is nothing; I never think of myself."

"I know you never do, my dear; and you will always find your reward in
the affection it makes everybody feel for you. There never was a young
woman so beloved as you are by everybody that knows you; and I dare say
when Mr. Morland sees you, my dear child--but do not let us distress
our dear Catherine by talking of such things. Mr. Morland has behaved so
very handsome, you know. I always heard he was a most excellent man;
and you know, my dear, we are not to suppose but what, if you had had a
suitable fortune, he would have come down with something more, for I am
sure he must be a most liberal-minded man."

"Nobody can think better of Mr. Morland than I do, I am sure. But
everybody has their failing, you know, and everybody has a right to
do what they like with their own money." Catherine was hurt by these
insinuations. "I am very sure," said she, "that my father has promised
to do as much as he can afford."

Isabella recollected herself. "As to that, my sweet Catherine, there
cannot be a doubt, and you know me well enough to be sure that a much
smaller income would satisfy me. It is not the want of more money that
makes me just at present a little out of spirits; I hate money; and if
our union could take place now upon only fifty pounds a year, I should
not have a wish unsatisfied. Ah! my Catherine, you have found me out.
There's the sting. The long, long, endless two years and half that are
to pass before your brother can hold the living."

"Yes, yes, my darling Isabella," said Mrs. Thorpe, "we perfectly see
into your heart. You have no disguise. We perfectly understand the
present vexation; and everybody must love you the better for such a
noble honest affection."

Catherine's uncomfortable feelings began to lessen. She endeavoured to
believe that the delay of the marriage was the only source of Isabella's
regret; and when she saw her at their next interview as cheerful and
amiable as ever, endeavoured to forget that she had for a minute thought
otherwise. James soon followed his letter, and was received with the
most gratifying kindness.



CHAPTER 17


The Allens had now entered on the sixth week of their stay in Bath; and
whether it should be the last was for some time a question, to which
Catherine listened with a beating heart. To have her acquaintance with
the Tilneys end so soon was an evil which nothing could counterbalance.
Her whole happiness seemed at stake, while the affair was in suspense,
and everything secured when it was determined that the lodgings should
be taken for another fortnight. What this additional fortnight was to
produce to her beyond the pleasure of sometimes seeing Henry Tilney made
but a small part of Catherine's speculation. Once or twice indeed, since
James's engagement had taught her what could be done, she had got so
far as to indulge in a secret "perhaps," but in general the felicity of
being with him for the present bounded her views: the present was now
comprised in another three weeks, and her happiness being certain for
that period, the rest of her life was at such a distance as to excite
but little interest. In the course of the morning which saw this
business arranged, she visited Miss Tilney, and poured forth her
joyful feelings. It was doomed to be a day of trial. No sooner had she
expressed her delight in Mr. Allen's lengthened stay than Miss Tilney
told her of her father's having just determined upon quitting Bath
by the end of another week. Here was a blow! The past suspense of
the morning had been ease and quiet to the present disappointment.
Catherine's countenance fell, and in a voice of most sincere concern she
echoed Miss Tilney's concluding words, "By the end of another week!"

"Yes, my father can seldom be prevailed on to give the waters what I
think a fair trial. He has been disappointed of some friends' arrival
whom he expected to meet here, and as he is now pretty well, is in a
hurry to get home."

"I am very sorry for it," said Catherine dejectedly; "if I had known
this before--"

"Perhaps," said Miss Tilney in an embarrassed manner, "you would be so
good--it would make me very happy if--"

The entrance of her father put a stop to the civility, which Catherine
was beginning to hope might introduce a desire of their corresponding.
After addressing her with his usual politeness, he turned to his
daughter and said, "Well, Eleanor, may I congratulate you on being
successful in your application to your fair friend?"

"I was just beginning to make the request, sir, as you came in."

"Well, proceed by all means. I know how much your heart is in it. My
daughter, Miss Morland," he continued, without leaving his daughter time
to speak, "has been forming a very bold wish. We leave Bath, as she has
perhaps told you, on Saturday se'nnight. A letter from my steward tells
me that my presence is wanted at home; and being disappointed in my hope
of seeing the Marquis of Longtown and General Courteney here, some of
my very old friends, there is nothing to detain me longer in Bath. And
could we carry our selfish point with you, we should leave it without a
single regret. Can you, in short, be prevailed on to quit this scene
of public triumph and oblige your friend Eleanor with your company in
Gloucestershire? I am almost ashamed to make the request, though its
presumption would certainly appear greater to every creature in Bath
than yourself. Modesty such as yours--but not for the world would I pain
it by open praise. If you can be induced to honour us with a visit,
you will make us happy beyond expression. 'Tis true, we can offer you
nothing like the gaieties of this lively place; we can tempt you neither
by amusement nor splendour, for our mode of living, as you see, is plain
and unpretending; yet no endeavours shall be wanting on our side to make
Northanger Abbey not wholly disagreeable."

Northanger Abbey! These were thrilling words, and wound up Catherine's
feelings to the highest point of ecstasy. Her grateful and gratified
heart could hardly restrain its expressions within the language of
tolerable calmness. To receive so flattering an invitation! To have her
company so warmly solicited! Everything honourable and soothing, every
present enjoyment, and every future hope was contained in it; and her
acceptance, with only the saving clause of Papa and Mamma's approbation,
was eagerly given. "I will write home directly," said she, "and if they
do not object, as I dare say they will not--"

General Tilney was not less sanguine, having already waited on her
excellent friends in Pulteney Street, and obtained their sanction of
his wishes. "Since they can consent to part with you," said he, "we may
expect philosophy from all the world."

Miss Tilney was earnest, though gentle, in her secondary civilities, and
the affair became in a few minutes as nearly settled as this necessary
reference to Fullerton would allow.

The circumstances of the morning had led Catherine's feelings through
the varieties of suspense, security, and disappointment; but they were
now safely lodged in perfect bliss; and with spirits elated to rapture,
with Henry at her heart, and Northanger Abbey on her lips, she
hurried home to write her letter. Mr. and Mrs. Morland, relying on
the discretion of the friends to whom they had already entrusted their
daughter, felt no doubt of the propriety of an acquaintance which had
been formed under their eye, and sent therefore by return of post their
ready consent to her visit in Gloucestershire. This indulgence, though
not more than Catherine had hoped for, completed her conviction of being
favoured beyond every other human creature, in friends and fortune,
circumstance and chance. Everything seemed to cooperate for her
advantage. By the kindness of her first friends, the Allens, she had
been introduced into scenes where pleasures of every kind had met her.
Her feelings, her preferences, had each known the happiness of a return.
Wherever she felt attachment, she had been able to create it. The
affection of Isabella was to be secured to her in a sister. The Tilneys,
they, by whom, above all, she desired to be favourably thought of,
outstripped even her wishes in the flattering measures by which their
intimacy was to be continued. She was to be their chosen visitor, she
was to be for weeks under the same roof with the person whose society
she mostly prized--and, in addition to all the rest, this roof was to
be the roof of an abbey! Her passion for ancient edifices was next in
degree to her passion for Henry Tilney--and castles and abbeys made
usually the charm of those reveries which his image did not fill. To see
and explore either the ramparts and keep of the one, or the cloisters
of the other, had been for many weeks a darling wish, though to be more
than the visitor of an hour had seemed too nearly impossible for desire.
And yet, this was to happen. With all the chances against her of house,
hall, place, park, court, and cottage, Northanger turned up an abbey,
and she was to be its inhabitant. Its long, damp passages, its narrow
cells and ruined chapel, were to be within her daily reach, and she
could not entirely subdue the hope of some traditional legends, some
awful memorials of an injured and ill-fated nun.

It was wonderful that her friends should seem so little elated by the
possession of such a home, that the consciousness of it should be so
meekly borne. The power of early habit only could account for it. A
distinction to which they had been born gave no pride. Their superiority
of abode was no more to them than their superiority of person.

Many were the inquiries she was eager to make of Miss Tilney; but so
active were her thoughts, that when these inquiries were answered, she
was hardly more assured than before, of Northanger Abbey having been
a richly endowed convent at the time of the Reformation, of its having
fallen into the hands of an ancestor of the Tilneys on its dissolution,
of a large portion of the ancient building still making a part of the
present dwelling although the rest was decayed, or of its standing low
in a valley, sheltered from the north and east by rising woods of oak.



CHAPTER 18


With a mind thus full of happiness, Catherine was hardly aware that two
or three days had passed away, without her seeing Isabella for more than
a few minutes together. She began first to be sensible of this, and
to sigh for her conversation, as she walked along the pump-room one
morning, by Mrs. Allen's side, without anything to say or to hear; and
scarcely had she felt a five minutes' longing of friendship, before the
object of it appeared, and inviting her to a secret conference, led the
way to a seat. "This is my favourite place," said she as they sat
down on a bench between the doors, which commanded a tolerable view of
everybody entering at either; "it is so out of the way."

Catherine, observing that Isabella's eyes were continually bent towards
one door or the other, as in eager expectation, and remembering how
often she had been falsely accused of being arch, thought the present a
fine opportunity for being really so; and therefore gaily said, "Do not
be uneasy, Isabella, James will soon be here."

"Psha! My dear creature," she replied, "do not think me such a simpleton
as to be always wanting to confine him to my elbow. It would be hideous
to be always together; we should be the jest of the place. And so you
are going to Northanger! I am amazingly glad of it. It is one of the
finest old places in England, I understand. I shall depend upon a most
particular description of it."

"You shall certainly have the best in my power to give. But who are you
looking for? Are your sisters coming?"

"I am not looking for anybody. One's eyes must be somewhere, and you
know what a foolish trick I have of fixing mine, when my thoughts are an
hundred miles off. I am amazingly absent; I believe I am the most absent
creature in the world. Tilney says it is always the case with minds of a
certain stamp."

"But I thought, Isabella, you had something in particular to tell me?"

"Oh! Yes, and so I have. But here is a proof of what I was saying. My
poor head, I had quite forgot it. Well, the thing is this: I have just
had a letter from John; you can guess the contents."

"No, indeed, I cannot."

"My sweet love, do not be so abominably affected. What can he write
about, but yourself? You know he is over head and ears in love with
you."

"With me, dear Isabella!"

"Nay, my sweetest Catherine, this is being quite absurd! Modesty, and
all that, is very well in its way, but really a little common honesty is
sometimes quite as becoming. I have no idea of being so overstrained!
It is fishing for compliments. His attentions were such as a child must
have noticed. And it was but half an hour before he left Bath that you
gave him the most positive encouragement. He says so in this letter,
says that he as good as made you an offer, and that you received his
advances in the kindest way; and now he wants me to urge his suit,
and say all manner of pretty things to you. So it is in vain to affect
ignorance."

Catherine, with all the earnestness of truth, expressed her astonishment
at such a charge, protesting her innocence of every thought of Mr.
Thorpe's being in love with her, and the consequent impossibility of
her having ever intended to encourage him. "As to any attentions on his
side, I do declare, upon my honour, I never was sensible of them for a
moment--except just his asking me to dance the first day of his coming.
And as to making me an offer, or anything like it, there must be some
unaccountable mistake. I could not have misunderstood a thing of that
kind, you know! And, as I ever wish to be believed, I solemnly protest
that no syllable of such a nature ever passed between us. The last half
hour before he went away! It must be all and completely a mistake--for I
did not see him once that whole morning."

"But that you certainly did, for you spent the whole morning in Edgar's
Buildings--it was the day your father's consent came--and I am pretty
sure that you and John were alone in the parlour some time before you
left the house."

"Are you? Well, if you say it, it was so, I dare say--but for the life
of me, I cannot recollect it. I do remember now being with you, and
seeing him as well as the rest--but that we were ever alone for five
minutes--However, it is not worth arguing about, for whatever might pass
on his side, you must be convinced, by my having no recollection of it,
that I never thought, nor expected, nor wished for anything of the kind
from him. I am excessively concerned that he should have any regard for
me--but indeed it has been quite unintentional on my side; I never had
the smallest idea of it. Pray undeceive him as soon as you can, and tell
him I beg his pardon--that is--I do not know what I ought to say--but
make him understand what I mean, in the properest way. I would not speak
disrespectfully of a brother of yours, Isabella, I am sure; but you know
very well that if I could think of one man more than another--he is not
the person." Isabella was silent. "My dear friend, you must not be angry
with me. I cannot suppose your brother cares so very much about me. And,
you know, we shall still be sisters."

"Yes, yes" (with a blush), "there are more ways than one of our being
sisters. But where am I wandering to? Well, my dear Catherine, the case
seems to be that you are determined against poor John--is not it so?"

"I certainly cannot return his affection, and as certainly never meant
to encourage it."

"Since that is the case, I am sure I shall not tease you any further.
John desired me to speak to you on the subject, and therefore I have.
But I confess, as soon as I read his letter, I thought it a very
foolish, imprudent business, and not likely to promote the good of
either; for what were you to live upon, supposing you came together? You
have both of you something, to be sure, but it is not a trifle that will
support a family nowadays; and after all that romancers may say, there
is no doing without money. I only wonder John could think of it; he
could not have received my last."

"You do acquit me, then, of anything wrong?--You are convinced that I
never meant to deceive your brother, never suspected him of liking me
till this moment?"

"Oh! As to that," answered Isabella laughingly, "I do not pretend to
determine what your thoughts and designs in time past may have been. All
that is best known to yourself. A little harmless flirtation or so will
occur, and one is often drawn on to give more encouragement than one
wishes to stand by. But you may be assured that I am the last person in
the world to judge you severely. All those things should be allowed for
in youth and high spirits. What one means one day, you know, one may not
mean the next. Circumstances change, opinions alter."

"But my opinion of your brother never did alter; it was always the same.
You are describing what never happened."

"My dearest Catherine," continued the other without at all listening to
her, "I would not for all the world be the means of hurrying you into an
engagement before you knew what you were about. I do not think anything
would justify me in wishing you to sacrifice all your happiness merely
to oblige my brother, because he is my brother, and who perhaps after
all, you know, might be just as happy without you, for people seldom
know what they would be at, young men especially, they are so amazingly
changeable and inconstant. What I say is, why should a brother's
happiness be dearer to me than a friend's? You know I carry my notions
of friendship pretty high. But, above all things, my dear Catherine, do
not be in a hurry. Take my word for it, that if you are in too great
a hurry, you will certainly live to repent it. Tilney says there is
nothing people are so often deceived in as the state of their own
affections, and I believe he is very right. Ah! Here he comes; never
mind, he will not see us, I am sure."

Catherine, looking up, perceived Captain Tilney; and Isabella,
earnestly fixing her eye on him as she spoke, soon caught his notice. He
approached immediately, and took the seat to which her movements invited
him. His first address made Catherine start. Though spoken low, she
could distinguish, "What! Always to be watched, in person or by proxy!"

"Psha, nonsense!" was Isabella's answer in the same half whisper. "Why
do you put such things into my head? If I could believe it--my spirit,
you know, is pretty independent."

"I wish your heart were independent. That would be enough for me."

"My heart, indeed! What can you have to do with hearts? You men have
none of you any hearts."

"If we have not hearts, we have eyes; and they give us torment enough."

"Do they? I am sorry for it; I am sorry they find anything so
disagreeable in me. I will look another way. I hope this pleases you"
(turning her back on him); "I hope your eyes are not tormented now."

"Never more so; for the edge of a blooming cheek is still in view--at
once too much and too little."

Catherine heard all this, and quite out of countenance, could listen
no longer. Amazed that Isabella could endure it, and jealous for her
brother, she rose up, and saying she should join Mrs. Allen, proposed
their walking. But for this Isabella showed no inclination. She was so
amazingly tired, and it was so odious to parade about the pump-room;
and if she moved from her seat she should miss her sisters; she was
expecting her sisters every moment; so that her dearest Catherine must
excuse her, and must sit quietly down again. But Catherine could be
stubborn too; and Mrs. Allen just then coming up to propose their
returning home, she joined her and walked out of the pump-room, leaving
Isabella still sitting with Captain Tilney. With much uneasiness did
she thus leave them. It seemed to her that Captain Tilney was falling
in love with Isabella, and Isabella unconsciously encouraging him;
unconsciously it must be, for Isabella's attachment to James was as
certain and well acknowledged as her engagement. To doubt her truth
or good intentions was impossible; and yet, during the whole of their
conversation her manner had been odd. She wished Isabella had talked
more like her usual self, and not so much about money, and had not
looked so well pleased at the sight of Captain Tilney. How strange that
she should not perceive his admiration! Catherine longed to give her a
hint of it, to put her on her guard, and prevent all the pain which
her too lively behaviour might otherwise create both for him and her
brother.

The compliment of John Thorpe's affection did not make amends for this
thoughtlessness in his sister. She was almost as far from believing as
from wishing it to be sincere; for she had not forgotten that he
could mistake, and his assertion of the offer and of her encouragement
convinced her that his mistakes could sometimes be very egregious.
In vanity, therefore, she gained but little; her chief profit was in
wonder. That he should think it worth his while to fancy himself in love
with her was a matter of lively astonishment. Isabella talked of his
attentions; she had never been sensible of any; but Isabella had said
many things which she hoped had been spoken in haste, and would never
be said again; and upon this she was glad to rest altogether for present
ease and comfort.



CHAPTER 19


A few days passed away, and Catherine, though not allowing herself to
suspect her friend, could not help watching her closely. The result of
her observations was not agreeable. Isabella seemed an altered creature.
When she saw her, indeed, surrounded only by their immediate friends
in Edgar's Buildings or Pulteney Street, her change of manners was so
trifling that, had it gone no farther, it might have passed unnoticed.
A something of languid indifference, or of that boasted absence of
mind which Catherine had never heard of before, would occasionally come
across her; but had nothing worse appeared, that might only have spread
a new grace and inspired a warmer interest. But when Catherine saw her
in public, admitting Captain Tilney's attentions as readily as they were
offered, and allowing him almost an equal share with James in her notice
and smiles, the alteration became too positive to be passed over. What
could be meant by such unsteady conduct, what her friend could be at,
was beyond her comprehension. Isabella could not be aware of the pain
she was inflicting; but it was a degree of wilful thoughtlessness which
Catherine could not but resent. James was the sufferer. She saw him
grave and uneasy; and however careless of his present comfort the woman
might be who had given him her heart, to her it was always an object.
For poor Captain Tilney too she was greatly concerned. Though his looks
did not please her, his name was a passport to her goodwill, and she
thought with sincere compassion of his approaching disappointment; for,
in spite of what she had believed herself to overhear in the pump-room,
his behaviour was so incompatible with a knowledge of Isabella's
engagement that she could not, upon reflection, imagine him aware of it.
He might be jealous of her brother as a rival, but if more had seemed
implied, the fault must have been in her misapprehension. She wished, by
a gentle remonstrance, to remind Isabella of her situation, and make
her aware of this double unkindness; but for remonstrance, either
opportunity or comprehension was always against her. If able to suggest
a hint, Isabella could never understand it. In this distress, the
intended departure of the Tilney family became her chief consolation;
their journey into Gloucestershire was to take place within a few days,
and Captain Tilney's removal would at least restore peace to every heart
but his own. But Captain Tilney had at present no intention of removing;
he was not to be of the party to Northanger; he was to continue at Bath.
When Catherine knew this, her resolution was directly made. She spoke to
Henry Tilney on the subject, regretting his brother's evident partiality
for Miss Thorpe, and entreating him to make known her prior engagement.

"My brother does know it," was Henry's answer.

"Does he? Then why does he stay here?"

He made no reply, and was beginning to talk of something else; but she
eagerly continued, "Why do not you persuade him to go away? The longer
he stays, the worse it will be for him at last. Pray advise him for his
own sake, and for everybody's sake, to leave Bath directly. Absence will
in time make him comfortable again; but he can have no hope here, and it
is only staying to be miserable."

Henry smiled and said, "I am sure my brother would not wish to do that."

"Then you will persuade him to go away?"

"Persuasion is not at command; but pardon me, if I cannot even endeavour
to persuade him. I have myself told him that Miss Thorpe is engaged. He
knows what he is about, and must be his own master."

"No, he does not know what he is about," cried Catherine; "he does not
know the pain he is giving my brother. Not that James has ever told me
so, but I am sure he is very uncomfortable."

"And are you sure it is my brother's doing?"

"Yes, very sure."

"Is it my brother's attentions to Miss Thorpe, or Miss Thorpe's
admission of them, that gives the pain?"

"Is not it the same thing?"

"I think Mr. Morland would acknowledge a difference. No man is offended
by another man's admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only
who can make it a torment."

Catherine blushed for her friend, and said, "Isabella is wrong. But I
am sure she cannot mean to torment, for she is very much attached to my
brother. She has been in love with him ever since they first met, and
while my father's consent was uncertain, she fretted herself almost into
a fever. You know she must be attached to him."

"I understand: she is in love with James, and flirts with Frederick."

"Oh! no, not flirts. A woman in love with one man cannot flirt with
another."

"It is probable that she will neither love so well, nor flirt so
well, as she might do either singly. The gentlemen must each give up a
little."

After a short pause, Catherine resumed with, "Then you do not believe
Isabella so very much attached to my brother?"

"I can have no opinion on that subject."

"But what can your brother mean? If he knows her engagement, what can he
mean by his behaviour?"

"You are a very close questioner."

"Am I? I only ask what I want to be told."

"But do you only ask what I can be expected to tell?"

"Yes, I think so; for you must know your brother's heart."

"My brother's heart, as you term it, on the present occasion, I assure
you I can only guess at."

"Well?"

"Well! Nay, if it is to be guesswork, let us all guess for ourselves. To
be guided by second-hand conjecture is pitiful. The premises are before
you. My brother is a lively and perhaps sometimes a thoughtless young
man; he has had about a week's acquaintance with your friend, and he has
known her engagement almost as long as he has known her."

"Well," said Catherine, after some moments' consideration, "you may be
able to guess at your brother's intentions from all this; but I am sure
I cannot. But is not your father uncomfortable about it? Does not he
want Captain Tilney to go away? Sure, if your father were to speak to
him, he would go."

"My dear Miss Morland," said Henry, "in this amiable solicitude for your
brother's comfort, may you not be a little mistaken? Are you not carried
a little too far? Would he thank you, either on his own account or
Miss Thorpe's, for supposing that her affection, or at least her good
behaviour, is only to be secured by her seeing nothing of Captain
Tilney? Is he safe only in solitude? Or is her heart constant to him
only when unsolicited by anyone else? He cannot think this--and you may
be sure that he would not have you think it. I will not say, 'Do not
be uneasy,' because I know that you are so, at this moment; but be as
little uneasy as you can. You have no doubt of the mutual attachment
of your brother and your friend; depend upon it, therefore, that
real jealousy never can exist between them; depend upon it that no
disagreement between them can be of any duration. Their hearts are open
to each other, as neither heart can be to you; they know exactly what
is required and what can be borne; and you may be certain that one will
never tease the other beyond what is known to be pleasant."

Perceiving her still to look doubtful and grave, he added, "Though
Frederick does not leave Bath with us, he will probably remain but a
very short time, perhaps only a few days behind us. His leave of absence
will soon expire, and he must return to his regiment. And what will then
be their acquaintance? The mess-room will drink Isabella Thorpe for
a fortnight, and she will laugh with your brother over poor Tilney's
passion for a month."

Catherine would contend no longer against comfort. She had resisted its
approaches during the whole length of a speech, but it now carried her
captive. Henry Tilney must know best. She blamed herself for the extent
of her fears, and resolved never to think so seriously on the subject
again.

Her resolution was supported by Isabella's behaviour in their parting
interview. The Thorpes spent the last evening of Catherine's stay in
Pulteney Street, and nothing passed between the lovers to excite
her uneasiness, or make her quit them in apprehension. James was in
excellent spirits, and Isabella most engagingly placid. Her tenderness
for her friend seemed rather the first feeling of her heart; but that
at such a moment was allowable; and once she gave her lover a flat
contradiction, and once she drew back her hand; but Catherine remembered
Henry's instructions, and placed it all to judicious affection. The
embraces, tears, and promises of the parting fair ones may be fancied.



CHAPTER 20


Mr. and Mrs. Allen were sorry to lose their young friend, whose good
humour and cheerfulness had made her a valuable companion, and in the
promotion of whose enjoyment their own had been gently increased. Her
happiness in going with Miss Tilney, however, prevented their wishing
it otherwise; and, as they were to remain only one more week in Bath
themselves, her quitting them now would not long be felt. Mr. Allen
attended her to Milsom Street, where she was to breakfast, and saw her
seated with the kindest welcome among her new friends; but so great was
her agitation in finding herself as one of the family, and so fearful
was she of not doing exactly what was right, and of not being able to
preserve their good opinion, that, in the embarrassment of the first
five minutes, she could almost have wished to return with him to
Pulteney Street.

Miss Tilney's manners and Henry's smile soon did away some of her
unpleasant feelings; but still she was far from being at ease; nor could
the incessant attentions of the general himself entirely reassure her.
Nay, perverse as it seemed, she doubted whether she might not have felt
less, had she been less attended to. His anxiety for her comfort--his
continual solicitations that she would eat, and his often-expressed
fears of her seeing nothing to her taste--though never in her life
before had she beheld half such variety on a breakfast-table--made it
impossible for her to forget for a moment that she was a visitor. She
felt utterly unworthy of such respect, and knew not how to reply to it.
Her tranquillity was not improved by the general's impatience for the
appearance of his eldest son, nor by the displeasure he expressed at his
laziness when Captain Tilney at last came down. She was quite pained by
the severity of his father's reproof, which seemed disproportionate to
the offence; and much was her concern increased when she found herself
the principal cause of the lecture, and that his tardiness was chiefly
resented from being disrespectful to her. This was placing her in a
very uncomfortable situation, and she felt great compassion for Captain
Tilney, without being able to hope for his goodwill.

He listened to his father in silence, and attempted not any defence,
which confirmed her in fearing that the inquietude of his mind, on
Isabella's account, might, by keeping him long sleepless, have been
the real cause of his rising late. It was the first time of her being
decidedly in his company, and she had hoped to be now able to form
her opinion of him; but she scarcely heard his voice while his father
remained in the room; and even afterwards, so much were his spirits
affected, she could distinguish nothing but these words, in a whisper to
Eleanor, "How glad I shall be when you are all off."

The bustle of going was not pleasant. The clock struck ten while the
trunks were carrying down, and the general had fixed to be out of Milsom
Street by that hour. His greatcoat, instead of being brought for him
to put on directly, was spread out in the curricle in which he was to
accompany his son. The middle seat of the chaise was not drawn out,
though there were three people to go in it, and his daughter's maid had
so crowded it with parcels that Miss Morland would not have room to sit;
and, so much was he influenced by this apprehension when he handed her
in, that she had some difficulty in saving her own new writing-desk from
being thrown out into the street. At last, however, the door was closed
upon the three females, and they set off at the sober pace in which
the handsome, highly fed four horses of a gentleman usually perform a
journey of thirty miles: such was the distance of Northanger from Bath,
to be now divided into two equal stages. Catherine's spirits revived as
they drove from the door; for with Miss Tilney she felt no restraint;
and, with the interest of a road entirely new to her, of an abbey
before, and a curricle behind, she caught the last view of Bath without
any regret, and met with every milestone before she expected it. The
tediousness of a two hours' wait at Petty France, in which there was
nothing to be done but to eat without being hungry, and loiter about
without anything to see, next followed--and her admiration of the style
in which they travelled, of the fashionable chaise and four--postilions
handsomely liveried, rising so regularly in their stirrups, and
numerous outriders properly mounted, sunk a little under this consequent
inconvenience. Had their party been perfectly agreeable, the delay would
have been nothing; but General Tilney, though so charming a man, seemed
always a check upon his children's spirits, and scarcely anything was
said but by himself; the observation of which, with his discontent at
whatever the inn afforded, and his angry impatience at the waiters, made
Catherine grow every moment more in awe of him, and appeared to lengthen
the two hours into four. At last, however, the order of release was
given; and much was Catherine then surprised by the general's proposal
of her taking his place in his son's curricle for the rest of the
journey: "the day was fine, and he was anxious for her seeing as much of
the country as possible."

The remembrance of Mr. Allen's opinion, respecting young men's open
carriages, made her blush at the mention of such a plan, and her first
thought was to decline it; but her second was of greater deference for
General Tilney's judgment; he could not propose anything improper for
her; and, in the course of a few minutes, she found herself with Henry
in the curricle, as happy a being as ever existed. A very short trial
convinced her that a curricle was the prettiest equipage in the world;
the chaise and four wheeled off with some grandeur, to be sure, but it
was a heavy and troublesome business, and she could not easily forget
its having stopped two hours at Petty France. Half the time would
have been enough for the curricle, and so nimbly were the light horses
disposed to move, that, had not the general chosen to have his own
carriage lead the way, they could have passed it with ease in half a
minute. But the merit of the curricle did not all belong to the horses;
Henry drove so well--so quietly--without making any disturbance,
without parading to her, or swearing at them: so different from the only
gentleman-coachman whom it was in her power to compare him with! And
then his hat sat so well, and the innumerable capes of his greatcoat
looked so becomingly important! To be driven by him, next to being
dancing with him, was certainly the greatest happiness in the world. In
addition to every other delight, she had now that of listening to her
own praise; of being thanked at least, on his sister's account, for
her kindness in thus becoming her visitor; of hearing it ranked as real
friendship, and described as creating real gratitude. His sister, he
said, was uncomfortably circumstanced--she had no female companion--and,
in the frequent absence of her father, was sometimes without any
companion at all.

"But how can that be?" said Catherine. "Are not you with her?"

"Northanger is not more than half my home; I have an establishment at
my own house in Woodston, which is nearly twenty miles from my father's,
and some of my time is necessarily spent there."

"How sorry you must be for that!"

"I am always sorry to leave Eleanor."

"Yes; but besides your affection for her, you must be so fond of
the abbey! After being used to such a home as the abbey, an ordinary
parsonage-house must be very disagreeable."

He smiled, and said, "You have formed a very favourable idea of the
abbey."

"To be sure, I have. Is not it a fine old place, just like what one
reads about?"

"And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such
as 'what one reads about' may produce? Have you a stout heart? Nerves
fit for sliding panels and tapestry?"

"Oh! yes--I do not think I should be easily frightened, because there
would be so many people in the house--and besides, it has never been
uninhabited and left deserted for years, and then the family come back
to it unawares, without giving any notice, as generally happens."

"No, certainly. We shall not have to explore our way into a hall dimly
lighted by the expiring embers of a wood fire--nor be obliged to spread
our beds on the floor of a room without windows, doors, or furniture.
But you must be aware that when a young lady is (by whatever means)
introduced into a dwelling of this kind, she is always lodged apart from
the rest of the family. While they snugly repair to their own end of the
house, she is formally conducted by Dorothy, the ancient housekeeper, up
a different staircase, and along many gloomy passages, into an apartment
never used since some cousin or kin died in it about twenty years
before. Can you stand such a ceremony as this? Will not your mind
misgive you when you find yourself in this gloomy chamber--too lofty and
extensive for you, with only the feeble rays of a single lamp to take
in its size--its walls hung with tapestry exhibiting figures as large as
life, and the bed, of dark green stuff or purple velvet, presenting even
a funereal appearance? Will not your heart sink within you?"

"Oh! But this will not happen to me, I am sure."

"How fearfully will you examine the furniture of your apartment! And
what will you discern? Not tables, toilettes, wardrobes, or drawers,
but on one side perhaps the remains of a broken lute, on the other a
ponderous chest which no efforts can open, and over the fireplace
the portrait of some handsome warrior, whose features will so
incomprehensibly strike you, that you will not be able to withdraw your
eyes from it. Dorothy, meanwhile, no less struck by your appearance,
gazes on you in great agitation, and drops a few unintelligible hints.
To raise your spirits, moreover, she gives you reason to suppose that
the part of the abbey you inhabit is undoubtedly haunted, and informs
you that you will not have a single domestic within call. With this
parting cordial she curtsies off--you listen to the sound of her
receding footsteps as long as the last echo can reach you--and when,
with fainting spirits, you attempt to fasten your door, you discover,
with increased alarm, that it has no lock."

"Oh! Mr. Tilney, how frightful! This is just like a book! But it cannot
really happen to me. I am sure your housekeeper is not really Dorothy.
Well, what then?"

"Nothing further to alarm perhaps may occur the first night. After
surmounting your unconquerable horror of the bed, you will retire to
rest, and get a few hours' unquiet slumber. But on the second, or at
farthest the third night after your arrival, you will probably have a
violent storm. Peals of thunder so loud as to seem to shake the edifice
to its foundation will roll round the neighbouring mountains--and during
the frightful gusts of wind which accompany it, you will probably think
you discern (for your lamp is not extinguished) one part of the hanging
more violently agitated than the rest. Unable of course to repress your
curiosity in so favourable a moment for indulging it, you will instantly
arise, and throwing your dressing-gown around you, proceed to examine
this mystery. After a very short search, you will discover a division in
the tapestry so artfully constructed as to defy the minutest inspection,
and on opening it, a door will immediately appear--which door, being
only secured by massy bars and a padlock, you will, after a few efforts,
succeed in opening--and, with your lamp in your hand, will pass through
it into a small vaulted room."

"No, indeed; I should be too much frightened to do any such thing."

"What! Not when Dorothy has given you to understand that there is a
secret subterraneous communication between your apartment and the chapel
of St. Anthony, scarcely two miles off? Could you shrink from so simple
an adventure? No, no, you will proceed into this small vaulted room,
and through this into several others, without perceiving anything very
remarkable in either. In one perhaps there may be a dagger, in another
a few drops of blood, and in a third the remains of some instrument of
torture; but there being nothing in all this out of the common way,
and your lamp being nearly exhausted, you will return towards your own
apartment. In repassing through the small vaulted room, however, your
eyes will be attracted towards a large, old-fashioned cabinet of ebony
and gold, which, though narrowly examining the furniture before, you
had passed unnoticed. Impelled by an irresistible presentiment, you will
eagerly advance to it, unlock its folding doors, and search into
every drawer--but for some time without discovering anything of
importance--perhaps nothing but a considerable hoard of diamonds. At
last, however, by touching a secret spring, an inner compartment will
open--a roll of paper appears--you seize it--it contains many sheets of
manuscript--you hasten with the precious treasure into your own chamber,
but scarcely have you been able to decipher 'Oh! Thou--whomsoever thou
mayst be, into whose hands these memoirs of the wretched Matilda may
fall'--when your lamp suddenly expires in the socket, and leaves you in
total darkness."

"Oh! No, no--do not say so. Well, go on."

But Henry was too much amused by the interest he had raised to be able
to carry it farther; he could no longer command solemnity either of
subject or voice, and was obliged to entreat her to use her own fancy
in the perusal of Matilda's woes. Catherine, recollecting herself, grew
ashamed of her eagerness, and began earnestly to assure him that her
attention had been fixed without the smallest apprehension of really
meeting with what he related. "Miss Tilney, she was sure, would never
put her into such a chamber as he had described! She was not at all
afraid."

As they drew near the end of their journey, her impatience for a sight
of the abbey--for some time suspended by his conversation on subjects
very different--returned in full force, and every bend in the road was
expected with solemn awe to afford a glimpse of its massy walls of grey
stone, rising amidst a grove of ancient oaks, with the last beams of the
sun playing in beautiful splendour on its high Gothic windows. But so
low did the building stand, that she found herself passing through the
great gates of the lodge into the very grounds of Northanger, without
having discerned even an antique chimney.

She knew not that she had any right to be surprised, but there was a
something in this mode of approach which she certainly had not expected.
To pass between lodges of a modern appearance, to find herself with such
ease in the very precincts of the abbey, and driven so rapidly along a
smooth, level road of fine gravel, without obstacle, alarm, or solemnity
of any kind, struck her as odd and inconsistent. She was not long
at leisure, however, for such considerations. A sudden scud of rain,
driving full in her face, made it impossible for her to observe anything
further, and fixed all her thoughts on the welfare of her new straw
bonnet; and she was actually under the abbey walls, was springing, with
Henry's assistance, from the carriage, was beneath the shelter of the
old porch, and had even passed on to the hall, where her friend and
the general were waiting to welcome her, without feeling one awful
foreboding of future misery to herself, or one moment's suspicion of any
past scenes of horror being acted within the solemn edifice. The breeze
had not seemed to waft the sighs of the murdered to her; it had wafted
nothing worse than a thick mizzling rain; and having given a good shake
to her habit, she was ready to be shown into the common drawing-room,
and capable of considering where she was.

An abbey! Yes, it was delightful to be really in an abbey! But she
doubted, as she looked round the room, whether anything within her
observation would have given her the consciousness. The furniture was in
all the profusion and elegance of modern taste. The fireplace, where she
had expected the ample width and ponderous carving of former times, was
contracted to a Rumford, with slabs of plain though handsome marble, and
ornaments over it of the prettiest English china. The windows, to which
she looked with peculiar dependence, from having heard the general talk
of his preserving them in their Gothic form with reverential care, were
yet less what her fancy had portrayed. To be sure, the pointed arch
was preserved--the form of them was Gothic--they might be even
casements--but every pane was so large, so clear, so light! To an
imagination which had hoped for the smallest divisions, and the heaviest
stone-work, for painted glass, dirt, and cobwebs, the difference was
very distressing.

The general, perceiving how her eye was employed, began to talk of the
smallness of the room and simplicity of the furniture, where everything,
being for daily use, pretended only to comfort, etc.; flattering
himself, however, that there were some apartments in the Abbey not
unworthy her notice--and was proceeding to mention the costly gilding
of one in particular, when, taking out his watch, he stopped short to
pronounce it with surprise within twenty minutes of five! This seemed
the word of separation, and Catherine found herself hurried away by Miss
Tilney in such a manner as convinced her that the strictest punctuality
to the family hours would be expected at Northanger.

Returning through the large and lofty hall, they ascended a broad
staircase of shining oak, which, after many flights and many
landing-places, brought them upon a long, wide gallery. On one side it
had a range of doors, and it was lighted on the other by windows which
Catherine had only time to discover looked into a quadrangle, before
Miss Tilney led the way into a chamber, and scarcely staying to hope she
would find it comfortable, left her with an anxious entreaty that she
would make as little alteration as possible in her dress.



CHAPTER 21


A moment's glance was enough to satisfy Catherine that her apartment
was very unlike the one which Henry had endeavoured to alarm her by the
description of. It was by no means unreasonably large, and contained
neither tapestry nor velvet. The walls were papered, the floor was
carpeted; the windows were neither less perfect nor more dim than those
of the drawing-room below; the furniture, though not of the latest
fashion, was handsome and comfortable, and the air of the room
altogether far from uncheerful. Her heart instantaneously at ease on
this point, she resolved to lose no time in particular examination of
anything, as she greatly dreaded disobliging the general by any delay.
Her habit therefore was thrown off with all possible haste, and she was
preparing to unpin the linen package, which the chaise-seat had conveyed
for her immediate accommodation, when her eye suddenly fell on a large
high chest, standing back in a deep recess on one side of the fireplace.
The sight of it made her start; and, forgetting everything else, she
stood gazing on it in motionless wonder, while these thoughts crossed
her:

"This is strange indeed! I did not expect such a sight as this! An
immense heavy chest! What can it hold? Why should it be placed here?
Pushed back too, as if meant to be out of sight! I will look into
it--cost me what it may, I will look into it--and directly too--by
daylight. If I stay till evening my candle may go out." She advanced and
examined it closely: it was of cedar, curiously inlaid with some darker
wood, and raised, about a foot from the ground, on a carved stand of the
same. The lock was silver, though tarnished from age; at each end
were the imperfect remains of handles also of silver, broken perhaps
prematurely by some strange violence; and, on the centre of the lid, was
a mysterious cipher, in the same metal. Catherine bent over it intently,
but without being able to distinguish anything with certainty. She could
not, in whatever direction she took it, believe the last letter to be
a T; and yet that it should be anything else in that house was
a circumstance to raise no common degree of astonishment. If not
originally theirs, by what strange events could it have fallen into the
Tilney family?

Her fearful curiosity was every moment growing greater; and seizing,
with trembling hands, the hasp of the lock, she resolved at all hazards
to satisfy herself at least as to its contents. With difficulty, for
something seemed to resist her efforts, she raised the lid a few inches;
but at that moment a sudden knocking at the door of the room made her,
starting, quit her hold, and the lid closed with alarming violence. This
ill-timed intruder was Miss Tilney's maid, sent by her mistress to be of
use to Miss Morland; and though Catherine immediately dismissed her, it
recalled her to the sense of what she ought to be doing, and forced her,
in spite of her anxious desire to penetrate this mystery, to proceed in
her dressing without further delay. Her progress was not quick, for her
thoughts and her eyes were still bent on the object so well calculated
to interest and alarm; and though she dared not waste a moment upon
a second attempt, she could not remain many paces from the chest. At
length, however, having slipped one arm into her gown, her toilette
seemed so nearly finished that the impatience of her curiosity might
safely be indulged. One moment surely might be spared; and, so desperate
should be the exertion of her strength, that, unless secured by
supernatural means, the lid in one moment should be thrown back. With
this spirit she sprang forward, and her confidence did not deceive her.
Her resolute effort threw back the lid, and gave to her astonished eyes
the view of a white cotton counterpane, properly folded, reposing at one
end of the chest in undisputed possession!

She was gazing on it with the first blush of surprise when Miss Tilney,
anxious for her friend's being ready, entered the room, and to the
rising shame of having harboured for some minutes an absurd expectation,
was then added the shame of being caught in so idle a search. "That is
a curious old chest, is not it?" said Miss Tilney, as Catherine hastily
closed it and turned away to the glass. "It is impossible to say how
many generations it has been here. How it came to be first put in this
room I know not, but I have not had it moved, because I thought it might
sometimes be of use in holding hats and bonnets. The worst of it is that
its weight makes it difficult to open. In that corner, however, it is at
least out of the way."

Catherine had no leisure for speech, being at once blushing, tying her
gown, and forming wise resolutions with the most violent dispatch. Miss
Tilney gently hinted her fear of being late; and in half a minute they
ran downstairs together, in an alarm not wholly unfounded, for General
Tilney was pacing the drawing-room, his watch in his hand, and having,
on the very instant of their entering, pulled the bell with violence,
ordered "Dinner to be on table directly!"

Catherine trembled at the emphasis with which he spoke, and sat pale
and breathless, in a most humble mood, concerned for his children, and
detesting old chests; and the general, recovering his politeness as he
looked at her, spent the rest of his time in scolding his daughter for
so foolishly hurrying her fair friend, who was absolutely out of breath
from haste, when there was not the least occasion for hurry in the
world: but Catherine could not at all get over the double distress
of having involved her friend in a lecture and been a great simpleton
herself, till they were happily seated at the dinner-table, when the
general's complacent smiles, and a good appetite of her own, restored
her to peace. The dining-parlour was a noble room, suitable in its
dimensions to a much larger drawing-room than the one in common use, and
fitted up in a style of luxury and expense which was almost lost on the
unpractised eye of Catherine, who saw little more than its spaciousness
and the number of their attendants. Of the former, she spoke aloud
her admiration; and the general, with a very gracious countenance,
acknowledged that it was by no means an ill-sized room, and further
confessed that, though as careless on such subjects as most people, he
did look upon a tolerably large eating-room as one of the necessaries
of life; he supposed, however, "that she must have been used to much
better-sized apartments at Mr. Allen's?"

"No, indeed," was Catherine's honest assurance; "Mr. Allen's
dining-parlour was not more than half as large," and she had never
seen so large a room as this in her life. The general's good humour
increased. Why, as he had such rooms, he thought it would be simple not
to make use of them; but, upon his honour, he believed there might be
more comfort in rooms of only half their size. Mr. Allen's house, he was
sure, must be exactly of the true size for rational happiness.

The evening passed without any further disturbance, and, in the
occasional absence of General Tilney, with much positive cheerfulness.
It was only in his presence that Catherine felt the smallest fatigue
from her journey; and even then, even in moments of languor or
restraint, a sense of general happiness preponderated, and she could
think of her friends in Bath without one wish of being with them.

The night was stormy; the wind had been rising at intervals the whole
afternoon; and by the time the party broke up, it blew and rained
violently. Catherine, as she crossed the hall, listened to the tempest
with sensations of awe; and, when she heard it rage round a corner of
the ancient building and close with sudden fury a distant door, felt
for the first time that she was really in an abbey. Yes, these were
characteristic sounds; they brought to her recollection a countless
variety of dreadful situations and horrid scenes, which such buildings
had witnessed, and such storms ushered in; and most heartily did she
rejoice in the happier circumstances attending her entrance within walls
so solemn! She had nothing to dread from midnight assassins or drunken
gallants. Henry had certainly been only in jest in what he had told her
that morning. In a house so furnished, and so guarded, she could have
nothing to explore or to suffer, and might go to her bedroom as securely
as if it had been her own chamber at Fullerton. Thus wisely fortifying
her mind, as she proceeded upstairs, she was enabled, especially on
perceiving that Miss Tilney slept only two doors from her, to enter
her room with a tolerably stout heart; and her spirits were immediately
assisted by the cheerful blaze of a wood fire. "How much better is
this," said she, as she walked to the fender--"how much better to find a
fire ready lit, than to have to wait shivering in the cold till all the
family are in bed, as so many poor girls have been obliged to do, and
then to have a faithful old servant frightening one by coming in with a
faggot! How glad I am that Northanger is what it is! If it had been like
some other places, I do not know that, in such a night as this, I could
have answered for my courage: but now, to be sure, there is nothing to
alarm one."

She looked round the room. The window curtains seemed in motion. It
could be nothing but the violence of the wind penetrating through the
divisions of the shutters; and she stepped boldly forward, carelessly
humming a tune, to assure herself of its being so, peeped courageously
behind each curtain, saw nothing on either low window seat to scare her,
and on placing a hand against the shutter, felt the strongest conviction
of the wind's force. A glance at the old chest, as she turned away from
this examination, was not without its use; she scorned the causeless
fears of an idle fancy, and began with a most happy indifference to
prepare herself for bed. "She should take her time; she should not hurry
herself; she did not care if she were the last person up in the house.
But she would not make up her fire; that would seem cowardly, as if
she wished for the protection of light after she were in bed." The fire
therefore died away, and Catherine, having spent the best part of an
hour in her arrangements, was beginning to think of stepping into bed,
when, on giving a parting glance round the room, she was struck by the
appearance of a high, old-fashioned black cabinet, which, though in
a situation conspicuous enough, had never caught her notice before.
Henry's words, his description of the ebony cabinet which was to escape
her observation at first, immediately rushed across her; and though
there could be nothing really in it, there was something whimsical, it
was certainly a very remarkable coincidence! She took her candle and
looked closely at the cabinet. It was not absolutely ebony and gold; but
it was japan, black and yellow japan of the handsomest kind; and as she
held her candle, the yellow had very much the effect of gold. The key
was in the door, and she had a strange fancy to look into it; not,
however, with the smallest expectation of finding anything, but it was
so very odd, after what Henry had said. In short, she could not sleep
till she had examined it. So, placing the candle with great caution on
a chair, she seized the key with a very tremulous hand and tried to turn
it; but it resisted her utmost strength. Alarmed, but not discouraged,
she tried it another way; a bolt flew, and she believed herself
successful; but how strangely mysterious! The door was still immovable.
She paused a moment in breathless wonder. The wind roared down the
chimney, the rain beat in torrents against the windows, and everything
seemed to speak the awfulness of her situation. To retire to bed,
however, unsatisfied on such a point, would be vain, since sleep must be
impossible with the consciousness of a cabinet so mysteriously closed
in her immediate vicinity. Again, therefore, she applied herself to the
key, and after moving it in every possible way for some instants with
the determined celerity of hope's last effort, the door suddenly yielded
to her hand: her heart leaped with exultation at such a victory, and
having thrown open each folding door, the second being secured only by
bolts of less wonderful construction than the lock, though in that her
eye could not discern anything unusual, a double range of small drawers
appeared in view, with some larger drawers above and below them; and in
the centre, a small door, closed also with a lock and key, secured in
all probability a cavity of importance.

Catherine's heart beat quick, but her courage did not fail her. With a
cheek flushed by hope, and an eye straining with curiosity, her fingers
grasped the handle of a drawer and drew it forth. It was entirely empty.
With less alarm and greater eagerness she seized a second, a third, a
fourth; each was equally empty. Not one was left unsearched, and in not
one was anything found. Well read in the art of concealing a treasure,
the possibility of false linings to the drawers did not escape her, and
she felt round each with anxious acuteness in vain. The place in the
middle alone remained now unexplored; and though she had "never from
the first had the smallest idea of finding anything in any part of the
cabinet, and was not in the least disappointed at her ill success thus
far, it would be foolish not to examine it thoroughly while she was
about it." It was some time however before she could unfasten the door,
the same difficulty occurring in the management of this inner lock as of
the outer; but at length it did open; and not vain, as hitherto, was her
search; her quick eyes directly fell on a roll of paper pushed back
into the further part of the cavity, apparently for concealment, and
her feelings at that moment were indescribable. Her heart fluttered, her
knees trembled, and her cheeks grew pale. She seized, with an unsteady
hand, the precious manuscript, for half a glance sufficed to ascertain
written characters; and while she acknowledged with awful sensations
this striking exemplification of what Henry had foretold, resolved
instantly to peruse every line before she attempted to rest.

The dimness of the light her candle emitted made her turn to it with
alarm; but there was no danger of its sudden extinction; it had yet some
hours to burn; and that she might not have any greater difficulty in
distinguishing the writing than what its ancient date might occasion,
she hastily snuffed it. Alas! It was snuffed and extinguished in one. A
lamp could not have expired with more awful effect. Catherine, for a
few moments, was motionless with horror. It was done completely; not a
remnant of light in the wick could give hope to the rekindling breath.
Darkness impenetrable and immovable filled the room. A violent gust
of wind, rising with sudden fury, added fresh horror to the moment.
Catherine trembled from head to foot. In the pause which succeeded, a
sound like receding footsteps and the closing of a distant door struck
on her affrighted ear. Human nature could support no more. A cold sweat
stood on her forehead, the manuscript fell from her hand, and groping
her way to the bed, she jumped hastily in, and sought some suspension of
agony by creeping far underneath the clothes. To close her eyes in
sleep that night, she felt must be entirely out of the question. With
a curiosity so justly awakened, and feelings in every way so agitated,
repose must be absolutely impossible. The storm too abroad so dreadful!
She had not been used to feel alarm from wind, but now every blast
seemed fraught with awful intelligence. The manuscript so wonderfully
found, so wonderfully accomplishing the morning's prediction, how was it
to be accounted for? What could it contain? To whom could it relate?
By what means could it have been so long concealed? And how singularly
strange that it should fall to her lot to discover it! Till she had made
herself mistress of its contents, however, she could have neither repose
nor comfort; and with the sun's first rays she was determined to peruse
it. But many were the tedious hours which must yet intervene. She
shuddered, tossed about in her bed, and envied every quiet sleeper. The
storm still raged, and various were the noises, more terrific even
than the wind, which struck at intervals on her startled ear. The very
curtains of her bed seemed at one moment in motion, and at another
the lock of her door was agitated, as if by the attempt of somebody to
enter. Hollow murmurs seemed to creep along the gallery, and more than
once her blood was chilled by the sound of distant moans. Hour after
hour passed away, and the wearied Catherine had heard three proclaimed
by all the clocks in the house before the tempest subsided or she
unknowingly fell fast asleep.



CHAPTER 22


The housemaid's folding back her window-shutters at eight o'clock the
next day was the sound which first roused Catherine; and she opened her
eyes, wondering that they could ever have been closed, on objects of
cheerfulness; her fire was already burning, and a bright morning
had succeeded the tempest of the night. Instantaneously, with the
consciousness of existence, returned her recollection of the manuscript;
and springing from the bed in the very moment of the maid's going away,
she eagerly collected every scattered sheet which had burst from the
roll on its falling to the ground, and flew back to enjoy the luxury
of their perusal on her pillow. She now plainly saw that she must not
expect a manuscript of equal length with the generality of what she had
shuddered over in books, for the roll, seeming to consist entirely of
small disjointed sheets, was altogether but of trifling size, and much
less than she had supposed it to be at first.

Her greedy eye glanced rapidly over a page. She started at its import.
Could it be possible, or did not her senses play her false? An inventory
of linen, in coarse and modern characters, seemed all that was before
her! If the evidence of sight might be trusted, she held a washing-bill
in her hand. She seized another sheet, and saw the same articles with
little variation; a third, a fourth, and a fifth presented nothing
new. Shirts, stockings, cravats, and waistcoats faced her in each. Two
others, penned by the same hand, marked an expenditure scarcely more
interesting, in letters, hair-powder, shoe-string, and breeches-ball.
And the larger sheet, which had enclosed the rest, seemed by its first
cramp line, "To poultice chestnut mare"--a farrier's bill! Such was the
collection of papers (left perhaps, as she could then suppose, by the
negligence of a servant in the place whence she had taken them) which
had filled her with expectation and alarm, and robbed her of half her
night's rest! She felt humbled to the dust. Could not the adventure of
the chest have taught her wisdom? A corner of it, catching her eye as
she lay, seemed to rise up in judgment against her. Nothing could now
be clearer than the absurdity of her recent fancies. To suppose that a
manuscript of many generations back could have remained undiscovered in
a room such as that, so modern, so habitable!--Or that she should be the
first to possess the skill of unlocking a cabinet, the key of which was
open to all!

How could she have so imposed on herself? Heaven forbid that Henry
Tilney should ever know her folly! And it was in a great measure his
own doing, for had not the cabinet appeared so exactly to agree with his
description of her adventures, she should never have felt the smallest
curiosity about it. This was the only comfort that occurred. Impatient
to get rid of those hateful evidences of her folly, those detestable
papers then scattered over the bed, she rose directly, and folding them
up as nearly as possible in the same shape as before, returned them
to the same spot within the cabinet, with a very hearty wish that no
untoward accident might ever bring them forward again, to disgrace her
even with herself.

Why the locks should have been so difficult to open, however, was still
something remarkable, for she could now manage them with perfect ease.
In this there was surely something mysterious, and she indulged in the
flattering suggestion for half a minute, till the possibility of the
door's having been at first unlocked, and of being herself its fastener,
darted into her head, and cost her another blush.

She got away as soon as she could from a room in which her conduct
produced such unpleasant reflections, and found her way with all speed
to the breakfast-parlour, as it had been pointed out to her by Miss
Tilney the evening before. Henry was alone in it; and his immediate hope
of her having been undisturbed by the tempest, with an arch reference
to the character of the building they inhabited, was rather distressing.
For the world would she not have her weakness suspected, and yet,
unequal to an absolute falsehood, was constrained to acknowledge that
the wind had kept her awake a little. "But we have a charming morning
after it," she added, desiring to get rid of the subject; "and storms
and sleeplessness are nothing when they are over. What beautiful
hyacinths! I have just learnt to love a hyacinth."

"And how might you learn? By accident or argument?"

"Your sister taught me; I cannot tell how. Mrs. Allen used to take
pains, year after year, to make me like them; but I never could, till
I saw them the other day in Milsom Street; I am naturally indifferent
about flowers."

"But now you love a hyacinth. So much the better. You have gained a new
source of enjoyment, and it is well to have as many holds upon happiness
as possible. Besides, a taste for flowers is always desirable in your
sex, as a means of getting you out of doors, and tempting you to more
frequent exercise than you would otherwise take. And though the love
of a hyacinth may be rather domestic, who can tell, the sentiment once
raised, but you may in time come to love a rose?"

"But I do not want any such pursuit to get me out of doors. The pleasure
of walking and breathing fresh air is enough for me, and in fine weather
I am out more than half my time. Mamma says I am never within."

"At any rate, however, I am pleased that you have learnt to love
a hyacinth. The mere habit of learning to love is the thing; and a
teachableness of disposition in a young lady is a great blessing. Has my
sister a pleasant mode of instruction?"

Catherine was saved the embarrassment of attempting an answer by the
entrance of the general, whose smiling compliments announced a happy
state of mind, but whose gentle hint of sympathetic early rising did not
advance her composure.

The elegance of the breakfast set forced itself on Catherine's notice
when they were seated at table; and, lucidly, it had been the general's
choice. He was enchanted by her approbation of his taste, confessed it
to be neat and simple, thought it right to encourage the manufacture of
his country; and for his part, to his uncritical palate, the tea was as
well flavoured from the clay of Staffordshire, as from that of Dresden
or Save. But this was quite an old set, purchased two years ago.
The manufacture was much improved since that time; he had seen some
beautiful specimens when last in town, and had he not been perfectly
without vanity of that kind, might have been tempted to order a new
set. He trusted, however, that an opportunity might ere long occur of
selecting one--though not for himself. Catherine was probably the only
one of the party who did not understand him.

Shortly after breakfast Henry left them for Woodston, where business
required and would keep him two or three days. They all attended in
the hall to see him mount his horse, and immediately on re-entering the
breakfast-room, Catherine walked to a window in the hope of catching
another glimpse of his figure. "This is a somewhat heavy call upon your
brother's fortitude," observed the general to Eleanor. "Woodston will
make but a sombre appearance today."

"Is it a pretty place?" asked Catherine.

"What say you, Eleanor? Speak your opinion, for ladies can best tell the
taste of ladies in regard to places as well as men. I think it would be
acknowledged by the most impartial eye to have many recommendations. The
house stands among fine meadows facing the south-east, with an excellent
kitchen-garden in the same aspect; the walls surrounding which I built
and stocked myself about ten years ago, for the benefit of my son. It
is a family living, Miss Morland; and the property in the place being
chiefly my own, you may believe I take care that it shall not be a bad
one. Did Henry's income depend solely on this living, he would not be
ill-provided for. Perhaps it may seem odd, that with only two younger
children, I should think any profession necessary for him; and certainly
there are moments when we could all wish him disengaged from every tie
of business. But though I may not exactly make converts of you young
ladies, I am sure your father, Miss Morland, would agree with me in
thinking it expedient to give every young man some employment. The
money is nothing, it is not an object, but employment is the thing.
Even Frederick, my eldest son, you see, who will perhaps inherit as
considerable a landed property as any private man in the county, has his
profession."

The imposing effect of this last argument was equal to his wishes. The
silence of the lady proved it to be unanswerable.

Something had been said the evening before of her being shown over the
house, and he now offered himself as her conductor; and though Catherine
had hoped to explore it accompanied only by his daughter, it was a
proposal of too much happiness in itself, under any circumstances, not
to be gladly accepted; for she had been already eighteen hours in the
abbey, and had seen only a few of its rooms. The netting-box, just
leisurely drawn forth, was closed with joyful haste, and she was ready
to attend him in a moment. "And when they had gone over the house, he
promised himself moreover the pleasure of accompanying her into the
shrubberies and garden." She curtsied her acquiescence. "But perhaps
it might be more agreeable to her to make those her first object.
The weather was at present favourable, and at this time of year the
uncertainty was very great of its continuing so. Which would she prefer?
He was equally at her service. Which did his daughter think would most
accord with her fair friend's wishes? But he thought he could discern.
Yes, he certainly read in Miss Morland's eyes a judicious desire of
making use of the present smiling weather. But when did she judge amiss?
The abbey would be always safe and dry. He yielded implicitly, and
would fetch his hat and attend them in a moment." He left the room,
and Catherine, with a disappointed, anxious face, began to speak of her
unwillingness that he should be taking them out of doors against his own
inclination, under a mistaken idea of pleasing her; but she was stopped
by Miss Tilney's saying, with a little confusion, "I believe it will be
wisest to take the morning while it is so fine; and do not be uneasy on
my father's account; he always walks out at this time of day."

Catherine did not exactly know how this was to be understood. Why
was Miss Tilney embarrassed? Could there be any unwillingness on the
general's side to show her over the abbey? The proposal was his own. And
was not it odd that he should always take his walk so early? Neither her
father nor Mr. Allen did so. It was certainly very provoking. She was
all impatience to see the house, and had scarcely any curiosity about
the grounds. If Henry had been with them indeed! But now she should not
know what was picturesque when she saw it. Such were her thoughts, but
she kept them to herself, and put on her bonnet in patient discontent.

She was struck, however, beyond her expectation, by the grandeur of
the abbey, as she saw it for the first time from the lawn. The whole
building enclosed a large court; and two sides of the quadrangle, rich
in Gothic ornaments, stood forward for admiration. The remainder was
shut off by knolls of old trees, or luxuriant plantations, and the steep
woody hills rising behind, to give it shelter, were beautiful even in
the leafless month of March. Catherine had seen nothing to compare with
it; and her feelings of delight were so strong, that without waiting for
any better authority, she boldly burst forth in wonder and praise. The
general listened with assenting gratitude; and it seemed as if his own
estimation of Northanger had waited unfixed till that hour.

The kitchen-garden was to be next admired, and he led the way to it
across a small portion of the park.

The number of acres contained in this garden was such as Catherine could
not listen to without dismay, being more than double the extent of all
Mr. Allen's, as well her father's, including church-yard and orchard.
The walls seemed countless in number, endless in length; a village of
hot-houses seemed to arise among them, and a whole parish to be at
work within the enclosure. The general was flattered by her looks of
surprise, which told him almost as plainly, as he soon forced her to
tell him in words, that she had never seen any gardens at all equal to
them before; and he then modestly owned that, "without any ambition of
that sort himself--without any solicitude about it--he did believe them
to be unrivalled in the kingdom. If he had a hobby-horse, it was that.
He loved a garden. Though careless enough in most matters of eating, he
loved good fruit--or if he did not, his friends and children did. There
were great vexations, however, attending such a garden as his. The
utmost care could not always secure the most valuable fruits. The pinery
had yielded only one hundred in the last year. Mr. Allen, he supposed,
must feel these inconveniences as well as himself."

"No, not at all. Mr. Allen did not care about the garden, and never went
into it."

With a triumphant smile of self-satisfaction, the general wished he
could do the same, for he never entered his, without being vexed in some
way or other, by its falling short of his plan.

"How were Mr. Allen's succession-houses worked?" describing the nature
of his own as they entered them.

"Mr. Allen had only one small hot-house, which Mrs. Allen had the use of
for her plants in winter, and there was a fire in it now and then."

"He is a happy man!" said the general, with a look of very happy
contempt.

Having taken her into every division, and led her under every wall, till
she was heartily weary of seeing and wondering, he suffered the girls
at last to seize the advantage of an outer door, and then expressing
his wish to examine the effect of some recent alterations about the
tea-house, proposed it as no unpleasant extension of their walk, if Miss
Morland were not tired. "But where are you going, Eleanor? Why do you
choose that cold, damp path to it? Miss Morland will get wet. Our best
way is across the park."

"This is so favourite a walk of mine," said Miss Tilney, "that I always
think it the best and nearest way. But perhaps it may be damp."

It was a narrow winding path through a thick grove of old Scotch firs;
and Catherine, struck by its gloomy aspect, and eager to enter it,
could not, even by the general's disapprobation, be kept from stepping
forward. He perceived her inclination, and having again urged the plea
of health in vain, was too polite to make further opposition. He excused
himself, however, from attending them: "The rays of the sun were not too
cheerful for him, and he would meet them by another course." He turned
away; and Catherine was shocked to find how much her spirits were
relieved by the separation. The shock, however, being less real than the
relief, offered it no injury; and she began to talk with easy gaiety of
the delightful melancholy which such a grove inspired.

"I am particularly fond of this spot," said her companion, with a sigh.
"It was my mother's favourite walk."

Catherine had never heard Mrs. Tilney mentioned in the family before,
and the interest excited by this tender remembrance showed itself
directly in her altered countenance, and in the attentive pause with
which she waited for something more.

"I used to walk here so often with her!" added Eleanor; "though I never
loved it then, as I have loved it since. At that time indeed I used to
wonder at her choice. But her memory endears it now."

"And ought it not," reflected Catherine, "to endear it to her husband?
Yet the general would not enter it." Miss Tilney continuing silent, she
ventured to say, "Her death must have been a great affliction!"

"A great and increasing one," replied the other, in a low voice. "I was
only thirteen when it happened; and though I felt my loss perhaps as
strongly as one so young could feel it, I did not, I could not, then
know what a loss it was." She stopped for a moment, and then added, with
great firmness, "I have no sister, you know--and though Henry--though my
brothers are very affectionate, and Henry is a great deal here, which I
am most thankful for, it is impossible for me not to be often solitary."

"To be sure you must miss him very much."

"A mother would have been always present. A mother would have been a
constant friend; her influence would have been beyond all other."

"Was she a very charming woman? Was she handsome? Was there any picture
of her in the abbey? And why had she been so partial to that grove? Was
it from dejection of spirits?"--were questions now eagerly poured forth;
the first three received a ready affirmative, the two others were passed
by; and Catherine's interest in the deceased Mrs. Tilney augmented with
every question, whether answered or not. Of her unhappiness in marriage,
she felt persuaded. The general certainly had been an unkind husband. He
did not love her walk: could he therefore have loved her? And besides,
handsome as he was, there was a something in the turn of his features
which spoke his not having behaved well to her.

"Her picture, I suppose," blushing at the consummate art of her own
question, "hangs in your father's room?"

"No; it was intended for the drawing-room; but my father was
dissatisfied with the painting, and for some time it had no place.
Soon after her death I obtained it for my own, and hung it in my
bed-chamber--where I shall be happy to show it you; it is very like."
Here was another proof. A portrait--very like--of a departed wife, not
valued by the husband! He must have been dreadfully cruel to her!

Catherine attempted no longer to hide from herself the nature of the
feelings which, in spite of all his attentions, he had previously
excited; and what had been terror and dislike before, was now absolute
aversion. Yes, aversion! His cruelty to such a charming woman made him
odious to her. She had often read of such characters, characters which
Mr. Allen had been used to call unnatural and overdrawn; but here was
proof positive of the contrary.

She had just settled this point when the end of the path brought them
directly upon the general; and in spite of all her virtuous indignation,
she found herself again obliged to walk with him, listen to him, and
even to smile when he smiled. Being no longer able, however, to receive
pleasure from the surrounding objects, she soon began to walk with
lassitude; the general perceived it, and with a concern for her health,
which seemed to reproach her for her opinion of him, was most urgent
for returning with his daughter to the house. He would follow them in
a quarter of an hour. Again they parted--but Eleanor was called back in
half a minute to receive a strict charge against taking her friend round
the abbey till his return. This second instance of his anxiety to delay
what she so much wished for struck Catherine as very remarkable.



CHAPTER 23


An hour passed away before the general came in, spent, on the part of
his young guest, in no very favourable consideration of his character.
"This lengthened absence, these solitary rambles, did not speak a mind
at ease, or a conscience void of reproach." At length he appeared; and,
whatever might have been the gloom of his meditations, he could still
smile with them. Miss Tilney, understanding in part her friend's
curiosity to see the house, soon revived the subject; and her father
being, contrary to Catherine's expectations, unprovided with any
pretence for further delay, beyond that of stopping five minutes to
order refreshments to be in the room by their return, was at last ready
to escort them.

They set forward; and, with a grandeur of air, a dignified step,
which caught the eye, but could not shake the doubts of the well-read
Catherine, he led the way across the hall, through the common
drawing-room and one useless antechamber, into a room magnificent both
in size and furniture--the real drawing-room, used only with company of
consequence. It was very noble--very grand--very charming!--was all that
Catherine had to say, for her indiscriminating eye scarcely discerned
the colour of the satin; and all minuteness of praise, all praise
that had much meaning, was supplied by the general: the costliness or
elegance of any room's fitting-up could be nothing to her; she cared for
no furniture of a more modern date than the fifteenth century. When the
general had satisfied his own curiosity, in a close examination of every
well-known ornament, they proceeded into the library, an apartment, in
its way, of equal magnificence, exhibiting a collection of books, on
which an humble man might have looked with pride. Catherine heard,
admired, and wondered with more genuine feeling than before--gathered
all that she could from this storehouse of knowledge, by running over
the titles of half a shelf, and was ready to proceed. But suites of
apartments did not spring up with her wishes. Large as was the building,
she had already visited the greatest part; though, on being told that,
with the addition of the kitchen, the six or seven rooms she had now
seen surrounded three sides of the court, she could scarcely believe it,
or overcome the suspicion of there being many chambers secreted. It was
some relief, however, that they were to return to the rooms in common
use, by passing through a few of less importance, looking into the
court, which, with occasional passages, not wholly unintricate,
connected the different sides; and she was further soothed in her
progress by being told that she was treading what had once been a
cloister, having traces of cells pointed out, and observing several
doors that were neither opened nor explained to her--by finding herself
successively in a billiard-room, and in the general's private apartment,
without comprehending their connection, or being able to turn aright
when she left them; and lastly, by passing through a dark little room,
owning Henry's authority, and strewed with his litter of books, guns,
and greatcoats.

From the dining-room, of which, though already seen, and always to be
seen at five o'clock, the general could not forgo the pleasure of pacing
out the length, for the more certain information of Miss Morland, as
to what she neither doubted nor cared for, they proceeded by quick
communication to the kitchen--the ancient kitchen of the convent, rich
in the massy walls and smoke of former days, and in the stoves and hot
closets of the present. The general's improving hand had not loitered
here: every modern invention to facilitate the labour of the cooks had
been adopted within this, their spacious theatre; and, when the genius
of others had failed, his own had often produced the perfection wanted.
His endowments of this spot alone might at any time have placed him high
among the benefactors of the convent.

With the walls of the kitchen ended all the antiquity of the abbey; the
fourth side of the quadrangle having, on account of its decaying state,
been removed by the general's father, and the present erected in its
place. All that was venerable ceased here. The new building was not
only new, but declared itself to be so; intended only for offices, and
enclosed behind by stable-yards, no uniformity of architecture had been
thought necessary. Catherine could have raved at the hand which had
swept away what must have been beyond the value of all the rest, for the
purposes of mere domestic economy; and would willingly have been spared
the mortification of a walk through scenes so fallen, had the general
allowed it; but if he had a vanity, it was in the arrangement of his
offices; and as he was convinced that, to a mind like Miss Morland's,
a view of the accommodations and comforts, by which the labours of her
inferiors were softened, must always be gratifying, he should make
no apology for leading her on. They took a slight survey of all; and
Catherine was impressed, beyond her expectation, by their multiplicity
and their convenience. The purposes for which a few shapeless pantries
and a comfortless scullery were deemed sufficient at Fullerton, were
here carried on in appropriate divisions, commodious and roomy. The
number of servants continually appearing did not strike her less than
the number of their offices. Wherever they went, some pattened girl
stopped to curtsy, or some footman in dishabille sneaked off. Yet this
was an abbey! How inexpressibly different in these domestic arrangements
from such as she had read about--from abbeys and castles, in which,
though certainly larger than Northanger, all the dirty work of the house
was to be done by two pair of female hands at the utmost. How they could
get through it all had often amazed Mrs. Allen; and, when Catherine saw
what was necessary here, she began to be amazed herself.

They returned to the hall, that the chief staircase might be ascended,
and the beauty of its wood, and ornaments of rich carving might be
pointed out: having gained the top, they turned in an opposite direction
from the gallery in which her room lay, and shortly entered one on
the same plan, but superior in length and breadth. She was here shown
successively into three large bed-chambers, with their dressing-rooms,
most completely and handsomely fitted up; everything that money and
taste could do, to give comfort and elegance to apartments, had been
bestowed on these; and, being furnished within the last five years, they
were perfect in all that would be generally pleasing, and wanting in all
that could give pleasure to Catherine. As they were surveying the last,
the general, after slightly naming a few of the distinguished characters
by whom they had at times been honoured, turned with a smiling
countenance to Catherine, and ventured to hope that henceforward some of
their earliest tenants might be "our friends from Fullerton." She felt
the unexpected compliment, and deeply regretted the impossibility of
thinking well of a man so kindly disposed towards herself, and so full
of civility to all her family.

The gallery was terminated by folding doors, which Miss Tilney,
advancing, had thrown open, and passed through, and seemed on the point
of doing the same by the first door to the left, in another long reach
of gallery, when the general, coming forwards, called her hastily, and,
as Catherine thought, rather angrily back, demanding whether she were
going?--And what was there more to be seen?--Had not Miss Morland
already seen all that could be worth her notice?--And did she not
suppose her friend might be glad of some refreshment after so much
exercise? Miss Tilney drew back directly, and the heavy doors were
closed upon the mortified Catherine, who, having seen, in a momentary
glance beyond them, a narrower passage, more numerous openings, and
symptoms of a winding staircase, believed herself at last within the
reach of something worth her notice; and felt, as she unwillingly paced
back the gallery, that she would rather be allowed to examine that end
of the house than see all the finery of all the rest. The general's
evident desire of preventing such an examination was an additional
stimulant. Something was certainly to be concealed; her fancy, though
it had trespassed lately once or twice, could not mislead her here;
and what that something was, a short sentence of Miss Tilney's, as they
followed the general at some distance downstairs, seemed to point out:
"I was going to take you into what was my mother's room--the room
in which she died--" were all her words; but few as they were, they
conveyed pages of intelligence to Catherine. It was no wonder that the
general should shrink from the sight of such objects as that room
must contain; a room in all probability never entered by him since the
dreadful scene had passed, which released his suffering wife, and left
him to the stings of conscience.

She ventured, when next alone with Eleanor, to express her wish of being
permitted to see it, as well as all the rest of that side of the house;
and Eleanor promised to attend her there, whenever they should have a
convenient hour. Catherine understood her: the general must be watched
from home, before that room could be entered. "It remains as it was, I
suppose?" said she, in a tone of feeling.

"Yes, entirely."

"And how long ago may it be that your mother died?"

"She has been dead these nine years." And nine years, Catherine knew,
was a trifle of time, compared with what generally elapsed after the
death of an injured wife, before her room was put to rights.

"You were with her, I suppose, to the last?"

"No," said Miss Tilney, sighing; "I was unfortunately from home. Her
illness was sudden and short; and, before I arrived it was all over."

Catherine's blood ran cold with the horrid suggestions which naturally
sprang from these words. Could it be possible? Could Henry's father--?
And yet how many were the examples to justify even the blackest
suspicions! And, when she saw him in the evening, while she worked
with her friend, slowly pacing the drawing-room for an hour together in
silent thoughtfulness, with downcast eyes and contracted brow, she felt
secure from all possibility of wronging him. It was the air and attitude
of a Montoni! What could more plainly speak the gloomy workings of a
mind not wholly dead to every sense of humanity, in its fearful review
of past scenes of guilt? Unhappy man! And the anxiousness of her spirits
directed her eyes towards his figure so repeatedly, as to catch Miss
Tilney's notice. "My father," she whispered, "often walks about the room
in this way; it is nothing unusual."

"So much the worse!" thought Catherine; such ill-timed exercise was of a
piece with the strange unseasonableness of his morning walks, and boded
nothing good.

After an evening, the little variety and seeming length of which made
her peculiarly sensible of Henry's importance among them, she was
heartily glad to be dismissed; though it was a look from the general not
designed for her observation which sent his daughter to the bell.
When the butler would have lit his master's candle, however, he was
forbidden. The latter was not going to retire. "I have many pamphlets to
finish," said he to Catherine, "before I can close my eyes, and perhaps
may be poring over the affairs of the nation for hours after you are
asleep. Can either of us be more meetly employed? My eyes will be
blinding for the good of others, and yours preparing by rest for future
mischief."

But neither the business alleged, nor the magnificent compliment,
could win Catherine from thinking that some very different object must
occasion so serious a delay of proper repose. To be kept up for hours,
after the family were in bed, by stupid pamphlets was not very likely.
There must be some deeper cause: something was to be done which could
be done only while the household slept; and the probability that Mrs.
Tilney yet lived, shut up for causes unknown, and receiving from the
pitiless hands of her husband a nightly supply of coarse food, was the
conclusion which necessarily followed. Shocking as was the idea, it
was at least better than a death unfairly hastened, as, in the natural
course of things, she must ere long be released. The suddenness of her
reputed illness, the absence of her daughter, and probably of her other
children, at the time--all favoured the supposition of her imprisonment.
Its origin--jealousy perhaps, or wanton cruelty--was yet to be
unravelled.

In revolving these matters, while she undressed, it suddenly struck her
as not unlikely that she might that morning have passed near the very
spot of this unfortunate woman's confinement--might have been within
a few paces of the cell in which she languished out her days; for what
part of the abbey could be more fitted for the purpose than that which
yet bore the traces of monastic division? In the high-arched passage,
paved with stone, which already she had trodden with peculiar awe, she
well remembered the doors of which the general had given no account. To
what might not those doors lead? In support of the plausibility of this
conjecture, it further occurred to her that the forbidden gallery, in
which lay the apartments of the unfortunate Mrs. Tilney, must be, as
certainly as her memory could guide her, exactly over this suspected
range of cells, and the staircase by the side of those apartments of
which she had caught a transient glimpse, communicating by some
secret means with those cells, might well have favoured the barbarous
proceedings of her husband. Down that staircase she had perhaps been
conveyed in a state of well-prepared insensibility!

Catherine sometimes started at the boldness of her own surmises, and
sometimes hoped or feared that she had gone too far; but they were
supported by such appearances as made their dismissal impossible.

The side of the quadrangle, in which she supposed the guilty scene to be
acting, being, according to her belief, just opposite her own, it struck
her that, if judiciously watched, some rays of light from the general's
lamp might glimmer through the lower windows, as he passed to the prison
of his wife; and, twice before she stepped into bed, she stole gently
from her room to the corresponding window in the gallery, to see if it
appeared; but all abroad was dark, and it must yet be too early. The
various ascending noises convinced her that the servants must still be
up. Till midnight, she supposed it would be in vain to watch; but then,
when the clock had struck twelve, and all was quiet, she would, if not
quite appalled by darkness, steal out and look once more. The clock
struck twelve--and Catherine had been half an hour asleep.



CHAPTER 24


The next day afforded no opportunity for the proposed examination of the
mysterious apartments. It was Sunday, and the whole time between morning
and afternoon service was required by the general in exercise abroad or
eating cold meat at home; and great as was Catherine's curiosity, her
courage was not equal to a wish of exploring them after dinner, either
by the fading light of the sky between six and seven o'clock, or by the
yet more partial though stronger illumination of a treacherous lamp.
The day was unmarked therefore by anything to interest her imagination
beyond the sight of a very elegant monument to the memory of Mrs.
Tilney, which immediately fronted the family pew. By that her eye
was instantly caught and long retained; and the perusal of the highly
strained epitaph, in which every virtue was ascribed to her by the
inconsolable husband, who must have been in some way or other her
destroyer, affected her even to tears.

That the general, having erected such a monument, should be able to face
it, was not perhaps very strange, and yet that he could sit so boldly
collected within its view, maintain so elevated an air, look so
fearlessly around, nay, that he should even enter the church, seemed
wonderful to Catherine. Not, however, that many instances of beings
equally hardened in guilt might not be produced. She could remember
dozens who had persevered in every possible vice, going on from crime to
crime, murdering whomsoever they chose, without any feeling of humanity
or remorse; till a violent death or a religious retirement closed their
black career. The erection of the monument itself could not in the
smallest degree affect her doubts of Mrs. Tilney's actual decease. Were
she even to descend into the family vault where her ashes were supposed
to slumber, were she to behold the coffin in which they were said to
be enclosed--what could it avail in such a case? Catherine had read too
much not to be perfectly aware of the ease with which a waxen figure
might be introduced, and a supposititious funeral carried on.

The succeeding morning promised something better. The general's early
walk, ill-timed as it was in every other view, was favourable here; and
when she knew him to be out of the house, she directly proposed to Miss
Tilney the accomplishment of her promise. Eleanor was ready to oblige
her; and Catherine reminding her as they went of another promise, their
first visit in consequence was to the portrait in her bed-chamber. It
represented a very lovely woman, with a mild and pensive countenance,
justifying, so far, the expectations of its new observer; but they were
not in every respect answered, for Catherine had depended upon meeting
with features, hair, complexion, that should be the very counterpart,
the very image, if not of Henry's, of Eleanor's--the only portraits of
which she had been in the habit of thinking, bearing always an equal
resemblance of mother and child. A face once taken was taken for
generations. But here she was obliged to look and consider and study
for a likeness. She contemplated it, however, in spite of this drawback,
with much emotion, and, but for a yet stronger interest, would have left
it unwillingly.

Her agitation as they entered the great gallery was too much for any
endeavour at discourse; she could only look at her companion. Eleanor's
countenance was dejected, yet sedate; and its composure spoke her inured
to all the gloomy objects to which they were advancing. Again she passed
through the folding doors, again her hand was upon the important lock,
and Catherine, hardly able to breathe, was turning to close the former
with fearful caution, when the figure, the dreaded figure of the general
himself at the further end of the gallery, stood before her! The name of
"Eleanor" at the same moment, in his loudest tone, resounded through the
building, giving to his daughter the first intimation of his presence,
and to Catherine terror upon terror. An attempt at concealment had been
her first instinctive movement on perceiving him, yet she could
scarcely hope to have escaped his eye; and when her friend, who with an
apologizing look darted hastily by her, had joined and disappeared
with him, she ran for safety to her own room, and, locking herself
in, believed that she should never have courage to go down again. She
remained there at least an hour, in the greatest agitation, deeply
commiserating the state of her poor friend, and expecting a summons
herself from the angry general to attend him in his own apartment. No
summons, however, arrived; and at last, on seeing a carriage drive up
to the abbey, she was emboldened to descend and meet him under the
protection of visitors. The breakfast-room was gay with company; and
she was named to them by the general as the friend of his daughter, in
a complimentary style, which so well concealed his resentful ire, as to
make her feel secure at least of life for the present. And Eleanor,
with a command of countenance which did honour to her concern for his
character, taking an early occasion of saying to her, "My father only
wanted me to answer a note," she began to hope that she had either been
unseen by the general, or that from some consideration of policy she
should be allowed to suppose herself so. Upon this trust she dared still
to remain in his presence, after the company left them, and nothing
occurred to disturb it.

In the course of this morning's reflections, she came to a resolution
of making her next attempt on the forbidden door alone. It would be much
better in every respect that Eleanor should know nothing of the matter.
To involve her in the danger of a second detection, to court her into
an apartment which must wring her heart, could not be the office of a
friend. The general's utmost anger could not be to herself what it might
be to a daughter; and, besides, she thought the examination itself
would be more satisfactory if made without any companion. It would be
impossible to explain to Eleanor the suspicions, from which the other
had, in all likelihood, been hitherto happily exempt; nor could she
therefore, in her presence, search for those proofs of the general's
cruelty, which however they might yet have escaped discovery, she felt
confident of somewhere drawing forth, in the shape of some fragmented
journal, continued to the last gasp. Of the way to the apartment she was
now perfectly mistress; and as she wished to get it over before Henry's
return, who was expected on the morrow, there was no time to be lost.
The day was bright, her courage high; at four o'clock, the sun was now
two hours above the horizon, and it would be only her retiring to dress
half an hour earlier than usual.

It was done; and Catherine found herself alone in the gallery before the
clocks had ceased to strike. It was no time for thought; she hurried
on, slipped with the least possible noise through the folding doors,
and without stopping to look or breathe, rushed forward to the one in
question. The lock yielded to her hand, and, luckily, with no sullen
sound that could alarm a human being. On tiptoe she entered; the room
was before her; but it was some minutes before she could advance another
step. She beheld what fixed her to the spot and agitated every feature.
She saw a large, well-proportioned apartment, an handsome dimity bed,
arranged as unoccupied with an housemaid's care, a bright Bath stove,
mahogany wardrobes, and neatly painted chairs, on which the warm beams
of a western sun gaily poured through two sash windows! Catherine had
expected to have her feelings worked, and worked they were. Astonishment
and doubt first seized them; and a shortly succeeding ray of common
sense added some bitter emotions of shame. She could not be mistaken
as to the room; but how grossly mistaken in everything else!--in Miss
Tilney's meaning, in her own calculation! This apartment, to which she
had given a date so ancient, a position so awful, proved to be one end
of what the general's father had built. There were two other doors in
the chamber, leading probably into dressing-closets; but she had no
inclination to open either. Would the veil in which Mrs. Tilney had last
walked, or the volume in which she had last read, remain to tell what
nothing else was allowed to whisper? No: whatever might have been the
general's crimes, he had certainly too much wit to let them sue for
detection. She was sick of exploring, and desired but to be safe in her
own room, with her own heart only privy to its folly; and she was on
the point of retreating as softly as she had entered, when the sound of
footsteps, she could hardly tell where, made her pause and tremble.
To be found there, even by a servant, would be unpleasant; but by the
general (and he seemed always at hand when least wanted), much worse!
She listened--the sound had ceased; and resolving not to lose a
moment, she passed through and closed the door. At that instant a door
underneath was hastily opened; someone seemed with swift steps to ascend
the stairs, by the head of which she had yet to pass before she could
gain the gallery. She had no power to move. With a feeling of terror
not very definable, she fixed her eyes on the staircase, and in a few
moments it gave Henry to her view. "Mr. Tilney!" she exclaimed in a
voice of more than common astonishment. He looked astonished too. "Good
God!" she continued, not attending to his address. "How came you here?
How came you up that staircase?"

"How came I up that staircase!" he replied, greatly surprised. "Because
it is my nearest way from the stable-yard to my own chamber; and why
should I not come up it?"

Catherine recollected herself, blushed deeply, and could say no more. He
seemed to be looking in her countenance for that explanation which her
lips did not afford. She moved on towards the gallery. "And may I not,
in my turn," said he, as he pushed back the folding doors, "ask how you
came here? This passage is at least as extraordinary a road from the
breakfast-parlour to your apartment, as that staircase can be from the
stables to mine."

"I have been," said Catherine, looking down, "to see your mother's
room."

"My mother's room! Is there anything extraordinary to be seen there?"

"No, nothing at all. I thought you did not mean to come back till
tomorrow."

"I did not expect to be able to return sooner, when I went away; but
three hours ago I had the pleasure of finding nothing to detain me. You
look pale. I am afraid I alarmed you by running so fast up those stairs.
Perhaps you did not know--you were not aware of their leading from the
offices in common use?"

"No, I was not. You have had a very fine day for your ride."

"Very; and does Eleanor leave you to find your way into all the rooms in
the house by yourself?"

"Oh! No; she showed me over the greatest part on Saturday--and we were
coming here to these rooms--but only"--dropping her voice--"your father
was with us."

"And that prevented you," said Henry, earnestly regarding her. "Have you
looked into all the rooms in that passage?"

"No, I only wanted to see--Is not it very late? I must go and dress."

"It is only a quarter past four" showing his watch--"and you are not now
in Bath. No theatre, no rooms to prepare for. Half an hour at Northanger
must be enough."

She could not contradict it, and therefore suffered herself to be
detained, though her dread of further questions made her, for the first
time in their acquaintance, wish to leave him. They walked slowly up the
gallery. "Have you had any letter from Bath since I saw you?"

"No, and I am very much surprised. Isabella promised so faithfully to
write directly."

"Promised so faithfully! A faithful promise! That puzzles me. I have
heard of a faithful performance. But a faithful promise--the fidelity
of promising! It is a power little worth knowing, however, since it can
deceive and pain you. My mother's room is very commodious, is it not?
Large and cheerful-looking, and the dressing-closets so well disposed!
It always strikes me as the most comfortable apartment in the house, and
I rather wonder that Eleanor should not take it for her own. She sent
you to look at it, I suppose?"

"No."

"It has been your own doing entirely?" Catherine said nothing. After a
short silence, during which he had closely observed her, he added, "As
there is nothing in the room in itself to raise curiosity, this must
have proceeded from a sentiment of respect for my mother's character,
as described by Eleanor, which does honour to her memory. The world, I
believe, never saw a better woman. But it is not often that virtue can
boast an interest such as this. The domestic, unpretending merits of a
person never known do not often create that kind of fervent, venerating
tenderness which would prompt a visit like yours. Eleanor, I suppose,
has talked of her a great deal?"

"Yes, a great deal. That is--no, not much, but what she did say was very
interesting. Her dying so suddenly" (slowly, and with hesitation it
was spoken), "and you--none of you being at home--and your father, I
thought--perhaps had not been very fond of her."

"And from these circumstances," he replied (his quick eye
fixed on hers), "you infer perhaps the probability of some
negligence--some"--(involuntarily she shook her head)--"or it may be--of
something still less pardonable." She raised her eyes towards him
more fully than she had ever done before. "My mother's illness," he
continued, "the seizure which ended in her death, was sudden. The malady
itself, one from which she had often suffered, a bilious fever--its
cause therefore constitutional. On the third day, in short, as soon as
she could be prevailed on, a physician attended her, a very respectable
man, and one in whom she had always placed great confidence. Upon his
opinion of her danger, two others were called in the next day, and
remained in almost constant attendance for four and twenty hours. On the
fifth day she died. During the progress of her disorder, Frederick and I
(we were both at home) saw her repeatedly; and from our own observation
can bear witness to her having received every possible attention
which could spring from the affection of those about her, or which her
situation in life could command. Poor Eleanor was absent, and at such a
distance as to return only to see her mother in her coffin."

"But your father," said Catherine, "was he afflicted?"

"For a time, greatly so. You have erred in supposing him not attached
to her. He loved her, I am persuaded, as well as it was possible for him
to--we have not all, you know, the same tenderness of disposition--and
I will not pretend to say that while she lived, she might not often have
had much to bear, but though his temper injured her, his judgment never
did. His value of her was sincere; and, if not permanently, he was truly
afflicted by her death."

"I am very glad of it," said Catherine; "it would have been very
shocking!"

"If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as
I have hardly words to--Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature
of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from?
Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are
English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your
own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing
around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our
laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in
a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a
footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary
spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss
Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?"

They had reached the end of the gallery, and with tears of shame she ran
off to her own room.



CHAPTER 25


The visions of romance were over. Catherine was completely awakened.
Henry's address, short as it had been, had more thoroughly opened her
eyes to the extravagance of her late fancies than all their several
disappointments had done. Most grievously was she humbled. Most bitterly
did she cry. It was not only with herself that she was sunk--but with
Henry. Her folly, which now seemed even criminal, was all exposed to
him, and he must despise her forever. The liberty which her imagination
had dared to take with the character of his father--could he ever
forgive it? The absurdity of her curiosity and her fears--could they
ever be forgotten? She hated herself more than she could express. He
had--she thought he had, once or twice before this fatal morning, shown
something like affection for her. But now--in short, she made herself as
miserable as possible for about half an hour, went down when the
clock struck five, with a broken heart, and could scarcely give an
intelligible answer to Eleanor's inquiry if she was well. The formidable
Henry soon followed her into the room, and the only difference in his
behaviour to her was that he paid her rather more attention than usual.
Catherine had never wanted comfort more, and he looked as if he was
aware of it.

The evening wore away with no abatement of this soothing politeness; and
her spirits were gradually raised to a modest tranquillity. She did not
learn either to forget or defend the past; but she learned to hope that
it would never transpire farther, and that it might not cost her Henry's
entire regard. Her thoughts being still chiefly fixed on what she had
with such causeless terror felt and done, nothing could shortly be
clearer than that it had been all a voluntary, self-created delusion,
each trifling circumstance receiving importance from an imagination
resolved on alarm, and everything forced to bend to one purpose by
a mind which, before she entered the abbey, had been craving to be
frightened. She remembered with what feelings she had prepared for a
knowledge of Northanger. She saw that the infatuation had been created,
the mischief settled, long before her quitting Bath, and it seemed as if
the whole might be traced to the influence of that sort of reading which
she had there indulged.

Charming as were all Mrs. Radcliffe's works, and charming even as were
the works of all her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human
nature, at least in the Midland counties of England, was to be looked
for. Of the Alps and Pyrenees, with their pine forests and their vices,
they might give a faithful delineation; and Italy, Switzerland, and
the south of France might be as fruitful in horrors as they were there
represented. Catherine dared not doubt beyond her own country, and even
of that, if hard pressed, would have yielded the northern and western
extremities. But in the central part of England there was surely some
security for the existence even of a wife not beloved, in the laws of
the land, and the manners of the age. Murder was not tolerated, servants
were not slaves, and neither poison nor sleeping potions to be procured,
like rhubarb, from every druggist. Among the Alps and Pyrenees, perhaps,
there were no mixed characters. There, such as were not as spotless as
an angel might have the dispositions of a fiend. But in England it was
not so; among the English, she believed, in their hearts and habits,
there was a general though unequal mixture of good and bad. Upon this
conviction, she would not be surprised if even in Henry and Eleanor
Tilney, some slight imperfection might hereafter appear; and upon this
conviction she need not fear to acknowledge some actual specks in
the character of their father, who, though cleared from the grossly
injurious suspicions which she must ever blush to have entertained, she
did believe, upon serious consideration, to be not perfectly amiable.

Her mind made up on these several points, and her resolution formed, of
always judging and acting in future with the greatest good sense, she
had nothing to do but to forgive herself and be happier than ever; and
the lenient hand of time did much for her by insensible gradations in
the course of another day. Henry's astonishing generosity and nobleness
of conduct, in never alluding in the slightest way to what had passed,
was of the greatest assistance to her; and sooner than she could have
supposed it possible in the beginning of her distress, her spirits
became absolutely comfortable, and capable, as heretofore, of continual
improvement by anything he said. There were still some subjects, indeed,
under which she believed they must always tremble--the mention of a
chest or a cabinet, for instance--and she did not love the sight of
japan in any shape: but even she could allow that an occasional memento
of past folly, however painful, might not be without use.

The anxieties of common life began soon to succeed to the alarms of
romance. Her desire of hearing from Isabella grew every day greater.
She was quite impatient to know how the Bath world went on, and how the
rooms were attended; and especially was she anxious to be assured of
Isabella's having matched some fine netting-cotton, on which she had
left her intent; and of her continuing on the best terms with James. Her
only dependence for information of any kind was on Isabella. James had
protested against writing to her till his return to Oxford; and Mrs.
Allen had given her no hopes of a letter till she had got back to
Fullerton. But Isabella had promised and promised again; and when she
promised a thing, she was so scrupulous in performing it! This made it
so particularly strange!

For nine successive mornings, Catherine wondered over the repetition
of a disappointment, which each morning became more severe: but, on
the tenth, when she entered the breakfast-room, her first object was a
letter, held out by Henry's willing hand. She thanked him as heartily
as if he had written it himself. "'Tis only from James, however," as she
looked at the direction. She opened it; it was from Oxford; and to this
purpose:


"Dear Catherine,

"Though, God knows, with little inclination for writing, I think it my
duty to tell you that everything is at an end between Miss Thorpe and
me. I left her and Bath yesterday, never to see either again. I shall
not enter into particulars--they would only pain you more. You will soon
hear enough from another quarter to know where lies the blame; and I
hope will acquit your brother of everything but the folly of too easily
thinking his affection returned. Thank God! I am undeceived in time!
But it is a heavy blow! After my father's consent had been so kindly
given--but no more of this. She has made me miserable forever! Let me
soon hear from you, dear Catherine; you are my only friend; your love
I do build upon. I wish your visit at Northanger may be over before
Captain Tilney makes his engagement known, or you will be uncomfortably
circumstanced. Poor Thorpe is in town: I dread the sight of him; his
honest heart would feel so much. I have written to him and my father.
Her duplicity hurts me more than all; till the very last, if I reasoned
with her, she declared herself as much attached to me as ever, and
laughed at my fears. I am ashamed to think how long I bore with it;
but if ever man had reason to believe himself loved, I was that man. I
cannot understand even now what she would be at, for there could be no
need of my being played off to make her secure of Tilney. We parted
at last by mutual consent--happy for me had we never met! I can never
expect to know such another woman! Dearest Catherine, beware how you
give your heart.

"Believe me," &c.


Catherine had not read three lines before her sudden change of
countenance, and short exclamations of sorrowing wonder, declared her to
be receiving unpleasant news; and Henry, earnestly watching her through
the whole letter, saw plainly that it ended no better than it began. He
was prevented, however, from even looking his surprise by his father's
entrance. They went to breakfast directly; but Catherine could hardly
eat anything. Tears filled her eyes, and even ran down her cheeks as she
sat. The letter was one moment in her hand, then in her lap, and then in
her pocket; and she looked as if she knew not what she did. The general,
between his cocoa and his newspaper, had luckily no leisure for noticing
her; but to the other two her distress was equally visible. As soon
as she dared leave the table she hurried away to her own room; but the
housemaids were busy in it, and she was obliged to come down again.
She turned into the drawing-room for privacy, but Henry and Eleanor had
likewise retreated thither, and were at that moment deep in consultation
about her. She drew back, trying to beg their pardon, but was, with
gentle violence, forced to return; and the others withdrew, after
Eleanor had affectionately expressed a wish of being of use or comfort
to her.

After half an hour's free indulgence of grief and reflection, Catherine
felt equal to encountering her friends; but whether she should make
her distress known to them was another consideration. Perhaps, if
particularly questioned, she might just give an idea--just distantly
hint at it--but not more. To expose a friend, such a friend as Isabella
had been to her--and then their own brother so closely concerned in it!
She believed she must waive the subject altogether. Henry and Eleanor
were by themselves in the breakfast-room; and each, as she entered it,
looked at her anxiously. Catherine took her place at the table, and,
after a short silence, Eleanor said, "No bad news from Fullerton, I
hope? Mr. and Mrs. Morland--your brothers and sisters--I hope they are
none of them ill?"

"No, I thank you" (sighing as she spoke); "they are all very well. My
letter was from my brother at Oxford."

Nothing further was said for a few minutes; and then speaking through
her tears, she added, "I do not think I shall ever wish for a letter
again!"

"I am sorry," said Henry, closing the book he had just opened; "if I
had suspected the letter of containing anything unwelcome, I should have
given it with very different feelings."

"It contained something worse than anybody could suppose! Poor James is
so unhappy! You will soon know why."

"To have so kind-hearted, so affectionate a sister," replied Henry
warmly, "must be a comfort to him under any distress."

"I have one favour to beg," said Catherine, shortly afterwards, in an
agitated manner, "that, if your brother should be coming here, you will
give me notice of it, that I may go away."

"Our brother! Frederick!"

"Yes; I am sure I should be very sorry to leave you so soon, but
something has happened that would make it very dreadful for me to be in
the same house with Captain Tilney."

Eleanor's work was suspended while she gazed with increasing
astonishment; but Henry began to suspect the truth, and something, in
which Miss Thorpe's name was included, passed his lips.

"How quick you are!" cried Catherine: "you have guessed it, I declare!
And yet, when we talked about it in Bath, you little thought of its
ending so. Isabella--no wonder now I have not heard from her--Isabella
has deserted my brother, and is to marry yours! Could you have believed
there had been such inconstancy and fickleness, and everything that is
bad in the world?"

"I hope, so far as concerns my brother, you are misinformed. I hope
he has not had any material share in bringing on Mr. Morland's
disappointment. His marrying Miss Thorpe is not probable. I think you
must be deceived so far. I am very sorry for Mr. Morland--sorry that
anyone you love should be unhappy; but my surprise would be greater at
Frederick's marrying her than at any other part of the story."

"It is very true, however; you shall read James's letter yourself.
Stay--There is one part--" recollecting with a blush the last line.

"Will you take the trouble of reading to us the passages which concern
my brother?"

"No, read it yourself," cried Catherine, whose second thoughts were
clearer. "I do not know what I was thinking of" (blushing again that she
had blushed before); "James only means to give me good advice."

He gladly received the letter, and, having read it through, with close
attention, returned it saying, "Well, if it is to be so, I can only
say that I am sorry for it. Frederick will not be the first man who has
chosen a wife with less sense than his family expected. I do not envy
his situation, either as a lover or a son."

Miss Tilney, at Catherine's invitation, now read the letter likewise,
and, having expressed also her concern and surprise, began to inquire
into Miss Thorpe's connections and fortune.

"Her mother is a very good sort of woman," was Catherine's answer.

"What was her father?"

"A lawyer, I believe. They live at Putney."

"Are they a wealthy family?"

"No, not very. I do not believe Isabella has any fortune at all: but
that will not signify in your family. Your father is so very liberal!
He told me the other day that he only valued money as it allowed him to
promote the happiness of his children." The brother and sister looked
at each other. "But," said Eleanor, after a short pause, "would it be to
promote his happiness, to enable him to marry such a girl? She must be
an unprincipled one, or she could not have used your brother so. And how
strange an infatuation on Frederick's side! A girl who, before his eyes,
is violating an engagement voluntarily entered into with another man! Is
not it inconceivable, Henry? Frederick too, who always wore his heart so
proudly! Who found no woman good enough to be loved!"

"That is the most unpromising circumstance, the strongest presumption
against him. When I think of his past declarations, I give him up.
Moreover, I have too good an opinion of Miss Thorpe's prudence to
suppose that she would part with one gentleman before the other
was secured. It is all over with Frederick indeed! He is a deceased
man--defunct in understanding. Prepare for your sister-in-law, Eleanor,
and such a sister-in-law as you must delight in! Open, candid, artless,
guileless, with affections strong but simple, forming no pretensions,
and knowing no disguise."

"Such a sister-in-law, Henry, I should delight in," said Eleanor with a
smile.

"But perhaps," observed Catherine, "though she has behaved so ill by our
family, she may behave better by yours. Now she has really got the man
she likes, she may be constant."

"Indeed I am afraid she will," replied Henry; "I am afraid she will
be very constant, unless a baronet should come in her way; that is
Frederick's only chance. I will get the Bath paper, and look over the
arrivals."

"You think it is all for ambition, then? And, upon my word, there are
some things that seem very like it. I cannot forget that, when she first
knew what my father would do for them, she seemed quite disappointed
that it was not more. I never was so deceived in anyone's character in
my life before."

"Among all the great variety that you have known and studied."

"My own disappointment and loss in her is very great; but, as for poor
James, I suppose he will hardly ever recover it."

"Your brother is certainly very much to be pitied at present; but we
must not, in our concern for his sufferings, undervalue yours. You feel,
I suppose, that in losing Isabella, you lose half yourself: you feel a
void in your heart which nothing else can occupy. Society is becoming
irksome; and as for the amusements in which you were wont to share at
Bath, the very idea of them without her is abhorrent. You would not,
for instance, now go to a ball for the world. You feel that you have no
longer any friend to whom you can speak with unreserve, on whose regard
you can place dependence, or whose counsel, in any difficulty, you could
rely on. You feel all this?"

"No," said Catherine, after a few moments' reflection, "I do not--ought
I? To say the truth, though I am hurt and grieved, that I cannot still
love her, that I am never to hear from her, perhaps never to see her
again, I do not feel so very, very much afflicted as one would have
thought."

"You feel, as you always do, what is most to the credit of human nature.
Such feelings ought to be investigated, that they may know themselves."

Catherine, by some chance or other, found her spirits so very much
relieved by this conversation that she could not regret her being led
on, though so unaccountably, to mention the circumstance which had
produced it.



CHAPTER 26


From this time, the subject was frequently canvassed by the three young
people; and Catherine found, with some surprise, that her two young
friends were perfectly agreed in considering Isabella's want of
consequence and fortune as likely to throw great difficulties in the way
of her marrying their brother. Their persuasion that the general would,
upon this ground alone, independent of the objection that might be
raised against her character, oppose the connection, turned her feelings
moreover with some alarm towards herself. She was as insignificant,
and perhaps as portionless, as Isabella; and if the heir of the Tilney
property had not grandeur and wealth enough in himself, at what point
of interest were the demands of his younger brother to rest? The very
painful reflections to which this thought led could only be dispersed by
a dependence on the effect of that particular partiality, which, as she
was given to understand by his words as well as his actions, she had
from the first been so fortunate as to excite in the general; and by a
recollection of some most generous and disinterested sentiments on the
subject of money, which she had more than once heard him utter, and
which tempted her to think his disposition in such matters misunderstood
by his children.

They were so fully convinced, however, that their brother would not
have the courage to apply in person for his father's consent, and so
repeatedly assured her that he had never in his life been less likely to
come to Northanger than at the present time, that she suffered her mind
to be at ease as to the necessity of any sudden removal of her own. But
as it was not to be supposed that Captain Tilney, whenever he made his
application, would give his father any just idea of Isabella's conduct,
it occurred to her as highly expedient that Henry should lay the whole
business before him as it really was, enabling the general by that means
to form a cool and impartial opinion, and prepare his objections on
a fairer ground than inequality of situations. She proposed it to him
accordingly; but he did not catch at the measure so eagerly as she had
expected. "No," said he, "my father's hands need not be strengthened,
and Frederick's confession of folly need not be forestalled. He must
tell his own story."

"But he will tell only half of it."

"A quarter would be enough."

A day or two passed away and brought no tidings of Captain Tilney. His
brother and sister knew not what to think. Sometimes it appeared to
them as if his silence would be the natural result of the suspected
engagement, and at others that it was wholly incompatible with it.
The general, meanwhile, though offended every morning by Frederick's
remissness in writing, was free from any real anxiety about him, and had
no more pressing solicitude than that of making Miss Morland's time at
Northanger pass pleasantly. He often expressed his uneasiness on this
head, feared the sameness of every day's society and employments would
disgust her with the place, wished the Lady Frasers had been in the
country, talked every now and then of having a large party to dinner,
and once or twice began even to calculate the number of young dancing
people in the neighbourhood. But then it was such a dead time of year,
no wild-fowl, no game, and the Lady Frasers were not in the country.
And it all ended, at last, in his telling Henry one morning that when he
next went to Woodston, they would take him by surprise there some day
or other, and eat their mutton with him. Henry was greatly honoured and
very happy, and Catherine was quite delighted with the scheme. "And when
do you think, sir, I may look forward to this pleasure? I must be at
Woodston on Monday to attend the parish meeting, and shall probably be
obliged to stay two or three days."

"Well, well, we will take our chance some one of those days. There is
no need to fix. You are not to put yourself at all out of your way.
Whatever you may happen to have in the house will be enough. I think I
can answer for the young ladies making allowance for a bachelor's table.
Let me see; Monday will be a busy day with you, we will not come on
Monday; and Tuesday will be a busy one with me. I expect my surveyor
from Brockham with his report in the morning; and afterwards I cannot in
decency fail attending the club. I really could not face my acquaintance
if I stayed away now; for, as I am known to be in the country, it would
be taken exceedingly amiss; and it is a rule with me, Miss Morland,
never to give offence to any of my neighbours, if a small sacrifice of
time and attention can prevent it. They are a set of very worthy men.
They have half a buck from Northanger twice a year; and I dine with them
whenever I can. Tuesday, therefore, we may say is out of the question.
But on Wednesday, I think, Henry, you may expect us; and we shall be
with you early, that we may have time to look about us. Two hours and
three quarters will carry us to Woodston, I suppose; we shall be in the
carriage by ten; so, about a quarter before one on Wednesday, you may
look for us."

A ball itself could not have been more welcome to Catherine than
this little excursion, so strong was her desire to be acquainted with
Woodston; and her heart was still bounding with joy when Henry, about an
hour afterwards, came booted and greatcoated into the room where she
and Eleanor were sitting, and said, "I am come, young ladies, in a
very moralizing strain, to observe that our pleasures in this world
are always to be paid for, and that we often purchase them at a great
disadvantage, giving ready-monied actual happiness for a draft on the
future, that may not be honoured. Witness myself, at this present hour.
Because I am to hope for the satisfaction of seeing you at Woodston on
Wednesday, which bad weather, or twenty other causes, may prevent, I
must go away directly, two days before I intended it."

"Go away!" said Catherine, with a very long face. "And why?"

"Why! How can you ask the question? Because no time is to be lost in
frightening my old housekeeper out of her wits, because I must go and
prepare a dinner for you, to be sure."

"Oh! Not seriously!"

"Aye, and sadly too--for I had much rather stay."

"But how can you think of such a thing, after what the general said?
When he so particularly desired you not to give yourself any trouble,
because anything would do."

Henry only smiled. "I am sure it is quite unnecessary upon your sister's
account and mine. You must know it to be so; and the general made such
a point of your providing nothing extraordinary: besides, if he had not
said half so much as he did, he has always such an excellent dinner
at home, that sitting down to a middling one for one day could not
signify."

"I wish I could reason like you, for his sake and my own. Good-bye. As
tomorrow is Sunday, Eleanor, I shall not return."

He went; and, it being at any time a much simpler operation to Catherine
to doubt her own judgment than Henry's, she was very soon obliged to
give him credit for being right, however disagreeable to her his going.
But the inexplicability of the general's conduct dwelt much on her
thoughts. That he was very particular in his eating, she had, by her own
unassisted observation, already discovered; but why he should say
one thing so positively, and mean another all the while, was most
unaccountable! How were people, at that rate, to be understood? Who but
Henry could have been aware of what his father was at?

From Saturday to Wednesday, however, they were now to be without Henry.
This was the sad finale of every reflection: and Captain Tilney's letter
would certainly come in his absence; and Wednesday she was very sure
would be wet. The past, present, and future were all equally in gloom.
Her brother so unhappy, and her loss in Isabella so great; and Eleanor's
spirits always affected by Henry's absence! What was there to interest
or amuse her? She was tired of the woods and the shrubberies--always so
smooth and so dry; and the abbey in itself was no more to her now than
any other house. The painful remembrance of the folly it had helped
to nourish and perfect was the only emotion which could spring from a
consideration of the building. What a revolution in her ideas! She, who
had so longed to be in an abbey! Now, there was nothing so charming
to her imagination as the unpretending comfort of a well-connected
parsonage, something like Fullerton, but better: Fullerton had its
faults, but Woodston probably had none. If Wednesday should ever come!

It did come, and exactly when it might be reasonably looked for. It
came--it was fine--and Catherine trod on air. By ten o'clock, the chaise
and four conveyed the two from the abbey; and, after an agreeable drive
of almost twenty miles, they entered Woodston, a large and populous
village, in a situation not unpleasant. Catherine was ashamed to say
how pretty she thought it, as the general seemed to think an apology
necessary for the flatness of the country, and the size of the village;
but in her heart she preferred it to any place she had ever been at,
and looked with great admiration at every neat house above the rank of
a cottage, and at all the little chandler's shops which they passed. At
the further end of the village, and tolerably disengaged from the rest
of it, stood the parsonage, a new-built substantial stone house, with
its semicircular sweep and green gates; and, as they drove up to the
door, Henry, with the friends of his solitude, a large Newfoundland
puppy and two or three terriers, was ready to receive and make much of
them.

Catherine's mind was too full, as she entered the house, for her either
to observe or to say a great deal; and, till called on by the general
for her opinion of it, she had very little idea of the room in which she
was sitting. Upon looking round it then, she perceived in a moment that
it was the most comfortable room in the world; but she was too guarded
to say so, and the coldness of her praise disappointed him.

"We are not calling it a good house," said he. "We are not comparing
it with Fullerton and Northanger--we are considering it as a mere
parsonage, small and confined, we allow, but decent, perhaps, and
habitable; and altogether not inferior to the generality; or, in other
words, I believe there are few country parsonages in England half so
good. It may admit of improvement, however. Far be it from me to say
otherwise; and anything in reason--a bow thrown out, perhaps--though,
between ourselves, if there is one thing more than another my aversion,
it is a patched-on bow."

Catherine did not hear enough of this speech to understand or be pained
by it; and other subjects being studiously brought forward and supported
by Henry, at the same time that a tray full of refreshments was
introduced by his servant, the general was shortly restored to his
complacency, and Catherine to all her usual ease of spirits.

The room in question was of a commodious, well-proportioned size, and
handsomely fitted up as a dining-parlour; and on their quitting it to
walk round the grounds, she was shown, first into a smaller apartment,
belonging peculiarly to the master of the house, and made unusually tidy
on the occasion; and afterwards into what was to be the drawing-room,
with the appearance of which, though unfurnished, Catherine was
delighted enough even to satisfy the general. It was a prettily shaped
room, the windows reaching to the ground, and the view from them
pleasant, though only over green meadows; and she expressed her
admiration at the moment with all the honest simplicity with which she
felt it. "Oh! Why do not you fit up this room, Mr. Tilney? What a pity
not to have it fitted up! It is the prettiest room I ever saw; it is the
prettiest room in the world!"

"I trust," said the general, with a most satisfied smile, "that it will
very speedily be furnished: it waits only for a lady's taste!"

"Well, if it was my house, I should never sit anywhere else. Oh! What a
sweet little cottage there is among the trees--apple trees, too! It is
the prettiest cottage!"

"You like it--you approve it as an object--it is enough. Henry, remember
that Robinson is spoken to about it. The cottage remains."

Such a compliment recalled all Catherine's consciousness, and silenced
her directly; and, though pointedly applied to by the general for her
choice of the prevailing colour of the paper and hangings, nothing like
an opinion on the subject could be drawn from her. The influence of
fresh objects and fresh air, however, was of great use in dissipating
these embarrassing associations; and, having reached the ornamental part
of the premises, consisting of a walk round two sides of a meadow, on
which Henry's genius had begun to act about half a year ago, she was
sufficiently recovered to think it prettier than any pleasure-ground she
had ever been in before, though there was not a shrub in it higher than
the green bench in the corner.

A saunter into other meadows, and through part of the village, with a
visit to the stables to examine some improvements, and a charming game
of play with a litter of puppies just able to roll about, brought them
to four o'clock, when Catherine scarcely thought it could be three. At
four they were to dine, and at six to set off on their return. Never had
any day passed so quickly!

She could not but observe that the abundance of the dinner did not seem
to create the smallest astonishment in the general; nay, that he was
even looking at the side-table for cold meat which was not there. His
son and daughter's observations were of a different kind. They had
seldom seen him eat so heartily at any table but his own, and never
before known him so little disconcerted by the melted butter's being
oiled.

At six o'clock, the general having taken his coffee, the carriage again
received them; and so gratifying had been the tenor of his conduct
throughout the whole visit, so well assured was her mind on the subject
of his expectations, that, could she have felt equally confident of the
wishes of his son, Catherine would have quitted Woodston with little
anxiety as to the How or the When she might return to it.



CHAPTER 27


The next morning brought the following very unexpected letter from
Isabella:


Bath, April

My dearest Catherine, I received your two kind letters with the greatest
delight, and have a thousand apologies to make for not answering them
sooner. I really am quite ashamed of my idleness; but in this horrid
place one can find time for nothing. I have had my pen in my hand to
begin a letter to you almost every day since you left Bath, but have
always been prevented by some silly trifler or other. Pray write to me
soon, and direct to my own home. Thank God, we leave this vile place
tomorrow. Since you went away, I have had no pleasure in it--the dust
is beyond anything; and everybody one cares for is gone. I believe if I
could see you I should not mind the rest, for you are dearer to me than
anybody can conceive. I am quite uneasy about your dear brother, not
having heard from him since he went to Oxford; and am fearful of some
misunderstanding. Your kind offices will set all right: he is the only
man I ever did or could love, and I trust you will convince him of it.
The spring fashions are partly down; and the hats the most frightful you
can imagine. I hope you spend your time pleasantly, but am afraid you
never think of me. I will not say all that I could of the family you are
with, because I would not be ungenerous, or set you against those you
esteem; but it is very difficult to know whom to trust, and young men
never know their minds two days together. I rejoice to say that the
young man whom, of all others, I particularly abhor, has left Bath. You
will know, from this description, I must mean Captain Tilney, who, as
you may remember, was amazingly disposed to follow and tease me, before
you went away. Afterwards he got worse, and became quite my shadow. Many
girls might have been taken in, for never were such attentions; but I
knew the fickle sex too well. He went away to his regiment two days ago,
and I trust I shall never be plagued with him again. He is the greatest
coxcomb I ever saw, and amazingly disagreeable. The last two days he was
always by the side of Charlotte Davis: I pitied his taste, but took no
notice of him. The last time we met was in Bath Street, and I turned
directly into a shop that he might not speak to me; I would not even
look at him. He went into the pump-room afterwards; but I would not have
followed him for all the world. Such a contrast between him and your
brother! Pray send me some news of the latter--I am quite unhappy about
him; he seemed so uncomfortable when he went away, with a cold, or
something that affected his spirits. I would write to him myself, but
have mislaid his direction; and, as I hinted above, am afraid he
took something in my conduct amiss. Pray explain everything to his
satisfaction; or, if he still harbours any doubt, a line from himself
to me, or a call at Putney when next in town, might set all to rights.
I have not been to the rooms this age, nor to the play, except going in
last night with the Hodges, for a frolic, at half price: they teased
me into it; and I was determined they should not say I shut myself up
because Tilney was gone. We happened to sit by the Mitchells, and they
pretended to be quite surprised to see me out. I knew their spite: at
one time they could not be civil to me, but now they are all friendship;
but I am not such a fool as to be taken in by them. You know I have a
pretty good spirit of my own. Anne Mitchell had tried to put on a
turban like mine, as I wore it the week before at the concert, but made
wretched work of it--it happened to become my odd face, I believe, at
least Tilney told me so at the time, and said every eye was upon me; but
he is the last man whose word I would take. I wear nothing but purple
now: I know I look hideous in it, but no matter--it is your dear
brother's favourite colour. Lose no time, my dearest, sweetest
Catherine, in writing to him and to me, Who ever am, etc.


Such a strain of shallow artifice could not impose even upon Catherine.
Its inconsistencies, contradictions, and falsehood struck her from the
very first. She was ashamed of Isabella, and ashamed of having ever
loved her. Her professions of attachment were now as disgusting as her
excuses were empty, and her demands impudent. "Write to James on her
behalf! No, James should never hear Isabella's name mentioned by her
again."

On Henry's arrival from Woodston, she made known to him and Eleanor
their brother's safety, congratulating them with sincerity on it, and
reading aloud the most material passages of her letter with strong
indignation. When she had finished it--"So much for Isabella," she
cried, "and for all our intimacy! She must think me an idiot, or she
could not have written so; but perhaps this has served to make her
character better known to me than mine is to her. I see what she has
been about. She is a vain coquette, and her tricks have not answered. I
do not believe she had ever any regard either for James or for me, and I
wish I had never known her."

"It will soon be as if you never had," said Henry.

"There is but one thing that I cannot understand. I see that she has
had designs on Captain Tilney, which have not succeeded; but I do not
understand what Captain Tilney has been about all this time. Why should
he pay her such attentions as to make her quarrel with my brother, and
then fly off himself?"

"I have very little to say for Frederick's motives, such as I believe
them to have been. He has his vanities as well as Miss Thorpe, and the
chief difference is, that, having a stronger head, they have not yet
injured himself. If the effect of his behaviour does not justify him
with you, we had better not seek after the cause."

"Then you do not suppose he ever really cared about her?"

"I am persuaded that he never did."

"And only made believe to do so for mischief's sake?"

Henry bowed his assent.

"Well, then, I must say that I do not like him at all. Though it has
turned out so well for us, I do not like him at all. As it happens,
there is no great harm done, because I do not think Isabella has any
heart to lose. But, suppose he had made her very much in love with him?"

"But we must first suppose Isabella to have had a heart to
lose--consequently to have been a very different creature; and, in that
case, she would have met with very different treatment."

"It is very right that you should stand by your brother."

"And if you would stand by yours, you would not be much distressed by
the disappointment of Miss Thorpe. But your mind is warped by an innate
principle of general integrity, and therefore not accessible to the cool
reasonings of family partiality, or a desire of revenge."

Catherine was complimented out of further bitterness. Frederick could
not be unpardonably guilty, while Henry made himself so agreeable. She
resolved on not answering Isabella's letter, and tried to think no more
of it.



CHAPTER 28


Soon after this, the general found himself obliged to go to London for
a week; and he left Northanger earnestly regretting that any necessity
should rob him even for an hour of Miss Morland's company, and anxiously
recommending the study of her comfort and amusement to his children
as their chief object in his absence. His departure gave Catherine the
first experimental conviction that a loss may be sometimes a gain. The
happiness with which their time now passed, every employment voluntary,
every laugh indulged, every meal a scene of ease and good humour,
walking where they liked and when they liked, their hours, pleasures,
and fatigues at their own command, made her thoroughly sensible of the
restraint which the general's presence had imposed, and most thankfully
feel their present release from it. Such ease and such delights made her
love the place and the people more and more every day; and had it not
been for a dread of its soon becoming expedient to leave the one, and
an apprehension of not being equally beloved by the other, she would at
each moment of each day have been perfectly happy; but she was now in
the fourth week of her visit; before the general came home, the fourth
week would be turned, and perhaps it might seem an intrusion if she
stayed much longer. This was a painful consideration whenever it
occurred; and eager to get rid of such a weight on her mind, she very
soon resolved to speak to Eleanor about it at once, propose going away,
and be guided in her conduct by the manner in which her proposal might
be taken.

Aware that if she gave herself much time, she might feel it difficult to
bring forward so unpleasant a subject, she took the first opportunity of
being suddenly alone with Eleanor, and of Eleanor's being in the
middle of a speech about something very different, to start forth her
obligation of going away very soon. Eleanor looked and declared herself
much concerned. She had "hoped for the pleasure of her company for a
much longer time--had been misled (perhaps by her wishes) to suppose
that a much longer visit had been promised--and could not but think that
if Mr. and Mrs. Morland were aware of the pleasure it was to her to have
her there, they would be too generous to hasten her return." Catherine
explained: "Oh! As to that, Papa and Mamma were in no hurry at all. As
long as she was happy, they would always be satisfied."

"Then why, might she ask, in such a hurry herself to leave them?"

"Oh! Because she had been there so long."

"Nay, if you can use such a word, I can urge you no farther. If you
think it long--"

"Oh! No, I do not indeed. For my own pleasure, I could stay with you as
long again." And it was directly settled that, till she had, her leaving
them was not even to be thought of. In having this cause of uneasiness
so pleasantly removed, the force of the other was likewise weakened. The
kindness, the earnestness of Eleanor's manner in pressing her to stay,
and Henry's gratified look on being told that her stay was determined,
were such sweet proofs of her importance with them, as left her only
just so much solicitude as the human mind can never do comfortably
without. She did--almost always--believe that Henry loved her, and quite
always that his father and sister loved and even wished her to belong
to them; and believing so far, her doubts and anxieties were merely
sportive irritations.

Henry was not able to obey his father's injunction of remaining wholly
at Northanger in attendance on the ladies, during his absence in London,
the engagements of his curate at Woodston obliging him to leave them on
Saturday for a couple of nights. His loss was not now what it had been
while the general was at home; it lessened their gaiety, but did not
ruin their comfort; and the two girls agreeing in occupation, and
improving in intimacy, found themselves so well sufficient for the time
to themselves, that it was eleven o'clock, rather a late hour at
the abbey, before they quitted the supper-room on the day of Henry's
departure. They had just reached the head of the stairs when it seemed,
as far as the thickness of the walls would allow them to judge, that a
carriage was driving up to the door, and the next moment confirmed the
idea by the loud noise of the house-bell. After the first perturbation
of surprise had passed away, in a "Good heaven! What can be the matter?"
it was quickly decided by Eleanor to be her eldest brother, whose
arrival was often as sudden, if not quite so unseasonable, and
accordingly she hurried down to welcome him.

Catherine walked on to her chamber, making up her mind as well as she
could, to a further acquaintance with Captain Tilney, and comforting
herself under the unpleasant impression his conduct had given her, and
the persuasion of his being by far too fine a gentleman to approve of
her, that at least they should not meet under such circumstances as
would make their meeting materially painful. She trusted he would never
speak of Miss Thorpe; and indeed, as he must by this time be ashamed of
the part he had acted, there could be no danger of it; and as long as
all mention of Bath scenes were avoided, she thought she could behave
to him very civilly. In such considerations time passed away, and it was
certainly in his favour that Eleanor should be so glad to see him, and
have so much to say, for half an hour was almost gone since his arrival,
and Eleanor did not come up.

At that moment Catherine thought she heard her step in the gallery, and
listened for its continuance; but all was silent. Scarcely, however,
had she convicted her fancy of error, when the noise of something moving
close to her door made her start; it seemed as if someone was touching
the very doorway--and in another moment a slight motion of the lock
proved that some hand must be on it. She trembled a little at the idea
of anyone's approaching so cautiously; but resolving not to be again
overcome by trivial appearances of alarm, or misled by a raised
imagination, she stepped quietly forward, and opened the door. Eleanor,
and only Eleanor, stood there. Catherine's spirits, however, were
tranquillized but for an instant, for Eleanor's cheeks were pale, and
her manner greatly agitated. Though evidently intending to come in, it
seemed an effort to enter the room, and a still greater to speak when
there. Catherine, supposing some uneasiness on Captain Tilney's account,
could only express her concern by silent attention, obliged her to be
seated, rubbed her temples with lavender-water, and hung over her with
affectionate solicitude. "My dear Catherine, you must not--you must not
indeed--" were Eleanor's first connected words. "I am quite well.
This kindness distracts me--I cannot bear it--I come to you on such an
errand!"

"Errand! To me!"

"How shall I tell you! Oh! How shall I tell you!"

A new idea now darted into Catherine's mind, and turning as pale as her
friend, she exclaimed, "'Tis a messenger from Woodston!"

"You are mistaken, indeed," returned Eleanor, looking at her most
compassionately; "it is no one from Woodston. It is my father himself."
Her voice faltered, and her eyes were turned to the ground as she
mentioned his name. His unlooked-for return was enough in itself to make
Catherine's heart sink, and for a few moments she hardly supposed
there were anything worse to be told. She said nothing; and Eleanor,
endeavouring to collect herself and speak with firmness, but with eyes
still cast down, soon went on. "You are too good, I am sure, to think
the worse of me for the part I am obliged to perform. I am indeed a most
unwilling messenger. After what has so lately passed, so lately been
settled between us--how joyfully, how thankfully on my side!--as to your
continuing here as I hoped for many, many weeks longer, how can I tell
you that your kindness is not to be accepted--and that the happiness
your company has hitherto given us is to be repaid by--But I must not
trust myself with words. My dear Catherine, we are to part. My father
has recollected an engagement that takes our whole family away on
Monday. We are going to Lord Longtown's, near Hereford, for a fortnight.
Explanation and apology are equally impossible. I cannot attempt
either."

"My dear Eleanor," cried Catherine, suppressing her feelings as well as
she could, "do not be so distressed. A second engagement must give
way to a first. I am very, very sorry we are to part--so soon, and so
suddenly too; but I am not offended, indeed I am not. I can finish my
visit here, you know, at any time; or I hope you will come to me. Can
you, when you return from this lord's, come to Fullerton?"

"It will not be in my power, Catherine."

"Come when you can, then."

Eleanor made no answer; and Catherine's thoughts recurring to something
more directly interesting, she added, thinking aloud, "Monday--so soon
as Monday; and you all go. Well, I am certain of--I shall be able to
take leave, however. I need not go till just before you do, you know. Do
not be distressed, Eleanor, I can go on Monday very well. My father
and mother's having no notice of it is of very little consequence. The
general will send a servant with me, I dare say, half the way--and then
I shall soon be at Salisbury, and then I am only nine miles from home."

"Ah, Catherine! Were it settled so, it would be somewhat less
intolerable, though in such common attentions you would have received
but half what you ought. But--how can I tell you?--tomorrow morning is
fixed for your leaving us, and not even the hour is left to your choice;
the very carriage is ordered, and will be here at seven o'clock, and no
servant will be offered you."

Catherine sat down, breathless and speechless. "I could hardly believe
my senses, when I heard it; and no displeasure, no resentment that
you can feel at this moment, however justly great, can be more than I
myself--but I must not talk of what I felt. Oh! That I could suggest
anything in extenuation! Good God! What will your father and mother say!
After courting you from the protection of real friends to this--almost
double distance from your home, to have you driven out of the house,
without the considerations even of decent civility! Dear, dear
Catherine, in being the bearer of such a message, I seem guilty myself
of all its insult; yet, I trust you will acquit me, for you must have
been long enough in this house to see that I am but a nominal mistress
of it, that my real power is nothing."

"Have I offended the general?" said Catherine in a faltering 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 discomposed; 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 vexation,
which just at this moment seems important, but which I can hardly
suppose you to have any concern in, for how is it possible?"

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 unhappy, 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."

"I hope, I earnestly hope, that to your real safety it will be of none;
but to everything else it is of the greatest consequence: 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 further conversation, now left her with, "I shall see you in
the morning."

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! Without 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. From what it could arise, and where it would
end, were considerations of equal perplexity and alarm. The manner in
which it was done so grossly uncivil, hurrying her away without any
reference to her own convenience, or allowing her even the appearance
of choice as to the time or mode of her travelling; of two days, the
earliest fixed on, and of that almost the earliest hour, as if resolved
to have her gone before he was stirring in the morning, that he
might not be obliged even to see her. 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.

Heavily passed the night. Sleep, or repose that deserved the name
of sleep, was out of the question. That room, in which her disturbed
imagination had tormented her on her first arrival, was again the scene
of agitated spirits and unquiet slumbers. Yet how different now the
source of her inquietude from what it had been then--how mournfully
superior in reality and substance! Her anxiety had foundation in
fact, her fears in probability; and with a mind so occupied in the
contemplation of actual and natural evil, the solitude of her situation,
the darkness of her chamber, the antiquity of the building, were felt
and considered without the smallest emotion; and though the wind was
high, and often produced strange and sudden noises throughout the house,
she heard it all as she lay awake, hour after hour, without curiosity or
terror.

Soon after six Eleanor entered her room, eager to show attention or give
assistance where it was possible; but very little remained to be done.
Catherine had not loitered; she was almost dressed, and her packing
almost finished. The possibility of some conciliatory message from the
general occurred to her as his daughter appeared. What so natural, as
that anger should pass away and repentance succeed it? And she only
wanted to know how far, after what had passed, an apology might properly
be received by her. But the knowledge would have been useless here;
it was not called for; neither clemency nor dignity was put to the
trial--Eleanor brought no message. Very little passed between them on
meeting; each found her greatest safety in silence, and few and trivial
were the sentences exchanged while they remained upstairs, Catherine in
busy agitation completing her dress, and Eleanor with more goodwill than
experience intent upon filling the trunk. When everything was done they
left the room, Catherine lingering only half a minute behind her friend
to throw a parting glance on every well-known, cherished object, and
went down to the breakfast-parlour, where breakfast was prepared. She
tried to eat, as well to save herself from the pain of being urged as
to make her friend comfortable; but she had no appetite, and could not
swallow many mouthfuls. The contrast between this and her last breakfast
in that room gave her fresh misery, and strengthened her distaste for
everything before her. It was not four and twenty hours ago since they
had met there to the same repast, but in circumstances how different!
With what cheerful ease, what happy, though false, security, had she
then looked around her, enjoying everything present, and fearing little
in future, beyond Henry's going to Woodston for a day! Happy, happy
breakfast! For Henry had been there; Henry had sat by her and helped
her. These reflections were long indulged undisturbed by any address
from her companion, who sat as deep in thought as herself; and the
appearance of the carriage was the first thing to startle and recall
them to the present moment. Catherine's colour rose at the sight of it;
and the indignity with which she was treated, striking at that instant
on her mind with peculiar force, made her for a short time sensible only
of resentment. Eleanor seemed now impelled into resolution and speech.

"You must write to me, Catherine," she cried; "you must let me hear from
you as soon as possible. Till I know you to be safe at home, I shall
not have an hour's comfort. For one letter, at all risks, all hazards, I
must entreat. Let me have the satisfaction of knowing that you are safe
at Fullerton, and have found your family well, and then, till I can ask
for your correspondence as I ought to do, I will not expect more. Direct
to me at Lord Longtown's, and, I must ask it, under cover to Alice."

"No, Eleanor, if you are not allowed to receive a letter from me, I am
sure I had better not write. There can be no doubt of my getting home
safe."

Eleanor only replied, "I cannot wonder at your feelings. I will not
importune you. I will trust to your own kindness of heart when I am at
a distance from you." But this, with the look of sorrow accompanying
it, was enough to melt Catherine's pride in a moment, and she instantly
said, "Oh, Eleanor, I will write to you indeed."

There was yet another point which Miss Tilney was anxious to settle,
though somewhat embarrassed in speaking of. It had occurred to her that
after so long an absence from home, Catherine might not be provided with
money enough for the expenses of her journey, and, upon suggesting it
to her with most affectionate offers of accommodation, it proved to be
exactly the case. Catherine had never thought on the subject till that
moment, but, upon examining her purse, was convinced that but for
this kindness of her friend, she might have been turned from the house
without even the means of getting home; and the distress in which she
must have been thereby involved filling the minds of both, scarcely
another word was said by either during the time of their remaining
together. Short, however, was that time. The carriage was soon announced
to be ready; and Catherine, instantly rising, a long and affectionate
embrace supplied the place of language in bidding each other adieu; and,
as they entered the hall, unable to leave the house without some mention
of one whose name had not yet been spoken by either, she paused a
moment, and with quivering lips just made it intelligible that she left
"her kind remembrance for her absent friend." But with this approach to
his name ended all possibility of restraining her feelings; and, hiding
her face as well as she could with her handkerchief, she darted across
the hall, jumped into the chaise, and in a moment was driven from the
door.



CHAPTER 29


Catherine was too wretched to be fearful. The journey in itself had no
terrors for her; and she began it without either dreading its length or
feeling its solitariness. Leaning back in one corner of the carriage, in
a violent burst of tears, she was conveyed some miles beyond the walls
of the abbey before she raised her head; and the highest point of ground
within the park was almost closed from her view before she was capable
of turning her eyes towards it. Unfortunately, the road she now
travelled was the same which only ten days ago she had so happily passed
along in going to and from Woodston; and, for fourteen miles, every
bitter feeling was rendered more severe by the review of objects on
which she had first looked under impressions so different. Every mile,
as it brought her nearer Woodston, added to her sufferings, and when
within the distance of five, she passed the turning which led to it, and
thought of Henry, so near, yet so unconscious, her grief and agitation
were excessive.

The day which she had spent at that place had been one of the happiest
of her life. It was there, it was on that day, that the general had made
use of such expressions with regard to Henry and herself, had so
spoken and so looked as to give her the most positive conviction of his
actually wishing their marriage. Yes, only ten days ago had he
elated her by his pointed regard--had he even confused her by his too
significant reference! And now--what had she done, or what had she
omitted to do, to merit such a change?

The only offence against him of which she could accuse herself had been
such as was scarcely possible to reach his knowledge. Henry and her own
heart only were privy to the shocking suspicions which she had so idly
entertained; and equally safe did she believe her secret with each.
Designedly, at least, Henry could not have betrayed her. If, indeed, by
any strange mischance his father should have gained intelligence of
what she had dared to think and look for, of her causeless fancies
and injurious examinations, she could not wonder at any degree of his
indignation. If aware of her having viewed him as a murderer, she could
not wonder at his even turning her from his house. But a justification
so full of torture to herself, she trusted, would not be in his power.

Anxious as were all her conjectures on this point, it was not, however,
the one on which she dwelt most. There was a thought yet nearer, a more
prevailing, more impetuous concern. How Henry would think, and feel,
and look, when he returned on the morrow to Northanger and heard of
her being gone, was a question of force and interest to rise over every
other, to be never ceasing, alternately irritating and soothing; it
sometimes suggested the dread of his calm acquiescence, and at others
was answered by the sweetest confidence in his regret and resentment. To
the general, of course, he would not dare to speak; but to Eleanor--what
might he not say to Eleanor about her?

In this unceasing recurrence of doubts and inquiries, on any one article
of which her mind was incapable of more than momentary repose, the hours
passed away, and her journey advanced much faster than she looked for.
The pressing anxieties of thought, which prevented her from noticing
anything before her, when once beyond the neighbourhood of Woodston,
saved her at the same time from watching her progress; and though no
object on the road could engage a moment's attention, she found no stage
of it tedious. From this, she was preserved too by another cause, by
feeling no eagerness for her journey's conclusion; for to return in such
a manner to Fullerton was almost to destroy the pleasure of a meeting
with those she loved best, even after an absence such as hers--an eleven
weeks' absence. What had she to say that would not humble herself and
pain her family, that would not increase her own grief by the confession
of it, extend an useless resentment, and perhaps involve the innocent
with the guilty in undistinguishing ill will? She could never do justice
to Henry and Eleanor's merit; she felt it too strongly for expression;
and should a dislike be taken against them, should they be thought of
unfavourably, on their father's account, it would cut her to the heart.

With these feelings, she rather dreaded than sought for the first view
of that well-known spire which would announce her within twenty miles of
home. Salisbury she had known to be her point on leaving Northanger; but
after the first stage she had been indebted to the post-masters for the
names of the places which were then to conduct her to it; so great
had been her ignorance of her route. She met with nothing, however,
to distress or frighten her. Her youth, civil manners, and liberal
pay procured her all the attention that a traveller like herself could
require; and stopping only to change horses, she travelled on for
about eleven hours without accident or alarm, and between six and seven
o'clock in the evening found herself entering Fullerton.

A heroine returning, at the close of her career, to her native village,
in all the triumph of recovered reputation, and all the dignity of
a countess, with a long train of noble relations in their several
phaetons, and three waiting-maids in a travelling chaise and four,
behind her, is an event on which the pen of the contriver may well
delight to dwell; it gives credit to every conclusion, and the author
must share in the glory she so liberally bestows. But my affair is
widely different; I bring back my heroine to her home in solitude and
disgrace; and no sweet elation of spirits can lead me into minuteness.
A heroine in a hack post-chaise is such a blow upon sentiment, as no
attempt at grandeur or pathos can withstand. Swiftly therefore shall her
post-boy drive through the village, amid the gaze of Sunday groups, and
speedy shall be her descent from it.

But, whatever might be the distress of Catherine's mind, as she thus
advanced towards the parsonage, and whatever the humiliation of her
biographer in relating it, she was preparing enjoyment of no everyday
nature for those to whom she went; first, in the appearance of her
carriage--and secondly, in herself. The chaise of a traveller being
a rare sight in Fullerton, the whole family were immediately at the
window; and to have it stop at the sweep-gate was a pleasure to brighten
every eye and occupy every fancy--a pleasure quite unlooked for by all
but the two youngest children, a boy and girl of six and four years old,
who expected a brother or sister in every carriage. Happy the glance
that first distinguished Catherine! Happy the voice that proclaimed the
discovery! But whether such happiness were the lawful property of George
or Harriet could never be exactly understood.

Her father, mother, Sarah, George, and Harriet, all assembled at the
door to welcome her with affectionate eagerness, was a sight to awaken
the best feelings of Catherine's heart; and in the embrace of each, as
she stepped from the carriage, she found herself soothed beyond anything
that she had believed possible. So surrounded, so caressed, she was even
happy! In the joyfulness of family love everything for a short time was
subdued, and the pleasure of seeing her, leaving them at first little
leisure for calm curiosity, they were all seated round the tea-table,
which Mrs. Morland had hurried for the comfort of the poor traveller,
whose pale and jaded looks soon caught her notice, before any inquiry so
direct as to demand a positive answer was addressed to her.

Reluctantly, and with much hesitation, did she then begin what might
perhaps, at the end of half an hour, be termed, by the courtesy of her
hearers, an explanation; but scarcely, within that time, could they
at all discover the cause, or collect the particulars, of her sudden
return. They were far from being an irritable race; far from any
quickness in catching, or bitterness in resenting, affronts: but here,
when the whole was unfolded, was an insult not to be overlooked, nor,
for the first half hour, to be easily pardoned. Without suffering any
romantic alarm, in the consideration of their daughter's long and lonely
journey, Mr. and Mrs. Morland could not but feel that it might have been
productive of much unpleasantness to her; that it was what they could
never have voluntarily suffered; and that, in forcing her on such
a measure, General Tilney had acted neither honourably nor
feelingly--neither as a gentleman nor as a parent. Why he had done it,
what could have provoked him to such a breach of hospitality, and so
suddenly turned all his partial regard for their daughter into actual
ill will, was a matter which they were at least as far from divining
as Catherine herself; but it did not oppress them by any means so long;
and, after a due course of useless conjecture, that "it was a strange
business, and that he must be a very strange man," grew enough for all
their indignation and wonder; though Sarah indeed still indulged in the
sweets of incomprehensibility, exclaiming and conjecturing with youthful
ardour. "My dear, you give yourself a great deal of needless trouble,"
said her mother at last; "depend upon it, it is something not at all
worth understanding."

"I can allow for his wishing Catherine away, when he recollected this
engagement," said Sarah, "but why not do it civilly?"

"I am sorry for the young people," returned Mrs. Morland; "they must
have a sad time of it; but as for anything else, it is no matter now;
Catherine is safe at home, and our comfort does not depend upon General
Tilney." Catherine sighed. "Well," continued her philosophic mother, "I
am glad I did not know of your journey at the time; but now it is all
over, perhaps there is no great harm done. It is always good for
young people to be put upon exerting themselves; and you know, my dear
Catherine, you always were a sad little scatter-brained creature; but
now you must have been forced to have your wits about you, with so much
changing of chaises and so forth; and I hope it will appear that you
have not left anything behind you in any of the pockets."

Catherine hoped so too, and tried to feel an interest in her own
amendment, but her spirits were quite worn down; and, to be silent and
alone becoming soon her only wish, she readily agreed to her mother's
next counsel of going early to bed. Her parents, seeing nothing in
her ill looks and agitation but the natural consequence of mortified
feelings, and of the unusual exertion and fatigue of such a journey,
parted from her without any doubt of their being soon slept away; and
though, when they all met the next morning, her recovery was not equal
to their hopes, they were still perfectly unsuspicious of there being
any deeper evil. They never once thought of her heart, which, for the
parents of a young lady of seventeen, just returned from her first
excursion from home, was odd enough!

As soon as breakfast was over, she sat down to fulfil her promise to
Miss Tilney, whose trust in the effect of time and distance on her
friend's disposition was already justified, for already did Catherine
reproach herself with having parted from Eleanor coldly, with
having never enough valued her merits or kindness, and never enough
commiserated her for what she had been yesterday left to endure. The
strength of these feelings, however, was far from assisting her pen;
and never had it been harder for her to write than in addressing Eleanor
Tilney. To compose a letter which might at once do justice to her
sentiments and her situation, convey gratitude without servile regret,
be guarded without coldness, and honest without resentment--a letter
which Eleanor might not be pained by the perusal of--and, above all,
which she might not blush herself, if Henry should chance to see, was an
undertaking to frighten away all her powers of performance; and, after
long thought and much perplexity, to be very brief was all that she
could determine on with any confidence of safety. The money therefore
which Eleanor had advanced was enclosed with little more than grateful
thanks, and the thousand good wishes of a most affectionate heart.

"This has been a strange acquaintance," observed Mrs. Morland, as the
letter was finished; "soon made and soon ended. I am sorry it happens
so, for Mrs. Allen thought them very pretty kind of young people; and
you were sadly out of luck too in your Isabella. Ah! Poor James! Well,
we must live and learn; and the next new friends you make I hope will be
better worth keeping."

Catherine coloured as she warmly answered, "No friend can be better
worth keeping than Eleanor."

"If so, my dear, I dare say you will meet again some time or other; do
not be uneasy. It is ten to one but you are thrown together again in the
course of a few years; and then what a pleasure it will be!"

Mrs. Morland was not happy in her attempt at consolation. The hope
of meeting again in the course of a few years could only put into
Catherine's head what might happen within that time to make a meeting
dreadful to her. She could never forget Henry Tilney, or think of him
with less tenderness than she did at that moment; but he might forget
her; and in that case, to meet--! Her eyes filled with tears as she
pictured her acquaintance so renewed; and her mother, perceiving her
comfortable suggestions to have had no good effect, proposed, as another
expedient for restoring her spirits, that they should call on Mrs.
Allen.

The two houses were only a quarter of a mile apart; and, as they walked,
Mrs. Morland quickly dispatched all that she felt on the score of
James's disappointment. "We are sorry for him," said she; "but otherwise
there is no harm done in the match going off; for it could not be
a desirable thing to have him engaged to a girl whom we had not the
smallest acquaintance with, and who was so entirely without fortune; and
now, after such behaviour, we cannot think at all well of her. Just at
present it comes hard to poor James; but that will not last forever; and
I dare say he will be a discreeter man all his life, for the foolishness
of his first choice."

This was just such a summary view of the affair as Catherine could
listen to; another sentence might have endangered her complaisance,
and made her reply less rational; for soon were all her thinking powers
swallowed up in the reflection of her own change of feelings and spirits
since last she had trodden that well-known road. It was not three months
ago since, wild with joyful expectation, she had there run backwards
and forwards some ten times a day, with an heart light, gay, and
independent; looking forward to pleasures untasted and unalloyed, and
free from the apprehension of evil as from the knowledge of it. Three
months ago had seen her all this; and now, how altered a being did she
return!

She was received by the Allens with all the kindness which her
unlooked-for appearance, acting on a steady affection, would naturally
call forth; and great was their surprise, and warm their displeasure,
on hearing how she had been treated--though Mrs. Morland's account of
it was no inflated representation, no studied appeal to their passions.
"Catherine took us quite by surprise yesterday evening," said she. "She
travelled all the way post by herself, and knew nothing of coming till
Saturday night; for General Tilney, from some odd fancy or other, all
of a sudden grew tired of having her there, and almost turned her out
of the house. Very unfriendly, certainly; and he must be a very odd
man; but we are so glad to have her amongst us again! And it is a great
comfort to find that she is not a poor helpless creature, but can shift
very well for herself."

Mr. Allen expressed himself on the occasion with the reasonable
resentment of a sensible friend; and Mrs. Allen thought his expressions
quite good enough to be immediately made use of again by herself. His
wonder, his conjectures, and his explanations became in succession hers,
with the addition of this single remark--"I really have not patience
with the general"--to fill up every accidental pause. And, "I really
have not patience with the general," was uttered twice after Mr.
Allen left the room, without any relaxation of anger, or any material
digression of thought. A more considerable degree of wandering attended
the third repetition; and, after completing the fourth, she immediately
added, "Only think, my dear, of my having got that frightful great rent
in my best Mechlin so charmingly mended, before I left Bath, that one
can hardly see where it was. I must show it you some day or other. Bath
is a nice place, Catherine, after all. I assure you I did not above half
like coming away. Mrs. Thorpe's being there was such a comfort to us,
was not it? You know, you and I were quite forlorn at first."

"Yes, but that did not last long," said Catherine, her eyes brightening
at the recollection of what had first given spirit to her existence
there.

"Very true: we soon met with Mrs. Thorpe, and then we wanted for
nothing. My dear, do not you think these silk gloves wear very well?
I put them on new the first time of our going to the Lower Rooms, you
know, and I have worn them a great deal since. Do you remember that
evening?"

"Do I! Oh! Perfectly."

"It was very agreeable, was not it? Mr. Tilney drank tea with us, and I
always thought him a great addition, he is so very agreeable. I have a
notion you danced with him, but am not quite sure. I remember I had my
favourite gown on."

Catherine could not answer; and, after a short trial of other subjects,
Mrs. Allen again returned to--"I really have not patience with the
general! Such an agreeable, worthy man as he seemed to be! I do not
suppose, Mrs. Morland, you ever saw a better-bred man in your life. His
lodgings were taken the very day after he left them, Catherine. But no
wonder; Milsom Street, you know."

As they walked home again, Mrs. Morland endeavoured to impress on her
daughter's mind the happiness of having such steady well-wishers as Mr.
and Mrs. Allen, and the very little consideration which the neglect or
unkindness of slight acquaintance like the Tilneys ought to have with
her, while she could preserve the good opinion and affection of her
earliest friends. There was a great deal of good sense in all this; but
there are some situations of the human mind in which good sense has
very little power; and Catherine's feelings contradicted almost every
position her mother advanced. It was upon the behaviour of these very
slight acquaintance that all her present happiness depended; and
while Mrs. Morland was successfully confirming her own opinions by the
justness of her own representations, Catherine was silently reflecting
that now Henry must have arrived at Northanger; now he must have heard
of her departure; and now, perhaps, they were all setting off for
Hereford.



CHAPTER 30


Catherine's disposition was not naturally sedentary, nor had her habits
been ever very industrious; but whatever might hitherto have been her
defects of that sort, her mother could not but perceive them now to be
greatly increased. She could neither sit still nor employ herself for
ten minutes together, walking round the garden and orchard again and
again, as if nothing but motion was voluntary; and it seemed as if she
could even walk about the house rather than remain fixed for any time
in the parlour. Her loss of spirits was a yet greater alteration. In her
rambling and her idleness she might only be a caricature of herself; but
in her silence and sadness she was the very reverse of all that she had
been before.

For two days Mrs. Morland allowed it to pass even without a hint;
but when a third night's rest had neither restored her cheerfulness,
improved her in useful activity, nor given her a greater inclination for
needlework, she could no longer refrain from the gentle reproof of, "My
dear Catherine, I am afraid you are growing quite a fine lady. I do not
know when poor Richard's cravats would be done, if he had no friend
but you. Your head runs too much upon Bath; but there is a time for
everything--a time for balls and plays, and a time for work. You have
had a long run of amusement, and now you must try to be useful."

Catherine took up her work directly, saying, in a dejected voice, that
"her head did not run upon Bath--much."

"Then you are fretting about General Tilney, and that is very simple
of you; for ten to one whether you ever see him again. You should never
fret about trifles." After a short silence--"I hope, my Catherine, you
are not getting out of humour with home because it is not so grand
as Northanger. That would be turning your visit into an evil indeed.
Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home,
because there you must spend the most of your time. I did not quite
like, at breakfast, to hear you talk so much about the French bread at
Northanger."

"I am sure I do not care about the bread. It is all the same to me what
I eat."

"There is a very clever essay in one of the books upstairs upon much
such a subject, about young girls that have been spoilt for home by
great acquaintance--The Mirror, I think. I will look it out for you some
day or other, because I am sure it will do you good."

Catherine said no more, and, with an endeavour to do right, applied
to her work; but, after a few minutes, sunk again, without knowing it
herself, into languor and listlessness, moving herself in her chair,
from the irritation of weariness, much oftener than she moved her
needle. Mrs. Morland watched the progress of this relapse; and seeing,
in her daughter's absent and dissatisfied look, the full proof of that
repining spirit to which she had now begun to attribute her want of
cheerfulness, hastily left the room to fetch the book in question,
anxious to lose no time in attacking so dreadful a malady. It was some
time before she could find what she looked for; and other family matters
occurring to detain her, a quarter of an hour had elapsed ere she
returned downstairs with the volume from which so much was hoped. Her
avocations above having shut out all noise but what she created herself,
she knew not that a visitor had arrived within the last few minutes,
till, on entering the room, the first object she beheld was a young
man whom she had never seen before. With a look of much respect, he
immediately rose, and being introduced to her by her conscious daughter
as "Mr. Henry Tilney," with the embarrassment of real sensibility began
to apologize for his appearance there, acknowledging that after what had
passed he had little right to expect a welcome at Fullerton, and stating
his impatience to be assured of Miss Morland's having reached her home
in safety, as the cause of his intrusion. He did not address himself to
an uncandid judge or a resentful heart. Far from comprehending him or
his sister in their father's misconduct, Mrs. Morland had been always
kindly disposed towards each, and instantly, pleased by his appearance,
received him with the simple professions of unaffected benevolence;
thanking him for such an attention to her daughter, assuring him that
the friends of her children were always welcome there, and entreating
him to say not another word of the past.

He was not ill-inclined to obey this request, for, though his heart was
greatly relieved by such unlooked-for mildness, it was not just at that
moment in his power to say anything to the purpose. Returning in silence
to his seat, therefore, he remained for some minutes most civilly
answering all Mrs. Morland's common remarks about the weather and
roads. Catherine meanwhile--the anxious, agitated, happy, feverish
Catherine--said not a word; but her glowing cheek and brightened eye
made her mother trust that this good-natured visit would at least set
her heart at ease for a time, and gladly therefore did she lay aside the
first volume of The Mirror for a future hour.

Desirous of Mr. Morland's assistance, as well in giving encouragement,
as in finding conversation for her guest, whose embarrassment on his
father's account she earnestly pitied, Mrs. Morland had very early
dispatched one of the children to summon him; but Mr. Morland was from
home--and being thus without any support, at the end of a quarter of
an hour she had nothing to say. After a couple of minutes' unbroken
silence, Henry, turning to Catherine for the first time since her
mother's entrance, asked her, with sudden alacrity, if Mr. and Mrs.
Allen were now at Fullerton? And on developing, from amidst all her
perplexity of words in reply, the meaning, which one short syllable
would have given, immediately expressed his intention of paying his
respects to them, and, with a rising colour, asked her if she would
have the goodness to show him the way. "You may see the house from this
window, sir," was information on Sarah's side, which produced only a
bow of acknowledgment from the gentleman, and a silencing nod from
her mother; for Mrs. Morland, thinking it probable, as a secondary
consideration in his wish of waiting on their worthy neighbours, that he
might have some explanation to give of his father's behaviour, which it
must be more pleasant for him to communicate only to Catherine, would
not on any account prevent her accompanying him. They began their walk,
and Mrs. Morland was not entirely mistaken in his object in wishing it.
Some explanation on his father's account he had to give; but his first
purpose was to explain himself, and before they reached Mr. Allen's
grounds he had done it so well that Catherine did not think it could
ever be repeated too often. She was assured of his affection; and that
heart in return was solicited, which, perhaps, they pretty equally
knew was already entirely his own; for, though Henry was now sincerely
attached to her, though he felt and delighted in all the excellencies
of her character and truly loved her society, I must confess that his
affection originated in nothing better than gratitude, or, in other
words, that a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only
cause of giving her a serious thought. It is a new circumstance in
romance, I acknowledge, and dreadfully derogatory of an heroine's
dignity; but if it be as new in common life, the credit of a wild
imagination will at least be all my own.

A very short visit to Mrs. Allen, in which Henry talked 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 parental
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 Miss Morland's departure, and ordered
to think of her no more.

Such was the permission upon which he had now offered her his hand.
The affrighted Catherine, amidst all the terrors 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 motives of
his father's conduct, her feelings soon hardened into even a triumphant
delight. 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.

John Thorpe had first misled him. The general, perceiving his son
one night at the theatre to be paying considerable attention to Miss
Morland, had accidentally inquired of Thorpe if he knew more of her
than her name. Thorpe, most happy to be on speaking terms with a man
of General Tilney's importance, had been joyfully and proudly
communicative; and being at that time not only in daily expectation
of Morland's engaging Isabella, but likewise pretty well resolved upon
marrying Catherine himself, his vanity induced him to represent the
family as yet more wealthy than his vanity and avarice had made him
believe them. With whomsoever he was, or was likely to be connected, his
own consequence always required that theirs should be great, and as his
intimacy with any acquaintance grew, so regularly grew their fortune.
The expectations of his friend Morland, therefore, from the first
overrated, had ever since his introduction to Isabella been gradually
increasing; and by merely adding twice as much for the grandeur of the
moment, by doubling what he chose to think the amount of Mr. Morland's
preferment, trebling his private fortune, bestowing a rich aunt, and
sinking half the children, he was able to represent the whole family
to the general in a most respectable light. For Catherine, however, the
peculiar object of the general's curiosity, and his own speculations,
he had yet something more in reserve, and the ten or fifteen thousand
pounds which her father could give her would be a pretty addition to Mr.
Allen's estate. Her intimacy there had made him seriously determine on
her being handsomely legacied hereafter; and to speak of her therefore
as the almost acknowledged future heiress of Fullerton naturally
followed. Upon such intelligence the general had proceeded; for never
had it occurred to him to doubt its authority. Thorpe's interest in the
family, by his sister's approaching connection with one of its members,
and his own views on another (circumstances of which he boasted with
almost equal openness), seemed sufficient vouchers for his truth; and
to these were added the absolute facts of the Allens being wealthy and
childless, of Miss Morland's being under their care, and--as soon as his
acquaintance allowed him to judge--of their treating her with parental
kindness. His resolution was soon formed. Already had he discerned a
liking towards Miss Morland in the countenance of his son; and thankful
for Mr. Thorpe's communication, he almost instantly determined to spare
no pains in weakening his boasted interest and ruining his dearest
hopes. Catherine herself could not be more ignorant at the time of all
this, than his own children. Henry and Eleanor, perceiving nothing in
her situation likely to engage their father's particular respect, had
seen with astonishment the suddenness, continuance, and extent of his
attention; and though latterly, from some hints which had accompanied an
almost positive command to his son of doing everything in his power to
attach her, Henry was convinced of his father's believing it to be
an advantageous connection, it was not till the late explanation at
Northanger that they had the smallest idea of the false calculations
which had hurried him on. That they were false, the general had learnt
from the very person who had suggested them, from Thorpe himself, whom
he had chanced to meet again in town, and who, under the influence of
exactly opposite feelings, irritated by Catherine's refusal, and
yet more by the failure of a very recent endeavour to accomplish a
reconciliation between Morland and Isabella, convinced that they were
separated forever, and spurning a friendship which could be no longer
serviceable, hastened to contradict all that he had said before to
the advantage of the Morlands--confessed himself to have been totally
mistaken in his opinion of their circumstances and character, misled by
the rhodomontade of his friend to believe his father a man of substance
and credit, whereas the transactions of the two or three last weeks
proved him to be neither; for after coming eagerly forward on the first
overture of a marriage between the families, with the most liberal
proposals, he had, on being brought to the point by the shrewdness of
the relator, been constrained to acknowledge himself incapable of
giving the young people even a decent support. They were, in fact, a
necessitous family; numerous, too, almost beyond example; by no means
respected in their own neighbourhood, as he had lately had particular
opportunities of discovering; aiming at a style of life which their
fortune could not warrant; seeking to better themselves by wealthy
connections; a forward, bragging, scheming race.

The terrified general pronounced the name of Allen with an inquiring
look; and here too Thorpe had learnt his error. The Allens, he believed,
had lived near them too long, and he knew the young man on whom the
Fullerton estate must devolve. The general needed no more. Enraged with
almost everybody in the world but himself, he set out the next day for
the abbey, where his performances have been seen.

I leave it to my reader's sagacity to determine how much of all this
it was possible for Henry to communicate at this time to Catherine, how
much of it he could have learnt from his father, in what points his own
conjectures might assist him, and what portion must yet remain to be
told in a letter from James. I have united for their case what they must
divide for mine. Catherine, at any rate, heard enough to feel that in
suspecting General Tilney of either murdering or shutting up his wife,
she had scarcely sinned against his character, or magnified his cruelty.

Henry, in having such things to relate of his father, was almost
as pitiable as in their first avowal to himself. He blushed for the
narrow-minded counsel which he was obliged to expose. The conversation
between them at Northanger had been of the most unfriendly kind. Henry's
indignation on hearing how Catherine had been treated, on comprehending
his father's views, and being ordered to acquiesce in them, had been
open and bold. The general, accustomed on every ordinary occasion to
give the law in his family, prepared for no reluctance but of feeling,
no opposing desire that should dare to clothe itself in words, could ill
brook the opposition of his son, steady as the sanction of reason and
the dictate of conscience could make it. But, in such a cause, his
anger, though it must shock, could not intimidate Henry, who was
sustained in his purpose by a conviction of its justice. He felt himself
bound as much in honour as in affection to Miss Morland, and believing
that heart to be his own which he had been directed to gain, no unworthy
retraction of a tacit consent, no reversing decree of unjustifiable
anger, could shake his fidelity, or influence the resolutions it
prompted.

He steadily refused to accompany his father into Herefordshire, an
engagement formed almost at the moment to promote the dismissal of
Catherine, and as steadily declared his intention of offering her his
hand. The general was furious in his anger, and they parted in dreadful
disagreement. Henry, in an agitation of mind which many solitary hours
were required to compose, had returned almost instantly to Woodston,
and, on the afternoon of the following day, had begun his journey to
Fullerton.



CHAPTER 31


Mr. and Mrs. Morland's surprise on being applied to by Mr. Tilney for
their consent to his marrying their daughter was, for a few minutes,
considerable, it having never entered their heads to suspect an
attachment on either side; but as nothing, after all, could be more
natural than Catherine's being beloved, they soon learnt to consider it
with only the happy agitation of gratified pride, and, as far as they
alone were concerned, had not a single objection to start. His pleasing
manners and good sense were self-evident recommendations; and having
never heard evil of him, it was not their way to suppose any evil could
be told. Goodwill supplying the place of experience, his character
needed no attestation. "Catherine would make a sad, heedless young
housekeeper to be sure," was her mother's foreboding remark; but quick
was the consolation of there being nothing like practice.

There was but one obstacle, in short, to be mentioned; but till that one
was removed, it must be impossible for them to sanction the engagement.
Their tempers were mild, but their principles were steady, and while
his parent so expressly forbade the connection, they could not allow
themselves to encourage it. That the general should come forward to
solicit the alliance, or that he should even very heartily approve it,
they were not refined enough to make any parading stipulation; but
the decent appearance of consent must be yielded, and that once
obtained--and their own hearts made them trust that it could not be
very long denied--their willing approbation was instantly to follow. His
consent was all that they wished for. They were no more inclined than
entitled to demand his money. Of a very considerable fortune, his son
was, by marriage settlements, eventually secure; his present income was
an income of independence and comfort, and under every pecuniary view,
it was a match beyond the claims of their daughter.

The young people could not be surprised at a decision like this. They
felt and they deplored--but they could not resent it; and they parted,
endeavouring to hope that such a change in the general, as each believed
almost impossible, might speedily take place, to unite them again in
the fullness of privileged affection. Henry returned to what was now
his only home, to watch over his young plantations, and extend his
improvements for her sake, to whose share in them he looked anxiously
forward; and Catherine remained at Fullerton to cry. Whether the
torments of absence were softened by a clandestine correspondence, let
us not inquire. Mr. and Mrs. Morland never did--they had been too kind
to exact any promise; and whenever Catherine received a letter, as, at
that time, happened pretty often, they always looked another way.

The anxiety, which in this state of their attachment must be the portion
of Henry and Catherine, and of all who loved either, as to its final
event, can hardly extend, I fear, to the bosom of my readers, who will
see in the tell-tale compression of the pages before them, that we are
all hastening together to perfect felicity. The means by which their
early marriage was effected can be the only doubt: what probable
circumstance could work upon a temper like the general's? The
circumstance which chiefly availed was the marriage of his daughter with
a man of fortune and consequence, which took place in the course of
the summer--an accession of dignity that threw him into a fit of good
humour, from which he did not recover till after Eleanor had obtained
his forgiveness of Henry, and his permission for him "to be a fool if he
liked it!"

The marriage of Eleanor Tilney, her removal from all the evils of such
a home as Northanger had been made by Henry's banishment, to the home of
her choice and the man of her choice, is an event which I expect to
give general satisfaction among all her acquaintance. My own joy on the
occasion is very sincere. I know no one more entitled, by unpretending
merit, or better prepared by habitual suffering, to receive and enjoy
felicity. Her partiality for this gentleman was not of recent origin;
and he had been long withheld only by inferiority of situation from
addressing her. His unexpected accession to title and fortune had
removed all his difficulties; and never had the general loved his
daughter so well in all her hours of companionship, utility, and patient
endurance as when he first hailed her "Your Ladyship!" Her husband was
really deserving of her; independent of his peerage, his wealth, and
his attachment, being to a precision the most charming young man in the
world. Any further definition of his merits must be unnecessary; the
most charming young man in the world is instantly before the imagination
of us all. Concerning the one in question, therefore, I have only to
add--aware that the rules of composition forbid the introduction of a
character not connected with my fable--that this was the very
gentleman whose negligent servant left behind him that collection of
washing-bills, resulting from a long visit at Northanger, by which my
heroine was involved in one of her most alarming adventures.

The influence of the viscount and viscountess in their brother's behalf
was assisted by that right understanding of Mr. Morland's circumstances
which, as soon as the general would allow himself to be informed, they
were qualified to give. It taught him that he had been scarcely
more misled by Thorpe's first boast of the family wealth than by his
subsequent malicious overthrow of it; that in no sense of the word were
they necessitous or poor, and that Catherine would have three thousand
pounds. This was so material an amendment of his late expectations that
it greatly contributed to smooth the descent of his pride; and by no
means without its effect was the private intelligence, which he was at
some pains to procure, that the Fullerton estate, being entirely at
the disposal of its present proprietor, was consequently open to every
greedy speculation.

On the strength of this, the general, soon after Eleanor's marriage,
permitted his son to return to Northanger, and thence made him the
bearer of his consent, very courteously worded in a page full of empty
professions to Mr. Morland. The event which it authorized soon followed:
Henry and Catherine were married, the bells rang, and everybody smiled;
and, as this took place within a twelvemonth from the first day of their
meeting, it will not appear, after all the dreadful delays occasioned by
the general's cruelty, that they were essentially hurt by it. To begin
perfect happiness at the respective ages of twenty-six and eighteen is
to do pretty well; and professing myself moreover convinced that the
general's unjust interference, so far from being really injurious to
their felicity, was perhaps rather conducive to it, by improving their
knowledge of each other, and adding strength to their attachment,
I leave it to be settled, by whomsoever it may concern, whether the
tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or
reward filial disobedience.



*Vide a letter from Mr. Richardson, No. 97, Vol. II, Rambler.



A NOTE ON THE TEXT

Northanger Abbey was written in 1797-98 under a different title. The
manuscript was revised around 1803 and sold to a London publisher,
Crosbie & Co., who sold it back in 1816. The Signet Classic text
is based on the first edition, published by John Murray, London, in
1818--the year following Miss Austen's death. Spelling and punctuation
have been largely brought into conformity with modern British usage.



MANSFIELD PARK

(1814)


By Jane Austen



CHAPTER I

About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven
thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of
Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised
to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences
of an handsome house and large income. All Huntingdon exclaimed on the
greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her
to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it.
She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation; and such of their
acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as
Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal
advantage. But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in
the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. Miss Ward, at the
end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to
the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any
private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. Miss Ward's match,
indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible: Sir Thomas
being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of
Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal
felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. But Miss Frances
married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on
a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did
it very thoroughly. She could hardly have made a more untoward choice.
Sir Thomas Bertram had interest, which, from principle as well as
pride--from a general wish of doing right, and a desire of seeing all
that were connected with him in situations of respectability, he would
have been glad to exert for the advantage of Lady Bertram's sister; but
her husband's profession was such as no interest could reach; and before
he had time to devise any other method of assisting them, an absolute
breach between the sisters had taken place. It was the natural result of
the conduct of each party, and such as a very imprudent marriage almost
always produces. To save herself from useless remonstrance, Mrs. Price
never wrote to her family on the subject till actually married. Lady
Bertram, who was a woman of very tranquil feelings, and a temper
remarkably easy and indolent, would have contented herself with merely
giving up her sister, and thinking no more of the matter; but Mrs.
Norris had a spirit of activity, which could not be satisfied till she
had written a long and angry letter to Fanny, to point out the folly of
her conduct, and threaten her with all its possible ill consequences.
Mrs. Price, in her turn, was injured and angry; and an answer, which
comprehended each sister in its bitterness, and bestowed such very
disrespectful reflections on the pride of Sir Thomas as Mrs. Norris
could not possibly keep to herself, put an end to all intercourse
between them for a considerable period.

Their homes were so distant, and the circles in which they moved so
distinct, as almost to preclude the means of ever hearing of each
other's existence during the eleven following years, or, at least, to
make it very wonderful to Sir Thomas that Mrs. Norris should ever have
it in her power to tell them, as she now and then did, in an angry
voice, that Fanny had got another child. By the end of eleven years,
however, Mrs. Price could no longer afford to cherish pride or
resentment, or to lose one connexion that might possibly assist her.
A large and still increasing family, an husband disabled for active
service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very
small income to supply their wants, made her eager to regain the friends
she had so carelessly sacrificed; and she addressed Lady Bertram in
a letter which spoke so much contrition and despondence, such a
superfluity of children, and such a want of almost everything else, as
could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation. She was preparing
for her ninth lying-in; and after bewailing the circumstance, and
imploring their countenance as sponsors to the expected child, she
could not conceal how important she felt they might be to the future
maintenance of the eight already in being. Her eldest was a boy of ten
years old, a fine spirited fellow, who longed to be out in the world;
but what could she do? Was there any chance of his being hereafter
useful to Sir Thomas in the concerns of his West Indian property?
No situation would be beneath him; or what did Sir Thomas think of
Woolwich? or how could a boy be sent out to the East?

The letter was not unproductive. It re-established peace and kindness.
Sir Thomas sent friendly advice and professions, Lady Bertram dispatched
money and baby-linen, and Mrs. Norris wrote the letters.

Such were its immediate effects, and within a twelvemonth a more
important advantage to Mrs. Price resulted from it. Mrs. Norris was
often observing to the others that she could not get her poor sister and
her family out of her head, and that, much as they had all done for her,
she seemed to be wanting to do more; and at length she could not but
own it to be her wish that poor Mrs. Price should be relieved from the
charge and expense of one child entirely out of her great number. "What
if they were among them to undertake the care of her eldest daughter,
a girl now nine years old, of an age to require more attention than her
poor mother could possibly give? The trouble and expense of it to them
would be nothing, compared with the benevolence of the action." Lady
Bertram agreed with her instantly. "I think we cannot do better," said
she; "let us send for the child."

Sir Thomas could not give so instantaneous and unqualified a consent. He
debated and hesitated;--it was a serious charge;--a girl so brought up
must be adequately provided for, or there would be cruelty instead
of kindness in taking her from her family. He thought of his own four
children, of his two sons, of cousins in love, etc.;--but no sooner
had he deliberately begun to state his objections, than Mrs. Norris
interrupted him with a reply to them all, whether stated or not.

"My dear Sir Thomas, I perfectly comprehend you, and do justice to the
generosity and delicacy of your notions, which indeed are quite of a
piece with your general conduct; and I entirely agree with you in
the main as to the propriety of doing everything one could by way of
providing for a child one had in a manner taken into one's own hands;
and I am sure I should be the last person in the world to withhold my
mite upon such an occasion. Having no children of my own, who should I
look to in any little matter I may ever have to bestow, but the children
of my sisters?--and I am sure Mr. Norris is too just--but you know I am
a woman of few words and professions. Do not let us be frightened from
a good deed by a trifle. Give a girl an education, and introduce
her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of
settling well, without farther expense to anybody. A niece of ours, Sir
Thomas, I may say, or at least of _yours_, would not grow up in this
neighbourhood without many advantages. I don't say she would be so
handsome as her cousins. I dare say she would not; but she would be
introduced into the society of this country under such very favourable
circumstances as, in all human probability, would get her a creditable
establishment. You are thinking of your sons--but do not you know that,
of all things upon earth, _that_ is the least likely to happen, brought
up as they would be, always together like brothers and sisters? It is
morally impossible. I never knew an instance of it. It is, in fact, the
only sure way of providing against the connexion. Suppose her a pretty
girl, and seen by Tom or Edmund for the first time seven years hence,
and I dare say there would be mischief. The very idea of her having been
suffered to grow up at a distance from us all in poverty and neglect,
would be enough to make either of the dear, sweet-tempered boys in love
with her. But breed her up with them from this time, and suppose her
even to have the beauty of an angel, and she will never be more to
either than a sister."

"There is a great deal of truth in what you say," replied Sir Thomas,
"and far be it from me to throw any fanciful impediment in the way of a
plan which would be so consistent with the relative situations of each.
I only meant to observe that it ought not to be lightly engaged in,
and that to make it really serviceable to Mrs. Price, and creditable to
ourselves, we must secure to the child, or consider ourselves engaged to
secure to her hereafter, as circumstances may arise, the provision of
a gentlewoman, if no such establishment should offer as you are so
sanguine in expecting."

"I thoroughly understand you," cried Mrs. Norris, "you are everything
that is generous and considerate, and I am sure we shall never disagree
on this point. Whatever I can do, as you well know, I am always ready
enough to do for the good of those I love; and, though I could never
feel for this little girl the hundredth part of the regard I bear your
own dear children, nor consider her, in any respect, so much my own,
I should hate myself if I were capable of neglecting her. Is not she a
sister's child? and could I bear to see her want while I had a bit of
bread to give her? My dear Sir Thomas, with all my faults I have a warm
heart; and, poor as I am, would rather deny myself the necessaries of
life than do an ungenerous thing. So, if you are not against it, I will
write to my poor sister tomorrow, and make the proposal; and, as soon
as matters are settled, _I_ will engage to get the child to Mansfield;
_you_ shall have no trouble about it. My own trouble, you know, I never
regard. I will send Nanny to London on purpose, and she may have a bed
at her cousin the saddler's, and the child be appointed to meet her
there. They may easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach,
under the care of any creditable person that may chance to be going. I
dare say there is always some reputable tradesman's wife or other going
up."

Except to the attack on Nanny's cousin, Sir Thomas no longer made any
objection, and a more respectable, though less economical rendezvous
being accordingly substituted, everything was considered as settled,
and the pleasures of so benevolent a scheme were already enjoyed. The
division of gratifying sensations ought not, in strict justice, to
have been equal; for Sir Thomas was fully resolved to be the real and
consistent patron of the selected child, and Mrs. Norris had not the
least intention of being at any expense whatever in her maintenance.
As far as walking, talking, and contriving reached, she was thoroughly
benevolent, and nobody knew better how to dictate liberality to others;
but her love of money was equal to her love of directing, and she knew
quite as well how to save her own as to spend that of her friends.
Having married on a narrower income than she had been used to look
forward to, she had, from the first, fancied a very strict line of
economy necessary; and what was begun as a matter of prudence, soon grew
into a matter of choice, as an object of that needful solicitude which
there were no children to supply. Had there been a family to provide
for, Mrs. Norris might never have saved her money; but having no care
of that kind, there was nothing to impede her frugality, or lessen the
comfort of making a yearly addition to an income which they had never
lived up to. Under this infatuating principle, counteracted by no real
affection for her sister, it was impossible for her to aim at more than
the credit of projecting and arranging so expensive a charity; though
perhaps she might so little know herself as to walk home to the
Parsonage, after this conversation, in the happy belief of being the
most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world.

When the subject was brought forward again, her views were more fully
explained; and, in reply to Lady Bertram's calm inquiry of "Where shall
the child come to first, sister, to you or to us?" Sir Thomas heard with
some surprise that it would be totally out of Mrs. Norris's power to
take any share in the personal charge of her. He had been considering
her as a particularly welcome addition at the Parsonage, as a desirable
companion to an aunt who had no children of her own; but he found
himself wholly mistaken. Mrs. Norris was sorry to say that the little
girl's staying with them, at least as things then were, was quite out of
the question. Poor Mr. Norris's indifferent state of health made it an
impossibility: he could no more bear the noise of a child than he could
fly; if, indeed, he should ever get well of his gouty complaints, it
would be a different matter: she should then be glad to take her turn,
and think nothing of the inconvenience; but just now, poor Mr. Norris
took up every moment of her time, and the very mention of such a thing
she was sure would distract him.

"Then she had better come to us," said Lady Bertram, with the utmost
composure. After a short pause Sir Thomas added with dignity, "Yes, let
her home be in this house. We will endeavour to do our duty by her, and
she will, at least, have the advantage of companions of her own age, and
of a regular instructress."

"Very true," cried Mrs. Norris, "which are both very important
considerations; and it will be just the same to Miss Lee whether she has
three girls to teach, or only two--there can be no difference. I only
wish I could be more useful; but you see I do all in my power. I am not
one of those that spare their own trouble; and Nanny shall fetch her,
however it may put me to inconvenience to have my chief counsellor away
for three days. I suppose, sister, you will put the child in the little
white attic, near the old nurseries. It will be much the best place
for her, so near Miss Lee, and not far from the girls, and close by the
housemaids, who could either of them help to dress her, you know, and
take care of her clothes, for I suppose you would not think it fair to
expect Ellis to wait on her as well as the others. Indeed, I do not see
that you could possibly place her anywhere else."

Lady Bertram made no opposition.

"I hope she will prove a well-disposed girl," continued Mrs. Norris,
"and be sensible of her uncommon good fortune in having such friends."

"Should her disposition be really bad," said Sir Thomas, "we must not,
for our own children's sake, continue her in the family; but there is
no reason to expect so great an evil. We shall probably see much to wish
altered in her, and must prepare ourselves for gross ignorance, some
meanness of opinions, and very distressing vulgarity of manner; but
these are not incurable faults; nor, I trust, can they be dangerous for
her associates. Had my daughters been _younger_ than herself, I should
have considered the introduction of such a companion as a matter of very
serious moment; but, as it is, I hope there can be nothing to fear for
_them_, and everything to hope for _her_, from the association."

"That is exactly what I think," cried Mrs. Norris, "and what I was
saying to my husband this morning. It will be an education for the
child, said I, only being with her cousins; if Miss Lee taught her
nothing, she would learn to be good and clever from _them_."

"I hope she will not tease my poor pug," said Lady Bertram; "I have but
just got Julia to leave it alone."

"There will be some difficulty in our way, Mrs. Norris," observed Sir
Thomas, "as to the distinction proper to be made between the girls
as they grow up: how to preserve in the minds of my _daughters_ the
consciousness of what they are, without making them think too lowly of
their cousin; and how, without depressing her spirits too far, to make
her remember that she is not a _Miss Bertram_. I should wish to see them
very good friends, and would, on no account, authorise in my girls the
smallest degree of arrogance towards their relation; but still they
cannot be equals. Their rank, fortune, rights, and expectations will
always be different. It is a point of great delicacy, and you must
assist us in our endeavours to choose exactly the right line of
conduct."

Mrs. Norris was quite at his service; and though she perfectly agreed
with him as to its being a most difficult thing, encouraged him to hope
that between them it would be easily managed.

It will be readily believed that Mrs. Norris did not write to her sister
in vain. Mrs. Price seemed rather surprised that a girl should be
fixed on, when she had so many fine boys, but accepted the offer most
thankfully, assuring them of her daughter's being a very well-disposed,
good-humoured girl, and trusting they would never have cause to throw
her off. She spoke of her farther as somewhat delicate and puny, but was
sanguine in the hope of her being materially better for change of air.
Poor woman! she probably thought change of air might agree with many of
her children.



CHAPTER II

The little girl performed her long journey in safety; and at Northampton
was met by Mrs. Norris, who thus regaled in the credit of being foremost
to welcome her, and in the importance of leading her in to the others,
and recommending her to their kindness.

Fanny Price was at this time just ten years old, and though there might
not be much in her first appearance to captivate, there was, at least,
nothing to disgust her relations. She was small of her age, with no glow
of complexion, nor any other striking beauty; exceedingly timid and shy,
and shrinking from notice; but her air, though awkward, was not vulgar,
her voice was sweet, and when she spoke her countenance was pretty. Sir
Thomas and Lady Bertram received her very kindly; and Sir Thomas,
seeing how much she needed encouragement, tried to be all that was
conciliating: but he had to work against a most untoward gravity of
deportment; and Lady Bertram, without taking half so much trouble, or
speaking one word where he spoke ten, by the mere aid of a good-humoured
smile, became immediately the less awful character of the two.

The young people were all at home, and sustained their share in the
introduction very well, with much good humour, and no embarrassment, at
least on the part of the sons, who, at seventeen and sixteen, and tall
of their age, had all the grandeur of men in the eyes of their little
cousin. The two girls were more at a loss from being younger and in
greater awe of their father, who addressed them on the occasion with
rather an injudicious particularity. But they were too much used to
company and praise to have anything like natural shyness; and their
confidence increasing from their cousin's total want of it, they were
soon able to take a full survey of her face and her frock in easy
indifference.

They were a remarkably fine family, the sons very well-looking, the
daughters decidedly handsome, and all of them well-grown and forward of
their age, which produced as striking a difference between the cousins
in person, as education had given to their address; and no one would
have supposed the girls so nearly of an age as they really were. There
were in fact but two years between the youngest and Fanny. Julia
Bertram was only twelve, and Maria but a year older. The little visitor
meanwhile was as unhappy as possible. Afraid of everybody, ashamed of
herself, and longing for the home she had left, she knew not how to look
up, and could scarcely speak to be heard, or without crying. Mrs. Norris
had been talking to her the whole way from Northampton of her wonderful
good fortune, and the extraordinary degree of gratitude and good
behaviour which it ought to produce, and her consciousness of misery was
therefore increased by the idea of its being a wicked thing for her
not to be happy. The fatigue, too, of so long a journey, became soon no
trifling evil. In vain were the well-meant condescensions of Sir Thomas,
and all the officious prognostications of Mrs. Norris that she would be
a good girl; in vain did Lady Bertram smile and make her sit on the sofa
with herself and pug, and vain was even the sight of a gooseberry tart
towards giving her comfort; she could scarcely swallow two mouthfuls
before tears interrupted her, and sleep seeming to be her likeliest
friend, she was taken to finish her sorrows in bed.

"This is not a very promising beginning," said Mrs. Norris, when Fanny
had left the room. "After all that I said to her as we came along, I
thought she would have behaved better; I told her how much might depend
upon her acquitting herself well at first. I wish there may not be a
little sulkiness of temper--her poor mother had a good deal; but we must
make allowances for such a child--and I do not know that her being sorry
to leave her home is really against her, for, with all its faults,
it _was_ her home, and she cannot as yet understand how much she has
changed for the better; but then there is moderation in all things."

It required a longer time, however, than Mrs. Norris was inclined to
allow, to reconcile Fanny to the novelty of Mansfield Park, and the
separation from everybody she had been used to. Her feelings were very
acute, and too little understood to be properly attended to. Nobody
meant to be unkind, but nobody put themselves out of their way to secure
her comfort.

The holiday allowed to the Miss Bertrams the next day, on purpose to
afford leisure for getting acquainted with, and entertaining their young
cousin, produced little union. They could not but hold her cheap on
finding that she had but two sashes, and had never learned French; and
when they perceived her to be little struck with the duet they were so
good as to play, they could do no more than make her a generous present
of some of their least valued toys, and leave her to herself, while
they adjourned to whatever might be the favourite holiday sport of the
moment, making artificial flowers or wasting gold paper.

Fanny, whether near or from her cousins, whether in the schoolroom, the
drawing-room, or the shrubbery, was equally forlorn, finding something
to fear in every person and place. She was disheartened by Lady
Bertram's silence, awed by Sir Thomas's grave looks, and quite overcome
by Mrs. Norris's admonitions. Her elder cousins mortified her by
reflections on her size, and abashed her by noticing her shyness: Miss
Lee wondered at her ignorance, and the maid-servants sneered at her
clothes; and when to these sorrows was added the idea of the brothers
and sisters among whom she had always been important as playfellow,
instructress, and nurse, the despondence that sunk her little heart was
severe.

The grandeur of the house astonished, but could not console her. The
rooms were too large for her to move in with ease: whatever she touched
she expected to injure, and she crept about in constant terror of
something or other; often retreating towards her own chamber to cry; and
the little girl who was spoken of in the drawing-room when she left it
at night as seeming so desirably sensible of her peculiar good fortune,
ended every day's sorrows by sobbing herself to sleep. A week had
passed in this way, and no suspicion of it conveyed by her quiet
passive manner, when she was found one morning by her cousin Edmund, the
youngest of the sons, sitting crying on the attic stairs.

"My dear little cousin," said he, with all the gentleness of an
excellent nature, "what can be the matter?" And sitting down by her,
he was at great pains to overcome her shame in being so surprised, and
persuade her to speak openly. Was she ill? or was anybody angry with
her? or had she quarrelled with Maria and Julia? or was she puzzled
about anything in her lesson that he could explain? Did she, in short,
want anything he could possibly get her, or do for her? For a long while
no answer could be obtained beyond a "no, no--not at all--no, thank
you"; but he still persevered; and no sooner had he begun to revert
to her own home, than her increased sobs explained to him where the
grievance lay. He tried to console her.

"You are sorry to leave Mama, my dear little Fanny," said he, "which
shows you to be a very good girl; but you must remember that you are
with relations and friends, who all love you, and wish to make you
happy. Let us walk out in the park, and you shall tell me all about your
brothers and sisters."

On pursuing the subject, he found that, dear as all these brothers and
sisters generally were, there was one among them who ran more in her
thoughts than the rest. It was William whom she talked of most, and
wanted most to see. William, the eldest, a year older than herself, her
constant companion and friend; her advocate with her mother (of whom
he was the darling) in every distress. "William did not like she should
come away; he had told her he should miss her very much indeed." "But
William will write to you, I dare say." "Yes, he had promised he would,
but he had told _her_ to write first." "And when shall you do it?" She
hung her head and answered hesitatingly, "she did not know; she had not
any paper."

"If that be all your difficulty, I will furnish you with paper and every
other material, and you may write your letter whenever you choose. Would
it make you happy to write to William?"

"Yes, very."

"Then let it be done now. Come with me into the breakfast-room, we shall
find everything there, and be sure of having the room to ourselves."

"But, cousin, will it go to the post?"

"Yes, depend upon me it shall: it shall go with the other letters; and,
as your uncle will frank it, it will cost William nothing."

"My uncle!" repeated Fanny, with a frightened look.

"Yes, when you have written the letter, I will take it to my father to
frank."

Fanny thought it a bold measure, but offered no further resistance; and
they went together into the breakfast-room, where Edmund prepared her
paper, and ruled her lines with all the goodwill that her brother
could himself have felt, and probably with somewhat more exactness. He
continued with her the whole time of her writing, to assist her with his
penknife or his orthography, as either were wanted; and added to these
attentions, which she felt very much, a kindness to her brother which
delighted her beyond all the rest. He wrote with his own hand his
love to his cousin William, and sent him half a guinea under the seal.
Fanny's feelings on the occasion were such as she believed herself
incapable of expressing; but her countenance and a few artless words
fully conveyed all their gratitude and delight, and her cousin began
to find her an interesting object. He talked to her more, and, from all
that she said, was convinced of her having an affectionate heart, and
a strong desire of doing right; and he could perceive her to be farther
entitled to attention by great sensibility of her situation, and great
timidity. He had never knowingly given her pain, but he now felt that
she required more positive kindness; and with that view endeavoured,
in the first place, to lessen her fears of them all, and gave her
especially a great deal of good advice as to playing with Maria and
Julia, and being as merry as possible.

From this day Fanny grew more comfortable. She felt that she had a
friend, and the kindness of her cousin Edmund gave her better spirits
with everybody else. The place became less strange, and the people less
formidable; and if there were some amongst them whom she could not cease
to fear, she began at least to know their ways, and to catch the best
manner of conforming to them. The little rusticities and awkwardnesses
which had at first made grievous inroads on the tranquillity of all,
and not least of herself, necessarily wore away, and she was no longer
materially afraid to appear before her uncle, nor did her aunt Norris's
voice make her start very much. To her cousins she became occasionally
an acceptable companion. Though unworthy, from inferiority of age and
strength, to be their constant associate, their pleasures and schemes
were sometimes of a nature to make a third very useful, especially when
that third was of an obliging, yielding temper; and they could not but
own, when their aunt inquired into her faults, or their brother Edmund
urged her claims to their kindness, that "Fanny was good-natured
enough."

Edmund was uniformly kind himself; and she had nothing worse to endure
on the part of Tom than that sort of merriment which a young man of
seventeen will always think fair with a child of ten. He was just
entering into life, full of spirits, and with all the liberal
dispositions of an eldest son, who feels born only for expense and
enjoyment. His kindness to his little cousin was consistent with his
situation and rights: he made her some very pretty presents, and laughed
at her.

As her appearance and spirits improved, Sir Thomas and Mrs. Norris
thought with greater satisfaction of their benevolent plan; and it
was pretty soon decided between them that, though far from clever, she
showed a tractable disposition, and seemed likely to give them little
trouble. A mean opinion of her abilities was not confined to _them_.
Fanny could read, work, and write, but she had been taught nothing more;
and as her cousins found her ignorant of many things with which they had
been long familiar, they thought her prodigiously stupid, and for the
first two or three weeks were continually bringing some fresh report of
it into the drawing-room. "Dear mama, only think, my cousin cannot
put the map of Europe together--or my cousin cannot tell the principal
rivers in Russia--or, she never heard of Asia Minor--or she does
not know the difference between water-colours and crayons!--How
strange!--Did you ever hear anything so stupid?"

"My dear," their considerate aunt would reply, "it is very bad, but
you must not expect everybody to be as forward and quick at learning as
yourself."

"But, aunt, she is really so very ignorant!--Do you know, we asked her
last night which way she would go to get to Ireland; and she said, she
should cross to the Isle of Wight. She thinks of nothing but the Isle of
Wight, and she calls it _the_ _Island_, as if there were no other island
in the world. I am sure I should have been ashamed of myself, if I had
not known better long before I was so old as she is. I cannot remember
the time when I did not know a great deal that she has not the least
notion of yet. How long ago it is, aunt, since we used to repeat the
chronological order of the kings of England, with the dates of their
accession, and most of the principal events of their reigns!"

"Yes," added the other; "and of the Roman emperors as low as Severus;
besides a great deal of the heathen mythology, and all the metals,
semi-metals, planets, and distinguished philosophers."

"Very true indeed, my dears, but you are blessed with wonderful
memories, and your poor cousin has probably none at all. There is a
vast deal of difference in memories, as well as in everything else,
and therefore you must make allowance for your cousin, and pity her
deficiency. And remember that, if you are ever so forward and clever
yourselves, you should always be modest; for, much as you know already,
there is a great deal more for you to learn."

"Yes, I know there is, till I am seventeen. But I must tell you another
thing of Fanny, so odd and so stupid. Do you know, she says she does not
want to learn either music or drawing."

"To be sure, my dear, that is very stupid indeed, and shows a great
want of genius and emulation. But, all things considered, I do not know
whether it is not as well that it should be so, for, though you know
(owing to me) your papa and mama are so good as to bring her up with
you, it is not at all necessary that she should be as accomplished as
you are;--on the contrary, it is much more desirable that there should
be a difference."

Such were the counsels by which Mrs. Norris assisted to form her nieces'
minds; and it is not very wonderful that, with all their promising
talents and early information, they should be entirely deficient in the
less common acquirements of self-knowledge, generosity and humility. In
everything but disposition they were admirably taught. Sir Thomas did
not know what was wanting, because, though a truly anxious father, he
was not outwardly affectionate, and the reserve of his manner repressed
all the flow of their spirits before him.

To the education of her daughters Lady Bertram paid not the smallest
attention. She had not time for such cares. She was a woman who spent
her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of
needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than
her children, but very indulgent to the latter when it did not put
herself to inconvenience, guided in everything important by Sir Thomas,
and in smaller concerns by her sister. Had she possessed greater leisure
for the service of her girls, she would probably have supposed it
unnecessary, for they were under the care of a governess, with proper
masters, and could want nothing more. As for Fanny's being stupid at
learning, "she could only say it was very unlucky, but some people
_were_ stupid, and Fanny must take more pains: she did not know what
else was to be done; and, except her being so dull, she must add she saw
no harm in the poor little thing, and always found her very handy and
quick in carrying messages, and fetching what she wanted."

Fanny, with all her faults of ignorance and timidity, was fixed at
Mansfield Park, and learning to transfer in its favour much of her
attachment to her former home, grew up there not unhappily among her
cousins. There was no positive ill-nature in Maria or Julia; and though
Fanny was often mortified by their treatment of her, she thought too
lowly of her own claims to feel injured by it.

From about the time of her entering the family, Lady Bertram, in
consequence of a little ill-health, and a great deal of indolence, gave
up the house in town, which she had been used to occupy every spring,
and remained wholly in the country, leaving Sir Thomas to attend his
duty in Parliament, with whatever increase or diminution of comfort
might arise from her absence. In the country, therefore, the Miss
Bertrams continued to exercise their memories, practise their duets,
and grow tall and womanly: and their father saw them becoming in person,
manner, and accomplishments, everything that could satisfy his anxiety.
His eldest son was careless and extravagant, and had already given him
much uneasiness; but his other children promised him nothing but good.
His daughters, he felt, while they retained the name of Bertram, must
be giving it new grace, and in quitting it, he trusted, would extend
its respectable alliances; and the character of Edmund, his strong good
sense and uprightness of mind, bid most fairly for utility, honour, and
happiness to himself and all his connexions. He was to be a clergyman.

Amid the cares and the complacency which his own children suggested,
Sir Thomas did not forget to do what he could for the children of Mrs.
Price: he assisted her liberally in the education and disposal of her
sons as they became old enough for a determinate pursuit; and Fanny,
though almost totally separated from her family, was sensible of the
truest satisfaction in hearing of any kindness towards them, or of
anything at all promising in their situation or conduct. Once, and once
only, in the course of many years, had she the happiness of being with
William. Of the rest she saw nothing: nobody seemed to think of her ever
going amongst them again, even for a visit, nobody at home seemed to
want her; but William determining, soon after her removal, to be a
sailor, was invited to spend a week with his sister in Northamptonshire
before he went to sea. Their eager affection in meeting, their exquisite
delight in being together, their hours of happy mirth, and moments of
serious conference, may be imagined; as well as the sanguine views and
spirits of the boy even to the last, and the misery of the girl when he
left her. Luckily the visit happened in the Christmas holidays, when she
could directly look for comfort to her cousin Edmund; and he told her
such charming things of what William was to do, and be hereafter, in
consequence of his profession, as made her gradually admit that the
separation might have some use. Edmund's friendship never failed her:
his leaving Eton for Oxford made no change in his kind dispositions, and
only afforded more frequent opportunities of proving them. Without any
display of doing more than the rest, or any fear of doing too much,
he was always true to her interests, and considerate of her feelings,
trying to make her good qualities understood, and to conquer the
diffidence which prevented their being more apparent; giving her advice,
consolation, and encouragement.

Kept back as she was by everybody else, his single support could not
bring her forward; but his attentions were otherwise of the highest
importance in assisting the improvement of her mind, and extending its
pleasures. He knew her to be clever, to have a quick apprehension
as well as good sense, and a fondness for reading, which, properly
directed, must be an education in itself. Miss Lee taught her French,
and heard her read the daily portion of history; but he recommended
the books which charmed her leisure hours, he encouraged her taste, and
corrected her judgment: he made reading useful by talking to her of what
she read, and heightened its attraction by judicious praise. In return
for such services she loved him better than anybody in the world except
William: her heart was divided between the two.



CHAPTER III

The first event of any importance in the family was the death of Mr.
Norris, which happened when Fanny was about fifteen, and necessarily
introduced alterations and novelties. Mrs. Norris, on quitting the
Parsonage, removed first to the Park, and afterwards to a small house
of Sir Thomas's in the village, and consoled herself for the loss of her
husband by considering that she could do very well without him; and for
her reduction of income by the evident necessity of stricter economy.

The living was hereafter for Edmund; and, had his uncle died a few years
sooner, it would have been duly given to some friend to hold till he
were old enough for orders. But Tom's extravagance had, previous to
that event, been so great as to render a different disposal of the next
presentation necessary, and the younger brother must help to pay for the
pleasures of the elder. There was another family living actually held
for Edmund; but though this circumstance had made the arrangement
somewhat easier to Sir Thomas's conscience, he could not but feel it to
be an act of injustice, and he earnestly tried to impress his eldest son
with the same conviction, in the hope of its producing a better effect
than anything he had yet been able to say or do.

"I blush for you, Tom," said he, in his most dignified manner; "I blush
for the expedient which I am driven on, and I trust I may pity your
feelings as a brother on the occasion. You have robbed Edmund for ten,
twenty, thirty years, perhaps for life, of more than half the income
which ought to be his. It may hereafter be in my power, or in yours
(I hope it will), to procure him better preferment; but it must not
be forgotten that no benefit of that sort would have been beyond his
natural claims on us, and that nothing can, in fact, be an equivalent
for the certain advantage which he is now obliged to forego through the
urgency of your debts."

Tom listened with some shame and some sorrow; but escaping as quickly as
possible, could soon with cheerful selfishness reflect, firstly, that he
had not been half so much in debt as some of his friends; secondly, that
his father had made a most tiresome piece of work of it; and,
thirdly, that the future incumbent, whoever he might be, would, in all
probability, die very soon.

On Mr. Norris's death the presentation became the right of a Dr. Grant,
who came consequently to reside at Mansfield; and on proving to be a
hearty man of forty-five, seemed likely to disappoint Mr. Bertram's
calculations. But "no, he was a short-necked, apoplectic sort of fellow,
and, plied well with good things, would soon pop off."

He had a wife about fifteen years his junior, but no children; and
they entered the neighbourhood with the usual fair report of being very
respectable, agreeable people.

The time was now come when Sir Thomas expected his sister-in-law to
claim her share in their niece, the change in Mrs. Norris's situation,
and the improvement in Fanny's age, seeming not merely to do away any
former objection to their living together, but even to give it the most
decided eligibility; and as his own circumstances were rendered less
fair than heretofore, by some recent losses on his West India estate, in
addition to his eldest son's extravagance, it became not undesirable
to himself to be relieved from the expense of her support, and the
obligation of her future provision. In the fullness of his belief that
such a thing must be, he mentioned its probability to his wife; and the
first time of the subject's occurring to her again happening to be when
Fanny was present, she calmly observed to her, "So, Fanny, you are going
to leave us, and live with my sister. How shall you like it?"

Fanny was too much surprised to do more than repeat her aunt's words,
"Going to leave you?"

"Yes, my dear; why should you be astonished? You have been five years
with us, and my sister always meant to take you when Mr. Norris died.
But you must come up and tack on my patterns all the same."

The news was as disagreeable to Fanny as it had been unexpected. She had
never received kindness from her aunt Norris, and could not love her.

"I shall be very sorry to go away," said she, with a faltering voice.

"Yes, I dare say you will; _that's_ natural enough. I suppose you have
had as little to vex you since you came into this house as any creature
in the world."

"I hope I am not ungrateful, aunt," said Fanny modestly.

"No, my dear; I hope not. I have always found you a very good girl."

"And am I never to live here again?"

"Never, my dear; but you are sure of a comfortable home. It can make
very little difference to you, whether you are in one house or the
other."

Fanny left the room with a very sorrowful heart; she could not feel the
difference to be so small, she could not think of living with her aunt
with anything like satisfaction. As soon as she met with Edmund she told
him her distress.

"Cousin," said she, "something is going to happen which I do not like
at all; and though you have often persuaded me into being reconciled to
things that I disliked at first, you will not be able to do it now. I am
going to live entirely with my aunt Norris."

"Indeed!"

"Yes; my aunt Bertram has just told me so. It is quite settled. I am to
leave Mansfield Park, and go to the White House, I suppose, as soon as
she is removed there."

"Well, Fanny, and if the plan were not unpleasant to you, I should call
it an excellent one."

"Oh, cousin!"

"It has everything else in its favour. My aunt is acting like a sensible
woman in wishing for you. She is choosing a friend and companion exactly
where she ought, and I am glad her love of money does not interfere.
You will be what you ought to be to her. I hope it does not distress you
very much, Fanny?"

"Indeed it does: I cannot like it. I love this house and everything in
it: I shall love nothing there. You know how uncomfortable I feel with
her."

"I can say nothing for her manner to you as a child; but it was the
same with us all, or nearly so. She never knew how to be pleasant to
children. But you are now of an age to be treated better; I think she is
behaving better already; and when you are her only companion, you _must_
be important to her."

"I can never be important to any one."

"What is to prevent you?"

"Everything. My situation, my foolishness and awkwardness."

"As to your foolishness and awkwardness, my dear Fanny, believe me, you
never have a shadow of either, but in using the words so improperly.
There is no reason in the world why you should not be important where
you are known. You have good sense, and a sweet temper, and I am sure
you have a grateful heart, that could never receive kindness without
wishing to return it. I do not know any better qualifications for a
friend and companion."

"You are too kind," said Fanny, colouring at such praise; "how shall I
ever thank you as I ought, for thinking so well of me. Oh! cousin, if I
am to go away, I shall remember your goodness to the last moment of my
life."

"Why, indeed, Fanny, I should hope to be remembered at such a distance
as the White House. You speak as if you were going two hundred miles
off instead of only across the park; but you will belong to us almost
as much as ever. The two families will be meeting every day in the
year. The only difference will be that, living with your aunt, you will
necessarily be brought forward as you ought to be. _Here_ there are
too many whom you can hide behind; but with _her_ you will be forced to
speak for yourself."

"Oh! I do not say so."

"I must say it, and say it with pleasure. Mrs. Norris is much better
fitted than my mother for having the charge of you now. She is of a
temper to do a great deal for anybody she really interests herself
about, and she will force you to do justice to your natural powers."

Fanny sighed, and said, "I cannot see things as you do; but I ought to
believe you to be right rather than myself, and I am very much obliged
to you for trying to reconcile me to what must be. If I could suppose
my aunt really to care for me, it would be delightful to feel myself of
consequence to anybody. _Here_, I know, I am of none, and yet I love the
place so well."

"The place, Fanny, is what you will not quit, though you quit the house.
You will have as free a command of the park and gardens as ever. Even
_your_ constant little heart need not take fright at such a nominal
change. You will have the same walks to frequent, the same library to
choose from, the same people to look at, the same horse to ride."

"Very true. Yes, dear old grey pony! Ah! cousin, when I remember how
much I used to dread riding, what terrors it gave me to hear it talked
of as likely to do me good (oh! how I have trembled at my uncle's
opening his lips if horses were talked of), and then think of the kind
pains you took to reason and persuade me out of my fears, and convince
me that I should like it after a little while, and feel how right you
proved to be, I am inclined to hope you may always prophesy as well."

"And I am quite convinced that your being with Mrs. Norris will be as
good for your mind as riding has been for your health, and as much for
your ultimate happiness too."

So ended their discourse, which, for any very appropriate service it
could render Fanny, might as well have been spared, for Mrs. Norris had
not the smallest intention of taking her. It had never occurred to her,
on the present occasion, but as a thing to be carefully avoided. To
prevent its being expected, she had fixed on the smallest habitation
which could rank as genteel among the buildings of Mansfield parish,
the White House being only just large enough to receive herself and her
servants, and allow a spare room for a friend, of which she made a
very particular point. The spare rooms at the Parsonage had never been
wanted, but the absolute necessity of a spare room for a friend was now
never forgotten. Not all her precautions, however, could save her from
being suspected of something better; or, perhaps, her very display of
the importance of a spare room might have misled Sir Thomas to suppose
it really intended for Fanny. Lady Bertram soon brought the matter to a
certainty by carelessly observing to Mrs. Norris--

"I think, sister, we need not keep Miss Lee any longer, when Fanny goes
to live with you."

Mrs. Norris almost started. "Live with me, dear Lady Bertram! what do
you mean?"

"Is she not to live with you? I thought you had settled it with Sir
Thomas."

"Me! never. I never spoke a syllable about it to Sir Thomas, nor he to
me. Fanny live with me! the last thing in the world for me to think
of, or for anybody to wish that really knows us both. Good heaven! what
could I do with Fanny? Me! a poor, helpless, forlorn widow, unfit for
anything, my spirits quite broke down; what could I do with a girl at
her time of life? A girl of fifteen! the very age of all others to need
most attention and care, and put the cheerfullest spirits to the test!
Sure Sir Thomas could not seriously expect such a thing! Sir Thomas is
too much my friend. Nobody that wishes me well, I am sure, would propose
it. How came Sir Thomas to speak to you about it?"

"Indeed, I do not know. I suppose he thought it best."

"But what did he say? He could not say he _wished_ me to take Fanny. I
am sure in his heart he could not wish me to do it."

"No; he only said he thought it very likely; and I thought so too. We
both thought it would be a comfort to you. But if you do not like it,
there is no more to be said. She is no encumbrance here."

"Dear sister, if you consider my unhappy state, how can she be any
comfort to me? Here am I, a poor desolate widow, deprived of the best of
husbands, my health gone in attending and nursing him, my spirits still
worse, all my peace in this world destroyed, with hardly enough to
support me in the rank of a gentlewoman, and enable me to live so as not
to disgrace the memory of the dear departed--what possible comfort could
I have in taking such a charge upon me as Fanny? If I could wish it for
my own sake, I would not do so unjust a thing by the poor girl. She
is in good hands, and sure of doing well. I must struggle through my
sorrows and difficulties as I can."

"Then you will not mind living by yourself quite alone?"

"Lady Bertram, I do not complain. I know I cannot live as I have done,
but I must retrench where I can, and learn to be a better manager. I
_have_ _been_ a liberal housekeeper enough, but I shall not be ashamed
to practise economy now. My situation is as much altered as my income.
A great many things were due from poor Mr. Norris, as clergyman of the
parish, that cannot be expected from me. It is unknown how much was
consumed in our kitchen by odd comers and goers. At the White House,
matters must be better looked after. I _must_ live within my income, or
I shall be miserable; and I own it would give me great satisfaction to
be able to do rather more, to lay by a little at the end of the year."

"I dare say you will. You always do, don't you?"

"My object, Lady Bertram, is to be of use to those that come after me.
It is for your children's good that I wish to be richer. I have nobody
else to care for, but I should be very glad to think I could leave a
little trifle among them worth their having."

"You are very good, but do not trouble yourself about them. They are
sure of being well provided for. Sir Thomas will take care of that."

"Why, you know, Sir Thomas's means will be rather straitened if the
Antigua estate is to make such poor returns."

"Oh! _that_ will soon be settled. Sir Thomas has been writing about it,
I know."

"Well, Lady Bertram," said Mrs. Norris, moving to go, "I can only say
that my sole desire is to be of use to your family: and so, if Sir
Thomas should ever speak again about my taking Fanny, you will be able
to say that my health and spirits put it quite out of the question;
besides that, I really should not have a bed to give her, for I must
keep a spare room for a friend."

Lady Bertram repeated enough of this conversation to her husband to
convince him how much he had mistaken his sister-in-law's views; and
she was from that moment perfectly safe from all expectation, or the
slightest allusion to it from him. He could not but wonder at her
refusing to do anything for a niece whom she had been so forward to
adopt; but, as she took early care to make him, as well as Lady Bertram,
understand that whatever she possessed was designed for their family,
he soon grew reconciled to a distinction which, at the same time that it
was advantageous and complimentary to them, would enable him better to
provide for Fanny himself.

Fanny soon learnt how unnecessary had been her fears of a removal;
and her spontaneous, untaught felicity on the discovery, conveyed some
consolation to Edmund for his disappointment in what he had expected to
be so essentially serviceable to her. Mrs. Norris took possession of the
White House, the Grants arrived at the Parsonage, and these events over,
everything at Mansfield went on for some time as usual.

The Grants showing a disposition to be friendly and sociable, gave great
satisfaction in the main among their new acquaintance. They had their
faults, and Mrs. Norris soon found them out. The Doctor was very fond of
eating, and would have a good dinner every day; and Mrs. Grant, instead
of contriving to gratify him at little expense, gave her cook as high
wages as they did at Mansfield Park, and was scarcely ever seen in her
offices. Mrs. Norris could not speak with any temper of such grievances,
nor of the quantity of butter and eggs that were regularly consumed
in the house. "Nobody loved plenty and hospitality more than herself;
nobody more hated pitiful doings; the Parsonage, she believed, had never
been wanting in comforts of any sort, had never borne a bad character
in _her_ _time_, but this was a way of going on that she could not
understand. A fine lady in a country parsonage was quite out of place.
_Her_ store-room, she thought, might have been good enough for Mrs.
Grant to go into. Inquire where she would, she could not find out that
Mrs. Grant had ever had more than five thousand pounds."

Lady Bertram listened without much interest to this sort of invective.
She could not enter into the wrongs of an economist, but she felt all
the injuries of beauty in Mrs. Grant's being so well settled in life
without being handsome, and expressed her astonishment on that point
almost as often, though not so diffusely, as Mrs. Norris discussed the
other.

These opinions had been hardly canvassed a year before another event
arose of such importance in the family, as might fairly claim some place
in the thoughts and conversation of the ladies. Sir Thomas found it
expedient to go to Antigua himself, for the better arrangement of his
affairs, and he took his eldest son with him, in the hope of detaching
him from some bad connexions at home. They left England with the
probability of being nearly a twelvemonth absent.

The necessity of the measure in a pecuniary light, and the hope of its
utility to his son, reconciled Sir Thomas to the effort of quitting the
rest of his family, and of leaving his daughters to the direction of
others at their present most interesting time of life. He could not
think Lady Bertram quite equal to supply his place with them, or rather,
to perform what should have been her own; but, in Mrs. Norris's watchful
attention, and in Edmund's judgment, he had sufficient confidence to
make him go without fears for their conduct.

Lady Bertram did not at all like to have her husband leave her; but she
was not disturbed by any alarm for his safety, or solicitude for his
comfort, being one of those persons who think nothing can be dangerous,
or difficult, or fatiguing to anybody but themselves.

The Miss Bertrams were much to be pitied on the occasion: not for their
sorrow, but for their want of it. Their father was no object of love to
them; he had never seemed the friend of their pleasures, and his absence
was unhappily most welcome. They were relieved by it from all restraint;
and without aiming at one gratification that would probably have been
forbidden by Sir Thomas, they felt themselves immediately at their
own disposal, and to have every indulgence within their reach. Fanny's
relief, and her consciousness of it, were quite equal to her cousins';
but a more tender nature suggested that her feelings were ungrateful,
and she really grieved because she could not grieve. "Sir Thomas, who
had done so much for her and her brothers, and who was gone perhaps
never to return! that she should see him go without a tear! it was a
shameful insensibility." He had said to her, moreover, on the very last
morning, that he hoped she might see William again in the course of the
ensuing winter, and had charged her to write and invite him to Mansfield
as soon as the squadron to which he belonged should be known to be
in England. "This was so thoughtful and kind!" and would he only have
smiled upon her, and called her "my dear Fanny," while he said it, every
former frown or cold address might have been forgotten. But he had ended
his speech in a way to sink her in sad mortification, by adding, "If
William does come to Mansfield, I hope you may be able to convince him
that the many years which have passed since you parted have not been
spent on your side entirely without improvement; though, I fear, he must
find his sister at sixteen in some respects too much like his sister at
ten." She cried bitterly over this reflection when her uncle was
gone; and her cousins, on seeing her with red eyes, set her down as a
hypocrite.



CHAPTER IV

Tom Bertram had of late spent so little of his time at home that he
could be only nominally missed; and Lady Bertram was soon astonished
to find how very well they did even without his father, how well Edmund
could supply his place in carving, talking to the steward, writing to
the attorney, settling with the servants, and equally saving her
from all possible fatigue or exertion in every particular but that of
directing her letters.

The earliest intelligence of the travellers' safe arrival at Antigua,
after a favourable voyage, was received; though not before Mrs. Norris
had been indulging in very dreadful fears, and trying to make Edmund
participate them whenever she could get him alone; and as she depended
on being the first person made acquainted with any fatal catastrophe,
she had already arranged the manner of breaking it to all the others,
when Sir Thomas's assurances of their both being alive and well made it
necessary to lay by her agitation and affectionate preparatory speeches
for a while.

The winter came and passed without their being called for; the accounts
continued perfectly good; and Mrs. Norris, in promoting gaieties for her
nieces, assisting their toilets, displaying their accomplishments,
and looking about for their future husbands, had so much to do as, in
addition to all her own household cares, some interference in those of
her sister, and Mrs. Grant's wasteful doings to overlook, left her very
little occasion to be occupied in fears for the absent.

The Miss Bertrams were now fully established among the belles of the
neighbourhood; and as they joined to beauty and brilliant acquirements
a manner naturally easy, and carefully formed to general civility and
obligingness, they possessed its favour as well as its admiration. Their
vanity was in such good order that they seemed to be quite free from it,
and gave themselves no airs; while the praises attending such behaviour,
secured and brought round by their aunt, served to strengthen them in
believing they had no faults.

Lady Bertram did not go into public with her daughters. She was too
indolent even to accept a mother's gratification in witnessing their
success and enjoyment at the expense of any personal trouble, and the
charge was made over to her sister, who desired nothing better than a
post of such honourable representation, and very thoroughly relished
the means it afforded her of mixing in society without having horses to
hire.

Fanny had no share in the festivities of the season; but she enjoyed
being avowedly useful as her aunt's companion when they called away the
rest of the family; and, as Miss Lee had left Mansfield, she naturally
became everything to Lady Bertram during the night of a ball or a party.
She talked to her, listened to her, read to her; and the tranquillity
of such evenings, her perfect security in such a _tete-a-tete_ from any
sound of unkindness, was unspeakably welcome to a mind which had seldom
known a pause in its alarms or embarrassments. As to her cousins'
gaieties, she loved to hear an account of them, especially of the
balls, and whom Edmund had danced with; but thought too lowly of her
own situation to imagine she should ever be admitted to the same, and
listened, therefore, without an idea of any nearer concern in them. Upon
the whole, it was a comfortable winter to her; for though it brought
no William to England, the never-failing hope of his arrival was worth
much.

The ensuing spring deprived her of her valued friend, the old grey pony;
and for some time she was in danger of feeling the loss in her health as
well as in her affections; for in spite of the acknowledged importance
of her riding on horse-back, no measures were taken for mounting her
again, "because," as it was observed by her aunts, "she might ride one
of her cousin's horses at any time when they did not want them," and as
the Miss Bertrams regularly wanted their horses every fine day, and had
no idea of carrying their obliging manners to the sacrifice of any real
pleasure, that time, of course, never came. They took their cheerful
rides in the fine mornings of April and May; and Fanny either sat at
home the whole day with one aunt, or walked beyond her strength at
the instigation of the other: Lady Bertram holding exercise to be as
unnecessary for everybody as it was unpleasant to herself; and Mrs.
Norris, who was walking all day, thinking everybody ought to walk
as much. Edmund was absent at this time, or the evil would have
been earlier remedied. When he returned, to understand how Fanny was
situated, and perceived its ill effects, there seemed with him but one
thing to be done; and that "Fanny must have a horse" was the resolute
declaration with which he opposed whatever could be urged by the
supineness of his mother, or the economy of his aunt, to make it appear
unimportant. Mrs. Norris could not help thinking that some steady old
thing might be found among the numbers belonging to the Park that would
do vastly well; or that one might be borrowed of the steward; or that
perhaps Dr. Grant might now and then lend them the pony he sent to the
post. She could not but consider it as absolutely unnecessary, and even
improper, that Fanny should have a regular lady's horse of her own, in
the style of her cousins. She was sure Sir Thomas had never intended it:
and she must say that, to be making such a purchase in his absence, and
adding to the great expenses of his stable, at a time when a large part
of his income was unsettled, seemed to her very unjustifiable. "Fanny
must have a horse," was Edmund's only reply. Mrs. Norris could not see
it in the same light. Lady Bertram did: she entirely agreed with her son
as to the necessity of it, and as to its being considered necessary by
his father; she only pleaded against there being any hurry; she only
wanted him to wait till Sir Thomas's return, and then Sir Thomas might
settle it all himself. He would be at home in September, and where would
be the harm of only waiting till September?

Though Edmund was much more displeased with his aunt than with his
mother, as evincing least regard for her niece, he could not help paying
more attention to what she said; and at length determined on a method of
proceeding which would obviate the risk of his father's thinking he
had done too much, and at the same time procure for Fanny the immediate
means of exercise, which he could not bear she should be without. He had
three horses of his own, but not one that would carry a woman. Two
of them were hunters; the third, a useful road-horse: this third he
resolved to exchange for one that his cousin might ride; he knew where
such a one was to be met with; and having once made up his mind, the
whole business was soon completed. The new mare proved a treasure; with
a very little trouble she became exactly calculated for the purpose,
and Fanny was then put in almost full possession of her. She had not
supposed before that anything could ever suit her like the old grey
pony; but her delight in Edmund's mare was far beyond any former
pleasure of the sort; and the addition it was ever receiving in the
consideration of that kindness from which her pleasure sprung, was
beyond all her words to express. She regarded her cousin as an example
of everything good and great, as possessing worth which no one but
herself could ever appreciate, and as entitled to such gratitude from
her as no feelings could be strong enough to pay. Her sentiments towards
him were compounded of all that was respectful, grateful, confiding, and
tender.

As the horse continued in name, as well as fact, the property of Edmund,
Mrs. Norris could tolerate its being for Fanny's use; and had Lady
Bertram ever thought about her own objection again, he might have
been excused in her eyes for not waiting till Sir Thomas's return in
September, for when September came Sir Thomas was still abroad, and
without any near prospect of finishing his business. Unfavourable
circumstances had suddenly arisen at a moment when he was beginning to
turn all his thoughts towards England; and the very great uncertainty
in which everything was then involved determined him on sending home his
son, and waiting the final arrangement by himself. Tom arrived safely,
bringing an excellent account of his father's health; but to very little
purpose, as far as Mrs. Norris was concerned. Sir Thomas's sending away
his son seemed to her so like a parent's care, under the influence of a
foreboding of evil to himself, that she could not help feeling dreadful
presentiments; and as the long evenings of autumn came on, was so
terribly haunted by these ideas, in the sad solitariness of her cottage,
as to be obliged to take daily refuge in the dining-room of the Park.
The return of winter engagements, however, was not without its effect;
and in the course of their progress, her mind became so pleasantly
occupied in superintending the fortunes of her eldest niece, as
tolerably to quiet her nerves. "If poor Sir Thomas were fated never to
return, it would be peculiarly consoling to see their dear Maria well
married," she very often thought; always when they were in the company
of men of fortune, and particularly on the introduction of a young man
who had recently succeeded to one of the largest estates and finest
places in the country.

Mr. Rushworth was from the first struck with the beauty of Miss Bertram,
and, being inclined to marry, soon fancied himself in love. He was
a heavy young man, with not more than common sense; but as there was
nothing disagreeable in his figure or address, the young lady was well
pleased with her conquest. Being now in her twenty-first year, Maria
Bertram was beginning to think matrimony a duty; and as a marriage with
Mr. Rushworth would give her the enjoyment of a larger income than her
father's, as well as ensure her the house in town, which was now a prime
object, it became, by the same rule of moral obligation, her evident
duty to marry Mr. Rushworth if she could. Mrs. Norris was most zealous
in promoting the match, by every suggestion and contrivance likely to
enhance its desirableness to either party; and, among other means, by
seeking an intimacy with the gentleman's mother, who at present lived
with him, and to whom she even forced Lady Bertram to go through ten
miles of indifferent road to pay a morning visit. It was not long before
a good understanding took place between this lady and herself. Mrs.
Rushworth acknowledged herself very desirous that her son should marry,
and declared that of all the young ladies she had ever seen, Miss
Bertram seemed, by her amiable qualities and accomplishments, the best
adapted to make him happy. Mrs. Norris accepted the compliment,
and admired the nice discernment of character which could so well
distinguish merit. Maria was indeed the pride and delight of them
all--perfectly faultless--an angel; and, of course, so surrounded by
admirers, must be difficult in her choice: but yet, as far as Mrs.
Norris could allow herself to decide on so short an acquaintance, Mr.
Rushworth appeared precisely the young man to deserve and attach her.

After dancing with each other at a proper number of balls, the young
people justified these opinions, and an engagement, with a due reference
to the absent Sir Thomas, was entered into, much to the satisfaction
of their respective families, and of the general lookers-on of the
neighbourhood, who had, for many weeks past, felt the expediency of Mr.
Rushworth's marrying Miss Bertram.

It was some months before Sir Thomas's consent could be received; but,
in the meanwhile, as no one felt a doubt of his most cordial pleasure
in the connexion, the intercourse of the two families was carried
on without restraint, and no other attempt made at secrecy than Mrs.
Norris's talking of it everywhere as a matter not to be talked of at
present.

Edmund was the only one of the family who could see a fault in the
business; but no representation of his aunt's could induce him to find
Mr. Rushworth a desirable companion. He could allow his sister to be
the best judge of her own happiness, but he was not pleased that her
happiness should centre in a large income; nor could he refrain from
often saying to himself, in Mr. Rushworth's company--"If this man had
not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow."

Sir Thomas, however, was truly happy in the prospect of an alliance
so unquestionably advantageous, and of which he heard nothing but the
perfectly good and agreeable. It was a connexion exactly of the right
sort--in the same county, and the same interest--and his most hearty
concurrence was conveyed as soon as possible. He only conditioned that
the marriage should not take place before his return, which he was again
looking eagerly forward to. He wrote in April, and had strong hopes
of settling everything to his entire satisfaction, and leaving Antigua
before the end of the summer.

Such was the state of affairs in the month of July; and Fanny had just
reached her eighteenth year, when the society of the village received
an addition in the brother and sister of Mrs. Grant, a Mr. and Miss
Crawford, the children of her mother by a second marriage. They were
young people of fortune. The son had a good estate in Norfolk, the
daughter twenty thousand pounds. As children, their sister had been
always very fond of them; but, as her own marriage had been soon
followed by the death of their common parent, which left them to the
care of a brother of their father, of whom Mrs. Grant knew nothing, she
had scarcely seen them since. In their uncle's house they had found a
kind home. Admiral and Mrs. Crawford, though agreeing in nothing else,
were united in affection for these children, or, at least, were no
farther adverse in their feelings than that each had their favourite, to
whom they showed the greatest fondness of the two. The Admiral delighted
in the boy, Mrs. Crawford doted on the girl; and it was the lady's death
which now obliged her _protegee_, after some months' further trial at
her uncle's house, to find another home. Admiral Crawford was a man of
vicious conduct, who chose, instead of retaining his niece, to bring his
mistress under his own roof; and to this Mrs. Grant was indebted for her
sister's proposal of coming to her, a measure quite as welcome on one
side as it could be expedient on the other; for Mrs. Grant, having by
this time run through the usual resources of ladies residing in the
country without a family of children--having more than filled her
favourite sitting-room with pretty furniture, and made a choice
collection of plants and poultry--was very much in want of some variety
at home. The arrival, therefore, of a sister whom she had always loved,
and now hoped to retain with her as long as she remained single, was
highly agreeable; and her chief anxiety was lest Mansfield should not
satisfy the habits of a young woman who had been mostly used to London.

Miss Crawford was not entirely free from similar apprehensions, though
they arose principally from doubts of her sister's style of living and
tone of society; and it was not till after she had tried in vain to
persuade her brother to settle with her at his own country house,
that she could resolve to hazard herself among her other relations. To
anything like a permanence of abode, or limitation of society, Henry
Crawford had, unluckily, a great dislike: he could not accommodate his
sister in an article of such importance; but he escorted her, with the
utmost kindness, into Northamptonshire, and as readily engaged to fetch
her away again, at half an hour's notice, whenever she were weary of the
place.

The meeting was very satisfactory on each side. Miss Crawford found a
sister without preciseness or rusticity, a sister's husband who looked
the gentleman, and a house commodious and well fitted up; and Mrs. Grant
received in those whom she hoped to love better than ever a young man
and woman of very prepossessing appearance. Mary Crawford was remarkably
pretty; Henry, though not handsome, had air and countenance; the manners
of both were lively and pleasant, and Mrs. Grant immediately gave them
credit for everything else. She was delighted with each, but Mary was
her dearest object; and having never been able to glory in beauty of her
own, she thoroughly enjoyed the power of being proud of her sister's.
She had not waited her arrival to look out for a suitable match for her:
she had fixed on Tom Bertram; the eldest son of a baronet was not too
good for a girl of twenty thousand pounds, with all the elegance
and accomplishments which Mrs. Grant foresaw in her; and being a
warm-hearted, unreserved woman, Mary had not been three hours in the
house before she told her what she had planned.

Miss Crawford was glad to find a family of such consequence so very near
them, and not at all displeased either at her sister's early care, or
the choice it had fallen on. Matrimony was her object, provided she
could marry well: and having seen Mr. Bertram in town, she knew that
objection could no more be made to his person than to his situation in
life. While she treated it as a joke, therefore, she did not forget to
think of it seriously. The scheme was soon repeated to Henry.

"And now," added Mrs. Grant, "I have thought of something to make it
complete. I should dearly love to settle you both in this country; and
therefore, Henry, you shall marry the youngest Miss Bertram, a nice,
handsome, good-humoured, accomplished girl, who will make you very
happy."

Henry bowed and thanked her.

"My dear sister," said Mary, "if you can persuade him into anything
of the sort, it will be a fresh matter of delight to me to find myself
allied to anybody so clever, and I shall only regret that you have
not half a dozen daughters to dispose of. If you can persuade Henry
to marry, you must have the address of a Frenchwoman. All that English
abilities can do has been tried already. I have three very particular
friends who have been all dying for him in their turn; and the pains
which they, their mothers (very clever women), as well as my dear aunt
and myself, have taken to reason, coax, or trick him into marrying, is
inconceivable! He is the most horrible flirt that can be imagined. If
your Miss Bertrams do not like to have their hearts broke, let them
avoid Henry."

"My dear brother, I will not believe this of you."

"No, I am sure you are too good. You will be kinder than Mary. You
will allow for the doubts of youth and inexperience. I am of a cautious
temper, and unwilling to risk my happiness in a hurry. Nobody can
think more highly of the matrimonial state than myself. I consider the
blessing of a wife as most justly described in those discreet lines of
the poet--'Heaven's _last_ best gift.'"

"There, Mrs. Grant, you see how he dwells on one word, and only look
at his smile. I assure you he is very detestable; the Admiral's lessons
have quite spoiled him."

"I pay very little regard," said Mrs. Grant, "to what any young person
says on the subject of marriage. If they profess a disinclination for
it, I only set it down that they have not yet seen the right person."

Dr. Grant laughingly congratulated Miss Crawford on feeling no
disinclination to the state herself.

"Oh yes! I am not at all ashamed of it. I would have everybody marry if
they can do it properly: I do not like to have people throw themselves
away; but everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to
advantage."



CHAPTER V

The young people were pleased with each other from the first. On each
side there was much to attract, and their acquaintance soon promised as
early an intimacy as good manners would warrant. Miss Crawford's beauty
did her no disservice with the Miss Bertrams. They were too handsome
themselves to dislike any woman for being so too, and were almost as
much charmed as their brothers with her lively dark eye, clear brown
complexion, and general prettiness. Had she been tall, full formed, and
fair, it might have been more of a trial: but as it was, there could be
no comparison; and she was most allowably a sweet, pretty girl, while
they were the finest young women in the country.

Her brother was not handsome: no, when they first saw him he was
absolutely plain, black and plain; but still he was the gentleman, with
a pleasing address. The second meeting proved him not so very plain:
he was plain, to be sure, but then he had so much countenance, and his
teeth were so good, and he was so well made, that one soon forgot he was
plain; and after a third interview, after dining in company with him at
the Parsonage, he was no longer allowed to be called so by anybody. He
was, in fact, the most agreeable young man the sisters had ever known,
and they were equally delighted with him. Miss Bertram's engagement made
him in equity the property of Julia, of which Julia was fully aware; and
before he had been at Mansfield a week, she was quite ready to be fallen
in love with.

Maria's notions on the subject were more confused and indistinct. She
did not want to see or understand. "There could be no harm in her liking
an agreeable man--everybody knew her situation--Mr. Crawford must take
care of himself." Mr. Crawford did not mean to be in any danger! the
Miss Bertrams were worth pleasing, and were ready to be pleased; and he
began with no object but of making them like him. He did not want them
to die of love; but with sense and temper which ought to have made him
judge and feel better, he allowed himself great latitude on such points.

"I like your Miss Bertrams exceedingly, sister," said he, as he returned
from attending them to their carriage after the said dinner visit; "they
are very elegant, agreeable girls."

"So they are indeed, and I am delighted to hear you say it. But you like
Julia best."

"Oh yes! I like Julia best."

"But do you really? for Miss Bertram is in general thought the
handsomest."

"So I should suppose. She has the advantage in every feature, and I
prefer her countenance; but I like Julia best; Miss Bertram is certainly
the handsomest, and I have found her the most agreeable, but I shall
always like Julia best, because you order me."

"I shall not talk to you, Henry, but I know you _will_ like her best at
last."

"Do not I tell you that I like her best _at_ _first_?"

"And besides, Miss Bertram is engaged. Remember that, my dear brother.
Her choice is made."

"Yes, and I like her the better for it. An engaged woman is always more
agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares
are over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing
without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged: no harm can be
done."

"Why, as to that, Mr. Rushworth is a very good sort of young man, and it
is a great match for her."

"But Miss Bertram does not care three straws for him; _that_ is your
opinion of your intimate friend. _I_ do not subscribe to it. I am sure
Miss Bertram is very much attached to Mr. Rushworth. I could see it in
her eyes, when he was mentioned. I think too well of Miss Bertram to
suppose she would ever give her hand without her heart."

"Mary, how shall we manage him?"

"We must leave him to himself, I believe. Talking does no good. He will
be taken in at last."

"But I would not have him _taken_ _in_; I would not have him duped; I
would have it all fair and honourable."

"Oh dear! let him stand his chance and be taken in. It will do just as
well. Everybody is taken in at some period or other."

"Not always in marriage, dear Mary."

"In marriage especially. With all due respect to such of the present
company as chance to be married, my dear Mrs. Grant, there is not one in
a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry. Look where
I will, I see that it _is_ so; and I feel that it _must_ be so, when I
consider that it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect
most from others, and are least honest themselves."

"Ah! You have been in a bad school for matrimony, in Hill Street."

"My poor aunt had certainly little cause to love the state; but,
however, speaking from my own observation, it is a manoeuvring business.
I know so many who have married in the full expectation and confidence
of some one particular advantage in the connexion, or accomplishment, or
good quality in the person, who have found themselves entirely deceived,
and been obliged to put up with exactly the reverse. What is this but a
take in?"

"My dear child, there must be a little imagination here. I beg your
pardon, but I cannot quite believe you. Depend upon it, you see but
half. You see the evil, but you do not see the consolation. There will
be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to
expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human
nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make
a second better: we find comfort somewhere--and those evil-minded
observers, dearest Mary, who make much of a little, are more taken in
and deceived than the parties themselves."

"Well done, sister! I honour your _esprit_ _du_ _corps_. When I am a
wife, I mean to be just as staunch myself; and I wish my friends in
general would be so too. It would save me many a heartache."

"You are as bad as your brother, Mary; but we will cure you both.
Mansfield shall cure you both, and without any taking in. Stay with us,
and we will cure you."

The Crawfords, without wanting to be cured, were very willing to stay.
Mary was satisfied with the Parsonage as a present home, and Henry
equally ready to lengthen his visit. He had come, intending to spend
only a few days with them; but Mansfield promised well, and there was
nothing to call him elsewhere. It delighted Mrs. Grant to keep them both
with her, and Dr. Grant was exceedingly well contented to have it so: a
talking pretty young woman like Miss Crawford is always pleasant society
to an indolent, stay-at-home man; and Mr. Crawford's being his guest was
an excuse for drinking claret every day.

The Miss Bertrams' admiration of Mr. Crawford was more rapturous than
anything which Miss Crawford's habits made her likely to feel. She
acknowledged, however, that the Mr. Bertrams were very fine young men,
that two such young men were not often seen together even in London, and
that their manners, particularly those of the eldest, were very good.
_He_ had been much in London, and had more liveliness and gallantry than
Edmund, and must, therefore, be preferred; and, indeed, his being the
eldest was another strong claim. She had felt an early presentiment that
she _should_ like the eldest best. She knew it was her way.

Tom Bertram must have been thought pleasant, indeed, at any rate; he was
the sort of young man to be generally liked, his agreeableness was of
the kind to be oftener found agreeable than some endowments of a higher
stamp, for he had easy manners, excellent spirits, a large acquaintance,
and a great deal to say; and the reversion of Mansfield Park, and a
baronetcy, did no harm to all this. Miss Crawford soon felt that he and
his situation might do. She looked about her with due consideration, and
found almost everything in his favour: a park, a real park, five miles
round, a spacious modern-built house, so well placed and well screened
as to deserve to be in any collection of engravings of gentlemen's
seats in the kingdom, and wanting only to be completely new
furnished--pleasant sisters, a quiet mother, and an agreeable man
himself--with the advantage of being tied up from much gaming at present
by a promise to his father, and of being Sir Thomas hereafter. It
might do very well; she believed she should accept him; and she began
accordingly to interest herself a little about the horse which he had to
run at the B---- races.

These races were to call him away not long after their acquaintance
began; and as it appeared that the family did not, from his usual goings
on, expect him back again for many weeks, it would bring his passion to
an early proof. Much was said on his side to induce her to attend the
races, and schemes were made for a large party to them, with all the
eagerness of inclination, but it would only do to be talked of.

And Fanny, what was _she_ doing and thinking all this while? and what
was _her_ opinion of the newcomers? Few young ladies of eighteen could
be less called on to speak their opinion than Fanny. In a quiet way,
very little attended to, she paid her tribute of admiration to Miss
Crawford's beauty; but as she still continued to think Mr. Crawford
very plain, in spite of her two cousins having repeatedly proved the
contrary, she never mentioned _him_. The notice, which she excited
herself, was to this effect. "I begin now to understand you all,
except Miss Price," said Miss Crawford, as she was walking with the Mr.
Bertrams. "Pray, is she out, or is she not? I am puzzled. She dined at
the Parsonage, with the rest of you, which seemed like being _out_; and
yet she says so little, that I can hardly suppose she _is_."

Edmund, to whom this was chiefly addressed, replied, "I believe I know
what you mean, but I will not undertake to answer the question. My
cousin is grown up. She has the age and sense of a woman, but the outs
and not outs are beyond me."

"And yet, in general, nothing can be more easily ascertained. The
distinction is so broad. Manners as well as appearance are, generally
speaking, so totally different. Till now, I could not have supposed it
possible to be mistaken as to a girl's being out or not. A girl not out
has always the same sort of dress: a close bonnet, for instance; looks
very demure, and never says a word. You may smile, but it is so, I
assure you; and except that it is sometimes carried a little too far,
it is all very proper. Girls should be quiet and modest. The most
objectionable part is, that the alteration of manners on being
introduced into company is frequently too sudden. They sometimes pass in
such very little time from reserve to quite the opposite--to confidence!
_That_ is the faulty part of the present system. One does not like to
see a girl of eighteen or nineteen so immediately up to every thing--and
perhaps when one has seen her hardly able to speak the year before. Mr.
Bertram, I dare say _you_ have sometimes met with such changes."

"I believe I have, but this is hardly fair; I see what you are at. You
are quizzing me and Miss Anderson."

"No, indeed. Miss Anderson! I do not know who or what you mean. I am
quite in the dark. But I _will_ quiz you with a great deal of pleasure,
if you will tell me what about."

"Ah! you carry it off very well, but I cannot be quite so far imposed
on. You must have had Miss Anderson in your eye, in describing an
altered young lady. You paint too accurately for mistake. It was exactly
so. The Andersons of Baker Street. We were speaking of them the other
day, you know. Edmund, you have heard me mention Charles Anderson.
The circumstance was precisely as this lady has represented it. When
Anderson first introduced me to his family, about two years ago, his
sister was not _out_, and I could not get her to speak to me. I sat
there an hour one morning waiting for Anderson, with only her and a
little girl or two in the room, the governess being sick or run away,
and the mother in and out every moment with letters of business, and I
could hardly get a word or a look from the young lady--nothing like a
civil answer--she screwed up her mouth, and turned from me with such an
air! I did not see her again for a twelvemonth. She was then _out_. I
met her at Mrs. Holford's, and did not recollect her. She came up to me,
claimed me as an acquaintance, stared me out of countenance; and talked
and laughed till I did not know which way to look. I felt that I must
be the jest of the room at the time, and Miss Crawford, it is plain, has
heard the story."

"And a very pretty story it is, and with more truth in it, I dare say,
than does credit to Miss Anderson. It is too common a fault. Mothers
certainly have not yet got quite the right way of managing their
daughters. I do not know where the error lies. I do not pretend to set
people right, but I do see that they are often wrong."

"Those who are showing the world what female manners _should_ be," said
Mr. Bertram gallantly, "are doing a great deal to set them right."

"The error is plain enough," said the less courteous Edmund; "such girls
are ill brought up. They are given wrong notions from the beginning.
They are always acting upon motives of vanity, and there is no more
real modesty in their behaviour _before_ they appear in public than
afterwards."

"I do not know," replied Miss Crawford hesitatingly. "Yes, I cannot
agree with you there. It is certainly the modestest part of the
business. It is much worse to have girls not out give themselves the
same airs and take the same liberties as if they were, which I have seen
done. That is worse than anything--quite disgusting!"

"Yes, _that_ is very inconvenient indeed," said Mr. Bertram. "It leads
one astray; one does not know what to do. The close bonnet and demure
air you describe so well (and nothing was ever juster), tell one what
is expected; but I got into a dreadful scrape last year from the want of
them. I went down to Ramsgate for a week with a friend last September,
just after my return from the West Indies. My friend Sneyd--you have
heard me speak of Sneyd, Edmund--his father, and mother, and sisters,
were there, all new to me. When we reached Albion Place they were out;
we went after them, and found them on the pier: Mrs. and the two Miss
Sneyds, with others of their acquaintance. I made my bow in form; and
as Mrs. Sneyd was surrounded by men, attached myself to one of her
daughters, walked by her side all the way home, and made myself as
agreeable as I could; the young lady perfectly easy in her manners, and
as ready to talk as to listen. I had not a suspicion that I could be
doing anything wrong. They looked just the same: both well-dressed, with
veils and parasols like other girls; but I afterwards found that I had
been giving all my attention to the youngest, who was not _out_, and
had most excessively offended the eldest. Miss Augusta ought not to have
been noticed for the next six months; and Miss Sneyd, I believe, has
never forgiven me."

"That was bad indeed. Poor Miss Sneyd. Though I have no younger
sister, I feel for her. To be neglected before one's time must be very
vexatious; but it was entirely the mother's fault. Miss Augusta should
have been with her governess. Such half-and-half doings never prosper.
But now I must be satisfied about Miss Price. Does she go to balls? Does
she dine out every where, as well as at my sister's?"

"No," replied Edmund; "I do not think she has ever been to a ball. My
mother seldom goes into company herself, and dines nowhere but with Mrs.
Grant, and Fanny stays at home with _her_."

"Oh! then the point is clear. Miss Price is not out."



CHAPTER VI

Mr. Bertram set off for--------, and Miss Crawford was prepared to
find a great chasm in their society, and to miss him decidedly in the
meetings which were now becoming almost daily between the families;
and on their all dining together at the Park soon after his going, she
retook her chosen place near the bottom of the table, fully expecting to
feel a most melancholy difference in the change of masters. It would
be a very flat business, she was sure. In comparison with his brother,
Edmund would have nothing to say. The soup would be sent round in a most
spiritless manner, wine drank without any smiles or agreeable trifling,
and the venison cut up without supplying one pleasant anecdote of any
former haunch, or a single entertaining story, about "my friend such a
one." She must try to find amusement in what was passing at the upper
end of the table, and in observing Mr. Rushworth, who was now making his
appearance at Mansfield for the first time since the Crawfords' arrival.
He had been visiting a friend in the neighbouring county, and that
friend having recently had his grounds laid out by an improver, Mr.
Rushworth was returned with his head full of the subject, and very eager
to be improving his own place in the same way; and though not saying
much to the purpose, could talk of nothing else. The subject had
been already handled in the drawing-room; it was revived in the
dining-parlour. Miss Bertram's attention and opinion was evidently his
chief aim; and though her deportment showed rather conscious superiority
than any solicitude to oblige him, the mention of Sotherton Court,
and the ideas attached to it, gave her a feeling of complacency, which
prevented her from being very ungracious.

"I wish you could see Compton," said he; "it is the most complete thing!
I never saw a place so altered in my life. I told Smith I did not know
where I was. The approach _now_, is one of the finest things in the
country: you see the house in the most surprising manner. I declare,
when I got back to Sotherton yesterday, it looked like a prison--quite a
dismal old prison."

"Oh, for shame!" cried Mrs. Norris. "A prison indeed? Sotherton Court is
the noblest old place in the world."

"It wants improvement, ma'am, beyond anything. I never saw a place that
wanted so much improvement in my life; and it is so forlorn that I do
not know what can be done with it."

"No wonder that Mr. Rushworth should think so at present," said Mrs.
Grant to Mrs. Norris, with a smile; "but depend upon it, Sotherton will
have _every_ improvement in time which his heart can desire."

"I must try to do something with it," said Mr. Rushworth, "but I do not
know what. I hope I shall have some good friend to help me."

"Your best friend upon such an occasion," said Miss Bertram calmly,
"would be Mr. Repton, I imagine."

"That is what I was thinking of. As he has done so well by Smith, I
think I had better have him at once. His terms are five guineas a day."

"Well, and if they were _ten_," cried Mrs. Norris, "I am sure _you_ need
not regard it. The expense need not be any impediment. If I were you,
I should not think of the expense. I would have everything done in the
best style, and made as nice as possible. Such a place as Sotherton
Court deserves everything that taste and money can do. You have space to
work upon there, and grounds that will well reward you. For my own part,
if I had anything within the fiftieth part of the size of Sotherton, I
should be always planting and improving, for naturally I am excessively
fond of it. It would be too ridiculous for me to attempt anything where
I am now, with my little half acre. It would be quite a burlesque. But
if I had more room, I should take a prodigious delight in improving and
planting. We did a vast deal in that way at the Parsonage: we made it
quite a different place from what it was when we first had it. You young
ones do not remember much about it, perhaps; but if dear Sir Thomas were
here, he could tell you what improvements we made: and a great deal more
would have been done, but for poor Mr. Norris's sad state of health.
He could hardly ever get out, poor man, to enjoy anything, and _that_
disheartened me from doing several things that Sir Thomas and I used to
talk of. If it had not been for _that_, we should have carried on the
garden wall, and made the plantation to shut out the churchyard, just
as Dr. Grant has done. We were always doing something as it was. It was
only the spring twelvemonth before Mr. Norris's death that we put in the
apricot against the stable wall, which is now grown such a noble tree,
and getting to such perfection, sir," addressing herself then to Dr.
Grant.

"The tree thrives well, beyond a doubt, madam," replied Dr. Grant. "The
soil is good; and I never pass it without regretting that the fruit
should be so little worth the trouble of gathering."

"Sir, it is a Moor Park, we bought it as a Moor Park, and it cost
us--that is, it was a present from Sir Thomas, but I saw the bill--and I
know it cost seven shillings, and was charged as a Moor Park."

"You were imposed on, ma'am," replied Dr. Grant: "these potatoes have as
much the flavour of a Moor Park apricot as the fruit from that tree. It
is an insipid fruit at the best; but a good apricot is eatable, which
none from my garden are."

"The truth is, ma'am," said Mrs. Grant, pretending to whisper across
the table to Mrs. Norris, "that Dr. Grant hardly knows what the natural
taste of our apricot is: he is scarcely ever indulged with one, for it
is so valuable a fruit; with a little assistance, and ours is such a
remarkably large, fair sort, that what with early tarts and preserves,
my cook contrives to get them all."

Mrs. Norris, who had begun to redden, was appeased; and, for a little
while, other subjects took place of the improvements of Sotherton. Dr.
Grant and Mrs. Norris were seldom good friends; their acquaintance had
begun in dilapidations, and their habits were totally dissimilar.

After a short interruption Mr. Rushworth began again. "Smith's place
is the admiration of all the country; and it was a mere nothing before
Repton took it in hand. I think I shall have Repton."

"Mr. Rushworth," said Lady Bertram, "if I were you, I would have a
very pretty shrubbery. One likes to get out into a shrubbery in fine
weather."

Mr. Rushworth was eager to assure her ladyship of his acquiescence, and
tried to make out something complimentary; but, between his submission
to _her_ taste, and his having always intended the same himself, with
the superadded objects of professing attention to the comfort of ladies
in general, and of insinuating that there was one only whom he was
anxious to please, he grew puzzled, and Edmund was glad to put an end
to his speech by a proposal of wine. Mr. Rushworth, however, though not
usually a great talker, had still more to say on the subject next his
heart. "Smith has not much above a hundred acres altogether in his
grounds, which is little enough, and makes it more surprising that the
place can have been so improved. Now, at Sotherton we have a good seven
hundred, without reckoning the water meadows; so that I think, if so
much could be done at Compton, we need not despair. There have been two
or three fine old trees cut down, that grew too near the house, and
it opens the prospect amazingly, which makes me think that Repton, or
anybody of that sort, would certainly have the avenue at Sotherton down:
the avenue that leads from the west front to the top of the hill,
you know," turning to Miss Bertram particularly as he spoke. But Miss
Bertram thought it most becoming to reply--

"The avenue! Oh! I do not recollect it. I really know very little of
Sotherton."

Fanny, who was sitting on the other side of Edmund, exactly opposite
Miss Crawford, and who had been attentively listening, now looked at
him, and said in a low voice--

"Cut down an avenue! What a pity! Does it not make you think of Cowper?
'Ye fallen avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited.'"

He smiled as he answered, "I am afraid the avenue stands a bad chance,
Fanny."

"I should like to see Sotherton before it is cut down, to see the place
as it is now, in its old state; but I do not suppose I shall."

"Have you never been there? No, you never can; and, unluckily, it is out
of distance for a ride. I wish we could contrive it."

"Oh! it does not signify. Whenever I do see it, you will tell me how it
has been altered."

"I collect," said Miss Crawford, "that Sotherton is an old place, and a
place of some grandeur. In any particular style of building?"

"The house was built in Elizabeth's time, and is a large, regular, brick
building; heavy, but respectable looking, and has many good rooms. It
is ill placed. It stands in one of the lowest spots of the park; in that
respect, unfavourable for improvement. But the woods are fine, and
there is a stream, which, I dare say, might be made a good deal of. Mr.
Rushworth is quite right, I think, in meaning to give it a modern dress,
and I have no doubt that it will be all done extremely well."

Miss Crawford listened with submission, and said to herself, "He is a
well-bred man; he makes the best of it."

"I do not wish to influence Mr. Rushworth," he continued; "but, had I
a place to new fashion, I should not put myself into the hands of an
improver. I would rather have an inferior degree of beauty, of my own
choice, and acquired progressively. I would rather abide by my own
blunders than by his."

"_You_ would know what you were about, of course; but that would not
suit _me_. I have no eye or ingenuity for such matters, but as they are
before me; and had I a place of my own in the country, I should be most
thankful to any Mr. Repton who would undertake it, and give me as much
beauty as he could for my money; and I should never look at it till it
was complete."

"It would be delightful to _me_ to see the progress of it all," said
Fanny.

"Ay, you have been brought up to it. It was no part of my education; and
the only dose I ever had, being administered by not the first favourite
in the world, has made me consider improvements _in_ _hand_ as the
greatest of nuisances. Three years ago the Admiral, my honoured uncle,
bought a cottage at Twickenham for us all to spend our summers in;
and my aunt and I went down to it quite in raptures; but it being
excessively pretty, it was soon found necessary to be improved, and for
three months we were all dirt and confusion, without a gravel walk to
step on, or a bench fit for use. I would have everything as complete
as possible in the country, shrubberies and flower-gardens, and rustic
seats innumerable: but it must all be done without my care. Henry is
different; he loves to be doing."

Edmund was sorry to hear Miss Crawford, whom he was much disposed to
admire, speak so freely of her uncle. It did not suit his sense of
propriety, and he was silenced, till induced by further smiles and
liveliness to put the matter by for the present.

"Mr. Bertram," said she, "I have tidings of my harp at last. I am
assured that it is safe at Northampton; and there it has probably been
these ten days, in spite of the solemn assurances we have so often
received to the contrary." Edmund expressed his pleasure and surprise.
"The truth is, that our inquiries were too direct; we sent a servant,
we went ourselves: this will not do seventy miles from London; but this
morning we heard of it in the right way. It was seen by some farmer, and
he told the miller, and the miller told the butcher, and the butcher's
son-in-law left word at the shop."

"I am very glad that you have heard of it, by whatever means, and hope
there will be no further delay."

"I am to have it to-morrow; but how do you think it is to be conveyed?
Not by a wagon or cart: oh no! nothing of that kind could be hired in
the village. I might as well have asked for porters and a handbarrow."

"You would find it difficult, I dare say, just now, in the middle of a
very late hay harvest, to hire a horse and cart?"

"I was astonished to find what a piece of work was made of it! To want
a horse and cart in the country seemed impossible, so I told my maid to
speak for one directly; and as I cannot look out of my dressing-closet
without seeing one farmyard, nor walk in the shrubbery without passing
another, I thought it would be only ask and have, and was rather grieved
that I could not give the advantage to all. Guess my surprise, when
I found that I had been asking the most unreasonable, most impossible
thing in the world; had offended all the farmers, all the labourers,
all the hay in the parish! As for Dr. Grant's bailiff, I believe I had
better keep out of _his_ way; and my brother-in-law himself, who is all
kindness in general, looked rather black upon me when he found what I
had been at."

"You could not be expected to have thought on the subject before; but
when you _do_ think of it, you must see the importance of getting in
the grass. The hire of a cart at any time might not be so easy as you
suppose: our farmers are not in the habit of letting them out; but, in
harvest, it must be quite out of their power to spare a horse."

"I shall understand all your ways in time; but, coming down with the
true London maxim, that everything is to be got with money, I was a
little embarrassed at first by the sturdy independence of your country
customs. However, I am to have my harp fetched to-morrow. Henry, who is
good-nature itself, has offered to fetch it in his barouche. Will it not
be honourably conveyed?"

Edmund spoke of the harp as his favourite instrument, and hoped to be
soon allowed to hear her. Fanny had never heard the harp at all, and
wished for it very much.

"I shall be most happy to play to you both," said Miss Crawford; "at
least as long as you can like to listen: probably much longer, for
I dearly love music myself, and where the natural taste is equal the
player must always be best off, for she is gratified in more ways than
one. Now, Mr. Bertram, if you write to your brother, I entreat you to
tell him that my harp is come: he heard so much of my misery about it.
And you may say, if you please, that I shall prepare my most plaintive
airs against his return, in compassion to his feelings, as I know his
horse will lose."

"If I write, I will say whatever you wish me; but I do not, at present,
foresee any occasion for writing."

"No, I dare say, nor if he were to be gone a twelvemonth, would you ever
write to him, nor he to you, if it could be helped. The occasion would
never be foreseen. What strange creatures brothers are! You would not
write to each other but upon the most urgent necessity in the world; and
when obliged to take up the pen to say that such a horse is ill, or such
a relation dead, it is done in the fewest possible words. You have but
one style among you. I know it perfectly. Henry, who is in every other
respect exactly what a brother should be, who loves me, consults me,
confides in me, and will talk to me by the hour together, has never
yet turned the page in a letter; and very often it is nothing more
than--'Dear Mary, I am just arrived. Bath seems full, and everything
as usual. Yours sincerely.' That is the true manly style; that is a
complete brother's letter."

"When they are at a distance from all their family," said Fanny,
colouring for William's sake, "they can write long letters."

"Miss Price has a brother at sea," said Edmund, "whose excellence as a
correspondent makes her think you too severe upon us."

"At sea, has she? In the king's service, of course?"

Fanny would rather have had Edmund tell the story, but his determined
silence obliged her to relate her brother's situation: her voice was
animated in speaking of his profession, and the foreign stations he had
been on; but she could not mention the number of years that he had been
absent without tears in her eyes. Miss Crawford civilly wished him an
early promotion.

"Do you know anything of my cousin's captain?" said Edmund; "Captain
Marshall? You have a large acquaintance in the navy, I conclude?"

"Among admirals, large enough; but," with an air of grandeur, "we know
very little of the inferior ranks. Post-captains may be very good sort
of men, but they do not belong to _us_. Of various admirals I could tell
you a great deal: of them and their flags, and the gradation of their
pay, and their bickerings and jealousies. But, in general, I can assure
you that they are all passed over, and all very ill used. Certainly, my
home at my uncle's brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals. Of
_Rears_ and _Vices_ I saw enough. Now do not be suspecting me of a pun,
I entreat."

Edmund again felt grave, and only replied, "It is a noble profession."

"Yes, the profession is well enough under two circumstances: if it make
the fortune, and there be discretion in spending it; but, in short, it
is not a favourite profession of mine. It has never worn an amiable form
to _me_."

Edmund reverted to the harp, and was again very happy in the prospect of
hearing her play.

The subject of improving grounds, meanwhile, was still under
consideration among the others; and Mrs. Grant could not help addressing
her brother, though it was calling his attention from Miss Julia
Bertram.

"My dear Henry, have _you_ nothing to say? You have been an improver
yourself, and from what I hear of Everingham, it may vie with any place
in England. Its natural beauties, I am sure, are great. Everingham,
as it _used_ to be, was perfect in my estimation: such a happy fall of
ground, and such timber! What would I not give to see it again?"

"Nothing could be so gratifying to me as to hear your opinion of it,"
was his answer; "but I fear there would be some disappointment: you
would not find it equal to your present ideas. In extent, it is a mere
nothing; you would be surprised at its insignificance; and, as for
improvement, there was very little for me to do--too little: I should
like to have been busy much longer."

"You are fond of the sort of thing?" said Julia.

"Excessively; but what with the natural advantages of the ground, which
pointed out, even to a very young eye, what little remained to be done,
and my own consequent resolutions, I had not been of age three
months before Everingham was all that it is now. My plan was laid
at Westminster, a little altered, perhaps, at Cambridge, and at
one-and-twenty executed. I am inclined to envy Mr. Rushworth for having
so much happiness yet before him. I have been a devourer of my own."

"Those who see quickly, will resolve quickly, and act quickly,"
said Julia. "_You_ can never want employment. Instead of envying Mr.
Rushworth, you should assist him with your opinion."

Mrs. Grant, hearing the latter part of this speech, enforced it warmly,
persuaded that no judgment could be equal to her brother's; and as
Miss Bertram caught at the idea likewise, and gave it her full support,
declaring that, in her opinion, it was infinitely better to consult
with friends and disinterested advisers, than immediately to throw the
business into the hands of a professional man, Mr. Rushworth was very
ready to request the favour of Mr. Crawford's assistance; and Mr.
Crawford, after properly depreciating his own abilities, was quite at
his service in any way that could be useful. Mr. Rushworth then began to
propose Mr. Crawford's doing him the honour of coming over to Sotherton,
and taking a bed there; when Mrs. Norris, as if reading in her two
nieces' minds their little approbation of a plan which was to take Mr.
Crawford away, interposed with an amendment.

"There can be no doubt of Mr. Crawford's willingness; but why should not
more of us go? Why should not we make a little party? Here are many that
would be interested in your improvements, my dear Mr. Rushworth, and
that would like to hear Mr. Crawford's opinion on the spot, and that
might be of some small use to you with _their_ opinions; and, for my
own part, I have been long wishing to wait upon your good mother again;
nothing but having no horses of my own could have made me so remiss; but
now I could go and sit a few hours with Mrs. Rushworth, while the rest
of you walked about and settled things, and then we could all return
to a late dinner here, or dine at Sotherton, just as might be most
agreeable to your mother, and have a pleasant drive home by moonlight.
I dare say Mr. Crawford would take my two nieces and me in his barouche,
and Edmund can go on horseback, you know, sister, and Fanny will stay at
home with you."

Lady Bertram made no objection; and every one concerned in the going
was forward in expressing their ready concurrence, excepting Edmund, who
heard it all and said nothing.



CHAPTER VII

"Well, Fanny, and how do you like Miss Crawford _now_?" said Edmund the
next day, after thinking some time on the subject himself. "How did you
like her yesterday?"

"Very well--very much. I like to hear her talk. She entertains me; and
she is so extremely pretty, that I have great pleasure in looking at
her."

"It is her countenance that is so attractive. She has a wonderful play
of feature! But was there nothing in her conversation that struck you,
Fanny, as not quite right?"

"Oh yes! she ought not to have spoken of her uncle as she did. I was
quite astonished. An uncle with whom she has been living so many years,
and who, whatever his faults may be, is so very fond of her brother,
treating him, they say, quite like a son. I could not have believed it!"

"I thought you would be struck. It was very wrong; very indecorous."

"And very ungrateful, I think."

"Ungrateful is a strong word. I do not know that her uncle has any claim
to her _gratitude_; his wife certainly had; and it is the warmth of her
respect for her aunt's memory which misleads her here. She is awkwardly
circumstanced. With such warm feelings and lively spirits it must be
difficult to do justice to her affection for Mrs. Crawford, without
throwing a shade on the Admiral. I do not pretend to know which was most
to blame in their disagreements, though the Admiral's present conduct
might incline one to the side of his wife; but it is natural and amiable
that Miss Crawford should acquit her aunt entirely. I do not censure her
_opinions_; but there certainly _is_ impropriety in making them public."

"Do not you think," said Fanny, after a little consideration, "that this
impropriety is a reflection itself upon Mrs. Crawford, as her niece has
been entirely brought up by her? She cannot have given her right notions
of what was due to the Admiral."

"That is a fair remark. Yes, we must suppose the faults of the niece
to have been those of the aunt; and it makes one more sensible of the
disadvantages she has been under. But I think her present home must
do her good. Mrs. Grant's manners are just what they ought to be. She
speaks of her brother with a very pleasing affection."

"Yes, except as to his writing her such short letters. She made me
almost laugh; but I cannot rate so very highly the love or good-nature
of a brother who will not give himself the trouble of writing anything
worth reading to his sisters, when they are separated. I am sure William
would never have used _me_ so, under any circumstances. And what right
had she to suppose that _you_ would not write long letters when you were
absent?"

"The right of a lively mind, Fanny, seizing whatever may contribute
to its own amusement or that of others; perfectly allowable, when
untinctured by ill-humour or roughness; and there is not a shadow of
either in the countenance or manner of Miss Crawford: nothing sharp, or
loud, or coarse. She is perfectly feminine, except in the instances we
have been speaking of. There she cannot be justified. I am glad you saw
it all as I did."

Having formed her mind and gained her affections, he had a good chance
of her thinking like him; though at this period, and on this subject,
there began now to be some danger of dissimilarity, for he was in a line
of admiration of Miss Crawford, which might lead him where Fanny
could not follow. Miss Crawford's attractions did not lessen. The harp
arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good-humour; for she
played with the greatest obligingness, with an expression and taste
which were peculiarly becoming, and there was something clever to be
said at the close of every air. Edmund was at the Parsonage every day,
to be indulged with his favourite instrument: one morning secured an
invitation for the next; for the lady could not be unwilling to have a
listener, and every thing was soon in a fair train.

A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and
both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a
little lawn, surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was
enough to catch any man's heart. The season, the scene, the air, were
all favourable to tenderness and sentiment. Mrs. Grant and her tambour
frame were not without their use: it was all in harmony; and as
everything will turn to account when love is once set going, even the
sandwich tray, and Dr. Grant doing the honours of it, were worth looking
at. Without studying the business, however, or knowing what he was
about, Edmund was beginning, at the end of a week of such intercourse,
to be a good deal in love; and to the credit of the lady it may be added
that, without his being a man of the world or an elder brother, without
any of the arts of flattery or the gaieties of small talk, he began to
be agreeable to her. She felt it to be so, though she had not foreseen,
and could hardly understand it; for he was not pleasant by any common
rule: he talked no nonsense; he paid no compliments; his opinions
were unbending, his attentions tranquil and simple. There was a charm,
perhaps, in his sincerity, his steadiness, his integrity, which Miss
Crawford might be equal to feel, though not equal to discuss with
herself. She did not think very much about it, however: he pleased her
for the present; she liked to have him near her; it was enough.

Fanny could not wonder that Edmund was at the Parsonage every morning;
she would gladly have been there too, might she have gone in uninvited
and unnoticed, to hear the harp; neither could she wonder that, when the
evening stroll was over, and the two families parted again, he should
think it right to attend Mrs. Grant and her sister to their home, while
Mr. Crawford was devoted to the ladies of the Park; but she thought it
a very bad exchange; and if Edmund were not there to mix the wine and
water for her, would rather go without it than not. She was a little
surprised that he could spend so many hours with Miss Crawford, and
not see more of the sort of fault which he had already observed, and of
which _she_ was almost always reminded by a something of the same nature
whenever she was in her company; but so it was. Edmund was fond