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 northanger-abbey-chapter-12 - EasyBusy

northanger-abbey-chapter-12

CHAPTER 12

‘Be hasty, Miss Morland,’ shouted Mr Thorpe as he entered Mrs Allen’s sitting-room. ‘The carriages are waiting and we are all going to Clifton to dine and then on to Blaize Castle.’

‘Thank you, but I cannot go. I am waiting for my friends, Mr and Miss Tilney. I am engaged to go for a walk in the country with them. They promised to come at twelve, but it rained; now, with this fine weather, I expect them here soon.’

‘No, they will not be coming,’ insisted Mr Thorpe. ‘I saw them in a carriage and heard them say that they were going as far as Wicks Rocks. Anyway, it is much too dirty for a country walk.’

‘Oh, that is disappointing,’ said Catherine. ‘But what about this castle? Is it really old? Is it like the castle in Udolpho?’

‘It is almost exactly the same,’ said Mr Thorpe.

‘Then shall I go, Mrs Allen? What do you think?’ Catherine asked.

‘Well, my dear, I suppose you should go,’ said Mrs Allen, and in two minutes the four young people had begun their journey.

Catherine felt upset that she had not heard anything from the Tilneys, but she had to admit that she was excited about seeing a real castle.

The carriages went down Pulteney Street and through Laura Place, and John Thorpe once again talked about his horse and his skills as a driver. Then near Argyle Street, Mr Thorpe said, ‘Who is that girl on the pavement who was staring at you as we passed her?’

Catherine looked back and saw Miss Tilney, walking along the pavement, holding her brother’s arm, and both of them were looking directly at her.

‘Stop, stop, Mr Thorpe,’ Catherine cried impatiently. ‘It is Miss Tilney and her brother! How could you tell me that they had gone out of town? Stop, stop, I must speak to them.’

But John Thorpe did not stop. In fact, he laughed and encouraged his horse to go faster, and in another minute the Tilneys were out of sight.

Now the carriage was moving so quickly that Catherine could not possibly escape from it, and she felt extremely angry. ‘Why did you lie to me, Mr Thorpe? And why didn’t you stop when I asked you to? They must think that I am very rude.’

Their drive, even after they had stopped talking about the Tilneys, was not very agreeable. Catherine obviously would have preferred a country walk with the Tilneys, but at least she had a real castle to look forward to.

When they could see the town of Keynsham, James Morland shouted at Mr Thorpe and the two carriages came to a stop.

‘We had better go back, Thorpe,’ James began. ‘Isabella agrees. We left too late to visit Blaize Castle today.’

‘It does not matter to me,’ said Mr Thorpe, turning his carriage around for the drive back to Bath. As they started again, he said to Catherine, ‘Your brother is a fool not to have his own horse and carriage. If he had a good horse like mine, we could easily have reached the castle today.’

‘But he could not afford to keep a horse and carriage,’ objected Catherine.

‘And why can’t he afford it?’

‘He does not have money for those things,’ replied Catherine.

‘Well, I think it is a bad practice for people who are rolling in money to be too mean to have a good horse and carriage.’ Catherine did not understand what Mr Thorpe was talking about, and she had become less and less willing to listen to anything he had to say. They returned to Pulteney Street without her speaking twenty words.

When she entered Mr and Mrs Allen’s house, a servant told Catherine that a young lady and gentleman had called for her a few minutes after she had set off with Mr Thorpe. Thinking about this upsetting news, our heroine walked slowly upstairs to her room, but was stopped by Mr Allen.

‘Dear Catherine, I am glad your brother was sensible enough to bring you home in good time. It was a strange, wild scheme.’ That night our heroine went to bed feeling confused and unhappy, unable to sleep because she was busy re-living the terrible events of the day.

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