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Chapter 5

  • Catherine was not so much engaged at the theatre that evening, in returnin_he nods and smiles of Miss Thorpe, though they certainly claimed much of he_eisure, as to forget to look with an inquiring eye for Mr. Tilney in ever_ox which her eye could reach; but she looked in vain. Mr. Tilney was n_onder of the play than the pump-room. She hoped to be more fortunate the nex_ay; and when her wishes for fine weather were answered by seeing a beautifu_orning, she hardly felt a doubt of it; for a fine Sunday in Bath emptie_very house of its inhabitants, and all the world appears on such an occasio_o 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 eac_ther; and after staying long enough in the pump-room to discover that th_rowd was insupportable, and that there was not a genteel face to be seen,
  • which everybody discovers every Sunday throughout the season, they hastene_way to the Crescent, to breathe the fresh air of better company. Her_atherine and Isabella, arm in arm, again tasted the sweets of friendship i_n unreserved conversation; they talked much, and with much enjoyment; bu_gain was Catherine disappointed in her hope of reseeing her partner. He wa_owhere to be met with; every search for him was equally unsuccessful, i_orning lounges or evening assemblies; neither at the Upper nor Lower Rooms,
  • at dressed or undressed balls, was he perceivable; nor among the walkers, th_orsemen, or the curricle-drivers of the morning. His name was not in th_ump-room book, and curiosity could do no more. He must be gone from Bath. Ye_e had not mentioned that his stay would be so short! This sort o_ysteriousness, which is always so becoming in a hero, threw a fresh grace i_atherine's imagination around his person and manners, and increased he_nxiety to know more of him. From the Thorpes she could learn nothing, fo_hey had been only two days in Bath before they met with Mrs. Allen. It was _ubject, however, in which she often indulged with her fair friend, from who_he received every possible encouragement to continue to think of him; and hi_mpression on her fancy was not suffered therefore to weaken. Isabella wa_ery sure that he must be a charming young man, and was equally sure that h_ust have been delighted with her dear Catherine, and would therefore shortl_eturn. She liked him the better for being a clergyman, "for she must confes_erself very partial to the profession"; and something like a sigh escaped he_s she said it. Perhaps Catherine was wrong in not demanding the cause of tha_entle emotion — but she was not experienced enough in the finesse of love, o_he duties of friendship, to know when delicate raillery was properly calle_or, or when a confidence should be forced.
  • Mrs. Allen was now quite happy — quite satisfied with Bath. She had found som_cquaintance, had been so lucky too as to find in them the family of a mos_orthy old friend; and, as the completion of good fortune, had found thes_riends by no means so expensively dressed as herself. Her daily expression_ere no longer, "I wish we had some acquaintance in Bath!" They were change_nto, "How glad I am we have met with Mrs. Thorpe!" and she was as eager i_romoting the intercourse of the two families, as her young charge an_sabella themselves could be; never satisfied with the day unless she spen_he 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 ofte_ny 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 it_eginning had been warm, and they passed so rapidly through every gradation o_ncreasing tenderness that there was shortly no fresh proof of it to be give_o their friends or themselves. They called each other by their Christia_ame, were always arm in arm when they walked, pinned up each other's trai_or the dance, and were not to be divided in the set; and if a rainy mornin_eprived them of other enjoyments, they were still resolute in meeting i_efiance of wet and dirt, and shut themselves up, to read novels together.
  • Yes, novels; for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom s_ommon with novel-writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the ver_erformances, to the number of which they are themselves adding — joining wit_heir greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, an_carcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if sh_ccidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages wit_isgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine o_nother, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve o_t. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at thei_eisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the tras_ith which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are a_njured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive an_naffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world,
  • no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, o_ashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilitie_f the nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man wh_ollects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, an_rior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, ar_ulogized by a thousand pens — there seems almost a general wish of decryin_he capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting th_erformances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. "I a_o novel-reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often rea_ovels — It is really very well for a novel." Such is the common cant. "An_hat are you reading, Miss — ?" "Oh! It is only a novel!" replies the youn_ady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentar_hame. "It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda"; or, in short, only som_ork in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the mos_horough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties,
  • the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in th_est-chosen language. Now, had the same young lady been engaged with a volum_f the Spectator, instead of such a work, how proudly would she have produce_he book, and told its name; though the chances must be against her bein_ccupied by any part of that voluminous publication, of which either th_atter or manner would not disgust a young person of taste: the substance o_ts papers so often consisting in the statement of improbable circumstances,
  • unnatural characters, and topics of conversation which no longer concer_nyone living; and their language, too, frequently so coarse as to give n_ery favourable idea of the age that could endure it.