Northanger Abbey - Chapter 27
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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 horrid1 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 vile2 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 Oxford3; 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 frightful4 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 esteem5; 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
    abhor6, 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
    fickle7 sex too well. He went away to his regiment8 two days ago, and
    I trust I shall never be plagued with him again. He is the greatest
    coxcomb9 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 affected10 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 determined11 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 hideous12 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 artifice13 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 attachment14 were now as disgusting as her excuses were empty, and her demands impudent15. "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 sincerity16 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 intimacy17! 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 motives18, 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 justify19 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 assent20.
"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 distressed21 by the disappointment of Miss Thorpe. But your mind is warped22 by an innate23 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.


1 horrid arozZj     
  • I'm not going to the horrid dinner party.我不打算去参加这次讨厌的宴会。
  • The medicine is horrid and she couldn't get it down.这种药很难吃,她咽不下去。
2 vile YLWz0     
  • Who could have carried out such a vile attack?会是谁发起这么卑鄙的攻击呢?
  • Her talk was full of vile curses.她的话里充满着恶毒的咒骂。
3 Oxford Wmmz0a     
  • At present he has become a Professor of Chemistry at Oxford.他现在已是牛津大学的化学教授了。
  • This is where the road to Oxford joins the road to London.这是去牛津的路与去伦敦的路的汇合处。
4 frightful Ghmxw     
  • How frightful to have a husband who snores!有一个发鼾声的丈夫多讨厌啊!
  • We're having frightful weather these days.这几天天气坏极了。
5 esteem imhyZ     
  • I did not esteem him to be worthy of trust.我认为他不值得信赖。
  • The veteran worker ranks high in public love and esteem.那位老工人深受大伙的爱戴。
6 abhor 7y4z7     
  • They abhor all forms of racial discrimination.他们憎恶任何形式的种族歧视。
  • They abhor all the nations who have different ideology and regime.他们仇视所有意识形态和制度与他们不同的国家。
7 fickle Lg9zn     
  • Fluctuating prices usually base on a fickle public's demand.物价的波动往往是由于群众需求的不稳定而引起的。
  • The weather is so fickle in summer.夏日的天气如此多变。
8 regiment JATzZ     
  • As he hated army life,he decide to desert his regiment.因为他嫌恶军队生活,所以他决心背弃自己所在的那个团。
  • They reformed a division into a regiment.他们将一个师整编成为一个团。
9 coxcomb kvqz6L     
  • Jones was not so vain and senseless a coxcomb as to expect.琼斯并不是那么一个不自量,没头没脑的浪荡哥儿。
  • He is a plausible coxcomb.他是个巧言令色的花花公子。
10 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
11 determined duszmP     
  • I have determined on going to Tibet after graduation.我已决定毕业后去西藏。
  • He determined to view the rooms behind the office.他决定查看一下办公室后面的房间。
12 hideous 65KyC     
  • The whole experience had been like some hideous nightmare.整个经历就像一场可怕的噩梦。
  • They're not like dogs,they're hideous brutes.它们不像狗,是丑陋的畜牲。
13 artifice 3NxyI     
  • The use of mirrors in a room is an artifice to make the room look larger.利用镜子装饰房间是使房间显得大一点的巧妙办法。
  • He displayed a great deal of artifice in decorating his new house.他在布置新房子中表现出富有的技巧。
14 attachment POpy1     
  • She has a great attachment to her sister.她十分依恋她的姐姐。
  • She's on attachment to the Ministry of Defense.她现在隶属于国防部。
15 impudent X4Eyf     
  • She's tolerant toward those impudent colleagues.她对那些无礼的同事采取容忍的态度。
  • The teacher threatened to kick the impudent pupil out of the room.老师威胁着要把这无礼的小学生撵出教室。
16 sincerity zyZwY     
  • His sincerity added much more authority to the story.他的真诚更增加了故事的说服力。
  • He tried hard to satisfy me of his sincerity.他竭力让我了解他的诚意。
17 intimacy z4Vxx     
  • His claims to an intimacy with the President are somewhat exaggerated.他声称自己与总统关系密切,这有点言过其实。
  • I wish there were a rule book for intimacy.我希望能有个关于亲密的规则。
18 motives 6c25d038886898b20441190abe240957     
n.动机,目的( motive的名词复数 )
  • to impeach sb's motives 怀疑某人的动机
  • His motives are unclear. 他的用意不明。
19 justify j3DxR     
  • He tried to justify his absence with lame excuses.他想用站不住脚的借口为自己的缺席辩解。
  • Can you justify your rude behavior to me?你能向我证明你的粗野行为是有道理的吗?
20 assent Hv6zL     
  • I cannot assent to what you ask.我不能应允你的要求。
  • The new bill passed by Parliament has received Royal Assent.议会所通过的新方案已获国王批准。
21 distressed du1z3y     
  • He was too distressed and confused to answer their questions. 他非常苦恼而困惑,无法回答他们的问题。
  • The news of his death distressed us greatly. 他逝世的消息使我们极为悲痛。
22 warped f1a38e3bf30c41ab80f0dce53b0da015     
adj.反常的;乖戾的;(变)弯曲的;变形的v.弄弯,变歪( warp的过去式和过去分词 );使(行为等)不合情理,使乖戾,
  • a warped sense of humour 畸形的幽默感
  • The board has warped. 木板翘了。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
23 innate xbxzC     
  • You obviously have an innate talent for music.你显然有天生的音乐才能。
  • Correct ideas are not innate in the mind.人的正确思想不是自己头脑中固有的。
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