When last we left Catherine, she was "one of the happiest creatures in the world," having assured Henry Tilney that nothing less than being abducted by the evil John Thorpe could have prevented her from keeping her engagement of going for a country walk with Henry and his sister Eleanor.
[JJ Feild and Felicity Jones in the 2007 film adaptation of Jane Austen'sNORTHANGER ABBEY]
James & the Thorpes try to guilt Catherine into another excursion, but she
refuses: She's made plans with Eleanor.
Catherine unkind and obstinate. " If I am wrong," she says, "I
am doing what I believe to be right."
suspect," says Isabella, "there is no great struggle." Ouch.
It gets worse: Thorpe
announces he has cancelled Catherine's plans with Eleanor. WTF? Off Catherine
goes to set things straight.
Her parting words:
"If I could not be persuaded into doing what I thought wrong, I never will
be tricked into it."
Bypassing the Tilneys' servant, Catherine
rushes into their drawing room and breathlessly explains what happened.
All is forgiven;
she even meets Henry's father, General Tilney, who walks her to the door &
admires "the elasticity of her walk."
"Catherine…proceeded gaily" home, "walking, as she concluded,
with great elasticity, though she had never thought of it before."
Walking next day w/Tilneys, Catherine talks of her love for gothic novels.
"But you never read novels…?" she asks Henry.
Henry: "Why not?" Catherine: "Because they are not clever enough
for you -- gentlemen read better books."
Henry: "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a
good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
"But I really thought before, young men despised novels amazingly."
may well suggest amazement if
they do -- for they read nearly as many as women."
"Do not you think Udolpho the nicest book in the world?"
nicest; --by which I suppose you mean the neatest. That must depend upon the
said Miss Tilney, "you are very impertinent. Miss Morland, …The word
`nicest,' as you used it, did not suit him…"
sure," cried Catherine, "I did not mean to say any thing wrong; but
it is a nice book, and why should not I call it so?"
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."
Henry: "Oh! it is a
very nice word indeed! -- It does for every thing…every commendation on every
subject is comprised in that one word."
fact," cried his sister, "it ought only to be applied to you, without
any commendation at all."
Morland, let us leave him to meditate over our faults…, while we praise Udolpho
in whatever terms we like best."
turns 2 history. Cath: "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…"
"…yet I often think it odd that it should be so
dull, for a great deal of it must be invention."
And as for historians: "to be at so much trouble in filling great
volumes, which...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…"
for historians "are perfectly well qualified to torment readers of the
most advanced reason and mature time of life."
Tilneys began talking about drawing, and "Here Catherine was quite lost.
She knew nothing of drawing."
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."
inability of administering to the vanity of others" is something "which
a sensible person would always wish to avoid."
"A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing any thing,
should conceal it as well as she can."
larger and more trifling part of the [male] sex, imbecility in females is a
great enhancement of their personal charms…"
is a portion of [men] too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire
anything more in woman than ignorance."
Catherine did not know her own advantages."
good-looking girl, with an affectionate heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot
fail of attracting a clever young man."
lecture on drawing follows. From there, Henry segues to politics. And
"From politics, it was an easy step to silence."
offers this comment on current affairs. "I have heard that something very
shocking indeed will soon come out in London."
alarmed; Henry amused. Says Catherine: "I shall expect murder and
everything of the kind."
Eleanor says that
the government will of course take matters in hand. Henry, "endeavoring
not to smile," disagrees.
"Government…neither desires nor dares to interfere in such matters. There
must be murder; and government cares not how much."
stared. He laughed… 'Come, shall I make you understand each other, or leave you
to puzzle out an explanation as you can?'"
Morland has been talking of nothing more dreadful than a new publication,"
i.e., a gothic horror novel.
Henry: "Miss Morland -- my stupid sister has mistaken all your clearest
expressions…but she is by no means a simpleton in general."
Eleanor warns that Catherine will think Henry
"intolerably rude" 2 his sister "and a great brute in [his]
opinion of women in general."
Eleanor: "Miss Morland is not used to your
odd ways." Henry: "I shall be most happy to make her better
acquainted with them."
Henry: "Miss Morland, no one
can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do."
Henry: "In my opinion, nature has given
[women] so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half."
Eleanor: "We shall get nothing more serious
from him now, Miss Morland. He is not in a sober mood."
Eleanor: "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."
have worried, for "it was no effort to Catherine to believe that
Henry Tilney could never be wrong."
[This Twitter presentation of NORTHANGER ABBEY is brought to
you by The Upper Rooms, where there is always a bit of a crush.]
Which is why I'm spending my Valentine's night watching JJ Field,
Felicity Jones, Carrie Mulligan (she of the Oscar nomination for AN EDUCATION),
and the rest of the brilliant cast of NORTHANGER ABBEY , which airs on PBS
Masterpiece Classic tonight.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a romantic who is happily in love with my wonderful husband. But let's face it, Valentine's Day is
a holiday designed to make single people feel bad about themselves (and I spent
many years in the state of singledom) and people in relationships disappointed
in one another.
Sure, I loved Valentine's Day as a child, because it meant
cute little cards and candies for everyone in class. But once childhood is
over, we enter the stage of adult expectations. And expectations always mean
You know, the kind of disappointment where you told yourself
your loved one was going to buy you expensive flowers at the florist's instead
of supermarket flowers. Or dinner at that restaurant you told him about instead of
bringing home burgers from the diner down the street. Or a piece of jewelry
instead of something with an electrical cord.
See what I mean? Suddenly love is measured in dollars and
cents and units of thoughtfulness and degrees of mind-reading and catering to
neediness. Is that anywhere a thinking/feeling/loving person wants to be? Not to mention the
fact that if you don't have a special someone to put to the test of true love
every February 14, you feel even worse. Which is why I swore off Valentine's
Day long ago. And I haven't had a glimmer of one of those disappointing V-Days
Which is why I'm celebrating love with the perfect antidote
to the Valentine's Day blues: It's called NORTHANGER ABBEY, and it's a lovely
adaptation of Jane Austen's delightful, witty, and very romantic coming-of-age
story. NORTHANGER ABBEY airs tonight on PBS Masterpiece Classic. Check your
local listings, settle in with something and/or someone yummy, and treat
yourself to a date with Henry Tilney. If you don't know who he is, you soon
And if you really want to have fun, join the NORTHANGER
ABBEY Twitter party and tweet away with other Austen fans during the broadcast.
We had so much fun tweeting during the EMMA broadcasts the past three weeks that
we can't resist doing the same for NORTHANGER ABBEY. We'll be using the same hashtag:
Please check out Fiction to Film's interview with me, where I answer reader questions and provide advice for authors seeking a publisher, discuss my love of Jane Austen, the idea of bringing my Austen Addict novels to the screen, and much more.