Northanger Abbey (Paperback)
Colour and Line Drawing Illustrations by -C.E. Brock -Thomson -H.M. Brock As Austen's novel opens, we are introduced to Catherine Moreland, a seventeen-year old girl who is invited to go on a trip to Bath with her wealthy neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. Catherine has never been away from home for an extended period of time, and she is excited to see the famed resort town.At Bath, Catherine is inducted into the social world of balls and entertainments. During one of their first nights in town, Catherine attends a ball in a venue called the Lower Rooms and meets a wealthy young clergyman named Henry Tilney. Henry charms Catherine with his gentle witticisms, and she is delighted to dance with him. Catherine seeks him out the next day at another social gathering, but Henry is nowhere to be found. Instead, Catherine is introduced to Mrs. Allen's friend Mrs. Thorpe, who has three daughters near Catherine's age. The eldest of these daughters, Isabella, befriends Catherine. It turns out that their brothers, James and John, are friends from Oxford. When James and John come to Bath for a visit, Isabella reveals her fondness for James, and John attempts to court Catherine by offering her carriage rides in the countryside. During the course of their first carriage ride, Catherine notes that John spends a great deal of his time bragging, but nonetheless she agrees to dance with him when he asks her to be his dance partner.At the ball that night, Henry returns, and Catherine wishes she could dance with him instead. It turns out that Henry left Bath for a week, but now that he is back Catherine finds herself increasingly enamored of him. John's presence becomes obtrusive and even odious to her. Meanwhile, Isabella and James have dove headlong into an open courtship, and Catherine finds that the two people she loves best in Bath--her brother and her closest friend--are devoting more and more time to each other, at the exclusion of her company. Catherine decides to become friends with Henry's sister Miss Tilney in order to fill the sudden lack of companionship. Of course, she also wants to know more about Henry.Catherine schedules a walk in the countryside with Miss Tilney and Henry, but on the morning of their walk it is raining, and the Tilneys do not arrive exactly on time. Isabella, James, and John persuade Catherine not to wait for them any longer, and Catherine agrees to go on a carriage ride instead. As soon as they set out, Catherine sees the Tilneys walking down the street. She is angry because John lied to her about their whereabounts: he'd told her that he had seen them leave town in a carriage earlier that day. Catherine wants to leave the carriage, but John only urges the horses to go faster.The walk is rescheduled for another day, and Catherine hopes that her friendship with the Tilneys can continue to progress. Once again, Isabella, James and John implore her to go on another carriage ride, and this time John sneaks away and tells the Tilneys that Catherine has to reschedule yet again. Catherine is visibly angry by this dishonest gesture, and she rushes over to the Tilneys' house to make amends. They accept her explanation, and the long-awaited walk is very pleasant.Meanwhile, James and Isabella become engaged during the course of their carriage ride. Catherine is happy at the pending union. James rushes off to get his parents' approval. He is successful, but he also reveals that his father can only provide them with a modest income. Isabella's expectations of a wealthy, lavish lifestyle are dashed by this news, and her demeanor sours, though she attempts to hide it. To make matters worse for James, the dashing Captain Tilney, Henry's older brother, arrives in Bath and begins to woo Isabella.