Self has been musing about literary heroines.
It is a good thing she got a comment from one of her blog readers last week. Made her think more deeply about Northanger Abbey. Made her give it a chance.
She is so glad she did. Thank you, amoralegria.
Self is very bemused by Austen’s heroine, Catherine Morland, all of 17, who prior to spending the season in Bath has lived a very placid country life, where she has received little to no male attention. She is so very forthright in her liking for Mr. Tilney. She feels no shame or embarrassment in putting questions regarding him to Mr. Tilney’s sister. And when another man comes calling, she says at once, “I can’t go out with you; I am hoping to go for a walk with Miss Tilney and her brother.”
BWAH HA HA HA!
She looks for Mr. Tilney in vain, everywhere. Finally, she spots him at the theatre, and spends the length of two entire acts staring at him. In the way we all tend to know when someone stares at us for any length of time, he eventually returns her gaze.
Being a polite fellow, he walks over to her box to greet her. Catherine is thrilled! Absolutely thrilled! (So are readers!) Catherine tells Mr. Tilney how sorry she was not to have gone for a walk with him and his sister yesterday. She was with Mr. Thorpe but she would much have preferred to be with Mr. Tilney. She even tells Mr. Tilney: “I would have jumped out and run after you.”
HAR HAR HAR!
Mr. Tilney, who had walked into the box with a rather distant air, melts at her words, for as Austen writes:
IS THERE A HENRY IN THE WORLD WHO COULD BE INSENSITIVE TO SUCH A DECLARATION?
Dear Jane, self thinks you are absolutely right!
Catherine (who has apparently no filters, reminds self of J-Law) goes on to add: “I am sure by your look, when you came into the box, you were very angry.”
Mr. Tilney: “I angry! I could have no right.”
Catherine: “Well, nobody would have thought you had no right who saw your face.”
Mr. Tilney’s response is to ask “her to make room for him, and . . . he remained with them for some time.”
That’s right, dear blog readers. Mr. Tilney spends the rest of the evening with Catherine Morland. Disarmed by her candor. And that proves that he is a very, very intelligent man.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.