Northanger Abbey Chapters 15-17: Summary, Musings & Discussion: Day 10 Giveaway

“Nay, my beloved, sweetest friend,” continued the other, “compose yourself. I am amazingly agitated, as you perceive. Let us sit down and talk in comfort. Well, and so you guessed it the moment you had my note? Sly creature! Oh! My dear Catherine, you alone, who know my heart, can judge of my present happiness. Your brother is the most charming of men. I only wish I were more worthy of him. But what will your excellent father and mother say? Oh! Heavens! When I think of them I am so agitated!” Isabella Thorpe, Chapter 15 

Quick Synopsis 

Isabella and James Morland are engaged pending parental consent. Isabella is anxious that she has such a small fortune, but money is nothing to her and she is content to live in a cottage. A letter arrives the next day from the Morland’s and all will be done for the couple. Isabella & Mrs. Thorpe are elated. Isabella envisions herself the envy of all of her friends being so well settled. John Thorpe speaks to Catherine exclaiming that marriage is a fine thing and one gets another. He takes Catherine’s agreement as a form of encouragement. Catherine dines with the Tilney’s who are quite and out of spirits. Isabella credits this to arrogance and pride. Catherine attends the Assembly dance where Isabella declares she will not dance with anyone since her James is not there. Catherine is introduced to Henry’s brother Captain Tilney who is interested in dancing with Isabella, but Catherine tells him she will dance with no one that night, only to be surprised later that she does accept his invitation. Isabella later explains to her that it was for a favor and that he was such a nuisance. A second letter arrives from James revealing that they will have £400 a year and can marry in 2-3 years. Isabella and Mrs. Thorpe are grave and out of spirits. Isabella claims it is because of the wait, but alludes to the low amount of money. Catherine is invited by the Tilney’s to be their guest at Northanger Abbey.


Chapter 15 begins with the announcement of an engagement, which is always a happy event for a Regency era woman, since it fulfills her duty and obligation to her family and society. In this case, it is a bittersweet moment. Isabella and Mrs. Thorpe are elated. They have attained their goal to attract and attach themselves to a wealth young man. Our suspicions about the Thorpe’s true nature are revealed further. Isabella continues to say what she thinks others want to hear, but feels quite the opposite. Here is a great example of her double talk.

“For my own part,” said Isabella, “my wishes are so moderate that the smallest income in nature would be enough for me. Where people are really attached, poverty itself is wealth; grandeur I detest: I would not settle in London for the universe. A cottage in some retired village would be ecstasy. There are some charming little villas about Richmond.” Isabella Thorpe, Chapter 15

This is echoed by her brother John’s proclamation about marriage to Catherine. He sees the advantage of the romantic moment and wants to finish the family plan and attach to her also.

“A famous good thing this marrying scheme, upon my soul! A clever fancy of Morland’s and Belle’s. What do you think of it, Miss Morland? I say it is no bad notion.” 

“I am sure I think it a very good one.” 

“Do you? That’s honest, by heavens! I am glad you are no enemy to matrimony, however. Did you ever hear the old song ‘Going to One Wedding Brings on Another?’ I say, you will come to Belle’s wedding, I hope.” John Thorpe and Catherine Morland, Chapter 15 

He follows this with an almost duplicate pronouncement that we heard previously by Isabella to Catherine about how he needs very little in the way of money to make his life happy.

Give me but a little cheerful company, let me only have the company of the people I love, let me only be where I like and with whom I like, and the devil take the rest, say I. John Thorpe, Chapter 15 

Catherine agrees with him that it is the wickedest thing in existence to marry for money. John takes her speech as a form of encouragement and departs for London content that they are in sync since she has also agreed to let him visit her at her home at Fullerton. Catherine still does not see the deception in their double talk and at the next Assembly when Isabella declares that she will not dance because her James is not there, Catherine takes her for her word and explains that to Henry’s brother Captain Tilney who wants to dance with her.

Catherine, meanwhile, undisturbed by presentiments of such an evil, or of any evil at all, except that of having but a short set to dance down, enjoyed her usual happiness with Henry Tilney, listening with sparkling eyes to everything he said; and, in finding him irresistible, becoming so herself. The Narrator, Chapter 16

Not surprised that she finds him irresistible! ;) But wise Henry sees the folly of her naivety, and follows with a little lesson for her about reading personalities and herself. What transpires is one of those moments when one surprises oneself and friends by saying something quite apt and witty beyond equal measure.

“Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly well.” 

“Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.” 

“Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language.” Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland, Chapter 16

Henry continues through his conversation to gently teach Catherine about social interaction and judgment of character. She may be astounded that Isabella did dance with Captain Tilney after she so firmly was apposed to dancing, but Henry asks her to remember if Isabella has every changed her mind before, clarifying her nature and intensions. Later, when Isabella’s explanation to Catherine about dancing with Captain Tilney seems shallow, she starts to get it. When Isabella learns that she and James will only have £400 a year and must wait 2-3 years to marry, Catherine is able to use her new evaluation skills to understand Isabella and Mrs. Thorpe’s two faced reaction to the news.

Isabella recollected herself. “As to that, my sweet Catherine, there cannot be a doubt, and you know me well enough to be sure that a much smaller income would satisfy me. It is not the want of more money that makes me just at present a little out of spirits; I hate money; and if our union could take place now upon only fifty pounds a year, I should not have a wish unsatisfied. Ah! my Catherine, you have found me out. There’s the sting. The long, long, endless two years and half that are to pass before your brother can hold the living.” 

“Yes, yes, my darling Isabella,” said Mrs. Thorpe, “we perfectly see into your heart. You have no disguise. We perfectly understand the present vexation; and everybody must love you the better for such a noble honest affection.” Isabella & Mrs. Thorpe, Chapter 16

They want Catherine to believe that they are not upset by the amount of money, only the length of time before they can marry. The real ‘sting’ is when Mrs. Thorpe claims that Isabella has a perfect heart and no disguise. We see that the daughter and son have learned all their tricks through the mother, and Catherine now sees that too when she is uncomfortable and hurt when Isabella says “everybody has a right to do what they like with their own money.” This slight in Catherine’s mind implies that Isabella thinks that her parents are ungenerous with their funds, when in actuality; Isabella thinks they are rich and stingy. More misconceptions and misreading of personalities and finances by Austen to perplex and fuel the plot. Catherine may be wary of the Thorpe’s but she is still optimistic of marriage, and now seeing how these things come about with her brother, secretly hoping the same for herself with Henry Tilney. When the Tilney’s invite her to ber their guest at Northanger Abbey, all of her hopes and fantasies come together. Not only will she be with the Tilney’s and near Henry, she will see a Gothic castle with its “long, damp passages, its narrow cells and ruined chapel, were to be within her daily reach.”

Her passion for ancient edifices was next in degree to her passion for Henry Tilney – and castles and abbeys made usually the charm of those reveries which his image did not fill. To see and explore either the ramparts and keep of the one, or the cloisters of the other, had been for many weeks a darling wish, though to be more than the visitor of an hour had seemed too nearly impossible for desire. The Narrator, Chapter 17 

Too funny. We are not quite sure if she is more passionate about Henry, or his home! As the story proceeds to the second volume of the novel, we shall see a change in our heroine and the style of writing by Austen as the Gothic parody really comes to light.

  • Online text of Northanger Abbey complements of Molland’s Circulating-library
  • Group reading schedule  

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey: DAY 10 Giveaway



Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments,

Charades & Horrible Blunders (2006) 

by Josephine Ross (Author), Henrietta Webb (Illustrator)

Leave a comment by October 30th to qualify for the free drawing on October 31st for one copy of Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders, by Josephine Ross (US residents only)

Upcoming event posts
Day 11 – Oct 19          Book Review – NA Naxos Audio
Day 12 – Oct 20          Guest Blog – Valancourt Books
Day 13 – Oct 21          Group Read NA Chapters 18-21
Day 14 – Oct 22          Book Review – OWC NA

© 2008 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Blogosphere

“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.”
Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

Austen around the blogosphere for the week of September 28th

A new stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice opened at The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada this week. Austenprose was lucky to snag a review by local Janeite Deborah Jane and you can read all about this stunning adaptation here.

Lost in Austen concluded triumphantly this week with episode four as heroine Amanda Price dashed about from century to century attempting to fix the mixed up plot. Some critics loved it, others did not. You can read about all the deconstruction discussion on AustenBlog, and reviews on Jane Austen’s World, BlogCritics, And Leaves the World, The Journal of the Browncoat Cat, and Austenprose. Now that it is over, I hope that producers out there in TV and movie land will consider another Austen novel re-imagining. It certainly got the media and people discussing and watching our favorite authoresses work, or sort of her work since the plot was not quite what Austen penned.

Inspired by Lost in Austen? One of favorite Austen blogs from down under has some ideas on what producers could do with the plot and characters in Mansfield Park. Too funny!

Austen-esque book reviews for the week, Cassandra & Jane, times two, and three, All Things Austen, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, and The Darcys and the Bingleys. In addition, check out the reports and interviews from Austenesque authors, Rebecca Ann Collins, Jill PitkeathleyJane Odiwe, and the summer 2008 book reviews have been added to JASNA on line.

Author Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds) was interviewed about her new Austen inspired book, The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, that hit book stores in Australia on October 1st and in the US on December 9th. This highly anticipated sequel is McCullough’s chance to stick it to the literati who dismiss her novels as pulp and write something tongue-in-cheek to tweak a few noses. Oh my! If the book is as outspoken as Ms. McCullough, Miss Mary Bennet might be as grating as her singing.

Who is Sophia Sentiment, and what is her connection to Jane Austen? The Becoming Jane fansite offers some possibilities this week along with some nice physical descriptions of the author by her family.

It looks like major casting is now complete for the Broadway bound musical Pride and Prejudice by the selection of Laura Osnes as literary legend Elizabeth Bennet. Readers might recognize Ms. Osnes as one of the winners in the TV reality show, ‘Your The One That I Want’ which aired last summer and selected the two starring roles of Sandy and Danny in the Broadway revival of Grease in a round robin type audition-off. Miss Bennet could not have a more beautiful or talented actress to portray her. Best of luck Laura!

Pride and Prejudice character Lydia Bennet is one fun and naughty young lady, and author Jane Odiwe is her celebrated channel as she continues penning her journal at Jane Austen Sequels blog.

The Annual General Meeting for JASNA opened today in Chicago celebrating Austen’s Legacy. I’m pea green over all my Austen friends having so much Jane fun without me. Be sure to have an Austentini for all of those absent Janeites!

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey kicked off this week here at Austenprose. The Austen novel event will feature a group read of the novel, guest bloggers and free giveaways. Check out the introduction to the event to catch up with the celebration. Here are a few participants; Becky’s Book Reviews, Jane Austen Reviews, Cherishing Darcy, Bookbath, Kimberley’s Cup, A Striped Armchair, Wings of EaglesA Moment Captured, and Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker. The Northanger fun continues until October 31st, so please join us.

Until next week, happy reading!

Laurel Ann

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey Introduction: Day 1 Giveaway


Recently, I was surprised to learn that Northanger Abbey is one of the least popular of Jane Austen novels based on book sales. Oh my. It must be because they have not read it yet. I unabashedly adore it. Just the thought of being with heroine Catherine Morland as she discovers early nineteenth-century Bath with all its delights and diversions of dancing, shopping, taking the waters and socializing is enough to chase away any black cloud hovering over my day. Note: to all classical book buyers out there who pass over Northanger Abbey for other staid tried and true war horses like David Copperfield and Ivanhoe, get a life — live on the edge — and go Gothic with Catherine and Henry, you won’t regret it!

So why do I like Northanger Abbey? Hmm? Well, it makes me laugh, which I dearly love to do; it is a sassy burlesque which adds on more points in its favor; it was written by a youthful Jane Austen as a parody on the over dramatic and sensational Gothic fiction of her day; and it is so darn exuberant. It just screams youth, folly and fun: three things in my humble opinion that we can never have too much of.

One of the things that I love about blogging is that it is one of the few things in my life I have complete creative control over (accept my hair which is another story), and I can choose the content and tone. Admittedly, blogging about Jane Austen is a bit obscure, but I do it because she is my favorite novelist. When I have the opportunity to blog about my author of choice and about one of my favorite novels written by her, plus invite my friends and professional associates to join in the party as well, it does not get much better on the blogosphere.

Please note a few changes to the previously announced group reading schedule. On the advice of a good friend and college lit professor, regretfully I have been compelled to postpone the group read of The Mysteries of Udolpho that was schedule during Go Gothic. The book is huge at over 600 pages of fine print in my Oxford edition and should be read over a two month schedule, not the two weeks that I projected. Total miscalculation on my part and I apologize to any readers who rushed to purchase books, or dug them out of the attic! I agonized over the decision but on the positive side, it will give us more time to read Northanger Abbey, and I have adjusted the reading schedule accordingly.

And so gentle readers please join the celebration in progress here at Austenprose as we discover again the brilliance of Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey with a group read, discussion, guest bloggers, and free giveaways. Enjoy!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey: DAY 1 Giveaway

Oxford World’s Classics edition of Northanger Abbey

& Minor Works, by Jane Austen

Oxford University Press (2008). The new revised edition includes a full unabridged text, of Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watson’s and Sandition, an introduction by Claudia L. Johnson and loads of great supplemental material. A nice compact medium sized edition with informative and helpful appendixes, notes, bio and chronology on the author.

Leave a comment by October 30th to qualify for the free drawing on October 31st for one copy of Northanger Abbey & Minor Works (US residents only)

Upcoming event posts
Day 02 – Oct 2             Group read NA Chapters 1-3
Day 03 – Oct 6             Guest Blog – Amanda Grange
Day 04 – Oct 7             Group Read NA Chapters 4-7
Day 05 – Oct 8             NA movies – Diana Birchall

Welcome to Go Gothic with Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

“but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?”

Welcome, and get ready to Go Gothic with Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Please join us as we investigate the humour, romance, and spooky undertones in Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey, a parody on the Gothic fiction that was so popular within her lifetime. Included will be a group read of Northanger Abbey, guest bloggers, discussion on the 7 novels included in the famous Northanger Cannon, and plenty of great giveaways.

Go Gothic. You’ll never regret it!

Mansfield Park Chapters 25-32: Summation, Musings & Discussion: Day 9 Give-away!


Fanny’s last feeling in the visit was disappointment: for the shawl which Edmund was quietly taking from the servant to bring and put round her shoulders was seized by Mr. Crawford’s quicker hand, and she was obliged to be indebted to his more prominent attention. The Narrator, Chapter 25 

Quick Synopsis 

Sir Thomas notices that Henry is paying particular attention to Fanny as they dine at the parsonage. Henry visits Thornton Lacey, Edmund’s pending parish, and would like to improve the parsonage and live there himself. This talk reminds Mary of Edmund’s looming ordination. Sir Thomas will host a ball in Fanny and William’s honor at Mansfield. Fanny receives two gifts of chains for her amber cross. Which one should she wear? Fanny realizes that Edmund is seriously in love with Mary. Mary tells Edmund that she does not dance with clergymen in a last attempt to dissuade him from his profession. Fanny thinks “in spite of everything, that a ball was indeed delightful.” William departs for London with Henry. Henry returns informing Fanny that William has been promoted to lieutenant by his hand through his uncle the Admiral. She is delighted, until he proposes marriage. She will not accept, even though Sir Thomas drills and badgers her for reasons, condemning her as “Self-willed, obstinate, selfish, and ungrateful”.  Fanny is wretched and miserable and made to speak to Henry one last time. 


Everyone notices Fanny at last! She has matured into a beautiful young woman and is being invited to visit the parsonage and dine, much to the amazement of her aunt’s who can only wonder why anyone would want Fanny, and lecture her on her manners and deportment. On reflection, it is really Mrs. Norris’ repeated putdowns that established her lowly position in the Mansfield household. If Lady Bertram’s passive indifference had been only the reverse, Fanny’s life and outlook could have been so much different. By nature she was a shy child, but a positive environment could have drawn her out. Mary Crawford seems to be her complete opposite in temperament and attitudes. I was struck by this telling quote. 

“There, I will stake my last like a woman of spirit. No cold prudence for me. I am not born to sit still and do nothing. If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving for it.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 25 

And she is playing her game to win Edmund’s heart and persuade him to change his profession like a master. It seems in every one of their meeting, she is working away at his resolve in pursuit of her goal. He is charmed by her spell, blind to her faults, and ready to forgive her by rationalizing her indecorous behavior by blaming her upbringing. One wonders what kind of minister he will make if he does not read personalities or see human failings so easily? The one question that he deliberates over and over is, does she love him enough to give up her essentials to happiness, – money and freedom. He doubts it, but continues in his delusion all-the-same. I can not think of two people so far apart on principles and life goals than Mary and Edmund. Today, they would definitely fail one of those compatibility tests that young couples take before they marry! My heart went out to Fanny though when she truly understands how much in love with Mary he is. 

He was gone as he spoke; and Fanny remained to tranquillise herself as she could. She was one of his two dearest- that must support her. But the other: the first! She had never heard him speak so openly before, and though it told her no more than what she had long perceived, it was a stab, for it told of his own convictions and views. They were decided. He would marry Miss Crawford. The Narrator, Chapter 27 

My greatest surprise is in Henry Crawford! Has the callous cad found principles and virtues from his nearness to Fanny? If so, she may deserve sainthood! Ha! He has undergone such a material change from rogue to gallant savior with his attentions, manner and proclamations of his honorable intensions to Fanny, that I am all amazement. 

“I care neither what they say nor what they feel. They will now see what sort of woman it is that can attach me, that can attach a man of sense. I wish the discovery may do them any good. And they will now see their cousin treated as she ought to be, and I wish they may be heartily ashamed of their own abominable neglect and unkindness. They will be angry,” Henry Crawford, Chapter 30 

His timing with his offer of marriage to Fanny is off though, and blew my slight softening to him. Helping Fanny’s brother William to obtain a promotion was a sly manipulation to win her gratitude which she graciously bestowed. Never-the-less, how little he truly knows the woman that he wants to marry, judging her against other women of his acquaintance such as Julia and Maria who would have succumbed to his ploy and accepted him without hesitation. Our Fanny Price has principles and can not be bought or badgered by her uncle into submission. Bravo Fanny! 

Further reading 

Online text complements of Molland’s Circulating Library
Cast of characters
Chapter 25-32 summary
Chapter 25-32 quotes and quips 

Mansfield Park Madness: Day 9 Give-away 

Leave a comment to by August 30 qualify for the free drawing on August 31 for one copy of.

Mansfield Park: Barnes & Noble Classics

Barnes & Noble (2005). Revised edition. Novel text and introduction and notes by Amanda Claybaugh. Hardcover, 427 pages, ISBN 978-1593083564 

Upcoming posts
Day 10 – Aug 24          MP 1999 movie discussion
Day 11 – Aug 25          MP Oxford book review
Day 12 – Aug 26          MP novel discussion chapters 33-40
Day 13 – Aug 27          MP 2007 movie discussion