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Catherine and Isabella have known each other around ten days. They meet in the Pump-room, Bath's best hot-spot, for some gossip.
Isabella gripes that Catherine kept her waiting forever. Catherine thought she made good time.
The two discuss reading Anne Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. Catherine is reading it for the first time and is spoiler-free, so Isabella won't tell her plot points.
Catherine says that she would spend her entire life reading Udolpho, except she wanted to see Isabella, so she tore herself away.
Isabella gives Catherine a list of some of her favorite Gothic novels, thus ensuring that Catherine won't read anything particularly educational for at least a few months.
Isabella switches topics and gossips about her friend Miss Andrews, who is not admired by men. Isabella is upset by this.
Isabella refused to dance with some man unless he would admit Miss Andrews was beautiful. Isabella assures Catherine that she will defend her if anyone bashes her and tells Catherine that she must be popular with boys.
Catherine is embarrassed by this.
Isabella switches gears again and now calls Miss Andrews insipid, or dumb. Good to see she sticks to her opinions and her friends.
Isabella will not stop talking. She now hints at Catherine's crush on Henry and tells her she understands her feelings – she won't dish on the name of her crush though.
Catherine points out that she may never see Henry again and starts talking about Udolpho.
If they had the internet Catherine would probably be cooped up at her house on a Udolpho message board.
She and Isabella discuss what Mrs. Morland reads. Mrs. Morland does read novels, but not the Gothic ones that Isabella and Catherine enjoy.
Isabella insists that she and Catherine dress the same for tonight's ball. She claims that men notice such things.
After ragging on men in general for a bit, Isabella asks what type of guy Catherine finds attractive.
Catherine flounders a bit and then settles on a guy with a bit of a tan. Isabella latches onto that and notes how that describes Henry Tilney.
She then says that she herself likes fair complexions and then stops, saying she's giving too much away.
Catherine is confused.
Isabella says some men are bothering her and insists that she and Catherine move.
The men depart soon after and Isabella now insists that she has to show Catherine a hat in a shop, so they take off in the direction the men walked. Conveniently.