Study Guide

Northanger Abbey Chapter 10

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 10

  • The Allens, Thorpes, and two Morlands all attend the theater together.
  • Isabella is anxious to see Henry Tilney, but Catherine can't spot him.
  • Isabella tells Catherine and she and James have magically aligned opinions on every topic ever. She goes on to joke about how Catherine would have teased them if she had been present.
  • Catherine is overly serious and denies this accusation. Isabella is incredulous – it isn't made entirely clear, but it seems that Isabella can't quite believe how earnest and naive Catherine is.
  • The next day Catherine heads to the Pump-room to find Eleanor Tilney. She meets up with the Thorpes and James.
  • Catherine ends up walking around with James and Isabella and totally feels like a third wheel.
  • Luckily she spots Miss Tilney, and goes to talk to her. She tries to subtly grill Eleanor about Henry, but Catherine isn't great with subtlety, so the grilling is pretty obvious.
  • Eleanor is totally on to how Catherine feels about Henry now, but Catherine isn't aware that she's given anything away.
  • The two new friends part and plan to meet up at the ball tomorrow night. Bath is a non-stop party.
  • Catherine goes home happy and ponders her wardrobe. She's not sure what to wear to the ball tonight.
  • The narrator lets us know that this is silly, since most men don't notice what women wear at all.
  • The night of the ball has arrived and Catherine is a bit anxious. She really wants to avoid John Thorpe and she really wants Henry to notice her.
  • Isabella ditches her to go dance with James and Catherine is scared that John is going to ask her to dance and bore her by talking about the same old subjects.
  • Luckily, Henry asks her to dance, instead.
  • But then John comes up and says he thought he and Catherine were set to dance together already. Oh, snap. Drama alert.
  • Catherine denies this, saying he never actually asked her. John insists he asked her like five days ago or something.
  • John asks who this Tilney character is and rambles on till a group of passing ladies distracts him and he wanders off. This guy is such a class act.
  • Catherine goes back to Henry, relieved. Henry says that he's annoyed with John.
  • He insists that dancing is like a marriage and that he and Catherine are bound together for the duration of their dance.
  • Catherine finds this marriage/dancing comparison weird, and Henry hilariously goes on to list the similarities between the two.
  • Henry then asks about John and makes sure that Catherine isn't going to get distracted and break their dancing "engagement" (it's a pun – Henry's so clever). Catherine insists she doesn't want to dance with anyone else and Henry is happy.
  • They discuss Bath and Catherine says that she likes Bath society better since the country can be boring.
  • Henry appreciates Catherine's enthusiasm for Bath and notes that most people there are the jaded, high society type.
  • As the dance is finishing up, Catherine notices a man staring at her. Is it a stalker?
  • It's an older guy, handsome though, and he starts talking to Henry.
  • Henry comes back over and notes that the old man is his dad, General Tilney.
  • Catherine thinks that the whole family is really good looking. Good genes. This bodes well for future offspring.
  • Catherine chats with Miss Tilney too and the two decide to meet up tomorrow at noon to go on a walk, as long as it doesn't rain. Henry will be joining him.
  • Catherine barely saw Isabella all evening.

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