Study Guide

Northanger Abbey Chapter 15

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 15

  • Next day. Isabella sends Catherine an apology note and Catherine goes to visit her.
  • She hears all about the road trip – they failed to make it all the way to the Castle once again.
  • Isabella starts dropping really obvious hints about James and Catherine finally picks up on it. She asks Isabella if she is in love with James.
  • Isabella does her one better and tells her that she and James have gotten engaged. Catherine is excited and Isabella carries on about how they'll be sisters now and how she'll like Catherine and the Morlands much more than her own family.
  • Catherine finds that sentiment a bit extreme.
  • Isabella rambles on about how she first fell in love with James.
  • Isabella is a bit worried about whether the Morlands will approve, but Catherine assures her that they will.
  • Isabella notes that she has no desire for a lot of money or a fancy house, and will be happy living in the country, though the town she names is actually a suburb of London. Catherine fails to pick up on that bit of irony. (Irony here means that we know something that Catherine doesn't know. Want to read more about irony? Check out the "Narrative Technique" section.)
  • James comes to say bye – he's heading off to see his parents.
  • Catherine hangs out with the Thorpes and is confused by the family dynamic. They spend the evening competing to see who can be the wittiest and, since Isabella's engagement isn't official yet, they all talk around it slyly.
  • The next day Isabella is freaking out from nerves. Finally a letter arrives from James saying everything his cool. His parents approve and they can get married.
  • The Thorpes are mega-excited.
  • James says he'll send details about the money and property settlement later.
  • John is going out of town now, so he says goodbye to Catherine.
  • John and Catherine are left alone and John starts dropping anvil hints about the two of them following Isabella and James's example and getting married themselves.
  • This completely goes over Catherine's head, and she responds to everything John says literally. It's hilarious.
  • John hints about coming to call on her in the future, and Catherine is like, "Whatever, fine."
  • Catherine notes as he is leaving that people shouldn't marry for money; it's tacky. John falls all over himself to agree with her and leaves thinking that he and Catherine are on the same page, when they totally aren't.
  • Catherine arrives home and is put out that the Allens are not surprised by James getting engaged, since they saw it coming a mile away.

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