Study Guide

Northanger Abbey Chapter 16

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 16

  • Catherine goes to dine with the Tilneys, but doesn't have the best time. Eleanor and Henry aren't very talkative. She can't figure out why since the General was so civil and nice.
  • Later she visits Isabella, who insults all the Tilneys and says that they are arrogant and snobby.
  • Isabella notes that John is way nicer and cooler than Henry. Catherine ignores this.
  • There's another ball. These people never stop with the parties.
  • Isabella insists that she won't dance tonight and will instead pine for James in a corner. Sounds like a plan.
  • Catherine hangs out with the Tilneys and has fun at the ball.
  • The eldest Tilney, Captain Frederick Tilney, has arrived in town. He's super-good-looking, but Catherine thinks that Henry has the better personality.
  • The Tilney brothers go off to chat after Henry dances with Catherine. Henry comes back and says that Frederick wants to be introduced to Isabella so he can ask her to dance. Catherine says "no thanks" on her friend's behalf, thinking that Isabella won't want to dance with anyone.
  • Henry laughs about how Catherine is clueless about people and has no understanding of the motives of others. He then compliments her about being so good-natured and nice.
  • Catherine is embarrassed.
  • Then she spies Isabella heading to the dance floor with Captain Tilney.
  • Henry finds this about-face hilarious. Catherine is confused.
  • After the dancing Catherine goes to confront Isabella about dancing when she said she wouldn't.
  • Isabella says she's only dancing because the Captain won't stop pestering her.
  • A few days later (the narrator doesn't specify how long exactly), the girls meet again to discuss James's second letter to Isabella. This one lets her know all the details, like their income and property.
  • It turns out it's not a lot and they won't be able to get married for three years, since James has to save up his money.
  • Isabella is not thrilled with this. The Thorpes start insinuating that Mr. Morland is being stingy and that he really has more money.
  • Catherine is upset by these insinuations and says that her father is very generous and totally did the best he could, especially since he has ten kids to consider.
  • Isabella gets herself together and insists she's only upset about having to wait three years, not about the money.
  • Catherine doubts this somewhat, but soon gets over it.

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