Study Guide

Northanger Abbey Chapter 4

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 4

  • Catherine hopes her new crush Henry is at the Pump-room (which would make a risqué name for a club), but he totally doesn't show and Catherine is bummed out.
  • She's stuck talking to Mrs. Allen again.
  • But then a random lady comes up and says she remembers Mrs. Allen from school.
  • It turns out this is Mrs. Allen's old friend Mrs. Thorpe, who totally tracked her down on Facebook. Oh, wait.
  • Mrs. Thorpe brags about her sons and Mrs. Allen can only fake interest since she has no kids.
  • Luckily for Catherine, Mrs. Thorpe has three daughters around Catherine's age.
  • The eldest, Isabella, is twenty-one, and is introduced as the best looking by Mrs. Thorpe. Isabella is thus the Marcia Brady of her family.
  • In a remarkable coincidence, Isabella's brother John is best friends with Catherine's brother James at Oxford.
  • So Catherine and Isabella promptly become best friends too.
  • Catherine and Isabella gossip about fashion, boys, dances, and London, which Isabella knows all about since she's visited like two times or something.
  • Isabella is four years older and dazzles Catherine with all her worldly experience and Catherine is a bit awed by her at first.
  • The two new friends are thrilled to find out that they are both attending the theater tonight and will be attending the same church the next day.
  • The narrator closes the chapter by telling us that Mrs. Thorpe is a widow and the family does not have much money.

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