Welcome to Part Eighteen of our latest Tale for Our Time – my audio serialization of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. The action has now moved from Bath to Gloucestershire, and Veronica, a New Zealand member of The Mark Steyn Club, is enjoying it:
At last we have reached the Tilney family seat, Northanger Abbey, and it’s… rather nice and modern, with up to date fixtures and fittings and nary a cobweb nor an ancient housekeeper in sight! What a disappointment for Catherine, after Henry’s thrilling description of the place, which sounded as if he was reading directly from The Mysteries of Udolpho. All that was missing was Laurentina’s skeleton!
He was laughing too much to continue, unfortunately, and doesn’t quite realise I think that Catherine takes the Gothic novel rather more seriously than he does. Still, after the underwhelming nature of her arrival, Catherine’s bedroom may yet prove to be a haunted chamber with doors that do not lock, its gloomy interior stalked by the unquiet spirit of Matilda Tilney, searching for the pages of her lost manuscript, and doomed to walk the halls of the Abbey for all eternity until she finds them…
Best instalment yet Mark, loved it 🙂
Thank you, Veronica. It was fun to read. As to whether Catherine’s bedroom at Northanger is haunted, in tonight’s episode she makes a preliminary inspection:
Her eye suddenly fell on a large high chest, standing back in a deep recess on one side of the fireplace. The sight of it made her start; and, forgetting everything else, she stood gazing on it in motionless wonder, while these thoughts crossed her:
“This is strange indeed! I did not expect such a sight as this! An immense heavy chest! What can it hold? Why should it be placed here? Pushed back too, as if meant to be out of sight! I will look into it—cost me what it may, I will look into it—and directly too—by daylight. If I stay till evening my candle may go out.”
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