||Here's a summary of the
story. If you’d prefer to skip straight to
the actual text of the novel, click
Abbey – the text
Gothic novel theme is introduced
Morland is our heroine. The eldest daughter of a clergyman, and one of
a numerous family, she is invited by a kind neighbour, Mrs Allen, to
accompany her and her husband on a six week trip to Bath, as Mr Allen
has been sent there by his doctor to 'take the waters' to cure his
gout. Catherine is delighted and off they go.
- The ladies
acquire new dresses on their arrival in
and suitably dressed make their debut at the Upper Rooms. Mrs Allen
knows no one there, and needless to say, neither does Catherine. They
are undaunted; determined to enjoy themselves, they stay for the entire
evening and return home having spoken to no one else.
- At the Lower
Rooms they are luckier; Catherine is
introduced to Mr Tilney and dances with him. At the Pump Room next day
they meet an old friend of Mrs Allen, Mrs Thorpe, who introduces
Catherine to her daughter, Isabella. The two young ladies rapidly
become best friends and are soon inseparable. They discover that their
brothers know each other at Oxford. But Mr Tilney seems to have
disappeared; even though Catherine watches out for him over the next
few days, she doesn't spot him.
Morland and the Tilneys get to know each other better
- Isabella introduces Catherine to The
a novel in the Gothic style which is tremendously popular at this
period. The two young ladies spend their time alternately discussing
novels and looking out for suitable young men. Perfectly normal
- Their respective elder brothers arrive in Bath and
immediately enlisted as suitable dance partners at the assemblies;
Isabella is particularly struck with the charms of James Morland, but
Catherine is less keen on John Thorpe, who seems to talk of nothing but
- At the next dance, Mr Tilney reappears with his
although he asks Catherine to dance, she has to decline as she is
engaged to dance with John Thorpe. She is highly indignant when Mr
Thorpe only emerges from the card room long after the dance has
started. Mr Tilney speaks to her again during the course of the
evening, but does not ask her again to dance. Miss Tilney, however,
seems very pleasant, and Catherine is determined to make friends with
engagement and an invitation
- Catherine goes on a drive with her brother, Isabella
John Thorpe. She is bored to death by Mr Thorpe, and returns to find
that Mrs Allen has met again with the Tilneys while out walking.
- Miss Tilney is found at last at the Pump-room, and
eventually Catherine catches up with Mr Tilney again at the Cotillion
Ball. Finally she manages to dance with him and they agree to go on a
walk with his sister the following day.
- It rains the next day and persuaded by John Thorpe
Tilneys have forgotten all about their walk, Catherine goes with him,
his sister and her brother on another drive, only to find on their
return that the Tilneys did call for her and she must have offended
them by not being there. She is very cross with Mr Thorpe and horrified
at what the Tilneys must think of her. She doesn't get much sympathy
from Isabella and is rather irritated by her.
- She meets up with Mr Tilney at the theatre that
is not offended and nor is his sister. Catherine is much relieved,
although John Thorpe is still hanging around, irritating her more than
ever. They rearrange their walk and in spite of more interference from
Mr Thorpe and attempts to persuade her to go on a drive instead, the
walk finally takes place.
true colours are revealed
- James Morland proposes to Isabella Thorpe and is
He obtains his father's consent to their marriage, but it cannot take
place until he takes orders as a priest in two years' time. The lovers
settle down to wait; meanwhile,Captain Tilney, Henry Tilney's elder
brother, arrives in Bath and starts flirting with Isabella.
- Catherine is invited by the Tilneys to go with them
their home, Northanger Abbey and is beside herself with joy. She is
disturbed however by Isabella's behaviour, but is hopeful that Captain
Tilney will not stay long in Bath after she and the rest of the Tilney
family have left.
- The Tilneys and Catherine leave for Northanger;
aware of her fondness for Gothic novels, teases Catherine on the way by
telling her all sorts of stories about haunted rooms and secret
passages, but Northanger has in fact been substantially modernised, in
spite of originally being an abbey, and Catherine is rather
- The ancient building and the behaviour of the
which Catherine considers rather odd at times, all lead her imagination
to run away with her. Before long she is imagining all sorts of Gothic
horrors - surely the General must have murdered his wife, or has her
imprisoned in some remote attic. Henry discovers what she is thinking,
and puts a stop to such nonsense - Catherine is mortified, but
that he does not seem to think much the worse of her for it.
The General is
- Catherine receives a letter from her brother James,
that his engagement to Isabella is over, and that she is now engaged to
Captain Tilney. Catherine is upset; Eleanor and Henry are astonished
and do not think their father will approve.
- Henry has his own parsonage over at Woodston, some
miles from Northanger, and they all go to dinner there with him the
following week. The General drops some broad hints in Catherine's
direction, which lead her to suspect that he hopes that she will marry
Henry, but Henry himself has not given her any reason to believe that
he thinks so too.
- Catherine receives a letter from Isabella, which
news that Captain Tilney has left Bath and they are not engaged. She
pretends that the engagement to James has never been broken and asks
Catherine to get her brother to write to her. Catherine is indignant,
and does not reply to the letter. The Tilneys are relieved that their
brother is not to marry Isabella, and they and Catherine agree that it
has all turned out for the best, although Catherine is sorry she ever
made a friend of Isabella.
General is made happy - and so is everyone else
- General Tilney goes away to London on business and
Eleanor and Catherine are left alone at Northanger. They have a most
enjoyable time together, although Henry has to leave for one night to
take services at Woodston.
- While Henry is gone, the General arrives back late at
night. Catherine does not see him, but Eleanor is told that Catherine
must be packed off home early the next morning. Catherine is
distraught, not knowing what she has done to offend the General, and
but she has no choice and leaves as instructed.
- Two days later, Henry arrives at Catherine's home. He
declares his love for her and asks her to marry him; she joyfully
accepts. The General's fury at Catherine is explained; he had been led
to believe, by John Thorpe, that she was an heiress to a considerable
fortune, so he encouraged Henry to court her. It has now been made
clear to him that this is not the case, so he has ordered Henry not to
think of her again. Henry takes no notice and promptly takes himself to
propose to Catherine.
- The General refuses his consent to the marriage of
and Catherine, and Catherine's parents will not give theirs until his
is obtained. Then Eleanor announces her engagement to a viscount, and
the General is so delighted by her marriage to a man she not only
loves, but who is titled, landed and rich, he relents and gives Henry
and Catherine his consent.
- Henry and Catherine are married; the General
family were not as poor or as objectionable as he thought they were,
and everyone is happy.
the text of Northanger Abbey for yourself
Read the text of The
Mysteries of Udolpho for yourself
to Northanger Abbey main page
to home page