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Chapter 16

Catherine's expectations of pleasure from her visit in Milsom Street were so very high that disappointment was inevitable; and accordingly, though she was most politely received by General Tilney, and kindly welcomed by his daughter, though Henry was at home, and no one else of the party, she found, on her return, without spending many hours in the examination of her feelings, that she had gone to her appointment preparing for happiness which it had not afforded. Instead of finding herself improved in acquaintance with Miss Tilney, from the intercourse of the day, she seemed hardly so intimate with her as before; instead of seeing Henry Tilney to greater advantage than ever, in the ease of a family party, he had never said so little, nor been so little agreeable; and, in spite of their father's great civilities to her -- in spite of his thanks, invitations, and compliments -- it had been a release to get away from him. It puzzled her to account for all this. It could not be General Tilney's fault. That he was perfectly agreeable and good-natured, and altogether a very charming man, did not admit of a doubt, for he was tall and handsome, and Henry's father. He could not be accountable for his children's want of spirits, or for her want of enjoyment in his company. The former she hoped at last might have been accidental, and the latter she could only attribute to her own stupidity. Isabella, on hearing the particulars of the visit, gave a different explanation: "It was all pride, pride, insufferable haughtiness and pride! She had long suspected the family to be very high, and this made it certain. Such insolence of behaviour as Miss Tilney's she had never heard of in her life! Not to do the honours of her house with common good breeding! To behave to her guest with such superciliousness! Hardly even to speak to her!"

"But it was not so bad as that, Isabella; there was no superciliousness; she was very civil."

"Oh! Don't defend her! And then the brother, he, who had appeared so attached to you! Good heavens! Well, some people's feelings are incomprehensible. And so he hardly looked once at you the whole day?"

"I do not say so; but he did not seem in good spirits."

"How contemptible! Of all things in the world inconstancy is my aversion. Let me entreat you never to think of him again, my dear Catherine; indeed he is unworthy of you."

"Unworthy! I do not suppose he ever thinks of me."

"That is exactly what I say; he never thinks of you. Such fickleness! Oh! How different to your brother and to mine! I really believe John has the most constant heart."

"But as for General Tilney, I assure you it would be impossible for anybody to behave to me with greater civility and attention; it seemed to be his only care to entertain and make me happy."

"Oh! I know no harm of him; I do not suspect him of pride. I believe he is a very gentleman-like man. John thinks very well of him, and John's judgment -- "

"Well, I shall see how they behave to me this evening; we shall meet them at the rooms."

"And must I go?"

"Do not you intend it? I thought it was all settled."

"Nay, since you make such a point of it, I can refuse you nothing. But do not insist upon my being very agreeable, for my heart, you know, will be some forty miles off. And as for dancing, do not mention it, I beg; that is quite out of the question. Charles Hodges will plague me to death, I dare say; but I shall cut him very short. Ten to one but he guesses the reason, and that is exactly what I want to avoid, so I shall insist on his keeping his conjecture to himself."

Isabella's opinion of the Tilneys did not influence her friend; she was sure there had been no insolence in the manners either of brother or sister; and she did not credit there being any pride in their hearts. The evening rewarded her confidence; she was met by one with the same kindness, and by the other with the same attention, as heretofore: Miss Tilney took pains to be near her, and Henry asked her to dance.

Having heard the day before in Milsom Street that their elder brother, Captain Tilney, was expected almost every hour, she was at no loss for the name of a very fashionable-looking, handsome young man, whom she had never seen before, and who now evidently belonged to their party. She looked at him with great admiration, and even supposed it possible that some people might think him handsomer than his brother, though, in her eyes, his air was more assuming, and his countenance less prepossessing. His taste and manners were beyond a doubt decidedly inferior; for, within her hearing, he not only protested against every thought of dancing himself, but even laughed openly at Henry for finding it possible. From the latter circumstance it may be presumed that, whatever might be our heroine's opinion of him, his admiration of her was not of a very dangerous kind; not likely to produce animosities between the brothers, nor persecutions to the lady. He cannot be the instigator of the three villains in horsemen's greatcoats, by whom she will hereafter be forced into a traveling-chaise and four, which will drive off with incredible speed. Catherine, meanwhile, undisturbed by presentiments of such an evil, or of any evil at all, except that of having but a short set to dance down, enjoyed her usual happiness with Henry Tilney, listening with sparkling eyes to everything he said; and, in finding him irresistible, becoming so herself.

At the end of the first dance, Captain Tilney came towards them again, and, much to Catherine's dissatisfaction, pulled his brother away. They retired whispering together; and, though her delicate sensibility did not take immediate alarm, and lay it down as fact, that Captain Tilney must have heard some malevolent misrepresentation of her, which he now hastened to communicate to his brother, in the hope of separating them forever, she could not have her partner conveyed from her sight without very uneasy sensations. Her suspense was of full five minutes' duration; and she was beginning to think it a very long quarter of an hour, when they both returned, and an explanation was given, by Henry's requesting to know if she thought her friend, Miss Thorpe, would have any objection to dancing, as his brother would be most happy to be introduced to her. Catherine, without hesitation, replied that she was very sure Miss Thorpe did not mean to dance at all. The cruel reply was passed on to the other, and he immediately walked away.

"Your brother will not mind it, I know," said she, "because I heard him say before that he hated dancing; but it was very good-natured in him to think of it. I suppose he saw Isabella sitting down, and fancied she might wish for a partner; but he is quite mistaken, for she would not dance upon any account in the world."

Henry smiled, and said, "How very little trouble it can give you to understand the motive of other people's actions."

"Why? What do you mean?"

"With you, it is not, How is such a one likely to be influenced, What is the inducement most likely to act upon such a person's feelings, age, situation, and probable habits of life considered -- but, How should I be influenced, What would be my inducement in acting so and so?"

"I do not understand you."

"Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly well."

"Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible."

"Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language."

"But pray tell me what you mean."

"Shall I indeed? Do you really desire it? But you are not aware of the consequences; it will involve you in a very cruel embarrassment, and certainly bring on a disagreement between us.

"No, no; it shall not do either; I am not afraid."

"Well, then, I only meant that your attributing my brother's wish of dancing with Miss Thorpe to good nature alone convinced me of your being superior in good nature yourself to all the rest of the world."

Catherine blushed and disclaimed, and the gentleman's predictions were verified. There was a something, however, in his words which repaid her for the pain of confusion; and that something occupied her mind so much that she drew back for some time, forgetting to speak or to listen, and almost forgetting where she was; till, roused by the voice of Isabella, she looked up and saw her with Captain Tilney preparing to give them hands across.

Isabella shrugged her shoulders and smiled, the only explanation of this extraordinary change which could at that time be given; but as it was not quite enough for Catherine's comprehension, she spoke her astonishment in very plain terms to her partner.

"I cannot think how it could happen! Isabella was so determined not to dance."

"And did Isabella never change her mind before?"

"Oh! But, because -- And your brother! After what you told him from me, how could he think of going to ask her?"

"I cannot take surprise to myself on that head. You bid me be surprised on your friend's account, and therefore I am; but as for my brother, his conduct in the business, I must own, has been no more than I believed him perfectly equal to. The fairness of your friend was an open attraction; her firmness, you know, could only be understood by yourself."

"You are laughing; but, I assure you, Isabella is very firm in general."

"It is as much as should be said of anyone. To be always firm must be to be often obstinate. When properly to relax is the trial of judgment; and, without reference to my brother, I really think Miss Thorpe has by no means chosen ill in fixing on the present hour."

The friends were not able to get together for any confidential discourse till all the dancing was over; but then, as they walked about the room arm in arm, Isabella thus explained herself: "I do not wonder at your surprise; and I am really fatigued to death. He is such a rattle! Amusing enough, if my mind had been disengaged; but I would have given the world to sit still."

"Then why did not you?"

"Oh! My dear! It would have looked so particular; and you know how I abhor doing that. I refused him as long as I possibly could, but he would take no denial. You have no idea how he pressed me. I begged him to excuse me, and get some other partner -- but no, not he; after aspiring to my hand, there was nobody else in the room he could bear to think of; and it was not that he wanted merely to dance, he wanted to be with me. Oh! Such nonsense! I told him he had taken a very unlikely way to prevail upon me; for, of all things in the world, I hated fine speeches and compliments; and so -- and so then I found there would be no peace if I did not stand up. Besides, I thought Mrs. Hughes, who introduced him, might take it ill if I did not: and your dear brother, I am sure he would have been miserable if I had sat down the whole evening. I am so glad it is over! My spirits are quite jaded with listening to his nonsense: and then, being such a smart young fellow, I saw every eye was upon us."

"He is very handsome indeed."

"Handsome! Yes, I suppose he may. I dare say people would admire him in general; but he is not at all in my style of beauty. I hate a florid complexion and dark eyes in a man. However, he is very well. Amazingly conceited, I am sure. I took him down several times, you know, in my way."

When the young ladies next met, they had a far more interesting subject to discuss. James Morland's second letter was then received, and the kind intentions of his father fully explained. A living, of which Mr. Morland was himself patron and incumbent, of about four hundred pounds yearly value, was to be resigned to his son as soon as he should be old enough to take it; no trifling deduction from the family income, no niggardly assignment to one of ten children. An estate of at least equal value, moreover, was assured as his future inheritance.

James expressed himself on the occasion with becoming gratitude; and the necessity of waiting between two and three years before they could marry, being, however unwelcome, no more than he had expected, was borne by him without discontent. Catherine, whose expectations had been as unfixed as her ideas of her father's income, and whose judgment was now entirely led by her brother, felt equally well satisfied, and heartily congratulated Isabella on having everything so pleasantly settled.

"It is very charming indeed," said Isabella, with a grave face. "Mr. Morland has behaved vastly handsome indeed," said the gentle Mrs. Thorpe, looking anxiously at her daughter. "I only wish I could do as much. One could not expect more from him, you know. If he finds he can do more by and by, I dare say he will, for I am sure he must be an excellent good-hearted man. Four hundred is but a small income to begin on indeed, but your wishes, my dear Isabella, are so moderate, you do not consider how little you ever want, my dear."

"It is not on my own account I wish for more; but I cannot bear to be the means of injuring my dear Morland, making him sit down upon an income hardly enough to find one in the common necessaries of life. For myself, it is nothing; I never think of myself."

"I know you never do, my dear; and you will always find your reward in the affection it makes everybody feel for you. There never was a young woman so beloved as you are by everybody that knows you; and I dare say when Mr. Morland sees you, my dear child -- but do not let us distress our dear Catherine by talking of such things. Mr. Morland has behaved so very handsome, you know. I always heard he was a most excellent man; and you know, my dear, we are not to suppose but what, if you had had a suitable fortune, he would have come down with something more, for I am sure he must be a most liberal-minded man."

"Nobody can think better of Mr. Morland than I do, I am sure. But everybody has their failing, you know, and everybody has a right to do what they like with their own money." Catherine was hurt by these insinuations. "I am very sure," said she, "that my father has promised to do as much as he can afford."

Isabella recollected herself. "As to that, my sweet Catherine, there cannot be a doubt, and you know me well enough to be sure that a much smaller income would satisfy me. It is not the want of more money that makes me just at present a little out of spirits; I hate money; and if our union could take place now upon only fifty pounds a year, I should not have a wish unsatisfied. Ah! my Catherine, you have found me out. There's the sting. The long, long, endless two years and half that are to pass before your brother can hold the living."

"Yes, yes, my darling Isabella," said Mrs. Thorpe, "we perfectly see into your heart. You have no disguise. We perfectly understand the present vexation; and everybody must love you the better for such a noble honest affection."

Catherine's uncomfortable feelings began to lessen. She endeavoured to believe that the delay of the marriage was the only source of Isabella's regret; and when she saw her at their next interview as cheerful and amiable as ever, endeavoured to forget that she had for a minute thought otherwise. James soon followed his letter, and was received with the most gratifying kindness.

凯瑟琳料想去米尔萨姆街做客一定十分快乐,因为期望过高,难免不有所失望。因此,虽然她受到蒂尔尼将军客客气气的接待,受到他女儿的友好欢迎,虽然亨利就在家里,而且也没有别的客人,可她一回到家里,并没有花几个小时细细检查自己的情绪,便发现她去赴约本是准备高兴一番的,结果此行没有带来快乐。她从当天的谈话中发觉,她非但没有增进同蒂尔尼小姐的友谊,反倒似乎与她不及以前那么亲密。亨利·蒂尔尼在如此随便的家庭聚会上,不仅不比以往显得更可爱,反倒比以往更少言寡语,从来没有这么不随和。虽然他们的父亲对她非常殷勤,一再感谢她,邀请她,恭维她,但是离开他反而使她觉得轻松。对于这一切她感到疑惑不解。这不会是蒂尔尼将军的过错。他十分和蔼,十分温厚,是个非常可爱的人,这都不容置疑,因为他个子高,长得漂亮,又是亨利的父亲。在他面前,他的孩子打不起精神,她又快活不起来,这都不能怪他。对于前者,她最终希望或许是偶然现象,对于后者,她只能归咎于她自己太愚钝。伊莎贝拉听到这次拜访的详情之后,作出了不同的解释。“这全是因为傲慢、傲慢。无法容忍的高傲自大。我早就怀疑这家人十分高傲,现在证实了。蒂尔尼小姐的这种傲慢行径,我从来没有听说过!也不尽主人之谊,连普通的礼貌都没有!对客人如此傲慢!简直连话都不跟你说。”

“不过还不是那么糟,伊莎贝拉。她并不傲慢,倒还十分客气。”

“哦,别替她辩护了!还有那个做哥哥的,他以前对你似乎那么倾心!老天爷呀!唉,有些人的感情真叫人捉摸不透。这么说,他一整天连看都没看你一眼啦?”

“我没这么说。他似乎只是不大高兴。”

“多么可卑!世上的一切事情中,我最讨厌用情不专。亲爱的凯瑟琳.我恳求你永远别再想他。说真的,他配不上你。”

“配不上!我想他从不把我放在心上。”

“我正是这个意思。他从不把你放在心上。真是朝三暮四!噢,与你哥哥和我哥哥多么不同啊!我确信,约翰是最坚贞不移的。”

“不过说到蒂尔尼将军.我向你担保,谁也不可能比他待我更客气,更周到的了。看来他唯一关心的、就是招待我,让我高兴。”

“哦!我知道他没有什么不好的。我觉得他倒不傲慢。我相信他是一个很有绅士风度的人。约翰非常看得起他、而约翰的眼力——”

“好了,我想看看他们今晚待我如何。我们要和他们在舞厅见面。”

“我也得去吗?”

“难道你不想去?我还以为都谈妥了呢。”

“得了,既然你一定要去,我也就无法拒绝了。不过你可别硬要我很讨人爱,因为你知道我的心在四十英里以外。至于跳舞,我求你就别提啦。那是绝对不可能的。我敢说,查尔斯·霍奇斯要烦死我了。不过我要叫他少罗嗦。十有八九他会猜出原因,那正是我要避免的。所以,我一定不能让他把自己的猜测说出来。”

伊莎贝拉对蒂尔尼一家人的看法并没有影响她的朋友。凯瑟琳确信那兄妹俩的举止一点也不傲慢,也不相信他们心里有什么傲气。晚上,她对他们的信任得到了报答。他们见到她时,一个依然客客气气,一个依然殷勤备至。蒂尔尼小姐尽力设法亲近她,亨利请她去跳舞。

凯瑟琳头一天在米尔萨姆街听说,蒂尔尼兄妹的大哥蒂尔尼上尉随时都会来临。因而当她看见一个以前从未见过的时髦英俊的小伙子,而且显然是她朋友一伙的,她当下便知道他姓啥名谁。

她带着赞羡不已的心情望着他,甚至想到有人可能觉得他比他弟弟还要漂亮,虽说在她看来,他的神态还是有些自负。他的面庞不那么惹人喜欢。毫无疑何,她的情趣和仪态肯定要差一些,因为他在她听得见的地方,不仅表示自己不想跳舞,而且甚至公开嘲笑亨利居然能跳得起来。从这后一个情况可以断定.不管我们的女主角对他有什么看法,他对凯瑟琳的爱慕却不是属于十分危险的那一类,不会使兄弟俩争风吃醋,也不会给小姐带来折磨。他不可能唆使三个身穿骑师大衣的恶棍,把她架进一辆驷马旅行马车,风驰电掣地飞奔而去。其间,凯瑟琳并没有因为预感到这种不幸,或者其他任何不幸,而感到不安,她只是遗憾舞列太短,跳起来不过瘾。她像平常一样,享受着感亨利·蒂尔尼在一起的乐趣,目光炯炯地聆听着他的一言一语。她发现他迷人极了,自己也变得十分娇媚。

第一曲舞结束后,蒂尔尼上尉又朝他们走来,使凯瑟琳大为不满的是,他把他弟弟拉走了。两人一边走一边窃窃私语,虽然她那脆弱的情感没有立即为之惊慌,没有断定蒂尔尼上尉准是听到了对她的恶意诽谤,现在正匆忙告诉他弟弟,希望他们从此分离,但她眼睁睁地看着自己的舞伴被人拉走,心里总觉得很不是滋味。她焦虑不安地度过了整整五分钟,刚开始感到快有一刻钟了,不想他们两个又回来了。亨利提了个问题,无形中解释明白了这件事:原来他想知道,凯瑟琳认为他的朋友索普小姐是不是愿意跳舞,因为他哥哥很希望有人给他引荐引荐。凯瑟琳毫不犹豫地回答说,她相信索普小姐决不肯跳舞。这个无情的回答被传给了那位哥哥,他当即走开了。

“我知道你哥哥是不会介意的,”凯瑟琳说,“因为我听他说过他讨厌跳舞,不过他心肠真好,能想到与伊莎贝拉跳舞。我想他看见伊莎贝拉坐在那里,便以为她想找个舞伴。可他完全想错了,因为伊莎贝拉说什么也不会跳舞的。”

亨利微微一笑,说道:“你真是轻而易举地就能搞清别人的动机。”

“为什么?你这是什么意思?”

“我从来不去想:这样—个人可能受到什么影响?考虑到年龄、处境,可能还有生活习惯,什么样的动机最可能影响他的情感?你只是考虑:我该受到什么影响?我做这件那件事的动机是什么?”

“我不明白你的意思。”

“这太不平等了,因为我完全明白你的意思。”

“我的意思?是的,我的话说不好,无法令人不懂。”

“好啊!这是对当代语言的绝妙讽刺。”

“不过请告诉我你是什么意思。”

“真要我告诉吗?你真想听吗?可是你不知道后果,那会使你大为窘迫,而且肯定会引起我们之间的争执。”

“不,不会的,这都不会的。我不怕。”

“那好吧。我只是说,你把我哥哥想与索普小姐跳舞仅仅归于他心肠好,这就使我相信你确实比天下任何人心肠都好。”

凯瑟琳脸一红,连忙否认,亨利的预言也就得到了证实。不过,他话里有一种内涵,为她狼狈中感到的痛苦带来了慰藉。这种内涵完全占据了她的心灵,使她暂时沉默起来,忘记了说话,也忘记了倾听,还几乎忘记了她人在哪儿。直至伊莎贝拉的声音把她惊醒,她才抬起头来,只见她和蒂尔尼上尉正准备向他们交叉着伸过手。

伊莎贝拉耸了耸肩,微微笑了笑,这是她当时对自己的异常举动所能作出的唯一解释。可惜凯瑟琳还是无法理解,她便直截了当地向她的舞伴说出了自己的诧异。

“我无法想象这是怎么回事!伊莎贝拉是决计不跳舞的。”

“难道她以前从没改变主意吗?”

“哦!可是,因为——还有你哥哥呢!你把我的话告诉他以后,他怎么还去请她跳舞呢?”

“在这一点上我是不会感到奇怪的。你叫我为你的朋友感到惊奇,因此我为之惊奇了。但是说到我哥哥,我得承认,他在这件事情里的举动,我认为他是完全干得出来的。你朋友的美貌是一种公开的诱惑;她的坚决,你知道,只能由你自己去领会。”

“你在嘲笑人。不过,我实话告诉你,伊莎贝拉一般都很坚决。”

“这话对谁都可以说。总是很坚决,必定会经常很固执。什么时候随和一下才合适,这就要看各人的判断力了。撇开我哥哥且不说,我认为索普小姐决定在目前随和一下,的确没有选错时机。”

直到跳舞全部结束以后,两位朋友才得以凑到一起倾心交谈。当她们挽着胳臂在大厅里溜达时,伊莎贝拉亲自解释说:“我并不奇怪你感到惊奇。真把我累死了。他总是那样喋喋不休!我要是心里没有别的事,那倒挺有趣的。不过,我宁愿老老实实地坐着。”

“那你为什么不坐着?”

“哦!亲爱的,那样会显得太特殊了,你知道我最讨厌搞特殊。我尽量推辞,可他就是不肯罢休。你可不知道他是怎么强求我的。我求他原谅,请他另找舞伴。可是不,他才不干呢。他既然渴望同我跳舞,就决不想与屋里的其他任何人跳。他不单单想跳舞,还想和我在一起。嘿!真无聊,我对他说,他那样劝说我是不会得逞的。因为我最讨厌花言巧语和阿谀奉承。于是——于是我发现,我要是不和地跳,就得不到安宁。此外我想,休斯太太既然介绍了他,我假如不跳,她会见怪的。还有你那亲爱的哥哥,我要是整个晚上都坐着,他肯定会不痛快的。太好了,总算跳完了!我听他胡说八道的,心里真腻味。不过,他是个十分漂亮的小伙子,我见人人都拿眼睛盯着我们。”

“他的确非常漂亮。”

“漂亮!是的,兴许是漂亮。也许一般人都会爱慕他,但他决不符合我的美貌标准。我讨厌男人长着红润的皮肤,黑眼珠。不过他也很好看。当然是很自负啦。你知道,我也有办法,几次压倒了他的气焰。”

两位小姐再见面时,她们谈起了一个更有趣的话题。这时,已经收到了詹姆斯·莫兰的第二封来信,详尽说明了他父亲的一片好意。莫兰先生本人是教区的庇护人兼牧师,牧师俸禄每年约有四百镑,等儿子一到岁数就交给他。这对家庭收入是个为数不小的缩减,十个孩子,一个就能独得这么多,可不算小气了。另外,詹姆斯将来还可以继承一笔价值至少相等的资产。

詹姆斯在信中表示了恰如其分的感激之情。他们必须等待两三年才能结婚,这虽则令人不快,但是并不出乎他的意料,因而忍受起来并无怨言。凯瑟琳就像不明确她父亲的收入一样,她对这类事也没有个定准的期望,她的见解完全受她哥哥的影响,因此也感到十分满意,衷心祝贺伊莎贝拉一切解决得如此称心。

“的确好极了,”伊莎贝拉沉着脸说道。

“莫兰先生的确十分大方。”温存的索普太太说道,一面不安地望着女儿。“但愿我也能拿出这么多。你们知道,我们不能期望莫兰先生再多拿出一些来。我敢说,他要是办得到的话,肯定会这么做的,因为我相信他一定是个慈善的好人。靠四百镑的收入起家,那确实太少了。不过,亲爱的伊莎贝拉,你的愿望很低。好孩子,你也不考虑一下.你的要求一向有多低。”

“我本人倒没有更多的要求,但我不忍心牵累亲爱的莫兰,让他靠这么点收入生活,几乎连维持平常的生活都不够。这对我倒算不得什么,我从不考虑自己。”

“我知道你从不考虑自己,好孩子。你的好心总会得到好报的,使得大家都疼爱你。从来没有一个年轻姑娘能像你这样,受到每个熟人的爱戴。我敢说,莫兰先生见到你的时候,我的好孩子——不过我们还是不要谈论这种事,免得让亲爱的凯瑟琳觉着为难。你知道,莫兰先生表现得十分大方。我总听说他是个大好人。你知道,好孩子,我们不能设想:假如你有一笔相当的财产,他就会拿出更多的钱,因为我敢肯定他是个极其慷慨大方的人。”

“毫无疑问,谁也不能像我那样看重莫兰先生。不过你知道,人人都有自己的缺点,而且人人都有权利随意处理自己的钱。”

凯瑟琳听到这些含沙射影,心里很不是滋味。“我确信,”她说,“我父亲所允诺的,已经是尽力而为了。”

伊莎贝拉意识到自己说漏了嘴。“说到这点,我心爱的凯瑟琳,那是毫无疑问的。你很了解我,应该相信:即使收入少得多,我也会心满意足的。我眼下有点不高兴,那可不是因为缺少更多的钱。我讨厌钱。如果我们现在就能结婚,一年只有五十镑,我也心甘情愿。唉!我的凯瑟琳,你算看透了我的心思。我有个心头之痛。你哥哥继承牧师职位之前,还要度过漫无止境的两年半。”

“是啊,是啊,亲爱的伊莎贝拉,”索普太太说,“我们完全看透了你的心思。你不会掩饰自己。我们完全理解你目前的苦恼。你有如此崇高、如此真诚的感情。大家一定更加喜爱你。”

凯瑟琳不愉快的心情开始减轻了。她尽力使自己相信:伊莎贝拉感到懊恼,仅仅是由于不能马上结婚的缘故。当下次见面她发现伊莎贝拉像往常一样兴高采烈,和蔼可亲时,她又尽力使自己忘记她一度有过的另一种想法。詹姆斯来信不久,人也跟踵而到,受到十分亲切的款待。



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