It is with disappointment that I share my thoughts with you. Prior to my stay at Northanger I had told of the ample livings I had assumed it to be. I have, since my last entry arrived at Northanger and, although I received a more than substantial welcoming, I am rather dismayed at its modern appearance and, while I have received a very favourable residence, it is not what Mr Tilney had suggested to me. It is, indeed, an Abbey – but a modern one. Mr Tilney had led me to believe it was an enormous, unearthly building, the type of establishment in which one might encounter an appearation of some sort!
In fact it is a pleasant place – very agreeable and not in the least haunted. My eye was immediately caught upon the gravelled road on which we entered by and from that instance I have only found this dwelling to be of a contemporary fashion. I was sodden upon my arrival, which was extremely unpleasant and I was fearful that Henry might have seen me looking horrid and unsightly. I do hope not! Once I entered the Abbey I was shewn around the drawing room. I attempted to consider where I was despite being dazed by a damp bonnet. How heavenly it was to be in a real Abbey!
And all at once I forgot my pre-meditations of how an Abbey is supposed to be presented. The fireplace is just extraordinary – with its plain, marble slabs – and rested on it, the prettiest English china I have ever seen. The windows are immaculate and again conditioned modernly. Half of my persona had fancied a cobweb or two but there is no sign of neglect or decay in the whole house. Then, before having a slight chance to view the room, I found General Tilney, being awfully particular regarding time, whisked himself away as I accompanied Miss Tilney to my chamber.
The Tilney’s are a peculiar family, and, although I like to be punctual, it is rather odd to be so firm with time when it seems you have so few engagements. My apartment is nothing like the one Henry had depicted to me on our journey and it has left me feeling rather bemused, that there are no gloomy staircases or winding passages or even the potential for startling supernatural occurrences. I am a little ashamed at how eager I was to believe that such an adventure could and would happen to me. Though how wonderful it would be if it did!
The only item of particular interest to me was a dresser, similar to a Japan cabinet. It is yellow and black and it only held my gaze for a second. In any case before I could explore anything further Eleanor’s maid approached and knocked on the door and inquired as to whether I needed assistance, which I didn’t, of course, so I immediately dismissed her. However kind her intentions were, she had intruded on my dressing and I was delayed by her coming. I resumed dressing until Eleanor came to collect me, I was unfortunately peering into the dresser at that moment, but she didn’t seem insulted by my eagerness.
Before I could gather my dignity we were called to dinner. Dinner was pleasant and, on the odd occasion when General Tilney was absent, even cheerful. But I decided to retire, so I would enjoy the events the next day would bring. I noticed how stormy it was and almost instantaneously I was glad to be in such a sympathetic environment, not least a dry one! As I was readying myself for slumber I happened upon the Japan cabinet I had almost dismissed before. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the night that made it seem more fascinating.
As the wind blew stalwartly I attempted to unlock the cabinet. My first attempt established no success so I delved further into the cabinet only to find drawers and another smaller cabinet within. I desperately tried to unlock and release the tiny door, but it seemed that it wouldn’t budge. I almost abstained from trying since I was not succeeding, but on one final thrust the door burst open, revealing a scroll of papers. I was so scared -this had been exactly what Henry had foretold just hours before.
I looked over to the candle, burning brightly and, feeling rather exceptional at having thought of it, saw that it had hours left to burn. I grabbed it, to bring it closer to the paper and, being far too hasty, I stubbed the wick, leaving me trembling alone in the dark. I shuffled into bed but didn’t dare close my eyes – I wanted so dreadfully to examine it but I had to wait until the morning. That night seemed so long and I cannot say I slept much as all I could hear was the storm outside and all I could think of was the papers, which were sat so close.
The maid stirred me in the morning and, as soon as she has left, I hurried over to the cabinet to read the papers. I soon found that they were purely linen inventories and how dense I felt, to have presumed that a manuscript of sort would be its contents. How could I have so imposed on myself such a preposterous suggestion? Heaven forbid Henry ever surmise that I have even thought of such a folly, let alone carry it out. I placed the papers back as they were and went down to breakfast, with Henry.
I didn’t care much to talk about the previous night’s events and so the conversation was swiftly taken to flowers, until the General entered, however happily, and turned the conversation to liking of china, English china. To be frank, I didn’t really care what he thought of his china and I didn’t really care for his lack of modesty. He kept going on about how he wished to by a new set of china; it was extremely boring to listen to. That is perhaps why the ti?? te-i?? -ti?? te became about Woodston, Henry’s humble abode. I rather wanted to see Woodston, as Eleanor had expressed that it was a charming livings, by all accounts.
General Tilney offered to show me about the Abbey and its gardens, so I went with him. I saw the handsomest gardens I have ever seen before and I had a great, though controversial, conversation with Eleanor about her mother. But the oddest thing was that the General had no apparent regard for his late wife. I found it rather disrespectful that he would not walk with Eleanor and I along Mrs Tilney’s favourite path. Still, with the General out of sight I enjoyed the walk and talk with Eleanor, and I gained a small insight into Eleanor’s thoughts of her mother.
I can hardly convey how distressing it is to hear of such a tale where a man will detest the only remaining example of the woman he “loved”, this is very odd indeed. I should suspect he must have been awfully cruel to her, if he doesn’t even trouble himself to hang a worthless portrayal of his dead wife in his chamber. Perhaps a clock was in the way or maybe a piece of extraordinary china! It’s a mystery to me. After I returned to the Abbey, I felt the incredible urge to investigate Mrs Tilney’s mystery further, so I crept up to the staircase, which Eleanor had said lead to the gallery.
I approached it with such caution that I could hear my heart beating rapidly. I opened the doors silently and tiptoed into the room. I was in awe of it for a few moments and I gazed around, dumbfounded at my own rudeness until I had seen the whole room. Just as I decided to leave I heard loud, sudden footsteps. I was petrified! I thought it was the General! I gasped as my eyes fell upon a startled Henry. I was somewhat relieved that it wasn’t General Tilney but still incredibly embarrassed. I made my apologies but I couldn’t leave – Henry showed me through the corridor and I ran into my room.
How embarrassing! I have just got back and I am still blushing now. Whatever must he think of me?! I should wish to forget that quickly though I doubt I will be able to in any such hurry. Furthermore I have still not received any correspondence from Isabella and I am particularly worried for James’s sake, as she is probably contemplating meeting Captain Tilney in the Pump Room tonight. Well, I must ready myself for dinner and try to calm down or I shall make a bigger fool of myself than I already have – if that is possible!