Northanger Abbey, or John Thorpe Ruins Everything: The Masterpost, Part 2

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(part 1)

Wow, I think this is the longest I’ve ever taken to livetweet a book.  Sorry about that, folks.  I’ll catch you up on Cate’s adventures, but first, a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:  I think I found the sister author whose identity I was wondering about!  In her essay “‘At the Crossroads’:  Sister Authors and the Sister Arts” from the book Fetter’d or Free? British Women Novelists, 1670-1815, Katrin Burlin very briefly mentions “Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda, a novel Austen singled out for praise in Northanger Abbey” (page 61).  From what she says about Belinda later in the essay, it sounds like it fits in the context of NA.  That’s the closest thing to an answer I think we’ll get.

Anyway, without further ado:  chapters 16-31!

Chapter 16 in a nutshell:  all I wanna do is *gunshot gunshot gunshot* *cha-ching* and take your money

  • so this is awkward: Cate goes to hang out with the Tilneys, and while Eleanor and the General are nice, Henry’s being a total sourpuss.
  • now Izzy’s ripping into them and I honest-to-god want to reach into this book and put duct tape over her drama-queen mouth
  • Izzy’s about to praise John’s judgment when Cate straight-up interrupts her and changes the subject
  • but whaddaya know, that night when Cate sees the Tilneys again, everything’s fine and she gets to dance with Henry.
  • oh, and look at that, Henry and Eleanor have an older brother. who, it should be noted, is less handsome than Henry.
  • “ah ha ha ha I couldn’t DANCE, it’s too UNMANLY also I am a CAPTAIN IN THE MILITARY” – this dude, basically
  • whoa wait what what what
  • [INSERT A RATHER LARGE BREAK HERE, IN WHICH LIFE HAPPENS AND STUFF]
  • right, now that that mystery [of the sister author] has been solved, let’s figure out where the heck I left off.
  • I seem to have ended on a cliffhanger of sorts
    Screen shot 2015-09-13 at 10.47.23 PM
  • let’s see what the context of that tweet was, shall we?
  • OH RIGHT I REMEMBER NOW
  • I think Calamity Jane just implied Cate is about to be quasi-kidnapped again
  • “three villains in horsemen’s greatcoats” – what do you want to bet it’s James, Izzy, and John, AGAIN
  • so now Henry and his big bro Captain Crunch are talking, and Cate’s getting a wee bit impatient
  • turns out Captain Crunch wanted to know if Izzy might like to dance with him. ooh la la
  • Henry is totally calling Cate out on thinking everyone is as chill as she is
  • and poor Cate is so confused, because she is actually the chillest and she can’t comprehend not being chill
  • so now Izzy and Captain Crunch are dancing, which weirds Cate out, because she totally though Izzy wasn’t going to dance.
  • which would make sense, I mean, what with Izzy being engaged and dancing being a metaphor for marriage, according to Henry
  • fast forward probably an hour or so, and Izzy is complaining about how much of a “rattle” Captain Crunch was
  • she claims he was REALLY pushy when trying to get her to dance- I wonder how much of that is truth and how much is her being a drama queen
  • ooh, and now we’ve got some interesting news from James – Mr. Morland will give him an allowance of 400 pounds a year, in a couple years
  • plus a decent inheritance
  • though I can’t help but wonder where the Morland family income is even coming from tbh
  • where does anybody in a Jane Austen novel get their money? is it just an endless string of inheritances?
  • in news that should surprise no one, Isabella is less than happy about, y’know, actually having a guaranteed future income
  • and okay to be fair to Izzy – I just did some calculations, and I think L400/year in 1810 would be about $27k/year in today’s money
  • not exactly the best financial situation you’d want for the beginning of your married life
  • now Izzy and her mom are talking about money, and they still manage to engage in some self-congratulatory back-patting

Chapter 17 in a nutshell:  FINALLY we get to the creepy-house part, ish

  • oh, so apparently the Allens don’t actually live in Bath. they’ve just been chilling there for a month and a half.
  • the Allens are thinking about making like trees and leaf-ing, and Cate is freaking out because she’s not done making hearteyes at Henry
  • problem solved: they’re staying for another fortnight. EXCEPT the Tilneys just decided to leave Bath. oops.
  • oh my god Eleanor is trying to invite Cate to the Abbey except she can’t get the words out and it’s adorable
  • I almost ship Cate and Eleanor more than I ship Cate and Henry
  • so General Tilney came in prematurely, all like “did she say yes?” and Eleanor was like “um I haven’t actually asked”
  • tl;dr, the General ended up asking for her, and Cate was all like “oh man if my parents say yes I’m totally in”
  • and as luck would have it, Northanger Abbey is exactly the sort of historic, atmospheric, decrepit building Cate’s wanted to visit all along

Chapter 18 in a nutshell:  sure, Jan

  • [insert a rather large break here]
  • Happy Sunday, everybody! Ready for some more Northanger Abbey, for the first time in like a month?? Of course you are.
  • looks like we’re starting at chapter 18 today. get your books, kiddos.
  • we begin the chapter with Cate not seeing Izzy for several days, which can only be a good thing
  • and of course, because she has to ruin everything, Izzy shows up at the pump-room one day wanting to talk in private with Cate.
  • poor dear sweet Cate assumes, so innocently, that Izzy looks all eager because she wants to see James. ahahaha. no.
  • in news that might have been a novelty ten chapters ago, John is in love with Cate. well, as much as he can love anybody but himself.
  • lol-ing forever at the fact that he couldn’t just tell Cate himself, he had to get his sister to do it
  • honestly, the only person for whom this is a surprise by this point is our tone-deaf heroine herself.
  • “[John’s] attentions were such as a child must have noticed.” – agreeing with Izzy makes me so uncomfortable
  • “he as good as made you an offer” – yeah he did and it was embarrassingly transparent
  • with that said, though, that still totally didn’t count as a proposal
  • @ John Thorpe:
  • Cate right now:
  • “I am the last person in the world to judge you severely” – suuuuure, Izzy.
  • lol Izzy is still under the delusion that Cate ever thought of John as anything other than a nuisance
  • “But my opinion of your brother never did alter; it was always the same.” – YEAHHHHH GO OFF CATIE
  • Cate may be as naive as a newborn deer but she still has more common sense than most teenagers: the novel
  • me @ Cate right now:
  • “You know I carry my notions of friendship pretty high” – Izzy
  • a wild Captain Tilney appears! carrying a blazing torch for Izzy, for some ungodly reason
  • lemme guess, Izzy is going to run away with him later.
  • Cate is already sick of being the third wheel here, so she’s like “hey Izzy, let’s go back to Mrs. Allen”
  • and when Izzy goes “lol no,” Cate just up and walks away. girl’s got moxie.
  • oh and she figures out immediately that Captain Tilney has a thing for Izzy. so maybe there’s hope for her after all…
  • though it should also be said that she presumes Izzy’s as blind to Cap’s affections as she was to John’s, so.

Chapter 19 in a nutshell:  every teen comedy ever

  • the next chapter begins with Cate watching Izzy like a hawk in re: the whole Captain Tilney thing. it’s kind of weird.
  • although given her concern with propriety, it’s actually also really in-character.
  • “Isabella could not be aware of the pain she was inflicting” – about that, actually
  • and now Cate is going so far as to actually speak with Henry about it, like some sort of anti-matchmaker.
  • to be fair to her, she does so in defense of James and his feelings.
  • though in my opinion, James hasn’t ever done much to deserve her going to bat for him like this
  • update: Captain Tilney’s first name is Frederick. it fits him, somehow.
  • apologies if any of you are named Frederick.
  • ahahahaha Henry just subtly accused Cate of meddling too much
  • and like… he isn’t wrong, necessarily
  • aww, and now Henry is actually doing a pretty good job of reassuring Cate. the boy does have his moments.
  • and the chapter closes with everything being about 93% okay. we’ll see if that holds up.

Chapter 20 in a nutshell:  what a cozy little abbey this is after all

  • are we actually going to the Abbey in chapter 20? dare I hope?
  • Cate is joining the Tilneys, save for Frederick, at a pre-travel breakfast, and now I’m hungry. thanks a lot, Calamity Jane.
  • the Tilneys are so solicitous and Cate is really uncomfortable, and in this moment I feel like she’s all of Tumblr
  • oh good, looks like we’ve got another drama queen on hand in the form of General Tilney.
  • Frederick is late to breakfast and the General goes full Patton on him
  • the bit where they’re actually packing up and going reminds me so much of the Weasleys’ journey to King’s Cross in Chamber of Secrets
  • oh my god, the General is acting like every middle-aged white lady with the can-I-speak-to-a-manager haircut
  • for the next leg of the journey to Northanger, Cate and Henry get to ride in the second carriage alone. OOH GURL.
  • also, they made their pit stop in a place called Petty France, and I’ll be giggling about that for the foreseeable future
  • Henry, unlike hi-I’m-John-Thorpe-and-this-is-Jackass, proves to be a perfectly responsible carriage driver.
  • Henry: gosh, you’re… um, really excited about living in a possibly haunted old house.
    Cate: *completely unironically* yeah!
  • Henry, you turd, you’re having way too much fun with this
  • okay but this is actually hilarious though
  • “…on one side perhaps the remains of a broken lute, on the other a ponderous chest which no efforts can open…” brb snorting
  • Henry is quite possibly an even bigger geek than Cate is
  • “‘Oh, Mr. Tilney, how frightful! This is just like a book!'” – as much as I like to think Cate’s just playing along…
  • seriously, if she’d had a mind to try, I have no doubt Calamity Jane here could have written a hair-raiser of a Gothic novel
  • “The breeze had not seemed to waft the sighs of the murdered to her” – JANE
  • filed under “I wish I had come up with that line”
  • tl;dr the Tilneys have gone all Property Brothers on the abbey and Cate is disappointed.
  • I feel like Cate would fit right in with the Addams family or the Munsters
  • oh my god, though, Cate is basically Marilyn Munster and I won’t be able to look at this book the same ever again
  • so then Eleanor takes Cate to her room, and that’s the end of the chapter.

Chapter 21 in a nutshell:  something wicked this way might possibly be coming. or maybe that’s just the wind.

  • Cate’s quarters are perfectly normal in every way… except for the large, mysterious chest in the corner. hoboy.
  • DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN
  • of course, our daring heroine endeavors to open the chest, to… erm, limited success.
  • “having slipped one arm into her gown, her toilette seemed so nearly finished” – in which Cate is every college student ever
  • I have absolutely been there and done that in the not-so-distant past
  • there was one particularly intense finals week during which I put jeans on over sweatpants on Monday, bc it was effing cold out (1/2)
  • (2/2) and then I ended up not having the time or inclination to abandon that setup for another three days, and I think that sums up college
  • just as Cate gets the chest open, Eleanor comes in. awk.
  • the chest’s contents are, as it turns out, a “white cotton counterpane”… what precisely is that?
    • update:  some kind of blanket
  • by the time Eleanor and Cate make it downstairs, the General is can-I-speak-to-a-manager-ing at his own house staff. wunderbar.
  • in this way, at least, the abbey has something of a Gothic aspect – the sinister father figure.
  • everybody, including me, @ General Tilney:
  • it’s a dark and stormy night, and Catie is far too happy about that
  • Cate is the sort of person who would purposely buy a haunted house
  • in modern times, Cate would probably be one of the stars on Ghost Adventures
  • she’d fit right in with the American family of Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost”
  • relevant at this juncture:
  • oh and would you look at that, there’s an ebony cabinet in this room – the sort that Henry described earlier.
  • Cate manages to get the cabinet open after a fashion and finds… another locked compartment.
  • ooh, there’s a piece of paper with mysterious writing on it… again, as Henry mentioned.
  • her candle went out before she could read the paper.
  • and with this latest harrowing development, our courageous heroine… erm, leaps into bed and hides under her ample bedcovers, shivering.

Chapter 22 in a nutshell:  everything is awkward

  • [INSERT A TWO-MONTH GAP HERE]
  • when we left off, it had been a dark and stormy night, and Catie got so freaked out that she hid under her covers.
  • so what was this mysterious manuscript hidden in the desk, at which she had felt so apprehensive?
  • a laundry list. literally.
  • so now Cate is all like
  • so anyway, Catie gets dressed and goes down to the breakfast room all like “haha, I was so freaked last night, NO ONE MUST KNOW.”
  • Henry’s the only one in the breakfast room at the moment. prime flirting opportunity for Cate, right? right?????
  • “your sister taught me to love hyacinths” – basically what Catie just said to Henry
  • especially given the mythology behind hyacinths… that’s kinda gay, Catie. just a bit.
  • god help me, though, I ship it
  • “…you may in time come to love a rose?” – Henry “smooth af” Tilney
  • although I should add that this was prefaced by “but now you love a hyacinth”…
  • it’s like Henry can’t decide whether he ships Cate with himself or his sister. #same, Henry, #same
  • BUT ANYWAY, Henry’s great line is completely lost on Catherine “oblivious cinnamon roll” Morland
  • so she really wasn’t being purposely clueless to avoid John’s come-ons – she genuinely has no idea when anybody is flirting with her
  • to which I can only say: same tbh
  • “The mere habit of learning to love is the thing… Has my sister a pleasant mode of instruction?” – oh my god, Henry, make up your mind
  • Henry “multishipper” Tilney
  • a wild General Tilney appears! hopefully he doesn’t can-I-speak-to-a-manager anyone in this chapter
  • ……..well, he’s not going all middle-aged-white-lady on anyone just yet, but he *is* prattling on about his breakfast set
  • he and John Thorpe really would get along splendidly
  • aww, and now Henry has to go to his bachelor pad in Woodston. looks like he won’t get to be smooth in Cate’s direction for a few days.
  • blah blah blah, General Tilney is prattling on again
  • sorry, dude, I doubt Cate is silent because she agrees with you – I’m pretty sure she just doesn’t care
  • General Tilney is SUPER EAGER to show Cate the grounds. like, it’s a little weird.
  • on the bright side, the grounds genuinely sound idyllic.
  • also apparently Eleanor tagged along on this walk but it wasn’t obvious for a couple pages. ok then
  • oh my god, now Cate is describing Mr. Allen’s v much lacking garden, and General Tilney is totally having schadenfreude
  • like calm down, bruh, this isn’t HGTV
  • anyway, Cate and Eleanor go down a gloomy forest path and leave the General to his self-congratulating or whatever
  • “‘I am particularly fond of this spot,’ said [Eleanor]… ‘It was my mother’s favourite walk.'”
    [chants] BACKSTORY BACKSTORY BACKSTORY
  • which was basically Catie’s reaction too, actually
  • Cate is bombarding Eleanor with questions now.
  • oh lord, now Cate is convincing herself that General Tilney was cruel to his dear departed wife…
  • (I mean, from what I read in the prologue, she’s probably not wrong, but her justification for it is flimsy af)
  • (side note, reading the prologue was a mistake)
  • anyway, they run into the General again and go back to the abbey, jiggity jig
  • the General doesn’t want Eleanor to take Cate ’round the abbey without him, which weirds Cate out
  • more than likely, he just wants to brag about every single piece of furniture he owns
  • here’s hoping chapter 23 is at least slightly more interesting than a self-aggrandizing HGTV show

Chapter 23 in a nutshell:  I never thought I’d say this, but I almost miss John Thorpe

  • chapter 23 starts out with the General returning from his ego-massaging
  • ahahahahahah I was totally right about General Tilney just wanting to brag about his house
  • “…all minuteness of praise, all praise that had much meaning, was supplied by the general…”
  • it’s like an episode of Cribs
  • “hi, I’m General Tilney, and this is MTV Cribs. welcome to my abbey”
  • Cate is mildly disappointed by the abbey… she would be one of those impossibly hard-to-please people on House Hunters
  • oh good, now General Tilney is waxing lyrical about the improvements he’s made to the kitchen. I wonder if his wife died of boredom.
  • the fourth wing of the abbey was demolished a long time ago because it was a literal hazard and Cate is still like
  • wow wow wow, Eleanor tried to show Cate some room or another in the house and the General just about bit her head off
  • “I was going to take you into what was my mother’s room – the room in which she died-” ohhhhhh. that explains it.
  • poor Eleanor
  • oh my god, Eleanor just said her mom died of a brief illness, and Cate’s imagination is still going wild
  • I fear we may have a raging paranoiac on our hands
  • oh thank god, it’s bedtime in the Tilney house. this chapter has seemed interminable
  • “I have many pamphlets to finish… and perhaps may be poring over the affairs of the nation for hours” – how utterly riveting, General
  • and Cate is just like
  • Cate fancies Mrs. Tilney secretly alive and locked up like Bertha Rochester – I wonder if this influenced Charlotte Bronte?
  • the chapter closes with Cate fast asleep, visions of imprisoned wives and cruel husbands surely dancing in her head

Chapter 24 in a nutshell:
TOLD

  • [INSERT ANOTHER GIANT BREAK FILLED WITH LIFE AND STUFF]
  • when we left off: Cate = human version of a pika, General “can I speak to a manager?” Tilney, basically this part is like Regency-era HGTV
  • (and that’s what you missed on Glee!)
  • (god)
    (anyway)
  • the chapter opens on a beautiful, not-haunted Sunday–oh good lord, they have to go to TWO church services? I could barely sit through one
  • there’s an epitaph for Mrs. Tilney in the family chapel and apparently it’s the sweetest thing ever
  • for a second Cate is all “aw how nice” and then her Criminal-Minds-bingewatching nature kicks in again, as per usual
  • oh my effing god, now Cate is hypothesizing that there’s a fake body in Mrs. Tilney’s coffin.
  • Cate, honey, I adore you but you need help
  • next morning, Cate asks Eleanor straight-up, “hey can we see your dead mum’s rooms?” what a good friend. wow.
  • okay to be fair, though, now that she sees Eleanor looking all doom-and-gloom, she genuinely seems concerned.
  • fiddlesticks, the General came back just as they were about to go into the actual rooms. talk about a party pooper.
  • Cate is outta there like a bat outta hell, and she proceeds to spend the next hour cowering in her room, going OMG DID HE SEE ME
  • thankfully, the General didn’t seem to see her. or, at least, he’s too distracted by the presence of guests to care.
  • “visitors? did you mean people to show my house off to?” – General Tilney at some point, probably
  • great, now Cate is planning to go to Mrs. Tilney’s room alone. secretly. that’s going to turn out SO WELL.
  • in news that should surprise absolutely no one at this point, Mrs. Tilney’s former room looks completely normal.
  • I mean, yeah, somebody died in here, but other than that it’s an airbnb listing ready to be made
  • Cate makes it out of the room without incident BUT THEN–
  • a wild Henry Tilney appears! several hours ahead of schedule!
  • Cate just up and admits to Henry that she was poking around Mrs. Tilney’s room. girl’s got more gumption than I do, I’ll give her that.
  • oooooohhhhhhh I didn’t remember this part, but apparently Izzy promised to write Cate a lot, and she totally hasn’t done so.
  • so much the better tbh. like, I miss Izzy’s outrageous antics but I don’t miss her on Cate’s behalf, y’know?
  • according to Henry, his mother suffered from a “bilious fever.” whatever that means.
  • now Henry is shattering all Cate’s illusions about General Tilney’s relationship with the late Mrs. Tilney. good. awk, but good.
  • oh man oh man, ish is getting real
  • Henry rn:
    tumblr_inline_n0jgb6hokd1rtkukt
  • he is smacking her down so thoroughly it’s actually getting uncomfortable

Chapter 25 in a nutshell:
when-youve-had-few-drinks-your-spanx-cutting-off-circulation

  • and with that, Catherine Morland’s emotional low point has officially been reached
  • as is her wont, Cate comes back from the pits of despair rather quickly, though she’s still very much humbled
  • god love her, Cate might be naive af but she’s still smart enough to recognize that reading so many Gothic novels got her wound up
  • oh my god
    “human nature isn’t at all like Radcliffe’s novels say… well, maybe in France it is” – Cate just now, basically
  • Calamity Jane strikes again
  • it got better
    “yeah maybe humans are horrible on mainland Europe but not in England… k maybe they’re horrible in the north and west too”
  • but central England, man, that’s the friggin moral bastion of the country!
  • lord, now I would dearly love to know what forces of politics might have induced Calamity Jane to write this
  • also I find it hilarious that Cate’s newfound faith in the good of the English is the very thing that’ll be questioned in Victorian Gothic
  • oh and through all of this, Henry is being a complete gentleman about the whole thing. the kid can stay.
  • Izzy still hasn’t written, and Cate’s really got a bee in her bonnet about it
  • “…when [Izzy] promised a thing, she was so scrupulous in performing it!”
    uh, Cate, are we even talking about the same person here?
  • ffs, Izzy’s middle name might as well be Caprice
  • Isabella “Contradicts Herself In Every Other Sentence” Thorpe
  • actually, I can do myself one better: Isabella “Hypocrite” Thorpe
  • like I know you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Cate, but come *on*
  • a letter finally arrives!!!!!!!… from James.
    cue the sad trombones.
  • OH HERE IT IS: “…everything is at an end between Miss Thorpe and me.”
    LONDON BRIDGE DOT MP3, FOLKS
  • finally James is realizing that Cate is a way better person than Izzy ever was. about time, my man
  • “She has made me miserable forever!”
    ok calm down Lemony Snicket I promise it’ll be okay
  • lmao dude just casually drops the bomb that Izzy is now engaged to Captain Crunch aka Frederick Tilney
  • “I dread the sight of [John Thorpe];…”
    same
    “…his honest heart would feel so much”
    nvm
  • Cate rn:
    5xsnw
  • also Cate rn:
    zxizjp0
  • (side note, it took me WAY TOO LONG to find those gifs)
  • bless them, Henry and Eleanor are legit trying to help Cate out
  • meanwhile Cate is just like “lemme just fly into the sun, it’s fine”
  • at first Cate is all “no I won’t burden you with this terrible thing” but we all know how bad she is at keeping secrets soooooo
  • “[Izzy] must be an unprincipled one, or she could not have used your brother so.” – Eleanor f’n Tilney, pulling no punches
  • oh apparently Frederick heretofore “found no woman good enough to be loved.”
    0dfofx9
  • “I am afraid she will be very constant, unless a baronet should come in her way; that is Frederick’s only chance.”
    HENRY.
  • neither of the Tilney siblings are anywhere near the general area of messing around
  • Henry clearly shipped Izzy/Cate more than Cate did herself
  • on the bright side, group therapy with the Tilneys made Cate feel a lot better about the whole situation.
  • see, that’s what you get when you hang out with people who aren’t *completely toxic*

Chapter 26 in a nutshell:  we finally get to see Henry Tilney’s Super Rad Bachelor Pad and it’s actually legitimately super rad

  • a new day dawns and the Tilneys/Cate are still hella salty about Izzy ditching James for Frederick aka Captain Crunch
  • both the Tilney siblings agree that Izzy’s relative lack of wealth stands a good chance of ending this whole circus once and for all
  • and on the one hand Cate’s like HA, KARMA but on the other hand she’s like “wait I’m not that rich either…”
  • but it’s okay, she thinks she still has a chance with Henry because the General likes her! (ha) (I’ve read the foreword)
  • neither Henry nor Eleanor thinks Freddy will actually ask the General for his consent to the marriage. yikes.
  • I’m legitimately not sure what the least prudent decision would be here: telling the General or not telling the General
  • Cate: maybe we should tell your dad about this
    Henry: are you kidding? Freddy doesn’t need us to make a fool of him, he can do that himself
  • meanwhile the General is oblivious and I’m just like
    732
  • Henry and the General are making plans for some sort of dude dinner date now. mutton is involved.
  • lord and the General just spent half a page going over his busy busy schedule. dude that’s what Google Calendar is for
  • oh great, and now that the dude dinner date has been set, Henry has to leave Northanger for a time. for dude reasons.
  • (I mean, I can only assume, till I turn the page.)
  • anyway, Henry leaves, Catie is all up in those doldrums, and so is Eleanor kinda
  • several days pass, and the Dude Dinner Date is upon us!**apparently this dinner also includes Cate and Eleanor, I was mistaken
  • at any rate, the General and Cate and Eleanor are going to join Henry in this little hamlet called Woodston.
  • the General is so over Woodston already, but Cate is legit falling in love with this town
  • HENRY HAS DOGS. OKAY THAT’S IT HE CAN STAY FOREVER
  • Cate is almost more in love with Henry’s house than she is with him
  • do I make the Hot Rod reference or don’t I?…
  • “…she was too guarded to say so [that she likes Henry’s house], and the coldness of her praise disappointed him.”
    I mean.
  • lololol now Henry is so nervous about what Cate thinks of his house that he’s spouting off at the mouth about it
  • Henry’s Magical Mystery Tour has moved on now, to an unfurnished drawing room
  • “It is the prettiest room I ever saw; it is the prettiest room in the world!” ah, there’s that trademark Cate Morland sincerity
  • oh my god. after saying this drawing room “waits only for a lady’s taste,” the General is now asking Cate how it should be furnished.
  • I spy a shipper…
  • Cate gets to spend part of the afternoon playing with puppies and I’m suddenly so jealous
  • puppies are played with, dinner is had, and all in all, Cate has an extraordinarily pleasant day free of toxic friend antics.

[INSERT ANOTHER GIANT BREAK IN WHICH LIFE HAPPENS AND STUFF]

Chapter 27 in a nutshell:  @ Izzy

  • HEY HI HELLO WHO’S UP FOR MORE NORTHANGER ABBEY. you are. of course you are. that’s why I love y’all.
  • I’ve only got this much left. I CAN CONQUER THIS.
  • alright, where was I–oh right, Henry Tilney has puppies and Cate got to play with them. eat your heart out, Darcy.
  • chapter 27 ahoy!
  • Y’ALL. Izzy FINALLY wrote Cate. this should be good.
  • Izzy’s trying to handwave away her own lack of correspondence and I’m just like
  • the Thorpes are leaving Bath the next day, apparently. cue everybody who’s ever met John Thorpe breathing a sigh of relief.
  • “I believe if I could see you I should not mind the rest, for you are dearer to me than anybody can conceive.”
  • oh mannnn. Izzy says she hasn’t heard from James since he went to Oxford and is “fearful of some misunderstanding.”
  • SURE JAN
  • blah blah blah, Izzy’s yammering about how terrible the latest fashions are, whatever I don’t care–oh she just brought up Captain Crunch.
  • she claims to “abhor” our favorite Frederick.
  • “He is the greatest coxcomb I ever saw” –
  • “Pray send me some news of [James]–I am quite unhappy about him”
  • “…a line from himself to me, or a call at Putney when next in town, might set all to rights” –
  • and of course, it wouldn’t be a letter from Izzy without a humblebrag about how hot she is.
  • bless Cate Morland’s heart, though–she isn’t swayed for a minute by Izzy’s letter. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. ❤
  • “…she made known to [Henry] and Eleanor their brother’s safety, congratulating them with sincerity on it” – WOWWWW. SAVAGE, CATE.
  • “I do not think Isabella has any heart to lose” – DANG, CATIE.
  • “But your mind is warped by an innate principle of general integrity” – Henry coming in with the slightly backhanded compliment

Chapter 28 in a nutshell:

  • the General has to go to London for a week. oh, the tragedy!
  • “…he left Northanger earnestly regretting that any necessity should rob him even for an hour of Miss Morland’s company…” – okay then
  • General Tilney, basically:
  • but hey, while he’s gone, Cate and Henry and Eleanor get to actually have fun!
  • General Tilney is that parent who makes an itinerary down to the minute for every family vacation
  • now Cate is worrying that she’s overstaying her welcome. honey, I’m pretty sure the General would be thrilled if you stayed forever.
  • if only because having the human version of a sitcom audience around at all times would do wonders for his already overinflated ego.
  • anyway, Cate brings up the subject with Eleanor and is subsequently reassured that she’s totally not overstaying her welcome at all
  • that exchange, pretty much:
  • Cate, thus emboldened, continues making hearteyes at Henry.
  • aw man, Henry has to go to Woodston for a bit to play with his puppies.
  • but Cate and Eleanor have a fun girls’ night at the Abbey, so it’s all good.
  • so the girls are alone at the Abbey when a carriage pulls up. DUN DUN DUNNNNN
  • Eleanor thinks it’s Frederick. oh boy oh boy oh boy, this oughta be good.
  • so Eleanor goes down to greet their surprise guest, and Cate is anxious all over again.
  • “don’t make it weird” – Cate to herself, basically
  • oh crap, y’all, Eleanor is back and she does NOT look happy
  • and Cate “obliged her to be seated, rubbed her temples with lavender-water, and hung over her with affectionate solicitude.”
    gaaaaaayyyyyyyy
  • Eleanor can barely bear to say what she came here to say. Cate is like OMG DID SOMETHING GO WRONG AT WOODSTON
  • ooooohhhhhhhhh. turns out this visitor is General Tilney himself, back early from London.
  • the General totes forgot that the fam was supposed to visit some other acquaintance for a fortnight, and they’ve gotta jet like now.
  • which means Cate’s gotta jet as well. Eleanor is… like… weirdly torn up about this.
  • Cate: oh well that kinda sucks but it’s okay–dude, seriously, chill
    Eleanor: *wibbly lip*
  • Eleanor Tilney is the world’s shyest sweetest most awkward lesbian ever, pass it on
  • literally I’m so attached to that headcanon. I can’t deal with these feels
  • oh my god. turns out the General is sending Cate away tomorrow at 7 in a carriage, with no servant to accompany her. no ifs, ands, or buts.
  • so that’s why Eleanor is so upset, at least in part–the incivility of it all. ok girl I gotcha now
  • apparently the General is in quite the state, and both Cate and Eleanor are at a loss for why. Cate’s afraid she offended him in some way.
  • tbh one of the General’s London friends probably just insulted his interior decorating Pinterest board
  • poor Catie doesn’t get a wink of sleep that night, and this time it’s not because of possible ghosts.
  • now Cate is having a miserable breakfast, thinking mainly about how she’s in hearteyes with Henry and won’t get to say goodbye to him.
  • Eleanor is now pleading with Cate to write to her–wait wait wait, Ellie, what do you mean “under cover to Alice”?
  • is Eleanor not even allowed to receive a letter from Cate??? what the dickens is the General’s problem?!

Chapter 29 in a nutshell:  @ Mrs. Morland and Mrs. Allen

  • chapter 29 begins with Cate being completely miserable in her carriage.
  • ooooohhhhhhhhhh gurl, the route is going to take her past Woodston. I think I see where this is going.
  • they’re approaching Woodston, and now Cate is second-guessing everything that happened when she and the Tilneys visited Henry’s pad.
  • “ya but did the General REALLY ship it” – Cate, basically
  • oh and now Cate’s wondering if somehow the General found out about her paranoia in re: him and his late wife.
  • but she and Henry were the only ones who knew about that, right, and surely Henry isn’t THAT much of a jerk?
  • personally I wonder if the whole thing doesn’t have something to do with the Izzy-James-Frederick love triangle
  • oh darn it, the carriage went right past Woodston. and here I was hoping Henry would see it and stop it so he could confess his hearteyes.
  • god, poor Cate. she’s super not looking forward to going home.
  • Cate pulls up to her house and her whole family comes out to greet her, and for a while she’s happy again.
  • aaaaand then she has to tell her parents what just happened.
  • “yeah that dude’s cray” – the Morlands, basically
  • “…you always were a sad little shatter-brained creature” – Mrs. Morland. EXCUSE YOU WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY ABOUT MY BB CATE
  • that’s it I officially hate Mrs. Morland bye
  • man, she went from “yeah General Tilney is cray” to insulting her own daughter in like .2 seconds. I’ve got whiplash
  • I’m hereby appointing myself captain of the Catherine Morland Defense Squad
  • next morning, Cate tries to write to Eleanor and has the worst kind of writer’s block.
  • Mrs. Morland: lol I hope you make better friends next time
    Cate: No friend can be better worth keeping than Eleanor.*
    *ACTUAL QUOTE. BYE
  • Cate is so ride or die for Eleanor I love it
  • oh boy, now Mrs. Morland is on about the whole Izzy disaster.
  • I guess Cate and Mrs. Morland are out on a walk, bc they just ran into the Allens.
  • the Allens are suitably peeved about how General Tilney treated Cate, so they’ve redeemed themselves a little in my eyes
  • oh my god, Mrs. Allen is literally just repeating what her hubby says and then changing the subject to her clothes.
  • some things never change
  • pffft they leave the Allens and Mrs. Morland immediately goes “see, THOSE are the types of people you should keep around”
  • TWO MORE CHAPTERS LEFT. I can do this.

Chapter 30 in a nutshell:

  • Cate is mopey af and Mrs. Morland isn’t having any of it anymore
  • “Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time” – Mrs. Morland
  • “literally shut tf up about the bread at Northanger already” – Mrs. Morland, basically
  • subtlety is not Mrs. Morland’s strong suit: the novel
  • why do I get the feeling Mrs. Morland would be addicted to self-help books
  • good lord, Cate is still being fidgety so Mrs. Morland literally gets up and goes to find the book she was just talking about
  • “…anxious to lose no time in attacking so dreadful a malady” – god, Mrs. Morland, could you slow your roll for approximately two seconds
  • somebody needs to find their chill, like now, and it isn’t Cate
  • OH MY GOD. Y’ALL. while Mrs. Morland was upstairs looking for her Regency Eat Pray Love book or w/e, Henry showed up!
  • ME RN:
  • that’s my boy
  • Henry wanted to make absolutely sure Cate had gotten home safely after what had happened. I am dead.
  • lmao now Mrs. Morland is trying to pretend she didn’t lump Henry and Eleanor in with the General like who do you think you’re fooling
  • Catie is so happy, y’all. my bb.
  • after a small awkward silence, Henry asks if the Allens are in town and Mrs. Morland does a Stephen Douglas by way of answering him
  • so now Cate and Henry are walking over to the Allens’, supposedly so that Henry can fist-bump them or w/e. yeah sure.
  • if “let’s take a turn about the room” is Austen code for “I’m a two-faced snake,” “let’s go for a walk” is code for “let’s get married”
  • they’re DTR-ing, y’all. this is happening.
  • …ffs, Calamity Jane
  • whatever. they’re still engaged. Cate is free forever from hi-I’m-John-Thorpe-and-this-is-Jackass. my ship is damaged but it still sails.
  • oh my god we’re finally getting an explanation for General Tilney’s awfulness
  • y’all. General Tilney thought Cate was much richer than she actually was, so that’s why he was shipping her and Henry so hard.
  • and apparently when he realized she wasn’t rolling in it, the only sensible course of action was… to kick her out.
  • but you know what, whatever, Cate and Henry are canon, so SUCK IT GENERAL
  • “John Thorpe had first misled him” – today on Literally Everything Is John Thorpe’s Fault…
  • omg. the General asked John if he knew Cate, and John was so sure he was going to marry Cate that he lied about her wealth, so he could brag
  • John Thorpe and his fratboy ego ruined everything: the novel
  • tbh General Tilney sort of brought this on himself, though. dude didn’t even think to google the Morlands before he got all shippy.
  • say it with me, kids: this is why you always check Snopes
  • and the whole time, Cate and Henry and Eleanor had no idea, though Henry began to suspect something was afoot.
  • it gets better: the General ran into John again later, and John was so pissed that Cate rejected him that he was like “dude I was kidding.”
  • god almighty, what a comedy of errors.
  • or wait, no, John blamed all his previous statements on James. of course. why did I suspect anything else.
  • so, tl;dr, General Tilney may not have murdered his wife in cold blood, but he’s still a top-notch a-hole.
  • as is John, but we all knew that already.
  • anyway, when the General explained all this to Henry, he was like SUBMIT TO MY WILL and Henry was just
  • oh my god oh my god the General literally invented that family vacation as an excuse to get Cate tf out of his sight. WOW.
  • that was wild from start to finish

Chapter 31 in a nutshell:  FINALLY

  • the Morlands may not be the best in-laws ever, but at least they’re okay with Cate and Henry becoming canon
  • (side note, do they have a ship name? I feel like this is crucial)
  • “Catherine would make a sad, heedless young housekeeper to be sure” – OKAY YOU CAN STOP TALKING NOW, MRS. MORLAND
  • oh boy, they still have to ask the General if it’s okay for them to become canon, though.
  • “lmao I still don’t ship it, sorry” – the General, basically
  • and thus the ship wars continue
  • bawwwwwwww but now Henry and Cate are secretly writing letters to each other
  • and the Morlands at least have the tact to look the other way
  • oh thank god, the General eventually loosens up… because Eleanor marries a genuinely rich guy.
  • like as far as I’m concerned she’s still gay as heck but at least she’s out from under the General’s thumb
  • “okay sure I guess you two aren’t my notp anymore” – the General to Cate and Henry after Eleanor’s marriage
  • so basically Eleanor married Prince Charming
  • “Any further definition of his merits must be unnecessary; the most charming young man in the world is instantly before… us all.” – JANE.
  • HA. turns out Prince Charming’s servant is the one who left behind all the washing-bills that scared Cate so much on her first night at NA.
  • daaaaaaang, Eleanor is a viscountess now. movin’ on up.
  • lmao so John lied just as badly about the Morlands’ fortune the second time he met the General. they’re middle-class af.
  • ahahaha the General’s consent comes in the form of “a page full of empty professions to Mr. Morland.” keepin’ it classy.
  • anyway the ship is canon and everybody’s going to live happily ever after. except Izzy and John, because screw them.

And there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.  I don’t think I’ll be livetweeting another book for a bit, because I’ve got a lot on my plate right now (what with this whole moving-to-Canada thing).  However, when I do eventually return, I’ll be tackling The Woman in White... 🙂

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song of the firecracker (a poem)

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a memory: i am eight years old. the parking lot at 21st and yale is packed, and the whole sky is rumbling. the pepsi logo flashes bright above us for one, two, three seconds before fading into the night like all the brilliant sparkling dandelions of light before it. someone fifty feet away shoots off a roman candle. i ask my father what it is, and he begins to answer, to explain how it works, but then another salvo crackles through the air above us and i am gone. fireworks may not be magic, but i am still enchanted.

a myth: they say prometheus gave us fire because he pitied us. he saw us shivering in our caves, inches from death, and he took pity on us. and for that, zeus wanted his liver pecked out for as long as fire will burn. which is to say, forever.

a memory: two summers in a row, we bought sparklers and lit them in our backyard. i waved sparkler after sparkler as fast as my arm could move, watching the tiny fiery stars fizzle out as they fell to the grass, a little thrill pulsing in my chest every time i didn’t get burned. the second summer, a spark landed on my arm, next to my birthmark. i ran water from the garden hose over my stinging arm, and i have never held a sparkler since.

a fact: the color blue is the hardest to produce in a firework. scientists have tried for hundreds of years to make the perfect deep blue firework, to little success. to this day, they’re still trying.

a memory: i am on a hill in salt lake city with a few dear friends, watching fireworks. four, five, six explode at once, their gold sparkles melting into shimmering city lights, the cracks echoing faintly through the valley like a car backfiring four blocks over. they look so small from here. college is already a distant memory. my twenty-second birthday is in three weeks. i am on top of the world, and i don’t know what will happen when i come down.

a fact: calcium chloride makes orange fireworks, and sodium nitrate makes yellow fireworks.
another fact: when stars die, nuclear fusion forms elements up to and including iron.
(i wonder what the stars think of fireworks.
i wonder if they are satisfied with the afterlife.)

a memory: i am in iowa, watching fireworks from across a cornfield. my sister sits on the grass beside me. all the lights, green and gold and red and blue alike, are stark against the night sky. the cracks and rumbles roll across the field like the waves in clear lake, some reaching us and some fading out amid the cornstalks. i slap away a bug on my arm and think that maybe the magic was never in the fireworks, but in the people who make them, who mix and remix the ashes of stars, who can turn destruction into creation into spectacular shining destruction.

a wish: next year, maybe i’ll hold a sparkler again.