Northanger Abbey

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Another Morland (Catherine’s brother) who fails to suspect those he meets of hypocrisy, James is a loving brother, son, and friend who is easily manipulated by the Thorpes. He falls in love with Isabella and never seems to realize that she is a fortune-hunter. Eager to go along with Isabella and John, James pressures Catherine to do things she believes are wrong, showing that he has a weaker, less moral character than Catherine.

James Morland Quotes in Northanger Abbey

The Northanger Abbey quotes below are all either spoken by James Morland or refer to James Morland. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Novels and the Heroine Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Northanger Abbey published in 2003.
Volume 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

Isabella was very sure that he must be a charming young man and was equally sure that he must have been delighted with her dear Catherine, and would therefore shortly return. She liked him the better for being a clergyman, “for she must confess herself very partial to the profession” and something like a sigh escaped her as she said it. Perhaps Catherine was wrong in not demanding the cause of that gentle emotion—but she was not experienced enough in the finesse of love, or the duties of friendship, to know when delicate raillery was properly called for, or when a confidence should be forced.

Related Characters: Catherine Morland, Isabella Thorpe, James Morland, Henry Tilney (Mr. Tilney)
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Catherine has confided to Isabella that she met a man named Henry Tilney and found him charming, but that she has not seen him since. Isabella (we later learn) hopes to marry Catherine’s brother James, so she is trying to become as close as possible to Catherine. She flatters Catherine by saying that Henry Tilney must have been just as interested in Catherine as she was in him. Isabella then goes on to hint that she also has a love interest that she would like Catherine to ask her about—another clergyman, just like Henry. Catherine, however, is far behind Isabella in her understanding of both romance and the indirect ways people hint at their romantic feelings. By saying she is interested in men who are clergymen and then sighing, Isabella is providing Catherine with the opportunity to question her about which specific clergyman she is in love with, but Catherine comes from a family that always speaks directly and honestly, so she lacks the experience to interpret such hints. Catherine knows that Isabella has met her brother James and knows that he is in training to be a clergyman, but she does not know to put these pieces of information together with the new information about Isabella’s preference for clergymen and her eager friendliness towards Catherine to arrive at a suspicion that Isabella may have feelings for James.

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Volume 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

These manners did not please Catherine; but he was James's friend and Isabella's brother; and her judgment was further bought off by Isabella's assuring her, when they withdrew to see the new hat, that John thought her the most charming girl in the world, and by John's engaging her before they parted to dance with him that evening. Had she been older or vainer, such attacks might have done little; but, where youth and diffidence are united, it requires uncommon steadiness of reason to resist the attraction of being called the most charming girl in the world, and of being so very early engaged as a partner; and the consequence was, that, when the two Morlands, after sitting an hour with the Thorpes, set off to walk together to Mr. Allen's, and James, as the door was closed on them, said, “Well, Catherine, how do you like my friend Thorpe?” instead of answering, as she probably would have done, had there been no friendship and no flattery in the case, “I do not like him at all;” she directly replied, “I like him very much; he seems very agreeable.”

Related Characters: Catherine Morland, Isabella Thorpe, John Thorpe, James Morland, Mr. Allen
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

Catherine’s brother James has arrived in Bath with Isabella’s brother John. It is Catherine’s first time meeting John, and she finds him ill-mannered, entitled, and difficult to talk to. Catherine has grown up in the countryside, however, and has seemingly never before met a man of her age and class to whom she was not related. Thus she feels herself to be too inexperienced to trust her own first impressions of John’s character, and instead decides to trust her older brother’s judgment in choosing John as his friend. She also feels that, as Isabella’s brother, John likely shares some of Isabella’s qualities, and Catherine has been thoroughly won over by Isabella’s flattery. Catherine also remembers the experience of going to a ball with only Mrs. Allen and having no one to dance with, so she is happy to know that she will not have to feel left out of the dancing and worry about being looked down upon as a girl who could not attract a partner at the ball tonight. It does not occur to her yet that being committed to dance with a partner she does not like will prevent her from being able to accept an invitation to dance from someone she likes better.

Volume 1, Chapter 15 Quotes

“Morland says exactly the same,” replied Isabella; “and yet I dare not expect it; my fortune will be so small; they never can consent to it. Your brother, who might marry any body!”
Here Catherine again discerned the force of love. “Indeed, Isabella, you are too humble.—The difference of fortune can be nothing to signify.”
“Oh! my sweet Catherine, in your generous heart I know it would signify nothing; but we must not expect such disinterestedness in many. As for myself, I am sure I only wish our situations were reversed. Had I the command of millions, were I mistress of the whole world, your brother would be my only choice.”
This charming sentiment, recommended as much by sense as novelty, gave Catherine a most pleasing remembrance of all the heroines of her acquaintance; and she thought her friend never looked more lovely than in uttering the grand idea.

Related Characters: Catherine Morland (speaker), Isabella Thorpe (speaker), James Morland
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

Isabella and James are engaged, but James has not yet gotten his parents’ permission for the marriage. Isabella believes the Morlands to be wealthy and fears that they will object to her as a daughter-in-law on the grounds that she has no fortune. Unaware that Isabella thinks the Morlands are wealthier than they are, Catherine believes all of Isabella’s anxiety to arise from her fear of losing the man she loves. In fact, if Isabella knew the actual extent of the Morlands’ fortune, she would not be interested in James at all, but she conceals her true motives by hypocritically saying how little she cares for money and overstating her absolute devotion to James. Catherine has read many novels about love across class lines, so Isabella’s hypocritical speech seems to Catherine just like a sincere and romantic declaration drawn from a Sentimental novel. To Catherine, the fact that her family is not much richer than Isabella’s makes Isabella’s fear of rejection seem like an even more potent sign of Isabella’s love for James.

Volume 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

“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 every body feel for you. There never was a young woman so beloved as you are by every body 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 every body has their failing you know, and every body 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.”

Related Characters: Catherine Morland (speaker), Isabella Thorpe (speaker), Mrs. Thorpe (speaker), James Morland, Mr. Morland
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

Isabella has received a letter from James informing her of how much they can expect to receive from his father upon their marrying—and it is a much smaller amount than Isabella had hoped for. Mrs. Thorpe may have been the source of the Thorpes’ mistaken idea that the Morlands are a very wealthy family; she went to school with Mrs. Allen and knows the Allens to be wealthy. She may have heard from her son John that he had met someone named James Morland and told John to cultivate a friendship with James, just as Isabella has cultivated a friendship with Catherine, in the hope that her children would marry into money.

Isabella’s disappointment in the provision promised by Mr. Moreland does not prevent her from continuing to hypocritically declare how little she cares for money. She claims that she is disappointed only because she feels that by marrying her, James will miss out on his fair share of the family wealth. It was not uncommon for parents to give a smaller amount of money to children who wanted to marry someone that the parents did not approve of. Isabella and Mrs. Thorpe seem not yet to have realized that Mr. Morland has provided for his son as generously as he can. They believe that Mr. Morland is withholding his money out of a desire that his son marry a richer woman. They may hope to test this theory out, then, by dropping such broad hints to Catherine that they are disappointed in what Mr. Morland will provide.

Volume 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

“A little harmless flirtation or so will occur, and one is often drawn on to give more encouragement than one wishes to stand by. But you may be assured that I am the last person in the world to judge you severely. All those things should be allowed for in youth and high spirits. What one means one day, you know, one may not mean the next. Circumstances change, opinions alter.”
“But my opinion of your brother never did alter; it was always the same. You are describing what never happened.”
“My dearest Catherine,” continued the other without at all listening to her, “I would not for all the world be the means of hurrying you into an engagement before you knew what you were about. I do not think any thing would justify me in wishing you to sacrifice all your happiness merely to oblige my brother, because he is my brother, and who perhaps after all, you know, might be just as happy without you, for people seldom know what they would be at, young men especially, they are so amazingly changeable and inconstant.”

Related Characters: Catherine Morland (speaker), Isabella Thorpe (speaker), John Thorpe, James Morland, Frederick Tilney (Captain Tilney)
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

Isabella’s hypocrisy often takes the form of attributing her own thoughts and desires to someone else. In the past, Catherine has not picked up on this, because Isabella has attributed these desires to James or to “young men” in general. But in this case, Isabella describes her understanding of what passed between Catherine and John while actually giving a description of how she sees the situation between herself and James. When Isabella says that Catherine may have given John encouragement without meaning anything by it, she is mostly describing her own regret at having become engaged to James. When Isabella says that John may be just as happy without Catherine as with her, she is suggesting that James may never really have loved her as much as he thought he did. And when she says that she would not judge Catherine severely if Catherine led John on, she is suggesting that Catherine should be similarly lenient about forgiving her, if she ends up jilting James. Isabella still wants to keep Catherine as a friend, seemingly because she now hopes for them to both marry into the Tilney family.

Catherine does not agree with anything Isabella is saying, whether these ideas are to be applied to her situation with John, or more generally. Catherine has no concept of idle flirtations that do not lead to marriage. She would be even more horrified at the idea of someone dissolving an engagement after they met someone else richer or more attractive. Catherine, like Henry, is a deep believer in the importance of loyalty to love. This speech of Isabella’s, on the other hand, articulates the opposite theory: that love can be fleeting and commitments can be broken at a whim.

Volume 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

“My dear Miss Morland,” said Henry, “in this amiable solicitude for your brother's comfort, may you not be a little mistaken? Are you not carried a little too far? Would he thank you, either on his own account or Miss Thorpe's, for supposing that her affection, or at least her good-behaviour, is only to be secured by her seeing nothing of Captain Tilney? Is he safe only in solitude?—or, is her heart constant to him only when unsolicited by any one else?—He cannot think this—and you may be sure that he would not have you think it. I will not say, 'Do not be uneasy' because I know that you are so, at this moment; but be as little uneasy as you can. You have no doubt of the mutual attachment of your brother and your friend; depend upon it therefore, that real jealousy never can exist between them; depend upon it that no disagreement between them can be of any duration. Their hearts are open to each other, as neither heart can be to you; they know exactly what is required and what can be borne; and you may be certain, that one will never tease the other beyond what is known to be pleasant.”

Related Characters: Henry Tilney (Mr. Tilney) (speaker), Catherine Morland, Isabella Thorpe, James Morland, Frederick Tilney (Captain Tilney)
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

Catherine has told Henry Tilney that she is worried about the growing flirtation between his brother Frederick and Isabella, who is engaged to Catherine’s brother James. Catherine then asks Henry to tell his father to intervene and send Frederick away, but Henry refuses. Catherine is still moving from girlhood, when anyone who misbehaved was told that they were doing the wrong thing, to womanhood, when there are many decisions that individuals make on their own. She does not realize that Frederick, James, and Isabella are all adults and cannot simply be told that they are behaving badly and should do something differently.

In explaining his refusal, Henry stresses the importance of loyalty to love. He explains that a relationship must be based on an understanding between two people: only these two people can be responsible for their own conduct as it affects one another. It is up to the two halves of a couple to decide what is and is not acceptable behavior. What Henry does not say, but follows from this principle, is that if Isabella cannot remain loyal to James without any outside interference, James will be best served by learning that fact before he marries her, so that he can break the engagement.

Henry’s insistence on the importance of a commitment between two people that cannot be interfered with by anyone else foreshadows how he will act later in the novel, when his father tries to interfere in his relationship with Catherine.

Volume 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

“I am quite uneasy about your dear brother, not having heard from him since he went to Oxford; and am fearful of some misunderstanding. Your kind offices will set all right:—he is the only man I ever did or could love, and I trust you will convince him of it. The spring fashions are partly down; and the hats the most frightful you can imagine. I hope you spend your time pleasantly, but am afraid you never think of me. I will not say all that I could of the family you are with, because I would not be ungenerous, or set you against those you esteem; but it is very difficult to know whom to trust, and young men never know their minds two days together. I rejoice to say, that the young man whom, of all others, I particularly abhor, has left Bath. You will know, from this description, I must mean Captain Tilney, who, as you may remember, was amazingly disposed to follow and tease me, before you went away. Afterwards he got worse, and became quite my shadow. Many girls might have been taken in, for never were such attentions; but I knew the fickle sex too well. He went away to his regiment two days ago, and I trust I shall never be plagued with him again.”

Related Characters: Isabella Thorpe (speaker), Catherine Morland, James Morland, Frederick Tilney (Captain Tilney)
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 202-203
Explanation and Analysis:

Catherine has already heard from James that his marriage with Isabella has been called off, because she is presumably going to marry Frederick Tilney. Now, after it has become clear to Isabella that Frederick will not propose to her, she writes to enlist Catherine’s help to salvage her relationship with James. In this context, and set down in a letter where each statement can be carefully considered, Isabella’s true motivations could not be any more transparent. For instance, when Isabella writes that “many girls might have been taken in,” she suggests that, in her place, anyone would have believed that Frederick Tilney meant to marry her judging by how much attention he paid her. Logically, though, it would not matter if Frederick did or not deceive Isabella about his intention to marry, if Isabella truly loved James and wanted to marry him, as she says earlier in the letter. But Isabella cannot help bragging about how much attention she received from Frederick, which makes her hypocrisy even more glaring.

Isabella is right about one thing: Frederick was fickle. He never intended to marry her, only to lead her on. But when she describes all men as “the fickle sex,” after her disloyalty to James led to the breaking off of their engagement, it becomes clear that she is once again assigning faults to others that are actually her own.

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James Morland Character Timeline in Northanger Abbey

The timeline below shows where the character James Morland appears in Northanger Abbey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Chapter 4
Sincerity and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
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...to Catherine, exclaim how much she looks like her brother. They explain that Catherine’s brother James is a friend of their brother John, and Catherine remembers that her eldest brother spent... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 7
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...Isabella’s brother is accompanied by Catherine's brother, whom she is surprised and pleased to see. James Morland greets his sister warmly, although Isabella seeks his attention with her smile. If Catherine... (full context)
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...He claims that they have come 25 miles in two and a half hours, although James Morland says they have come 23 miles in three and a half hours. John asks... (full context)
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...escort the two ladies back to the Thorpes’ lodgings. Isabella pays such complete attention to James that she only looks at the two young men that she and Catherine had followed... (full context)
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...saying they look ugly. He tells his mother to find a place for him and James to stay near them. Mrs. Thorpe is charmed to see her son. Catherine does not... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 8
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That night at the ball, the Thorpes and Allens meet. James wants to dance with Isabella, but Isabella declares that she will not dance with James... (full context)
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...Mr. Tilney, and looks back at him frequently. Catherine is also separated from Isabella and James and reflects that she was mistaken in believing herself lucky to go to a ball... (full context)
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Isabella approaches and grabs Catherine’s arm, complaining that James kept her from coming to find Catherine and saying that she has been scolding him... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 9
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...Catherine to hurry and get ready to go on a drive with him, Isabella, and James. Catherine is surprised, because they had not planned to go on a drive. She gives... (full context)
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...must hurry into John’s carriage so that they can be off. Catherine overhears Isabella tell James how much she adores her. (full context)
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...John says. She concludes that students at Oxford drink a great deal, but thinks that James surely does not. (full context)
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...said during his endless discussion of horses and carriages, asks if he really thinks that James’s carriage will break down, and he says it is very rickety and will definitely crash.... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 10
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That night at the theater, Isabella sits between Catherine and James. She tells the latter that she will not talk to him all night because she... (full context)
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...meet Miss Tilney in the Pump-room. She walks apart from the others with Isabella and James, but begins to feel that this is not very much fun, since they do not... (full context)
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...Isabella says that, despite how improper it may seem, she is going to dance with James again and that Catherine and John should come to find them on the dance floor.... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 11
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...is wondering whether the Tilneys will still come for their walk, when Isabella, John, and James arrive in two carriages. Catherine declares that she cannot go on a ride with them,... (full context)
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...come anyway, and then Isabella comes in to encourage her. Isabella says that she and James had the idea at the exact same moment that morning and would have gone earlier... (full context)
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...castle is. Still she looks forward to seeing this old building. After about an hour, James pulls up and says that they must go back: they have only driven seven miles... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 13
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Walking on the Crescent, Isabella and James decide that, tomorrow, they should continue their carriage ride that they had cut short. They... (full context)
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James also begs Catherine to reconsider, saying she can hardly hold out so stubbornly when “such... (full context)
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...to ask if they could postpone their walk until Tuesday, and that Miss Tilney agreed. James and Isabella are glad to hear this, but Catherine says she will go after the... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 14
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...Isabella’s sister Anne. Anne tells Catherine that John drove her sister Maria and Isabella and James drove together. Anne says she would hate to have gone herself, but Catherine thinks Anne... (full context)
Volume 1, Chapter 15
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...arrives, Maria Thorpe tells her about the enjoyable day she had with John, Isabella, and James, rushing around and being rained on. Catherine is relieved to learn that they didn’t visit... (full context)
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...of her letter. Catherine has no idea what Isabella is hinting at. Isabella continues, saying James is the most charming of men, but she worries about what Mr. and Mrs. Morland... (full context)
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Isabella gushes about her love of Catherine and James, saying she will love Catherine much more than she ever loved her own sisters, and... (full context)
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Isabella says that James will go to Fullerton to get his parents’ consent and that she is terribly nervous... (full context)
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James comes to say goodbye before he sets off to see his parents, but is frequently... (full context)
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...the wickedest thing in existence.” Then she leaves, rushing off to tell the Allens that James and Isabella have gotten her parents’ consent. John feels quite satisfied that Catherine is interested... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 1
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When Catherine and Isabella next meet, they discuss the letter from James explaining what he and Isabella will receive from his family upon their marriage. They will... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 3
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...accused her of doing in the past, says that Isabella should not be impatient for James, who will soon arrive back in Bath. Isabella says that she is not looking for... (full context)
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...encouragement. She thinks it impossible that Isabella could knowingly encourage him, as her love for James is certain, but she wishes that Isabella had not talked so much about money and... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 4
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...the next few days. Isabella gives just as much attention to Captain Tilney as to James when they are all in public together. Catherine resents this behavior, although she thinks Isabella... (full context)
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...to Henry Tilney and asks him to tell Captain Tilney that Isabella is engaged to James. Henry says that his brother knows of the engagement, and then tries to change the... (full context)
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Catherine agrees that Isabella’s behavior has been bad, but insists that Isabella loves James very much. Henry will not explain explicitly what he thinks his brother’s aims are, only... (full context)
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...before she leaves. Isabella seems to express more affection towards Catherine than she does towards James, but Catherine thinks of what Henry Tilney said, and decides that perhaps this is just... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 10
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...she always keeps her promises. On the tenth morning, however, she receives a letter from James. James writes that his engagement with Isabella is over, and that she should leave Northanger... (full context)
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...that they are, but that she will never wish for a letter again. Her brother James is so unhappy, she says, to which Henry replies that it must be a comfort... (full context)
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Catherine lets both brother and sister read James’s letter. Henry is very surprised, but says that, if it is true, he will not... (full context)
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...remembers when Isabella seemed disappointed about how much money Mr. Morland would give her and James. (full context)
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...she has never been so deceived by anyone in her life. She worries about how James will recover from this loss. Henry asks her if she herself feels that she has... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 12
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...morning. Isabella apologizes for failing to write Catherine. She writes that she is uneasy about James, with whom she has had a misunderstanding. She hopes that Catherine will convince James that... (full context)
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...does not understand Captain Tilney’s behavior. Why, she asks, did he get between Isabella and James if he never intended to marry her? Henry says he does not wish to defend... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 14
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...Catherine call on Mrs. Allen, and Mrs. Morland tells Catherine that she feels sorry for James, but he will likely be a wiser man after this early disappointment. Catherine reflects on... (full context)
Volume 2, Chapter 15
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...Catherine’s wealth and connections. At that time, Thorpe thought that his sister would soon marry James, and he hoped to marry Catherine himself, believing her to be wealthier than she really... (full context)
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...at Catherine’s refusal of him and even angrier at having found himself unable to reconcile James and Isabella, so he told the General the exact opposite of what he had said... (full context)