John Thorpe Had First Misled Him about Catherine and Her Family
Not only does Northanger Abbey not live up to Catherine’s immature hopes but General Tilney eventually discovers his error and abruptly sends her home. She is forced to travel the ‘seventy miles’ by post to Fullerton alone, pained by an ignorance of how she has Links Of London Bracelets offended. At the novel’s close the narrator explains, somewhat unnecessarily for a reader who has read the clues in Bath’s landscape, the chain of events that led to the General’s mistake.
This is when we are told that ‘John Thorpe had first misled him’ about Catherine and her family. Thorpe’s pride in commandeering Catherine’s attentions had led him to inflate accounts of her father’s estate: ‘as his intimacy with any acquaintance grew, so regularly grew their fortune’. In addition, he told the General of Catherine’s expectations from the Aliens the ten or fifteen thousand pounds which her father could give her, would be a pretty addition to Mr. Allen’s estate. Her intimacy there had made him seriously determine on her being handsomely legacied hereafter; and to speak of her therefore as the almost acknowledged future heiress of
Fullerton naturally followed. Upon such intelligence the General had proceeded; for never had it occurred to him to doubt its authority. In the context of Bath in Austen’s time, ‘the absolute facts of the Aliens being wealthy and childless’ were, indeed, not to be doubted. False calculations, we are told, ‘had hurried him on. That they were false, the General had learnt from the very person who had suggested them, from Thorpe himself, whom he had chanced to meet again in town’. Thorpe’s corrective retelling of events to the General leaves the reader Links Of London Bracelets with one final clue that the Aliens of Bath, the descendants of Ralph Allen, were the family that both Thorpe and the General had in mind: The terrified General pronounced the name of Allen with an inquiring look; and here too Thorpe had learnt his error.
The Aliens, he believed, had lived near them too long, and he knew the young man on whom the Fullerton estate must devolve. The General needed no more. Thorpe’s logic about their length of residence in Fullerton reveals, once and for all, the fatal error behind his calculations. If these Aliens have indeed resided ‘too long’ in Fullerton, they cannot be related to Ralph Allen’s family from Bath.
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