THIS little work was finished in the year 1803 and intended for
immediate publication. It was disposed of to a bookseller it was
even advertised and why the business proceeded no farther the
author has never been able to learn. That any bookseller should
think it worth-while to purchase what he did not think it worth-while
to publish seems extraordinary. But with this neither the author
nor the public have any other concern than as some observation is
necessary upon those parts of the work which thirteen years have
made comparatively obsolete. The public are entreated to bear in
mind that thirteen years have passed since it was finished many more
since it was begun and that during that period places manners
books and opinions have undergone considerable changes.
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would
have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life the
character of her father and mother her own person and disposition
were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman without
being neglected or poor and a very respectable man though
his name was Richard -- and he had never been handsome. He had a
considerable independence besides two good livings -- and he was
not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother
was a woman of useful plain sense with a good temper and what
is more remarkable with a good constitution. She had three sons
before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the
latter into the world as anybody might expect she still lived
on -- lived to have six children more -- to see them growing up
around her and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of
ten children will be always called a fine family where there are
heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands
had little other right to the word for they were in general very
plain and Catherine for many years of her life as plain as any.
She had a thin awkward figure a sallow skin without colour dark
lank hair and strong features -- so much for her person; and not
less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of
all boy's plays and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls
but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy nursing a dormouse
feeding a canary-bird or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no
taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all it was chiefly
for the pleasure of mischief -- at least so it was conjectured from
her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such
were her propensities -- her abilities were quite as extraordinary.
She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught;
and sometimes not even then for she was often inattentive and
occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her
only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all her next
sister Sally could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine
was always stupid -- by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare
and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother
wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like
it for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn
spinner; so at eight years old she began. She learnt a year
and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland who did not insist on her
daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste
allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master
was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing
was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of
a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper
she did what she could in that way by drawing houses and trees
hens and chickens all very much like one another. Writing and
accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her
proficiency in either was not remarkable and she shirked her
lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange unaccountable
character! -- for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten
years old she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper was seldom
stubborn scarcely ever quarrelsome and very kind to the little
ones with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy
and wild hated confinement and cleanliness and loved nothing so
well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of
Such was Catherine Morland at ten. At fifteen appearances were
mending; she began to curl her hair and long for balls; her complexion
improved her features were softened by plumpness and colour her
eyes gained more animation and her figure more consequence. Her
love of dirt gave way to an inclination for finery and she grew
clean as she grew smart; she had now the pleasure of sometimes
hearing her father and mother remark on her personal improvement.
"Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl -- she is almost pretty
today" were words which caught her ears now and then; and how
welcome were the sounds! To look almost pretty is an acquisition
of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first
fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever
Mrs. Morland was a very good woman and wished to see her children
everything they ought to be; but her time was so much occupied in
lying-in and teaching the little ones that her elder daughters
were inevitably left to shift for themselves; and it was not very
wonderful that Catherine who had by nature nothing heroic about
her should prefer cricket baseball riding on horseback and
running about the country at the age of fourteen to books -- or
at least books of information -- for provided that nothing like
useful knowledge could be gained from them provided they were
all story and no reflection she had never any objection to books
at all. But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a
heroine; she read all such works as heroines must read to supply
their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and
so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives.
From Pope she learnt to censure those who
"bear about the mockery of woe."
From Gray that
"Many a flower is born to blush unseen
"And waste its fragrance on the desert air."
From Thompson that --
"It is a delightful task
"To teach the young idea how to shoot."
And from Shakespeare she gained a great store of information --
amongst the rest that --
"Trifles light as air
"Are to the jealous confirmation strong
"As proofs of Holy Writ."
"The poor beetle which we tread upon
"In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
"As when a giant dies."
And that a young woman in love always looks --
"like Patience on a monument
"Smiling at Grief."
So far her improvement was sufficient -- and in many other points she
came on exceedingly well; for though she could not write sonnets
she brought herself to read them; and though there seemed no
chance of her throwing a whole party into raptures by a prelude on
the pianoforte of her own composition she could listen to other
people's performance with very little fatigue. Her greatest
deficiency was in the pencil -- she had no notion of drawing --
not enough even to attempt a sketch of her lover's profile that
she might be detected in the design. There she fell miserably
short of the true heroic height. At present she did not know her
own poverty for she had no lover to portray. She had reached the
age of seventeen without having seen one amiable youth who could
call forth her sensibility without having inspired one real passion
and without having excited even any admiration but what was very
moderate and very transient. This was strange indeed! But strange
things may be generally accounted for if their cause be fairly
searched out. There was not one lord in the neighbourhood; no --
not even a baronet. There was not one family among their acquaintance
who had reared and supported a boy accidentally found at their door
-- not one young man whose origin was unknown. Her father had no
ward and the squire of the parish no children.
But when a young lady is to be a heroine the perverseness of forty
surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will
happen to throw a hero in her way.
Mr. Allen who owned the chief of the property about Fullerton
the village in Wiltshire where the Morlands lived was ordered to
Bath for the benefit of a gouty constitution -- and his lady a
good-humoured woman fond of Miss Morland and probably aware that
if adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village she
must seek them abroad invited her to go with them. Mr. and Mrs.
Morland were all compliance and Catherine all happiness.
In addition to what has been already said of Catherine Morland's
personal and mental endowments when about to be launched into all
the difficulties and dangers of a six weeks' residence in Bath
it may be stated for the reader's more certain information lest
the following pages should otherwise fail of giving any idea of
what her character is meant to be that her heart was affectionate;
her disposition cheerful and open without conceit or affectation
of any kind -- her manners just removed from the awkwardness and
shyness of a girl; her person pleasing and when in good looks
pretty -- and her mind about as ignorant and uninformed as the
female mind at seventeen usually is.
When the hour of departure drew near the maternal anxiety of Mrs.
Morland will be naturally supposed to be most severe. A thousand
alarming presentiments of evil to her beloved Catherine from this
terrific separation must oppress her heart with sadness and drown
her in tears for the last day or two of their being together; and
advice of the most important and applicable nature must of course
flow from her wise lips in their parting conference in her closet.
Cautions against the violence of such noblemen and baronets as
delight in forcing young ladies away to some remote farm-house
must at such a moment relieve the fulness of her heart. Who
would not think so? But Mrs. Morland knew so little of lords
and baronets that she entertained no notion of their general
mischievousness and was wholly unsuspicious of danger to
her daughter from their machinations. Her cautions were confined
to the following points. "I beg Catherine you will always wrap
yourself up very warm about the throat when you come from the
rooms at night; and I wish you would try to keep some account of
the money you spend; I will give you this little book on purpose. "
Sally or rather Sarah (for what young lady of common gentility
will reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as
she can?) must from situation be at this time the intimate friend
and confidante of her sister. It is remarkable however that she
neither insisted on Catherine's writing by every post nor exacted
her promise of transmitting the character of every new acquaintance
nor a detail of every interesting conversation that Bath might
produce. Everything indeed relative to this important journey was
done on the part of the Morlands with a degree of moderation and
composure which seemed rather consistent with the common feelings
of common life than with the refined susceptibilities the tender
emotions which the first separation of a heroine from her family
ought always to excite. Her father instead of giving her an
unlimited order on his banker or even putting an hundred pounds
bank-bill into her hands gave her only ten guineas and promised
her more when she wanted it.
Under these unpromising auspices the parting took place and
the journey began. It was performed with suitable quietness and
uneventful safety. Neither robbers nor tempests befriended them
nor one lucky overturn to introduce them to the hero. Nothing more
alarming occurred than a fear on Mrs. Allen's side of having once
left her clogs behind her at an inn and that fortunately proved
to be groundless.
They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight -- her eyes were
here there everywhere as they approached its fine and striking
environs and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted
them to the hotel. She was come to be happy and she felt happy
They were soon settled in comfortable lodgings in Pulteney Street.
It is now expedient to give some description of Mrs. Allen that
the reader may be able to judge in what manner her actions will
hereafter tend to promote the general distress of the work and
how she will probably contribute to reduce poor Catherine to all
the desperate wretchedness of which a last volume is capable --
whether by her imprudence vulgarity or jealousy -- whether by
intercepting her letters ruining her character or turning her
out of doors.
Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females whose society
can raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in
the world who could like them well enough to marry them. She had
neither beauty genius accomplishment nor manner. The air of
a gentlewoman a great deal of quiet inactive good temper and
a trifling turn of mind were all that could account for her being
the choice of a sensible intelligent man like Mr. Allen. In one
respect she was admirably fitted to introduce a young lady into
public being as fond of going everywhere and seeing everything
herself as any young lady could be. Dress was her passion. She
had a most harmless delight in being fine; and our heroine's entree
into life could not take place till after three or four days had
been spent in learning what was mostly worn and her chaperone was
provided with a dress of the newest fashion. Catherine too made
some purchases herself and when all these matters were arranged
the important evening came which was to usher her into the Upper
Rooms. Her hair was cut and dressed by the best hand her clothes
put on with care and both Mrs. Allen and her maid declared she
looked quite as she should do. With such encouragement Catherine
hoped at least to pass uncensured through the crowd. As for
admiration it was always very welcome when it came but she did
not depend on it.
Mrs. Allen was so long in dressing that they did not enter the
ballroom till late. The season was full the room crowded and the
two ladies squeezed in as well as they could. As for Mr. Allen
he repaired directly to the card-room and left them to enjoy a
mob by themselves. With more care for the safety of her new gown
than for the comfort of her protegee Mrs. Allen made her way
through the throng of men by the door as swiftly as the necessary
caution would allow; Catherine however kept close at her side
and linked her arm too firmly within her friend's to be torn asunder
by any common effort of a struggling assembly. But to her utter
amazement she found that to proceed along the room was by no means
the way to disengage themselves from the crowd; it seemed rather to
increase as they went on whereas she had imagined that when once
fairly within the door they should easily find seats and be able
to watch the dances with perfect convenience. But this was far
from being the case and though by unwearied diligence they gained
even the top of the room their situation was just the same; they
saw nothing of the dancers but the high feathers of some of the
ladies. Still they moved on -- something better was yet in view;
and by a continued exertion of strength and ingenuity they found
themselves at last in the passage behind the highest bench. Here
there was something less of crowd than below; and hence Miss Morland
had a comprehensive view of all the company beneath her and of all
the dangers of her late passage through them. It was a splendid
sight and she began for the first time that evening to feel herself
at a ball: she longed to dance but she had not an acquaintance
in the room. Mrs. Allen did all that she could do in such a case
by saying very placidly every now and then "I wish you could
dance my dear -- I wish you could get a partner." For some time
her young friend felt obliged to her for these wishes; but they
were repeated so often and proved so totally ineffectual that
Catherine grew tired at last and would thank her no more.
They were not long able however to enjoy the repose of the eminence
they had so laboriously gained. Everybody was shortly in motion
for tea and they must squeeze out like the rest. Catherine began
to feel something of disappointment -- she was tired of being
continually pressed against by people the generality of whose
faces possessed nothing to interest and with all of whom she was
so wholly unacquainted that she could not relieve the irksomeness
of imprisonment by the exchange of a syllable with any of her fellow
captives; and when at last arrived in the tea-room she felt yet
more the awkwardness of having no party to join no acquaintance
to claim no gentleman to assist them. They saw nothing of Mr.
Allen; and after looking about them in vain for a more eligible
situation were obliged to sit down at the end of a table at which
a large party were already placed without having anything to do
there or anybody to speak to except each other.
Mrs. Allen congratulated herself as soon as they were seated on
having preserved her gown from injury. "It would have been very
shocking to have it torn" said she "would not it? It is such a
delicate muslin. For my part I have not seen anything I like so
well in the whole room I assure you."
"How uncomfortable it is" whispered Catherine "not to have a
single acquaintance here!"
"Yes my dear" replied Mrs. Allen with perfect serenity "it is
very uncomfortable indeed."
"What shall we do? The gentlemen and ladies at this table look
as if they wondered why we came here -- we seem forcing ourselves
into their party."
"Aye so we do. That is very disagreeable. I wish we had a large
"I wish we had any -- it would be somebody to go to."
"Very true my dear; and if we knew anybody we would join them
directly. The Skinners were here last year -- I wish they were
"Had not we better go away as it is? Here are no tea-things for
us you see."
"No more there are indeed. How very provoking! But I think we
had better sit still for one gets so tumbled in such a crowd! How
is my head my dear? Somebody gave me a push that has hurt it I
"No indeed it looks very nice. But dear Mrs. Allen are you
sure there is nobody you know in all this multitude of people? I
think you must know somebody."
"I don't upon my word -- I wish I did. I wish I had a large
acquaintance here with all my heart and then I should get you
a partner. I should be so glad to have you dance. There goes
a strange-looking woman! What an odd gown she has got on! How
old-fashioned it is! Look at the back."
After some time they received an offer of tea from one of their
neighbours; it was thankfully accepted and this introduced a light
conversation with the gentleman who offered it which was the only
time that anybody spoke to them during the evening till they were
discovered and joined by Mr. Allen when the dance was over.
"Well Miss Morland" said he directly "I hope you have had an
"Very agreeable indeed" she replied vainly endeavouring to hide
a great yawn.
"I wish she had been able to dance" said his wife; "I wish we could
have got a partner for her. I have been saying how glad I should
be if the Skinners were here this winter instead of last; or if
the Parrys had come as they talked of once she might have danced
with George Parry. I am so sorry she has not had a partner!"
"We shall do better another evening I hope" was Mr. Allen's
The company began to disperse when the dancing was over -- enough
to leave space for the remainder to walk about in some comfort;
and now was the time for a heroine who had not yet played a very
distinguished part in the events of the evening to be noticed and
admired. Every five minutes by removing some of the crowd gave
greater openings for her charms. She was now seen by many young
men who had not been near her before. Not one however started
with rapturous wonder on beholding her no whisper of eager inquiry
ran round the room nor was she once called a divinity by anybody.
Yet Catherine was in very good looks and had the company only seen
her three years before they would now have thought her exceedingly
She was looked at however and with some admiration; for in her
own hearing two gentlemen pronounced her to be a pretty girl. Such
words had their due effect; she immediately thought the evening
pleasanter than she had found it before -- her humble vanity was
contented -- she felt more obliged to the two young men for this
simple praise than a true-quality heroine would have been for fifteen
sonnets in celebration of her charms and went to her chair in good
humour with everybody and perfectly satisfied with her share of
Every morning now brought its regular duties -- shops were to be
visited; some new part of the town to be looked at; and the pump-room
to be attended where they paraded up and down for an hour looking
at everybody and speaking to no one. The wish of a numerous
acquaintance in Bath was still uppermost with Mrs. Allen and she
repeated it after every fresh proof which every morning brought
of her knowing nobody at all.
They made their appearance in the Lower Rooms; and here fortune
was more favourable to our heroine. The master of the ceremonies
introduced to her a very gentlemanlike young man as a partner; his
name was Tilney. He seemed to be about four or five and twenty
was rather tall had a pleasing countenance a very intelligent
and lively eye and if not quite handsome was very near it. His
address was good and Catherine felt herself in high luck. There
was little leisure for speaking while they danced; but when they
were seated at tea she found him as agreeable as she had already
given him credit for being. He talked with fluency and spirit
-- and there was an archness and pleasantry in his manner which
interested though it was hardly understood by her. After chatting
some time on such matters as naturally arose from the objects around
them he suddenly addressed her with -- "I have hitherto been very
remiss madam in the proper attentions of a partner here; I have
not yet asked you how long you have been in Bath; whether you were
ever here before; whether you have been at the Upper Rooms the
theatre and the concert; and how you like the place altogether. I
have been very negligent -- but are you now at leisure to satisfy
me in these particulars? If you are I will begin directly."
"You need not give yourself that trouble sir."
"No trouble I assure you madam." Then forming his features into
a set smile and affectedly softening his voice he added with a
simpering air "Have you been long in Bath madam?"
"About a week sir" replied Catherine trying not to laugh.
"Really!" with affected astonishment.
"Why should you be surprised sir?"
"Why indeed!" said he in his natural tone. "But some emotion
must appear to be raised by your reply and surprise is more easily
assumed and not less reasonable than any other. Now let us go