At the age of four and twenty, Henry is content with his life as a clergyman, leaving his older brother Frederick to inherit Northanger Abbey. But General Tilney is determined to increase the family's means by having all three of his children marry wealthy partners.
During a trip to Bath, Henry meets the delightful Miss Catherine Morland and believes he may have found the woman he's been looking for, although she has no great fortune. When the General takes an unusual liking to Catherine and invites her to visit the Abbey, Henry is thrilled. But just as in the Gothic novels Henry loves, not everything is as it seems...
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
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Henry Tilney's Diary
By Amanda Grange
Robert Hale LimitedCopyright © 2014 Amanda Grange
All rights reserved.
Wednesday 14 April
No lessons, no tutors, no Latin, no Greek! How glad I am to be home again, with time to spend with my horses and dogs, my brother and sister, my mother and father. No more school for a month! Instead time to wander the abbey and roam the grounds. The kitchen gardens have changed since last I was here. My father took me on a tour of them as soon as I stepped out of the carriage. He would not be content until I had seen every new plant and marvelled over every new bit of walling. It gives him something to do, now that he has left the army, I suppose, and I believe he will change every part of the Abbey before he is done. Mama looked pale but only laughed when I said so, remarking that everyone looks pale in April. But I think she is not well. Eleanor has grown another inch and has developed a taste for Gothic novels. Frederick was out all day and looks set to be out all night, too. Papa paced up and down, his watch in his hand, whilst waiting for my brother this evening, then at last gave instructions for dinner to be served without him. I do not envy Frederick when he returns, for if there is one thing my father hates, it is to be kept waiting for anything.
Thursday 15 April
All was peaceful this morning as Mama, Papa and I were at breakfast. Eleanor had just departed to work with her governess when suddenly the door of the breakfast parlour opened and Frederick walked in. It was obvious that he had just returned from a night's carousing. He was looking very dishevelled. His eyes were red, his speech slurred and his linen was none too fresh. He lurched towards us and demanded a thousand pounds from my father to cover his losses at the gaming tables, saying he must pay his debts of honour. My father, who had watched him like a simmering volcano since he set foot in the room, went purple with rage and rose to his feet. He shook with anger and then erupted, roaring a refusal and saying that Frederick had disgraced the name of Tilney.
'By God, boy! What do you mean by it, coming in here at this hour and standing before your mother in this state, unwashed and reeking of brandy? I have warned you about your behaviour before, sir, but I will not warn you again. I have had my fill! I will not stand by whilst you waste every penny of your allowance —'
'Aye, and pennies is all it is,' said Frederick with a sneer. 'A gentleman cannot be expected to manage on what you give him. It is a trifling sum, when you inherited a fortune —'
'Which you are dissipating. I should never have listened to your mother's soft entreaties on your behalf. I should have sent you into the army years ago, it would have made a man of you,' said my father.
'What? A soldier?' asked Frederick as he half-lurched, half-fell into a chair with a derisory laugh. 'I am the heir of Northanger Abbey. Careers are not for the likes of me.'
'Careers are for every man who would be a man, instead of a disgrace to himself, his family and his name. The devil finds work for idle hands; well, no more! If you were older I would demand your help in running the estate —'Frederick snorted.
'You would never let me meddle with your precious gardens and kitchens, you want them all to yourself. You do not even let Mama have a say! You like your own way too well.' Papa threw down his napkin and his anger turned into icy contempt. 'If you had shown any interest in your duty, then in the coming years I would have let you join with me in improving the abbey, but as it is you need discipline. Let us see what a few years in the army will do for you, and see if you, too, can rise to the rank of general.' Mama, who had been sitting quietly up until that point, was upset by the turn events had taken. She implored my father to change his mind, saying that Frederick was too young to join the army. To which my father replied, 'Eighteen? Too young? If anything it is too old. Some discipline would have done the boy good years ago, but better late than never.' Then turning to Frederick he demanded, 'Well, sir, what do you have to say for yourself?' Frederick looked mutinous, but Papa in one of his moods is not a man to cross, and so instead of challenging our father outright Frederick said provokingly, 'That I think it a very good thing.'
'Do you begad?' said my father in surprise. He nodded his approval. 'Then perhaps there is hope for you yet.' But Frederick had not finished.
'There is nothing more calculated to attract the opposite sex than a red coat,' he said impudently. 'The women fall all over me at the moment, they will fall even more quickly once I am in uniform!' My father was incensed.
'Puppy!' he roared.
'Please, dear, do reconsider,' Mama implored him. 'Frederick is the heir. He cannot go into the army. What will happen if he is killed?'
'He will be killed if he stays at home. He is forever putting his horse at breakneck jumps, and drunk or sober he has been in more duels than any man I know. It is a wonder he has lived this long.'
'But think of the estate,' said Mama.
It was an entreaty which fooled no one, for she cares very little for the estate and a great deal for her firstborn son.
'If Frederick is fool enough to get in the way of a sword then Henry will look after it,' said my father.
Mama pleaded with him again, but to no avail, Papa's mind was made up.
At last Mama left the room in some distress, closely followed by my father, who was still shouting his dissatisfaction. I, meanwhile, was no less dismayed than Mama. Having no desire to inherit the estate, I was not pleased with the turn events had taken.
'Have a thought for me,' I said to Frederick, as he staggered drunkenly to his feet. 'I do not want to inherit Northanger Abbey, I would much rather inherit the family living. So take care of yourself. I do not want to see you take a bullet.' He smiled broadly. 'Henry, dear boy, so there you are. It's good to see you,' he said, breathing brandy fumes into my face. He looked at me narrowly as he swayed on his feet, and added, 'all of you.' Poking me affectionately in the chest, he went on, in a slurred voice, 'You're a good man, Henry, a very good man. You're not just my brother, you're my best friend and I love you, I do. So I will tell you something, Henry. Now listen carefully. Come closer. Closer. Never give your heart to a woman. Never, never, never. Promise me. Promise me!'
'Good. Good. Because they are devilish creatures, all of them. They lead a man on, they say they will love him for ever, and then do you know what they do? Do you, Henry? They leave him for his best friend. And do you know why they do that? Because his best friend has more money. They are not worth a candle. They are heartless and loveless and good for nothing. I will never love any woman ever again. I am glad to be going into the army. No women in the army. It's the army for me, Henry my boy.' He tried to stand up but lurched drunkenly and saved himself by putting his arm around my shoulder. 'We men must stick together,' he said. Then his arm began to slide from my shoulder, he slipped down beside me and passed out on the floor. When he is sober, my brother looks wicked and dangerous, when he is drunk he has the look of a cherub. His face relaxed and a happy smile curves his lips. I was loath to break up such a pretty picture, but knowing what was likely to come next I rang the bell for his valet. Together we managed to lift Frederick to his feet and then we half-carried, and half-walked, him to his room where we put him to bed.
Friday 16 April
My sister Eleanor who, at the age of thirteen, is promising to become a beauty, was amused when I told her about the morning's events, particularly by the possibility of my becoming the heir.
'On, no, Henry! You cannot inherit the estate!' she said, laughing, as she gambolled through the gardens in front of me, taking joy in the early-spring sunshine. 'You will never make a good heir. You are not nearly reckless or rakish enough.'
'I had the same thought myself. It is essential, I suppose, for heirs to be reckless and rakish?' I asked her.
'You know it is! You have read as many novels as I have – well, almost! It is unthinkable to have a son and heir who is a sober and reliable person. He has to spend his life seducing virtuous young women, or drinking himself into a stupor, or placing bets on whether he can drive from London to Brighton in seventeen minutes and forty-two seconds —'
'Which of course he manages to do, though the distance is at least fifty miles and the feat is impossible.'
'And he has to turn good, honest families out of their homes when he has nothing better to do, and then give their houses to his mistresses ...'
'... even though the good, honest families are so virtuous that they have attended church every Sunday for their whole lives ...' I said.
'... and so poor that they have nowhere else to go, and will therefore die in the snow,' finished Eleanor. 'Now Frederick is a very good first-born son. He is wild and handsome and he comes home drunk every night, and he is always losing money over some ridiculous bet. But you would make a very bad squire, for you have never done any of these things.' We turned along the chestnut walk.
'Not yet, I grant you,' I said. 'But in the unlikely event of my ever inheriting, I shall try to give satisfaction. I don't suppose that I can become a rake all at once, but I will take it in stages. I will begin by making a mildly scandalous remark to the Lowrys' governess, perhaps commenting on her shapely ankles. I will make a similar small beginning on gambling, betting five shillings on whether or not it will rain on Saturday, and proceed from there.' Eleanor laughed and ran through into the walled garden, where we were sheltered from the wind.
'You will never make a good villain,' she said. 'You will have to resign yourself to being a hero.'
'I have been thinking just the same thing, for I have the necessary dark eyes and rather dark hair. Alas, honesty compels me to mention that I do not have a hero's height, nor his noble mien nor his wounded heart.'
'You are still growing, I suppose, so you will be taller by and by. Your mien is noble enough, in a dim light. As for your lack of a wounded heart, that is because you have not yet met your heroine,' she told me. 'Heroines are hard to find. I have looked everywhere but I have never yet met one.'
'Miss Grey was looking at you in church the other day.'
'But Miss Grey is a bold young woman with brown hair. And heroines, as you know, have golden hair and blue eyes and they are demure in their manners. Their personalities, too, are of a very particular type. They spend their infant years nursing a dormouse —'
'Or feeding a poor, starving canary —'
'Or watering a rose bush, which repays their kindness by transforming itself from a straggling stick into a bush covered in rampant flowers. Yet I have never met such a one. Young ladies nowadays seem to spend their time playing cricket with their brothers or climbing trees, instead of lisping nursery songs to their prettily wounded animals.'
'What a sorry place the world is! If you have not met such a paragon of virtue by the advanced age of sixteen, then I am forced to admit that you possibly never will,' she said with a sigh. 'I have resigned myself to a lifetime of chastity for that very reason. Without a heroine who has been a part of my life since our cradles, until she is mysteriously sent away to unknown relatives following the death of her parents, there is no hope of happiness for me.'
'There is, perhaps, one possibility which you have overlooked,' she said, pulling a book out of her pocket. 'I believe that, occasionally, heroines are to be met with on holidays abroad.' She danced into the arbour, where she sat down on a bench and turned her book over in her hands.
'How foolish of me,' I said, sitting down beside her. 'Now why did I not think of that? I will take a walking holiday in Italy as soon as I am old enough to arrange my own adventure.' She opened her book.
'What is it this time?' I asked her. 'Milton, Pope, Prior? A paper from the Spectator, perhaps, or a chapter from Sterne? Or is it a copy of Fordyce's Sermons?'
'No,' she said, laughing. 'It is something much better. It is A Sicilian Romance.'
'What? A novel?' I asked, affecting horror.
'A novel,' she assented.
'And is it very horrid?' I asked.
'I certainly hope so.' She thrust it into my hands. 'You may read to me as I sew. I have to finish hemming this handkerchief.
Mama says she will deprive me of novels altogether if I do not pay more attention to my needlework.' And out of her pocket she drew needle, thread, and the handkerchief.
'It is a good thing you are still in your schoolgirl's dresses, for such large pockets will be a thing of the past when you start wearing more fashionable clothes – which will not be too long now, I think. You are very nearly a young lady.'
'Pooh!' she said. 'Now read to me, if you please!'
'Very well. But I see you have already begun.' 'Not really. I have only read the first few pages, where the narrator says that he came across the ruins of the castle Mazzini whilst travelling in Sicily, and that a passing monk happened to lend him an ancient manuscript which related the castle's history.'
'A noble beginning. And who lives in this castle? The heroine, I presume?'
'Yes. Her name is Julia.'
'And does she have any brothers and sisters?'
'A brother, Ferdinand, and a sister, Emilia.'
'I am glad to hear it. Brothers are always useful. Their mother is dead, I suppose, driven to an early grave by their cruel and imperious father? And he has married again, a woman who is jealous of her beautiful stepdaughters, but likes her stepson because he brings his handsome friends home?'
'Have you been peeking?' she asked me suspiciously.
'My dear sister, I do not need to peek to know that. A novel would not be worth reading without those essential facts.'
'Well, you are right. And now the stepmother has persuaded the father to go on holiday with her, taking only Ferdinand and leaving Julia and Emilia at the castle in the care of their poor, dear departed Mama's friend – Madame de Menon.'
'Very well. So now I will begin:
'A melancholy stillness reigned through the halls, and the silence of the courts, which were shaded by high turrets, was for many hours together undisturbed by the sound of any foot-step. Julia, who discovered an early taste for books, loved to retire in an evening to a small closet in which she had collected her favourite authors. This room formed the western angle of the castle: one of its windows looked upon the sea, beyond which was faintly seen, skirting the horizon, the dark rocky coast of Calabria; the other opened towards a part of the castle, and afforded a prospect of the neighbouring woods.'
'I am glad she likes to read,' said Eleanor, 'but I wish something horrible would happen.'
'Your wish is about to be granted,' I said.
'On the evening of a very sultry day, Julia, Emilia and Madame de Menon, having supped in their favourite outdoor spot, the coolness of the hour, and the beauty of the night, tempted this happy party to remain there later than usual.
Returning home, they were surprised by the appearance of a light through the broken window-shutters of an apartment, belonging to a division of the castle which had for many years been shut up. They stopped to observe it, when it suddenly disappeared, and was seen no more.
'Madame de Menon, disturbed at this phenomenon, hastened into the castle, with a view of enquiring into the cause of it, when she was met in the north hall by the servant Vincent. She related to him what she had seen, and ordered an immediate search to be made for the keys of those apartments.
She apprehended that some person had penetrated that part of the edifice with an intention of plunder; and, disdaining a paltry fear where her duty was concerned, she summoned the servants of the castle, with an intention of accompanying them thither.
'Vincent smiled at her apprehensions, and imputed what she had seen to an illusion, which the solemnity of the hour had impressed upon her fancy.
'Madame, however, persevered in her purpose; and, after a long and repeated search, a massey key, covered with rust, was produced. She then proceeded to the southern side of the edifice, accompanied by Vincent, and followed by the servants, who were agitated with impatient wonder.
'The key was applied to an iron gate, which opened into a court that separated this division from the other parts of the castle. They entered this court, which was overgrown with grass and weeds, and ascended some steps that led to a large door, which they vainly endeavoured to open.
Excerpted from Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange. Copyright © 2014 Amanda Grange. Excerpted by permission of Robert Hale Limited.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Again Amanda Grange has captured Jane Austen's style and given us a background as well into the Tilney family. It was nice to look into their family and see all the ins and outs of their strange outlooks and why their father was the way he was. Great read as usual for Grange. I advise all readers to collect all of her books if they are Jane Austen fans. I really like Captain's Wentworth's Diary.
I loved this book! I have read Mr. Darcy's Diary and loved it, too. I can't get enough of the Jane Austen characters, so I started reading the variations by Amanda Grange and they are very good! I loved Mr. Tilney, to me he might even be better than Mr. Darcy. He is so funny and likes to tease and is not quite as serious! Cute! Next up is Colonel Brandon's Diary for me. Can't wait. Would highly recommend, especially for fans of Jane Austen and Mr. Tilney and Catherine.
It pretty much kept to Jane Austen story. It was okay. I would not read again but what can you except it is a diary.