Chapter 19 Summary
Catherine notices the changes in Isabella. When they are in a group of friends, the changes seem slight and noticeable. But when Catherine is alone with Captain Tilney and Isabella, she is shocked by the attention Isabella gives to the man. She pays almost as much attention to Captain Tilney as she does to James.
James looks sullen whenever Catherine sees him, and she feels sorry for him. Catherine believes Captain Tilney must not know that Isabella is engaged to James, otherwise he would not be as attentive to Isabella. Catherine wishes Captain Tilney were leaving with his family when they go to Northanger Abbey. Then Isabella would have no occasion to flirt with him and James would be happier. However, Catherine has heard that Captain Tilney is not leaving with his family.
Catherine implores Henry to talk to his brother, to make him aware that Isabella is engaged. Henry informs Catherine that he has already passed on this information to his brother. His brother knows what he is doing, Henry says, and must be allowed to be his own master. Henry continues by stating that his brother is not the only one to blame. Isabella could refuse his advances, but she does not. If Isabella truly loved James, would she not stop encouraging Henry’s brother? Catherine must admit that Isabella is also at fault, but she still asks if General Tilney might insist that Captain Tilney leave Bath. She wants to know if Henry’s father is aware of what is going on and if he is concerned.
Henry asks Catherine if she is not taking her worries too far. He asks her to consider whether James would thank her for trying to protect him. Would he be grateful for her concern that Isabella will be faithful to him only when Captain Tilney is absent? Is James to be confident of Isabella’s love only when they are at together in solitude? No one can know what is in another person’s heart, Henry says. Catherine should trust that James, Isabella, and Captain Tilney know what they are doing. They know what they are feeling; only they can determine what path they must take. Besides this, Henry says, his brother will be leaving in a few days even if he is not going to Northanger Abbey. He needs to report back to duty. He will forget about Isabella, and Isabella will soon not remember him.
Catherine gives in to Henry’s counsel. She releases her distress about Isabella and James. Henry is right.