Chapter 22 Summary

Upon awakening the next morning, Catherine waits only long enough for the morning maid to leave her bedroom before she gets out of bed and rushes toward the manuscript she had found in the tall cabinet the night before. What she had thought was a large scroll of rolled paper turns out to be several separate small pieces of paper rolled together. Some of the pieces are strewn on the floor, and she is surprised the maid did not pick them up.

Catherine hastens to read the writing on the papers. She is disappointed when she reads what turns out to be lists of clothing supplies, laundry lists, and bills. She wonders how she could have been so foolish, how she could have waited up most of the night in anticipation of some great mystery that was about to be revealed to her. How embarrassed she would be if Henry knew what she had imagined. But she decides that part of the blame belongs to him. Henry was the one who fed her imagination with his fanciful stories of what she would find in the room. However, she hopes he never finds out what she has done. Quickly she replaces the papers and locks the doors of the bureau.

After breakfast, Henry announces that he must leave to attend to business, so Catherine is left in the abbey with General Tilney and Eleanor. She wishes it were Eleanor alone, as she still cannot find comfort in the general’s company.

The general offers to join Eleanor in giving Catherine a tour of the abbey. This excites Catherine because she has been anxious to see the rest of the immense structure, but then the general steers them toward the gardens. The general says they can choose what to see first but pushes them to choose the spacious grounds around the abbey. Catherine is disappointed because she would much rather see the building first.

The general leads the way and shows off the extensive gardens; he asks Catherine to compare them with those of her father and Mr. Allen. There is no comparison, Catherine tells him. This pleases the general enough to stimulate a smile.

General Tilney leaves their company when they reach a path that wanders through a rather gloomy stretch of overgrown trees. Eleanor says this is her favorite. The general tells them he will meet them later. Upon his departure, Eleanor confesses that this particular part of the gardens was her mother’s favorite.

As they continue their walk, Catherine reflects on the general’s behavior and concludes that he does not have a favorable feeling for his former wife. Eleanor tells Catherine that there is a painting of her mother in her room. Catherine is surprised that the general has not hung the portrait in his room. Eleanor tells Catherine that her father never approved of the picture. This confirms Catherine’s thoughts that Eleanor’s parents were not happily married.