Chapter 27 Summary

A strange letter arrives for Catherine from Isabella. Isabella begins by apologizing for having taken so long to write. She claims she has put a pen in her hand every morning with the intention of writing, but something always interfered. Then she asks Catherine to write to James, who has gone to Oxford in a terrible mood. Isabella claims she cannot make sense of James’s sudden departure and misses him very much. Although she looks hideous in purple, it is the only color she wears now because purple is James’s favorite. She adds that James is the only man she could love and wants Catherine to relay her message.

Isabella then continues her letter by remarking on Captain Tilney, who followed her around like a shadow after Catherine left Bath. She says she does not want to talk about him because it might influence Catherine’s opinion about the Tilney family, yet she hates Captain Tilney. Young men nowadays are very difficult to trust, she writes. She is glad that she was not affected by Captain Tilney. Other young women might have been flattered by all his attention, but not her. She is too experienced in how fickle men can be.

Captain Tilney has returned to his regiment. Isabella is glad about that. She had been avoiding him during his last days in town. Captain Tilney, Isabella assures Catherine, is very different from James, not worthy to even be compared. James’s bad mood, Isabella thinks, might have been due to a cold he had. Before ending her letter, Isabella again asks Catherine to explain everything to James for her.

After reading the letter, Catherine decides she will never mention Isabella’s name to James again. Catherine finally sees how insincere Isabella is and how much she has used both Catherine and James for her own benefit. She is ashamed about how shallow her friend has turned out to be.

When Henry arrives from Woodston, Catherine tells him about Isabella’s letter. She says that Isabella must have taken her to be a fool. Catherine decides that Isabella must never have had any affections for either her or James. She is glad they are all rid of her. Then Catherine asks Henry what he thinks his brother was doing with Isabella. She wonders why he would have pursued her when he did not really want her. Henry answers that he does not know what his brother’s motives were. Catherine says she thinks Frederick really did not love Isabella. Henry agrees. He says that Isabella and Frederick are a lot alike. Catherine decides to not even respond to Isabella.