Chapter 6 Summary

Catherine is late for a meeting with Isabella. When she arrives, Isabella chides her for making her wait so long, though Catherine notes she is just a few minutes late. Isabella will not hear this and complains she has been waiting forever—she has a tendency for exaggeration. Isabella asks what has kept her, and Catherine explains that she lost track of time because she was so involved in the novel she had been reading. She tells Isabella that she is reading The Mysteries of Udolpho, written by Ann Radcliffe and one of the most popular books of the late eighteenth century. Udolpho is now considered the archetype of Gothic novels.

As they stand in the Pump Room, a social center in Bath, Catherine and Isabella discuss other books they plan to read as they watch the people who are milling about. Their discussion changes from novels to women, and Isabella tells Catherine she will always be able to depend on her friendship. She will promote Catherine to her male friends, proving that women can be supportive of one another. Isabella tells Catherine about a woman she knows, Miss Andrews, who is not as pretty as Catherine is. However, Isabella tells all her young men friends that Miss Andrews is like an angel and they must agree with her or she will not dance with them. Isabella seems to say this to impress Catherine that she is a woman who is not jealous of other females.

Isabella then goes on to tell Catherine about how many men she has seen starring at Catherine. Catherine has not noticed this attention. It is because she is indifferent to men, Isabella says. She only thinks of Mr. Tilney. This must mean that Catherine is in love with him, Isabella says. Catherine denies this, stating that she only met him that one time and has not seen him since.

It does not take long before Isabella is talking about men again; she notices that two handsome men standing at a distance have noticed them. Isabella suggests that she and Catherine move to the other side of the room to get away from them. She insists that she will not look at them, but she asks Catherine to see if they are following them. When Catherine confirms that they are not, Isabella is disappointed. She turns to see that the men have left the room. Isabella appears to change the subject, telling Catherine that they should go to a nearby shop where she has noticed a hat much like Catherine’s that she wants to buy. Then Isabella hesitates, remarking that if they leave too soon they might bump into those two men who have recently left. When Catherine says they could wait a few minutes to assure they will not meet the men, Isabella says it is no matter. She leaves immediately and encourages Catherine to increase her speed as they walk in the same direction as the two young men.