Chapter 7 Summary

As Isabella and Catherine follow the two men from the Pump Room, they are barred from crossing the street by a carriage that is racing past them. When the carriage stops, they recognize the two men inside it as James Morland, Catherine’s brother, and John Thorpe, Isabella’s brother.

The women go to meet them, and Catherine is introduced to John, who is fairly handsome but quarrelsome. He argues with James about how fast they were going, how far they have traveled, and how long they have been on the road. John exaggerates the distance, speed, and duration. He also monopolizes the conversation. He tells Catherine about the man from whom he recently bought the carriage, how much he paid for it, and how strong his horse is. He asks Catherine if she has ever ridden in an open carriage. When she tells him she has not, he insists he will take her for a ride every day. Catherine wonders if this will be too much for the horse, but John insists that he drives the horse four hours each day because that is what keeps the animal in shape. When Isabella asks about going with them for a ride, John assures her there is not room for her.

As the four of them walk, Isabella notices the two gentlemen who had been in the Pump Room and is pleased that she is walking with her brother and James Morland. She wants to ignore the other two men, but after passing them, she turns around three times to look at them. Meanwhile the conversation turns to a discussion of women as John, James, and Isabella discuss every woman they pass.

Catherine barely listens to their conversation. Her mind is elsewhere. When there is a break in their talk, Catherine asks if John has ever read Udolpho. John adamantly insists that he has not. Novels are filled with junk, he exclaims. They are not worth his time. If he does read fiction, he only reads works written by Ann Radcliffe. Catherine points out that Udolpho was written by Radcliffe. John’s error does not stop him. He continues to criticize fiction in general.

The four young people venture toward the Thorpe residence. When Mrs. Thorpe opens the door, John meets her with a handshake and tells his mother that the hat she is wearing makes her look like a witch. He then greets his sisters and tells them they are ugly.

When Catherine and her brother later walk home, James tells her how much he enjoys both John and Isabella. He believes Isabella is the most beautiful woman in Bath. He is happy to hear that Catherine enjoys Isabella’s friendship. When James asks how Catherine feels about John, she does not expose the truth of her feelings because she is well informed of James’s friendship with John. Instead, she tells her brother that she likes John very much.