Chapter 9 Summary

Catherine was very disappointed with the ball the night before. However, her spirits are restored upon awaking from a nine-hour sleep. Her plan for that day is to seek Miss Tilney at the Pump Room. Of all the people she had dealt with at the ball, Miss Tilney was most on her mind—with the exception of her brother. Catherine will wait until noon and then go by herself to the Pump Room and renew her acquaintance with Miss Tilney.

While she is reading in the parlor with Mrs. Allen, who is working on a sewing project, there is a loud knock on the door. When Mrs. Allen looks out the front window, she sees two carriages: one is empty and the other is occupied by James Morland and Isabella Thorpe. The sound of heavy footsteps comes up the stairs.

John Thorpe speaks to Catherine as if she has been keeping him and his party waiting. He asks why she is not ready, seeing as she probably has been anticipating his arrival all morning. Catherine does not know what John is talking about. He asks why she did not pay attention to their discussion the night before. They had made plans to go for a ride out into the country.

Though this is all news to Catherine, she gives in, changes her plans to seek out Miss Tilney, and quickly dresses. By the time she steps into the carriage, Isabella is all but exasperated by how long it took Catherine to get ready. She complains but then loudly tells Catherine’s brother how very much she loves his sister.

During the entire duration of the ride, John rattles on about how good he is at just about everything. He repeats his compliments about his mastery of his beautiful horse. He proclaims the superiority of his carriage over the one Catherine’s brother is steering and says the other is all but falling apart, until Catherine fears for her brother’s safety. As John prattles on, Catherine begins to evaluate John's character and realizes that he is very boastful and dishonest. He is capable, Catherine discovers, of giving two varied accounts of the same story, distorting one from the other, depending on how it affects his vanity. For example, at first he calls Catherine’s brother’s carriage a piece of junk. When Catherine worries that her brother might have an accident due to the carriage’s unreliability, John then says he would not have encouraged James to take such a long ride if he did not think the carriage was safe.

When they return home, Catherine is exhausted by John’s incessant bragging. Later, after learning that Mrs. Allen went to the Pump Room and saw both Mr. Tilney and his sister, Catherine is distressed at having spent such an unpleasant day with John Thorpe when she could have had a chance to talk in depth with the Tilneys.