Highbury Parish: chapter 1

"I now pronounce you man and wife, you may kiss the bride" saide the clergyman as he concreted Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland's happiness. Henry was quite obliged to do so and Catherine blushed deeply as he gave her first kiss.

There was great rejoicing in the church that day, the blessed event of the two young lover's marriage had finally occured. Henry's sister Eleanor was the maid of honor and her husband, a very good and respectable fellow, was the best man.

They were given the honour because their union was what brought upon this wedding. When Henry's father, Colonel Tilney, found out about about the engagement he was so furious that he turned Henry out of the Abbey and would have nothing whatsoever to do with Catherine, whom had become the dearest friend of his daughter Eleanor. The reason for this atrocious behavior of the Colonel's was that he had recieved misinformation about the Morland family's position in society. He had been told that they were "a necessitous family; numerous too, almost beyond example; by no means respected in their in their own neighborhood;" that they were always "aiming at a style of life which their fortune could not warrant; seeking to better themselves by wealthy connections; a forward, bragging, scheming race". Luckily, Henry was able to inform him of the truth but the Colonel's pride was such that he would still disapprove of the union.

However, Eleanor's marriage to a wealthy and respectable man put him in such a good humour that when petitioned he gave in and consented to the wedding. At the moment that this story began, Colonel Tilney, was relaying the fact that his home was much bigger and better situated that the parish that Henry and his young wife would soon reside in to Mr. Allen, who received this news with an almost catatonic nod of his head.

This was a day of great rejoicing for Mrs. Morland. If the marriage had not been very much sooner then Catherine would have given up all hope of it ever coming about at all and Mrs. Morland could not handle her daughters low spirits much longer.

Colonel Tilney had strongly suggested (forced the issue) that they have the reception at the abbey and they accepted the offer. Henry was of the opinion that receptions were very dull and wasted time that he could spend in conversation with his wonderful Catherine but it was expected so he planned a rather short but sweet one. Catherine was terribly afraid of saying the wrong thing or insulting one of her new family's good friends but Henry told her that nothing she could say could ever hurt his family's position so she trusted his undoubtedly good judgement. The reception was an elegant afternoon tea with a bit of dancing and some cake to end. It went by suprisingly fast; Catherine and Henry spent the whole of it accepting well wishes for their future and had time for only one waltz before it ended.

After the guests had left and the maids were in the process of cleaning the ballroom, the newlyweds and their in-laws went for a walk about the grounds. The party headed for Eleanor's favourite walk which had been their mother's favourite when she was still living. Just before entering the way, the Colonel said that he had an urgent affair to attend to that he had just remembered and the rest simply waved him on. They knew this walk was not one of the Colonel's Favourites because it made him remember his dead wife. The two couples carried on, the path soon forked and each went a different way with a wave of four hands.

It was in this way that Catherine and Henry walked for some time in mutual silence. When they came to a stone bench they stopped and it Henry who started the conversation. "Catherine, my dearest Catherine, you only know the basic history of my mothers death and now that you are part of the family, you shall know all the particulars. You see, my mother was sickly for some time after having Eleanor and was pale and waiflike shortly before her death. This state of body belied her state of mind, her character and intelligence were at their strongest. In her youth she looked quite like you; sweet, healthy and beautiful" at this Catherine turned a bit pink but reprimanded her self saying "Silly! You are his wife now and it is not at all improper for a husband to say such things to his wife.

They had continued walking when Henry resumed, "I'm sure my mother must have loved you dearly if she were alive today. If only she could have seen me wedded to such a wonderful girl as you..." as he said this he looked out upon the walk streching before them and stopped short after fixing his eyes on a certain spot on the horizon. Catherine turned to look and saw a tall brunnet woman in a white gown walking slowly towards them. She walked faster as she got closer and Catherine realized that this woman looked exactly like the painting in the library, the painting of Henry's mother. The apparition stopped just a few yards away from them and Henry's breath quickened as she pointed towards Catherine, she smiled a loving, beautiful smile that must have been straight from her heart. Suddenly, in a flash of white light they were once again alone on the path together.

Henry turned to Catherine with an awed look on his face and said, "Well then, dearest it appears that we have her and the universe's approval on our union", he then took her hand, gave her the softest of kisses and they walked back to the Abbey to begin their lives together.

(A/N: Hi! this is my first ever fanfiction so please be kind. I don't know if I should continue this story so please tell me in your reviews what you think. Please don't try to e-mail me, I'm having some problems with it. TA!! )