Despite what common romantics would like to believe, Henry Tilney did not love Catherine Morland when he proposed to her. Or rather he did not truly love her. The affection that Henry Tilney entertained when he made Catherine his offer of marriage was a glowing, growing sort of warm ember, ignited by his admiration of the girl and fueled by her mutual affection. This is not to imply that the matrimonial lives of the two were to be plagued by loathing of their respective partner, it is merely to state that the moment in which the revelation that Henry Tilney realized that he truly loved his Catherine was yet to come. This it did, during the time of their engagement.
The image that the kind reader is entertaining of that instance at this moment most likely involves an embarrassed confession on the part of the lady in private circumstances. The gentleman, seeing his fiancé in her troubled state of mind and being so taken by her beauty in that moment, feels his heart beat a little faster, a spark sent throughout his body proclaiming his pure adoration of the woman before him. He then readily relates his feelings to her. The two blush with relief and share a brief, but intimate kiss, before being cut off by the return of their company and propriety. Now I may not promise that the story that shall be told to you will not involve these heart-warming occurrences however I may not give my word on the presence of each one.
No, the instance I am referring to was set in motion briefly after Isabella Tilney's marriage to a Sebastian Darcy and after General Tilney granted his son the permission to marry Ms. Morland. Eleanor, now the most intimate of friends with Catherine, had desired her as a maid of honor at the wedding, hoping to prove John Thorpe's logic of one marriage following another. Catherine therefore spent the week before and week after the marriage of her friend at Northanger. Now for the details of the moment when the lovers first truly loved each other; it was started the day after the wedding, the guests gone and Catherine helping her friend prepare for the start of a married life, and revolved around, of all things, a journal.
Henry Tilney, completely unsure of how to help his sister prepare for such a life, and facing the first premarital jitters of his own, was often found wandering about Northanger, chatting with Mr. Sebastian Darcy on occasion, but mostly looking at the sky, trying to put into words his own affection. He stumbled upon the journal by accident, finding it forlorn on a bench, situated on his mother's walk. The majority of the feminine journals he had seen, whether in possession of his sister or sisters of his acquaintances, were often bound in a bright color, with fanciful patterns of lace or ribbon on them. Therefore when he spotted the worn out dark green leather and plainness of the said journal, he would have had no cause in all the world to believe it to be Catherine's.
He picked it up, meaning to take it back to the abbey and return it to the person who had misplaced it, when a loose piece of paper fell to the ground in front of his feet. He picked it up and examined it, intending to gain some clue about who the bearer was. Written on that paper was the following poem:
Who will believe my verse in time to come
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet, Heaven knows, it is but as tomb
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say, this poet lies,
Such heavenly touches ne'er touched earthly faces.
So should my papers, yellow'd with their age,
Be scorn'd like old men of less truth then tongue;
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage,
And stretched metre of an antique song
But were some child of yours alive that time
You should live twice;-in it and in my rhyme.
Spellbound by the sonnet, as many people are liable to become when reading Shakespeare, it took him a moment to realize the hand in which it was written was that of Catherine. Blushing, he slipped the poem back within the contents of the book and proceeded to return the journal to its rightful owner.
As he made his way back to the abbey, a flood of questions started to pour into his mind. Why did Catherine, who had told him so definitely in Bath that she did not keep a journal, have a book such as this in her possession? What was she doing with it on his mother's walk? Why was there a sonnet enclosed in its pages? It was, however the question of what the journal contained that perplexed Mr. Tilney the most as he made his way through the pine trees.
Mindful of being furtive, he slipped the book back into Catherine's room, his face red as he did so, for it seems as though young men have a misled belief that if found in a young woman's room, even alone, they are committing some sort of dreadful sin. He then quietly made his way back down the stairs to encounter his brother-in-law.
Since I have been scarce in descriptions I will now take it upon myself to describe for you Sebastian Darcy. He was a tall man, about an inch or two taller than Henry, with a kind, handsome face used to laughing. He wore his black hair surprisingly long, long enough that he often kept it in a short horse-tail. His hair color complimented the icy blue of his eyes nicely, making the color more striking, adding to his confident air. He wore his usual suit of dark brown and held in his hands a book from the library.
"Good afternoon Sebastian," muttered Tilney, still trying to wash himself of the embarrassment entering Catherine's room had created. Sebastian said nothing, but instead he kept his eyes fixed on the book silently speaking the words to himself. They stood there for a moment before Henry inquired as to what he was reading.
"It is a book of sonnets," said Sebastian eagerly. "Shakespeare. I adore them." Henry found it amusing that he had found a man who possessed no shame in reading poetry.
"And what do you find so intriguing about them?"
"Simply that anyone with the ability to write such sonnets, or read and cherish them must love someone with a sort of passion that cannot be extinguished." Henry remained silent. Not noticing his companion's silence, Sebastian smiled, blushing slightly, most likely entertaining some warm thought or memory of Isabella. Without another word Henry went to the library, eager to find his own volume of sonnets to study.
Author's Note: So I just recently finished re-reading Northanger Abbey for my book club and decided to browse some fanfiction. I discovered, much to my dismay that there really isn't that much to read, so I decided to write my own! Yes I am still working on my other fanfic if any of you are my non-existent regular readers, I will be alternating between chapters for that and chapters for this.
Anyway I got the idea for this when I read the last few pages of Northanger and it said that Henry Tilney wasn't entirely in love with Catherine but that he does kind of fall in love with her so I thought hmmmm…..when did that happen? So this was created! If anyone cares, this is not a Oneshot, more chapters are coming, so don't review whining about how it's too short. (On the off chance that people actually review…please review) Oh yes a quick note on Sebastian. I threw him in because I have an unhealthy obsession with creating the children of Austen couples and I couldn't pass up this opportunity to portray him in a bit more depth. (I'm pretty sure he is in the last chapter of all my other fanfictions, just at different ages) Yes, he is the son of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Yes I do realize that each Austen novel probably takes place at roughly the same time and that Eleanor's husband was originally poor and became a viscount but suspension of disbelief people! Okay do I look like I'm dead? Characters belong to Miss Austen, sonnet belongs to Shakespeare and Sebastian belongs to me (in a completely non-sexual sense of the word)
-Peace out, Astrum
P.S. Northanger Abbey is not dead.