Posted on Thursday, 11 January 2001
The other day in chat we started talking about sad endings to Indian films and I suggested perhaps the Ramayana would finish more cheerily. Thinking about John Thorpe 'abducting' Catherine gave me the idea for this short story.
Henry Tilney was the son of one General Tilney. He was a charming young gentleman, the perfect brother to his sister Eleanor and was to be the parson of a family living.
When he was a young man, he attended the Lower Rooms, in Bath, and danced with a Catherine Morland. Being a better conversationalist than other gentlemen, especially when it came to Gothic novels, she put a garland around his neck and they were to marry.
There was somebody who had different ideas however, Mr. John Thorpe went to Henry's father and told him that Catherine's family had no money and she had no dowry. Hearing this General Tilney flew into a rage (because he'd spent a lot of money on obtaining who he'd thought was an heiress for his son). When he returned into Catherine's company, he immediately sent her away to Fullerton, despite Eleanor begging him not to. The unhappy Eleanor had the fate of being the one to tell Miss Morland.
When the good Henry returned from Woodston (where he'd had to consult with his curate), he was horrified to discover his beloved Catherine missing. He immediately followed her to Fullerton, where they decide they will wait for the General's permission to marry.
Henry's brother, Captain Tilney, wounds Isabella Thorpe, a demon princess, when she tries to seduce the young gentlemen in the area (she had already hurt Catherine's brother James). After that, she returns to her brother, the ten-tongued demon of Oxford, who else but... John Thorpe. John Thorpe sends a golden stag to them, which the two Tilney gentlemen go to hunt, leaving Catherine at home with Mrs. Younge (let's blame her. I've decided I'll bring her into this story because 1. I have other plans for Mrs. Allen and 2. it would be in her character to pretend to look after a young lady). John Thorpe then came to the garden and made a cry, which with his magic, he made to sound like Henry. Once Catherine leaves the house to see what is the matter, John Thorpe drags her off to his gig and drives her away to Clifton. There he woos her by swearing, praising his own horse, gig and personage, flattery and pretending to be knowledgeable. Catherine however would not look at him (indeed, who would want to) and when she finally understood him, refused to become his wife.
When Henry returns to find the house empty, he befriends the general of a monkey army, Mrs. Allen. Her father was the wind and she practically flew about in her search for Catherine. She is discovered while she is talking to Catherine and the Thorpes set fire to her gown (for Mrs. Thorpe was very jealous). Mrs. Allen runs around Clifton, setting buildings alight, and finally returns to Henry.
Henry, the captain and the army move towards Clifton and get into a battle with some of John Thorpe's brothers. Henry has a duel with John Thorpe and wins, freeing Catherine. Catherine proves her innocence of any wrong-doing. By this time, Eleanor had married a viscount, told her father the truth of Catherine's circumstances and softened him towards the match. Giving his consent to the marriage, Henry and Catherine return to Woodston and the rest of their lives were happy.