To begin perfect happiness at the respective ages of twenty-six and eighteen, is to do pretty well, Catherine Morland surmises at the end of this early Austen classic. But what if Henry and Catherine had found some, er, happiness prior to his proposal?
[Catherine] began to wish for Henry Tilney to find his way secretly to her room to help allay her nervousness. When the door to her room opened slowly she searched frantically for something with which to defend herself, not knowing if it was ghost of human who trespassed. When she saw Henry slip into the room, fingers to his lips, she poofed out a sigh of relief. Had just thinking of him conjured him up? “What are you doing here?” she whispered as softly as she could, noticing that he had divested himself of all his clothes save a thin pair of breeches and a loose shirt. “I feared the storm would disturb you and wanted to ease you through it.”