"the laundry lists in Northanger Abbey"

 Northanger Abbey is the 1817 novel by English romantic writer Jane Austen. The 'laundry lists' incident concerns seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland who is staying in the Abbey. Catherine has read too many Gothic novels, and imagines that the Abbey will be dark and full of horror and mystery. On her first night there she discovers some mysterious papers in her bedroom, but her candle suddenly goes out and she is unable to read them. In the morning, to her disappointment, she realises that they are merely laundry lists.