EVELINA IN CONTINUATION Queen Ann Street, April 5, Tuesday Morning.
I HAVE a vast deal to say, and shall give all this morning to my pen.
As to my plan of writing every evening the adventures of the day, I find it impracticable; for the diversions here are so very late, that if I begin my letters after them, I could not go to bed at all.
We passed a most extraordinary evening. A private ball this was called, so I expected to have seen about four or five couple; but Lord! my dear Sir, I believe I saw half the world! Two very large rooms were full of company; in one were cards for the elderly ladies, and in the other were the dancers. My mamma Mirvan, for she always calls me her child, said she would sit with Maria and me till we were provided with partners, and then join the card-players.
The gentlemen, as they passed and repassed, looked as if they thought we were quite at their disposal, and only waiting for the honour of their commands; and they sauntered about, in a careless, indolent manner, as if with a view to keep us in suspense. I don't speak of this in regard to Miss Mirvan and myself only, but to the ladies in general: and I thought it so provoking, that I determined in my own mind that, far from humouring such airs, I would rather not dance at all, than with any one who would seem to think me ready to accept the first partner who would condescend to take me.
Not long after, a young man, who had for some time looked at us with a kind of negligent impertinence, advanced on tiptoe towards me; he had a set smile on his face, and his dress was so foppish, that I really believed he even wished to be stared at; and yet he was very ugly.
Bowing almost to the ground with a sort of swing, and waving his hand, with the greatest conceit, after a short and silly pause, he said, "Madam-may I presume?"-and stopt, offering to take my hand. I drew it back, but could scarce forbear laughing. "Allow me, Madam," continued he, affectedly breaking off every half moment, "the honour and happiness-if I am not so unhappy as to address you too late-to have the happiness and honour-"
Again he would have taken my hand; but bowing my head, I begged to be excused, and turned to Miss Mirvan to conceal my laughter. He then desired to know if I had already engaged myself to some more fortunate man? I said No, and that I believed I should not dance at all. He would keep himself he told me, disengaged, in hopes I should relent; and then, uttering some ridiculous speeches of sorrow and disappointment, though his face still wore the same invariable smile, he retreated.
It so happened, as we have since recollected, that during this little dialogue Mrs. Mirvan was conversing with the lady of the house. And very soon after, another gentleman, who seemed about six-and-twenty years old, gaily but not foppishly dressed, and indeed extremely handsome, with an air of mixed politeness and gallantry, desired to know if I was engaged, or would honour him with my hand. So he was pleased to say, though I am sure I know not what honour he could receive from me; but these sort of expressions, I find, are used as words of course, without any distinction of persons, or study of propriety.
Well, I bowed, and I am sure I coloured; for indeed I was frightened at the thoughts of dancing before so many people, all strangers, and, which was worse, with a stranger: however, that was unavoidable; for, though I looked round the room several times, I could not see one person that I knew. And so he took my hand, and led me to join in the dance.
The minuets were over before we arrived, for we were kept late by the milliners making us wait for our things.
He seemed very desirous of entering into conversation with me; but I was seized with such a panic, that I could hardly speak a word, and nothing but the shame of so soon changing my mind prevented my returning to my seat, and declining to dance at all.
He appeared to be surprised at my terror, which I believe was but too apparent: however, he asked no questions, though I fear he must think it very strange, for I did not choose to tell him it was owing to my never before dancing but with a school-girl.
His conversation was sensible and spirited; his air, and address were open and noble; his manners gentle, attentive, and infinitely engaging; his person is all elegance, and his countenance the most animated and expressive I have ever seen.
In a short time we were joined by Miss Mirvan, who stood next couple to us. But how I was startled when she whispered me that my partner was a nobleman! This gave me a new alarm: how will he be provoked, thought I, when he finds what a simple rustic he has honoured with his choice! one whose ignorance of the world makes her perpetually fear doing something wrong!
That he should be so much my superior in every way, quite disconcerted me; and you will suppose my spirits were not much raised, when I heard a lady, in passing us, say, "This is the most difficult dance I ever saw."
"O dear, then" cried Maria to her partner, "with your leave, I'll sit down till the next."
"So will I too, then," cried I, "for I am sure I can hardly stand."
"But you must speak to your partner first," answered she; for he had turned aside to talk with some gentlemen. However, I had not sufficient courage to address him; and so away we all three tript, and seated ourselves at another end of the room.
But, unfortunately for me, Miss Mirvan soon after suffered herself to be prevailed upon to attempt the dance; and just as she rose to go, she cried, "My dear, yonder is your partner, Lord Orville walking about the room in search of you."
"Don't leave me then, dear girl!" cried I; but she was obliged to go. And now I was more uneasy than ever; I would have given the world to have seen Mrs. Mirvan, and begged of her to make my apologies; for what, thought I, can I possibly say to him in excuse for running away? He must either conclude me a fool, or half mad; for any one brought up in the great world, and accustomed to its ways, can have no idea of such sort of fears as mine.
My confusion increased when I observed that he was every where seeking me, with apparent perplexity and surprise; but when, at last, I saw him move towards the place where I sat, I was ready to sink with shame and distress. I found it absolutely impossible to keep my seat, because I could not think of a word to say for myself; and so I rose, and walked hastily towards the card-room, resolving to stay with Mrs. Mirvan the rest of the evening, and not to dance at all. But before I could find her, Lord Orville saw and approached me.
He begged to know if I was not well? You may easily imagine how much I was embarrassed. I made no answer; but hung my head like a fool, and looked on my fan.
He then, with an air the most respectfully serious, asked if he had been so unhappy as to offend me?
"No, indeed!" cried I; and, in hopes of changing the discourse, and preventing his further inquiries, I desired to know if he had seen the young lady who had been conversing with me?
No;-but would I honour him with any commands to her?
"O, by no means!"
Was there any other person with whom I wished to speak?
I said no, before I knew I had answered at all.
Should he have the pleasure of bringing me any refreshment?
I bowed, almost involuntarily. And away he flew.
I was quite ashamed of being so troublesome, and so much above myself as these seeming airs made me appear; but indeed I was too much confused to think or act with any consistency.
If he had not been as swift as lightning, I don't know whether I should not have stolen away again; but he returned in a moment. When I had drank a glass of lemonade, he hoped, he said, that I would again honour him with my hand, as a new dance was just begun. I had not the presence of mind to say a single word, and so I let him once more lead me to the place I had left.
Shocked to find how silly, how childish a part I had acted, my former fears of dancing before such a company, and with such a partner, returned more forcibly than ever. I suppose he perceived my uneasiness; for he entreated me to sit down again if dancing was disagreeable to me. But I was quite satisfied with the folly I had already shewn; and therefore declined his offer, though I was really scarce able to stand.
Under such conscious disadvantages, you may easily imagine my dear Sir, how ill I acquitted myself. But, though I both expected and deserved to find him very much mortified and displeased at his ill fortune in the choice he had made; yet, to my very great relief, he appeared to be even contented, and very much assisted and encouraged me. These people in high life have too much presence of mind, I believe, to seem disconcerted, or out of humour, however they may feel: for had I been the person of the most consequence in the room, I could not have met with more attention and respect.
When the dance was over, seeing me still very much flurried, he led me to a seat, saying that he would not suffer me to fatigue myself from politeness.
And then, if my capacity, or even, if my spirits had been better, in how animated a conversation I might have been engaged! it was then I saw that the rank of Lord Orville was his least recommendation, his understanding and his manners being far more distinguished. His remarks upon the company in general were so apt, so just, so lively, I am almost surprised myself that they did not reanimate me; but, indeed, I was too well convinced of the ridiculous part I had myself played before so nice an observer, to be able to enjoy his pleasantry: so self-compassion gave me feeling for others. Yet I had not the courage to attempt either to defend them or to rally in my turn; but listened to him in silent embarrassment.
When he found this, he changed the subject, and talked of public places, and public performers; but he soon discovered that I was totally ignorant of them.
He then, very ingeniously, turned the discourse to the amusements and occupations of the country.
It now struck me that he was resolved to try whether or not I was capable of talking upon any subject. This put so great a restraint upon my thoughts, that I was unable to go further than a monosyllable, and not ever so far, when I could possibly avoid it.
We were sitting in this manner, he conversing with all gaiety, I looking down with all foolishness, when that fop who had first asked me to dance, with a most ridiculous solemnity approached, and, after a profound bow or two, said, "I humbly beg pardon, Madam,-and of you too, my Lord,-for breaking in upon such agreeable conversation-which must, doubtless, be more delectable-than what I have the honour to offer-but-"
I interrupted him-I blush for my folly,-with laughing; yet I could not help it; for, added to the man's stately foppishness, (and he actually took snuff between every three words) when I looked around at Lord Orville, I saw such extreme surprise in his face,-the cause of which appeared so absurd, that I could not for my life preserve my gravity.
I had not laughed before from the time I had left Miss Mirvan, and I had much better have cried then; Lord Orville actually stared at me; the beau, I know not his name, looked quite enraged. "Refrain-Madam," said he, with an important air, "a few moments refrain!-I have but a sentence to trouble you with.-May I know to what accident I must attribute not having the honour of your hand?"
"Accident, Sir!" repeated I, much astonished.
"Yes, accident, Madam;-for surely,-I must take the liberty to observe-pardon me, Madam,-it ought to be no common one-that should tempt a lady-so young a one too,-to be guilty of ill-manners."
A confused idea now for the first time entered my head, of something I had heard of the rules of an assembly; but I was never at one before,-I have only danced at school,-and so giddy and heedless I was, that I had not once considered the impropriety of refusing one partner, and afterwards accepting another. I was thunderstruck at the recollection: but, while these thoughts were rushing into my head, Lord Orville with some warmth, said, "This Lady, Sir, is incapable of meriting such an accusation!"
The creature-for I am very angry with him-made a low bow and with a grin the most malicious I ever saw, "My Lord," said he, "far be it from me to accuse the lady, for having the discernment to distinguish and prefer-the superior attractions of your Lordship."
Again he bowed and walked off.
Was ever any thing so provoking? I was ready to die with shame. "What a coxcomb!" exclaimed Lord Orville: while I, without knowing what I did, rose hastily, and moving off, "I can't imagine," cried I, "where Mrs. Mirvan has hid herself!"
"Give me leave to see," answered he. I bowed and sat down again, not daring to meet his eyes; for what must he think of me, between my blunder, and the supposed preference?
He returned in a moment, and told me that Mrs. Mirvan was at cards, but would be glad to see me; and I went immediately. There was but one chair vacant; so, to my great relief, Lord Orville presently left us. I then told Mrs. Mirvan my disasters; and she good-naturedly blamed herself for not having better instructed me; but said, she had taken it for granted that I must know such common customs. However, the man may, I think, be satisfied with his pretty speech and carry his resentment no farther.
In a short time Lord Orville returned. I consented, with the best grace I could, to go down another dance, for I had had time to recollect myself; and therefore resolved to use some exertion, and, if possible, to appear less a fool than I had hitherto done; for it occurred to me, that, insignificant as I was, compared to a man of his rank and figure; yet, since he had been so unfortunate as to make choice of me for a partner, why I should endeavour to make the best of it.
The dance, however, was short, and he spoke very little; so I had no opportunity of putting my resolution in practice. He was satisfied, I suppose, with his former successless efforts to draw me out or, rather, I fancied he had been inquiring who I was. This again disconcerted me; and the spirits I had determined to exert, again failed me. Tired, ashamed, and mortified, I begged to sit down till we returned home, which I did soon after. Lord Orville did me the honour to hand me to the coach, talking all the way of the honour I had done him! O these fashionable people!
Well, my dear Sir, was it not a strange evening? I could not help being thus particular, because, to me, every thing is so new. But it is now time to conclude. I am, with all love and duty, your EVELINA.
EVELINA IN CONTINUATION Tuesday, April 5.
THERE is to be no end to the troubles of last night. I have this moment, between persuasion and laughter, gathered from Maria the most curious dialogue that ever I heard. You will at first be startled at my vanity; but, my dear Sir, have patience!
It must have passed while I was sitting with Mrs. Mirvan, in the card-room. Maria was taking some refreshment, and saw Lord Orville advancing for the same purpose himself; but he did not know her, though she immediately recollected him. Presently after, a very gay-looking man, stepping hastily up to him cried, "Why, my Lord, what have you done with your lovely partner?"
"Nothing!" answered Lord Orville with a smile and a shrug.
"By Jove," cried the man, "she is the most beautiful creature I ever saw in my life!"
Lord Orville, as he well might, laughed; but answered, "Yes, a pretty modest-looking girl."
"O my Lord!" cried the madman, "she is an angel!"
"A silent one," returned he.
"Why ay, my Lord, how stands she as to that? She looks all intelligence and expression."
"A poor weak girl!" answered Lord Orville, shaking his head.
"By Jove," cried the other, "I am glad to hear it!"
At that moment, the same odious creature who had been my former tormentor, joined them. Addressing Lord Orville with great respect, he said, "I beg pardon, my Lord,-if I was-as I fear might be the case-rather too severe in my censure of the lady who is honoured with your protection-but, my Lord, ill-breeding is apt to provoke a man."
"Ill-breeding!" cried my unknown champion, "impossible! that elegant face can never be so vile a mask!"
"O Sir, as to that," answered he, "you must allow me to judge; for though I pay all deference to your opinion-in other things-yet I hope you will grant-and I appeal to your Lordship also-that I am not totally despicable as a judge of good or ill-manners."
"I was so wholly ignorant," said Lord Orville, gravely, "of the provocation you might have had, that I could not but be surprised at your singular resentment."
"It was far from my intention," answered he, "to offend your lordship; but, really, for a person who is nobody, to give herself such airs,-I own I could not command my passion. For, my Lord, though I have made diligent inquiry-I cannot learn who she is."
"By what I can make out," cried my defender, "she must be a country parson's daughter."
"He! he! he! very good, 'pon honour!" cried the fop;-"well, so I could have sworn by her manners."
And then, delighted at his own wit, he laughed, and went away, as I suppose, to repeat it.
"But what the deuce is all this?" demanded the other.
"Why a very foolish affair," answered Lord Orville; "your Helen first refused this coxcomb, and then-danced with me. This is all I can gather of it."
"O, Orville," returned he, "you are a happy man!-But ill-bred? -I can never believe it! And she looks too sensible to be ignorant."
"Whether ignorant or mischievous, I will not pretend to determine; but certain it is, she attended to all I could say to her, though I have really fatigued myself with fruitless endeavours to entertain her, with the most immovable gravity; but no sooner did Lovel begin his complaint, than she was seized with a fit of laughing, first affronting the poor beau, and then enjoying his mortification."
"Ha! ha! ha! why there is some genius in that, my Lord, perhaps rather-rustic."
Here Maria was called to dance, and so heard no more.
Now, tell me, my dear Sir, did you ever know any thing more provoking? "A poor weak girl!" "ignorant or mischievous!" What mortifying words! I am resolved, however, that I will never again be tempted to go to an assembly. I wish I had been in Dorsetshire.
Well, after this, you will not be surprised that Lord Orville contented himself with an inquiry after our healths this morning, by his servant, without troubling himself to call, as Miss Mirvan had told me he would; but perhaps it may be only a country custom.
I would not live here for the world. I care not how soon we leave town. London soon grows tiresome. I wish the Captain would come. Mrs. Mirvan talks of the opera for this evening; however, I am very indifferent about it. Wednesday Morning.
Well, my dear Sir, I have been pleased against my will, I could almost say; for I must own I went out in very ill humour, which I think you cannot wonder at: but the music and the singing were charming; they soothed me into a pleasure the most grateful, the best suited to my present disposition in the world. I hope to persuade Mrs. Mirvan to go again on Saturday. I wish the opera was every night. It is, of all entertainments, the sweetest and most delightful. Some of the songs seemed to melt my very soul. It was what they call a serious opera, as the comic first singer was ill.
To-night we go to Ranelagh. If any of those three gentlemen who conversed so freely about me should be there-but I won't think of it. Thursday Morning.
Well, my dear Sir, we went to Ranelagh. It is a charming place; and the brilliancy of the lights, on my first entrance, made me almost think I was in some enchanted castle or fairy palace, for all looked like magic to me.
The very first person I saw was Lord Orville. I felt so confused!-but he did not see me. After tea, Mrs. Mirvan being tired, Maria and I walked round the room alone. Then again we saw him, standing by the orchestra. We, too, stopt to hear a singer. He bowed to me; I courtesied, and I am sure I coloured. We soon walked on, not liking our situation; however, he did not follow us; and when we passed by the orchestra again, he was gone. Afterwards, in the course of the evening, we met him several times; but he was always with some party, and never spoke to us, though whenever he chanced to meet my eyes, he condescended to bow.
I cannot but be hurt at the opinion he entertains of me. It is true my own behaviour incurred it-yet he is himself the most agreeable, and, seemingly, the most amiable man in the world, and therefore it is that I am grieved to be thought ill of by him: for of whose esteem ought we to be ambitious, if not of those who most merit our own?-But it is too late to reflect upon this now. Well I can't help it.-However, I think I have done with assemblies.
This morning was destined for seeing sights, auctions, curious shops, and so forth; but my head ached, and I was not in a humour to be amused, and so I made them go without me, though very unwillingly. They are all kindness.
And now I am sorry I did not accompany them, for I know not what to do with myself. I had resolved not to go to the play to-night; but I believe I shall. In short, I hardly care whether I do or not. * * * * *
I thought I had done wrong! Mrs. Mirvan and Maria have been half the town over, and so entertained!-while I, like a fool, staid at home to do nothing. And, at the auction in Pall-mall, who should they meet but Lord Orville. He sat next to Mrs. Mirvan, and they talked a great deal together; but she gave me no account of the conversation.
I may never have such another opportunity of seeing London; I am quite sorry that I was not of the party; but I deserve this mortification, for having indulged my ill-humour. Thursday Night.
We are just returned from the play, which was King Lear, and has made me very sad. We did not see any body we knew.
Well, adieu, it is too late to write more. Friday.
Captain Mirvan is arrived. I have not spirits to give an account of his introduction, for he has really shocked me. I do not like him. He seems to be surly, vulgar, and disagreeable.
Almost the same moment that Maria was presented to him, he began some rude jests upon the bad shape of her nose, and called her a tall ill-formed thing. She bore it with the utmost good-humour; but that kind and sweet-tempered woman, Mrs. Mirvan, deserved a better lot. I am amazed she would marry him.
For my own part, I have been so shy, that I have hardly spoken to him, or he to me. I cannot imagine why the family was so rejoiced at his return. If he had spent his whole life abroad, I should have supposed they might rather have been thankful than sorrowful. However, I hope they do not think so ill of him as I do. At least, I am sure they have too much prudence to make it known. Saturday Night.
We have been to the opera, and I am still more pleased than I was on Tuesday. I could have thought myself in Paradise, but for the continual talking of the company around me. We sat in the pit, where every body was dressed in so high a style, that if I had been less delighted with the performance, my eyes would have found me sufficient entertainment from looking at the ladies.
I was very glad I did not sit next the Captain; for he could not bear the music or singers, and was extremely gross in his observations of both. When the opera was over, we went into a place called the coffee-room where ladies, as well as gentlemen, assemble. There are all sorts of refreshments, and the company walk about, and chat with the same ease and freedom as in a private room.
On Monday we go to a ridotto, and on Wednesday we return to Howard Grove. The Captain says he won't stay here to be smoked with filth any longer; but, having been seven years smoked with a burning sun, he will retire to the country, and sink into a fair weather chap. Adieu, my dear Sir.
EVELINA IN CONTINUATION Tuesday, April 12. My dear Sir,
WE came home from the ridotto so late, or rather so early that it was not possible for me to write. Indeed, we did not go -you will be frightened to hear it-till past eleven o'clock: but no body does. A terrible reverse of the order of nature! We sleep with the sun, and wake with the moon.
The room was very magnificent, the lights and decorations were brilliant, and the company gay and splendid. But I should have told you, that I made many objections to being of the party, according to the resolution I had formed. However, Maria laughed me out of my scruples, and so once again I went to an assembly.
Miss Mirvan danced a minuet; but I had not the courage to follow her example. In our walks I saw Lord Orville. He was quite alone, but did not observe us. Yet, as he seemed of no party, I thought it was not impossible that he might join us; and though I did not wish much to dance at all-yet, as I was more acquainted with him than with any other person in the room, I must own I could not help thinking it would be infinitely more desirable to dance again with him than with an entire stranger. To be sure, after all that had passed, it was very ridiculous to suppose it even probable that Lord Orville would again honour me with his choice; yet I am compelled to confess my absurdity, by way of explaining what follows.
Miss Mirvan was soon engaged; and presently after a very fashionable gay looking man, who seemed about thirty years of age, addressed himself to me, and begged to have the honour of dancing with me. Now Maria's partner was a gentleman of Mrs. Mirvan's acquaintance; for she had told us it was highly improper for young women to dance with strangers at any public assembly. Indeed it was by no means my wish so to do: yet I did not like to confine myself from dancing at all; neither did I dare refuse this gentleman as I had done Mr. Lovel, and then, if any acquaintance should offer, accept him: and so, all these reasons combining, induced me to tell him-yet I blush to write it to you!-that I was already engaged; by which I meant to keep myself at liberty to a dance, or not, as matters should fall out.
I suppose my consciousness betrayed my artifice, for he looked at me as if incredulous; and, instead of being satisfied with my answer and leaving me, according to my expectation, he walked at my side, and, with the greatest ease imaginable, began a conversation in the free style which only belongs to old and intimate acquaintance. But, what was most provoking, he asked me a thousand questions concerning the partner to whom I was engaged. And at last he said, "Is it really possible that a man whom you have honoured with your acceptance can fail to be at hand to profit from your goodness?"
I felt extremely foolish; and begged Mrs. Mirvan to lead to a seat; which she very obligingly did. The Captain sat next her; and to my great surprise, this gentleman thought proper to follow, and seat himself next to me.
"What an insensible!" continued he; "why, Madam, you are missing the most delightful dance in the world!-The man must be either mad or a fool-Which do you incline to think him yourself?"
"Neither, Sir," answered I, in some confusion.
He begged my pardon for the freedom of his supposition, saying, "I really was off my guard, from astonishment that any man can be so much and so unaccountably his own enemy. But where, Madam, can he possibly be!-has he left the room!-or has not he been in it?"
"Indeed, Sir," said I peevishly, "I know nothing of him."
"I don't wonder that you are disconcerted, Madam; it is really very provoking. The best part of the evening will be absolutely lost. He deserves not that you should wait for him."
"I do not, Sir," said I, "and I beg you not to-"
"Mortifying, indeed, Madam," interrupted he, "a lady to wait for a gentleman!-O fie!-careless fellow!-What can detain him?-Will you give me leave to seek him?"
"If you please, Sir," answered I; quite terrified lest Mrs. Mirvan should attend to him; for she looked very much surprised at seeing me enter into conversation with a stranger.
"With all my heart," cried he; "pray, what coat has he on?"
"Indeed I never looked at it."
"Out upon him!" cried he; "What! did he address you in a coat not worth looking at?-What a shabby wretch!"
How ridiculous! I really could not help laughing, which I fear encouraged him, for he went on.
"Charming creature!-and can you really bear ill usage with so much sweetness? Can you, like patience on a monument, smile in the midst of disappointment? For my part, though I am not the offended person, my indignation is so great, that I long to kick the fellow round the room!-unless, indeed,-(hesitating and looking earnestly at me,) unless, indeed,-it is a partner of your own creating?"
I was dreadfully abashed, and could not make an answer.
"But no!" cried he (again, and with warmth,) "It cannot be that you are so cruel! Softness itself is painted in your eyes.-You could not, surely, have the barbarity so wantonly to trifle with my misery."
I turned away from this nonsense with real disgust, Mrs. Mirvan saw my confusion, but was perplexed what to think of it, and I could not explain to her the cause, lest the Captain should hear me. I therefore proposed to walk; she consented, and we all rose; but, would you believe it? this man had the assurance to rise too, and walk close by my side, as if of my party!
"Now," cried he, "I hope we shall see this ingrate.-Is that he?"-pointing to an old man who was lame, "or that?" And in this manner he asked me of whoever was old or ugly in the room. I made no sort of answer: and when he found that I was resolutely silent, and walked on as much as I could without observing him, he suddenly stamped his foot, and cried out in a passion, "Fool! idiot! booby!"
I turned hastily toward him: "O, Madam," continued he, "forgive my vehemence; but I am distracted to think there should exist a wretch who can slight a blessing for which I would forfeit my life!-O that I could but meet him, I would soon-But I grow angry: pardon me, Madam, my passions are violent, and your injuries affect me!"
I began to apprehend he was a madman, and stared at him with the utmost astonishment. "I see you are moved, Madam," said he; "generous creature!-but don't be alarmed, I am cool again, I am indeed,-upon my soul I am;-I entreat you, most lovely of mortals! I intreat you to be easy."
"Indeed, Sir," said I very seriously, "I must insist upon your leaving me; you are quite a stranger to me, and I am both unused, and averse to your language and your manners."
This seemed to have some effect on him. He made me a low bow, begged my pardon, and vowed he would not for the world offend me.
"Then, Sir, you must leave me," cried I. "I am gone, Madam, I am gone!" with a most tragical air; and he marched away at a quick pace, out of sight in a moment; but before I had time to congratulate myself, he was again at my elbow.
"And could you really let me go, and not be sorry?-Can you see me suffer torments inexpressible, and yet retain all your favour for that miscreant who flies you?-Ungrateful puppy!-I could bastinado him!"
"For Heaven's sake, my dear," cried Mrs. Mirvan, "who is he talking of?"
"Indeed-I do not know, Madam," said I; "but I wish he would leave me."
"What's all that there?" cried the Captain.
The man made a low bow, and said, "Only, Sir, a slight objection which this young lady makes to dancing with me, and which I am endeavouring to obviate. I shall think myself greatly honoured if you will intercede for me."
"That lady, Sir," said the Captain coldly, "is her own mistress." And he walked sullenly on.
"You, Madam," said the man (who looked delighted, to Mrs. Mirvan),
"You, I hope, will have the goodness to speak for me."
"Sir," answered she gravely, "I have not the pleasure of being acquainted with you."
"I hope when you have, Ma'am," cried he, undaunted, "you will honour me with your approbation: but, while I am yet unknown to you, it would be truly generous in you to countenance me; and I flatter myself, Madam, that you will not have cause to repent it."
Mrs. Mirvan, with an embarrassed air, replied, "I do not at all mean,
Sir, to doubt your being a gentleman,-but-"
"But what, Madam?-that doubt removed, why a but?"
"Well, Sir," said Mrs. Mirvan (with a good humoured smile), "I will even treat you with your own plainness, and try what effect that will have on you: I must therefore tell you, once for all-"
"O pardon me, Madam!" interrupted he, eagerly, "you must not proceed with those words once for all; no, if I have been too plain, and though a man, deserve a rebuke, remember, dear ladies that if you copy, you ought in justice to excuse me."
We both stared at the man's strange behaviour.
"Be nobler than your sex," continued he, turning to me, "honour me with one dance, and give up the ingrate who has merited so ill your patience."
Mrs. Mirvan looked with astonishment at us both.
"Who does he speak of, my dear?-you never mentioned-"
"O, Madam!" exclaimed he, "he was not worth mentioning-it is a pity he was ever though of; but let us forget his existence. One dance is all I solicit. Permit me, Madam, the honour of this young lady's hand; it will be a favour I shall ever most gratefully acknowledge."
"Sir," answered she, "favours and strangers have with me no connection."
"If you have hitherto," said he, "confined your benevolence to your intimate friends, suffer me to be the first for whom your charity is enlarged."
"Well, Sir, I know not what to say to you,-but-"
He stopt her but with so many urgent entreaties that she at last told me, I must either go down one dance, or avoid his importunities by returning home. I hesitated which alternative to chose; but this impetuous man at length prevailed, and I was obliged to consent to dance with him.
And thus was my deviation from truth punished; and thus did this man's determined boldness conquer.
During the dance, before we were too much engaged in it for conversation, he was extremely provoking about my partner, and tried every means in his power to make me own that I had deceived him; which, though I would not so far humble myself as to acknowledge, was indeed but too obvious.
Lord Orville, I fancy, did not dance at all. He seemed to have a large acquaintance, and joined several different parties: but you will easily suppose, I was not much pleased to see him, in a few minutes after I was gone, walk towards the place I had just left, and bow to and join Mrs. Mirvan!
How unlucky I thought myself, that I had not longer withstood this stranger's importunities! The moment we had gone down the dance, I was hastening away from him; but he stopt me, and said, that I could by no means return to my party without giving offence, before we had done our duty of walking up the dance. As I know nothing at all of these rules and customs I was obliged to submit to his directions; but I fancy I looked rather uneasy, for he took notice of my inattention, saying, in his free way, "Whence that anxiety?-Why are those lovely eyes perpetually averted?"
"I wish you would say no more to me, Sir," cried I peevishly; "you have already destroyed all my happiness for this evening."
"Good Heaven! What is it I have done?-How have I merited this scorn?"
"You have tormented me to death; you have forced me from my friends, and intruded yourself upon me, against my will, for a partner."
"Surely, my dear Madam, we ought to be better friends, since there seems to be something of sympathy in the frankness of our dispositions.-And yet, were you not an angel-how do you think I could brooke such contempt?"
"If I have offended you," cried I, "you have but to leave me-and O how I wish you would!"
"My dear creature," said he, half laughing, "why where could you be educated?"
"Where I most sincerely wish I now was!"
"How conscious you must be, all beautiful that you are, that those charming airs serve only to heighten the bloom of your complexion!"
"Your freedom, Sir, where you are more acquainted, may perhaps be less disagreeable; but to me -"
"You do me justice," cried he, interrupting me, "yes, I do indeed improve upon acquaintance; you will hereafter be quite charmed with me."
"Hereafter, Sir, I hope I shall never-"
"O hush!-hush!-have you forgot the situation in which I found you?-Have you forgot, that when deserted, I pursued you,-when betrayed, I adored you?-but for me-"
"But for you, Sir, I might perhaps have been happy."
"What then, am I to conclude that, but for me, your partner would have appeared?-poor fellow!-and did my presence awe him?"
"I wish his presence, Sir, could awe you!"
"His presence!-perhaps then you see him?"
"Perhaps, Sir, I do," cried I, quite wearied of his raillery.
"Where? Where?-for Heaven's sake show me the wretch!"
"O, a very savage!-a sneaking, shame-faced, despicable puppy!"
I know not what bewitched me-but my pride was hurt, and my spirits were tired, and-in short, I had the folly, looking at Lord Orville, to repeat, "Despicable, you think?"
His eyes instantly followed mine; "Why, is that the gentleman?"
I made no answer; I could not affirm, and I would not deny:-for I hoped to be relieved from his teasing by his mistake.
The very moment we had done what he called our duty, I eagerly desired to return to Mrs. Mirvan.
"To your partner, I presume, Madam?" said he, very gravely.
This quite confounded me. I dreaded lest this mischievous man ignorant of his rank, should address himself to Lord Orville, and say something which might expose my artifice. Fool! to involve myself in such difficulties! I now feared what I had before wished; and therefore, to avoid Lord Orville, I was obliged myself to propose going down another dance, though I was ready to sink with shame while I spoke.
"But your partner, Ma'am?" said he, affecting a very solemn air, "perhaps he may resent my detaining you: if you will give me leave to ask his consent-"
"Not for the universe."
"Who is he, Madam?"
I wished myself a hundred miles off. He repeated his question,
"What is his name?"
"Nothing-nobody-I don't know-"
He assumed a most important solemnity: "How!-not know?-Give me leave, my dear Madam, to recommend this caution to you: Never dance in public with a stranger,-with one whose name you are unacquainted with,-who may be a mere adventurer,-a man of no character, consider to what impertinence you may expose yourself."
Was ever anything so ridiculous? I could not help laughing, in spite of my vexation.
At this instant, Mrs. Mirvan, followed by Lord Orville, walked up to us. You will easily believe it was not difficult for me to recover my gravity; but what was my consternation, when this strange man, destined to be the scourge of my artifice, exclaimed, "Ha! My Lord Orville!-I protest I did not know your Lordship. What can I say for my usurpation?-Yet, faith, my Lord, such a prize was not to be neglected."
My shame and confusion were unspeakable. Who could have supposed or foreseen that this man knew Lord Orville? But falsehood is not more unjustifiable than unsafe.
Lord Orville-well he might-looked all amazement.
"The philosophic coldness of your Lordship," continued this odious creature, "every man is not endowed with. I have used my utmost endeavours to entertain this lady, though I fear without success; and your lordship will not be a little flattered, if acquainted with the difficulty which attended my procuring the honour of only one dance." Then, turning to me, who was sinking with shame, while Lord Orville stood motionless, and Mrs. Mirvan astonished,-he suddenly seized my hand, saying, "Think, my Lord, what must be my reluctance to resign this fair hand to your Lordship!"
In the same instant, Lord Orville took it of him; I coloured violently, and made an effort to recover it. "You do me too much honour, Sir," cried he, (with an air of gallantry, pressing it to his lips before he let it go;) "however, I shall be happy to profit by it, if this lady," turning to Mrs. Mirvan, "will permit me to seek for her party."
To compel him thus to dance, I could not endure; and eagerly called out, "By no means-not for the world!-I must beg-"
"Will you honour me, Madam, with your commands," cried my tormentor; "may I seek the lady's party?"
"No, Sir," answered I, turning from him.
"What shall be done, my dear?" said Mrs. Mirvan.
"Nothing, Ma'am;-anything, I mean-"
"But do you dance, or not? you see his Lordship waits."
"I hope not-I beg that-I would not for the world-I am sure I ought to-to-"
I could not speak; but that confident man, determining to discover whether or not I had deceived him, said to Lord Orville, who stood suspended, "My Lord, this affair, which at present seems perplexed, I will briefly explain:-this lady proposed to me another dance,-nothing could have made me more happy,-I only wished for your Lordship's permission; which, if now granted, will, I am persuaded, set everything right."
I glowed with indignation. "No, Sir-it is your absence, and that alone, can set everything right."
"For Heaven's sake, my dear," cried Mrs. Mirvan, who could no longer contain her surprise, "what does all this mean?-were you pre-engaged?-had Lord Orville-"
"No, Madam," cried I, "only-only I did not know that gentleman,-and so-and so I thought-I intended-I-"
Overpowered by all that had passed, I had not strength to make my mortifying explanation;-my spirits quite failed me, and I burst into tears.
They all seemed shocked and amazed.
"What is the matter, my dearest love?" cried Mrs. Mirvan, with kindest concern.
"What have I done!" exclaimed my evil genius, and ran officiously for a glass of water.
However, a hint was sufficient for Lord Orville, who comprehended all I would have explained. He immediately led me to a seat, and said in a low voice, "Be not distressed, I beseech you: I shall ever think my name honoured by your making use of it."
This politeness relieved me. A general murmur had alarmed Miss Mirvan, who flew instantly to me; while Lord Orville the moment Mrs. Mirvan had taken the water, led my tormentor away.
"For Heaven's sake, dear Madam," cried I, "let me go home;-indeed I cannot stay here any longer."
"Let us all go," cried my kind Maria.
"But the Captain, what will he say-I had better go home in a chair."
Mrs. Mirvan consented, and I rose to depart. Lord Orville and that man both came to me. The first, with an attention I but ill-merited from him, led me to a chair; while the other followed, pestering me with apologies. I wished to have made mine to Lord Orville, but was too much ashamed.
It was about one o'clock. Mrs. Mirvan's servants saw me home.
And now,-what again shall ever tempt me to an assembly? I dread to hear what you will think of me, my most dear and honoured Sir: you will need your utmost partiality to receive me without displeasure.
This morning Lord Orville has sent to inquire after our health; and Sir Clement Willoughby, for that, I find, is the name of my persecutor, has called; but I would not go down stairs till he was gone.
And now, my dear Sir, I can somewhat account for the strange, provoking, and ridiculous conduct of this Sir Clement last night; for Miss Mirvan says he is the very man with whom she heard Lord Orville conversing at Mrs. Stanley's, when I was spoken of in so mortifying a manner. He was pleased to say he was glad to hear I was a fool; and therefore, I suppose, he concluded he might talk as much nonsense as he pleased to me: however, I am very indifferent as to his opinion;-but for Lord Orville,-if then he thought me an idiot, now, I am sure, he must suppose me both bold and presuming. Make use of his name!-what impertinence-he can never know how it happened,-he can only imagine it was from an excess of vanity;-well, however, I shall leave this bad city to-morrow, and never again will I enter it.
The Captain intends to take us to-night to the Fantoccini. I cannot bear that Captain; I can give you no idea how gross he is. I heartily rejoice that he was not present at the disagreeable conclusion of yesterday's adventure, for I am sure he would have contributed to my confusion; which might, perhaps, have diverted him, as he seldom or never smiles but at some other person's expense.
And here I conclude my London letters,-and without any regret; for I am too inexperienced and ignorant to conduct myself with propriety in this town, where everything is new to me, and many things are unaccountable and perplexing.
Adieu, my dear Sir; Heaven restore me safely to you! I wish I was to go immediately to Berry Hill; yet the wish is ungrateful to Mrs. Mirvan, and therefore I will repress it. I shall write an account of the Fantoccini from Howard Grove. We have not been to half the public places that are now open, though I dare say you will think we have been to all. But they are almost as innumerable as the persons who fill them.
EVELINA IN CONTINUATION. Queen Ann Street, April 13.
HOW much will you be surprised, my dearest Sir, at receiving another letter, from London, of your Evelina's writing! But, believe me, it was not my fault, neither is it my happiness, that I am still here: our journey has been postponed by an accident equally unexpected and disagreeable.
We went last night to see the Fantoccini, where we had infinite entertainment from the performance of a little comedy in French and Italian, by puppets, so admirably managed, that they both astonished and diverted us all, except the Captain, who has a fixed and most prejudiced hatred of whatever is not English.
When it was over, while we waited for the coach, a tall elderly woman brushed quickly past us, calling out, "My God, what shall I do?"
"Why, what would you do?" cried the Captain.
"Ma foi, Monsieur," answered she, "I have lost my company, and in this place I don't know nobody."
There was something foreign in her accent, though it was difficult to discover whether she was an English or a French woman. She was very well dressed; and seemed so entirely at a loss what to do, that Mrs. Mirvan proposed to the Captain to assist her.
"Assist her!" cried he, "ay, with all my heart;-let a link-boy call her a coach."
There was not one to be had, and it rained very fast.
"Mon Dieu!" exclaimed the stranger, "what shall become of me? Je suis au desespoir!"
"Dear Sir," cried Miss Mirvan, "pray let us take the poor lady into our coach. She is quite alone, and a foreigner-"
"She's never the better for that," answered he: "she may be a woman of the town, for anything you know."
"She does not appear such," said Mrs. Mirvan; "and indeed she seems so much distressed, that we shall but follow the golden rule, if we carry her to her lodgings."
"You are mighty fond of new acquaintance," returned he; "but first let us know if she be going our way."
Upon inquiry, we found that she lived in Oxford Road; and, after some disputing, the Captain surlily, and, with a very bad grace, consented to admit her into his coach; though he soon convinced us, that he was determined she should not be too much obliged to him, for he seemed absolutely bent upon quarrelling with her: for which strange inhospitality I can assign no other reason, than that she appeared to be a foreigner.
The conversation began, by her telling us, that she had been in England only two days; that the gentlemen belonging to her were Parisians, and had left her to see for a hackney-coach, as her own carriage was abroad; and that she had waited for them till she was quite frightened, and concluded that they had lost themselves.
"And pray," said the Captain, "why did you go to a public place without an Englishman?"
"Ma foi, Sir," answered she, "because none of my acquaintance is in town."
"Why then," said he, "I'll tell you what, your best way is to go out of it yourself."
"Pardi, Monsieur," returned she, "and so I shall; for, I promise you, I think the English a parcel of brutes; and I'll go back to France as fast as I can, for I would not live among none of you."
"Who wants you?" cried the Captain: "do you suppose, Madam French, we have not enough of other nations to pick our pockets already? I'll warrant you, there's no need for you for to put in your oar."
"Pick your pockets, Sir! I wish nobody wanted to pick your pockets no more than I do; and I'll promise you you'd be safe enough. But there's no nation under the sun can beat the English for ill-politeness: for my part, I hate the very sight of them; and so I shall only just visit a person of quality or two of my particular acquaintance, and then I shall go back again to France."
"Ay, do," cried he; "and then go to the devil together, for that's the fittest voyage for the French and the quality."
"We'll take care, however," cried the stranger with great vehemence, "not to admit none of your vulgar unmannered English among us."
"O never fear," returned he, coolly, "we shan't dispute the point with you; you and the quality may have the devil all to yourselves."
Desirous of changing the subject of a conversation which now became very alarming, Miss Mirvan called out, "Lord, how slow the man drives!"
"Never mind, Moll," said her father, "I'll warrant you he'll drive fast enough to-morrow, when you are going to Howard Grove."
"To Howard Grove!" exclaimed the stranger, "why, mon Dieu, do you know Lady Howard?"
"Why, what if we do?" answered he; "that's nothing to you; she's none of your quality, I'll promise you."
"Who told you that?" cried she; "you don't know nothing about the matter! besides, you're the ill-bredest person ever I see: and as to your knowing Lady Howard, I don't believe no such a thing; unless, indeed, you are her steward."
The Captain, swearing terribly, said, with great fury, "You would much sooner be taken for her wash-woman."
"Her wash-woman, indeed?-Ha, ha, ha, why you han't no eyes; did you ever see a wash-woman in such a gown as this?-Besides, I'm no such mean person, for I'm as good as Lady Howard, and as rich too; and besides, I'm now come to England to visit her."
"You may spare yourself that there trouble," said the Captain, "she has paupers enough about her already."
"Paupers, Mister!-no more a pauper than yourself, nor so much neither;-but you are a low, dirty fellow, and I shan't stoop to take no more notice of you."
"Dirty fellow!" exclaimed the Captain, seizing both her wrists, "hark you, Mrs. Frog, you'd best hold your tongue; for I must make bold to tell you, if you don't, that I shall make no ceremony of tripping you out of the window, and there you may lie in the mud till some of your Monseers come to help you out of it."
Their increasing passion quite terrified us; and Mrs. Mirvan was beginning to remonstrate with the Captain, when we were all silenced by what follows.
"Let me go, villain that you are, let me go, or I'll promise you I'll get you put to prison for this usage. I'm no common person, I assure you; and, ma foi, I'll go to Justice Fielding about you; for I'm a person of fashion, and I'll make you know it, or my name a'n't Duval."
I heard no more: amazed, frightened, and unspeakably shocked, an involuntary exclamation of Gracious Heaven! escaped me, and, more dead than alive, I sunk into Mrs. Mirvan's arms. But let me draw a veil over a scene too cruel for a heart so compassionately tender as your's; it is sufficient that you know this supposed foreigner proved to be Madame Duval,-the grandmother of your Evelina!
O, Sir, to discover so near a relation in a woman, who had thus introduced herself!-what would become of me, were it not for you, my protector, my friend, and my refuge?
My extreme concern, and Mrs. Mirvan's surprise, immediately betrayed me. But, I will not shock you with the manner of her acknowledging me, or the bitterness, the grossness -I cannot otherwise express myself,-with which she spoke of those unhappy past transactions you have so pathetically related to me. All the misery of a much injured parent, dear, though never seen, regretted, though never known, crowded so forcibly upon my memory, that they rendered this interview-one only excepted-the most afflicting I can ever know.
When we stopt at her lodgings, she desired me to accompany her into the house, and said she could easily procure a room for me to sleep in. Alarmed and trembling, I turned to Mrs. Mirvan. "My daughter, Madam," said that sweet woman, "cannot so abruptly part with her young friend; you must allow a little time to wean them from each other."
"Pardon me, Ma'am," answered Madame Duval, (who, from the time of her being known, somewhat softened her manners) "Miss can't possibly be so nearly connected to this child as I am."
"No matter for that," cried the Captain, (who espoused my cause to satisfy his own pique, tho' an awkward apology had passed between them) "she was sent to us; and so, dy'e see, we don't choose for to part with her."
I promised to wait upon her at what time she pleased the next day; and, after a short debate, she desired me to breakfast with her, and we proceeded to Queen Ann Street.
What an unfortunate adventure! I could not close my eyes the whole night. A thousand times I wished I had never left Berry Hill: however, my return thither shall be accelerated to the utmost of my power; and, once more in that abode of tranquil happiness, I will suffer no temptation to allure me elsewhere.
Mrs. Mirvan was so kind as to accompany me to Madame Duval's house this morning. The Captain, too, offered his service; which I declined, from a fear she should suppose I meant to insult her.
She frowned most terribly upon Mrs. Mirvan; but she received me with as much tenderness as I believe she is capable of feeling. Indeed, our meeting seems really to have affected her; for when, overcome by the variety of emotions which the sight of her occasioned, I almost fainted in her arms, she burst into tears, and said, "let me not lose my poor daughter a second time!" This unexpected humanity softened me extremely; but she very soon excited my warmest indignation, by the ungrateful mention she made of the best of men, my dear and most generous benefactor. However, grief and anger mutually gave way to terror, upon her avowing the intention of her visiting England was to make me return with her to France. This, she said, was a plan she had formed from the instant she had heard of my birth; which, she protested, did not reach her ears till I must have been twelve years of age; but Monsieur Duval, who she declared was the worst husband in the world, would not permit her to do any thing she wished: he had been dead but three months; which had been employed in arranging certain affairs, that were no sooner settled, than she set off for England. She was already out of mourning, for she said nobody here could tell how long she had been a widow.
She must have been married very early in life: what her age is I do not know; but she really looks to be less than fifty. She dresses very gaily, paints very high, and the traces of former beauty are still very visible in her face.
I know not when, or how, this visit would have ended, had not the Captain called for Mrs. Mirvan, and absolutely insisted upon my attending her. He is become, very suddenly, so warmly my friend, that I quite dread his officiousness. Mrs. Mirvan, however, whose principal study seems to be healing those wounds which her husband inflicts, appeased Madame Duval's wrath, by a very polite invitation to drink tea and spend the evening here. Not without great difficulty was the Captain prevailed upon to defer his journey some time longer; but what could be done? It would have been indecent for me to have quitted town the very instant I discovered that Madame Duval was in it; and to have staid here solely under her protection-Mrs. Mirvan, thank Heaven, was too kind for such a thought. That she should follow us to Howard Grove, I almost equally dreaded. It is therefore determined, that we remain in London for some days, or a week: though the Captain has declared that the old French hag, as he is pleased to call her, shall fare never the better for it.
My only hope is to get safe to Berry Hill; where, counselled and sheltered by you, I shall have nothing more to fear. Adieu, my ever dear and most honoured Sir! I shall have no happiness till I am again with you.
MR. VILLARS TO EVELINA Berry Hill, April 16.
IN the belief and hope that my Evelina would, ere now, have bid adieu to London, I had intended to have deferred writing, till I heard of her return to Howard Grove; but the letter I have this moment received, with intelligence of Madame Duval's arrival in England, demands an immediate answer.
Her journey hither equally grieves and alarms me. How much did I pity my child, when I read of a discovery at once so unexpected and unwished! I have long dreaded this meeting and its consequence; to claim you seems naturally to follow acknowledging you. I am well acquainted with her disposition, and have for many years foreseen the contest which now threatens us.
Cruel as are the circumstances of this affair, you must not, my love, suffer it to depress your spirits: remember, that while life is lent me, I will devote it to your service; and, for future time, I will make such provisions as shall seem to me most conducive to your future happiness. Secure of my protection, and relying on my tenderness, let no apprehensions of Madame Duval disturb your peace: conduct yourself towards her with all the respect and deference due to so near a relation, remembering always, that the failure of duty on her part, can by no means justify any neglect on your's. Indeed, the more forcibly you are struck with improprieties and misconduct in another, the greater should be your observance and diligence to avoid even the shadow of similar errors. Be careful, therefore, that no remissness of attention, no indifference of obliging, make known to her the independence I assure you of; but when she fixes the time for her leaving England, trust to me the task of refusing your attending her: disagreeable to myself, I own, it will be; yet to you it would be improper, if not impossible.
In regard to her opinion of me, I am more sorry than surprised at her determined blindness; the palliation which she feels the want of, for her own conduct, leads her to seek for failings in all who were concerned in those unhapppy transactions which she has so much reason to lament. And this, as it is the cause, so we must in some measure consider it as the excuse of her inveteracy.
How grateful to me are your wishes to return to Berry Hill! Your lengthened stay in London, and the dissipation in which I find you are involved, fill me with uneasiness. I mean not, however, that I would have you sequester yourself from the party to which you belong, since Mrs. Mirvan might thence infer a reproof which your youth and her kindness would render inexcusable. I will not, therefore, enlarge upon this subject; but content myself with telling you, that I shall heartily rejoice when I hear of your safe arrival at Howard Grove, for which place I hope you will be preparing at the time you receive this letter.
I cannot too much thank you, my best Evelina, for the minuteness of your communications. Continue to me this indulgence, for I should be miserable if in ignorance of your proceedings.
How new to you is the scene of life in which you are engaged!-balls-plays-operas-ridottos!-Ah, my child! At your return hither, how will you bear the change? My heart trembles for your future tranquility.-Yet I will hope every thing from the unsullied whiteness of your soul, and the native liveliness of your disposition.
I am sure I need not say, how much more I was pleased with the mistakes of your inexperience at the private ball, than with the attempted adoption of more fashionable manners at the ridotto. But your confusion and mortifications were such as to entirely silence all reproofs on my part.
I hope you will see no more of Sir Clement Willoughby, whose conversation and boldness are extremely disgustful to me. I was gratified by the good nature of Lord Orville, upon your making use of his name; but I hope you will never again put it to such a trial.
Heaven bless thee, my dear child! And grant that neither misfortune nor vice may ever rob thee of that gaiety of heart, which, resulting from innocence, while it constitutes your own, contributes also to the felicity of all who know you! ARTHUR VILLARS.
EVELINA TO THE REV. MR. VILLARS Queen Ann Street, Thursday morning,
BEFORE our dinner was over yesterday Madame Duval came to tea; though it will lessen your surprise, to hear that it was near five o'clock, for we never dine till the day is almost over. She was asked into another room while the table was cleared, and then was invited to partake of the dessert.
She was attended by a French gentleman, whom she introduced by the name of Monsieur Du Bois: Mrs. Mirvan received them both with her usual politeness; but the Captain looked very much displeased; and after a short silence, very sternly said to Madame Duval, "Pray who asked you to bring that there spark with you?"
"O," cried she, "I never go no where without him."
Another short silence ensued, which was terminated by the Captain's turning roughly to the foreigner, and saying, "Do you know, Monseer, that you are the first Frenchman I ever let come into my house?"
Monsieur Du Bois made a profound bow. He speaks no English, and understands it so imperfectly, that he might possibly imagine he had received a compliment.
Mrs. Mirvan endeavourd to divert the Captain's ill-humour, by starting new subjects: but he left to her all the trouble of supporting them, and leant back in his chair in gloomy silence, except when any opportunity offered of uttering some sarcasm upon the French. Finding her efforts to render the evening agreeable were fruitless, Mrs. Mirvan proposed a party to Ranelagh. Madame Duval joyfully consented to it; and the Captain though he railed against the dissipation of the women, did not oppose it; and therefore Maria and I ran up stairs to dress ourselves.
Before we were ready, word was brought us that Sir Clement Willoughby was in the drawing-room. He introduced himself under the pretence of inquiring after all our healths, and entered the room with the easy air of an old acquaintance; though Mrs. Mirvan confessed that he seemed embarrassed when he found how coldly he was received, not only by the Captain, but by herself.
I was extremely disconcerted at the thoughts of seeing this man again, and did not go downstairs till I was called to tea. He was then deeply engaged in a discourse upon French manners with Madame Duval and the Captain; and the subject seemed so entirely to engross him, that he did not, at first, observe my entrance into the room. Their conversation was supported with great vehemence; the Captain roughly maintaining the superiority of the English in every particular, and Madame Duval warmly refusing to allow of it in any; while Sir Clement exerted all his powers of argument and of ridicule, to second and strengthen whatever was advanced by the Captain: for he had the sagacity to discover, that he could take no method so effectual for making the master of the house his friend, as to make Madame Duval his enemy; and indeed, in a very short time, he had reason to congratulate himself upon his successful discernment.
As soon as he saw me, he made a most respectful bow, and hoped I had not suffered from the fatigue of the ridotto: I made no other answer than a slight inclination of the head, for I was very much ashamed of that whole affair. He then returned to the disputants; where he managed the argument so skilfully, at once provoking Madame Duval, and delighting the Captain, that I could not forbear admiring his address, though I condemned his subtlety. Mrs. Mirvan, dreading such violent antagonists, attempted frequently to change the subject; and she might have succeeded, but for the interposition of Sir Clement, who would not suffer it to be given up, and supported it with such humour and satire, that he seems to have won the Captain's heart; though their united forces so enraged and overpowered Madame Duval, that she really trembled with passion.
I was very glad when Mrs. Mirvan said it was time to be gone. Sir Clement arose to take leave; but the Captain very cordially invited him to join our party: he had an engagement, he said, but would give it up to have that pleasure.
Some little confusion ensued in regard to our manner of setting off. Mrs. Mirvan offered Madame Duval a place in her coach, and proposed that we four females should go all together; however, this she rejected, declaring she would by no means go so far without a gentleman, and wondering so polite a lady could make so English a proposal. Sir Clement Willoughby said, his chariot was waiting at the door, and begged to know if it could be of any use. It was at last decided, that a hackney-coach should be called for Monsieur Du Bois and Madame Duval, in which the Captain, and, at his request, Sir Clement, went also; Mrs. and Miss Mirvan and I had a peaceful and comfortable ride by ourselves.
I doubt not but they quarrelled all the way; for when we met at Ranelagh every one seemed out of humour; and though we joined parties, poor Madame Duval was avoided as much as possible by all but me.
The room was so very much crowded, that but for the uncommon assiduity of Sir Clement Willoughby, we should not have been able to procure a box (which is the name given to the arched recesses that are appropriated for tea-parties) till half the company had retired. As we were taking possession of our places, some ladies of Mrs. Mirvan's acquaintance stopped to speak to her, and persuaded her to take a round with them. When she returned to us, what was my surprise, to see that Lord Orville had joined her party! The ladies walked on: Mrs. Mirvan seated herself, and made a slight, though respectful, invitation to Lord Orville to drink his tea with us; which, to my no small consternation, he accepted.
I felt a confusion unspeakable at again seeing him, from the recollection of the ridotto adventure: nor did my situation lessen it; for I was seated between Madame Duval and Sir Clement, who seemed as little as myself to desire Lord Orville's presence. Indeed, the continual wrangling and ill-breeding of Captain Mirvan and Madame Duval made me blush that I belonged to them. And poor Mrs. Mirvan and her amiable daughter had still less reason to be satisfied.
A general silence ensued after he was seated: his appearance, from different motives, gave an universal restraint to every body. What his own reasons were for honouring us with his company, I cannot imagine; unless, indeed, he had a curiosity to know whether I should invent any new impertinence concerning him.
The first speech was made by Madame Duval, who said, "It's quite a shocking thing to see ladies come to so genteel a place as Ranelagh with hats on; it has a monstrous vulgar look: I can't think what they wear them for. There is no such a thing to be seen in Paris."
"Indeed," cried Sir Clement, "I must own myself no advocate for hats; I am sorry the ladies ever invented or adopted so tantalizing a fashion: for, where there is beauty, they only serve to shade it; and, where there is none, to excite a most unavailing curiosity. I fancy they were originally worn by some young and whimsical coquette."
"More likely," answered the Captain, "they were invented by some wrinkled old hag, who'd a mind for to keep the young fellows in chace, let them be never so weary."
"I don't know what you may do in England," cried Madame Duval, "but I know in Paris no woman needn't be at such a trouble as that to be taken very genteel notice of."
"Why, will you pretend for to say," returned the Captain, "that they don't distinguish the old from the young there as well as here?"
"They don't make no distinguishments at all," said she; "they're vastly too polite."
"More fools they!" cried the Captain, sneeringly.
"Would to Heaven," cried, Sir Clement, "that, for our own sakes, we Englishmen too were blest with so accommodating a blindness!"
"Why the devil do you make such a prayer as that?" demanded the Captain: "them are the first foolish words I've heard you speak; but I suppose you're not much used to that sort of work. Did you ever make a prayer before, since you were a sniveler?"
"Ay, now," cried Madame Duval, "that's another of the unpolitenesses of you English, to go to talking of such things as that: now in Paris nobody never says nothing about religion, no more than about politics."
"Why then," answered he, "it's a sign they take no more care of their souls than of their country, and so both one and t'other go to old Nick."
"Well, if they do," said she, "who's the worse, so long as they don't say nothing about it? It's the tiresomest thing in the world to be always talking of them sort of things, and nobody that's ever been abroad troubles their heads about them."
"Pray then," cried the Captain, "since you know so much of the matter, be so good as to tell us what they do trouble their heads about?-Hey, Sir Clement! han't we a right to know that much?"
"A very comprehensive question," said Sir Clement, "and I expect much instruction from the lady's answer."
"Come, Madam," continued the Captain, "never flinch; speak at once; don't stop for thinking."
"I assure you I am not going," answered she; "for as to what they do do, why they've enough to do, I promise you, what with one thing or another."
"But what, what do they do, these famous Monseers?" demanded the Captain; "can't you tell us? do they game?-or drink?-or fiddle?-or are they jockeys?-or do they spend all their time in flummering old women?"
"As to that, Sir-but indeed I shan't trouble myself to answer such a parcel of low questions, so don't ask me no more about it." And then, to my great vexation, turning to Lord Orville, she said, "Pray, Sir, was you ever in Paris?"
He only bowed.
"And pray, Sir, how did you like it?"
This comprehensive question, as Sir Clement would have called it, though it made him smile, also made him hesitate; however, his answer was expressive of his approbation.
"I thought you would like it, Sir, because you look so like a gentleman. As to the Captain, and as to that other gentleman, why they may very well not like what they don't know: for I suppose, Sir, you was never abroad?"
"Only three years, Ma'am," answered Sir Clement, drily.
"Well, that's very surprising! I should never have thought it: however,
I dare say you only kept company with the English."
"Why, pray, who should he keep company with?" cried the Captain: "what I suppose you'd have him ashamed of his own nation, like some other people not a thousand miles off, on purpose to make his own nation ashamed of him?"
"I'm sure it would be a very good thing if you'd go abroad yourself."
"How will you make out that, hey, Madam? come, please to tell me, where would be the good of that?"
"Where! why a great deal. They'd make quite another person of you."
"What, I suppose you'd have me to learn to cut capers?-and dress like a monkey?-and palaver in French gibberish?-hey, would you?-And powder, and daub, and make myself up, like some other folks?"
"I would have you learn to be more politer, Sir, and not to talk to ladies in such a rude, old-fashion way as this. You, Sir, as have been in Paris," again addressing herself to Lord Orville, "can tell this English gentleman how he'd be despised, if he was to talk in such an ungenteel manner as this before any foreigners. Why, there isn't a hairdresser, nor a shoemaker, nor nobody, that wouldn't blush to be in your company."
"Why, look ye, Madam," answered the Captain, "as to your hair-pinchers and shoe-blacks, you may puff off their manners, and welcome; and I am heartily glad you like 'em so well: but as to me, since you must needs make so free of your advice, I must e'en tell you, I never kept company with any such gentry."
"Come, ladies and gentlemen," said Mrs. Mirvan, "as many of you as have done tea, I invite to walk with me." Maria and I started up instantly; Lord Orville followed; and I question whether we were not half round the room ere the angry disputants knew that we had left the box.
As the husband of Mrs. Mirvan had borne so large a share in the disagreeable altercation, Lord Orville forbore to make any comments upon it; so that the subject was immediately dropt, and the conversation became calmly sociable, and politely cheerful, and, to every body but me, must have been highly agreeable:-but, as to myself, I was so eagerly desirous of making some apology to Lord Orville, for the impertinence of which he must have thought me guilty at the ridotto, and yet so utterly unable to assume sufficient courage to speak to him, concerning an affair in which I had so terribly exposed myself, that I hardly ventured to say a word all the time we were walking. Besides, the knowledge of his contemptuous opinion haunted and dispirited me, and made me fear he might possibly misconstrue whatever I should say. So that, far from enjoying a conversation which might, at any other time, have delighted me, I continued silent, uncomfortable, and ashamed. O, Sir, shall I ever again involve myself in so foolish an embarrassment? I am sure that, if I do, I shall deserve greater mortification.
We were not joined by the rest of the party till we had taken three or four turns around the room; and then they were so quarrelsome, that Mrs. Mirvan complained of being fatigued and proposed going home. No one dissented. Lord Orville joined another party, having first made an offer of his services, which the gentlemen declined, and we proceeded to an outward room, where we waited for the carriages. It was settled that we should return to town in the same manner we came to Ranelagh; and, accordingly, Monsieur Du Bois handed Madame Duval into a hackney coach, and was just preparing to follow her, when she screamed, and jumped hastily out, declaring she was wet through all her clothes. Indeed, upon examination the coach was found to be in a dismal condition; for the weather proved very bad, and the rain had, though I know not how, made its way into the carriage.
Mrs. and Miss Mirvan, and myself, were already disposed of as before; but no sooner did the Captain hear this account, than, without any ceremony, he was so civil as to immediately take possession of the vacant seat in his own coach, leaving Madame Duval and Monsieur Du Bois to take care of themselves. As to Sir Clement Willoughby, his own chariot was in waiting.
I instantly begged permission to offer Madame Duval my own place, and made a motion to get out; but Mrs. Mirvan stopped me, saying, that I should then be obliged to return to town with only the foreigner, or Sir Clement.
"O never mind the old beldame," cried the Captain, "she's weather-proof, I'll answer for her; and besides, as we are all, I hope, English, why she'll meet with no worse than she expects from us."
"I do not mean to defend her," said Mrs. Mirvan; "but indeed, as she belongs to our party, we cannot, with any decency, leave the place till she is, by some means, accommodated."
"Lord, my dear," cried the Captain, whom the distress of Madame Duval had put into very good humour, "why, she'll break her heart if she meets with any civility from a filthy Englishman."
Mrs. Mirvan, however, prevailed; and we all got out of the coach, to wait till Madame Duval could meet with some better carriage. We found her, attended by Monsieur Du Bois, standing amongst the servants, and very busy in wiping her negligee, and endeavouring to save it from being stained by the wet, as she said it was a new Lyons silk. Sir Clement Willoughby offered her the use of his chariot, but she had been too much piqued by his raillery to accept it. We waited some time, but in vain; for no hackney-coach could be procured. The Captain, at last, was persuaded to accompany Sir Clement himself, and we four females were handed into Mrs. Mirvan's carriage, though not before Madame Duval had insisted upon our making room for Monsieur Du Bois, to which the Captain only consented in preference to being incommoded by him in Sir Clement's chariot.
Our party drove off first. We were silent and unsociable; for the difficulties attending this arrangement had made every one languid and fatigued. Unsociable, I must own, we continued; but very short was the duration of our silence, as we had not proceeded thirty yards before every voice was heard at once-for the coach broke down! I suppose we concluded, of course, that we were all half killed, by the violent shrieks that seemed to come from every mouth. The chariot was stopped, the servants came to our assistance, and we were taken out of the carriage, without having been at all hurt. The night was dark and wet; but I had scarce touched the ground when I was lifted suddenly from it by Sir Clement Willoughby, who begged permission to assist me, though he did not wait to have it granted, but carried me in his arms back to Ranelagh.
He enquired very earnestly if I was not hurt by the accident? I assured him I was perfectly safe, and free from injury; and desired he would leave me, and return to the rest of the party, for I was very uneasy to know whether they had been equally fortunate. He told me he was happy in being honoured with my commands, and would joyfully execute them; but insisted upon first conducting me to a warm room, as I had not wholly escaped being wet. He did not regard my objections; but made me follow him to an apartment, where we found an excellent fire, and some company waiting for carriages. I readily accepted a seat, and then begged he would go.
And go, indeed, he did; but he returned in a moment, telling me that the rain was more violent than ever, and that he had sent his servants to offer their assistance, and acquaint the Mirvans of my situation. I was very mad that he would not go himself; but as my acquaintance with him was so very slight, I did not think proper to urge him contrary to his inclination.
Well, he drew a chair close to mine; and, after again enquiring how I did, said, in a low voice, "You will pardon me, Miss Anville, if the eagerness I feel to vindicate myself, induces me to snatch this opportunity of making sincere acknowledgments for the impertinence with which I tormented you at the last ridotto. I can assure you, Madam, I have been a true and sorrowful penitent ever since; but-shall I tell you honestly what encouraged me to-"
He stopt, but I said nothing; for I thought instantly of the conversation Miss Mirvan had overheard, and supposed he was going to tell me himself what part Lord Orville had borne in it; and really I did not wish to hear it repeated. Indeed, the rest of his speech convinces me that such was his intention; with what view I know not, except to make a merit of his defending me.
"And yet," he continued, "my excuse may only expose my own credulity, and want of judgment and penetration. I will, therefore, merely beseech your pardon, and hope that some future time-"
Just then the door was opened by Sir Clement's servant, and I had the pleasure of seeing the Captain, Mrs. and Miss Mirvan, enter the room.
"O ho!" cried the former, "you have got a good warm berth here; but we shall beat up your quarters. Here, Lucy, Moll, come to the fire, and dry your trumpery. But, hey-day-why, where's old Madame French?"
"Good God," cried I, "is not Madame Duval then with you?"
"With me! No,-thank God."
I was very uneasy to know what might have become of her; and, if they would have suffered me, I should have gone in search of her myself; but all the servants were dispatched to find her; and the Captain said, we might be very sure her French beau would take care of her.
We waited some time without any tidings, and were soon the only party in the room. My uneasiness increased so much that Sir Clement now made a voluntary offer of seeking her. However, the same moment that he opened the door with this design, she presented herself at it, attended by Monsieur Du Bois.
"I was this instant, Madam," said he, "coming to see for you."
"You are mighty good, truly," cried she, "to come when all the mischief's over."
She then entered,-in such a condition!-entirely covered with mud, and in so great a rage, it was with difficulty she could speak. We all expressed our concern, and offered our assistance-except the Captain, who no sooner beheld her than he burst out into a loud laugh.
We endeavoured, by our enquiries and condolements, to prevent her attending to him; and she was for some time so wholly engrossed by her anger and her distress, that we succeeded without much trouble. We begged her to inform us how this accident happened. "How!" repeated she,-"why it was all along of your all going away,-and there poor Monsieur Du Bois-but it wasn't his fault,-for he's as bad off as me."
All eyes were then turned to Monsieur Du Bois, whose clothes were in the same miserable plight with those of Madame Duval; and who, wet, shivering, and disconsolate, had crept to the fire.
The Captain laughed yet more heartily; while Mrs. Mirvan, ashamed of his rudeness, repeated her inquiries to Madame Duval; who answered, "Why, as we were a-coming along, all in the rain, Monsieur Du Bois was so obliging, though I'm sure it was an unlucky obligingness for me, as to lift me up in his arms to carry me over a place that was ankle-deep in mud; but instead of my being ever the better for it, just as we were in the worst part,-I'm sure I wish we had been fifty miles off,-for somehow or other his foot slipt,-at least, I suppose so,-though I can't think how it happened, for I'm so such great weight;-but, however that was, down we both came, together, all in the mud; and the more we tried to get up, the more deeper we got covered with the nastiness-and my new Lyons negligee, too, quite spoilt!-however, it's well we got up at all, for we might have laid there till now, for aught you all cared; nobody never came near us."
This recital put the Captain into an ecstasy; he went from the lady to the gentleman, and from the gentleman to the lady, to enjoy alternately the sight of their distress. He really shouted with pleasure; and, shaking Monsieur Du Bois strenuously by the hand, wished him joy of having touched English ground; and then he held a candle to Madame Duval, that he might have a more complete view of her disaster, declaring repeatedly, that he had never been better pleased in his life.
The rage of poor Madame Duval was unspeakable; she dashed the candle out of his hand, stamping upon the floor, and, at last, spat in his face.
This action seemed immediately to calm them both, as the joy of the Captain was converted into resentment, and the wrath of Madame Duval into fear: for he put his hands upon her shoulders, and gave her so violent a shake, that she screamed out for help; assuring her, at the same time, that if she had been one ounce less old, or less ugly, she should have had it all returned in her own face.
Monsieur Du Bois, who had seated himself very quietly at the fire, approached them, and expostulated very warmly with the Captain; but he was neither understood nor regarded; and Madame Duval was not released till she quite sobbed with passion.
When they were parted, I intreated her to permit the woman who has charge of the ladies' cloaks to assist in drying her clothes; she consented, and we did what was possible to save her from catching cold. We were obliged to wait in this disagreeable situation near an hour before a hackney-coach could be found; and then we were disposed in the same manner as before our accident.
I am going this morning to see poor Madame Duval, and to inquire after her health, which I think must have suffered by her last night's misfortunes; though, indeed, she seems to be naturally strong and hearty.
Adieu, my dear Sir, till to-morrow.
EVELINA IN CONTINUATION Friday Morning, April 15.
SIR CLEMENT WILLOUGHBY called here yesterday at noon, and Captain Mirvan invited him to dinner. For my part I spent the day in a manner the most uncomfortable imaginable.
I found Madame Duval at breakfast in bed, though Monsieur Du Bois was in the chamber; which so much astonished me, that I was, involuntarily, retiring, without considering how odd an appearance my retreat would have, when Madame Duval called me back, and laughed very heartily at my ignorance of foreign customs.
The conversation, however, very soon took a more serious turn; for she began, with great bitterness, to inveigh against the barbarous brutality of that fellow the Captain, and the horrible ill-breeding of the English in general, declaring, she should make her escape with all expedition from so beastly a nation. But nothing can be more strangely absurd, than to hear politeness recommended in language so repugnant to it as that of Madame Duval.
She lamented, very mournfully, the fate of her Lyons silk; and protested she had rather have parted with all the rest of her wardrobe, because it was the first gown she had bought to wear upon leaving off her weeds. She has a very bad cold, and Monsieur Du Bois is so hoarse, he can hardly speak.
She insisted upon my staying with her all day; as she intended, she said, to introduce me to some of my own relations. I would very fain have excused myself, but she did not allow me any choice.
Till the arrival of these relations, one continued series of questions on her side, and of answers on mine, filled up all the time we passed together. Her curiosity was insatiable; she inquired into every action of my life, and every particular that had fallen under my observation in the lives of all I knew. Again, she was so cruel as to avow the most inveterate rancour against the sole benefactor her deserted child and grand-child have met with; and such was the indignation her ingratitude raised, that I would actually have quitted her presence and house, had she not, in a manner the most peremptory, absolutely forbid me. But what, good Heaven! can induce her to such shocking injustice? O, my friend and father! I have no command of myself when this subject is started.
She talked very much of taking me to Paris, and said I greatly wanted the polish of a French education. She lamented that I had been brought up in the country, which, she observed, had given me a very bumpkinish air. However, she bid me not despair, for she had known many girls much worse than me, who had become very fine ladies after a few years residence abroad; and she particularly instanced a Miss Polly Moore, daughter of a chandler's-shop woman, who, by an accident not worth relating, happened to be sent to Paris, where, from an awkward ill-bred girl, she so much improved, that she has since been taken for a woman of quality.
The relations to whom she was pleased to introduce me, consisted of a Mr. Branghton, who is her nephew, and three of his children, the eldest of which is a son, and the two younger are daughters.
Mr. Branghton appears about forty years of age. He does not seem to want a common understanding, though he is very contracted and prejudiced: he has spent his whole time in the city, and I believe feels a great contempt for all who reside elsewhere.
His son seems weaker in his understanding, and more gay in his temper; but his gaiety is that of a foolish, overgrown school-boy, whose mirth consists in noise and disturbance. He disdains his father for his close attention to business, and love of money; though he seems himself to have no talents, spirit, or generosity, to make him superior to either. His chief delight appears to be tormenting and ridiculing his sisters; who, in return, most heartily despise him.
Miss Branghton, the eldest daughter, is by no means ugly; but looks proud, ill-tempered, and conceited. She hates the city, though without knowing why; for it is easy to discover she has lived no where else.
Miss Polly Branghton is rather pretty, very foolish, very ignorant, very giddy, and, I believe, very good-natured.
The first half-hour was allotted to making themselves comfortable; for they complained of having had a very dirty walk, as they came on foot from Snow Hill, where Mr. Branghton keeps a silversmith's shop; and the young ladies had not only their coats to brush, and shoes to dry, but to adjust their head-dress, which their bonnets had totally discomposed.
The manner in which Madame Duval was pleased to introduce me to this family extremely shocked me. "Here, my dears," said she, "here's a relation you little thought of; but you must know, my poor daughter Caroline had this child after she run away from me,-though I never knew nothing of it, not I, for a long while after; for they took care to keep it a secret from me, though the poor child has never a friend in the world besides."
"Miss seems very tender-hearted, aunt," said Miss Polly; "and to be sure she's not to blame for her mama's undutifulness, for she couldn't help it."
"Lord, no," answered she, "and I never took no notice of it to her: for, indeed, as to that, my own poor daughter wasn't so much to blame as you may think; for she'd never have gone astray, if it had not been for that meddling old parson I told you of."
"If aunt pleases," said young Mr. Branghton, "we'll talk o' somewhat else, for Miss looks very uneasy-like."
The next subject that was chosen was the age of the three young Branghtons and myself. The son is twenty; the daughters upon hearing that I was seventeen, said that was just the age of Miss Polly; but their brother, after a long dispute, proved that she was two years older, to the great anger of both sisters, who agreed that he was very ill-natured and spiteful.
When this point was settled, the question was put, Which was tallest?-We were desired to measure, as the Branghtons were all of different opinions. None of them, however, disputed my being the tallest in the company; but, in regard to one another, they were extremely quarrelsome: the brother insisted upon their measuring fair, and not with heads and heels; but they would by no means consent to lose those privileges of our sex; and therefore the young man was cast, as shortest; though he appealed to all present upon the injustice of the decree.
This ceremony over, the young ladies begun, very freely, to examine my dress, and to interrogate me concerning it. "This apron's your own work, I suppose, Miss? but these sprigs a'n't in fashion now. Pray, if it is not impertinent, what might you give a yard for this lutestring?-Do you make your own caps, Miss?" and many other questions equally interesting and well-bred.
Then they asked me how I liked London? and whether I should not think the country a very dull place, when I returned thither? "Miss must try if she can't get a good husband," said Mr. Branghton, "and then she may stay and live here."
The next topic was public places, or rather the theatres, for they knew of no other; and the merits and defects of all the actors and actresses were discussed: the young man here took the lead, and seemed to be very conversant on the subject. But during this time, what was my concern, and, suffer me to add, my indignation, when I found, by some words I occasionally heard, that Madame Duval was entertaining Mr. Branghton with all the most secret and cruel particulars of my situation! The eldest daughter was soon drawn to them by the recital; the youngest and the son still kept their places; intending, I believe, to divert me, though the conversation was all their own.
In a few minutes, Miss Branghton coming suddenly up to her sister, exclaimed, "Lord, Polly, only think! Miss never saw her papa!"
"Lord, how odd!" cried the other; "why, then, Miss, I suppose you wouldn't know him?"
This was quite too much for me; I rose hastily, and ran out of the room: but I soon regretted I had so little command of myself; for the two sisters both followed, and insisted upon comforting me, notwithstanding my earnest intreaties to be left alone.
As soon as I returned to the company, Madame Duval said, "Why, my dear, what was the matter with you? why did you run away so?"
This question almost made me run again, for I knew not how to answer it. But, is it not very extraordinary, that she can put me in situations so shocking, and then wonder to find me sensible of any concern?
Mr. Branghton junior now inquired of me, whether I had seen the Tower, or St. Paul's church? and upon my answering in the negative, they proposed making a party to shew them to me. Among other questions, they also asked, if I had ever seen such a thing as an opera? I told them I had. "Well," said Mr. Branghton, "I never saw one in my life, so long as I've lived in London; and I never desire to see one, if I live here as much longer."
"Lord, papa," cried Miss Polly, "why not? you might as well for once, for the curiosity of the thing: besides, Miss Pomfret saw one, and she says it was very pretty."
"Miss will think us very vulgar," said Miss Branghton, "to live in
London, and never have been to an opera; but it's no fault of mine,
I assure you, Miss, only papa don't like to go."
The result was, that a party was proposed, and agreed to, for some early opportunity. I did not dare contradict them; but I said that my time, while I remained in town, was at the disposal of Mrs. Mirvan. However, I am sure I will not attend them, if I can possibly avoid doing so.
When we parted, Madame Duval desired to see me the next day; and the Branghtons told me, that the first time I went towards Snow Hill, they should be very glad if I would call upon them.
I wish we may not meet again till that time arrives.
I am sure I shall not be very ambitious of being known to any more of my relations, if they have any resemblance to those whose acquaintance I have been introduced to already.
EVELINA IN CONTINUATION
I HAD just finished my letter to you this morning, when a violent rapping at the door made me run down stairs; and who should I see in the drawing room, but-Lord Orville!
He was quite alone, for the family had not assembled to breakfast. He inquired first of mine, then of the health of Mrs. and Miss Mirvan, with a degree of concern that rather surprised me, till he said he had just been informed of the accident we had met with at Ranelagh. He expressed his sorrow upon the occasion with utmost politeness, and lamented that he had not been so fortunate as to hear of it in time to offer his services. "But I think," he added, "Sir Clement Willoughby had the honour of assisting you?"
"He was with Captain Mirvan, my Lord."
"I had heard of his being of your party."
I hope that flighty man has not been telling Lord Orville he only assisted me! however, he did not pursue the subject: but said, "This accident though extremely unfortunate, will not, I hope, be the means of frightening you from gracing Ranelagh with your presence in future?"
"Our time, my Lord, for London, is almost expired already."
"Indeed! do you leave town so very soon?"
"O yes, my Lord, our stay has already exceeded our intentions."
"Are you, then, so particularly partial to the country?"
"We merely came to town, my Lord, to meet Captain Mirvan."
"And does Miss Anville feel no concern at the idea of the many mourners her absence will occasion?"
"O, my Lord,-I'm sure you don't think-" I stopt there; for, indeed, I hardly knew what I was going to say. My foolish embarrassment, I suppose, was the cause of what followed; for he came to me, and took my hand saying, "I do think, that whoever has once seen Miss Anville, must receive an impression never to be forgotten."
This compliment,-from Lord Orville,-so surprised me, that I could not speak; but felt myself change colour, and stood for some moments silent, and looking down: however, the instant I recollected my situation, I withdrew my hand, and told him that I would see if Mrs. Mirvan was not dressed. He did not oppose me-so away I went.
I met them all on the stairs, and returned with them to breakfast.
I have since been extremely angry with myself for neglecting so excellent an opportunity of apologizing for my behaviour at the ridotto: but, to own the truth, that affair never once occurred to me during the short tete-e-tete which we had together. But, if ever we should happen to be so situated again, I will certainly mention it; for I am inexpressibly concerned at the thought of his harbouring an opinion that I am bold or impertinent, and I could almost kill myself for having given him the shadow of a reason for so shocking an idea.
But was not it very odd that he should make me such a compliment? I expected it not from him;-but gallantry, I believe, is common to all men, whatever other qualities they may have in particular.
Our breakfast was the most agreeable meal, if it may be called a meal, that we have had since we came to town. Indeed, but for Madame Duval, I should like London extremely.
The conversation of Lord Orville is really delightful. His manners are so elegant, so gentle, so unassuming, that they at once engage esteem, and diffuse complacence. Far from being indolently satisfied with his own accomplishments, as I have already observed many men here are, though without any pretensions to his merit, he is most assiduously attentive to please and to serve all who are in his company, and, though his success is invariable, he never manifests the smallest degree of consciousness.
I could wish that you, my dearest Sir, knew Lord Orville, because I am sure you would love him; and I have felt that wish for no other person I have seen since I came to London. I sometimes imagine, that when his youth is flown, his vivacity abated, and his life is devoted to retirement, he will, perhaps, resemble him whom I most love and honour. His present sweetness, politeness, and diffidence, seem to promise in future the same benevolence, dignity, and goodness. But I must not expatiate upon this subject.
When Lord Orville was gone,-and he made but a very short visit,-I was preparing, most reluctantly, to wait upon Madame Duval; but Mrs. Mirvan proposed to the Captain, that she should be invited to dinner in Queen Ann Street; and he readily consented, for he said he wished to ask after her Lyons negligee.
The invitation is accepted, and we expect her every moment. But to me, it is very strange, that a woman who is the uncontrolled mistress of her time, fortune, and actions, should choose to expose herself voluntarily to the rudeness of a man who is openly determined to make her his sport. But she has very few acquaintance; and, I fancy, scarce knows how to employ herself.
How great is my obligation to Mrs. Mirvan, for bestowing her time in a manner so disagreeable to herself, merely to promote my happiness! Every dispute in which her undeserving husband engages, is productive of pain and uneasiness to herself; of this I am so sensible, that I even besought her not to send to Madame Duval; but she declared she could not bear to have me pass all my time, while in town, with her only. Indeed she could not be more kind to me, were she your daughter.
EVELINA IN CONTINUATION Saturday Morning, April 16.
MADAM DUVAL was accompanied by Monsieur Du Bois. I am surprised that she should choose to introduce him where he is so unwelcome: and, indeed, it is strange that they should be so constantly together, though I believe I should have taken notice of it, but that Captain Mirvan is perpetually rallying me upon my grandmama's beau.
They were both received by Mrs. Mirvan with her usual good-breeding; but the Captain, most provokingly, attacked her immediately, saying, "Now, Madame, you that have lived abroad, please to tell me this here: Which did you like best, the warm room at Ranelagh, or the cold bath you went into afterwards? though I assure you, you look so well, that I should advise you to take another dip."
"Ma foi, Sir," cried she, "nobody asked for your advice, so you may as well keep it to yourself: besides, it's no such great joke to be splashed, and to catch cold, and spoil all one's things, whatever you may think of it."
"Splashed, quoth-a!-why I thought you were soused all over.-Come, come, don't mince the matter, never spoil a good story; you know you hadn't a dry thread about you-'Fore George, I shall never think on't without hollooing! such a poor forlorn draggle-tailed-gentlewoman! and poor Monseer French, here, like a drowned rat, by your side!-"
"Well, the worse pickle we was in, so much the worser in you not to help us; for you knowed where we were fast enough, because, while I laid in the mud, I'm pretty sure I heard you snigger: so it's like enough you jostled us down yourself; for Monsieur Du Bois says, that he is sure he had a great jolt given him, or he shouldn't have fell."
The Captain laughed so immoderately, that he really gave me also a suspicion that he was not entirely innocent of the charge: however, he disclaimed it very peremptorily.
"Why then," continued she, "if you didn't do that, why didn't you come to help us?"
"Who, I?-what, do you suppose I had forgot I was an Englishman, a filthy, beastly Englishman?"
"Very well, Sir, very well; but I was a fool to expect any better, for it's all of a piece with the rest; you know, you wanted to fling me out of the coach-window, the very first time ever I see you: but I'll never go to Ranelagh with you no more, that I'm resolved; for I dare say, if the horses had runn'd over me, as I laid in that nastiness, you'd never have stirred a step to save me."
"Lord, no, to be sure, Ma'am, not for the world! I know your opinion of our nation too well, to affront you by supposing a Frenchman would want my assistance to protect you. Did you think that Monseer here, and I had changed characters, and that he should pop you into the mud, and I help you out of it? Ha, ha, ha!"
"O very well, Sir, laugh on, it's like your manners; however, if poor Monsieur Du Bois hadn't met with that unlucky accident himself I shouldn't have wanted nobody's help."
"O, I promise you, Madame, you'd never have had mine; I knew my distance better: and as to your being a little ducked, or so, why, to be sure, Monseer and you settled that between yourselves; so it was no business of mine."
"What, then, I suppose you want to make me believe as Monsieur Du
Bois served me that trick o'purpose?"
"O' purpose! ay, certainly; whoever doubted that? Do you think a Frenchman ever made a blunder? If he had been some clumsy-footed English fellow, indeed, it might have been accidental: but what the devil signifies all your hopping and capering with your dancing-masters, if you can't balance yourselves upright?"
In the midst of this dialogue, Sir Clement Willoughby made his appearance. He affects to enter the house with the freedom of an old acquaintance; and this very easiness, which, to me, is astonishing, is what most particularly recommends him to the Captain. Indeed, he seems very successfully to study all the humours of that gentleman.
After having heartily welcomed him, "You are just come in time, my boy," said he, "to settle a little matter of a dispute between this here gentlewoman and I; do you know she has been trying to persuade me, that she did not above half like the ducking Monseer gave her t'other night."
"I should have hoped," said Sir Clement, with the utmost gravity, "that the friendship subsisting between that lady and gentleman would have guarded them against any actions professed disagreeable to each other: but, probably, they might not have discussed the matter previously; in which case the gentleman, I must own, seems to have been guilty of inattention, since, in my humble opinion, it was his business first to have inquired whether the lady preferred soft or hard ground, before he dropt her."
"O very fine, gentlemen, very fine," cried Madame Duval, "you may try to set us together by the ears as much as you will; but I'm not such an ignorant person as to be made a fool of so easily; so you needn't talk no more about it, for I sees into your designs."
Monsieur Du Bois, who was just able to discover the subject upon which the conversation turned, made his defence, in French, with great solemnity: he hoped, he said, that the company would at least acknowledge he did not come from a nation of brutes; and consequently, that to wilfully offend any lady, was, to him, utterly impossible; but that, on the contrary, in endeavouring, as was his duty, to save and guard her, he had himself suffered, in a manner which he would forbear to relate, but which, he greatly apprehended, he should feel the ill effects of for many months: and then, with a countenance exceedingly lengthened, he added, that he hoped it would not be attributed to him as national prejudice, when he owned that he must, to the best of his memory, aver, that his unfortunate fall was owing to a sudden but violent push, which, he was shocked to say, some malevolent person, with a design to his injury, must certainly have given him; but whether with a view to mortify him, by making him let the lady fall, or whether merely to spoil his clothes, he could not pretend to determine.
This disputation was, at last, concluded by Mrs. Mirvan's proposing that we should all go to Cox's Museum. Nobody objected, and carriages were immediately ordered.
In our way down stairs, Madame Duval, in a very passionate manner, said, "Ma foi, if I wouldn't give fifty guineas only to know who gave us that shove!"
This Museum is very astonishing, and very superb; yet if afforded me but little pleasure, for it is a mere show, though a wonderful one.
Sir Clement Willoughby, in our walk round the room, asked me what my opinion was of this brilliant spectacle!
"It is a very fine, and very ingenious," answered I; "and yet-I don't know how it is-but I seem to miss something."
"Excellently answered!" cried he; "you have exactly defined my own feelings, though in a manner I should never have arrived at. But I was certain your taste was too well formed, to be pleased at the expense of your understanding."
"Pardi," cried Madame Duval, "I hope you two is difficult enough! I'm sure if you don't like this you like nothing; for it's the grandest, prettiest, finest sight that ever I see in England."
"What," cried the Captain with a sneer, "I suppose this may be in your French taste? it's like enough, for it's all kickshaw work. But pr'ythee, friend," turning to the person who explained the devices, "will you tell me the use of all this? for I'm not enough of a conjuror to find it out."
"Use, indeed!" repeated Madame Duval, disdainfully; "Lord if every thing's to be useful!-"
"Why, Sir, as to that, Sir," said our conductor, "the ingenuity of the mechanism-the beauty of the workmanship-the-undoubtedly, Sir, any person of taste may easily discern the utility of such extraordinary performances."
"Why then, Sir," answered the Captain, "your person of taste must be either a coxcomb, or a Frenchman; though, for the matter of that, 'tis the same thing."
Just then our attention was attracted by a pine-apple; which, suddenly opening, discovered a nest of birds, which immediately began to sing. "Well," cried Madame Duval, "this is prettier than all the rest! I declare, in all my travels, I never see nothing eleganter."
"Hark ye, friend," said the Captain, "hast never another pine-apple?"
"Because, if thou hast, pr'ythee give it us without the birds; for, d'ye see, I'm no Frenchman, and should relish something more substantial."
This entertainment concluded with a concert of mechanical music: I cannot explain how it was produced, but the effect was pleasing. Madame Duval was in ecstasies; and the Captain flung himself into so many ridiculous distortions, by way of mimicking her, that he engaged the attention of all the company; and, in the midst of the performance of the Coronation Anthem, while Madame Duval was affecting to beat time, and uttering many expressions of delight, he called suddenly for salts, which a lady, apprehending some distress, politely handed to him, and which, instantly applying to the nostrils of poor Madame Duval, she involuntarily snuffed up such a quantity, that the pain and surprise made her scream aloud. When she recovered, she reproached him with her usual vehemence; but he protested he had taken that measure out of pure friendship, as he concluded, from her raptures, that she was going into hysterics. This excuse by no means appeased her, and they had a violent quarrel; but the only effect her anger had on the Captain, was to increase his diversion. Indeed, he laughs and talks so terribly loud in public, that he frequently makes us ashamed of belonging to him.
Madame Duval, notwithstanding her wrath, made no scruple of returning to dine in Queen Ann Street. Mrs. Mirvan had secured places for the play at Drury-Lane Theatre, and, though ever uneasy in her company, she very politely invited Madame Duval to be of our party; however, she had a bad cold and chose to nurse it. I was sorry for her indisposition; but I knew not how to be sorry she did not accompany us, for she is-I must not say what, but very unlike other people.
EVELINA IN CONTINUATION
OUR places were in the front row of a side-box. Sir Clement Willoughby, who knew our intention, was at the door of the theatre, and handed us from the carriage.
We had not been seated five minutes before Lord Orville, whom we saw in the stage-box, came to us; and he honoured us with his company all the evening; Miss Mirvan and I both rejoiced that Madam Duval was absent, as we hoped for the enjoyment of some conversation, uninterrupted by her quarrels with the Captain: but I soon found that her presence would have made very little alteration; for as far was I from daring to speak, that I knew not where even to look.
The play was Love for Love; and though it is fraught with wit and entertainment I hope I shall never see it represented again; for it is so extremely indelicate-to use the softest word I can-that Miss Mirvan and I were perpetually out of countenance, and could neither make any observations ourselves, nor venture to listen to those of others. This was the most provoking, as Lord Orville was in excellent spirits, and exceedingly entertaining.
When the play was over, I flattered myself I should be able to look about me with less restraint, as we intended to stay the farce; but the curtain had hardly dropped, when the box-door opened, and in came Mr. Lovel, the man by whose foppery and impertinence I was so much teased at the ball where I first saw Lord Orville.
I turned away my head, and began talking to Miss Mirvan; for I was desirous to avoid speaking to him-but in vain; for, as soon as he had made his compliments to Lord Orville and Sir Clement Willoughby, who returned them very coldly, he bent his head forward and said to me, "I hope, Ma'am, you have enjoyed your health since I had the honour-I beg ten thousand pardons, but, I protest I was going to say the honour of dancing with you-however, I mean the honour of seeing you dance?"
He spoke with a self-complacency that convinced me that he had studied this address, by way of making reprisals for my conduct at the ball; I therefore bowed slightly, but made no answer.
After a short silence he again called my attention, by saying, in an easy, negligent way, "I think, Ma'am, you was never in town before?"
"So I did presume. Doubtless, Ma'am, every thing must be infinitely novel to you. Our customs, our manners, and les etiquettes de nous autres, can have little very resemblance to those you have been used to. I imagine, Ma'am, your retirement is at no very small distance from the capital?"
I was so much disconcerted at this sneering speech, that I said not a word; though I have since thought my vexation both stimulated and delighted him.
"The air we breathe here, however, Ma'am," continued he, very conceitedly, "though foreign to that you have been accustomed to, has not I hope been at variance with your health?"
"Mr. Lovel," said Lord Orville, "could not your eye have spared that question?"
"O, my Lord," answered he, "if health were the only cause of a lady's bloom, my eye, I grant, had been infallible from the first glance; but-"
"Come, come," cried Mrs. Mirvan, "I must beg no insinuations of that sort: Miss Anville's colour, as you have successfully tried, may, you see, be heightened; but, I assure you, it would be past your skill to lessen it."
"'Pon honour, Madam," returned he, "you wrong me; I presumed not to infer that rouge was the only succedaneum for health; but, really, I have known so many different causes for a lady's colour, such as flushing-anger-mauvaise honte-and so forth, that I never dare decide to which it may be owing."
"As to such causes as them there," cried the Captain, "they must belong to those that they keep company with."
"Very true, Captain," said Sir Clement; "the natural complexion has nothing to do with the occasional sallies of the passions, or any accidental causes."
"No, truly," returned the Captain: "for now here's me, why I look like any other man; just now; and yet, if you were to put me in a passion, 'fore George, you'd soon see me have as fine a high colour as any painted Jezebel in all this place, be she never so bedaubed."
"But," said Lord Orville, "the difference of natural and of artificial colour seems to me very easily discerned; that of nature is mottled and varying; that of art set, and too smooth; it wants that animation, that glow, that indescribable something, which, even now that I see it, wholly surpasses all my powers of expression."
"Your Lordship," said Sir Clement, "is universally acknowledged to be a connoisseur in beauty."
"And you, Sir Clement," returned he, "an enthusiast."
"I am proud to own it," cried Sir Clement; "in such a cause, and before such objects, enthusiasm is simply the consequence of not being blind."
"Pr'ythee, a truce with all this palavering," cried the Captain: "the women are vain enough already; no need for to puff 'em up more."
"We must all submit to the commanding officer," said Sir Clement: "therefore, let us call another subject. Pray, ladies, how have you been entertained with the play?"
"Want of entertainment," said Mrs. Mirvan, "is its least fault; but I own there are objections to it, which I should be glad to see removed."
"I could have ventured to answer for the ladies," said Lord Orville, "since I am sure this is not a play that can be honoured with their approbation."
"What, I suppose it is not sentimental enough!" cried the Captain, "or else it is too good for them; for I'll maintain it's one of the best comedies in our language, and has more wit in one scene than there is in all the new plays put together."
"For my part," said Mr. Lovel, "I confess I seldom listen to the players: one has so much to do, in looking about and finding out one's acquaintance, that, really, one has no time to mind the stage. Pray," most affectedly fixing his eyes upon a diamond ring on his little finger, "pray-what was the play to-night?"
"Why, what the D-l," cried the Captain, "do you come to the play without knowing what it is?"
"O yes, Sir, yes, very frequently: I have no time to read play-bills; one merely comes to meet one's friends, and shew that one's alive."
"Ha, ha, ha!-and so," cried the Captain, "it costs you five shillings a-night just to shew you're alive! Well, faith, my friends should all think me dead and underground before I'd be at that expense for 'em. Howsomever-this here you may take from me-they'll find you out fast enough if you have anything to give 'em.-And so you've been here all this time, and don't know what the play was?"
"Why, really Sir, a play requires so much attention,-it is scarce possible to keep awake if one listens;-for, indeed, by the time it is evening, one has been so fatigued with dining,-or wine,-or the house,-or studying,-that it is-it is perfectly an impossibility. But, now I think of it, I believe I have a bill in my pocket; O, ay, here it is-Love for Love, ay,-true, ha, ha!-how could I be so stupid!"
"O, easily enough, as to that, I warrant you," said the Captain; "but, by my soul, this is one of the best jokes I ever heard!-Come to a play, and not know what it is!-Why, I suppose you wouldn't have found it out, if they had fob'd you off with a scraping of fiddlers, or an opera?-Ha, ha, ha!-Why, now, I should have thought you might have taken some notice of one Mr. Tattle, that is in this play!"
This sarcasm, which caused a general smile, made him colour: but, turning to the Captain with a look of conceit, which implied that he had a retort ready, he said, "Pray, Sir, give me leave to ask-What do you think of one Mr. Ben, who is also in this play?"
The Captain, regarding him with the utmost contempt, answered in a loud voice, "Think of him!-why, I think he is a man!" And then, staring full in his face, he struck his cane on the ground with a violence that made him start. He did not however, choose to take any notice of this: but, having bit his nails some time in manifest confusion, he turned very quick to me, and in a sneering tone of voice, said, "For my part, I was most struck with the country young lady, Miss Prue; pray what do you think of her, Ma'am?"
"Indeed, Sir," cried I, very much provoked, "I think-that is, I do not think any thing about her."
"Well, really, Ma'am, you prodigiously surprise me!-mais, apparemment ce n'est qu'une facon de parler? -though I should beg your pardon, for probably you do not understand French?"
I made no answer, for I thought his rudeness intolerable; but Sir Clement, with great warmth, said, "I am surprised that you can suppose such an object as Miss Prue would engage the attention of Miss Anville even for a moment."
"O, Sir," returned this fop, "'tis the first character in the piece!-so well drawn!-so much the thing!-such true country breeding-such rural ignorance! ha, ha, ha!-'tis most admirably hit off, 'pon honour!"
I could almost have cried, that such impertinence should be leveled at me; and yet, chagrined as I was, I could never behold Lord Orville and this man at the same time, and feel any regret for the cause I had given of displeasure.
"The only female in the play," said Lord Orville, "worthy of being mentioned to these ladies is Angelica."
"Angelica," cried Sir Clement, "is a noble girl; she tries her lover severely, but she rewards him generously."
"Yet, in a trial so long," said Mrs. Mirvan, "there seems rather too much consciousness of her power."
"Since my opinion has the sanction of Mrs. Mirvan," added Lord Orville, "I will venture to say, that Angelica bestows her hand rather with the air of a benefactress, than with the tenderness of a mistress. Generosity without delicacy, like wit without judgment, generally gives as much pain as pleasure. The uncertainty in which she keeps Valentine, and her manner of trifling with his temper, give no very favourable idea of her own."
"Well, my Lord," said Mr. Lovel, "it must, however, be owned, that uncertainty is not the ton among our ladies at present; nay, indeed, I think they say,-though faith," taking a pinch of snuff, "I hope it is not true-but they say, that we now are most shy and backward."
The curtain then drew up, and our conversation ceased. Mr. Lovel, finding we chose to attend to the players, left the box. How strange it is, Sir, that this man, not contented with the large share of foppery and nonsense which he has from nature, should think proper to affect yet more! for what he said of Tattle and of Miss Prue, convinced me that he really had listened to the play, though he was so ridiculous and foolish as to pretend ignorance.
But how malicious and impertinent is this creature to talk to me in such a manner! I am sure I hope I shall never see him again. I should have despised him heartily as a fop, had he never spoken to me at all; but now, that he thinks proper to resent his supposed ill-usage, I am really quite afraid of him.
The entertainment was, The Duece is in Him; which Lord Orville observed to be the most finished and elegant petit piece that was ever written in English.
In our way home, Mrs. Mirvan put me into some consternation by saying, it was evident, from the resentment which this Mr. Lovel harbours of my conduct, that he would think it a provocation sufficiently important for a duel, if his courage equaled his wrath.
I am terrified at the very idea. Good Heaven! that a man so weak and frivolous should be so revengeful! However, if bravery would have excited him to affront Lord Orville, how much reason have I to rejoice that cowardice makes him contended with venting his spleen upon me! But we shall leave town soon, and, I hope, see him no more.
It was some consolation to me to hear from Miss Mirvan, that, while he was speaking to me so cavalierly, Lord Orville regarded him with great indignation.
But, really, I think there ought to be a book of the laws and customs -e;-la-mode, presented to all young people upon their first introduction into public company.
To-night we go to the opera, where I expect very great pleasure. We shall have the same party as at the play, for Lord Orville said he should be there, and would look for us.