Evelina; or, A Young Lady's Entrance into the World
By Frances Burney

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Dublin : Printed for Messrs. Price, Corcoran, R. Cross, Fitzsimons, W. Whitestone [and 12 others in Dublin], 1779The first printing of this text was in 1778, by T. Lowndes, in London. The first printings were anonymous, and Frances Burney's name was not inscribed on the title page. All the earliest London printings were in three volumes. This etext is based on the first Dublin edition. Transcribed and made available through ECCO-TCP, the this Dublin edition was printed in two volumes. Each volume has its own title page.Anonymous. By Frances d’Arblay. "Fitzsimons" in the imprint to the second volume is spelt "Fiszsimons". For more information about this item, see the ESTC entry for the first Dublin edition in 2 volumes at http://estc.bl.uk/T200766. For the first London edition, published in three volumes in 1778, see http://estc.bl.uk/T145413. To read more about the early publication history of Evelina, see "A Book 'Seen by Every Butcher & Baker, Cobler & Tinker': Early English Evelina Rediscovered", by Svetlana Kochina.Images selected for this digital edition via Google Books.Oxford, UK: ECCO TCP, n.d.Text for this digital edition drawn from http://purl.ox.ac.uk/ota/5473 (Vol. 1) and http://purl.ox.ac.uk/ota/5474 (Vol. 2)

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Burney, Frances. Evelina; Or, A Young Lady's Entrance into the World, Printed for Messrs. Price, Corcoran, R. Cross, Fitzsimons, W. Whitestone [and 12 others in Dublin], 1779 . Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. http://anthology.lib.virginia.edu/work/Burney/burney-evelina. Accessed: 2024-04-22T09:08:23.013Z

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[iii] TO — — OH author of my being!—far more dear To me than light, than nourishment, or rest, Hygieia's blessings, Rapture's burning tear, Or the life blood that mantles in my breast! If in my heart the love of Virtue glows, 'Twas planted there by an unerring rule; From the example the pure flame arose, Thy life, my precept—thy good works, my school. Could my weak pow'rs thy num'rous virtues trace, By filial love each fear should be repress'd; The blush of Incapacity I'd chase, And stand, recorder of thy worth, confess'd: But since my niggard stars that gift refuse, Concealment is the only boon I claim; Obscure be still the unsuccessful Muse, Who cannot raise, but would not sink, your fame. Oh! of my life at once the source and joy! If e'er thy eyes these feeble lines survey, Let not their folly their intent destroy; Accept the tribute—but forget the lay. v TO THE AUTHORS

THE liberty which I take in addressing to You the trifling production of a few idle hours, will, doubtless, move your wonder, and, probably, your contempt. I will not, however, with the futility of apologies, intrude upon your time, but briefly acknowledge the motives of my teme rity: lest, by a premature exercise of the patience from which I hope to profit, I should abate of its benevolence, and vi be myself accessary to my own condem nation.

Without name, without recommen dation, and unknown alike to success and disgrace, to whom can I so properly apply for patronage, as to those who publicly profess themselves Inspectors of all literary performances?

The extensive plan of your critical observations,—which, not confined to works of utility or ingenuity, is equally open to those of frivolous amusement, and yet worse than frivolous dullness,—encourages me to seek for your protec tion, since,—perhaps for my sins!—it entitles me to your annotations. To resent, therefore, this offering, howe ver insignificant, would ill become the universality of your undertaking, tho' not to despise it may, alas! be out of your power.

The language of adulation, and the incense of flattery, though the natural inheritance, and constant resource, from time immemorial, of the Dedicator, to me offer nothing but the wistful regret that I dare not invoke their aid. Sinis ter views would be imputed to all I vii could say; since, thus situated, to ex tol your judgment, would seem the ef fect of art, and to celebrate your im partiality, be attributed to suspecting it.

As Magistrates of the Press, and Cen sors for the Public,—to which you are bound by the sacred ties of integrity to exert the most spirited impartiality, and to which your suffrages should carry the marks of pure, dauntless, irrefragable truth,—to appeal for your MERCY, were to solicit your dishonour; and therefore,—though it is sweeter than frankincense,—more grateful to the senses than all the odorous perfumes of Arabia,—and though It droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath,— I court it not! to your justice alone I am entitled, and by that I must abide. Your engagements are not to the suppli cating author, but to the candid public, which will not fail to crave The penalty and forfeit of your bond.

No hackneyed writer, inured to a buse, and callous to criticism, here viii braves your severity;—neither does a half-starved garretteer, Compell'd by hunger,—and request of friends,— implore your lenity; your examination will be alike unbiassed by partiality and prejudice;—no refractory murmur ing will follow your censure, no pri vate interest be gratified by your praise.

Let not the anxious solicitude with which I recommend myself to your no tice, expose me to your derision. Re member, Gentlemen, you were all young writers once, and the most ex perienced veteran of your corps, may, by recollecting his first publication, re novate his first terrors, and learn to al low for mine. For, though Courage is one of the noblest virtues of this nether sphere, and though scarcely more re quisite in the field of battle, to guard the fighting hero from disgrace, than in the private commerce of the world, to ward off that littleness of soul which leads by steps imperceptible, to all the base train of the inferior passions, and ix by which the too timid mind is be trayed into a servility derogatory to the dignity of human nature;—yet is it a virtue of no necessity in a situation such as mine; a situation which removes, even from cowardice itself, the sting of ignominy;—for surely that Courage may easily be dispensed with, which would rather raise disgust than admi ration? Indeed, it is the peculiar pri vilege of an author, to rob terror of contempt, and pusillanimity of re proach.

Here let me rest, —and snatch myself, while yet I am able, from the fascina tion of EGOTISM,—a monster who has more votaries than ever did homage to the most popular deity of antiquity; and whose singular quality is, that while he excites a blind and involuntary adoration in almost every individual, his influence is universally disallowed, his power universally contemned, and his worship, even by his followers, never mentioned but with abhor rence.

In addressing you jointly, I mean but to mark the generous sentiments by x which liberal criticism, to the utter annihilation of envy, jealousy, and all selfish views, ought to be distinguish ed.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient
humble servant,
*** ****.

IN the republic of letters, there is no member of such inferior rank, or who is so much dis dained by his brethren of the quill, as the humble Novelist: nor is his fate less hard in the world at large, since, among the whole class of writers, perhaps not one can be named, of whom the votaries are more numerous, but less respect able.

Yet, while in the annals of those few of our predecessors, to whom this species of writing is indebted for being saved from contempt, and res cued from depravity, we can trace such names as Rousseau, Johnson, However superior the capacities in which these great writers deserve to be considered, they must par don me that, for the dignity of my subject, I here rank the authors of Rasselas and Eloïse as Novelists. Marivaux, Fielding, Richardson, and Smollet, no man need blush at xii starting from the same post, though many, nay, most men, may sigh at finding themselves distanced.

The following letters are presented to the public—for such, by novel writers, novel read ers will be called,—with a very singular mix ture of timidity and confidence, resulting from the peculiar situation of the editor, who, though trembling for their success from a consciousness of their imperfections, yet fears not being in volved in their disgrace, while happily wrapped up in a mantle of impenetrable obscurity.

To draw characters from nature, though not from life, and to mark the manners of the times, is the attempted plan of the following letters. For this purpose, a young female, educated in the most secluded retirement, makes, at the age of seventeen, her first appearance upon the great and busy stage of life; with a virtuous mind, a cultivated understanding, and a feeling heart, her ignorance of the forms, and inexperience in the manners, of the world, occasion all the little incidents which these volumes record, and which form the natural progression of the life of a young woman of obscure birth, but conspicuous beauty, for the first six months after her Entrance into the World.

Perhaps were it possible to effect the total extirpation of novels, our young ladies in gene ral, xiii and boarding-school damsels in particular, might profit from their annihilation: but since the distemper they have spread seems incurable, since their contagion bids defiance to the medicine of advice or reprehension, and since they are found to baffle all the mental art of physic, save what is prescribed by the slow regimen of Time, and bitter diet of Experience, surely all attempts to contribute to the number of those which may be read, if not with advantage, at least without injury, ought rather to be encouraged than con temned.

Let me, therefore, prepare for dsiappointment those who, in the perusal of these sheets, enter tain the gentle expectation of being transported to the fantastic regions of Romance, where Fiction is coloured by all the gay tints of luxurious Ima gination, where Reason is an outcast, and where the sublimity of the Marvellous rejects all aid from sober Probability. The heroine of these memoirs, young, artless, and inexperienced, is No faultless Monster, that the World ne'er saw, but the offspring of Nature, and of Nature in her simplest attire.

In all the Arts, the value of copies can only be proportioned to the scarceness of originals: among sculptors and painters, a fine statue, or a beautiful picture, of some great master, may de servedly employ the imitative talents of younger and inferior artists, that their appropriation to xiv one spot, may not wholly prevent the more ge neral expansion of their excellence; but, among authors, the reverse is the case, since the noblest productions of literature, are almost equally at tainable with the meanest. In books, therefore, imitation cannot be shunned too sedulously; for the very perfection of a model which is frequent ly seen, serves but more forcibly to mark the in feriority of a copy.

To avoid what is common, without adopting what is unnatural, must limit the ambition of the vulgar herd of authors: however zealous, therefore, my veneration of the great writers I have mentioned, however 1 may feel myself en lightened by the knowledge of Johnson, charmed with the eloquence of Rousseau, softened by the pathetic powers of Richardson, and exhilarated by the wit of Fielding, and humour of Smollet; I yet presume not to attempt pursuing the same ground which they have tracked; whence, though they may have cleared the weeds, they have also culled the flowers, and though they have rendered the path plain, they have left it barren.

The candour of my readers, I have not the impertinence to doubt, and to their indulgence, I am sensible I have no claim: I have, there fore, only to entreat, that my own words may not pronounce my condemnation, and that what I have here ventured to say in regard to imita tion, may be understood, as it is meant, in a ge neral xv sense, and not be imputed to an opinion of my own originality, which I have not the vanity, the folly, or the blindness, to entertain.

Whatever may be the fate of these letters, the editor is satisfied they will meet with jus tice; and commits them to the press, though hopeless of fame, yet not regardless of cen sure.

[1] EVELINA. LETTER I. Lady Howard to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

CAN there, my good Sir, be any thing more painful to a friendly mind, than a necessity of com municating disagreeable intelligence? Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to determine, whether the rela tor or the receiver of evil tidings is most to be pitied.

I have just had a letter from Madame Duval; she is totally at a loss in what manner to behave; she seems desirous to repair the wrongs she has done, yet wishes the world to believe her blame less. She would fain cast upon another the odium of those misfortunes for which she alone is answer able. Her letter is violent, sometimes abusive, and that of you!—you, to whom she is under obliga tions which are greater even than her faults, but to whose advice she wickedly imputes all the suf ferings of her much injured daughter, the late Lady Belmont. The chief purport of her writing I will acquaint you with; the letter itself is not worthy your notice.

2 She tells me that she has, for many years past, been in continual expectation of making a journey to England, which prevented her writing for in formation concerning this melancholy subject, by giving her hopes of making personal enquiries; but family occurrences have still detained her in France, which country she now sees no prospect of quitting. She has, therefore, lately used her ut most endeavours to obtain a faithful account of whatever related to her ill-advised daughter; the result of which giving her some reason to apprehend that, upon her death bed, she bequeathed an infant orphan to the world, she most graciously says that if you, with whom she understands the child is pla ced, will procure authentic proofs of its relation ship to her, you may send it to Paris, where she will properly provide for it.

This woman is, undoubtedly, at length, con scious of her most unnatural conduct: it is evident, from her writing, that she is still as vulgar and illi terate as when her first husband, Mr. Evelyn, had the weakness to marry her; nor does she at all apo logise for addressing herself to me, though I was only once in her company.

This letter has excited in my daughter Mirvan, a strong desire to be informed of the motives which induced Madame Duval to abandon the unfortu nate Lady Belmont, at a time when a mother's pro tection was so peculiarly necessary for her peace and her reputation. Notwithstanding I was per sonally acquainted with all the parties concerned in that affair, the subject always appeared of too de licate a nature to be spoken of with the principals; I cannot, therefore, satisfy Mrs. Mirvan otherwise than by applying to you.

3 By saying that you may send the child, Madame Duval aims at conferring, where she most owes obli gation. I pretend not to give you advice; you, to whose generous protection this helpless orphan is indebted for every thing, are the best and only judge of what she ought to do; but I am much concern ed for the trouble and uneasiness which this unwor thy woman may occasion you.

My daughter and my grandchild join with me in desiring to be most kindly remembered to the amiable girl; and they bid me remind you, that the annual visit to Howard Grove, which we were formerly promised, has been discontinued for more than four years.

I am, dear Sir, with great regard, Your most obedient servant and friend, M. HOWARD.
LETTER II. Mr. Villars to Lady Howard.

YOUR Ladyship did but too well foresee the perplexity and uneasiness of which Madame Du val's letter has been productive. However, I ought rather to be thankful that I have so many years remained unmolested, than repine at my pre sent embarrassment; since it proves, at least, that this wretched woman is at length awakened to re morse.

In regard to my answer, I must humbly request your Ladyship to write to this effect: "That I would not, upon any account, intentionally offend Madame Duval, but that I have weighty, nay un answerable 4 reasons for detaining her grand-daughter at present in England; the principal of which is, that it was the earnest desire of one to whose will she owes implicit duty. Madame Duval may be assured that she meets with the utmost attention and tenderness; that her education, however short of my wishes, almost exceeds my abilities; and that I flatter myself, when the time arrives that she shall pay her duty to her grand-mother, Madame Duval will find no reason to be dissatisfied with what has been done for her."

Your Ladyship will not, I am sure, be surprised at this answer. Madame Duval is by no means a proper companion or guardian for a young woman: she is at once uneducated and unprincipled; ungen tle in her temper, and unamiable in her manners. I have long known that she has persuaded herself to harbour an aversion for me—Unhappy woman! I can only regard her as an object of pity!

I dare not hesitate at a request from Mrs. Mir van, yet, in complying with it, I shall, for her own sake, be as concise as I possibly can; since the cruel transactions which preceded the birth of my ward, can afford no entertainment to a mind so humane as her's.

Your Ladyship may probably have heard, that I had the honour to accompany Mr. Evelyn, the grand-father of my young charge, when upon his travels, in capacity of tutor. His unhappy mar riage, immediately upon his return to England, with Madame Duval, then a waiting-girl at a ta vern, contrary to the advice and entreaties of all his friends, among whom I was myself the most ur gent to dissuade him, induced him to abandon his native land, and fix his abode in France. Thither he was followed by shame and repentance; feelings 5 which his heart was not formed to support: for, notwithstanding he had been too weak to resist the allurements of beauty, which nature, though a niggard to her of every other boon, had with a la vish hand bestowed on his wife; yet he was a young man of excellent character, and, till thus unac countably infatuated, of unblemished conduct. He survived this ill-judged marriage but two years. Upon his death-bed, with an unsteady hand, he wrote me the following note:

"My friend! forget your resentment, in favour of your humanity;—a father, trembling for the welfare of his child, bequeaths her to your care.—O Villars! hear! pity! and relieve me!"

Had my circumstances permitted, I should have answered these words by an immediate journey to Paris; but I was obliged to act by the agency of a friend, who was upon the spot, and present at the opening of the will.

Mr. Evelyn left to me a legacy of a thousand pounds, and the sole guardianship of his daughter's person till her eighteenth year, conjuring me, in the most affecting terms, to take the charge of her education till she was able to act with propriety for herself; but in regard to fortune, he left her wholly dependent on her mother, to whose tenderness he earnestly recommended her.

Thus, though he would not, to a woman low bred and illiberal as Mrs. Evelyn, trust the mind and morals of his daughter, he nevertheless thought proper to secure to her that respect and duty which, from her own child, were certainly her due; but, unhappily, it never occurred to him that the mo ther, on her part, could fail in affection or justice.

Miss Evelyn, Madam, from the second to the eighteenth year of her life, was brought up under 6 my care, and, except when at school, under my roof. I need not speak to your Ladyship of the virtues of that excellent young creature. She loved me as her father; nor was Mrs. Villars less valued by her; while to me she became so dear, that her loss was little less afflicting to me than that which I have since sustained of Mrs. Villars herself.

At that period of her life we parted; her mo ther, then married to Monsieur Duval, sent for her to Paris. How often have I since regretted that I did not accompany her thither! protected and supported by me, the misery and disgrace which awaited her, might, perhaps, have been avoided. But—to be brief, Madame Duval, at the instiga tion of her husband, earnestly, or rather tyran nically, endeavoured to effect an union between Miss Evelyn and one of his nephews. And, when she found her power inadequate to her attempt, enraged at her non-compliance, she treated her with the grossest unkindness, and threatened her with poverty and ruin.

Miss Evelyn, to whom wrath and violence had hitherto been strangers, soon grew weary of this usage; and rashly, and without a witness, con sented to a private marriage with Sir John Bel mont, a very profligate young man, who had but too successfully found means to insinuate himself into her favour. He promised to conduct her to England—he did.—O, Madam, you know the rest!—Disappointed of the fortune he expect ed, by the inexorable rancour of the Duvals, he infamously burnt the certificate of their marriage, and denied that they had ever been united!

She flew to me for protection. With what mixed transports of joy and anguish did I again 7 see her! By my advice she endeavoured to procure proofs of her marriage;—but in vain: her cre dulity had been no match for his art.

Every body believed her innocent, from the guiltless tenor of her unspotted youth, and from the known libertinism of her barbarous betrayer. Yet her sufferings were too acute for her tender frame, and the same moment that gave birth to her infant, put an end at once to the sorrows and the life of its mother.

The rage of Madame Duval at her elopement, abated not while this injured victim of cruelty yet drew breath. She probably intended, in time, to have pardoned her, but time was not allowed. When she was informed of her death, I have been told, that the agonies of grief and remorse, with which she was seized, occasioned her a severe fit of illness. But, from the time of her recovery to the date of her letter to your Ladyship, I had ne ver heard that she manifested any desire to be made acquainted with the circumstances which attended the death of Lady-Belmont, and the birth of her helpless child.

That child, Madam, shall never, while life is lent me, know the loss she has sustained. I have cherished, succoured, and supported her, from her earliest infancy to her sixteenth year; and so amply has she repaid my care and affection, that my fondest wish is now bounded in the desire of bestowing her on one who may be sensible of her worth, and then sinking to eternal rest in her arms.

Thus it has happened that the education of the father, daughter, and grand-daughter has devolved on me. What infinite misery have the two first caused me! Should the fate of the dear survivor be 8 equally adverse, how wretched will be the end of my cares—the end of my days!

Even had Madame Duval merited the charge she claims, I fear my fortitude would have been unequal to such a parting; but, being such as she is, not only my affection, but my humanity re coils, at the barbarous idea of deserting the sacred trust reposed in me. Indeed, I could but ill sup port her former yearly visits to the respectable mansion at Howard Grove; pardon me, dear Ma dam, and do not think me insensible of the honour which your Ladyship's condescension confers upon us both; but so deep is the impression which the misfortunes of her mother have made on my heart, that she does not, even for a moment, quit my sight, without exciting apprehensions and terrors which almost overpower me. Such, Madam, is my ten derness, and such my weakness! But she is the only tie I have upon earth, and I trust to your Ladyship's goodness not to judge of my feelings with severity.

I beg leave to present my humble respects to Mrs. and Miss Mirvan; and have the honour to be,

Madam, Your Ladyship's most obedient and most humble servant, ARTHUR VILLARS.

[Written some months after the last.]

Lady Howard to the Rev. Mr. Villars. Dear and Rev. Sir,

YOUR last letter gave me infinite pleasure: after so long and tedious an illness, how grateful to yourself and to your friends must be your return ing health! You have the hearty wishes of every individual of this place for its continuance and in crease.

Will you not think I talk advantage of your ac knowledged recovery, if I once more venture to mention your pupil and Howard Grove together? Yet you must remember the patience with which we submitted to your desire of not parting with her during the bad state of your health, though it was with much reluctance we forbore to solicit her company. My grand-daughter, in particular, has scarce been able to repress her eagerness to again meet the friend of her infancy; and for my own part, it is very strongly my wish to manifest the regard which I had for the unfortunate Lady Bel mont, by proving serviceable to her child; which seems to me the best respect that can be paid to her memory. Permit me, therefore, to lay before you a plan which Mrs. Mirvan and I have formed, in consequence of your restoration to health.

I would not frighten you;—but do you think you could bear to part with your young companion for two or three months? Mrs. Mirvan proposes to 10 spend the ensuing spring in London, whither, for the first time, my grandchild will accompany her: Now, my good friend, it is very earnestly their wish to enlarge and enliven their party by the ad dition of your amiable ward, who would share, equally with her own daughter, the care and at tention of Mrs. Mirvan. Do not start at this pro posal; it is time that she should see something of the world. When young people are too rigidly sequestered from it, their lively and romantic ima ginations paint it to them as a paradise of which they have been beguiled; but when they are shown it properly, and in due time, they see it such as it really is, equally shared by pain and pleasure, hope and disappointment.

You have nothing to apprehend from her meet ing with Sir John Belmont, as that abandoned man is now abroad, and not expected home this year.

Well, my good Sir, what say you to our scheme? I hope it will meet with your approbation; but if it should not, be assured I can never be dis pleased at any decision made by one who is so much respected and esteemed as yourself by,

Dear Sir, Your most faithful humble servant, M. HOWARD.
11 LETTER IV. Mr. Villars to Lady Howard.

I AM grieved, Madam, to appear obstinate, and I blush to incur the imputation of selfishness. In detaining my young charge thus long with myself in the country, I consulted not solely my own in clination. Destined, in all probability, to possess a very moderate fortune, I wished to contract her views to something within it. The mind is but too naturally prone to pleasure, but too easily yield ed to dissipation: it has been my study to guard her against their delusions, by preparing her to ex pect,—and to despise them. But the time draws on for experience and observation to take place of instruc tion: if I have, in some measure, rendered her capable of using the one with discretion, and mak ing the other with improvement, I shall rejoice myself with the assurance of having largely con tributed to her welfare. She is now of an age that happiness is eager to attend,—let her then enjoy it! I commit her to the protection of your Lady ship, and only hope she may be found worthy half the goodness I am satisfied she will meet with at your hospitable mansion.

Thus far, Madam, I chearfully submit to your desire. In confiding my ward to the care of Lady Howard, I can feel no uneasiness from her absence, but what will arise from the loss of her company, since I shall be as well convinced of her safety, as if she were under my own roof;—but, can your Ladyship be serious in proposing to introduce her to the gaieties of a London life? Permit me to 12 ask, for what end, or what purpose? A youthful mind is seldom totally free from ambition; to curb that, is the first step to contentment, since to di minish expectation, is to increase enjoyment. I apprehend nothing more than too much raising her hopes and her views, which the natural vivacity of her disposition would render but too easy to effect. The town acquaintance of Mrs. Mirvan are all in the circle of high life; this artless young creature, with too much beauty to escape notice, has too much sensibility to be indifferent to it; but she has too little wealth to be sought with propriety by men of the fashionable world.

Consider, Madam, the peculiar cruelty of her situation; only child of a wealthy baronet, whose person she has never seen, whose character she has reason to abhor, and whose name she is forbidden to claim; entitled as she is to lawfully inherit his fortune and estate, is there any probability that he will properly own her? And while he continues to persevere in disavowing his marriage with Miss Evelyn, she shall never, at the expence of her mo ther's honour, receive a part of her right, as the donation of his bounty.

And as to Mr. Evelyn's estate, I have no doubt but that Madame Duval and her relations will dis pose of it among themselves.

It seems, therefore, as if this deserted child, though legally heiress to two large fortunes, must owe all her rational expectations to adoption and friendship. Yet her income will be such as may make her happy, if she is disposed to be so in pri vate life; though it will by no means allow her to enjoy the luxury of a London fine lady.

Let Miss Mirvan, then, Madam, shine in all the splendor of high life, but suffer my child still 13 to enjoy the pleasures of humble retirement, with a mind to which greater views are unknown.

I hope this reasoning will be honoured with your approbation; and I have yet another motive that has some weight with me; I would not wil lingly give offence to any human being, and surely Madame Duval might accuse me of injustice, if, while I refuse to let her grand-daughter wait upon her, I consent to her joining a party of pleasure to London.

In sending her to Howard Grove, not one of these scruples arise; and therefore Mrs. Clinton, a most worthy woman, formerly her nurse, and now my housekeeper, shall attend her thither next week.

Though I have always called her by the name of Anville, and reported in this neighbourhood that her father, my intimate friend, left her to my guardianship, yet I have thought it necessary to let her be herself acquainted with the melancholy circumstances attending her birth; for, though I am very desirous of guarding her from curiosity and impertinence, by concealing her name, fa mily, and story, yet I would not leave it in the power of charce, to shock her gentle nature with a tale of so much sorrow.

You must not, Madam, expect too much from my pupil. She is quite a little rustic, and knows nothing of the world; and though her education has been the best I could bestow in this retired place, to which Dorchester, the nearest town, is seven miles distant, yet I shall not be surprised if you should discover in her a thousand deficiencies of which I have never dreamt. She must be very much altered since she was last at Howard Grove,—but I will say nothing of her; I leave her to your 14 Ladyship's own observations, of which I beg a faithful relation; and am,

Dear Madam, with great respect, Your obedient and most humble servant, ARTHUR VILLARS.
LETTER V. Mr. Villars to Lady Howard. Dear Madam,

THIS letter will be delivered to you by my child,—the child of my adoption,—my affection! Unblest with one natural friend, she merits a thousand. I send her to you, innocent as an an gel, and artless as purity itself: and I send you with her the heart of your friend, the only hope he has on earth, the subject of his tenderest thoughts, and the object of his latest cares. She is one, Madam, for whom alone I have lately wished to live; and she is one whom to serve I would with transport die! Restore her but to me all innocence as you receive her, and the fondest hope of my heart will be amply gratified!

15 LETTER VI. Lady Howard to the Rev. Mr. Villars. Dear and Rev. Sir,

THE solemn manner in which you have com mitted your child to my care, has in some mea sure dampt the pleasure which I receive from the trust, as it makes me fear that you suffer from your compliance, in which case I shall very sin cerely blame myself for the earnestness with which I have requested this favour; but remember, my good Sir, she is within a few days summons, and be assured I will not detain her a moment longer than you wish.

You desire my opinion of her.

She is a little angel! I cannot wonder that you sought to monopolize her. Neither ought you, at finding it impossible.

Her face and person answer my most refined ideas of complete beauty: and this, though a subject of praise less important to you, or to me, than any other, is yet so striking, it is not possible to pass it unnoticed. Had I not known from whom she received her education, I should, at first sight of so perfect a face, have been in pain for her understanding; since it has been long and justly remarked, that folly has ever sought alli ance with beauty.

She has the same gentleness in her manners, the same natural grace in her motions, that I formerly so much admired in her mother. Her character seems truly ingenuous and simple; and, at the 16 same time that nature hus blessed her with an ex cellent understanding, and great quickness of parts, she has a certain air of inexperience and in nocency that is extremely interesting.

You have no reason to regret the retirement in which she has lived; since that politeness which is acquired by an acquaintance with high life, is in her so well supplied by a natural desire of ob liging, joined to a deportment infinitely engaging.

I observe with great satisfaction a growing affec tion between this amiable girl and my grand-daugh ter, whose heart is as free from selfishness or con ceit, as that of her young friend is from all guile. Their attachment may be mutually useful, since much is to be expected from emulation, where nothing is to be feared from envy. I would have them love each other as sisters, and reciprocally supply the place of that tender and happy relati onship to which neither of them have a natural claim.

Be satisfied, my good Sir, that your child shall meet with the same attention as our own. We all join in most hearty wishes for your health and happiness, and in returning our sincere thanks for the favour you have conserred on us.

I am, Dear Sir, Your most faithful servant, M. HOWARD.
17 LETTER VII. Lady Howard to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

BE not alarmed, my worthy friend, at my so speedily troubling you again; I seldom use the ceremony of waiting for answers, or writing with any regularity, and I have at present immediate occasion for begging your patience.

Mrs. Mirvan has just received a letter from her long-absent husband, containing the welcome news of his hoping to reach London by the be ginning of next week. My daughter and the Captain have been separated almost seven years, and it would therefore be needless to say what joy, surprise, and consequently confusion, his, at present, unexpected return has caused at Howard Grove. Mrs. Mirvan, you cannot doubt, will go instantly to town to meet him; her daughter is under a thousand obligations to attend her; I grieve that her mother cannot.

And now, my good Sir, I almost blush to pro ceed;—but, tell me, may I ask—will you permit—that your child may accompany them? Do not think us unreasonable, but consider the many in ducements which conspire to make London the happiest place at present she can be in. The joyful occasion of the journey; the gaiety of the whole party; opposed to the dull life she must lead if left here, with a solitary old woman for her sole companion, while she so well knows the chearfulness and felicity enjoyed by the rest of the family,—are circumstances that seem to merit 18 your consideration. Mrs. Mirvan desires me to assure you, that one week is all she asks, as she is certain that the Captain, who hates London, will be eager to revisit. Howard Grove: and Maria is so very earnest in wishing to have the company of her friend, that, if you are inexora ble, she will be deprived of half the pleasure she otherwise hopes to receive.

However, I will not, my good Sir, deceive you into an opinion that they intend to live in a retired manner, as that cannot be fairly expected. But you have no reason to be uneasy concerning Madame Duval; she has no correspondent in England, and only gains intelligence by common report. She must be a stranger to the name your child bears; and, even should she hear of this excursion, so short a time as a week, or less, spent in town upon so particular an occasion, though previous to their meeting, cannot be con strued into disrespect to herself.

Mrs. Mirvan desires me to assure you, that if you will oblige her, her two children shall equally share her time and her attention. She has sent a commission to a friend in town to take a house for her, and while she waits for an answer con cerning it, I shall for one from you to our pe tition. However, your child is writing herself, and that, I doubt not, will more avail than all we can possibly urge.

My daughter desires her best compliments to you, if, she says, you will grant her request, but not else.

Adieu, my dear Sir,—we all hope every thing from your goodness.

19 LETTER VIII. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

THIS house seems to be the house of joy; every face wears a smile, and a laugh is at every body's service. It is quite amusing to walk about, and see the general confusion; a room leading to the garden is fitting up for Captain Mirvan's study. Lady Howard does not sit a moment in a place; Miss Mirvan is making caps; every body so busy!—such flying from room to room!—so many orders given, and retracted, and given again!—nothing but hurry and perturbation.

Well but, my dear Sir, I am desired to make a request to you. I hope you will not think me an incroacher; Lady Howard insists upon my writing!—yet I hardly know how to go on; a petition implies a want,—and have you left me one? No, indeed.

I am half ashamed of myself for beginning this letter. But these dear ladies are so pressing—I cannot, for my life, resist wishing for the pleasures they offer me,—provided you do not dis approve them.

They are to make a very short stay in town. The captain will meet them in a day or two. Mrs. Mirvan and her sweet daughter both go;—what a happy party! Yet I am not very eager to accom pany them: at least, I shall be very well con tented to remain where I am, if you desire that I should.

20 Assured, my dearest Sir, of your goodness, your bounty, and your indulgent kindness, ought I to form a wish that has not your sanction? Decide for me, therefore, without the least apprehen sion that I shall be uneasy, or discontented. While I am yet in suspense, perhaps I may hope, but I am most certain, that when you have once determined, I shall not repine.

They tell me that London is now in full splen dour. Two Play-houses are open,—the Opera-House,—Ranelagh,—the Pantheon.—You see I have learned all their names. However, pray don't suppose that I make any point of going, for I shall hardly sigh to see them depart without me; though I shall probably never meet with such ano ther opportunity. And, indeed, their domestic happiness will be so great,—it is natural to wish to partake of it.

I believe I am bewitched! I made a resolution when I began, that I would not be urgent; but my pen—or rather my thoughts, will not suffer me to keep it—for I acknowledge, I must acknowledge, I cannot help wishing for your permission.

I almost repent already that I have made this confession; pray forget that you have read it, if this journey is displeasing to you. But I will not write any longer; for the more I think of this affair, the less indifferent to it I find my self.

Adieu, my most honoured, most reverenced, most beloved father! for by what other name can I call you? I have no happiness or sorrow, no hope or fear, but what your kindness bestows, or your displeasure may cause. You will not, I am sure, send a refusal, without reasons unanswerable, and 21 therefore I shall chearfully acquiesce. Yet I hope—I hope you will be able to permit me to go.

I am, With the utmost affection, gratitude and duty, Your EVELINA —.

I cannot to you sign Anville, and what other name may I claim?

LETTER IX. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

TO resist the urgency of entreaty, is a power which I have not yet acquired: I aim not at an au thority which deprives you of liberty, yet I would fain guide myself by a prudence which should save me the pangs of repentance. Your impatience to fly to a place which your imagination has painted to you in colours so attractive, surprizes me not; I have only to hope that the liveliness of your fancy may not deceive you: to refuse, would be to raise it still higher. To see my Evelina happy, is to see myself without a wish: go then, my child, and may that Heaven which alone can, direct, preserve, and strengthen you! To That, my love, will I daily offer prayers for your felicity; O may it guard, watch over you! defend you from danger, save you from distress, and keep vice as distant from your person as from your heart! And to Me, 22 may it grant the ultimate blessing of closing these aged eyes in the arms of one so dear—so deservedly beloved!

LETTER X. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

THIS moment arrived. Just going to Drury-Lane Theatre. The celebrated Mr. Garrick per forms Ranger. I am quite in extacy. So is Miss Mirvan. How fortunate, that he should happen to play! We would not let Mrs. Mirvan rest till she consented to go; her chief objection was to our dress, for we have had no time to Londonize our selves; but we teized her into compliance, and so we are to sit in some obscure place, that she may not be seen. As to me, I should be alike unknown in the most conspicuous or most private part of the house.

I can write no more now. I have hardly time to breathe—only just this, the houses and streets are not quite so superb as I expected. However, I have seen nothing yet, so I ought not to judge.

Well, adieu, my dearest Sir, for the present; I could not forbear writing a few words instantly on my arrival; though I suppose my letter of thanks for your consent is still on the road.

23 Saturday Night.

O my dear Sir, in what raptures am I returned! Well may Mr. Garrick be so celebrated, so univer sally admired—I had not any idea of so great a performer.

Such ease! such vivacity in his manner! such grace in his motions! such fire and meaning in his eyes!—I could hardly believe he had studied a written part, for every word seemed spoke from the impulse of the moment.

His action—at once so graceful and so free!—his voice—so clear, so melodious, yet so wonder fully various in its tones—such animation!—every look speaks!

I would have given the world to have had the whole play acted over again. And when he danced—O how I envied Clarinda! I almost wished to have jumped on the stage and joined them.

I am afraid you will think me mad, so I won't say any more; yet I really believe Mr. Garrick would make you mad too, if you could see him. I intend to ask Mrs. Mirvan to go to the play every night while we stay in town. She is extremely kind to me, and Maria, her charming daughter, is the sweetest girl in the world.

I shall write to you every evening all that passes in the day, and that in the same manner as, if I could see, I should tell you.


This morning we went to Portland chapel, and afterwards we walked in the Mall in St. James's Park, which by no means answered my expectati ons: it is a long straight walk, of dirty gravel, ve ry uneasy to the feet; and at each end, instead of an open prospect, nothing is to be seen but houses 24 built of brick. When Mrs. Mirvan pointed out the Palace to me—I think I was never much more surprised.

However the walk was very agreeable to us; every body looked gay, and seemed pleased, and the ladies were so much dressed, that Miss Mirvan and I could do nothing but look at them. Mrs. Mirvan met several of her friends. No wonder, for I never saw so many people assembled together before. I looked about for some of my acquaint ance, but in vain, for I saw not one person that I knew, which is very odd, for all the world seemed there.

Mrs. Mirvan says we are not to walk in the Park again next Sunday, even if we should be in town, because there is better company in Kensing ton Gardens. But really if you had seen how much every body was dressed, you would not think that possible.

We are to go this evening to a private ball, gi ven by Mrs. Stanley, a very fashionable lady of Mrs. Mirvan's acquaintance.

We have been a shopping, as Mrs. Mirvan calls it, all this morning, to buy silks, caps, gauzes, and so forth.

The shops are really very entertaining, especially the mercers; there seem to be six or seven men be longing to each shop, and every one took care, by bowing and smirking, to be noticed; we were con ducted from one to another, and carried from room to room, with so much ceremony, that at first I was almost afraid to follow.

I thought I should never have chosen a silk, for they produced so many, I knew not which to fix upon, and they recommended them all so strongly that I fancy they thought I only wanted persuasion 25 to buy every thing they shewed me. And, indeed, they took so much trouble, that I was almost asha med I could not.

At the milliners, the ladies we met were so much dressed, that I should rather have imagined they were making visits than purchases. But what most diverted me was, that we were more frequently served by men than by women; and such men! so finical, so affected! they seemed to understand eve ry part of a woman's dress better than we do our selves; and they recommended caps and ribbands with an air of so much importance, that I wished to ask them how long they had left off wearing them!

The dispatch with which they work in these great shops is amazing, for they have promised me a com pleat suit of linen against the evening.

I have just had my hair dressed. You can't think how oddly my head feels; full of powder and black pins, and a great cushion on the top of it. I believe you would hardly know me, for my face looks quite different from what it did before my hair was dressed. When I shall be able to make use of a comb for myself I cannot tell, for my hair is so much entangled, frizzled they call it, that I fear it will be very difficult.

I am half afraid of this ball to-night, for, you know, I have never danced but at school; however, Miss Mirvan says there is nothing in it. Yet I wish it was over.

Adieu, my dear Sir; pray excuse the wretched stuff I write, perhaps I may improve by being in this town, and then my letters will be less unwor thy your reading. Mean time I am,

Your dutiful and affectionate, though unpolished, EVELINA. 26

Poor Miss Mirvan cannot wear one of the caps she made, because they dress her hair too large for them.

LETTER XI. Evelina in continuation.

I HAVE a vast deal to say, and shall give all this morning to my pen. As to my plan of writ ing 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 past a most extraordinary evening. A pri vate 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 Ma ria 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 ge neral; and I thought it so provoking, that I de termined, in my own mind, that, far from humour ing 27 such airs, I would rather not dance at all, than with any one who should seem to think me ready to accept the first partner who would con descend to take me.

Not long after, a young man, who had for some time looked at us with a kind of negligent imper tinence, advanced, on tiptoe, towards me; he had a set smile on his face, and his dress was so fop pish, that I really believe 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 con ceit, after a short and silly pause, he said, "Ma dam—may I presume?"— and stopt, offering to take my hand, I drew it back, but could scarce forbear laughing. "Allow me, Madam," (con tinued he, affectedly breaking off every half mo ment) "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, bow ing 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 re treated.

It so happened, as we have since recollected, that during this little dialogue, Mrs. Mirvan was con versing with the lady of the house. And very soon after another gentleman, who seemed about six and-twenty years old, gayly, but not soppishly, 28 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 re ceive from me; but these sort of expressions, I find, are used as words of course, without any dis tinction 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 milliner's making us wait for our things.

He seemed very desirous of entering into con versation with me; but I was seized with such a panic, that I could hardly speak a word, and no thing 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 odd; 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 per son is all elegance, and his countenance the most animated and expressive I have ever seen.

29 In a short time we were joined by Miss Mirvan, who stood next couple to us. But how was I 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 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 at tempt 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 then 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 for myself 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 30 accustomed to its ways, can have no idea of such sort of fears as mine.

I was in the utmost confusion, 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 confused. I made no answer, but hung my head, like a fool, and looked on my fan.

He then, with an air the most respectfully se rious, asked if he had been so unhappy as to of fend me?

"No, indeed!" cried I: and then, 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 my com mands to see for 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.

31 I was quite ashamed at 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 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 intreated 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 de served to find him very much mortified and dis pleased 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 en couraged me. These people in high life have too much presence of mind, I believe, to seem discon certed, 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 at tention and respect.

When the dance was over, seeing me still very much slurried, he led me to a seat, saying that he 32 would not suffer me to fatigue myself from po liteness.

And then, if my capacity, or even if my spirits had been better, in how animated a conver sation might I have been engaged! It was then that I saw the rank of Lord Orville was his least recommendation, his understanding and his man ners 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 re-animate 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 embarrass ment.

When he found this, he changed the subject, and talked of public places, and public performers; but he soon discovered that I was totally igno rant of them.

He then, very ingeniously, turned the dis course 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 constraint upon my thoughts, that I was unable to go further than a monosyllable, and not even so far, when I could possibly avoid it.

We were sitting in this manner, he conversing with all gaiety, I looking down with all foolish ness, when that fop who had first asked me to dance, with a most ridiculous solemnity, approach ed, and after a profound bow or two, said, "I 33 humbly beg pardon, Madam,—and of you too, my Lord,—for breaking in upon such agreeable conversation—which must, doubtless, be much 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 round at Lord Orville, I saw such ex treme 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 asto nished.

"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, something I had heard of the rules of assemblies; 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 after wards accepting another. I was thunderstruck at 34 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!" ex claimed Lord Orville; while I, without know ing 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 her self 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 con sented, 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 exer tion, 35 and, if possible, appear less a fool than I hitherto had: for it occurred to me that, insigni ficant 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 re solution in practice. He was satisfied, I suppose, with his former successless efforts to draw me out: or, rather, I fancied, he has been inquiring who I was. This again disconcerted me, and the spi rits I had determined to exert, again failed me. Tired, ashamed, and mortified, I begged to sit down till we returned home, which we 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 even ing? I could not help being thus particular, be cause, to me, every thing is so new. But it is now time to conclude. I am, with all love and duty,

36 LETTER XII. Evelina in continuation.

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 curi ous 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 advanc ing 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 beau tiful 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.

37 "By Jove," cried the other, "I am glad to hear it!"

At that moment, the same odious creature who had been my former torment, joined them. Ad dressing 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 cen sure of the lady who is honoured with your pro tection—but, my Lord, ill breeding is apt to pro voke 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 per son who is nobody, to give herself such airs,—I own I could not command my passions. For, my Lord, though I have made diligent enquiry—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.

38 "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 ga ther 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 enter tain her, with the most immoveable gravity; but no sooner did Lovel begin his complaint, than she was seized with a fit of Laughing, first af fronting the poor beau, and then enjoying his mor tification."

"Ha! ha! ha! why there's some genius in that, my Lord, though perhaps rather rustick. "

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'm 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 enquiry 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 don't care how soon we leave town. London soon 39 grows tiresome. I wish the Captain would come Mrs. Mirvan talks of the opera for this evening; however, I am very indifferent about it.

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 can't 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 entertain ments, 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.

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 inchanted 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 courtsied, and I am sure I coloured. We soon 40 walked on, not liking our situation; however, he did not follow us, and when we past 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, tho' whenever he chanced to meet my eyes, he condescended to bow.

I cannot but be hurt at the opinion he enter tains of me. It is true, my own behaviour in curred it—yet 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;—How ever, I think I have done with assemblies!

This morning was destined for seeing sights, auc tions, 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 re solved 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 en tertained!—while I, like a fool, stayed at home to do nothing. And, at an auction in Pall-Mall, who should they meet but Lord Orville! He sat next to Mrs Mirvan, and they talked a great deal 41 together: but she gave me no account of the con versation.

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.

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.

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 pre sented 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 wo man, 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 can not 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.


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 suffi cient 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 on 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 re freshments, and the company walk about, and chat, with the same ease and freedom as in a pri vate room.

On Monday we go to a ridotto, and on Wed nesday 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.
43 LETTER XIII. Evelina in continuation. My dear Sir,

WE came home from the ridotto so late, or ra ther, so early, that it was not possible for me to write. Indeed we did not go, you will be fright ened to hear it,—till past eleven o'clock: but nobody 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 brilliant, and the company gay and splendid. But I should have told you, that I made very many objections to being of the party, according to the resolution I had formed. How ever, 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 tho' 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 desireable 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 44 me with his choice; yet I am compelled to con fess my absurdity, by way of explaining what fol lows.

Miss Mirvan was soon engaged; and, presently after, a very fashionable, gay-looking man, who seemed about 30 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. In deed 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 acquaint ance 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 en gaged; by which I meant to keep myself at liberty to 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 that 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 accept ance, can fail to be at hand to profit from your goodness?"

I felt extremely foolish, and begged Mrs. Mir van to lead to a seat, which she very obligingly did. The Captain sat next her, and, to my great sur prise, 45 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 your self?"

"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 no thing 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!—care less fellow!—what can detain him?—Will you give me leave to seek him?"

"If you please, Sir," answered I, quite terri fied 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 dog!"

46 How ridiculous! I really could not help laugh ing, 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 any 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 ex plain 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 pas sion, "Fool! idiot! booby!"

47 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 entreat you to be easy."

"Indeed, Sir," said I very seriously, "I must insist upon your leaving me; you are quite a stran ger 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, 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 inexpres sible, and yet retain all your favour for that mis creant 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.

48 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 endeavour ing to obviate. I shall think myself greatly ho noured, 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 de lighted, 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 ap probation; 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 eager ly, "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, turn ing to me, "honour me with one dance, and give 49 up the ingrate who has merited so ill your pa tience."

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 pity he was ever thought 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 en larged."

"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 chuse; 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 con quer.

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, was indeed but too obvious.

Lord Orville, I fancy, did not dance at all; he seemed to have a large acquaintance, and joined 50 several different parties: but you will easily sup pose 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. Mir van!

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 has tening 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 walk ing 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 a sympathy in the frankness of our dispositions—And yet, were you not an angel—how do you think I could brook 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," (cried he, half laugh ing) "why where could you be educated?"

"Where I most sincerely wish I now was!"

51 "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 ac quainted, may perhaps be less disagreeable; but to me —"

"You do me justice," (cried he, interrupting me) "yes, I do indeed improve upon acquaint ance; you will hereafter be quite charmed with me."

"Hereafter, Sir, I hope I shall never—"

"O hush!—hush!—have you forgot the situ ation 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 shew me the wretch!"

"Wretch, Sir?"

"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 solly, looking at Lord Orville, to repeat, " Despicable, you think?"

His eyes instantly followed mine; "why, is that the gentleman?"

52 I made no answer; I could not affirm, and I would not deny; for I hoped to be relieved from his teizing, by his mistake.

The very moment we had done what he called our duty, I eagerly desired to return to Mrs. Mir van.

"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 ad dress 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, af fecting 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 re peated 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,—con sider to what impertinence you may expose your self."

Was ever any thing so ridiculous? I could not help laughing, in spite of my vexation.

53 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 suc cess; and your Lordship would not be a little flat tered, if acquainted with the difficulty which at tended 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 ere 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."

54 To compel him thus to dance, I could not en dure, 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;—any thing, I mean.—"

"But do you dance, or not? you see his Lord ship 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, de termined 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 pro posed 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 every thing right."

I glowed with indignation. "No, Sir—It is your absence, and that alone, can set every thing right."

"For Heaven's sake, my dear," (cried Mrs. Mirvan, who could no longer contain her sur prise,) "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 sailed me, and I burst into tears.

55 They all seemed shocked and amazed.

"What is the matter, my dearest love?" cried Mrs. Mirvan, with the kindest concern.

"What have I done?" exclaimed my evil ge nius, 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 mur mur 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 had 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 ser vants 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.

56 This morning Lord Orville has sent to enquire after our healths: 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 believe me both bold and presuming. Make use of his name!—what impertinence!—he can never know how it hap pened,—he can only imagine it was from an ex cess 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 Fantocini. 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 con clusion 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 ex pence.

And here I conclude my London letters;—and without any regret, for I am too inexperienced and ignorant to conduct myself with propriety in 57 this town, where every thing 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 Fantocini 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 in numerable as the persons who fill them.

LETTER XIV. Evelina in continuation.

HOW much will you be surprised, my dear est 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 disagree able.

We went last night to see the Fantocini, where we had infinite entertainment from the perform ance 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?"

58 "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 désespoir! "

"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 any thing 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 enquiry, we found that she lived in Ox ford Road, and, after some disputing, the Captain, surlily, and with a very bad grace, consented to admit her into his coach; though he soon con vinced us, that he was determined she should not be too much obliged to him, for he seemed ab solutely bent upon quarrelling with her: for which 59 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 con cluded 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."

" Pardie, 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 of 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."

60 "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 conver sation 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're 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."

61 "Paupers, Mr.!—no more a pauper than yourself, nor so much neither;—but you're a low, dirty fellow, and I shan't stoop to take no more notice of you."

"Dirty fellow!" (exclaimed the Captain, seiz ing 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 Monsieurs come to help you out of it."

Their encreasing 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 i' n't Duval."

I heard no more: amazed, frightened, and un speakably 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 yours; 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 sur prise, immediately betrayed me. But I will not 62 shock you with the manner of her acknowledging me, or the bitterness, the grossness —I cannot other wise express myself,—with which she spoke of those unhappy past transactions you have so pa thetically 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 Du val, (who, from the time of her being known some what 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, though an awkward apology had passed between them) "she was sent to us, and so, d'ye see, we don't chuse 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 pro ceeded 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 tran quil 63 happiness, I will suffer no temptation to al lure 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 de clined, 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 vi siting England was to make me return with her to France. This, she said, was a plan she had form ed 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 Mon sieur 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 ar ranging 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 64 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. Mir van, 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 invita tion 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 the town the very instant I discovered that Madame Duval was in it; and to have stayed 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 de clared 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!

65 LETTER XV. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

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 ar rival 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 conse quence; 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 provision as shall seem to me most conducive to your future happiness. Se cure of my protection, and relying on my tender ness, let no apprehensions of Madame Duval dis turb 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 ne glect on yours: indeed, the more forcibly you are struck with improprieties and misconduct in ano ther, 66 the greater should be your observance and diligence to avoid even the shadow of similar er rors. 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: disa greeable 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 unhappy transactions which she has so much reason to lament. And this, as it is the cause, so we must, in some mea sure, 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 re joice when I hear of your safe arrival at How ard 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; con tinue to me this indulgence, for I should be mi serable if in ignorance of your proceedings.

How new to you is the scene of life in which you are now engaged,—balls—plays—operas—ri dottos 67 —Ah, my child! at your return hither, how will you bear the change? My heart trembles for your future tranquillity.—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 Wil loughby, whose conversation and boldness are ex tremely 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 in nocence, while it constitutes your own, contributes also to the felicity of all who know you!

LETTER XVI. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

BEFORE our dinner was over yesterday, Ma dame 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 68 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 dis pleased, 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 with out him."

Another short silence ensued, which was termi nated by the Captain's turning roughly to the fo reigner, and saying, "Do you know, Monsieur, that you're 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 endeavoured to divert the Cap tain'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, ex cept 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 wo men, 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 draw ing-room. He introduced himself under the pre tence of enquiring after all our healths, and entered 69 the room with the easy air of an old acquaintance; though Mrs. Mirvan confesses that he seemed em barrassed, when he found how coldly he was re ceived, not only by the Captain, but by herself.

I was extremely disconcerted at the thoughts of seeing this man again, and did not go down stairs till I was called to tea. He was then deeply en gaged 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 argu ment 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 success ful discernment.

As soon as he saw me he made a most respect ful 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 mana ged 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 70 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 uni ted 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 Ma dame Duval a place in her coach, and proposed that we four females should go all together; how ever, this she rejected, declaring she would by no means go so far without a gentleman, and won dering so polite a lady could make so English a proposal. Sir Clement Willoughby said his cha riot was waiting at the door, and begged to know if it could be of any use. It was, at last, deci ded, 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 don't doubt 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 pos sible by all but me, and I did not dare quit her for an instant: indeed I believe she was resolved I should not, for she leant upon my arm almost all the evening.

The room was so very much crowded, that, but for the uncommon assiduity of Sir Clement 71 Willoughby, we should not have been able to pro cure a box (which is the name given to the arched recesses which are appropriated for tea-parties) till half the company had retired. As we were taking possession of our places, some ladies of Mrs. Mir van's acquaintance stopped to speak to her, and persuaded her to take a round with them. When she returned to us, what was my surprize, 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 adven ture: 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 Du val, 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 a 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 imperti nence 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's no such a thing to be seen in Paris."

72 "Indeed," cried Sir Clement, "I must own myself no advocate for hats; I am sorry the la dies ever invented or adopted so tantalizing a fa shion; for, where there is beauty, they only serve to shade it, and where there is none, to excite an unavailing curiosity. I fancy they were originally worn by some young and whimsical coquet."

"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 need n'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!" said the Captain sneer ingly.

"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."

73 "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?—hay, Sir Clement! ha'n'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 ano ther."

"But what, what do they do, these famous Monsieurs?" demanded the Captain; "can't you tell us? do they game?—or drink?—or fiddle?—or are they jockies?—or do they spend all their time in slummering 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?"

74 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, hay, 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 learn to cut capers?—and dress like a monkey?—and palavar in French gibberish?—hay, 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-fa shion way as this. You, Sir, as have been in Pa ris" (again addressing herself to Lord Orville) "can tell this English gentleman how he'd be despised, 75 if he was to talk in such an ungenteel manner as this, before any foreigners. Why there is n't a hair-dresser, nor a shoe-maker, nor nobody, that would n't blush to be in your company."

"Why look ye, Madam," answered the Cap tain, "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 this 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 po litely chearful, 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 ven tured to say a word all the time we were walk ing. 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 conver sation 76 that might, at any other time, have de lighted 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 yet greater mortification.

We were not joined by the rest of the party till we had taken three or four turns round the room, and then, they were so quarrelsome, that Mrs. Mirvan complained of being fatigued, and propo sed going home. No one dissented. Lord Or ville joined another party, having first made an offer of his services, which the gentlemen de clined, 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 man ner we came to Ranelagh, and, accordingly, Mon sieur Du Bois handed Madame Duval into a hack ney-coach, and was just preparing to follow her, when she screamed, and jumpt hastily out, de claring she was wet through all her clothes. In deed, 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 al ready 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 Wil loughby, 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 77 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 par ty, 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 pre ference to being incommoded by him in Sir Cle ment's chariot.

Our party drove off first. We were silent and unsociable; for the difficulties attending this ar rangement 78 had made every one languid and fa tigued. Unsociable, I must own, we continued; but very short was the duration of our silence, as we had not proceeded thirty yards, ere 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 all taken out of the carriage, with out 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 car ried 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 con ducting me to a warm room, as I had not wholly escaped being wet. He did not regard my objec tions, but made me follow him to an apartment, where we found an excellent fire, and some com pany 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 79 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 eager ness I feel to vindicate myself, induces me to snatch this opportunity of making sincere acknowledg ments for the impertinence with which I torment ed you at the last ridotto. I can assure you, Madam, I have been a true and sorrowful peni tent 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. In deed, 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 judg ment 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 Cap tain, Mrs. and Miss Mirvan, enter the room.

"O ho," cried the former, "you have got a good warm birth 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 Madam French?"

"Good God," cried I, "is not Madame Duval then with you?

"With me! No,—thank God."

80 I was very uneasy to know what might have become of her, and, if they would have suffered me, I should have gone out in search of her my self; 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 un easiness encreased 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!—en tirely 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 into a loud laugh.

We endeavoured, by our enquiries and condole ments, 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 had happened. "How!" repeated she,—why "it was all along of your all going away,—and there poor Monsieur Du Bois—but it was n'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.

81 The Captain laughed yet more heartily; while Mrs. Mirvan, ashamed of his rudeness, repeated her enquiries 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 ancle-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 no such great weight,—but, however that was, down we both came toge ther, 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; for nobody never came near us."

This recital put the Captain into an extacy; he went from the lady to the gentleman, and from the gentleman to the lady, to enjoy alter nately the sight of their distress. He really shout ed 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 unspeak able; she dashed the candle out of his hand, stamped upon the floor, and, at last, spat in his face.

82 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 on 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 Ma dame Duval was not released, till she quite sobbed with passion.

When they were parted, I entreated her to permit the woman who has the charge of the ladies cloaks to assist her in drying her clothes; she con sented, and we did what was possible to save her from catching cold. We were obliged to wait in this disagreeable situation near an hour, ere a hackney-coach could be found; and then we were disposed in the same manner as before our ac cident.

I am going this morning to see poor Madame Duval, and to enquire after her health, which I think must have suffered by her last night's mis fortunes; though, indeed, she seems to be natu rally strong and hearty.

Adieu, my dear Sir, till to-morrow.
83 LETTER XVII. Evelina in continuation.

SIR Clement Willoughby called here yester day 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, invo luntarily, 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 bit terness, 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.

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 84 excused myself, but she did not allow me any choice.

Till the arrival of these relations, one continu ed series of questions on her side, and of answers on mine, filled up all the time we passed together. Her curiosity was insatiable; she enquired 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 in gratitude raised, that I would actually have quitted her presence and house, had she not, in a man ner 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 parti cularly 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 in troduce me, consisted of a Mr. Branghton, who is her nephew, and three of his children, the eldest 85 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 un derstanding, though he is very contracted and pre judiced: 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, over-grown 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 supe rior to either. His chief delight appears to be tormenting and ridiculing his sisters, who, in re turn, 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 them selves comfortable, for they complained of having had a very dirty walk, as they came on foot from Snow Hill, where Mr. Branghton keeps a silver smith's shop; and the young ladies had not only their coats to brush, and shoes to dry, but to ad just their head dress, which their bonnets had to tally discomposed.

The manner in which Madame Duval was pleased to introduce me to this family, extremely 86 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 could n'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 was n'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 mea sure, as the Branghtons were all of different opi nions. They, none of them, however, disputed my being the tallest in the company, but, in re gard to one another, they were extremely quarrel some: the brother insisted upon their measuring 87 fair, and not with heads and heels; but they would by no means consent to lose these 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, began, very freely, to examine my dress, and to interro gate 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.

They then 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 me rits 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 suf fer 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 sud denly up to her sister, exclaimed, "Lord, Polly, only think! Miss never saw her papa!"

88 "Lord, how odd!" cried the other; "why then, Miss, I suppose you would n'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 entreaties 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 enquired of me, whether I had seen the Tower, or St. Paul's church? and, upon 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 as sure 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 oppose them; but I said that my time, while 89 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 so doing.

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 ar rives.

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.

LETTER XVIII. 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 draw ing room, but Lord Orville!

He was quite alone, for the family had not as sembled to breakfast. He enquired, first of mine, then of the health of Mrs. and Miss Mirvan, with a degree of concern that rather surprised me, till he said that he had just been informed of the accident we had met with at Ranelagh. He expressed his sorrow upon the occasion with the 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."

90 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 Ra nelagh 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 exceed ed 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 occa sion?"

"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 re ceive an impression never to be forgotten."

This compliment,—from Lord Orville,—so sur prised me, that I could not speak; but felt myself change colour, and stood, for some moments, si lent and looking down: however, the instant I re collected 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 apo logizing 91 for my behaviour at the Ridotto: but, to own the truth, that affair never once occurred to me during the short tête-à-tête which we had to gether. 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 imperti nent, and I could almost kill myself for having given him the shadow of a reason for so shocking an idea.

But was it not 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 Du val I should like London extremely.

The conversation of Lord Orville is really de lightful. 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 with out any pretensions to his merit, he is most assi duously attentive to please and to serve all who are in his company; and, though his success is inva riable, 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 viva city abated, and his life is devoted to retirement, he will, perhaps, resemble him whom I most love 92 and honour. His present sweetness, politeness, and diffidence, seem to promise in future the same be nevolence, 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 re luctantly, 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 chuse to ex pose 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 disagree able to herself, merely to promote my happiness! every dispute in which her undeserving husband engages, is productive of pain, and uneasines s to herself; of this I am so sensible, that I even be sought 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 is so infinitely kind to me, that one would think she was your daughter.

93 LETTER XIX. Evelina in continuation.

MADAME Duval was accompanied by Monsieur Du Bois. I am surprised that she should chuse 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 not 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, Madam, 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 your self: besides, it's no 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 had n't a dry thread about you—'Fore George, I shall never think on't without hallooing! such a poor, forlorn, draggle-tailed— gentlewoman! and poor Monsieur French, here, like a drowned rat, by your side!"

94 "Well, the worse pickle we was in, so much the worser in you not to help us, for you knowed where we was 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 should n'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 dis claimed it very peremptorily.

"Why then," continued she, "if you did n't do that, why did n'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 nas tiness, 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 Monsieur 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 had n't met with that unlucky accident himself, I should n't have wanted nobody's help."

"O, I promise you, Madam, you'd never have had mine; I knew my distance better; 95 and as to your being a little ducked, or so, why, to be sure, Monsieur and you settled that be tween 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, who ever doubt ed that? Do you think a Frenchman ever made a blunder? If he had been some clumsy-footed English fellow, indeed, it might have been acci dental: but what the devil signifies all your hop ping 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 ac quaintance, and this very easiness, which, to me, is astonishing, is what most particularly recom mends 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 Monsieur 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 professedly 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 96 humble opinion, it was his business first to have enquired 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 easi ly; so you need n't talk no more about it, for I sees into your designs.

Monsieur Du Bois, who was just able to disco ver the subject upon which the conversation turn ed, made his defence, in French, with great so lemnity; he hoped, he said, that the company would at least acknowledge, he did not come from a nation of brutes, and consequently, that to wil fully offend any lady, was, to him, utterly impossi ble; 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 for bear to relate, but which, he greatly apprehended, he should feel the ill effects of for many months; and then, with a countenance exceedingly length ened, 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 sud den, but violent push, which, he was shocked to say, some malevolent person, with a design to his injury, must certainly have given him; but whe ther 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 proposing that we should all go to Cox's Museum. Nobody objected, and carriages were immediately ordered.

97 In our way down stairs, Madame Duval in a very passionate manner, said, " Ma foi, if I would n't give fifty guineas, only to know who gave us that shove!"

This Museum is very astonishing, and very superb; yet, it 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 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 man ner I should never have arrived at. But I was certain your taste was too well formed, to be pleased at the expence of your understanding."

" Pardie, " 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, pry'thee, friend," (turning to the person who ex plained the devices) "will you tell me the use of all this? for I'm not enough of a conjurer to find it out."

"Use, indeed!" (repeated Madame Duval dis dainfully) "Lord, if every thing's to be useful!—"

"Why, Sir, as to that, Sir," said our con ductor, "the ingenuity of the mechanism,—the beauty of the workmanship,—the—undoubt edly, Sir, any person of taste may easily discern the utility of such extraordinary performances."

98 "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, who 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, pry'thee give it us without the birds; for, d'ye see, I'm no French man, and should relish something more substan tial."

This entertainment concluded with a concert of mechanical music: I cannot explain how it was produced, but the effect was pleasing. Ma dame Duval was in extacies; 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 99 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 encrease 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.

LETTER XX. 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, ere Lord Orville, who 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 Madame Duval was absent, as we hoped for the enjoyment of some conversation, uninterrupted by her quarrels with the Captain: but I soon 100 found that her presence would have made very little alteration, for so 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 ex tremely indelicate,—to use the softest word I can,—that Miss Mirvan and I were perpetually out of countenance, and could neither make any ob servations ourselves, nor venture to listen to those of others. This was the more 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 fop pery and impertinence I was so much teazed 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 speak ing 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 thou sand 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 con vinced me he had studied this address, by way of making reprisals for my conduct at the ball: I therefore bowed slightly, but made no answer.

101 After a short silence, he again called my atten tion, by saying, in an easy, negligent way, "I think, Ma'am, you was never in town before?"

"No, Sir."

"So I did presume. Doubtless, Ma'am, every thing must be infinitely novel to you. Our cus toms, our manners, and les etiquettes de nous autres, can have very little 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 de lighted 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 An ville'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."

102 "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 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, en thusiasm 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 offi cer," said Sir Clement, "therefore let us call ano ther subject. Pray, Ladies, how have you been entertained with the play?"

103 "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's too good for them; for I'll maintain it's one of the best come dies in the language, and has more wit in one scene, than there is in all the new plays put toge ther."

"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 ac quaintance, 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 that you're alive! Well, faith, my friends should all think me dead and under ground, before I'd be at the expence for 'em. Howsomever, this here you may take from me;—they'll find you out fast enough, if you've any thing to give 'em. And so you've been here all this time, and don't know what the play was?"

104 "Why, really, Sir, a play requires so much attention,—it is scarcely possible to keep awake, if one listens;—for, indeed, by the time it is even ing, 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 would n't have found it out, if they had fob'd you off with a scraping of fidlers, 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's 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, chuse 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?"

105 "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 sur prize me!— mais, apparemment ce n'est qu'un façon à 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 ad mirably hit off, 'pon honour!"

I could almost have cried, that such imperti nence should be levelled at me; and yet, chagri ned 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 character 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's," added Lord Orville," "I will venture to say, that Angelica bestows her hand rather with the air of a benefactress, than with the ten terness of a mistress. Generosity without delicacy, 106 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 conversa tion ceased. Mr. Lovel finding we chose to attend to the players, lest 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 faid of Tattle and of Miss Prue, con vinced me that he really had listened to the play, though he was so ridiculous and foolish as to pre tend ignorance.

But how malicicious and impertinent in 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 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 Deuce is in him, which Lord Orville observed to be the most finish ed and elegant petite 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 107 sufficiently important for a duel, if his courage equalled his wrath.

I am terrified at the very idea. Good Heaven! that a man so weak and frivolous should be so re vengeful! However! if bravery would have exci ted him to affront Lord Orville, how much rea son have I to rejoice, that cowardice makes him contented 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 a-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.

LETTER XXI. Evelina in continuation.

I HAVE a volume to write, of the adventures of yesterday.

In the afternoon,—at Berry Hill, I should have said the evening, for it was almost six o'clock,—while Miss Mirvan and I were dressing for the ope ra, and in high spirits, from the expectation of great entertainment and pleasure, we heard a car riage 108 stop at the door, and concluded that Sir Clement Willoughby, with his usual assiduity, was come to attend us to the Hay-market; but, in a few moments, what was our surprise, to see our chamber-door flung open, and the two Miss Brangh tons enter the room! They advanced to me with great familiarity, saying, "How do you do, cou sin?—so we've caught you at the glass!—well, I'm determined I'll tell my brother of that!"

Miss Mirvan, who had never before seen them, and could not, at first, imagine who they were, looked so much astonished, that I was ready to laugh myself, till the eldest said, "We're come to take you to the opera, Miss; papa and my brother are below, and we are to call for your grand-mama as we go along."

"I am very sorry," answered I, "that you should have taken so much trouble, as I am enga ged already."

"Engaged! Lord, Miss, never mind that," cried the youngest, "this young lady will make your excuses, I dare say; it's only doing as one would be done by, you know."

"Indeed, Ma'am," said Miss Mirvan, "I shall myself be very sorry to be deprived of Miss Anville's company this evening."

"Well, Miss, that is not so very good-natured in you," said Miss Branghton, "considering we only come to give our cousin pleasure; it's no good to us; it's all upon her account; for we came, I don't know how much round about to take her up."

"I am extremely obliged to you," said I, "and very sorry you have lost so much time; but I cannot possibly help it, for I engaged myself with out knowing you would call."

109 "Lord, what signifies that?" said Miss Polly, "you're no old maid, and so you need n't be so very formal: besides, I dare say those you are engaged to, a'n't half so near related to you as we are."

"I must beg you not to press me any further, for I assure you it is not in my power to attend you."

"Why we came all out of the city on purpose: besides, your grand-mama expects you;—and, pray, what are we to say to her?"

"Tell her, if you please, that I am much con cerned,—but that I am pre-engaged."

"And who to?" demanded the abrupt Miss Branghton.

"To Mrs. Mirvan,—and a large party."

"And, pray, what are you all going to do, that it would be such a mighty matter for you to come along with us?"

"We are going to—to the opera."

"O dear, if that be all, why can't we go all together?"

I was extremely disconcerted at this forward and ignorant behaviour, and yet their rudeness very much lessened my concern at refusing them. Indeed, their dress was such as would have rendered their scheme of accompanying our party impracticable, even if I had desired it; and this, as they did not them selves find out, I was obliged, in terms the least mortifying I could think of, to tell them.

They were very much chagrined, and asked where I should sit?

"In the pit," answered I.

"In the pit!" repeated Miss Branghton, "well, really, I must own I should never have supposed that my gown was not good enough for the pit: but come, Polly, let's go; if Miss does not think 110 us fine enough for her, why to be sure she may chuse."

Surprised at this ignorance, I would have ex plained to them that the pit at the opera required the same dress as the boxes; but they were so much affronted, they would not hear me, and, in great dis pleasure, left the room, saying they would not have troubled me, only they thought I should not be so proud with my own relations, and that they had at least as good a right to my company as strangers.

I endeavoured to apologize, and would have sent a long message to Madame Duval; but they has tened away without listening to me; and I could not follow them down stairs, because I was not dressed. The last words I heard them say, were, "Well, her grand-mama will be in a fine passion, that's one good thing."

Though I was extremely mad at this visit, yet I so heartily rejoiced at their going, that I would not suffer myself to think gravely about it.

Soon after, Sir Clement actually came, and we all went down stairs. Mrs. Mirvan ordered tea; and we were engaged in a very lively conversation, when the servant announced Madame Duval, who in stantly followed him into the room.

Her face was the colour of scarlet, and her eyes sparkled with fury. She came up to me with a hasty step, saying, "So, Miss, you refuses to come to me, do you? And pray who are you, to dare to disobey me?"

I was quite frightened;—I made no answer;—I even attempted to rise, and could not, but sat still, mute and motionless.

Every body, but Miss Mirvan, seemed in the ut most astonishment; and the Captain, raising and approaching Madame Duval, with a voice of au thority, 111 said, "Why how now, Mrs. Turkey Cock, what's put you into this here fluster?"

"It's nothing to you," answered she, "so you may as well hold your tongue, for I sha'n't be called to no account by you, I assure you."

"There you're out, Madam Fury," returned he, "for you must know I never suffer any body to be in a passion in my house, but myself."

"But you shall, " cried she, in a great rage, "for I'll be in as great a passion as ever I please, without asking your leave, so don't give yourself no more airs about it. And as for you, Miss," again advancing to me "I order you to follow me this moment, or else I'll make you repent it all your life." And, with these words, she flung out of the room.

I was in such extreme terror at being addressed and threatened in a manner to which I am so wholly unused, that I almost thought I should have fainted.

"Don't be alarmed, my love," cried Mrs. Mir van, "but stay where you are, and I will follow Madame Duval, and try to bring her to reason."

Miss Mirvan took my hand, and most kindly endeavoured to raise my spirits: Sir Clement, too, approached me, with an air so interested in my dis tress, that I could not but feel myself obliged to him; and, taking my other hand, said, "For Heaven's sake, my dear Madam, compose your self; surely the violence of such a wretch ought merely to move your contempt: she can have no right, I imagine, to lay her commands upon you, and I only wish that you would allow me leave to speak to her."

"O no! not for the world! indeed, I believe,—I am afraid—I had better follow her."

"Follow her! Good God, my dear Miss An ville, would you trust yourself with a mad woman? 112 for what else can you call a creature whose pas sions are so insolent? No, no; send her word at once to leave the house, and tell her you desire that she will never see you again."

"O Sir! you don't know who you talk of!—it would ill become me to send Madame Duval such a message."

"But why, " cried he, (looking very inquisitive,) " why should you scruple to treat her as she de serves?"

I then found that his aim was to discover the nature of her connection with me; but I felt so much ashamed of my near relationship to her, that I could not persuade myself to answer him, and only entreated that he would leave her to Mrs. Mirvan, who just then entered.

Before she could speak to me, the Captain called out, "Well, Goody, what have you done with Madame French? is she cooled a little? 'cause, if she be n't, I've just thought of a most excellent device to bring her to."

"My dear Evelina," said Mrs. Mirvan, "I have been vainly endeavouring to appease her; I pleaded your engagement, and promised your fu ture attendance: but I am sorry to say, my love, that I fear her rage will end in a total breach (which I think you had better avoid) if she is any further opposed."

"Then I will go to her, Madam," cried I, "and, indeed, it is now no matter, for I should not be able to recover my spirits sufficiently to enjoy much pleasure any where this evening."

Sir Clement began a very warm expostulation, and entreaty, that I would not go; but I begged him to desist, and told him, very honestly, that, if my compliance were not indispensably necessary, 113 I should require no persuasion to stay. He then took my hand, to lead me down stairs; but the Captain desired him to be quiet, saying he would 'squire me himself, "because," he added exult ingly rubbing his hands,) "I have a wipe ready for the old lady, which may serve her to chew as she goes along."

We found her in the parlour. "O, you're come at last, Miss, are you?—fine airs you give yourself, indeed!— ma foi, if you had n't come, you might have stayed, I assure you, and have been a beggar for your pains."

"Heyday, Madam," cried the Captain, pranc ing forward, with a look of great glee,) "what, a'n't you got out of that there passion yet? why then, I'll tell you what to do to cool yourself; call upon your old friend, Monsieur Slippery, who was with you at Ranelagh, and give my service to him, and tell him, if he sets any store by your health, that I desire he'll give you such another souse as he did before: he'll know what I mean, and I'll war rant you he'll do't for my sake."

"Let him, if he dares!" cried Madame Duval; "but I sha'n't stay to answer you no more; you are a vulgar fellow,—and so, child, let us leave him to himself."

"Hark ye, Madam," cried the Captain, "you'd best not call names, because, d'ye see, if you do, I shall make bold to show you the door."

She changed colour, and, saying, " Pardie, I can shew it myself," hurried out of the room, and I followed her into a hackney-coach. But, be fore we drove off, the Captain, looking out of the parlour window, called out, "D'ye hear, Madam,—don't forget my message to Monsieur."

114 You will believe, our ride was not the most agreeable in the world; indeed, it would be dif ficult to say which was least pleased, Madame Du val or me, though the reasons of our discontent were so different: however, Madame Duval soon got the start of me; for we had hardly turned out of Queen-Anne-street, when a man, running full speed, stopt the coach. He came up to the win dow, and I saw he was the Captain's servant. He had a broad grin on his face, and panted for breath. Madame Duval demanded his business; "Ma dam," answered he, "my master desires his com pliments to you, and—and—and he says he wishes it well over with you. He! he! he!—"

Madame Duval instantly darted forward, and gave him a violent blow on the face; "Take that back for your answer, sirrah," cried she, "and learn to grin at your betters another time. Coach man, drive on!"

The servant was in a violent passion, and swore terribly; but we were soon out of hearing.

The rage of Madame Duval was greater than ever, and she inveighed against the Captain with such fury, that I was even apprehensive she would have returned to his house, purposely to reproach him, which she repeatedly threatened to do; nor would she, I believe, have hesitated a moment, but that, notwithstanding her violence, he has really made her afraid of him.

When we came to her lodgings, we found all the Branghtons in the passage, impatiently waiting for us, with the door open.

"Only see, here's Miss!" cried the brother.

"Well, I declare I thought as much!" said the younger sister.

115 "Why, Miss," said Mr. Branghton, "I think you might as well have come with your cousins at once; it's throwing money in the dirt, to pay two coaches for one fare."

"Lord, father," cried the son, "make no words about that; for I'll pay for the coach that Miss had."

"O, I know very well," answered Mr. Brangh ton, "that you're always more ready to spend than to earn."

I then interfered, and begged that I might my self be allowed to pay the fare, as the expence was incurred upon my account; they all said no, and proposed that the same coach should carry us on to the opera.

While this passed, the Miss Branghtons were examining my dress, which, indeed, was very improper for my company; and, as I was ex tremely unwilling to be so conspicuous amongst them, I requested Madame Duval to borrow a hat or bonnet for me of the people of the house. But she never wears either herself, and thinks them very English and barbarous; therefore she insisted that I should go full dressed, as I had pre pared myself for the pit, though I made many objections.

We were then all crowded into the same carri age; but when we arrived at the opera-house, I contrived to pay the coachman. They made a great many speeches; but Mr. Branghton's reflec tion had determined me not to be indebted to him.

If I had not been too much chagrined to laugh, I should have been extremely diverted at their ig norance of whatever belongs to an opera. In the first place, they could not tell at what door we 116 ought to enter, and we wandered about for some time, without knowing which way to turn: they did not chuse to apply to me, though I was the only person of the party who had ever before been at an opera; because they were unwilling to suppose that their country cousin, as they were pleas ed to call me, should be better acquainted with any London public place than themselves. I was very indifferent and careless upon this subject, but not a little uneasy at finding my dress, so different from that of the company to which I belonged, attracted general notice and observation.

In a short time however we arrived at one of the door-keeper's bars. Mr. Branghton demand ed for what part of the house they took money? They answered the pit, and regarded us all with great earnestness. The son then advancing, said, "Sir, if you please, I beg that I may treat Miss."

"We'll settle that another time," answered Mr. Branghton, and put down a guinea.

Two tickets of admission were given to him.

Mr. Branghton, in his turn, now stared at the door-keeper, and demanded what he meant by giving him only two tickets for a guinea?

"Only two, Sir!" said the man, "why don't you know that the tickets are half a guinea each?"

"Half a guinea each!" repeated Mr. Brangh ton, "why I never heard of such a thing in my life! And pray, Sir, how many will they admit?"

"Just as usual, Sir, one person each."

"But one person for half a guinea!—why I only want to sit in the pit, friend."

"Had not the Ladies better sit in the gallery, Sir; for they'll hardly chuse to go into the pit with their hats on?"

117 "O, as to that," cried Miss Branghton, "if our hats are too high, we'll take them off when we get in. I sha'n't mind it, for I did my hair on purpose."

Another party then approaching, the door-keeper coul no longer attend to Mr. Branghton, who, tak ing up the guinea, told him it should be long enough before he'd see it again, and walked away.

The young ladies, in some confusion, expressed their surprise, that their papa should not know the opera prices, which for their parts they had read in the papers a thousand times.

"The price of stocks" said he, "is enough for me to see after; and I took it for granted it was the same thing here as at the play-house."

"I knew well enough what the price was," said the son, "but I would not speak, because I thought perhaps they'd take less, as we're such a large party."

The sisters both laughed very contemptuously at this idea, and asked him if he ever heard of people's abating any thing at a public place?

"I don't know whether I have or no," an swered he, "but I'm sure if they would, you'd like it so much the worse."

"Very true, Tom, cried Mr. Branghton; "tell a woman that any thing is reasonable, and she'll be sure to hate it."

"Well," said Miss Polly, "I hope that Aunt and Miss will be of our side, for Papa always takes part with Tom."

"Come, come," cried Madam Duval, "if you stand talking here, we sha'n't get no place at all."

Mr. Branghton then enquired the way to the gal lery, and, when we came to the door-keeper, de manded what was to pay.

118 "The usual price, Sir," said the man.

"Then give me change," cried Mr. Branghton, again putting down his guinea.

"For how many, Sir?"

"Why—let's see,—for six."

"For six, Sir? why you've given me but a guinea."

" But a guinea! why how much would you have? I suppose it i'n't half a guinea apiece here too?"

"No, Sir, only five shillings."

Mr. Branghton again took up his unfortunate guinea, and protested he would submit to no such imposition. I then proposed that we should return home, but Madame Duval would not consent, and we were conducted, by a woman who sells books of the Opera, to another gallery-door, where, after some disputing, Mr. Branghton at last paid, and we all went up stairs.

Madame Duval complained very much of the trouble of going so high, but Mr. Branghton de sired her not to hold the place too cheap, "for, whatever you may think," cried he, "I assure you I paid pit price; so don't suppose I come here to save my money."

"Well, to be sure," said Miss Branghton, "there's no judging of a place by the outside, else, I must needs say, there's nothing very extraordi nary in the stair-case."

But, when we entered the gallery, their amaze ment and disappointment became general. For a few instants, they looked at one another without speaking, and then they all broke silence at once.

"Lord, Papa, exclaimed Miss Polly, "why you have brought us to the one-shilling gallery!"

119 "I'll be glad to give you two shillings, though," answered he, "to pay. I was never so fooled out of my money before, since the hour of my birth. Either the door-keeper's a knave, or this is the greatest imposition that ever was put upon the public."

" Ma foi, " cried Madame Duval, "I never sat in such a mean place in all my life;—why it's as high!—we sha'n't see nothing."

"I thought, at the time," said Mr. Branghton, "that three shillings was an exorbitant price for a place in the gallery, but as we'd been asked so much more at the other doors, why I paid it with out many words; but then, to be sure, thinks I, it never can be like any other gallery,—we shall see some crinkum-crankum or other for our money;—but I find it's as arrant a take-in as ever I met with."

"Why it's as like the twelvepenny gallery at Drury-lane," cried the son, "as two peas are one to another. I never knew father so bit before."

"Lord, "said Miss Branghton, "I thought it would have been quite a fine place,—all over I don't know what,—and done quite in taste."

In this manner they continued to express their dissatisfaction till the curtain drew up; after which, their observations were very curious. They made no allowance for the customs, or even for the lan guage of another country, but formed all their re marks upon comparisons with the English theatre.

Notwithstanding all my vexation at having been forced into a party so very disagreeabl, and that, too, from one so much •… so very much the con trary—yet, would they have suffered me to listen, I should have forgotten every thing unpleasant, and selt nothing but delight, in hearing the sweet voice 120 of Signor Millico, the first singer; but they tor mented me with continual talking."

"What a jabbering they make!" cried Mr. Branghton; "there's no knowing a word they say. Pray what's the reason they can't as well sing in English?—but I suppose the fine folks would not like it, if they could understand it."

"How unnatural their action is!" said the son; "why now who ever saw an Englishman put him self in such out-of-the-way postures?"

"For my part," said Miss Polly, "I think it's very pretty, only I don't know what it means."

"Lord, what does that signify?" cried her sister; "mayn't one like a thing without being so very particular?—You may see that Miss likes it, and I don't suppose she knows more of the matter than we do."

A gentleman, soon after, was so obliging as to make room in the front row for Miss Branghton and me. We had no sooner seated ourselves, than Miss Branghton exclaimed, "Good gracious! only see!—why, Polly, all the people in the pit are without hats, dressed like any thing!"

"Lord, so they are, cried Miss Polly, "well, I never saw the like!—it's worth coming to the Opera if one saw nothing else."

I was then able to distinguish the happy party I had left; and I saw that Lord Orville had seated himself next to Mrs. Mirvan. Sir Clement had his eyes perpetually cast towards the five shilling gallery, where I suppose he concluded that we were seated; however, before the Opera was over, I have reason to believe that he had discovered me, high and distant as I was from him. Pro bably he distinguished me by my head-dress.

121 At the end of the first act, as the green curtain dropped, to prepare for the dance, they imagined that the Opera was done, and Mr. Branghton ex pressed great indignation that he had been tricked out of his money with so little trouble. "Now if any Englishman was to do such an impudent thing as this," said he, "why he'd be pelted;—but here, one of these outlandish gentry may do just what he pleases, and come on, and squeak out a song or two, and then pocket your money with out further ceremony."

However, so determined he was to be dissatis fied, that, before the conclusion of the third act, he found still more fault with the Opera for being too long, and wondered whether they thought their singing good enough to serve us for supper.

During the symphony of a song of Signor Mil lico's, in the second act, young Mr. Branghton said, "It's my belief that that fellow's going to sing another song!—why there's nothing but sing ing!—I wonder when they'll speak."

This song, which was slow and pathetic, caught all my attention, and I leaned my head forward to avoid hearing their observations, that I might listen without interruption; but, upon turning round, when the song was over, I found that I was the object of general diversion to the whole party; for the Miss Branghtons were tittering, and the two gentlemen making signs and faces at me, implying their contempt of my affectation.

This discovery determined me to appear as in attentive as themselves; but I was very much pro voked at being thus prevented enjoying the only pleasure, which, in such a party, was within my power.

122 "So, Miss," said Mr. Branghton, "you're quite in the fashion, I see;—so you like Operas? well, I'm not so polite; I can't like nonsense, let it be never so much the taste."

"But pray, Miss, said the son, "what makes that fellow look so doleful while he's singing?"

"Probably because the character he performs is in distress."

"Why then I think he might as well let alone singing till he's in better cue: it's out of all nature for a man to be piping when he's in distress. For my part, I never sing but when I'm merry; yet I love a song as well as most people."

When the curtain dropt, they all rejoiced.

"How do you like it?—and how do you like it?" passed from one to another with looks of the utmost contempt. "As for me," said Mr. Brangh ton, "they've caught me once, but if ever they do again, I'll give 'em leave to sing me to Bedlam for my pains: for such a heap of stuff never did I hear; there is n't one ounce of sense in the whole Opera, nothing but one continued squeaking and squalling from beginning to end."

"If I had been in the pit," said Madame Du val, "I should have liked it vastly, for music is my passion; but sitting in such a place as this, is quite unbearable."

Miss Branghton, looking at me, declared, that she was not genteel enough to admire it.

Miss Polly confessed, that, if they would but sing English, she should like it very well.

The brother wished he could raise a riot in the house, because then he might get his money again.

And, finally, they all agreed, that it was mon strous dear.

123 During the last dance, I perceived, standing near the gallery-door, Sir Clement Willoughby. I was extremely vexed, and would have given the world to have avoided being seen by him: my chief objection was, from the apprehension that he wou'd hear Miss Branghton call me cousin. —I fear you will think this London journey has made me grow very proud, but indeed this family is so low-bred and vulgar, that I should be equally ashamed of such a connexion in the country, or any where. And really I had already been so much chagrined that Sir Clement had been a witness of Madame Duval's power over me, that I could not bear to be exposed to any further mortification.

As the seats cleared, by parties going away, Sir Clement approached nearer to us; the Miss Branghtons observed with surprise, what a fine gentleman was come into the gallery, and they gave me great reason to expect, that they would endeavour to attract his notice, by familiarity with me, whenever he should join us; and so, I formed a sort of plan, to prevent any conversation. I am afraid you will think it wrong; and so I do myself, now,—but, at the time, I only considered how I might avoid immediate humiliation.

As soon as he was within two seats of us, he spoke to me, "I am very happy, Miss Anville, to have sound you, for the Ladies below have each an humble attendant, and therefore I am come to offer my services here."

"Why then," cried I, (not without hesitating) "if you please,—I will join them."

"Will you allow me the honour of conducting you?" cried he eagerly; and, instantly taking my hand, he would have marched away with me: but I turned to Madame Duval, and said, "As our 124 party is so large, Madam, if you will give me leave, I will go down to Mrs. Mirvan, that I may not crowd you in the coach."

And then, without waiting for an answer, I suffered Sir Clement to hand me out of the gal lery.

Madame Duval, I doubt not, will be very an gry, and so I am with myself, now, and therefore I cannot be surprised: but Mr. Branghton, I am sure, will easily comfort himself, in having escaped the additional coach expence of carrying me to Queen-Ann-street; as to his daughters, they had no time to speak, but I saw they were in utter amazement.

My intention was to join Mrs. Mirvan, and accompany her home. Sir Clement was in high spirits and good humour; and, all the way we went, I was fool enough to rejoice in secret at the success of my plan; nor was it till I got down stairs, and amidst the servants, that any difficulty occurred to me of meeting with my friends.

I then asked Sir Clement how I should contrive to acquaint Mrs. Mirvan that I had left Madame Duval?

"I fear it will be almost impossible to find her, answered he; "but you can have no objec tion to permitting me to see you safe home."

He then desired his servant, who was waiting, to order his chariot to draw up.

This quite startled me; I turned to him hastily, and said that I could not think of going away without Mrs. Mirvan.

"But how can we meet with her?" cried he; "you will not chuse to go into the pit yourself; I cannot send a servant there; and it is impossible for me to go and leave you alone?"

125 The truth of this was indisputable, and totally silenced me. Yet, as soon as I could recollect my self, I determined not to go in his chariot, and told him I believed I had best return to my party up stairs.

He would not hear of this; and earnestly en treated me not to withdraw the trust I had repo sed in him.

While he was speaking, I saw Lord Orville, with several ladies and gentlemen, coming from the pit passage: unfortunately, he saw me too, and, leaving his company, advanced instantly to wards me, and, with an air and voice of surprise, said, "Good God, do I see Miss Anville!"

I now most severely felt the folly of my plan, and the aukwardness of my situation; however, I hastened to tell him, though in a hesitating manner, that I was waiting for Mrs. Mirvan! but what was my disappointment, when he acquainted me that she was already gone home!

I was inexpressibly distressed; to suffer Lord Orville to think me satisfied with the single pro tection of Sir Clement Willoughby, I could not bear; yet I was more than ever averse to return ing to a party which I dreaded his seeing: I stood some moments in suspense, and could not help ex claiming, "Good Heaven, what can I do!"

"Why, my dear Madam," cried Sir Clement, "should you be thus uneasy?—you will reach Queen-Ann street almost as soon as Mrs. Mirvan, and I am sure you cannot doubt being as safe."

I made no answer, and Lord Orville then said, "My coach is here; and my servants are ready to take any commands Miss Anville will honour me with for them. I shall myself go home in a chair, and therefore—"

126 How grateful did I feel for a proposal so conside rate, and made with so much delicacy! I should gladly have accepted it, had I been permitted, but Sir Clement would not let him even finish his speech; he interrupted him with evident displea sure, and said, "My Lord, my own chariot is now at the door."

And just then the servant came, and told him the carriage was ready. He begged to have the honour of conducting me to it, and would have taken my hand, but I drew it back, saying, "I can't—I can't indeed! pray go by yourself—and as to me, let me have a chair."

"Impossible!" (cried he with vehemence) "I cannot think of trusting you with strange chairmen,—I cannot answer it to Mrs. Mirvan,—come, dear Madam, we shall be home in five minutes."

Again I stood suspended. With what joy would I then have compromised with my pride, to have been once more with Madame Duval and the Branghtons, provided I had not met with Lord Orville! However, I flatter myself that he not only saw, but pitied my embarrassment, for he said, in a tone of voice unusually softened, "To offer my services in the presence of Sir Clement Willoughby would be superfluous; but I hope I need not assure Miss Anville, how happy it would make me to be of the least use to her."

I courtsied my thanks. Sir Clement with great eagerness pressed me to go; and while I was thus uneasily deliberating what to do, the dance, I sup pose, finished, for the people crowded down stairs. Had Lord Orville then repeated his offer, I should have accepted it, notwithstanding Sir Clement's re pugnance; but I fancy he thought it would be im pertinent. In a very few minutes I heard Madame 127 Duval's voice, as she descended from the gallery; "Well," cried I, hastily, "if I must go—". I stopt, but Sir Clement immediately handed me into his chariot, called out "Queen-Ann-street," and then jumped in himself. Lord Orville, with a bow and a half smile, wished me good night.

My concern was so great, at being seen and left by Lord Orville in so strange a situation, that I should have been best pleased to have remained wholly silent during our ride home: but Sir Cle ment took care to prevent that.

He began by making many complaints of my unwillingness to trust myself with him, and begged to know what could be the reason. This question so much embarrassed me, that I could not tell what to answer, but only said, that I was sorry to have taken up so much of his time.

"O Miss Anville," (cried he, taking my hand) "if you knew with what transport I would dedicate to you not only the present but all the future time allotted to me, you would not injure me by making such an apology."

I could not think of a word to say to this, nor to a great many other equally fine speeches with which he ran on, though I would fain have with drawn my hand, and made almost continual at tempts; but in vain, for he actually grasped it be tween both his, without any regard to my resist ance.

Soon after, he said that he believed the coach man was going the wrong way, and he called to his servant, and gave him directions. Then ad dressing himself to me, "How often, how assidu ously have I sought an opportunity of speaking to you, without the presence of that brute Captain Mirvan! Fortune has now kindly favoured me 128 with one, and permit me," (again seizing my hand) "permit me to use it, in telling you that I adore you!"

I was quite thunderstruck at this abrupt and un expected declaration. For some moments I was silent, but, when I recovered from my surprise, I said, "Indeed, Sir, if you were determined to make me repent leaving my own party so foolishly, you have very well succeeded."

"My dearest life," cried he, "is it possible you can be so cruel? Can your nature and your countenance be so totally opposite? Can the sweet bloom upon those charming cheeks, which appears as much the result of good-humour as of beau ty—"

"O, Sir, cried I, interrupting him, "this is very fine; but I had hoped we had had enough of this sort of conversation at the Ridotto, and I did not expect you would so soon resume it."

"What I then said, my sweet reproacher, was the effect of a mistaken, a prophane idea, that your understanding held no competition with your beauty; but now, now that I find you equally in comparable in both, all words, all powers of speech, are too feeble to express the admiration I feel of your excellencies."

"Indeed," cried I, "if you did not talk in one language, and think in another, you would never suppose that I could give credit to praise so very much above my desert."

This speech, which I made very gravely, occa sioned still stronger protestations, which he conti nued to pour forth, and I continued to disclaim, till I began to wonder that we were not in Queen-Ann-Street, and begged he would desire the coach man to drive faster.

129 "And does this little moment," cried he, "which is the first of happiness I have ever known, does it already appear so very long to you?"

"I am afraid the man has mistaken the way," answered I, "or else we should ere now have been at our journey's end. I must beg you will speak to him."

"And can you think me so much my own ene my?—if my good genius has inspired the man with a desire of prolonging my happiness, can you expect that I should counteract its indul gence?"

I now began to apprehend that he had himself ordered the man to go a wrong way, and I was so much alarmed at the idea, that, the very instant it occurred to me, I let down the glass, and made a sudden effort to open the chariot-door myself, with a view of jumping into the street; but he caught hold of me, exclaiming, "For Heaven's sake, what is the matter?"

"I—I don't know," cried I, (quite out of breath) "but I am sure the man goes wrong, and, if you will not speak to him, I am determined I will get out myself."

"You amaze me," answered he, (still holding me) "I cannot imagine what you apprehend. Surely you can have no doubts of my honour?"

He drew me towards him as he spoke. I was dreadfully frightened, and could hardly say, "No, Sir, no,—none at all,—only Mrs. Mirvan,—I think she will be uneasy."

"Whence this alarm, my dearest angel?—What can you fear?—my life is at your devo tion, and can you, then, doubt my protection?"

And so saying, he passionately kissed my hand.

130 Never, in my whole life, have I been so terri fied. I broke forcibly from him, and, putting my head out of the window, called aloud to the man to stop. Where we then were I knew not, but I saw not a human being, or I should have called for help.

Sir Clement, with great earnestness, endeavour ed to appease and compose me; "If you do not intend to murder me," cried I, "for mercy's, for pity's sake, let me get out!"

"Compose your spirits, my dearest life," cried he, "and I will do every thing you would have me." And then he called to the man himself, and bid him make haste to Queen-Ann-Street. "This stupid fellow," continued he, "has certainly mis taken my orders; but I hope you are now fully satisfied."

I made no answer, but kept my head at the window, watching which way he drove, but with out any comfort to myself, as I was quite unac quainted with either the right or the wrong.

Sir Clement now poured forth abundant protest ations of honour, and assurances of respect, en treating my pardon for having offended me, and beseeching my good opinion: but I was quite silent, having too much apprehension to make re proaches, and too much anger to speak without.

In this manner we went through several streets, till at last, to my great terror, he suddenly ordered the man to stop, and said, "Miss Anville, we are now within twenty yards of your house; but I cannot bear to part with you, till you generously forgive me for the offence you have taken, and pro mise not to make it known to the Mirvans."

I hesitated between fear and indignation.

131 "Your reluctance to speak, redoubles my con trition for having displeased you, since it shews the reliance I might have on a promise which you will not give without consideration."

"I am very, very much distressed," cried I, "you ask a promise which you must be sensible I ought not to grant, and yet dare not refuse."

"Drive on!" cried he to the coachman;— "Miss Anville, I will not compel you; I will ex act no promise, but trust wholly to your genero sity."

This rather softened me; which advantage he no sooner perceived, than he determined to avail himself of, for he flung himself on his knees, and pleaded with so much submission, that I was really obliged to forgive him, because his humili ation made me quite ashamed: and, after that, he would not let me rest till I gave him my word that I would not complain of him to Mrs. Mir van.

My own folly and pride, which had put me in his power, were pleas which I could not but at tend to in his favour. However, I shall take very particular care never to be again alone with him.

When, at last, we arrived at our house, I was so overjoyed, that I should certainly have pardoned him then, if I had not before. As he handed me up stairs, he scolded his servant aloud, and very angrily, for having gone so much out of the way. Miss Mirvan ran out to meet me,—and who should I see behind her, but—Lord Orville!

All my joy now vanished, and gave place to shame and confusion; for I could not endure that he should know how long a time Sir Clement and 132 I had been together, since I was not at liberty to assign any reason for it.

They all expressed great satisfaction at seeing me, and said they had been extremely uneasy and surprised that I was so long coming home, as they had heard from Lord Orville that I was not with Madame Duval. Sir Clement, in an affected passion, said that his booby of a servant had misunderstood his orders, and was driving us to the upper end of Piccadilly. For my part, I only coloured, for though I would not forfeit my word, I yet dis dained to confirm a tale in which I had myself no belief.

Lord Orville, with great politeness, congratu lated me that the troubles of the evening had so happily ended, and said, that he had found it im possible to return home, before he enquired after my safety.

In a very short time he took leave, and Sir Cle ment followed him. As soon as they were gone, Mrs. Mirvan, though with great softness, blamed me for having quitted Madame Duval. I assured her, and with truth, that for the future I would be more prudent.

The adventures of the evening so much discon certed me, that I could not sleep all night. I am under the most cruel apprehensions, left Lord Or ville should suppose my being on the gallery-stairs with Sir Clement was a concerted scheme, and even that our continuing so long together in his chariot, was with my approbation, since I did not say a word on the subject, nor express any dissatis faction at the coachman's pretended blunder.

Yet, his coming hither to wait our arrival, though it seems to imply some doubt, shews also some anxiety. Indeed Miss Mirvan says, that he 133 appeared extremely anxious, nay uneasy and impa tient for my return. If I did not fear to flatter myself, I should think it not impossible but that he had a suspicion of Sir Clement's design, and was therefore concerned for my safety.

What a long letter is this! however, I shall not write many more from London, for the Cap tain said this morning, that he would leave town on Tuesday next. Madame Duval will dine here to-day, and then she is to be told his intention.

I am very much amazed that she accepted Mrs. Mirvan's invitation, as she was in such wrath yes terday. I fear that to-day I shall myself be the principal object of her displeasure; but I must submit patiently, for I cannot defend myself.

Adieu, my dearest Sir. Should this letter be productive of any uneasiness to you, more than ever shall I repent the heedless imprudence which it recites.

LETTER XXII. Evelina in continuation.

MRS. Mirvan has just communicated to me an anecdote concerning Lord Orville, which has much surprised, half pleased, and half pained me.

While they were sitting together during the Opera, he told her that he had been greatly con cerned at the impertinence which the young lady under her protection had suffered from Mr. Lovel; but that he had the pleasure of assuring her, she had no future disturbance to apprehend from him.

134 Mrs. Mirvan, with great eagerness, begged he would explain himself, and said she hoped he had not thought so insignificant an affair worthy his se rious attention.

"There is nothing," answered he, "which re quires more immediate notice than impertinence, for it ever encroaches when it is tolerated." He then added, that he believed he ought to apologize for the liberty he had taken of interfering, but that, as he regarded himself in the light of a party concerned, from having had the honour of dancing with Miss Anville, he could not possibly reconcile to himself a patient neutrality.

He then proceeded to tell her, that he had waited upon Mr. Lovel the morning after the play; that the visit had proved an amicable one, but the particulars were neither entertaining nor necessary; he only assured her, Miss Anville might be perfectly easy, since Mr. Lovel had en gaged his honour never more to mention, or even to hint at what had passed at Mrs. Stanley's as sembly.

Mrs. Mirvan expressed her satisfaction at this conclusion, and thanked him for his polite atten tion to her young friend.

"It would be needless," said he, "to request that this affair may never transpire, since Mrs. Mir van cannot but see the necessity of keeping it in violably secret; but I thought it incumbent upon me, as the young lady is under your protection, to assure both you and her of Mr. Lovel's future respect."

Had I known of this visit previous to Lord Or ville's making it, what dreadful uneasiness would it have cost me! Yet that he should so much in terest himself in securing me from offence, gives 135 me, I must own, an internal pleasure greater than I can express, for I feared he had too contemp tuous an opinion of me, to take any trouble upon my account. Though, after all, this interference might rather be to satisfy his own delicacy, than from thinking well of me.

But how cool, how quiet is true courage! Who, from seeing Lord Orville at the play, would have imagined his resentment would have hazarded his life? yet his displeasure was evident, though his real bravery and his politeness equally guarded him from entering into any discussion in our presence.

Madame Duval, as I expected, was most ter ribly angry yesterday; she scolded me for I believe two hours, on account of having left her, and pro tested she had been so much surprised at my going, without giving her time to answer, that she hardly knew whether she was awake or asleep. But she assured me, that if ever I did so again, she would never more take me into public. And she expressed an equal degree of displeasure against Sir Clement, because he had not even spoken to her, and because he was always of the Captain's side in an argument. The Captain, as bound in honour, warmly de fended him, and then followed a dispute in the usual style.

After dinner, Mrs. Mirvan introduced the sub ject of our leaving London. Madame Duval said she should stay a month or two longer. The Cap tain told her she was welcome, but that he and his family should go into the country on Tuesday morning.

A most disagreeable scene followed; Madame Duval insisted upon keeping me with her; but Mrs. Mirvan said, that as I was actually engaged on a visit to Lady Howard, who had only consented to 136 my leaving her for a few days, she could not think of returning without me.

Perhaps if the Captain had not interfered, the good-breeding and mildness of Mrs. Mirvan might have had some effect upon Madame Duval; but he passes no opportunity of provoking her, and therefore made so many gross and rude speeches, all of which she retorted, that, in conclusion, she vowed she would sooner go to law, in right of her relationship, than that I should be taken away from her.

I heard this account from Mrs. Mirvan, who was so kindly considerate as to give me a pretence for quitting the room, as soon as this dispute begun, lest Madame Duval should refer to me, and insist on my obedience.

The final result of the conversation, was, that, to soften matters for the present, Madame Duval should make one in the party for Howard Grove, whither we are positively to go next Wednesday.

Mrs. Mirvan is now writing to Lady Howard, to excuse bringing this unexpected guest, and to prevent the disagreeable surprise, which must, otherwise, attend her reception. This dear lady seems eternally studying my happiness and advan tage.

To-night we go to the Pantheon, which is the last diversion we shall partake of in London, for to-morrow—

This moment, my dearest Sir, I have received your kind letter.

If you thought us too dissipated the first week, I almost fear to know what you will think of us 137 this second;—however, the Pantheon this even ing will probably be the last public place which I shall ever see.

The assurance of your support and protection in regard to Madame Duval, though what I never doubted, excites my utmost gratitude: how, in deed, cherished under your roof, the happy ob ject of your constant indulgence, how could I have borne to become the slave of her tyrannical hu mours?—pardon me that I speak so hardly of her, but, whenever the idea of passing my days with her occurs to me, the comparison which naturally fol lows, takes from me all that forbearance, which, I believe, I owe her.

You are already displeased with Sir Clement: to be sure, then, his behaviour after the opera will not make his peace with you. Indeed, the more I reflect upon it, the more angry I am. I was en tirely in his power, and it was cruel in him to cause me so much terror.

O my dearest Sir, were I but worthy the prayers and the wishes you offer for me, the utmost am bition of my heart would be fully satisfied! but I greatly fear you will find me, now that I am out of the reach of your assisting prudence, more weak and imperfect than you could have expected.

I have not now time to write another word, for I must immediately hasten to dress for the evening.

138 LETTER XXIII. Evelina in continuation.

THERE is something to me half melancholy in writing an account of our last adventures in London; however, as this day is merely appro priated to packing, and preparations for our journey, and as I shall shortly have no more adventures to write, I think I may as well complete my town journal at once. And, when you have it all to gether, I hope, my dear Sir, you will send me your observations and thoughts upon it to Howard Grove.

About eight o'clock we went to the Pantheon. I was extremely struck with the beauty of the building, which greatly surpassed whatever I could have expected or imagined. Yet, it has more the appearance of a chapel, than of a place of diver sion; and, though I was quite charmed with the magnificence of the room, I felt that I could not be as gay and thoughtless there as at Ranelagh, for there is something in it which rather inspires awe and solemnity, than mirth and pleasure. How ever, perhaps it may only have this effect upon such a novice as myself.

I should have said, that our party consisted only of Captain, Mrs. and Miss Mirvan, as Madame Duval spent the day in the city:—which I own I could not lament.

There was a great deal of company; but the first person we saw was Sir Clement Willoughby. He addressed us with his usual ease, and joined us 139 for the whole evening. I felt myself very uneasy in his presence; for I could not look at him, nor hear him speak, without recollecting the chariot adventure; but, to my great amazement, I ob served that he looked at me without the least ap parent discomposure, though certainly he ought not to think of his behaviour without blushing. I really wish I had not forgiven him, and then he could not have ventured to speak to me any more.

There was an exceeding good concert, but too much talking to hear it well. Indeed I am quite astonished to find how little music is attended to in silence; for though every body seems to admire, hardly any body listens.

We did not see Lord Orville, till we went into the tea-room, which is large, low, and under ground, and serves merely as a foil to the apart ments above; he then sat next to us; he seemed to belong to a large party, chiefly of ladies; but, among the gentlemen attending them, I perceived Mr. Lovel.

I was extremely irresolute whether or not I ought to make any acknowledgments to Lord Or ville for his generous conduct in securing me from the future impertinence of that man; and I thought, that as he had seemed to allow Mrs. Mirvan to ac quaint me, though no one else, of the measures which he had taken, he might perhaps suppose me ungrateful if silent: however I might have spared myself the trouble of deliberating, as I never once had the shadow of an opportunity of speaking unheard by Sir Clement. On the contrary, he was so exceedingly officious and forward, that I could not say a word to any body, but instantly he bent his head forward, with an air of profound at tention, as if I had addressed myself wholly to 140 him: and yet, I never once looked at him, and would not have spoken to him on any account.

Indeed, Mrs. Mirvan herself, though unac quainted with the behaviour of Sir Clement after the opera, says it is not right for a young woman to be seen so frequently in public with the same gentleman; and, if our stay in town was to be lengthened, she would endeavour to represent to the Captain the impropriety of allowing his con stant attendance; for Sir Clement, with all his easiness, could not be so eternally of our parties, if the Captain was less fond of his company.

At the same table with Lord Orville, sat a gen tleman,—I call him so only because he was at the same table,—who, almost from the moment I was seated, fixed his eyes stedfastly on my face, and never once removed them to any other object dur ing tea-time, notwithstanding my dislike of his star ing must, I am sure, have been very evident. I was quite surprised, that a man whose boldness was so offensive, could have gained admission into a party of which Lord Orville made one; for I na turally concluded him to be some low-bred, and uneducated man; and I thought my idea was in dubitably confirmed, when I heard him say to Sir Clement Willoughby, in an audible whisper, —which is a mode of speech very distressing and disagree able to by-standers,— "For Heaven's sake, Wil loughby, who is that lovely creature?"

But what was my amazement, when, listen ing attentively for the answer, though my head was turned another away, I heard Sir Clement say, "I am sorry I cannot inform your Lordship, but I am ignorant myself."

Lordship! —how extraordinary! that a nobleman, accustomed, in all probability, to the first rank 141 of company in the kingdom, from his earliest in fancy, can possibly be deficient in good manners, however faulty in morals and principles! Even Sir Clement Willoughby appeared modest in compa rison with this person.

During tea, a conversation was commenced up on the times, fashions, and public places, in which the company of both tables joined. It began by Sir Clement's enquiring of Miss Mirvan and of me if the Pantheon had answered our expectations.

We both readily agreed that it had greatly ex ceeded them.

"Ay, to be sure," said the Captain, "why you don't suppose they'd confess they did n't like it, do you? Whatever's the fashion, they must like of course;—or else I'd be bound for it they'd own, that there never was such a dull place as this here invented."

"And has, then, this building," said Lord Orville, "no merit that may serve to lessen your censure? Will not your eye, Sir, speak something in its favour?"

"Eye," cried the Lord, (I don't know his name,) "and is there any eye here, that can find any pleasure in looking at dead walls or statues, when such heavenly living objects as I now see demand all their admiration?"

"O, certainly," said Lord Orville, "the life less symmetry of architecture, however beautiful the design and proportion, no man would be so mad as to put in competition with the animated charms of nature: but when, as to-night, the eye may be regaled at the same time, and in one view, with all the excellence of art, and all the perfec tion of nature, I cannot think that either suffer by being seen together."

142 "I grant, my Lord," said Sir Clement, "that the cool eye of unimpassioned philosophy may view both with equal attention, and equal safety; but, where the heart is not so well guarded, it is apt to interfere, and render, even to the eye, all objects but one insipid and uninteresting."

"Aye, aye," cried the Captain, "you may talk what you will of your eye here, and your eye there, and, for the matter of that, to be sure you have two,—but we all know they both squint one way."

"Far be it from me," said Lord Orville, "to dispute the magnetic power of beauty, which ir resistibly draws and attracts whatever has soul and sympathy: and I am happy to acknowledge, that though we have now no gods to occupy a mansion professedly built for them, yet we have secured their better halves, for we have goddesses to whom we all most willingly bow down." And then, with a very droll air, he made a profound reve rence to the ladies.

"They'd need be goddesses with a vengeance," said the Captain, "for they're mortal dear to look at. Howsomever, I should be glad to know what you can see in e'er a face among them that's worth half a guinea for a sight."

"Half a guinea," exclaimed that same Lord, "I would give half I am worth, for a sight of only one, provided I make my own choice. And, prithee, how can money be better employed than in the service of fine women?"

"If the ladies of his own party can pardon the Captain's speech," said Sir Clement, "I think he has a fair claim to the forgiveness of all."

"Then you depend very much, as I doubt not but you may," said Lord Orville, "upon the ge neral 143 sweetness of the sex;—but, as to the ladies of the Captain's party, they may easily pardon, for they cannot be hurt."

"But they must have a devilish good conceit of themselves, though," said the Captain, "to believe all that. Howsomever, whether or no, I should be glad to be told, by some of you who seem to be knowing in them things, what kind of diversion can be found in such a place as this here, for one who has had, long ago, his full of face-hunting?"

Every body laughed, but nobody spoke.

"Why look you there, now," continued the Captain, "you're all at a dead stand!—not a man among you can answer that there question. Why, then, I must make bold to conclude, that you all come here for no manner of purpose but to stare at one another's pretty faces;—though, for the matter of that, half of 'em are plaguy ugly,—and, as to t'other half,—I believe it's none of God's manufactory."

"What the ladies may come hither for, Sir," said Mr. Lovel, (stroking his ruffles, and looking down,) "it would ill become us to determine; but as to we men, doubtless we can have no other view, than to admire them."

"If I be n't mistaken," cried the Captain, (looking earnestly in his face,) "you are that same person we saw at Love for Love t'other night;—be n't you?"

Mr. Lovel bowed.

"Why then, Gentlemen," continued he, with a loud laugh, "I must tell you a most excellent good joke;—when all was over, as sure as you're alive, he asked what the play was! Ha, ha, ha!"

144 "Sir," said Mr Lovel, colouring, "if you were as much used to a town life as I am,—which, I presume, is not precisely the case,—I fancy you would not find so much diversion from a circum stance so common."

"Common! what, is it common?" repeated the Captain; "why then, 'fore George, such chaps are more fit to be sent to school, and well disciplined with a cat o' nine tails, than to poke their heads into a play-house. Why, a play is the only thing left, now-a-days, that has a grain of sense in it; for as to all the rest of your public places, d'ye see, if they were all put together, I would n't give that for 'em!" snapping his fingers. "And now we're talking of them sort of things, there's your operas,—I should like to know, now, what any of you can find to say for them."

Lord Orville, who was most able to have an swered, seemed by no means to think the Captain worthy an argument, upon a subject concerning which he had neither knowledge nor feeling: but, turning to us, he said, "The ladies are silent, and we seem to have engrossed the conversation to our selves, in which we are much more our own ene mies than theirs. But," addressing himself to Miss Mirvan and me, "I am most desirous to hear the opinions of these young ladies, to whom all public places must, as yet, be new."

We both, and with eagerness, declared that we had received as much, if not more pleasure, at the opera than any where: but we had better have been silent; for the Captain, quite displeased, said, what signifies asking them girls? Do you think they know their own minds yet? Ask 'em after any thing that's called diversion, and you're sure they'll say it's vastly fine;—they are set of 145 parrots, and speak by rote, for they all say the same thing: but ask 'em how they like making puddings and pies, and I'll warrant you'll pose 'em. As to them operas, I desire I may hear no more of their liking such monsense; and for you, Moll," to his daughter, "I charge you, as you value my favour, that you'll never again be so impertinent as to have a taste of your own before my face. There are fools enough in the world, without your adding to their number. I'll have no daugh ter of mine affect them sort of megrims. It is a shame they a'n't put down; and if I'd my will, there's not a magistrate in this town, but should be knocked of the head for suffering them. If you've a mind to praise any thing, why you may praise a play, and welcome, for I like it my self."

This reproof effectually silenced us both for the rest of the evening. Nay, indeed, for some mi nutes it seemed to silence every body else; till Mr. Lovel, not willing to lose an opportunity of re turning the Captain's sarcasm, said, "Why, really, Sir, it is but natural, to be most pleased with what is most familiar, and, I think, of all our diversi ons, there is not one so much in common between us and the country, as a play. Not a village but has its barns and comedians; and as for the stage business, why it may be pretty equally done any where; and even in regard to us, and the canaille, confined as we all are within the semi-circle of a theatre, there is no place where the distinction is less obvious."

While the Captain seemed considering for Mr. Lovel's meaning, Lord Orville, probably with a view to prevent his finding it, changed the subject 146 to Cox's Museum, and asked what he thought of it?

"Think!—" said he, "why I think as how it i'n't worth thinking about. I like no such jem cracks. It is only fit, in my mind, for monkeys,—though, for I aught I know, they too might turn up their noses at it."

"May we ask your Lordship's own opinion?" said Mrs. Mirvan.

"The mechanism," answered he, "is wonder fully ingenious: I am sorry it is turned to no bet ter account; but its purport is so frivolous, so very remote from all aim at instruction or utility, that the sight of so fine a shew, only leaves a regret on the mind, that so much work, and so much inge nuity, should not be better bestowed."

"The truth is," said the Captain, "that in all this huge town, so full as it is of folks of all sorts, there i'n't so much as one public place, be sides the play-house, where a man, that's to say a man who is a man, ought not to be ashamed to shew his face. T'other day, they got me to a ridotto; but I believe it will be long enough be fore they get me to another. I knew no more what to do with myself, than if my ship's company had been metamorphosed into Frenchmen. Then, again, there's your famous Ranelagh, that you make such a fuss about,—why what a dull place is that!—its the worst of all."

"Ranelagh dull!"—"Ranelagh dull!" was echoed from mouth to mouth, and all the ladies, as if of one accord, regarded the Captain with looks of the most ironical contempt.

"As to Ranelagh," said Mr. Lovel, "most indubitably, though the price is plebeian, it is by no means adapted to the plebeian taste. It requires 147 a certain acquaintance with high life, and—and—and something of—of—something d'un vrai goût, to be really sensible of its merit. Those whose—whose connections, and so forth, are not among les gens comme il faut, can feel nothing but ennui at such a place as Ranelagh.

"Ranelagh!" cried Lord —, "O, 'tis the divinest place under heaven,—or, indeed,—for aught I know —."

"O you creature!" cried a pretty, but affect ed young lady, patting him with her fan, "you shan't talk so; I know what you are going to say; but, positively, I won't sit by you, if you're so wicked."

"And how can one sit by you, and be good?" said he, "when only to look at you is enough to make one wicked—or wish to be so?"

"Fie, my Lord!" returned she, "you are really insufferable. I don't think I shall speak to you again these seven years."

"What a metamorphosis," cried Lord Orville, "should you make a patriarch of his Lord ship!"

"Seven years!" said he: "dear Madam, be contented with telling me you will not speak to me after seven years, and I will endeavour to sub mit."

"O, very well, my Lord," answered she, "pray date the end of our speaking to each other as early as you please, I'll promise to agree to your time."

"You know, dear Madam," said he, sip ping his tea, "you know I only live in your sight."

148 "O yes, my Lord, I have long known that. But I begin to fear we shall be too late for Ranelagh this evening."

"O no, Madam," said Mr. Lovel, looking at his watch, "it is but just past ten."

"No more!" cried she, "O then we shall do very well."

All the ladies then started up, and declared they had no time to lose.

"Why what the D—l," cried the Captain, (leaning forward with both his arms on the ta ble,) are you going to Ranelagh at this time of night?"

The ladies looked at one another, and smiled.

"To Ranelagh?" cried Lord —, "Yes, and I hope you are going too; for we cannot possi bly excuse these ladies."

"I go to Ranelagh?—if I do, I'll be —."

Every body now stood up, and the stranger Lord, coming round to me, said, " You go, I hope?"

"No, my Lord, I believe not."

"O you cannot, must not be so barbarous." And he took my hand, and ran on saying such fine speeches and compliments, that I might almost have supposed myself a goddess, and him a pagan, paying me adoration. As soon as I possibly could, I drew back my hand; but he frequently, in the course of conversation, contrived to take it again, though it was extremely disagreeable to me; and the more so, as I saw that Lord Orville had his eyes fixed upon us, with a gravity of attention that made me uneasy.

And, surely, my dear Sir, it was a great liberty in this Lord, notwithstanding his rank, to treat me 149 so freely. As to Sir Clement, he seemed in mise ry.

They all endeavoured to prevail with the Captain to join the Ranelagh party; and this Lord told me, in a low voice, that it was tearing his heart out to go without me.

During this conversation, Mr. Lovel came for ward, and assuming a look of surprise, made me a bow, and enquired how I did, protesting, upon his honour, that he had not seen me before, or would sooner have paid his respects to me.

Though his politeness was evidently constrained, yet I was very glad to be thus assured of having nothing more to fear from him.

The Captain, far from listening to their persua sions of accompanying them to Ranelagh, was quite in a passion at the proposal, and vowed he would sooner go to the Black-hole in Calcutta.

"But," said Lord —, "if the ladies will take their tea at Ranelagh, you may depend upon our seeing them safe home, for we shall all be proud of the honour of attending them."

"May be so," said the Captain; "but I'll tell you what, if one of these places be n't enough for them to-night, why to-morrow they shall go to ne'er a one."

We instantly declared ourselves very ready to go home.

"It is not for yourselves that we petition," said Lord —, "but for us; if you have any charity, you will not be so cruel as to deny us; we only beg you to prolong our happiness for a few mi nutes,—the favour is but a small one for you to grant, though so great a one for us to receive."

"To tell you a piece of my mind," said the Captain, surlily, "I think you might as well not 150 give the girls so much of this palaver: they'll take it all for gospel. As to Moll, why she's well enough, but nothing extraordinary, though, per haps, you may persuade her that her pug-nose is all the fashion: and as to the other, why she's good white and red, to be sure; but what of that?—I'll warrant she'll moulder away as fast as her neighbours."

"Is there," cried Lord —, "another man in this place, who, seeing such objects, could make such a speech?"

"As to that there," returned the Captain, "I don't know whether there be or no, and, to make free, I don't care; for I sha'n't go for to model myself by any of these fair-weather chaps, who dare not so much as say their souls are their own,—and, for aught I know, no more they ben't. I'm almost as much ashamed of my countrymen, as if I was a Frenchman, and I believe in my heart there i'n't a pin to chuse between them; and, before long, we shall hear the very sailors talking that lingo, and see never a swabber without a bag and a sword."

"He, he, he!—well, 'pon honour," cried Mr. Lovel "you gentlemen of the ocean have a most severe way of judging."

"Severe! 'fore George, that is impossible; for, to cut the matter short, the men, as they call themselves, are no better than monkeys; and as to the women, why they are mere dolls. So, now you've got my opinion of this subject; and so I wish you good night."

The ladies, who were very impatient to be gone, made their courtsies, and tripped away, fol lowed by all the gentlemen of their party, except the Lord I have before-mentioned, and Lord 151 Orville, who stayed to make enquiries of Mrs. Mirvan concerning our leaving town; and then saying, with his usual politeness, something civil to each of us, with a very grave air, he quit ted us.

Lord—remained some minutes longer, which he spent in making a prosusion of com pliments to me, by which he prevented my hear ing distinctly what Lord Orville said, to my great vexation, especially as he looked—I thought so, at least,—as if displeased at his particularity of be haviour to me.

In going to an outward room, to wait for the carriage, I walked, and could not possibly avoid it, between this nobleman and Sir Clement Wil loughby; and, when the servant said the coach stopped the way, though the latter offered me his hand, which I should much have preferred, this same Lord, without any ceremony, took mine himself; and Sir Clement, with a look ex tremely provoked, conducted Mrs. Mirvan.

In all ranks and all stations of lise, how strange ly do characters and manners differ! Lord Orville, with a politeness which knows no intermission, and makes no distinction, is as unassuming and modest, as if he had never mixed with the great, and was totally ignorant of every qualification he possesses; this other Lord, though lavish of compliments and fine speeches, seems to be an entire stranger to real good breeding; whoever strikes his fancy, engrosses his whole attention. He is forward and bold, has an air of haughtiness towards men, and a look of libertinism towards women, and his con cious quality seems to have given him a freedom in his way of speaking to either sex, that is very lit tle short of rudeness.

152 When we returned home, we were all low spirited; the evening's entertainment had displeased the Captain, and his displeasure, I believe, discon certed us all.

And here I thought to have concluded my letter; but, to my great surprise, just now we had a visit from Lord Orville. He called, he said, to pay his respects to us before we left town, and made many enquiries concerning our return; and, when Mrs. Mirvan told him we were going into the country without any view of again quitting it, he expressed his concern in such terms—so polite, so flattering, so serious—that I could hardly forbear being sorry myself. Were I to go immediately to Berry Hill, I am sure I should feel nothing but joy;—but, now we are joined by this Captain, and by Madame Duval, I must own I expect very little pleasure at Howard Grove.

Before Lord Orville went Sir Clement Wil loughby called. He was more grave than I had ever seen him, and made several attempts to speak to me in a low voice, and to assure me that his regret upon the occasion of our journey, was en tirely upon my account. But I was not in spirits, and could not bear to be teazed by him. However, he has so well paid his court to Captain Mirvan, that he gave him a very hearty invitation to the Grove. At this, he brightened,—and, just then, Lord Orville took his leave!

No doubt but he was disgusted at this ill-timed, ill-bred partiality; for surely it was very wrong to make an invitation before Lord Orville, in which he was not included! I was so much chagrined that, as soon as he went, I left the room; and I shall not go down stairs till Sir Clement is gone.

153 Lord Orville cannot but observe his assiduous endeavours to ingratiate himself into my favour; and does not this extravagant civility of Captain Mirvan, give him reason to suppose, that it meets with our general approbation? I cannot think upon this subject, without inexpressible uneasiness;—and yet, I can think of nothing else.

Adieu, my dearest Sir. Pray write to me im mediately. How many long letters has this one short fortnight produced! More than I may, pro bably, ever write again: I fear I shall have tired you with reading them, but you will now have time to rest, for I shall find but little to say in future.

And now, most honoured Sir, with all the fol lies and imperfections which I have thus faithfully recounted, can you, and with unabated kindness, suffer me to sign myself

Your dutiful, and most affectionate EVELINA?
LETTER XXIV. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

HOW much do I rejoice that I can again ad dress my letters to Howard Grove! My Evelina would have grieved, had she known the anxiety of my mind, during her residence in the great world. My apprehensions have been inexpressibly alarm ing; and your journal, at once exciting and 154 relieving my fears, has almost wholly occupied me, since the time of your dating it from London.

Sir Clement Willoughby must be an artful, de signing man; I am extremely irritated at his con duct. The passion he pretends for you has neither sincerity nor honour; the manner and the oppor tunities he has chosen to declare it, are bordering upon insult.

His unworthy behaviour after the opera, convin ces me, that, had not your vehemence frightened him, Queen-Ann-Street would have been the last place whither he would have ordered his chariot. O my child, how thankful am I for your escape! I need not now, I am sure, enlarge upon your in discretion and want of thought, in so hastily trust ing yourself with a man so little known to you, and whose gaiety and flightiness should have put you on your guard.

The nobleman you met at the Pantheon, bold and forward as you describe him to be, gives me no apprehension; a man who appears so openly li centious, and who makes his attack with so little regard to decorum, is one who, to such a mind as my Evelina's, can never be seen but with the disgust which his manners ought to excite.

But Sir Clement, though he seeks occasions to give real offence, contrives to avoid all appearance of intentional evil. He is far more dangerous, be cause more artful; but I am happy to observe, that he seems to have made no impression upon your heart, and therefore a very little care and prudence may secure you from those designs which I fear he has formed.

Lord Orville appears to be of a better order of beings. His spirited conduct to the meanly imper tinent Lovel, and his anxiety for you after the 155 opera, prove him to be a man of sense and of feel ing. Doubtless he thought there was much reason to tremble for your safety, while exposed to the power of Sir Clement; and he acted with a re gard to real honour, that will always incline me to think well of him, in so immediately acquaint ing the Mirvan family with your situation. Many men of this age, from a false and pretended deli cacy to a friend, would have quietly pursued their own affairs, and thought it more honourable to leave an unsuspecting young creature to the mercy of a libertine, than to risk his displeasure by taking measures for her security.

Your evident concern at leaving London, is very natural; and yet it afflicts me. I ever dread ed your being too much pleased with a life of dis sipation, which youth and vivacity render but too alluring; and I almost regret the consent for your journey, which I had not the resolution to with hold.

Alas, my child, the artlessness of your nature, and the simplicity of your education, alike unfit you for the thorny paths of the great and busy world. The supposed obscurity of your birth and situation, makes you liable to a thousand disagree able adventures. Not only my views, but my hopes for your future life, have ever centered in the country. Shall I own to you, that, however I may differ from Captain Mirvan in other re spects, yet my opinion of the town, its manners, inhabitants, and diversions, is much upon a level with his own? Indeed it is the general harbour of fraud and of folly, of duplicity and of imperti nence; and I wish few things more fervently, than that you may have taken a lasting leave of it.

156 Remember, however, that I only speak in re gard to a public and a dissipated life; in private families, we may doubtless find as much goodness, honesty, and virtue, in London as in the country.

If contented with a retired station, I still hope I shall live to see my Evelina the ornament of her neighbourhood, and the pride and delight of her family: giving and receiving joy from such society as may best deserve her affection, and employing herself in such useful and innocent occupations as may secure and merit the tenderest love of her friends, and the worthiest satisfaction of her own heart.

Such are my hopes, and such have been my expectations. Disappoint them not, my beloved child, but chear me with a few lines, that may assure me, this one short fortnight spent in town, has not undone the work of seventeen years spent in the country.

LETTER XXV. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

NO, my dear Sir, no; the work of seventeen years remains such as it was, ever unworthy your time and your labour, but not more so now,—at least I hope not,—than before that fortnight which has so much alarmed you.

And yet, I must confess, that I am not half so happy here at present, as I was ere I went to town: but the change is in the place, not in me. Captain 157 Mirvan and Madame Duval have ruined Howard Grove. The harmony that reigned here, is dis turbed, our schemes are broken, our way of life is altered, and our comfort is destroyed. But do not suppose London to be the source of these evils; for, had our excursion been any where else, so disagree able an addition to our houshold, must have caused the same change at our return.

I was sure you would be displeased with Sir Cle ment, and therefore I am by no means surprised at what you say of him: but for lord Orville—I must own I had greatly feared, that my weak and im perfect account would not have procured him the good opinion which he so well deserves, and which I am delighted to find you seem to have of him. O, Sir, could I have done justice to the merit of which I believe him possessed,—could I have paint ed him to you such as he appeared to me, —then, indeed, you would have had some idea of the claim which he has to your approbation!

After the last letter which I wrote in town, no thing more passed previous to our journey hither, except a very violent quarrel between Captain Mir van and Madame Duval. As the Captain intend ed to travel on horseback, he had settled that we four females should make use of his coach. Ma dame Duval did not come to Queen Ann-street, till the carriage had waited some time at the door, and then, attended by Monsieur Du Bois, she made her appearance.

The Captain, impatient to be gone, would not suffer them to enter the house, but insisted that we should immediately get into the coach. We obeyed; but were no sooner seated than Madame Duval said, "Come, Monsieur Du Bois, these 158 girls can make very good room for you; sit closer, children."

Mrs. Mirvan looked quite confounded, and M. Du Bois, after making some apologies about crowd ing us, actually got into the coach, on the side with Miss Mirvan and me. But no sooner was he seated than the Captain, who had observed this transaction very quietly, walked up to the coach door, saying, "What neither with your leave, nor by your leave?"

M. Du Bois seemed rather shocked, and began to make abundance of excuses; but the Captain neither understood nor regarded him, and, very roughly said, "Look'ee, Monsieur, this here may be a French fashion, for aught I know;—but Give and Take is fair, in all nations; and so now, d'ye see, I'll make bold to shew you an English one."

And then seizing his wrist, he made him jump out of the coach.

M. Du Bois instantly put his hand upon his sword, and threatened to resent this indignity. The Cap tain, holding up his stick, bid him draw at his peril. Mrs. Mirvan, greatly alarmed, got out of the coach, and standing between them, entreated her husband to re-enter the house.

"None of your clack!" cried he, angirly, "what the D—l, do you suppose I can't ma nage a Frenchman?"

Mean time, Madame Duval called out to M. Du Bois, " Eh, laissez-le, mon ami, ne le corriger pas; c' est un vilain bête qui ne vaut pas la peine. "

" Monsieur le Capitaine, " cried M. Du Bois, " voulez-vous bien me demander pardon? "

"O ho, you demand pardon; do you?" said the Captain, "I thought as much; I thought you'd come to;—so you have lost your relish for 159 an English salutation, have you?" strutting up to him with looks of defiance.

A crowd was now gathering, and Mrs. Mirvan again besought her husband to go into the house.

"Why what a plague is the woman afraid of?—did you ever know a Frenchman that could not take an affront?—I warrant Monsieur knows what he is about;—don't you, Monsieur?"

M. Du Bois, not understanding him, only said, " plait-il, Monsieur?

"No, nor dish me, neither," answered the Captain; "but be that as it may, what signifies our parleying here? if you've any thing to propose, speak at once; if not, why let us go on our journey without more ado."

" Parbleu, je n'entends rien, moi! " cried M. Du Bois, shrugging his shoulders, and looking very dis mal.

Mrs. Mirvan then advanced to him, and faid, in French, that she was sure the Captain had not any intention to affront him, and begged he would de sist from a dispute which could only be productive of mutual misunderstanding, as neither of them knew the language of the other.

This sensible remonstrance had the desired effect, and M. Du Bois, making a bow to every one, ex cept the Captain, very wisely gave up the point, and took leave.

We then hoped to proceed quietly on our jour ney; but the turbulent Captain would not yet per mit us: he approached Madame Duval with an exulting air, and said, "Why how's this, Madam? what, has your champion deserted you? why I thought you told me that you old gentlewomen had it all your own way, among them French sparks?"

"As to that, Sir," answered she, "it's not of no consequence what you thought; for a person 160 who can behave in such a low way, may think what he pleases for me, for I sha'n't mind."

"Why, then, Mistress, since you must needs make so free," cried he, "please to tell me the reason why you took the liberty for to ask any of your followers into my coach, without my leave? Answer me to that."

"Why then, pray, Sir," returned she, "tell me, the reason why you took the liberty to treat the gentleman in such a impolite way, as to take and pull him neck and heels out? I'm sure he had n't done nothing to affront you, nor nobody else; and I don't know what great hurt he would have done you, by just sitting still in the coach; he would not have eat it."

"What, do you think, then, that my horses have nothing to do, but to carry about your snivel ling Frenchmen? If you do, Madam, I must make bold to tell you, you are out, for I'll see 'em hanged first."

"More brute you, then! for they've never carried nobody half so good"

Why, look'ee, Madam, if you must needs pro voke me, I'll tell you a piece of my mind; you must know, I can see as far into a mill-stone as another man; and so, if you thought for to fob me off with one of your smirking French puppies for a son-in-law, why you'll find yourself in a hobble,—that's all."

"Sir, you're a—but I won't say what;—but, I protest, I had n't no such a thought, no more had n't Monsieur Du Bois."

"My dear," said Mrs. Mirvan, "we shall be very late."

"Well, well," answered he, get away then; off with you, as fast as you can, it's high time. As to Molly, she's fine lady enough in all con science; 161 I want none of your French chaps to make her worse."

And so saying, he mounted his horse, and we drove off. And I could not but think with regret of the different feelings we experienced upon leav ing London, to what had belonged to our enter ing it!

During the journey, Madame Duval was so ve ry violent against the Captain, that she obliged Mrs. Mirvan to tell her, that, when in her pre sence, she must beg her to chuse some other subject of discourse.

We had a most affectionate reception from Lady Howard, whose kindness and hospitality cannot fail of making every body happy, who is disposed so to be.

Adieu, my dearest Sir. I hope, though I have hitherto neglected to mention it, that you have al ways remembered me to whoever has made any enquiry concerning me.

LETTER XXVI. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

O MY dear Sir, I now write in the greatest un easiness! Madame Duval has made a proposal which terrifies me to death, and which was as unexpected, as it is shocking.

She had been employed for some hoursthis af ternoon in reading letters from London, and, just about tea-time, she sent for me into her room, and said, with a look of great satisfaction, "Come 162 here, child, I've got some very good news to tell you: something that will surprise you, I'll give you my word, for you ha'n't no notion of it."

I begged her to explain herself; and then, in terms which I cannot repeat, she said she had been considering what a shame it was, to see me such a poor country, shame-faced thing, when I ought to be a fine lady; and that she had long, and upon several occasions, blushed for me, though she must own the fault was none of mine: for nothing bet ter could be expected from a girl who had been so immured. However, she assured me she had, at length, hit upon a plan, which would make quite another creature of me.

I waited, without much impatience, to hear what this preface led to; but I was soon awakened to more lively sensations, when she acquainted me, that her intention was to prove my birthright, and to claim, by law, the inheritance of my real fa mily!

It would be impossible for me to express my ex treme consternation, when she thus unfolded her scheme. My surprise and terror were equally great. I could say nothing; I heard her with a silence which I had not the power to break.

She then expatiated very warmly upon the ad vantages I should reap from her plan; talked in a high style of my future grandeur; assured me how heartily I should despise almost every body and every thing I had hitherto seen; predicted my mar rying into some family of the first rank in the king dom; and, finally, said I should spend a few months in Paris, where my education and manners might receive their last polish.

She enlarged also upon the delight she should have, in common with myself, from mortifying the 163 pride of certain people, and shewing them, that she was not to be slighted with impunity.

In the midst of this discourse I was relieved by a summons to tea. Madame Duval was in great spirits; but my emotion was too painful for con cealment, and every body enquired into the cause. I would fain have waved the subject, but Madame Duval was determined to make it public. She told them, that she had it in her head to make something of me, and that they should soon call me by an other name than that of Anville, and yet that she was not going to have the child married neither.

I could not endure to hear her proceed, and was going to leave the room; which, when Lady Howard perceived, she begged Madame Duval would defer her intelligence to some other oppor tunity; but she was so eager to communicate her scheme, that she could bear no delay, and there fore they suffered me to go, without opposition. Indeed, whenever my situation or affairs are men tioned by Madame Duval, she speaks of them with such bluntness and severity, that I cannot be en joined a task more cruel than to hear her.

I was afterwards acquainted with some parti culars of the conversation by Miss Mirvan, who told me that Madame Duval informed them of her plan with the utmost complacency, and seemed to think herself very fortunate in having suggested it; but soon after, she accidentally betrayed, that she had been instigated to the scheme by her relations the Branghtons, whose letters, which she received to-day, first mentioned the proposal. She declared that she would have nothing to do with any round about ways, but go openly and instantly to law, in order to prove my birth, real name, and title to the estate of my ancestors.

164 How impertinent and officious, in these Brangh tons, to interfere thus in my concerns! You can hardly imagine what a disturbance this plan has made in the family. The Captain without en quiring into any particulars of the affair, has pe remptorily declared himself against it, merely be cause it has been proposed by Madame Duval, and they have battled the point together with great violence. Mrs. Mirvan says she will not even think, till she hears your opinion. But Lady Howard, to my great surprise, openly avows her approba tion of Madame Duval's intention: however, she will write her reasons and sentiments upon the sub ject to you herself

As to Miss Mirvan, she is my second self, and neither hopes nor fears but as I do. And as to me, —I know not what to say, nor even what to wish; I have often thought my fate peculiarly cruel, to have but one parent, and from that one to be banished for ever;—while, on the other side, I have but too well known and felt the pro priety of the separation. And yet, you may much better imagine than I can express the internal an guish which sometimes oppresses my heart, when I reflect upon the strange indifferency, that must occasion a father never to make the least enquiry after the health, the welfare, or even the life of his child!

O Sir, to me, the loss is nothing!—greatly, sweetly, and most benevolently have you guarded me from seeling it;—but for him, I grieve indeed!—I must be divested, not merely of a filial piety, but of all humanity, could I ever think upon this subject, and not be wounded to the soul.

Again I must repeat, I know not what to wish: think for me, therefore, my dearest Sir, and suffer 165 my doubting mind, that knows not which way to direct its hopes, to be guided by your wisdom and unerring counsel.

LETTER XXVII. Lady Howard to the Rev. Mr. Villars. Dear Sir,

I Cannot give a greater proof of the high opinion I have of your candour, than by the liberty I am now going to take, of presuming to offer you ad vice, upon a subject concerning which you have so just a claim to act for yourself: but I know you have too unaffected a love of justice to be par tially tenacious of your own judgment.

Madame Duval has been proposing a scheme which has put us all in commotion, and against which, at first, in common with the rest of my family, I exclaimed; but upon more mature con sideration, I own my objections have almost wholly vanished.

This scheme is no other than to commence a law-suit with Sir John Belmont, to prove the va lidity of his marriage with Miss Evelyn; the ne cessary consequence of which proof, will be secur ing his fortune and estate to his daughter.

And why, my dear Sir, should not this be? I know that, upon first hearing, this plan conveys ideas that must shock you; but I know too, that your mind is superior to being governed by preju dices, 166 or to opposing any important cause on ac count of a few disagreeable attendant circum stances.

Your lovely charge, now first entering into life, has merit which ought not to be buried in obscu rity. She seems born for an ornament to the world. Nature has been bountiful to her of whatever she had to bestow; and the peculiar attention you have given to her education, has formed her mind to a degree of excellence, that, in one so young, I have scarce ever seen equalled. Fortune, alone, has hitherto been sparing of her gifts; and she, too, now opens the way which leads to all that is left to wish for her.

What your reasons may have been, my good Sir, for so carefully concealing the birth, name, and pretensions of this amiable girl, and forbearing to make any claim upon Sir John Belmont, I am to tally a stranger to; but without knowing, I re spect them, from the high opinion I have of your character and judgment: but I hope they are not insuperable; for I cannot but think, that it was never designed, for one who seems meant to grace the world, to have her life devoted to retirement.

Surely Sir John Belmont, wretch as he has shewn himself, could never see his accomplished daughter, and not be proud to own her, and eager to se cure her the inheritance of his fortune. The ad miration she met with in town, though merely the effect of her external attractions, was such that Mrs. Mirvan assures me, she would have had the most splendid offers, had there not seemed to be some mystery in regard to her birth, which, she was well informed, was assiduously, though vainly, endeavoured to be discovered.

167 Can it be right, my dear Sir, that this promis ing young creature should be deprived of the for tune and rank of life, to which she is lawfully en titled, and which you have prepared her to sup port and to use her so nobly?—To despise riches, may, indeed, be philosophic, but to dispense them worthily, must surely be more beneficial to man kind.

Perhaps a few years, or indeed, a much shorter time, may make this scheme impracticable: Sir John, though yet young, leads a life too dissipated for long duration; and, when too late, we may regret that something was not sooner done; for it will be next to impossible, after he is gone, to settle or prove any thing with his heirs and exe cutors.

Pardon the earnestness with which I write my sense of this affair; but your charming ward has made me so warmly her friend, that I cannot be in different upon a subject of such importance to her future life.

Adieu, my dear Sir;—send me speedily an an swer to this remonstrance, and believe me to be, &c.

LETTER XXVIII. Mr. Villars to Lady Howard.

YOUR letter, Madam, has opened a source of anxiety to which I look forward with dread, and which to see closed, I scarcely dare expect. I am 168 unwilling to oppose my opinion to that of your Ladyship, nor, indeed, can I, but by arguments which, I believe, will rather rank me as a her mit, ignorant of the world, and fit only for my cell, than as a proper guardian, in an age such as this, for an accomplished young woman. Yet, thus called upon, it behoves me to explain, and en deavour to vindicate, the reasons by which I have been hitherto guided.

The mother of this dear child,—who was led to destruction by her own imprudence, the hard ness of heart of Madame Duval, and the villainy of Sir John Belmont,—was once, what her daugh ter is now, the best beloved of my heart; and her memory, so long as my own holds, I shall love, mourn, and honour! On the fatal day that her gentle foul left its mansion, and not many hours ere she ceased to breathe, I solemnly plighted my faith, That her child, if it lived, should know no fa ther, but myself, or her acknowledged husband.

You cannot, Madam, suppose that I found much difficulty in adhering to this promise, and forbearing to make any claim upon Sir John Bel mont. Could I feel an affection the most paternal for this poor sufferer, and not abominate her de stroyer? Could I wish to deliver to him, who had so basely betrayed the mother, the helpless and innocent offspring, who, born in so much sorrow, seemed entitled to all the compassionate tenderness of pity?

For many years, the name alone of that man, accidentally spoken in my hearing, almost divested me of my christianity, and scarce could I forbear to execrate him. Yet I sought not, neither did I desire, to deprive him of his child, had he, with any appearance of contrition, or indeed of huma nity, 169 endeavoured to become less unworthy such a blessing; but he is a stranger to all parental feel ings, and has, with a savage insensibility, forborne to enquire even into the existence of this sweet orphan, though the situation of his injured wife was but too well known to him.

You wish to be acquainted with my intentions.—I must acknowledge, they were such as I now perceive would not be honoured with your Lady ship's approbation: for though I have sometimes thought of presenting Evelina to her father, and demanding the justice which is her due, yet, at other times, I have both disdained and feared the application; disdained, lest it should be refused, and feared, lest it should be accepted!

Lady Belmont, who was firmly persuaded of her approaching dissolution, frequently and ear nestly besought me, that if her infant was a fe male, I would not abandon her to the direction of a man so wholly unfit to take the charge of her education; but, should she be importunately demanded, that I would retire with her abroad, and carefully conceal her from Sir John, till some apparent change in his sentiments and conduct should announce him less improper for such a trust. And often would she say, "Should the poor babe have any feelings correspondent with its mother's, it will have no want, while under your protection." Alas! she had no sooner quitted it herself, than she was plunged into a gulph of misery, that swallowed up her peace, reputation, and life.

During the childhood of Evelina, I suggested a thousand plans for the security of her birth right;—but I as oftentimes rejected them. I was in a perpetual conflict, between the desire that she should have justice done her, and the appre hension 170 that, while I improved her fortune, I should endanger her mind. However, as her character began to be formed, and her disposition to be displayed, my perplexity abated; the road before me seemed less thorny and intricate, and I thought I could perceive the right path from the wrong: for, when I observed the artless open ness, the ingenuous simplicity of her nature; when I saw that her guileless and innocent soul fancied all the world to be pure and disinterested as herself, and that her heart was open to every impression with which love, pity, or art might assail it;—then did I flatter myself, that to follow my own inclination, and to secure her welfare, was the same thing; since, to expose her to the snares and dangers inevitably encircling a house of which the master is dissipated and unprincipled, without the guidance of a mother, or any pru dent and sensible female, seemed to me no less than suffering her to stumble into some dreadful pit, when the sun was in its meridian. My plan, therefore, was not merely to educate and to che rish her as my own, but to adopt her the heiress of my small fortune, and to bestow her upon some worthy man, with whom she might spend her days in tranquillity, chearfulness, and good humour, untainted by vice, folly, or ambition.

So much for the time past. Such have been the motives by which I have been governed; and I hope they will be allowed not merely to account for, but also to justify the conduct which has re sulted from them. It now remains to speak of the time to come.

And here, indeed, I am sensible of difficulties which I almost despair of surmounting according to my wishes. I pay the highest deference to your 171 Ladyship's opinion, which it is extremely painful to me not to concur with; yet, I am so well acquainted with your goodness, that I presume to hope it would not be absolutely impossible for me to offer such arguments as might lead you to think with me, that this young creature's chance of happiness seems less doubtful in retirement, than it would be in the gay and dissipated world: but why should I perplex your Ladyship with reasoning that can turn to so little account? for, alas! what arguments, what persuasions can I make use of, with any prospect of success, to such a woman as Madame Duval? Her character, and the violence of her disposition, intimidate me from making the attempt: she is too ignorant for instruction, too obstinate for entreaty, and too weak for reason.

I will not, therefore, enter into a contest from which I have nothing to expect but altercation and impertinence. As soon would I discuss the effect of sound with the deaf, or the nature of colours with the blind, as aim at illuminating with conviction a mind so warped by prejudice, so much the slave of unruly and illiberal passions. Unused as she is to controul, persuasion would but harden, and opposition incense her. I yield therefore, to the necessity which compels my reluctant acqui escence, and shall now turn all my thoughts upon considering of such methods for the conducting this enterprize as may be most conducive to the hap piness of my child, and least liable to wound her sensibility.

The law-suit, therefore, I wholly and absolute ly disapprove.

Will you, my dear Madam, forgive the free dom of an old man, if I own myself greatly sur prised, that you could, even for a moment, listen 172 to a plan so violent, so public, so totally repugnant to all female delicacy? I am satisfied your Lady ship has not weighed this project. There was a time, indeed, when, to assert the innocence of Lady Belmont, and to blazon to the world the wrongs, not guilt, by which she suffered, I pro posed, nay attempted, a similar plan: but then, all assistance and encouragement was denied. How cruel to the remembrance I bear of her woes, is this tardy resentment of Madame Duval! She was deaf to the voice of Nature, though she has hearkened to that of Ambition.

Never can I consent to have this dear and timid girl brought forward to the notice of the world by such a method; a method which will subject her to all the impertinence of curiosity, the sneers of conjecture, and the stings of ridicule. And for what!—the attainment of wealth, which she does not want, and the gratification of vanity, which she does not seel.—A child to appear against a father!—no, Madam, old and infirm as I am, I would even yet sooner convey her myself to some remote part of the world, though I were sure of dying in the expedition.

Far different had been the motives which would have stimulated her unhappy mother to such a proceeding; all her felicity in this world was irre trievably lost; her life was become a burthen to her, and her fair fame, which she had early been taught to prize above all other things, had receiv ed a mortal wound: therefore to clear her own ho nour, and to secure from blemish the birth of her child, was all the good which Fortune had reserv ed herself the power of bestowing. But even this last consolation was with-held from her!

173 Let milder measures be adopted; and—since it must be so,—let application be made to Sir John Belmont; but as to a law-suit, I hope, upon this subject, never more to hear it mentioned.

With Madame Duval, all pleas of delicacy would be ineffectual; her scheme must be opposed by arguments better suited to her understanding. I will not, therefore, talk of its impropriety, but endeavour to prove its inutility. Have the good ness, then, to tell her, that her own intentions would be frustrated by her plan, since, should the law-suit be commenced, and even should the cause be gained, Sir John Belmont would still have it in his power, and, if irritated, no doubt in his in clination, to cut off her grand-daughter with a shilling.

She cannot do better, herself, than to remain quiet and inactive in the affair: the long and mu tual animosity between her and Sir John, will make her interference merely productive of debates and ill-will. Neither would I have Evelina ap pear till summoned. And as to myself, I must wholly decline acting, though I will, with unwea ried zeal, devote all my thoughts to giving coun sel: but, in truth, I have neither inclination nor spirits adequate to engaging personally with this man.

My opinion is, that he would pay more respect to a letter from your Ladyship upon this subject, than from any other person. I therefore advise and hope, that you will yourself take the trouble of writing to him, in order to open the affair. When he shall be inclined to see Evelina, I have for him a posthumous letter, which his much-injured lady left to be presented to him, if ever such a meeting should take place.

174 The views of the Branghtons, in suggesting this scheme, are obviously interested; they hope, by securing to Evelina the fortune of her father, to induce Madame Duval to settle her own upon themselves. In this, however, they would proba bly be mistaken, for little minds have ever a pro pensity to bestow their wealth upon those who are already in affluence, and therefore, the less her grand-child requires her assistance, the more gladly she will give it.

I have but one thing more to add, from which, however, I can by no means recede: my word so solemnly given to Lady Belmont, that her child should never be owned but with herself, must be inviolably adhered to.

I am, dear Madam, with great respect, Your Ladyship's most obedient servant, ARTHUR VILLARS.
LETTER XXIX. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

HOW sincerely do I sympathise in the uneasi ness and concern which my beloved Evelina has so much reason to feel! The cruel scheme in agita tion is equally repugnant to my judgment and my inclination,—yet to oppose it, seems impracticable. To follow the dictates of my own heart, I should instantly recal you to myself, and never more consent to your being separated from me; but the manners and opinion of the world demand a dif ferent conduct. Hope, however, for the best, 175 and be satisfied you shall meet with no indignity; if you are not received into your own family as you ought to be, and with the distinction that is your due, you shall leave it for ever; and, once again restored to my protection, secure your own tranquillity, and make, as you have hitherto done, all the happiness of my life!

LETTER XXX. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

THE die is thrown, and I attend the event in trembling. Lady Howard has written to Paris, and sent her letter to town, to be forwarded in the ambassador's packet, and in less than a fortnight, therefore, she expects an answer. O Si , with what anxious impatience shall I await its arrival! upon it seems to depend the fate of my future life. My solicitude is so great, and my suspense so pain ful, that I cannot rest a moment in peace, or turn my thoughts into any other channel.

Deeply interested as I now am in the event, most sincerely do I regret that the plan was ever proposed: methinks it cannot end to my satisfacti on; for either I must be torn from the arms of my more than father,—or I must have the misery of being finally convinced, that I am cruelly rejected by him who has the natural claim to that dear ti tle; a title, which to write, mention, or think of, fills my whole soul with filial tenderness.

The subject is discussed here eternally. Captain Mirvan and Madame Duval, as usual, quarrel when ever 176 it is started: but I am so wholly engrossed by my own reflections, that I cannot even listen to them. My imagination changes the scene perpe tually: at one moment, I am embraced by a kind and relenting parent, who takes me to that heart from which I have hitherto been benished, and supplicates, through me, peace and forgiveness from the ashes of my mother!—at another, he regards me with detestation, considers me as the living image of an injured saint, and repulses me with horror!—But I will not afflict you with the melancholy phantasms of my brain. I will endea vour to compose my mind to a more tranquil state, and forbear to write again, till I have, in some measure, succeeded.

May Heaven bless you, my dearest Sir! and long, long may it continue you on earth, to bless

Your grateful EVELINA!
LETTER XXXI. Lady Howard to Sir John Belmont, Bart. SIR,

YOU will, doubtless, be surprised at receiving a letter from one who had for so short a period the honour of your acquaintance, and that at so great a distance of time; but the motive which has in duced me to take this liberty, is of so delicate a nature, that were I to commence making apologies 177 for my officiousness, I fear my letter would be too long for your patience.

You have, probably, already conjectured the subject upon which I mean to treat. My regard for Mr. Evelyn and his amiable daughter, was well known to you: nor can I ever cease to be interested in whatever belongs to their memory or family.

I must own myself somewhat distressed in what manner to introduce the purport of my writing; yet, as I think that, in affairs of this kind, frank ness is the first requisite to a good understanding be tween the parties concerned, I will neither torment you nor myself with punctilious ceremonies, but proceed instantly and openly to the business which occasions my giving you this trouble.

I presume, Sir, it would be superfluous to tell you, that your child resides still in Dorsetshire, and is still under the protection of the Reverend Mr. Villars, in whose house she was born: for, though no enquiries concerning her have reached his ears, or mine, I can never suppose it possible you have forborne to make them. It only remains, therefore, to tell you, that your daughter is now grown up; that she has been educated with the utmost care, and the utmost success; and that she is now a most deserving, accomplished, and amia ble young woman.

Whatever may be your view for her future destination in life, it seems time to declare it. She is greatly admired, and, I doubt not, will be very much sought after: it is proper, therefore, that her future expectations, and your pleasure concern ing her, should be made known.

Believe me, Sir, she merits your utmost atten tion and regard. You could not see and know her, and remain unmoved by those sensations of affec tion 178 which belong to so near and tender a relation ship. She is the lovely resemblance of her lovely mother;—pardon me, Sir, that I mention that unfortunate lady, but I think it behoves me, upon this occasion, to shew the esteem I felt for her; allow me, therefore, to say, and be not offended at my freedom, that the memory of that excellent lady has but too long remained under the aspersions of calumny; surely it is time to vindicate her fame!—and how can that be done in a manner more eligible, more grateful to her friends, or more honourable to yourself, than by openly re ceiving as your child, the daughter of the late Lady Belmont?

The venerable man who has had the care of her education, deserves your warmest acknowledgments, for the unremitting pains he has taken, and atten tion he has shewn in the discharge of his trust. Indeed she has been peculiarly fortunate in meeting with such a friend and guardian: a more worthy man, or one whose character seems nearer to per fection, does not exist.

Permit me to assure you, Sir, she will amply repay whatever regard and favour you may hereaf ter shew her, by the comfort and happiness you cannot fail to find in her affection and duty. To be owned properly by you, is the first wish of her heart; and I am sure, that to merit your approba tion will be the first study of her life.

I fear that you will think this address imperti nent; but I must rest upon the goodness of my in tention to plead my excuse.

I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant, M. HOWARD.
179 LETTER XXXII. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

OUR house has been enlivened to-day, by the arrival of a London visitor; and the necessity I have been under of concealing the uneasiness of my mind, has made me exert myself so effectu ally, that I even think it is really diminished; or, at least, my thoughts are not so totally, so very anxiously occupied by one only subject, as they lately were.

I was strolling this morning with Miss Mirvan, down a lane about a mile from the grove, when we heard the trampling of horses; and, fearing the narrowness of the passage, we were turning hastily back, but stopped upon hearing a voice call out, "Pray, Ladies, don't be frightened, for I will walk my horse." We turned again, and then saw Sir Clement Willoughby. He dismounted, and approaching us, with the reins in his hand, presently recollected us. "Good Heaven," cried he, with his usual quickness, "do I see Miss Anville?—and you, too, Miss Mirvan?"

He immediately ordered his servant to take charge of his horse, and then, advancing to us, took a hand of each, which he pressed to his lips, and said a thousand fine things concerning his good fortune, our improved looks, and the charms of the country, when inhabited by such rural deities. "The town, Ladies, has lan guished since your absence,—or, at least, I have so much languished myself, as to be absolutely 180 insensible to all it had to offer. One refreshing breeze, such as I now enjoy, awakens me to new vigour, life, and spirit. But I never before had the good luck to see the country in such perfection."

"Has not almost every body left town, Sir?" said Miss Mirvan.

"I am ashamed to answer you, Madam—but indeed it is as full as ever, and will continue so, till after the birth-day. However, you ladies, were so little seen, that there were but few who know what it has lost. For my own part, I felt it too sensibly, to be able to endure the place any lon ger."

"Is there any body remaining there, that we were acquainted with?" cried I.

"O yes, Ma'am." And then he named two or three persons we had seen when with him; but he did not mention Lord Orville, and I would not ask him, lest he should think me curious. Perhaps, if he stays here some time, he may speak of him by accident.

He was proceeding in this complimentary style, when we were met by the Captain; who no sooner perceived Sir Clement, than he hastened up to him, gave him a hearty shake of the hand, a cordial slap on the back, and some other equally gentle tokens of satisfaction, assuring him of his great joy at his visit, and declaring he was as glad to see him as if he had been a messenger who brought news that a French ship was sunk. Sir Clement, on the other side, expressed himself with equal warmth, and protested he had been so eager to pay his re spects to Captain Mirvan, that he had left Lon don in its full lustre, and a thousand engage ments 181 unanswered, merely to give himself that pleasure.

"We shall have rare sport," said the Captain, "for do you know the old French-woman is among us? 'Fore George, I have scarce made any use of her yet, by reason I have had no body with me that could enjoy a joke: howsom ever, it shall go hard but we'll have some diver sion now."

Sir Clement very much approved of the pro posal; and we then went into the house, where he had a very grave reception from Mrs. Mirvan, who is by no means pleased with his visit, and a look of much discontent from Madame Duval, who said to me, in a low voice, "I'd as soon have seen Old Nick as that man, for he's the most imper tinentest person in the world, and is n't never of my side."

The Captain is now actually occupied in con triving some scheme which, he says, is to play the old Dowager off; and so eager and delighted is he at the idea, that he can scarcely constrain his raptures sufficiently to conceal his design, even from herself. I wish, however, since I do not dare put Madame Duval upon her guard, that he had the delicacy not to acquaint me with his intention.

182 LETTER XXXIII. Evelina in continuation.

THE Captain's operations are begun,—and, I hope, ended; for indeed poor Madame Duval has already but too much reason to regret Sir Cle ment's visit to Howard Grove.

Yesterday morning, during breakfast, as the Captain was reading the news-paper, Sir Clement suddenly begged to look at it, saying he wanted to know if there was any account of a transaction, at which he had been present the evening before his journey thither, concerning a poor Frenchman, who had got into a scrape which might cost him his life.

The Captain demanded particulars; and then Sir Clement told him a long story, of being with a party of country friends, at the Tower, and hearing a man call out for mercy in French; and that, when he enquired into the occasion of his dis tress, he was informed, that he had been taken up upon suspicion of treasonable practices against the government. "The poor fellow," continued he, "no sooner found that I spoke French, than he besought me to hear him, protesting that he had no evil designs; that he had been but a short time in England, and only waited the return of a Lady from the country, to quit it for ever."

Madame Duval changed colour, and listened with the utmost attention.

"Now, though I by no means approve of so many foreigners continually flocking into our coun try," 183 added he, addressing himself to the Captain, "yet I could not help pitying the poor wretch, because he did not know enough of English to make his defence: however, I found it impossible to assist him, for the mob would not suffer me to interfere. In truth I am afraid he was but roughly handled."

"Why, did they duck him?" said the Captain.

"Something of that sort," answered he.

"So much the better! so much the better!" cried the Captain, "an impudent French puppy!—I'll bet you what you will he was a rascal. I only wish all his countrymen were served the same."

"I wish you had been in his place, with all my soul!" cried Madame Duval, warmly;— "but pray, Sir, did n't nobody know who this poor gentleman was?"

"Why I did hear his name spoke," answered Sir Clement, "but I cannot recollect it."

"It was n't,—it was n't—Du Bois?" stam mered out Madame Duval.

"The very name!" answered he, "yes, Du Bois, I remember it now."

Madame Duval's cup fell from her hand, as she repeated "Du Bois! Monsieur Du Bois, did you say?"

"Du Bois! why that's my friend, cried the Captain, "that's Monsieur Slippery, i'n't it?—Why he's plaguy fond of sousing work; howsom ever, I'll be sworn they gave him his fill of it."

"And I'll be sworn," cried Madame Duval, "that you're a—but I don't believe nothing about it, so you need n't be so overjoyed, for I dare say it was no more Monsieur Du Bois than I am."

184 "I thought at the time," said Sir Clement, very gravely, "that I had seen the gentleman be fore, and now I recollect, I think it was in com pany with you, Madam."

"With me, Sir!" cried Madame Duval.

"Say you so!" said the Captain, "why then, it must be he, as sure as you're alive!—Well but, my good friend, what will they do with poor Mon sieur?"

"It is difficult to say," answered Sir Clement, very thoughtfully, "but, I should suppose, that if he has not good friends to appear for him, he will be in a very unpleasant situation; for these are serious sort of affairs.'

"Why, do you think they'll hang him?" de manded the Captain.

Sir Clement shook his head, but made no an swer.

Madame Duval could no longer contain her agitation; she started from her chair, repeating, with a voice half choaked, "Hang him!—they can't,—they sha'n't—let them at their peril!—however, 'tis all false, and I won't believe a word of it;—but I'll go to town this very moment, and see M. Du Bois myself;—I won't wait for no thing."

Mrs. Mirvan begged her not to be alarmed; but she flew out of the room, and up stairs into her own apartment. Lady Howard blamed both the gentle men for having been so abrupt, and followed her. I would have accompanied her, but the Captain stopped me; and, having first laughed very hear tily, said he was going to read his commission to his ship's company.

"Now, do you see," said he, "as to Lady Howard, I sha'n't pretend for to enlist her into 185 my service, and so I shall e'en leave her to make it out as well as she can; but as to all you, I ex pect obedience and submission to orders; I am now upon a hazardous expedition, having undertaken to convoy a crazy vessel to the shore of Mortifi cation; so, d'ye see, if any of you have any thing to propose, that will forward the enterprize,—why speak and welcome; but if any of you, that are of my chosen crew, capitulate, or enter into any treaty with the enemy,—I shall look upon you as mutinying, and turn you adrift."

Having finished this harangue, which was inter larded with many expressions, and sea-phrases, that I cannot recollect, he gave Sir Clement a wink of intelligence, and left us to ourselves.

Indeed, notwithstanding the attempts I so fre quently make of writing some of the Captain's conversation, I can only give you a faint idea of his language; for almost every other word he ut ters is accompanied by an oath, which, I am sure, would be as unpleasant for you to read, as for me to write. And, besides, he makes use of a thou sand sea-terms, which are to me quite unintel ligible.

Poor Madame Duval sent to enquire at all pro bable places, whether she could be conveyed to town in any stage-coach; but the Captain's ser vant brought her for answer, that no London stage would pass near Howard Grove till to-day. She then sent to order a chaise; but was soon as sured that no horses could be procured. She was so much inflamed by these disappointments, that she threatened to set out for town on foot, and it was with difficulty that Lady Howard dissuaded her from this mad scheme.

186 The whole morning was filled up with these en quiries. But, when we were all assembled to din ner, she endeavoured to appear perfectly uncon cerned, and repeatedly protested that she gave not any credit to the report, as far as it regarded M. Du Bois, being very certain that he was not the person in question.

The Captain used the most provoking efforts to convince her that she deceived herself; while Sir Clement, with more art, though not less malice, affected to be of her opinion; but, at the same time that he pretended to relieve her uneasiness, by saying that he doubted not having mistaken the name, he took care to enlarge upon the dan ger to which the unknown gentleman was ex posed, and expressed great concern at his perilous situation.

Dinner was hardly removed, when a letter was delivered to Madame Duval. The moment she had read it, she hastily demanded from whom it came? "A country boy brought it," answered the servant, "but he would not wait."

"Run after him this instant!" cried she, "and be sure you bring him back. Mon Dieu! quel avanture! que ferai-je? "

"What's the matter? what's the matter?" said the Captain.

"Why nothing,—nothing's the matter. O mon Dieu! "

And she rose, and walked about the room.

"Why, what—has Monsieur sent to you?" continued the Captain: "is that there letter from him?

"No,—it i'n't;—besides, if it is, it's nothing to you."

187 "O then, I'm sure it is! Pray now, Madame, don't be so close; come, tell us all about it,—what does he say? how did he relish the horse pond?—which did he find best, sousing single or double? —'Fore George, 'twas plaguy unlucky you was not with him!"

"It's no such a thing, Sir," cried she, very angrily, "and if you're so very fond of a horse pond, I wish you'd put yourself into one, and not be always a thinking about other people's being served so."

The man then came in, to acquaint her they could not overtake the boy. She scolded violently, and was in such perturbation, that Lady Howard interfered, and begged to know the cause of her uneasiness, and whether she could assist her?

Madame Duval cast her eyes upon the Captain, and Sir Clement, and said she should be glad to speak to her Ladyship, without so many witnesses.

"Well, then, Miss Anville," said the Cap tain, turning to me, "do you and Molly go into another room, and stay there till Mrs. Duval has opened her mind to us."

"So you may think, Sir," cried she, "but who's fool then? no, no, you need n't trouble yourself to make a ninny of me, neither, for I'm not so easily taken in I'll assure you."

Lady Howard then invited her into the dressing room, and I was desired to attend her.

As soon as we had shut the door, "O my Lady," exclaimed Madame Duval, "here's the most cruellest thing in the world has happened!—but that Captain is such a beast, I can't say no thing before him,—but it's all true! poor M. Du Bois is tooked up!"

188 Lady Howard begged her to be comforted, say ing that as M. Du Bois was certainly innocent, there could be no doubt of his ability to clear him self.

"To be sure, my Lady," answered she, "I know he is innocent; and to be sure they'll never be so wicked as to hang him for nothing?"

"Certainly not;" replied Lady Howa:d, "you have no reason to be uneasy. This is not a coun try where punishment is inflicted without proof."

"Very true, my Lady; but the worst thing is this; I cannot bear that that fellow, the Cap tain, should know about it; for if he does, I sha'n't never hear the last of it;—no more won't poor M. Du Bois."

"Well, well," said Lady Howard, "shew me the letter, and I will endeavour to advise you."

The letter was then produced. It was signed by the clerk of a country justice; who acquainted her, that a prisoner, then upon trial for suspicion of treasonable practices against the government, was just upon the point of being committed to jail, but having declared that he was known to her, this clerk had been prevailed upon to write, in order to enquire if she really could speak to the character and family of a Frenchman who called himself Pierre Du Bois.

When I heard the letter, I was quite amazed at its success. So improbable did it seem, that a fo reigner should be taken before a country justice of peace, for a crime of so dangerous a nature, that I cannot imagine how Madame Duval could be alarmed, even for a moment. But, with all her violence of temper, I see that she is easily fright ened, and, in fact, more cowardly than many who 189 have not half her spirit; and so little does she re flect upon circumstances, or probability, that she is continually the dupe of her own—I ought not to say ignorance, but yet, I can think of no other word.

I believe that Lady Howard, from the begin ning of the transaction, suspected some contrivance of the Captain, and this letter, I am sure, must confirm her suspicion: however, though she is not at all pleased with his frolick, yet she would not hazard the consequence of discovering his designs: her looks, her manner, and her character, made me draw this conclusion from her apparent perplex ity; for not a word did she say, that implied any doubt of the authenticity of the letter. Indeed there seems to be a sort of tacit agreement between her and the Captain, that she should not appear to be acquainted with his schemes; by which means she at once avoids quarrels, and supports her dig nity.

While she was considering what to propose, Madame Duval begged to have the use of her Ladyship's chariot, that she might go immediate ly to the assistance of her friend. Lady Howard politely assured her that it would be extremely at her service; and then Madame Duval besought her not to own to the Captain what had happened, protesting that she could not endure he should know that poor M. Du Bois had met with so un fortunate an accident. Lady Howard could not help smiling, though she readily promised not to inform the Captain of the affair. As to me, she desired my attendance; which I was by no means rejoiced at, as I was certain she was going upon a fruitless errand.

190 I was then commissioned to order the chariot.

At the foot of the stairs I met the captain, who was most impatiently waiting the result of the conference. In an instant we were joined by Sir Clement. A thousand enquiries were then made concerning Madame Duval's opinion of the letter, and her intentions upon it: and when I would have left them, Sir Clement, pretending equal eagerness with the Captain, caught my hand, and repeatedly detained me, to ask some frivolous question, to the answer of which he must be to tally indifferent. At length, however, I broke from them; they retired into the parlour, and I executed my commission.

The carriage was soon ready, and Madame Duval, having begged Lady Howard to say she was not well, stole softly down stairs, desiring me to follow her. The chariot was ordered at the garden door; and when we were seated, she told the man, according to the clerk's directions, to drive to Mr. Justice Tyrell's, asking, at the same time, how many miles off he lived?

I expected he would have answered that he knew of no such person; but, to my great surprize, he said, "Why 'Squire Tyrell lives about nine miles beyond the park."

"Drive fast, then," cried she, "and you sha'n't be no worse for it."

During our ride, which was extremely tedious, she tormented herself with a thousand fears for M. Du Bois' safety; and piqued herself very much upon having escaped unseen by the Captain, not only that she avoided his triumph, but because she knew him to be so much M. Du Bois' enemy, that she was sure he would prejudice the Justice against him, and endeavour to take away his life. For 191 my part, I was quite ashamed of being engaged in so ridiculous an affair, and could only think of the absurd appearance we should make upon our arrival at Mr. Tyrell's.

When we had been out near two hours, and expected every moment to stop at the place of our destination, I observed that Lady Howard's ser vant, who attended us on horseback, rode on for ward till he was out of sight, and soon after re turning, came up to the chariot-window, and de livering a note to Madame Duval, said he had met a boy, who was just coming with it to How ard Grove, from the clerk of Mr. Tyrell.

While she was reading it, he rode round to the other window, and, making a sign for secrecy, put into my hand a slip of paper, on which was written, "Whatever happens, be not alarmed,—for you are safe,—though you endanger all man kind!"

I readily imagined that Sir Clement must be the author of this note, which prepared me to expect some disagreeable adventure: but I had no time to ponder upon it, for Madame Duval had no sooner read her own letter, than, in an angry tone of voice, she exclaimed, "Why now what a thing is this! here we're come all this way for nothing!"

She then gave me the note, which informed her, that she need not trouble herself to go to Mr. Tyrell's, as the prisoner had had the address to escape. I congratulated her upon this fortunate incident; but she was so much concerned at having rode so far in vain, that she seemed less pleased than provoked. However, she ordered the man to make what haste he could home, as she hoped, 192 at least to return before the Captain should suspect what had passed.

The carriage turned about, and we journeyed so quietly for near an hour, that I began to flatter myself we should be suffered to proceed to How ard Grove without further molestation, when, suddenly, the footman called out, "John, are we going right?"

"Why I a'n't sure," said the coachman, "but I'm afraid we turned wrong."

"What do you mean by that, Sirrah?" said Madame Duval, "why if you lose your way we shall be all in the dark."

"I think we should turn to the left," said the footman.

"To the left!" answered the other, "No, no, I'm partly sure we should turn to the right."

"You had better make some enquiry," said I.

" Ma foi, " cried Madame Duval, "we're in a fine hole, here!—they neither of them know more than the post. However, I'll tell my Lady, as sure as you're born, so you'd better find the way."

"Let's try this lane," said the footman.

"No," said the coachman, "that's the road to Canterbury; we had best go straight on."

"Why that's the direct London road," return ed the footman, "and will lead us twenty miles about."

" Pardie, " cried Madame Duval, "why they won't go one way nor t'other! and, now we're come all this jaunt for nothing, I suppose we sha'n't get home to-night!"

"Let's go back to the public-house," said the footman, "and ask for a guide."

193 "No, no," said the other, "if we stay here a few minutes, somebody or other will pass by; and the horses are almost knocked up already."

"Well, I protest," cried Madame Duval, "I'd give a guinea to see them sots both horse-whipped! As sure as I'm alive, they're drunk! Ten to one but they'll overturn us next!"

After much debating, they, at length, agreed to go on, till we came to some inn, or met with a passenger who could direct us. We soon arrived at a small farm-house, and the footman alighted, and went into it.

In a few minutes he returned, and told us we might proceed, for that he had procured a directi on; "But," added he, "it seems there are some thieves hereabouts; and so the best way will be for you to leave your watches and purses with the farmer, who I know very well, and who is an ho nest man, and a tenant of my Lady's."

"Thieves!" cried Madame Duval, looking aghast, "the Lord help us!—I've no doubt but we shall be all murdered!"

The farmer came to us, and we gave him all we were worth, and the servants followed our ex ample. We then proceeded, and Madame Duval's anger so entirely subsided, that, in the mildest manner imaginable, she intreated them to make haste, and promised to tell their Lady how diligent and obliging they had been. She perpetually stop ped them, to ask if they apprehended any danger; and was, at length, so much overpowered by her fears, that she made the footman fasten his horse to the back of the carriage, and then come and seat himself within it. My endeavours to encou rage her were fruitless; she sat in the middle, held the man by the arm, and protested that if he did 194 but save her life, she would make his fortune. Her uneasiness gave me much concern, and it was with the utmost difficulty I forbore to acquaint her that she was imposed upon; but the mutual fear of the Captain's resentment to me, and of her own to him, neither of which would have any moderation, deterred me. As to the footman, he was evidently in torture from restraining his laughter, and I ob served that he was frequently obliged to make hor rid grimaces, from pretended fear, in order to con ceal his risibility.

Very soon after, "The robbers are coming!" cried the coachman.

The footman opened the door, and jumped out of the chariot.

Madame Duval gave a loud scream.

I could no longer preserve my silence, "For Heaven's sake, my dear Madam," said I, don't be alarmed,—you are in no danger—you are quite safe, there is nothing but—"

Here the chariot was stopped, by two men in masks, who, at each side, put in their hands, as if for our purses. Madame Duval sunk to the bot tom of the chariot, and implored their mercy. I shrieked involuntarily, although prepared for the attack: one of them held me fast, while the other tore poor Madame Duval out of the carriage, in spite of her cries, threats, and resistance.

I was really frightened, and trembled exceed ingly. "My angel!" cried the man who held me, "you cannot surely be alarmed,—do you not know me?—I shall hold myself in eternal abhor rence, if I have really terrified you."

"Indeed, Sir Clement, you have," cried I,— "but, for Heaven's sake, where is Madame Du val?—why is she forced away?"

195 "She is perfectly safe; the Captain has her in charge: but suffer me now, my adored Miss An ville, to take the only opportunity that is allowed me, to speak upon another, a much dearer, much sweeter subject."

And then he hastily came into the chariot, and seated himself next to me. I would fain have disen gaged myself from him, but he would not let me; "Deny me not, most charming of women," cried he, "deny me not this only moment that is lent me, to pour forth my soul into your gentle ears,—to tell you how much I suffer from your absence,—how much I dread your displeasure,—and how cru elly I am affected by your coldness!"

"O Sir, this is no time for such language,—pray leave me, pray go to the relief of Madame Duval,—I cannot bear that she should be treated with such indignity."

"And will you,—can you command my ab sence?—When may I speak to you, if not now?—does the Captain suffer me to breathe a moment out of his sight?—and are not a thousand imperti nent people for ever at your elbow?"

"Indeed, Sir Clement, you must change your style, or I will not hear you. The impertinent peo ple you mean, are among my best friends, and you would not, if you really wished me well, speak of them so disrespectfully."

"Wish you well!—O, Miss Anville, point but out to me how, in what manner, I may convince you of the fervour of my passion,—tell me but what services you will accept from me, and you shall find my life, my fortune, my whole soul at your devotion."

"I want nothing, Sir, that you can offer;—I beg you not to talk to me so—so strangely. Pray leave me, and pray assure yourself, you cannot take any 196 method so successless to shew any regard for me, as entering into schemes so frightful to Madame Duval, and so disagreeable to myself."

"The scheme was the Captain's; I even oppo sed it: though, I own, I could not refuse myself the so-long-wished-for happiness, of speaking to you once more, without so many of—your friends to watch me. And I had flattered myself that the note I had charged the footman to give you would have prevented the alarm you have received."

"Well, Sir, you have now, I hope, said enough; and, if you will not go yourself to see for Madame Duval, at least suffer me to enquire what is become of her."

"And when may I speak to you again?"

"No matter when,—I don't know,—perhaps—"

"Perhaps what, my angel?"

"Perhaps never, Sir,—if you torment me thus."

"Never! O Miss Anville, how cruel, how pier cing to my soul is that icy word!—Indeed, I cannot endure such displeasure."

Then, Sir, you must not provoke it. Pray leave me directly."

"I will, Madam: but let me, at least, make a merit of my obedience,—allow me to hope, that you will, in future, be less averse to trusting your self for a few moments alone with me."

I was surprized at the freedom of this request; but while I hesitated how to answer it, the other mask came up to the chariot door, and in a voice almost stifled with laughter, said, "I've done for her! the old buck is safe;—but we must sheer off directly, or we shall be all a-ground."

197 Sir Clement instantly left me, mounted his horse, and rode off. The Captain, having given some directions to the servants, followed him.

I was both uneasy and impatient to know the fate of Madame Duval, and immediately got out of the chariot to seek her. I desired the footman to shew me which was she was gone; he pointed with his finger, by way of answer, and I saw that he dared not trust his voice to make any other. I walked on, a very quick pace, and soon, to my great consternation, perceived the poor lady, seated upright in a ditch. I flew to her, with unfeigned concern at her situation. She was sobbing, nay, almost roaring, and in the utmost agony of rage and terror. As soon as she saw me she redoubled her cries, but her voice was so broken, I could not un derstand a word she said. I was so much shocked, that it was with difficulty I forbore exclaiming against the cruelty of the Captain, for thus wan tonly ill-treating her; and I could not forgive my self for having passively suffered the deception. I used my utmost endeavours to comfort her, assuring her of our present safety, and begging her to rise, and return to the chariot.

Almost bursting with passion, she pointed to her feet, and with frightful violence, she actually beat the ground with her hands.

I then saw, that her feet were tied together with a strong rope, which was fastened to the upper branch of a tree, even with an hedge which ran along the ditch where she sat. I endeavoured to untie the knot, but soon sound it was infinitely be yond my strength. I was, therefore, obliged to apply to the footman; but being very unwilling to add to his mirth, by the sight of Madame Duval's situation, I desired him to lend me a knife; I 198 returned with it, and cut the rope. Her feet were soon disentangled, and then, though with great dif ficulty, I assisted her to rise. But what was my astonishment, when, the moment she was up, she hit me a violent slap on the face! I retreated from her with precipitation and dread, and she then loaded me with reproaches, which, though almost unintelligible, convinced me that she imagined I had voluntarily deserted her; but she seemed not to have the slightest suspicion that she had not been attacked by real robbers.

I was so much surprized and confounded at the blow, that, for some time, I suffered her to rave, without making any answer; but her extreme agi tation, and real suffering, soon dispelled my an ger, which all turned into compassion. I then told her, that I had been forcibly detained from following her, and assured her of my real sorrow at her ill usage.

She began to be somewhat appeased; and I again entreated her to return to the carriage, or give me leave to order that it should draw up to the place where we stood. She made no answer, till I told her, that the longer we remained still, the greater would be the danger of our ride home. Struck with this hint, she suddenly, and with hasty steps, moved forward.

Her dress was in such disorder, that I was quite sorry to have her figure exposed to the servants, who all of them, in imitation of their master, hold her in derision: however, the disgrace was unavoidable.

The ditch, happily, was almost quite dry, or she must have suffered still more severely; yet, so forlorn, so miserable a figure, I never before saw. Her head-dress had fallen off; her linen was torn; 199 her negligee had not a pin left in it; her petticoats she was obliged to hold on; and her shoes were perpetually slipping off. She was covered with dirt, weeds, and filth, and her face was really horrible, for the pomatum and powder from her head, and the dust from the road, were quite pasted on her skin by her tears, which, with her rouge, made so frightful a mixture, that she hardly looked hu man.

The servants were ready to die with laughter, the moment they saw her; but not all my remon strances could prevail upon her to get into the car riage, till she had most vehemently reproached them both, for not rescuing her. The footman, fixing his eyes on the ground, as if fearful of again trusting himself to look at her, protested that the robbers had vowed they would shoot him, if he moved an inch, and that one of them had stay ed to watch the chariot, while the other carried her off; adding, that the reason of their behaving so barbarously, was to revenge our having secured our purses. Notwithstanding her anger, she gave immediate credit to what he said, and really ima gined that her want of money had irritated the pretended robbers to treat her with such cruelty. I determined, therefore, to be carefully upon my guard, not to betray the imposition, which could now answer no other purpose, than occasioning an irreparable breach between her and the Captain.

Just as we were seated in the chariot, she dis covered the loss which her head had sustained, and called out, "My God! what is become of my hair?—why the villain has stole all my curls!"

She then ordered the man to run and see if he could find any of them in the ditch. He went, and presently returning, produced a great quantity 200 of hair, in such a nasty condition, that I was amazed she would take it; and the man as he de livered it to her, found it impossible to keep his countenance; which she had no sooner observed, than all her stormy passions were again raised. She flung the battered curls in his face, saying, "Sirrah, what do you grin for? I wish you'd been served so yourself, and you would n't have found it no such joke: you are the impudentest fellow ever I see, and if I find you dare grin at me any more, I shall make no ceremony of boxing your ears."

Satisfied with the threat, the man hastily retired, and we drove on.

Her anger now subsiding into grief, she began most sorrowfully to lament her case. "I believe, she cried, "never nobody was so unlucky as I am! and so here, because I ha'n't had misfortunes enough already, that puppy has made me lose my curls!—Why, I can't see nobody without them:—only look at me,—I was never so bad off in my life before. Pardie, if I'd know'd as much, I'd have brought two or three sets with me: but I'd never a thought of such a thing as this."

Finding her now somewhat pacified, I ventured to ask an account of her adventure, which I will endeavour to write in her own words.

"Why, child, all this misfortune comes of that puppy making us leave our money behind us; for as soon as the robber see I did not put nothing in his hands, he lugged me out of the chariot, by main force, and I verily thought he'd have mur dered me. He was as strong as a lion; I was no more in his hands than a child. But I believe never nobody was so abused before, for he dragged me down the road, pulling and hawling me all the way, as if I'd no more feeling than a horse. I'm sure I 201 wish I could see that man cut up and quartered alive! however, he'll come to the gallows, that's one good thing. So, as soon as we'd got out of sight of the chariot,—though he need n't have been afraid, for if he'd beat me to a mummy, those cowardly fellows would n't have said nothing to it.—So, when I was got there, what does he do, but, all of a sudden, he takes me by both the shoulders, and he gives me such a shake!— Mon Dieu! I shall never forget it, if I live to be an hundred. I'm sure I dare say I'm out of joint all over. And, though I made as much noise as ever I could, he took no more notice of it than nothing at all, but there he stood, shaking me in that man ner, as if he was doing it for a wager. I'm de termined, if it costs me all my fortune, I'll see that villain hanged. He shall be found out, if there's e're a justice in England. So when he had shooked me till he was tired, and I felt all over like a jelly, without saying never a word, he takes and pops me into the ditch! I'm sure I thought he'd have murdered me, as sure as I ever thought any thing in my life, for he kept bumping me about, as if he thought nothing too bad for me. However, I'm resolved I'll never leave my purse behind me again, the longest day I have to live. So when he could n't stand over me no longer, he holds out his hands again for my money; but he was as cunning as he could be, for he would n't speak a word, because I should n't swear to his voice; however, that sha'nt save him, for I'll swear to him any day in the year, if I can but catch him. So, when I told him I had no money, he fell to jerking me again, just as if he had but that moment begun! And, after that he got me close by a tree, and out of his pocket he pulls a 202 great cord!—It's a wonder I did not swoon away, for as sure as you're alive, he was going to hang me to that tree. I screamed like any thing mad, and told him if he would but spare my life, I'd never prosecute him, nor tell nobody what he'd done to me: so he stood some time quite in a brown study, a thinking what he should do. And so, after that, he forced me to sit down in the ditch, and he tied my feet together, just as you see them, and then, as if he had not done enough, he twitched off my cap, and, without saying no thing, got on his horse, and left me in that con dition, thinking, I suppose, that I might lie there and perish."

Though this narrative almost compelled me to laugh, yet I was really irritated with the Captain, for carrying his love of tormenting,— sport, he calls it,—to such barbarous and unjustifiable ex tremes. I consoled and soothed her as well as I was able, and told her that, since M. Du Bois had escaped, I hoped, when she recovered from her fright, all would end well.

"Fright, child!" repeated she, "why, that's not half;—I promise you, I wish it was; but here I'm bruised from top to toe, and it's well if ever I have the right use of my limbs again. How ever, I'm glad the villain got nothing but his trouble for his pains. But here the worst is to come, for I can't go out, because I have got no curls, and so he'll be escaped, before I can get to the Justice to stop him. I'm resolved I'll tell Lady Howard how her man served me, for if he had'nt made me fling 'em away, I dare say I could have pinned them up well enough for the country."

"Perhaps Lady Howard may be able to lend you a cap that will wear without them."

203 "Lady Howard, indeed! why, do you think I'd wear one of her dowdies? No, I'll promise you, I sha'nt put on no such disguisement. It's the unluckiest thing in the world that I did not make the man pick up the curls again; but he put me in such a passion, I could not think of nothing. I know I can't get none at Howard Grove for love nor money, for of all the stupid places ever I see, that Howard Grove is the worst! there's never no getting nothing one wants."

This sort of conversation lasted till we arrived at our journey's end; and then, a new distress occurred; Madame Duval was eager to speak to Lady Howard and Mrs. Mirvan, and to relate her misfortunes, but she could not endure that Sir Clement or the Captain should see her in such disor der, for she said they were so ill-natured, that in stead of pitying her, they would only make a jest of her disasters. She therefore sent me first into the house, to wait for an opportunity of their being out of the way, that she might steal up stairs un observed. In this I succeeded, as the gentlemen thought it most prudent not to seem watching for her; though they both contrived to divert them selves with peeping at her as she passed.

She went immediately to bed, where she had her supper. Lady Howard and Mrs. Mirvan both of them very kindly sat with her, and listened to her tale with compassionate attention; while Miss Mirvan and I retired to our own room, where I was very glad to end the troubles of the day in a comfortable conversation.

The Captain's raptures, during supper, at the success of his plan, were boundless. I spoke, afterwards, to Mrs. Mirvan, with the openness which her kindness encourages, and begged her to 204 remonstrate with him upon the cruelty of torment ing Madame Duval so causelessly. She promised to take the first opportunity of starting the subject, but said he was at present, so much elated that he would not listen to her with any patience. How ever should he make any new efforts to molest her, I can by no means consent to be passive. Had I imagined he would have been so violent, I would have risked his anger in her defence much sooner.

She has kept her bed all day, and declares she is almost bruised to death.

Adieu, dear Sir. What a long letter have I written! I could almost fancy I sent it you from London!

LETTER XXXIV Evelina in continuation.

THIS insatiable Captain, if left to himself, would not, I believe, rest, till he had tormented Madame Duval into a fever. He seems to have no de light but in terrifying or provoking her, and all his thoughts apparently turn upon inventing such me thods as may do it most effectually.

She had her breakfast again in bed yesterday morning; but during ours, the Captain with a very significant look at Sir Clement, gave us to understand, that he thought she had now rested long enough to bear the hardships of a fresh cam paign.

205 His meaning was obvious, and, therefore, I re solved to endeavour immediately to put a stop to his intended exploits. When breakfast was over, I followed Mrs. Mirvan out of the parlour, and begged her to lose no time in pleading the cause of Madame Duval with the Captain. "My love," answered she, I have already expostulated with him; but all I can say is fruitless, while his fa vourite Sir Clement contrives to urge him on."

"Then I will go and speak to Sir Clement," said I, "for I know he will desist, if I request him."

"Have a care, my dear," said she, smiling, "it is sometimes dangerous to make requests to men, who are too desirous of receiving them."

"Well then, my dear Madam, will you give me leave to speak myself to the Captain?

"Willingly; nay, I will accompany you to him."

I thanked her, and we went to seek him. He was walking in the garden with Sir Clement. Mrs. Mirvan most obligingly made anopening for my pur pose, by saying, "Mr. Mirvan, I have brought a petitioner with me."

"Why, what's the matter now?" cried he.

I was fearful of making him angry, and stam mered very much, when I told him, I hoped he had no new plan for alarming Madame Duval.

" New plan!" cried he, "why, you don't sup pose the old one would do again, do you? Not but what it was a very good one, only I doubt she would n't bite."

"Indeed, Sir, said I, "she has already suf fered too much, and I hope you will pardon me, if I take the liberty of telling you, that I think it 206 my duty to do all in my power to prevent her being again so much terrified."

A sullen gloominess instantly clouded his face, and, turning short from me, he said, I might do as I pleased, but that I should much sooner repent than repair my officiousness.

I was too much disconcerted at this rebuff, to attempt making any answer, and, finding that Sir Clement warmly espoused my cause, I walked away, and left them to discuss the point together.

Mrs. Mirvan, who never speaks to the Captain when he is out of humour, was glad to follow me, and, with her usual sweetness, made a thousand apologies for her husband's ill-manners.

When I left her, I went to Madame Duval, who was just risen, and employed in examining the cloaths she had on the day of her ill usage.

"Here's a sight! cried she. Come here, child,—only look— Pardie, so long as I've lived, I never see so much before! Why all my things are spoilt, and, what's worse, my sacque was as good as new. Here's the second negligee I've used in this man ner!—I am sure I was a fool to put it on, in such a lonesome place as this; however, if I stay here these ten years, I'll never put on another good gown, that I'm resolved."

"Will you let the maid try if she can iron it out, or clean it, Ma'am?

"No, she'll only make bad worse.—But look here, now, here's a cloak! Mon Dieu! why it looks like a dish-clout! Of all the unluckinesses that ever I met, this is the worst! for, do you know, I bought it but the day before I left Paris?—Besides, into the bargain, my cap's quite gone; where the villain twitched it, I don't know, but I see no more of it from that time to this Now you 207 must know this was the becomingest cap I had in the world, for I've never another with pink ribbon in it; and, to tell you the truth, if I had n't thought to have seen M. Du Bois, I'd no more have put it on than I'd have flown; for as to what one wears in such a stupid place as this, it signifies no more than nothing at all."

She then told me, that she had been thinking all night of a contrivance to hinder the Captain's finding out her loss of curls; which was, having a large gauze handkerchief pinned on her head as a hood, and saying she had the tooth-ach.

"To tell you the truth," added she, "I be lieve that Captain is one of the worst men in the world; he's always making a joke of me; and as to his being a gentleman, he has no more manners than a bear, for he's always upon the grin when one's in distress, and, I declare, I'd rather be done any thing to than laughed at, for, to my mind, it's one or other the disagreeablest thing in the world."

Mrs. Mirvan, I found, had been endeavouring to dissuade her from the design she had formed, of having recourse to the law, in order to find out the supposed robbers; for she dreads a discovery of the Captain, during Madame Duval's stay at Howard Grove, as it could not fail being productive of in finite commotion. She has, therefore, taken great pains to shew the inutility of applying to justice, unless she were more able to describe the offen ders against whom she would appear, and has as sured her, that as she neither heard their voices, nor saw their faces, she cannot possibly swear to their persons, or obtain any redress.

Madame Duval, in telling me this, extremely lamented her hard fate, that she was thus pre vented 208 from revenging her injuries; which, how ever, she vowed she would not be persuaded to pocket tamely, "because," added she, "if such vil lains as these are let to have their own way, and nobody takes no notice of their impudence, they'll make no more ado than nothing at all of tying people in ditches, and such things as that: however, I shall consult with M. Du Bois, as soon I can ferret out where he's hid himself. I'm sure I've a right to his advice, for it's all along of his gaping about at the Tower that I've met with these misfor tunes."

"M. Du Bois, said I, will, I am sure, be very sorry when he hears what has happened."

"And what good will that do now?—that won't unspoil all my cloaths; I can tell him, I a'n't much obliged to him, though it's no fault of his;—yet it i'n't the less provokinger for that. I'm sure, if he had been there, to have seen me served in that manner, and put neck and heels into a ditch, he'd no more have thought it was me, than the Pope of Rome. I'll promise you, what ever you may think of it, I sha'n't have no rest, night nor day, till I find out that rogue."

"I have no doubt, Madam, but you will soon discover him."

" Pardie, if I do, I'll hang him, as sure as fate!—but what's the oddest, is that he should take such a 'special spite against me, above all the rest! it was as much for nothing, as could be, for I don't know what I have done, so particular bad, to be used in that manner: I'm sure, I had n't given him no of fence, as I know of, for I never see his face all the time; and as to screaming a little, I think it's very hard if one must n't do such a thing as that, when one's put in fear of one's life."

209 During this conversation, she endeavoured to ad just her head-dress, but could not at all please her self. Indeed, had I not been present, I should have thought it impossible for a woman at her time of life to be so very difficult in regard to dress. What she may have in view, I cannot imagine, but the labour of the toilette seems the chief business of her life.

When I left her, in my way down stairs, I met with Sir Clement, who, with great earnestness, said he must not be denied the honour of a mo ment's conversation with me; and then, without waiting for an answer, he led me to the garden, at the door of which, however, I absolutely insisted upon stopping.

He seemed very serious, and said, in a very grave tone of voice, "At length, Miss Anville, I flat ter myself that I have hit upon an expedient that will oblige you, and therefore, though it is death to myself, I will put it in practice."

I begged him to explain himself.

"I saw your desire of saving Madame Duval, and scarce could I refrain giving the brutal Captain my real opinion of his savage conduct; but I am unwilling to quarrel with him, lest I should be de nied entrance into a house which you inhabit: I have been endeavouring to prevail with him to give up his absurd new scheme, but I find him im penetrable;—I have therefore determined to make a pretence for suddenly leaving this place, dear as it is to me, and containing all I most admire and adore;—and I will stay in town till the violence of this boobyish humour is abated."

He ssopped; but I was silent, for I knew not what I ought to say. He took my hand, which he pressed to his lips, saying, "And must I, then, 210 Miss Anville, must I quit you—sacrifice voluntarily my greatest felicity,—and yet not be honoured with one word, one look of approbation?"—

I withdrew my hand, and said, with a half laugh, "You know so well, Sir Clement, the value of the favours you confer, that it would be superflu ous for me to point it out."

"Charming, charming girl! how does your wit, your understanding rise upon me daily! and must I, can I part with you?—will no other me thod—"

"O Sir, do you so soon repent the good office you had planned for Madame Duval?"

"For Madame Duval!—cruel creature, and will you not even suffer me to place to your account the sacrifice I am about to make?"

"You must place it, Sir, to what account you please; but I am too much in haste now to stay here any longer."

And then I would have left him, but he held me, and, rather impatiently, said, "If, then, I cannot be so happy as to oblige you, Miss Anville, you must not be surprised, should I seek to oblige myself. If my scheme is not honoured with your approbation, for which alone it was formed, why should I, to my own infinite dissatisfaction, pur sue it?"

We were then, for a few minutes, both silent; I was really unwilling he should give up a plan, which would so effectually break into the Captain's designs, and, at the same time, save me the pain of disobliging him; and I should instantly and thankfully have accepted his offered civility, had not Mrs. Mirvan's caution made me fearful. How ever, when he pressed me to speak, I said, in an ironical voice, "I had thought, Sir, that the very 211 strong sense you have yourself of the favour you propose to me, would sufficiently have repaid you, but, as I was mistaken, I must thank you myself. And now," making a low courtesy, "I hope, Sir, you are satisfied."

"Loveliest of thy sex—" he began, but I for ced myself from him, and ran up stairs.

Soon after, Miss Mirvan told me that Sir Cle ment had just received a letter, which obliged him instantly to leave the Grove, and that he had actually ordered a chaise. I then acquainted her with the real state of the affair. Indeed, I con ceal nothing from her, she is so gentle and sweet tempered, that it gives me great pleasure to place an entire confidence in her.

At dinner, I must own, we all missed him; for though the flightiness of his behaviour to me, when we are by ourselves, is very distressing, yet, in large companies, and general conversation, he is ex tremely entertaining and agreeable. As to the Captain, he has been so much chagrined at his de parture, that he has scarce spoken a word since he went: but Madame Duval, who made her first pub lic appearance since her accident, was quite in rap tures that she escaped seeing him.

The money which we left at the farm-house, has been returned to us. What pains the Captain must have taken to arrange and manage the adven tures which he chose we should meet with! Yet he must certainly be discovered, for Madame Du val is already very much perplexed, at having re ceived a letter this morning from M. Du Bois, in which he makes no mention of his imprisonment. However, she has so little suspicion, that she im putes his silence upon the subject, to his fears that the letter might be intercepted.

212 Not one opportunity could I meet with, while Sir Clement was here, to enquire after his friend Lord Orville: but I think it was strange he should never mention him unasked. Indeed, I rather won der that Mrs. Mirvan herself did not introduce the subject, for she always seemed particularly atten tive to him.

And now, once more, all my thoughts involun tarily turn upon the letter I so soon expect from Pa ris. This visit of Sir Clement has, however, somewhat diverted my fears, and therefore I am ve ry glad he made it at this time. Adieu, my dear Sir.

LETTER XXXV. Sir John Belmont to Lady Howard. Madam,

I Have this moment the honour of your Lady ship's letter, and I will not wait another, before I return an answer.

It seldom happens that a man, though extolled as a saint, is really without blemish; or that another, though reviled as a devil, is really with out humanity. Perhaps the time is not very dis tant, when I may have the honour to convince your Ladyship of this truth, in regard to Mr. Villars and myself.

As to the young Lady, whom Mr. Villars so obligingly proposes presenting to me, I wish her all the happiness to which, by your Ladyship's account, she seems entitled; and if she has a third 213 part of the merit of her to whom you compare her, I doubt not but Mr. Villars will be more success ful in every other application he may make for her advantage, than he can ever be in any with which he may be pleased to favour me.

I have the honour to be, Madam, your Ladyship's most humble and most obedient servant JOHN BELMONT.
LETTER XXXVI. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

WELL, my dear Sir, all is now over! the letter so anxiously expected, is at length arrived, and my doom is fixed. The various feelings which oppress me, I have not language to describe; nor need I,—you know my heart, you have yourself formed it,—and its sensations upon this occasion, you may but too readily imagine

Outcast as I am; and rejected for ever by him to whom I of right belong,—shall I now implore your continual protection?—no, no,—I will not offend your generous heart (which, open to distress, has no wish but to relieve it) with an application that would seem to imply a doubt. I am more secure than ever of your kindness, since you now know upon that is my sole dependance.

I endeavour to bear this stroke with composure, and in such a manner as if I had already received your counsel and consolation. Yet, at times, my 214 emotions are almost too much for me. O Sir, what a letter for a parent to write! must I not myself be deaf to the voice of Nature, if I could endure to be thus absolutely abandoned, without regret? I dare not, even to you, nor would I, could I help it, to myself, acknowledge all that I think; for, indeed, I have, sometimes, sentiments upon this rejection, which my strongest sense of duty can scarcely correct. Yet, suffer me to ask,—might not this answer have been softened?—was it not enough to disclaim me for ever, without treating me with contempt, and wounding me with de rision?

But, while I am thus thinking of myself, I for get how much more he is the object of sorrow, than I am! Alas, what amends can he make him self, for the anguish he is hoarding up for time to come! My heart bleeds for him, whenever this re flection occurs to me.

What is said of you, my protector, my friend, my benefactor!—I dare not trust myself to com ment upon. Gracious Heaven! what a return for goodness so unparalleled!

I would fain endeavour to divert my thoughts from this subject, but even that is not in my pow er; for, afflicting as this letter is to me, I find that it will not be allowed to conclude the affair, though it does all my expectations: for Madame Duval has determined not to let it rest here. She heard the letter in great wrath, and protested she would not be so easily answered; she regretted her faci lity, in having been prevailed upon to yield the di rection of this affair to those who knew not how to manage it, and vowed she would herself undertake and conduct it in future.

215 It is in vain that I have pleaded against her reso lution, and besought her to forbear an attack, where she has nothing to expect but resentment; especi ally as there seems to be a hint, that Lady Howard will one day be more openly dealt with: she will not hear me; she is furiously bent upon a project which is terrible to think of,—for she means to go go herself to Paris, take me with her, and there, face to face, demand justice!

How to appease or to persuade her, I know not; but for the universe would I not be dragged, in such a manner, to an interview so awful, with a parent I have never yet beheld!

Lady Howard and Mrs. Mirvan are both of them infinitely shocked at the present situation of affairs, and they seem to be even more kind to me than ever; and my dear Maria, who is the friend of my heart, uses her utmost efforts to console me, and, when she fails in her design, with still greater kind ness, she sympathises in my sorrow.

I very much rejoice, however, that Sir Clement Willoughby had left us before this letter arrived. I am sure the general confusion of the house would, otherwise, have betrayed to him the whole of a tale which I now, more than ever, wish to have buried in oblivion.

Lady Howard thinks I ought not to disoblige Madame Duval, yet she acknowledges the impropri ety of my accompanying her abroad upon such an enterprize. Indeed I would rather die, than force myself into his presence. But so vehement is Ma dame Duval, that she would instantly have com pelled me to attend her to town, in her way to Paris, had not Lady Howard so far exerted herself, as to declare she could by no means consent to my 216 quitting her house, till she gave me up to you, by whose permission I had entered it.

She was extremely angry at this denial; and the Captain, by his sneers and raillery, so much en creased her rage, that she has positively declared, should your next letter dispute her authority to guide me by her own pleasure, she will, without hesitation, make a journey to Berry Hill, and teach you to know who she is.

Should she put this threat in execution, nothing could give me greater uneasiness, for her violence and volubility would almost distract you.

Unable as I am to act for myself, or to judge what conduct I ought to pursue, how grateful do I feel myself, that I have such a guide and direc tor to counsel and instruct me as yourself!

Adieu, my dearest Sir! Heaven, I trust, will never never let me live to be repulsed and derided by you, to whom I may now sign myself

Wholly your EVELINA.
LETTER XXXVII. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

LET not my Evelina be depressed by a stroke of fortune for which she is not responsible. No breach of duty on your part, has incurred the unkind ness which has been shewn you, nor have you, by any act of imprudence, provoked either censure or reproach. Let me entreat you, therefore, my dearest child, to support yourself with that cou rage 217 which your innocency ought to inspire; and let all the affliction you allow yourself, be for him only, who not having that support, must one day be but too severely sensible how much he wants it.

The hint thrown out concerning myself, is wholly unintelligible to me: my heart, I dare own, fully acquits me of vice, but without blemish, I have never ventured to pronounce myself. How ever, it seems his intention to be hereafter more explicit, and then, —should any thing appear, that has, on my part, contributed to those misfortunes we lament, let me, at least, say, that the most partial of my friends cannot be so much astonished as I shall myself be, at such a discovery.

The mention, also, of any future applications I may make, is equally beyond my comprehension. But I will not dwell upon a subject which almost compels from me reflections that cannot but be wounding to a heart so formed for filial tenderness as my Evelina's. There is an air of mystery throughout the letter, the explanation of which I will await in silence.

The scheme of Madame Duval is such as might be reasonably expected from a woman so little inured to disappointment, and so totally incapable of considering the delicacy of your situation. Your averseness to her plan gives me pleasure, for it exactly corresponds with my own. Why will she not make the journey she projects by herself? She would not have even the wish of an opposition to encounter. And then, once more, might my child and myself be left to the quiet enjoyment of that peaceful happiness, which she alone has inter rupted. As to her coming hither, I could, indeed, dispense with such a visit; but, if she will not be 218 satisfied with my refusal by letter, I must submit to the task of giving it her in person.

My impatience for your return is encreased by your account of Sir Clement Willoughby's visit to Howard Grove. I am but little surprized at the perseverance of his assiduities to interest you in his favour; but I am very much hurt that you should be exposed to addresses, which, by their privacy, have an air that shocks me. You cannot, my love, be too circumspect; the slightest carelessness on your part, will be taken advantage of, by a man of his disposition. It is not sufficient for you to be reserved; his conduct even calls for your resent ment: and should he again, as will doubtless be his endeavour, contrive to solicit your favour in private, let your disdain and displeasure be so marked, as to constrain a change in his behaviour. Though, indeed, should his visit be repeated while you remain at the Grove, Lady Howard must pardon me if I shorten your's.

Adieu, my child. You will always make my respects to the hospitable family to which we are so much obliged.

LETTER XXXVII. Mr. Villars to Lady Howard. Dear Madam,

I BELIEVE your Ladyship will not be surprized at hearing I have had a visit from Madame Duval, as I doubt not her having made known her inten tion before she left Howard Grove. I would gladly 219 have excused myself this meeting, could I have avoided it decently; but, after so long a journey, it was not possible to refuse her admittance.

She told me, that she came to Berry Hill, in consequence of a letter I had sent to her grand daughter, in which I had forbid her going to Pa ris. Very roughly, she then called me to account for the authority which I assumed! and, had I been disposed to have argued with her, she would very angrily have disputed the right by which I used it. But I declined all debating. I therefore listened very quietly, till she had so much fatigued herself with talking, that she was glad, in her turn, to be silent. And then I begged to know the pur port of her visit.

She answered, that she came to make me re linquish the power I had usurped over her grand daughter, and assured me she would not quit the place till she succeeded.

But I will not trouble your Ladyship with the particulars of this disagreeable conversation; nor should I, but on account of the result, have cho sen so unpleasant a subject for your perusal. How ever, I will be as concise as I possibly can, that the better occupations of your ladyship's time may be the less impeded.

When she found me inexorable in refusing Eve lina's attending her to Paris, she peremptorily in sisted, that she should, at least, live with her in London, till Sir John Belmont's return. I re monstrated against this scheme with all the energy in my power; but the contest was vain; she lost her patience, and I my time. She declared that if I was resolute in opposing her, she would instantly make a will, in which she would leave all her 220 fortune to strangers, though, otherwise, she in tended her grand-daughter for her sole heiress.

To me, I own, this threat seemed of little consequence; I have long accustomed myself to think, that, with a competency, of which she is sure, my child might be as happy as in the posses sion of millions: but the incertitude of her future fate, deters me from following implicitly the dic tates of my present judgment. The connections she may hereafter form, the style of life for which she may be destined, and the future family to which she may belong, are considerations which give but too much weight to the menaces of Ma dame Duval. In short, Madam, after a discourse infinitely tedious, I was obliged, though very re luctantly, to compromise with this ungovernable woman, by consenting that Evelina should pass one month with her.

I never made a concession with so bad a grace, or so much regret. The violence and vulgarity of this woman, her total ignorance of propriety, the family to which she is related, and the compa ny she is likely to keep, are objections so forcible to her having the charge of this dear child, that nothing less than my diffidence of the right I have of depriving her of so large a fortune, would have induced me to listen to her proposal. Indeed we parted, at last, equally discontented, she, at what I had refused, I, at what I had granted.

It now only remains for me to return your Lady ship my humble acknowledgments for the kind ness which you have so liberally shewn to my ward, and to beg you would have the goodness to part with her, when Madame Duval thinks proper 221 to claim the promise which she has extorted from me. I am,

Dear Madam, &c. ARTHUR VILLARS.
LETTER XXXIX. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

WITH a reluctance which occasions me inex pressible uneasiness, I have been almost compelled to consent that my Evelina should quit the protection of the hospitable and respectable Lady Howard, and accompany Madame Duval to a city to which I had hoped she had bid an eternal adieu. But alas, my dear child, we are the slaves of custom, the dupes of prejudice, and dare not stem the torrent of an opposing world, even though our judgments con demn our compliance! however, since the die is cast, we must endeavour to make the best of it.

You will have occasion, in the course of the month you are to pass with Madame Duval, for all the circumspection and prudence you can call to your aid: she will not, I know, propose any thing to you which she thinks wrong herself; but you must learn not only to judge but to act for your self; if any schemes are started, any engagements made, which your understanding represents to you as improper, exert yourself resolutely in avoiding them, and do not, by a too passive facility, risk the censure of the world, or your own future regret.

You cannot too assiduously attend to Madame Duval herself; but I would wish you to mix as lit tle 222 as possible with her associates, who are not like ly to be among those whose acquaintance would re flect credit upon you. Remember, my dear Eve lina, nothing is so delicate as the reputation of a woman: it is, at once, the most beautiful and most brittle of all human things.

Adieu, my beloved child; I shall be but ill at ease till this month is elapsed.

A. V.
LETTER XL. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

ONCE more, my dearest Sir, I write to you from this great city. Yesterday morning, with the truest concern, I quitted the dear inhabitants of Howard Grove, and most impatiently shall I count the days till I see them again. Lady Howard and Mrs. Mirvan took leave of me with the most flatter ing kindness; but indeed I knew not how to part with Maria, whose own apparent sorrow redoubled mine. She made me promise to send her a letter every post. And I shall write to her with the same fre •• om, and almost the same confidence, you allow me to make use of to yourself.

The Captain was very civil to me, but he wrangled with poor Madame Duval to the last mo ment; and, taking me aside, just before we got into the chaise, he said, "Hark'ee, Miss Anville, I've a favour for to ask of you, which is this; that you will write us word how the old gentlewoman finds herself, when she sees it was all a trick; and 223 what the French lubber says to it, and all about it."

I answered that I would obey him, though I was very little pleased with the commission, which, to me, was highly improper: but he will either treat me as an informer, or make me a party in his frolic.

As soon as we drove away, Madame Duval, with much satisfaction, exclaimed " Dieu merci, we've got off at last! I'm sure I never desire to see that place again. It's a wonder I've got away alive; for I believe I've had the worst luck ever was known, from the time I set my foot upon the threshold. I know I wish I'd never a gone. Besides, into the bargain, it's the most dullest place in all Christen dom: there's never no diversions, nor nothing at all."

Then she bewailed M. Du Bois, concerning whose adventures she continued to make various conjectures during the rest of our journey.

When I asked her what part of London she should reside in, she told me that Mr. Branghton was to meet us at an inn, and would conduct us to a lodging. Accordingly, we proceeded to a house in Bishopsgate-street, and were led by a waiter in to a room where we found Mr. Branghton.

He received us very civilly, but seemed rather surprised at seeing me, saying "Why I did n't think of your bringing Miss; however she's very welcome."

"I'll tell you how it was," said Madame Duval; "you must know I've a mind to take the girl to Paris, that she may see something of the world, and improve herself a little; besides, I've another rea son, that you and I will talk more about; but do you know, that meddling old parson as I told you of, •… ould not let her go: however, I'm resolved I'll 224 be even with him, for I shall take her on with me, without saying never a word more to nobody."

I started at this intimation, which very much surprised me. But I am very glad she has discover ed her intention, as I shall be carefully upon my guard not to venture from town with her.

Mr. Branghton then hoped we had passed our time agreeably in the country.

"O Lord, Cousin," cried she, "I've been the miserablest creature in the world! I'm sure all the horses in London shan't drag me into the country again of one while: why how do you think I've been served?—only guess."

"Indeed, Cousin, I can't pretend to do that."

"Why then I'll tell you. Do you know, I've been robbed!—that is, the villain would have robbed me if he could, only I'd secured all my money."

"Why then, Cousin, I think your loss can't have been very great."

"O Lord, you don't know what you're a say ing; you're talking in the unthinkingest manner in the world: why it was all along of not having no money, that I met with that misfortune."

"How's that, Cousin? I don't see what great misfortune you can have met with, if you'd se cured all your money."

"That's because you don't know nothing of the matter; for there the villain came to the chaise, and because we had n't got nothing to give him, though he'd no more right to our money than the man in the moon, yet, do you know, he fell into the greatest passion ever you see, and abused me in such a manner, and put me in a ditch, and got a rope, o' purpose to hang me,—and I'm sure, if that was n't misfortune enough, why I don't know what is."

225 "This is a hard case, indeed, Cousin. But why don't you go to justice Fielding?"

"O, as to that, I'm a going to him directly; but only I want first to see poor M. Du Bois, for the oddest thing of all is, that he has wrote to me, and never said nothing of where he is, nor what's become of him, nor nothing else."

"M. Du Bois! why he's at my house at this very time."

"M. Du Bois at your house! well, I declare this is the surprisingest part of all! however, I as sure you, I think he might have comed for me, as well as you, considering what I have gone through on his account; for, to tell you the truth, it was all along of him that I met with that accident; so I don't take it very kind of him, I promise you."

"Well but, Cousin, tell me some of the par ticulars of this affair."

"As to the particulars, I'm sure they'd make your hair stand an end to hear them; however, the beginning of it all was thro' the fault of M. Du Bois: but, I'll assure you, he may take care of himself in future, since he don't so much as come to see if I'm dead or alive;—but there I went for him to a justice of peace, and rode all out of the way, and did every thing in the world, and was used worser than a dog, and all for the sake of serv ing him, and now, you see, he don't so much—well, I was a fool for my pains,—however, he may get somebody else to be treated so another time, for if he's taken up every day in the week, I'll never go after him no more."

This occasioned an explanation, in the course of which, Madame Duval, to her utter amazement, heard that M. Du Bois had never left London dur ing her absence! nor did Mr. Branghton believe 226 that he had ever been to the Tower, or met with any kind of accident.

Almost instantly, the whole truth of the tran saction seemed to rush upon her mind, and her wrath was inconceivably violent. She asked me a thou sand questions in a breath, but, fortunately, was too vehement to attend to my embarrassment, which must, otherwise, have betrayed my know ledge of the deceit. Revenge was her first wish, and she vowed she would go the next morning to Justice Fielding, and enquire what punishment she might lawfully inflict upon the Captain for his assault.

I believe we were an hour in Bishopsgate-street, ere poor Madame Duval could allow any thing to be mentioned but her own story; at length, how ever, Mr. Branghton told her, that M. Du Bois, and all his own family, were waiting for her at his house. A hackney-coach was then called, and we proceeded to Snow-hill.

Mr. Branghton's house is small and inconveni ent, though his shop, which takes in all the ground floor, is large and commodious. I believe I told you before that he is a silver-smith.

We were conducted up two pair of stairs, for the dining-room, Mr. Branghton told us, was let. His two daughters, their brother, M. Du Bois, and a young man, were at tea. They had waited some time for Madame Duval, but I found they had not any expectation that I should accompany her; and the young ladies, I believe, were rather more surprised than pleased when I made my ap pearance; for they seemed hurt that I should see their apartment. Indeed I would willingly have saved them that pain, had it been in my power.

The first person who saw me was M. Du Bois: 227 " Ah, mon Dieu! " exclaimed he, voilà Mademoi selle! "

"Goodness," cried young Branghton, if there is n't Miss!"

"Lord, so there is," said Miss Polly; "well, I'm sure I should never have dreamed of Miss's coming."

"Nor I neither, I'm sure," cried Miss Brangh ton, "or else I would not have been in this room to see her; I'm quite ashamed about it,—only not thinking of seeing any body but my aunt—how ever, Tom, it's all your fault, for you know very well I wanted to borrow Mr. Smith's room, only you were so grumty, you would not let me."

"Lord, what signifies;" said the brother, "I dare be sworn Miss has been up two pair of stairs before now;—Ha'n't you, Miss?"

I begged that I might not give them the least disturbance, and assured them that I had not any choice in regard to what room we sat in.

"Well," said Miss Polly, "when you come next, Miss, we'll have Mr. Smith's room; and it's a very pretty one, and only up one pair of stairs, and nicely furnished, and every thing."

"To say the truth," said Miss Branghton, "I thought that my cousin would not, upon any ac count, have come to town in the summer time; for it's not at all the fashion, —so, to be sure, thinks I, she'll stay till September, when the play-houses open."

This was my reception, which I believe you will not call a very cordial one. Madame Duval, who, after having severely reprimanded M. Du Bois for his negligence, was just entering upon the story of her misfortunes, now wholly engaged the company.

228 M. Du Bois listened to her with a look of the utmost horror, repeatedly lifting up his eyes and hands, and exclaiming, " O ciel! quel barbare! " The young ladies gave her the most earnest atten tion; but their brother, and the young man, kept a broad grin upon their faces during the whole reci tal. She was, however, too much engaged to observe them: but, when she mentioned having been tied in a ditch, young Branghton, no longer able to constrain himself, burst into a loud laugh, declaring that he had never heard any thing so fun ny in his life! His laugh was heartily re-echoed by his friend; the Miss Branghtons could not resist the example; and poor Madame Duval, to her extreme amazement, was absolutely overpowered and stopped by the violence of their mirth.

For some minutes the room seemed quite in an uproar; the rage of Madame Duval, the astonish ment of M. Du Bois, and the angry interrogato ries of Mr. Branghton, on one side; the convul sive tittering of the sisters, and the loud laughs of the young men, on the other, occasioned such noise, passion, and confusion, that had any one stopped an instant on the stairs, he must have concluded himself in Bedlam. At length, however, the fa ther brought them to order; and, half laughing, half frightened, they made Madame Duval some very awkward apologies. But she would not be prevailed upon to continue her narrative, till they had protested they were laughing at the Captain, and not at her. Appeased by this, she resumed her story; which, by the help of stuffing hand kerchiefs into their mouths, the young people heard with tolerable decency.

Every body agreed, that the ill usage the Cap tain had given her was actionable, and Mr. Brangh ton 229 said he was sure she might recover what da mages she pleased, since she had been put in fear of her life.

She then, with great delight, declared, that she would lose no time in satisfying her revenge, and vowed she would not be contented with less than half his fortune: "For though," said she, "I don't put no value upon the money, because, Dieu merci, I ha'n't no want of it, yet I don't wish for nothing so much as to punish that fellow; for, I'm sure, whatever's the cause of it, he owes me a great grudge, and I know no more what it's for than you do, but he's always been doing me one spite or other, ever since I knew him."

Soon after tea, Miss Branghton took an oppor tunity to tell me, in a whisper, that the young man I saw was a lover of her sister's, that his name was Brown, and that he was a haberdasher, with many other particulars of his circumstances and family; and then she declared her utter aversion to the thoughts of such a match; but added, that her sister had no manner of spirit or ambition, though for her part, she would ten times rather die an old maid, than marry any person but a gen tleman. And, for that matter," added she, "I believe Polly herself don't care much for him, only she's in such a hurry, because, I suppose, she's a mind to be married before me; however, she's very welcome, for I'm sure, I don't care a pin's point whether I ever marry at all;—it's all one to me."

Some time after this, Miss Polly contrived to tell her story. She assured me, with much titter ing, that her sister was in a great fright, lest she should be married first, "So I make her believe that I will," continued she, "for I love dearly to plague her a little; though, I declare, I don't 230 intend to have Mr. Brown in reality; I'm sure I don't like him half well enough,—do you, Miss?"

"It is not possible for me to judge of his me rits, said I, as I am entirely a stranger to him."

"But what do you think of him, Miss?"

"Why, really, I—I don't know—"

"But do you think him handsome? Some peo ple reckon him to have a good pretty person,—but, I'm sure, for my part, I think he's monstrous ugly:—don't you, Miss?"

"I am no judge,—but I think his person is very—very well—."

" Very well! —Why, pray, Miss," in a tone of vexation, "what fault can you find with it?"

"O, none at all!"

"I'm sure you must be very ill-natured if you could. Now there's Biddy says she thinks no thing of him,—but I know it's all out of spite. You must know, Miss, it makes her as mad as can be, that I should have a lover before her, but she's so proud, that nobody will court her, and I often tell her she'll die an old maid. But, the thing is, she has taken it into her head, to have a liking for Mr. Smith, as lodges on the first floor; but, Lord, he'll never have her, for he's quite a fine gentleman; and besides, Mr. Brown heard him say, one day, that he'd never marry as long as he lived, for he'd no opinion of matrimony."

"And did you tell your sister this?"

"O, to be sure I told her directly; but she did not mind me; however, if she will be a fool, she must."

This extreme want of affection, and good-na ture, increased the distaste I already felt for these unamiable sisters; and a confidence so entirely un solicited 231 and unnecessary, manifested equally their folly and their want of decency.

I was very glad when the time for our departing arrived. Mr. Branghton said our lodgings were in Holborn, that we might be near his house, and neighbourly. He accompanied us to them himself.

Our rooms are large and not inconvenient; our landlord is an hosier. I am sure I have a thousand reasons to rejoice that I am so little known; for my present situation is, in every respect, very un enviable, and I would not, for the world, be seen by any acquaintance of Mrs. Mirvan.

This morning Madame Duval, attended by all the Branghtons, actually went to a Justice in the neighbourhood, to report the Captain's ill usage of her. I had great difficulty in excusing myself from being of the party, which would have given me very serious concern. Indeed, I was extremely anxious, though at home, till I heard the result of the application; for I dread to think of the unea siness which such an affair would occasion the amiable Mrs. Mirvan. But, fortunately, Madame Duval has received very little encouragement to proceed in her design, for she has been informed that, as she neither heard the voice, nor saw the face of the person suspected, she will find it diffi cult to cast him upon conjecture, and will have but little probability of gaining her cause, unless she can procure witnesses of the transaction. Mr. Branghton, therefore, who has considered all the circumstances of the affair, is of opinion, that the law-suit will not only be expensive, but tedious and hazardous, and has advised against it. Ma dame Duval, though very unwillingly, has ac quiesced in his decision; but vows that if ever she is so affronted again, she will be revenged, even if 232 she ruins herself. I am extremeiy glad that this ridiculous adventure seems now likely to end with out more serious consequences.

Adieu, my dearest Sir. My direction is at Mr. Dawkins's, a hosier, in High Holborn.

LETTER XLI. Evelina to Miss Mirvan.

I HAVE no words, my sweet friend, to express the thankfulness I feel for the unbounded kindness which you, your dear mother, and the much-ho noured Lady Howard, have shewn me; and still less can I find language to tell you with what re luctance I parted from such dear and generous friends, whose goodness reflects, at once, so much honour on their own hearts, and on her to whom it has been so liberally bestowed. But I will not repeat what I have already written to the kind Mrs. Mirvan; I will remember your admonitions, and confine to my own breast that gratitude with which you have filled it, and teach my pen to dwell upon subjects less painful to my generous correspondent.

O Maria, London now seems no longer the same place where I lately enjoyed so much happi ness; every thing is new and strange to me; even the town itself has not the same aspect:—my situ ation so altered! my home so different!—my com panions so changed!—But you well know my averseness to this journey.

Indeed, to me, London now seems a desart; that gay and busy appearance it so lately wore, is now succeeded by a look of gloom, fatigue, and lassi tude; the air seems stagnant, the heat is intense, 233 the dust intolerable, and the inhabitants illiterate and under-bred. At least, such is the face of things in the part of the town where I at present reside.

Tell me, my dear Maria, do you never re trace in your memory the time we past here when together? to mine, it recurs for ever! And yet, I think I rather recollect a dream, or some visionary fancy, than a reality.—That I should ever have been known to Lord Orville,—that I should have spoken to—have danced with him,—seems now a romantic illusion: and that elegant politeness, that flattering attention, that high-bred delicacy, which so much distinguished him above all other men, and which struck us with such admiration, I now re trace the remembrance of, rather as belonging to an object of ideal perfection, formed by my own imagination, than to a being of the same race and nature as those with whom I at present converse.

I have no news for you, my dear Miss Mirvan, for all that I could venture to say of Madame Du val, I have already written to your sweet mother; and as to adventures, I have none to record. Si tuated as I now am, I heartily hope I shall not meet with any; my wish is to remain quiet and unnoticed.

Adieu! excuse the gravity of this letter, and believe me,

Your most sincerely affectionate and obliged EVELINA ANVILLE.
LETTER XLII. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

YESTERDAY morning, we received an invitation to dine and spend the day at Mr. Brangh ton's; 234 and M. Du Bois, who was also invited, called to conduct us to Snow-hill.

Young Branghton received us at the door, and the first words he spoke were, "Do you know, "Sisters a'n't dressed yet?"

Then, hurrying us into the house, he said to me, "Come, Miss, you shall go up stairs and catch 'em,—I dare say they're at the glass."

He would have taken my hand, but I declined his civility, and begged to follow Madame Duval. Mr. Branghton then appeared, and led the way himself. We went, as before, up two pair of stairs; but the moment the father opened the door, the daughters both gave a loud scream. We all stopped, and then Miss Branghton called out, "Lord, Papa, what do you bring the company up here for? why, Polly and I a'n't half dressed."

"More shame for you," answered he, here's your aunt, and cousin, and M. Du Bois, all wait ing, and ne'er a room to take them to."

"Who'd have thought of their coming so soon?" cried she: "I'm sure for my part I thought Miss was used to nothing but quality hours."

"Why, I shan't be ready this half-hour yet," said Miss Polly; "can't they stay in the shop till we're dressed?"

Mr. Branghton was very angry, and scolded them violently; however, we were obliged to de scend, and stools were procured for us in the shop, where we found the brother, who was highly de lighted, he said, that his sisters had been catched; and he thought proper to entertain me with a long account of their tediousness, and the many quar rels they all had together.

When, at length, these ladies were equipped to their satisfaction, they made their appearance; but 235 before any conversation was suffered to pass between them and us, they had a long and most disagreeable dialogue with their father, to whose reprimands, though so justly incurred, they replied with the utmost pertness and rudeness, while their brother, all the time, laughed aloud.

The moment they perceived this, they were so much provoked, that, instead of making any apologies to Madame Duval, they next began a quarrel with him. "Tom, what do you laugh for? I wonder what business you have to be al ways a laughing when Papa scolds us."

"Then what business have you to be such a while getting on your cloaths? You're never ready, you know well enough."

"Lord, Sir, I wonder what that's to you! I wish you'd mind your own affairs, and not trou ble yourself about ours. How should a boy like you know any thing?"

"A boy, indeed! not such a boy, neither; I'll warrant you'll be glad to be as young, when you come to be old maids."

This sort of dialogue we were amused with till dinner was ready, when we again mounted up two pair of stairs.

In our way, Miss Polly told me that her sister had asked Mr. Smith for his room to dine in, but he had refused to lend it; "because," she said, "one day it happened to be a little greased: how ever, we shall have it to drink tea in, and then, perhaps, you may see him, and I assure you he's quite like one of the quality, and dresses as fine, and goes to balls and dances, and every thing quite in taste;—and besides, Miss, he keeps a foot-boy of his own, too."

236 The dinner was ill-served, ill-cooked, and ill managed. The maid who waited had so often to go down stairs for something that was forgotten, that the Branghtons were perpetually obliged to rise from table themselves, to get plates, knives and forks, bread, or beer. Had they been with out pretensions, all this would have seemed of no consequence; but they aimed at appearing to ad vantage, and even fancied they succeeded. How ever, the most disagreeable part of our fare was, that the whole family continually disputed whose turn it was to rise, and whose to be allowed to sit still.

When this meal was over, Madame Duval, Mr. Branghton, and, in broken English. M. Du Bois, entered into an argument concerning the French nation; and Miss Polly, then addressing herself to me, said, "Don't you think, Miss, it's very dull sitting up stairs here? we'd better go down to shop, and then we shall see the people go by."

"Lord, Poll," said the brother, "you're al ways wanting to be staring and gaping; and I'm sure you need n't be so fond of shewing yourself, for you're ugly enough to frighten a horse."

"Ugly, indeed! I wonder which is best, you or me. But, I tell you what, Tom, you've no need to give yourself such airs, for if you do, I'll tell Miss of you know what—."

"Who cares if you do? You may tell what you will; I don't mind—"

"Indeed," cried I, "I do not desire to hear any secrets."

"O, but I'm resolved I'll tell you, because Tom's so very spiteful. You must know, Miss, t'other night—"

237 "Poll," cried the brother, "if you tell of that, Miss shall know all about your meeting young Brown,—you know when!—So I'll be quits with you, one way or another."

Miss Polly coloured, and again proposed our go ing down stairs till Mr. Smith's room was ready for our reception.

"Aye, so we will," said Miss Branghton; "I'll assure you, Cousin, we have some very gen teel people pass by our shop sometimes. Polly and I always go and sit there, when we've cleaned ourselves."

"Yes, Miss," cried the brother, "they do nothing else all day long, when father don't scold them. But the best fun is, when they've got all their dirty things on, and all their hair about their ears, sometimes I send young Brown up stairs to them; and then, there's such a fuss!—there they hide themselves, and run away, and squeal and squall like any thing mad: and so then I puts the two cats into the room, and I gives 'em a good whip ping, and so that sets them a squalling too; so there's such a noise, and such an uproar!—Lord, you can't think, Miss, what fun it is!"

This occasioned a fresh quarrel with the sisters; at the end of which, it was, at length, decided that we should go to the shop.

In our way down stairs, Miss Branghton said aloud, "I wonder when Mr. Smith's room will be ready."

"So do I," answered Polly; "I'm sure we should not do any harm to it now."

This hint had not the desired effect; for we were suffered to proceed very quietly.

As we entered the shop, I observed a young man, in deep mourning, leaning against the wall, with 238 his arms folded, and his eyes fixed on the ground, apparently in profound and melancholy meditation: but the moment he perceived us, he started, and, making a passing bow, very abruptly retired. As I found he was permitted to go quite unnoticed, I could not forbear enquiring who he was.

"Lord!" answered Miss Branghton, "he's no thing but a poor Scotch poet."

"For my part," said Miss Polly, "I believe he's just starved, for I don't find he has any thing to live upon."

"Live upon!" cried the brother, "why he's a poet, you know, so he may live upon learning."

"Aye, and good enough for him too," said Miss Branghton, "for he's as proud as he's poor."

"Like enough," replied the brother, "but, for all that, you won't find he will live without meat and drink: no, no, catch a Scotchman at that if you can! why, they only come here for what they can get."

"I'm sure," said Miss Branghton, "I wonder Papa 'll be such a fool as to let him stay in the house, for I dare say he'll never pay for his lodging."

"Why, no more he would, if he could get another Lodger: you know the bill's been put up this fortnight. Miss, if you should hear of a per son that wants a room, I assure you it is a very good one, for all it's up three pair of stairs."

I answered, that as I had no acquaintance in London, I had not any chance of assisting them: but both my compassion and my curiosity were ex cited for this poor young man: and I asked them some further particulars concerning him.

They then acquainted me, that they had only known him three months. When he first lodged 239 with them, he agreed to board also; but had late ly told them, he would eat by himself, though they all believed he had hardly ever tasted a morsel of meat since he left their table. They said, that he had always appeared very low-spirited, but, for the last month, he had been duller than ever, and, all of a sudden, had put himself into mourning, though they knew not for whom, nor for what, but they supposed it was only for convenience, as no person had ever been to see or enquire for him since his residence amongst them: and they were sure he was very poor, as he had not paid for his lodgings the last three weeks: and finally, they concluded he was a poet, or else half-crazy, be cause they had, at different times, found scraps of poetry in his room.

They then produced some unfinished verses, written on small pieces of paper, unconnected, and of a most melancholy cast. Among them was the fragment of an ode, which, at my re quest, they lent me to copy; and, as you may perhaps like to see it, I will write it now.

O LIFE! thou lingering dream of grief, of pain, And every ill that nature can sustain, Strange, mutable, and wild! Now flattering with Hope most fair, Depressing now with fell Despair, The nurse of Guilt, the slave of Pride, That, like a wayward child, Who, to himself a foe, Sees joy alone in what's denied, In what is granted, woe! 240 O thou poor, feeble, fleeting pow'r, By Vice seduc'd, by Folly woo'd, By Mis'ry, Shame, Remorse pursu'd! And as thy toilsome steps proceed, Seeming to Youth the fairest flow'r, Proving to Age the rankest weed, A gilded, but a bitter pill, Of varied, great, and complicated ill!

These lines are harsh, but they indicate an in ternal wretchedness which, I own, affects me. Surely this young man must be involved in misfor tunes of no common nature: but I cannot imagine what can induce him to remain with this unfeel ing family, where he is, most unworthily, de spised for being poor, and, most illiberally, de tested for being a Scotchman. He may, indeed, have motives which he cannot surmount, for sub mitting to such a situation. Whatever they are, I most heartily pity him, and cannot but wish it were in my power to afford him some relief.

During this conversation, Mr. Smith's foot boy came to Miss Branghton, and informed her, that his master said she might have the room now when she liked it, for that he was presently going out.

This very genteel message, though it perfectly satisfied the Miss Branghtons, by no means added to my desire of being introduced to this gentle man: and upon their rising, with intention to ac cept his offer, I begged they would excuse my at tending them, and said I would sit with Madame Duval till the tea was ready.

I therefore once more went up two pair of stairs, with young Branghton, who insisted upon accom panying me; and there we remained, till Mr. 241 Smith's foot-boy summoned us to tea, when I fol lowed Madame Duval into the dining-room.

The Miss Branghtons were seated at one win dow, and Mr. Smith was lolling indolently out of the other. They all approached us at our en trance, and Mr. Smith, probably, to shew he was master of the apartment, most officiously hand ed me to a great chair, at the upper end of the room, without taking any notice of Madame Du val, till I rose, and offered her my own seat.

Leaving the rest of the company to entertain themselves, he, very abruptly, began to address himself to me, in a style of gallantry, equally new and disagreeable to me. It is true, no man can possibly pay me greater compliments, or make more fine speeches, than Sir Clement Willoughby, yet his language, though too flowery, is always that of a gentleman, and his address and manners are so very superior to those of the inhabitants of this house, that to make any comparison between him and Mr. Smith would be extremely unjust. This latter seems very desirous of appearing a man of gaiety and spirit; but his vivacity is so low bred, and his whole behaviour so forward and dis agreeable, that I should prefer the company of dullness itself, even as that goddess is described by Pope, to that of this sprightly young man.

He made many apologies, that he had not lent his room for our dinner, which, he said, he should certainly have done, had he seen me first; and he assured me, that when I came again, he should be very glad to oblige me.

I told him, with sincerity, that every part of the house was equally indifferent to me.

"Why, Ma'am, the truth is, Miss Biddy and Polly take no care of any thing else. I'm sure, 242 they should be always welcome to my room; for I'm never so happy as in obliging the ladies,—that's my character, Ma'am;—but, really, the last time they had it, every thing was made so greasy and so nasty, that, upon my word, to a man who wishes to have things a little genteel, it was quite cruel. Now, as to you, Ma'am, its quite another thing; for I should not mind if every thing I had was spoilt, for the sake of having the pleasure to oblige you; and, I assure you, Ma'am, it makes me quite happy, that I have a room good enough to receive you."

This elegant speech was followed by many others, so much in the same style, that to write them would be superfluous; and, as he did not allow me a moment to speak to any other person, the rest of the evening was consumed in a painful attention to this irksome young man, who seemed to intend appearing before me to the utmost advan tage.

Adieu, my dear Sir. I fear you will be sick of reading about this family; yet I must write of them, or not of any, since I mix with no other. Happy shall I be, when I quit them all, and again return to Berry Hill!

LETTER XLIII. Evelina in continuation.

THIS morning, Mr. Smith called, on purpose, he said, to offer me a ticket for the next Hamp stead assembly. I thanked him, but desired to be 243 excused accepting it; he would not, however, be denied, nor answered, and in a manner both ve hement and free, pressed and urged his offer till I was wearied to death: but, when he found me resolute, he seemed thunderstruck with amazement, and thought proper to desire I would tell him my reasons.

Obvious as they must, surely, have been to any other person, they were such as I knew not how to repeat to him; and, when he found I he sitated, he said, "Indeed, Ma'am, you are too modest; I assure you the ticket is quite at your service, and I shall be very happy to dance with you; so pray don't be so coy."

"Indeed, Sir," returned I, "you are mistaken; I never supposed you would offer a ticket, with out wishing it should be accepted; but it would answer no purpose to mention the reasons which make me decline it, since they cannot possibly be removed."

This speech seemed very much to mortify him, which I could not be concerned at, as I did not chuse to be treated by him with so much freedom. When he was, at last, convinced that his appli cation to me was ineffectual, he addressed himself to Madame Duval, and begged she would interfere in his favour, offering, at the same time, to pro cure another ticket for herself.

" Ma foi, Sir," answered she, angrily, "you might as well have had the complaisance to ask me before, for, I assure you, I don't approve of no such rudeness: however, you may keep your tick ets to yourself, for we don't want none of 'em.

This rebuke almost over set him; he made many apologies, and said that he should certainly have first applied to her, but that he had no notion the 244 young lady would have refused him, and, on the contrary, had concluded that she would have assist ed him to persuade Madame Duval herself.

This excuse appeased her; and he pleaded his cause so successfully, that, to my great chagrin, he gained it; and Madame Duval promised that she would go herself, and take me to the Hamp stead assembly whenever he pleased.

Mr. Smith then, approaching me with an air of triumph, said, "Well, Ma'am, now, I think, you can't possibly keep to your denial."

I made no answer, and he soon took leave, though not till he had so wonderfully gained the favour of Madame Duval, that she declared, when he was gone, he was the prettiest young man she had seen since she came to England.

As soon as I could find an opportunity, I ven tured, in the most humble manner, to entreat Ma dame Duval would not insist upon my attending her to this ball; and represented to her, as well as I was able, the impropriety of my accepting any present from a young man so entirely unknown to me: but she laughed at my scruples, called me a foolish, ignorant, country girl, and said she should make it her business to teach me something of the world.

This ball is to be next week. I am sure it is not more improper for, than unpleasant to me, and I will use every possible endeavour to avoid it. Perhaps I may apply to Miss Branghton for advice, as I believe she will be willing to assist me, from disliking, equally with myself, that I should dance with Mr. Smith.

245 July 11th.

O, my dear Sir! I have been shocked to death,—and yet, at the same time, delighted beyond ex pression, in the hope that I have happily been the instrument of saving a human creature from destruc tion!

This morning, Madame Duval said she would invite the Branghton family to return our visit to morrow; and, not chusing to rise herself,—for she generally spends the morning in bed,—she desi red me to wait upon them with her message. M. Du Bois, who just then called, insisted upon attend ing me.

Mr. Branghton was in the shop, and told us that his son and daughters were out; but desired me to step up stairs, as he very soon expected them home. This I did, leaving M. Du Bois below. I went into the room where they had dined the day before, and, by a wonderful chance, I happended so to seat myself, that I had a view of the stairs, and yet could not be seen from them.

In about ten minutes time, I saw, passing by the door, with a look perturbed and affrighted, the same young man I mentioned in my last letter. Not heeding, as I suppose, how he went, in turn ing the corner of the stairs, which are narrow and winding, his foot slipped, and he fell, but, almost instantly rising, I plainly perceived the end of a pistol, which started from his pocket, by hitting against the stairs.

I was inexpressibly shocked. All that I had heard of his misery occurring to my memory, made me conclude, that he was, at that very moment, meditating suicide! Struck with the dreadful idea, all my strength seemed to fail me;—I sat motion less; 246 —I lost all power of action,—and grew almost stiff with horror.

He moved on slowly,—yet I soon lost sight of him. I then trembled so violently, that my chair actually shook under me; till, recollecting that it was yet possible to prevent the fatal deed, all my faculties seemed to return, with the hope of saving him.

My first thought was to fly to Mr. Branghton, but I feared that an instant of time lost, might for ever be rued; and therefore, guided by the im pulse of my apprehensions, as well as I was able, I followed him up stairs, stepping very softly, and obliged to support myself by the banisters.

When I came within a few stairs of the landing place, I stopped, for I could then see into his room, as he had not yet shut the door.

He had put the pistol upon a table, and had his hand in his pocket, whence, in a few moments, he took out another: He then emptied something on the table from a small leather bag; after which, taking up both the pistols, one in each hand, he dropt hastily upon his knees, and called out "O God!—Forgive me!"

In a moment, strength and courage seemed lent me as by inspiration: I started, and rushing pre cipitately into the room, just caught his arm, and then, overcome by my own fears, I fell down at his side, breathless and senseless. My recovery, however, was, I believe, almost instantaneous; and then the sight of this unhappy man, regarding me with a look of unutterable astonishment, mixed with concern, presently restored to me my recollecti on. I arose, though with difficulty; he did the same; the pistols, as I soon saw, were both on the floor.

Unwilling to leave them, and, indeed, too weak 247 to move, I leant one hand on the table, and then stood perfectly still: while he, his eyes cast wildly towards me, seemed too infinitely amazed to be ca pable of either speech or action.

I believe we were some minutes in this extraor dinary situation; but, as my strength returned, I felt myself both ashamed and awkward, and ma king a slight courtesie, I moved towards the door. Pale, and motionless, he suffered me to pass, with out changing his posture, or uttering a syllable; and, indeed, He looked a bloodless image of despair! Pope's Iliad.

When I reached the door, I turned round; I looked fearfully at the pistols, and, impelled by an emotion I could not repress, I hastily stepped back, with an intention of carrying them away: but their wretched owner, perceiving my design, and reco vering from his astonishment, darting suddenly down, seized them both himself.

Wild with fright, and scarce knowing what I did, I caught, almost involuntarily, hold of both his arms, and exclaimed "O Sir! have mercy on yourself!"

The guilty pistols fell from his hands, which, disengaging from me, he fervently clasped, and cried, "Sweet Heaven! is this thy angel?"

Encouraged by such gentleness, I again attempted to take the pistols, but, with a look half frantic, he again prevented me, saying, "What would you do?"

"Awaken you," I cried, with a courage I now wonder at, "to worthier thoughts, and rescue you from perdition."

248 I then seized the pistols; he said not a word,—he made no effort to stop me;—I glided quick by him, and tottered down stairs, ere he had recovered from the extremest amazement.

The moment I reached again the room I had so fearfully left, I threw away the pistols, and flinging myself on the first chair, gave free vent to the feelings I had most painfully stifled, in a violent burst of tears, which, indeed, proved a happy re lief to me.

In this situation I remained some time; but when, at length, I lifted up my head, the first object I saw, was the poor man who had occasioned my terror, standing, as if petrified, at the door, and gazing at me with eyes of wild wonder.

I started from the chair, but trembled so exces sively, that I almost instantly sunk again into it. He then, though without advancing, and in a fal tering voice, said, "Whoever or whatever you are, relieve me, I pray you, from the suspense un der which my soul labours—and tell me if indeed I do not dream?"

To this address, so singular and so solemn, I had not then the presence of mind to frame any an swer; but, as I presently perceived that his eyes turned from me to the pistols, and that he seemed to intend regaining them, I exerted all my strength, and saying "O for Heaven's sake, forbear!" I rose and took them myself.

"Do my senses deceive me!" cried he, "do I live—? and do you—?"

As he spoke, he advanced towards me, and I, still guarding the pistols, retreated, saying "No, no,—you must not—must not have them!"—

"Why—for what purpose, tell me!—do you withhold them?"

249 "To give you time to think, to save you from eternal misery,—and, I hope, to reserve you for mercy and forgiveness."

"Wonderful!" cried he, with uplifted hands and eyes, "most wonderful!"

For some time, he seemed wrapped in deep thought, till a sudden noise of tongues below, an nouncing the approach of the Branghtons, made him start from his reverie: he sprung hastily for ward,—dropt on one knee,—caught hold of my gown, which he pressed to his lips, and then, quick as lightning, he rose, and flew up stairs to his own room.

There was something in the whole of this ex traordinary and shocking adventure, really too af fecting to be borne; and so entirely had I spent my spirits and exhausted my courage, that, before the Branghtons reached me, I had sunk on the ground, without sense or motion.

I believe I must have been a very horrid sight to them, on their entrance into the room; for, to all appearance, I seemed to have suffered a violent death, either by my own rashness, or the cruelty of some murderer; as the pistols were fallen close by my side.

How soon I recovered, I know not, but, pro bably, I was more indebted to the loudness of their cries, than to their assistance; for they all con cluded that I was dead, and, for some time, did not make any effort to revive me.

Scarcely could I recollect where or, indeed, what I was, ere they poured upon me such a tor rent of questions and enquiries, that I was almost stunned with their vociferation. However, as soon and as well as I was able, I endeavoured 250 to satisfy their curiosity, by recounting what had happened as clearly as was in my power. They all looked aghast at the recital, but, not being well enough to enter into any discussions, I beg ged to have a chair called, and to return instantly home.

Before I left them, I recommended, with great earnestness, a vigilant observance of their unhappy lodger, and that they would take especial care to keep from him, if possible, all means of self-de struction.

M. Du Bois, who seemed extremely concerned at my indisposition, walked by the side of the chair, and saw me safe to my own apartment.

The rashness and the misery of this ill-fated young man, engross all my thoughts. If, indeed, he is bent upon destroying himself, all efforts to save him will be fruitless. How much do I wish it were in my power to discover the nature of the malady which thus maddens him, and to offer or to procure alleviation to his sufferings! I am sure, my dearest Sir, you will be much concerned for this poor man, and were you here, I doubt not but you would find some method of awakening him from the error which blinds him, and of pour ing the balm of peace and comfort into his afflicted soul!

251 LETTER XLIV. Evelina in continuation.

YESTERDAY all the Branghtons dined here. Our conversation was almost wholly concerning the adventure of the day before. Mr. Branghton said, that his first thought was instantly to turn his lodger out of doors, "Lest," continued he, "his killing himself in my house, should bring me into any trouble; but then, I was afraid I should never get the money he owes me, whereas, if he dies in my house, I have a right to all he leaves be hind him, if he goes off in my debt. Indeed, I would put him in prison—but what should I get by that? he could not earn any thing there to pay me. So I considered about it some time, and then I determined to ask him, point-blank, for my money out of hand. And so I did, but he told me he'd pay me next week: however, I gave him to understand, that though I was no Scotch man, yet I did not like to be over-reached any more than he; so then, he gave me a ring, which, to my certain knowledge, must be worth ten gui neas, and told me he would not part with it for his life, and a good deal more such sort of stuff, but that I might keep it till he could pay me."

"It is ten to one, Father, said young Branghton, if he came fairly by it."

"Very likely not," answered he, "but that will make no great difference; for I shall be able to prove my right to it all one."

What principles! I could hardly stay in the room.

252 "I'm determined," said the son, "I'll take some opportunity to affront him soon, now I know how poor he is, because of the airs he gave him self to me when he first came."

"And pray how was that, child?" said Madame Duval.

"Why you never knew such a fuss in your life as he made, because, one day at dinner, I only happened to say, that I supposed he had never got such a good meal in his life, before he came to England: there he fell in such a passion as you can't think; but, for my part, I took notice of it, for to be sure, thinks I, he must needs be a gentle man, or he'd never go to be so angry about it. However, he won't put his tricks upon me again, in a hurry."

"Well, said Miss Polly, he's grown quite an other creature to what he was, and he does n't run away from us, nor hide himself, nor any thing: and he's as civil as can be, and he's always in the shop, and he saunters about the stairs, and he looks at every body who comes in."

"Why you may see what's after plain enough, said Mr. Branghton; he wants to see Miss again."

"Ha, ha, ha! Lord, how I should laugh," said the son, "if he should have fell in Love with Miss!"

"I'm sure," said Miss Branghton, "Miss is welcome; but, for my part, I should be quite ashamed of such a beggarly conquest."

Such was the conversation till tea time, when the appearance of Mr. Smith gave a new turn to the discourse.

Miss Branghton desired me to remark with what a smart air he entered the room, and asked me if he had not very much a quality look?

253 "Come," cried he, advancing to us, "you ladies must not sit together; wherever I go, I always make it a rule to part the ladies."

And then, handing Miss Branghton to the next chair, he seated himself between us.

"Well, now, ladies, I think we sit very well. What say you? for my part, I think it was a very good motion."

"If my Cousin likes it," said Miss Branghton, "I'm sure I've no objection."

"O," cried he, "I always study what the ladies like,—that's my first thought. And, indeed, it is but natural that you should like best to sit by the gentlemen, for what can you find to say to one another?"

"Say!" cried young Branghton, "O, never you think of that, they'll find enough to say, I'll be sworn. You know the women are never tired of talking."

"Come, come, Tom," said Mr. Smith, "don't be severe upon the ladies; when I'm by; you know I always take their part."

Soon after, when Miss Branghton offered me some cake, this man of gallantry said, "Well, if I was that lady, I'd never take any thing from a woman."

"Why not, Sir?"

"Because I should be afraid of being poisoned for being so handsome."

"Who is severe upon the ladies now? " said I.

"Why, really, Ma'am, it was a slip of the tongue; I did not intend to say such a thing; but one can't always be on one's guard."

Soon after, the conversation turning upon pub lic places, young Branghton asked if I had ever been to George 's at Hampstead?

254 "Indeed I never heard the place mentioned."

"Did n't you, Miss?" cried he, eagerly, "why then you've a deal of fun to come, I'll promise you; and, I tell you what, I'll treat you there some Sunday soon. So now, Bid and Poll, be sure you don't tell Miss about the chairs, and all that, for I've a mind to surprise her; and if I pay, I think I've a right to have it my own way."

"George's at Hampstead!" repeated Mr. Smith, contemptuously, "how came you to think the young Lady would like to go to such a low place as that? But, pray, Ma'am, have you ever been to Don Saltero's at Chelsea?"

"No, Sir"

"No!—No!—nay, then, I must insist on hav ing the pleasure of conducting you there before long. I assure you, Ma'am, many genteel people go, or else, I give you my word, I should not re commend it."

"Pray, Cousin," said Mr. Branghton, "have you been to Sadler's Wells, yet?"

"No, Sir."

"No! why then you've seen nothing!"

"Pray, Miss," said the Son, "how do you like the Tower of London?"

"I have never been to it, Sir."

"Goodness!" exclaimed he, "not seen the Tower!—why may be you ha'n't been o' top of the Monument, neither?"

"No, indeed, I have not."

"Why then you might as well not have come to London, for aught I see, for you've been no where."

"Pray, Miss," said Polly, "have you been all over Paul's Church, yet?"

"No, Ma'am."

255 "Well, but, Ma'am," said Mr. Smith, "how do you like Vauxhall and Marybone?"

"I never saw either, Sir."

"No!—God bless me!—you really surprise me,—why Vauxhall is the first pleasure in life!—I know nothing like it.—Well, Ma'am, you must have been with staange people, indeed, not to have taken you to Vauxhall. Why you have seen nothing of London yet.—However, we must try if we can't make you amends."

In the course of this catechism, many other places were mentioned of which I have forgotten the names; but the looks of surprise and contempt that my repeated negatives incurred, were very di verting.

"Come," said Mr. Smith, after tea, "as this Lady has been with such a queer set of people, let's shew her the difference; suppose we go somewhere to night?—I love to do things with spirit!—Come, Ladies, where shall we go? For my part I should like Foote's,—but the Ladies must chuse; I never speak myself."

"Well, Mr. Smith is always in such spirits!" said Miss Branghton.

"Why yes, Ma'am, yes, thank G—, pretty good spirits;—I have not yet the cares of the world upon me,—I am not married, —ha, ha, ha,—you'll excuse me, Ladies,—but I can't help laughing!—"

No objection being made, to my great relief, we all proceeded to the little theatre in the Hay market, where I was extremely entertained by the performance of the Minor and the Commissary.

They all returned hither to supper.

256 LETTER XLV. Evelina in continuation.

YESTERDAY morning, Madame Duval again sent me to Mr. Branghton's, attended by M. Du Bois, to make some party for the evening; be cause she had had the vapours the preceding day, from staying at home.

As I entered the shop, I perceived the unfortu nate North Briton, seated in a corner, with a book in his hand. He cast his melancholy eyes up, as we came in, and, I believe, immediately recol lected my face, for he started and changed colour. I delivered Madame Duval's message to Mr. Branghton; who told me I should find Polly up stairs, but that the others were gone out.

Up stairs, therefore, I went; and, seated on a window, with Mr. Brown at her side, sat Miss Polly. I felt a little awkward at disturbing them, and much more so, at their behaviour afterwards: for, as soon as the common enquiries were over, Mr. Brown grew so fond, and so foolish, that I was extremely disgusted. Polly, all the time, on ly rebuked him with "La, now, Mr. Brown, do be quiet, can't you?—you should not behave so before company.—Why now what will Miss think of me?"— while her looks plainly shewed not merely the pleasure, but the pride which she took in his caresses.

I did not, by any means, think it necessary to punish myself by witnessing their tenderness, and, 257 therefore, telling them I would see if Miss Brangh ton was returned home, I soon left them, and again descended into the shop.

"So, Miss, you've come again," said Mr. Branghton, "what, I suppose, you've a mind to sit a little in the shop, and see how the world goes, hay, Miss?"

I made no answer; and M. Du Bois instantly brought me a chair.

The unhappy stranger, who had risen at my en trance, again seated himself; and, though his head leant towards his book, I could not help ob serving, that his eyes were most intently and ear nestly turned towards me.

M. Du Bois, as well as his broken English would allow him, endeavoured to entertain us, till the return of Miss Branghton and her brother.

"Lord, how tired I am!" cried the former, "I have not a foot to stand upon." And then, without any ceremony, she flung herself into the chair from which I had risen to receive her.

"You tired!" said the brother, "why then what I must be, that have walked twice as far?" And with equal politeness, he paid the same com pliment to M. Du Bois which his sister had done to me.

Two chairs and three stools compleated the fur niture of the shop, and Mr. Branghton, who chose to keep his own seat himself, desired M. Du Bois to take another; and then, seeing that I was with out any, called out to the stranger, "Come, Mr. Macartney, lend us your stool."

Shocked at their rudeness, I declined the offer, and approaching Miss Branghton, said, "If you will be so good as to make room for me on your 258 chair, there will be no occasion to disturb that gentleman."

"Lord, what signifies that?" cried the brother, "he has had his share of sitting, I'll be sworn."

"And if he has not," said the sister, he has a chair up stairs; and the shop is our own, I hope."

This grossness so much disgusted me, that I took the stool, and carrying it back to Mr. Macartney myself, I returned him thanks, as civilly as I could, for his politeness, but said that I had rather stand.

He looked at me as if unaccustomed to such at tention, bowed very respectfully, but neither spoke, nor yet made use of it.

I soon found that I was an object of derision to all present, except M. Du Bois, and, therefore, I begged Mr. Branghton would give me an answer for Madame Duval, as I was in haste to return.

"Well, then, Tom,—Biddy,—where have you a mind to go to-night? your Aunt and Miss want to be abroad and amongst them."

"Why then, Papa," said Miss Branghton, "we'll go to Don Saltero's. Mr. Smith likes that place, so may be he'll go along with us."

"No, no," said the son, "I'm for White-Conduit House; so let's go there."

"White-Conduit House, indeed!" cried his sister, "no, Tom, that I won't."

"Why then let it alone; nobody wants your company;—we shall do as well without you, I'll be sworn, and better too."

"I'll tell you what, Tom, if you don't hold your tongue, I'll make you repent it,—that I as sure you."

Just then, Mr. Smith came into the shop, which he seemed to intend passing through; but when he saw me, he stopped and began a most courteous 259 enquiry after my health, protesting that, had he known I was there, he should have come down sooner. "But, bless me, Ma'am," added he, "what is the reason you stand?" and then he flew to bring me the seat from which I had just parted.

"Mr. Smith, you are come in very good time," said Mr. Branghton, "to end a dispute between my son and daughter, about where they shall all go to-night."

"O fie, Tom,—dispute with a lady!" cried Mr. Smith, "Now, as for me, I'm for where you will, provided this young Lady is of the party,—one place is the same as another to me, so that it be but agreeable to the ladies,—I would go any where with you, Ma'am," (to me) "unless, indeed, it were to church; —ha, ha, ha,—you'll excuse me, Ma'am, but, really, I never could conquer my fear of a parson;—ha, ha, ha,—really, ladies, I beg your pardon, for being so rude, but I can't help laughing for my life!"

"I was just saying, Mr. Smith," said Miss Branghton, "that I should like to go to Don Sal tero's;—now pray where should you like to go?"

"Why really, Miss Biddy, you know I always let the ladies decide; I never fix any thing myself; but I should suppose it would be rather hot at the coffee-house,—however, pray, Ladies, settle it among yourselves,—I'm agreeable to whatever you chuse."

It was easy for me to discover, that this man, with all his parade of conformity, objects to every thing that is not proposed by himself: but he is so much admired, by this family, for his gentility, that he thinks himself a complete fine gentleman!

"Come," said Mr. Branghton, "the best way will be to put it to the vote, and then every body 260 will speak their minds. Biddy, call Poll down stairs. We'll start fair."

"Lord, Papa," said Miss Branghton, "why can't you as well send Tom?—you're always send ing me of the errands."

A dispute then ensued, but Miss Branghton was obliged to yield.

When Mr. Brown and Miss Polly made their appearance, the latter uttered many complaints of having been called, saying she did not want to come, and was very well where she was.

"Now, Ladies, your votes;" cried Mr. Smith, "and so, Ma'am," (to me) "we'll begin with you. What place shall you like best?" and then, in a whisper, he added, "I assure you, I shall say the same as you do, whether I like it or not."

I said, that as I was ignorant what choice was in my power, I must beg to hear their decisions first. This was reluctantly assented to; and then Miss Branghton voted for Saltero's Coffee-house; her sister, for a party to Mother Red Cap's; the bro ther, for White-Conduit House; Mr. Brown, for Bagnigge Wells; Mr. Branghton for Sadler's Wells; and Mr. Smith for Vauxhall.

"Well now, Ma'am," said Mr. Smith, "we have all spoken, and so you must give the casting vote. Come, what will you fix upon?"

"Sir," answered I, "I was to speak last. "

"Well, so you will," said Miss Branghton, "for we've all spoke first."

"Pardon me," returned I, "the voting has not yet been quite general."

And I looked towards Mr. Macartney, to whom I wished extremely to shew that I was not of the same brutal nature with those by whom he was treated so grossly.

261 "Why pray," said Mr. Branghton, "who have we left out? would you have the cats and dogs vote?"

"No, Sir," cried I, with some spirit, "I would have that gentleman vote,—if, indeed, he is not su perior to joining our party."

They all looked at me, as if they doubted whe ther or not they had heard me right: but, in a few moments, their surprise gave way to a rude burst of laughter.

Very much displeased, I told M. Du Bois that if he was not ready to go, I would have a coach called for myself.

O yes, he said, he was always ready to attend me.

Mr. Smith then advancing, attempted to take my hand, and begged me not to leave them till I had settled the evening's plan.

"I have nothing, Sir," said I, "to do with it, as it is my intention to stay at home; and therefore Mr. Branghton will be so good as to send Madame Duval word what place is fixed upon, when it is convenient to him."

And then, making a slight courtesie, I left them.

How much does my disgust for these people en crease my pity for poor Mr. Macartney! I will not see them when I can avoid so doing; but I am de termined to take every opportunity in my power, to shew civility to this unhappy man, whose mis fortunes, with this family, only render him an object of scorn. I was, however, very well pleas ed with M. Du Bois, who, far from joining in their mirth, expressed himself extremely shocked at their ill-breeding.

We had not walked ten yards, ere we were fol lowed by Mr. Smith, who came to make excuses, and to assure me they were only joking, and hoped 262 I took nothing ill, for, if I did, he would make a quarrel of it himself with the Branghtons, rather than I should receive any offence.

I begged him not to take any trouble about so immaterial an affair, and assured him I should not myself. He was so officious, that he would not be prevailed upon to return home, till he had walk ed with us to Mr. Dawkin's.

Madame Duval was very much displeased that I brought her so little satisfaction. White-Conduit House was, at last, fixed upon; and, notwith standing my great dislike of such parties and such places, I was obliged to accompany them.

Very disagreeable, and much according to my expectations, the evening proved. There were many people all smart and gaudy, and so pert and low-bred, that I could hardly endure being amongst them; but the party to which, unfortunately, I belonged, seemed all at home.

LETTER XLVI. Evelina in continuation.

YESTERDAY Mr. Smith carried his point, of making a party for Vauxhall, consisting of Ma dame Duval, M. Du Bois, all the Branghtons, Mr. Brown, himself,—and me!—for I find all en deavours vain to escape any thing which these peo ple desire I should not.

There were twenty disputes previous to our set ting out; first, as to the time of our going: Mr. Branghton, his son, and young Brown, were for 263 six o'clock; and all the ladies and Mr. Smith were for eight;—the latter, however, con quered.

Then, as to the way we should go; some were for a boat, others for a coach, and Mr. Branghton himself was for walking: but the boat, at length, was decided upon. Indeed this was the only part of the expedition that was agreeable to me, for the Thames was delightfully pleasant.

The Garden is very pretty, but too formal; I should have been better pleased, had it consisted less of strait walks, where Grove nods at grove, each alley has its brother. the trees, the numerous lights, and the company in the circle around the orchestra make a most bril liant and gay appearance; and, had I been with a party less disagreeable to me, I should have thought it a place formed for animation and plea sure. There was a concert, in the course of which the hautbois concerto was so charmingly played, that I could have thought myself upon enchanted ground, had I had spirits more gentle to associate with. The hautboy in the open air is heavenly.

Mr. Smith endeavoured to attach himself to me, with such officious assiduity, and impertinent free dom, that he quite sickened me. Indeed, M. Du Bois was the only man of the party to whom, vo luntarily, I ever addressed myself. He is civil and respectful, and I have found nobody else so since I left Howard Grove. His English is very bad, but I prefer it to speaking French myself, which I dare not venture to do. I converse with him frequently, both to disengage myself from others, and to oblige 264 Madame Duval, who is always pleased when he is attended to.

As we were walking about the orchestra, I heard a bell ring, and, in a moment, Mr. Smyth, flying up to me, caught my hand, and, with a motion too quick to be resisted, ran away with me many yards before I had breath to ask his meaning, tho' I struggled as well as I could to get from him. At last, however, I insisted upon stopping; "Stop ping, Ma'am!" cried he, "why, we must run on, or we shall lose the cascade!

And then again, he hurried me away, mixing with a crowd of people, all running with so much ve locity, that I could not imagine what had raised such an alarm. We were soon followed by the rest of the party; and my surprise and ignorance proved a source of diversion to them all, that was not exhausted the whole evening. Young Brangh ton, in particular, laughed till he could hardly stand.

The scene of the cascade I thought extremely pretty, and the general effect striking and lively.

But this was not the only surprise which was to divert them at my expence; for they led me about the garden, purposely to enjoy my first sight of va rious other deceptions.

About ten o'clock, Mr. Smith having chosen a box in a very conspicuous place, we all went to sup per. Much fault was found with every thing that was ordered, though not a morsel of any thing was left; and the dearness of the provisions, with con jectures upon what profit was made by them, sup plied discourse during the whole meal.

When wine and cyder were brought, Mr. Smith said, "Now let's enjoy ourselves; now is the 265 time, or never. Well, Ma'am, and how do you like Vauxhall?"

"Like it!" cried young Branghton, "why, how can she help liking it? she has never seen such a place before, that I'll answer for."

"For my part," said Miss Branghton, I like it, because it is not vulgar."

"This must have been a fine treat for you, Miss," said Mr. Branghton; "why, I suppose, you was never so happy in all your life before?"

I endeavoured to express my satisfaction with some pleasure, yet I believe they were much ama zed at my coldness.

"Miss ought to stay in town till the last night," said young Branghton, "and then, it's my belief, she'd say something to it! Why, Lord, it's the best night of any; there's always a riot,—and there the folks run about,—and then there's such squealing and squalling!—and there all the lamps are broke,—and the women run skimper scamper;—I declare I would not take five guineas to miss the last night!"

I was very glad when they all grew tired of sit ting, and called for the waiter to pay the bill. The Miss Branghtons said they would walk on, while the gentlemen settled the account, and asked me to accompany them; which, however, I de clined.

"You girls may do as you please," said Madame Duval, "but as to me, I promise you, I sha'n't go no where without the gentlemen."

"No more, I suppose, will my Cousin, " said Miss Branghton, looking reproachfully towards Mr. Smith.

This reflection, which, I feared, would slatter his vanity, made me, most unfortunately, request 266 Madame Duval's permission to attend them. She granted it, and away we went, having promised to meet in the room.

To the room, therefore, I would immediately have gone; but the sisters agreed that they would first have a little pleasure, and they tittered, and talked so loud, that they attracted universal no tice.

"Lord, Polly," said the eldest, "suppose we were to take a turn in the dark walks!"

"Ay, do," answered she, "and then we'll hide ourselves, and then Mr. Brown will think we are lost."

I remonstrated very warmly against this plan, telling them, that it would endanger our missing the rest of the party all the evening.

"O dear," cried Miss Branghton, "I thought how uneasy Miss would be, without a beau!"

This impertinence I did not think worth answer ing; and, quite by compulsion, I followed them down a long alley, in which there was hardly any light.

By the time we came near the end, a large party of gentlemen, apparently very riotous, and who were hallowing, leaning on one another, and laugh ing immoderately, seemed to rush suddenly from behind some trees, and, meeting us face to face, put their arms at their sides, and formed a kind of circle, that first stopped our proceeding, and then our retreating, for we were presently entirely in closed. The Miss Branghtons screamed aloud, and I was frightened exceedingly: our screams were answered with bursts of laughter, and, for some minutes, we were kept prisoners, till, at last, one of them, rudely, seizing hold of me, said I was a pretty little creature.

267 Terrified to death, I struggled with such vehe mence to disengage myself from him, that I suc ceeded, in spite of his efforts to detain me; and immediately, and with a swiftness which fear only could have given me, I flew rather than ran up the walk, hoping to secure my safety by return ing to the lights and company we had so foolishly left: but, before I could possibly accomplish my purpose, I was met by another party of men, one of whom placed himself so directly in my way, calling out, "Whither so fast, my love?"— that I could only have proceeded, by running into his arms.

In a moment both my hands, by different per sons, were caught hold of; and one of them, in a most familiar manner, desired to accompany me in a race, when I ran next; while the rest of the party stood still and laughed.

I was almost distracted with terror, and so breathless with running, that I could not speak, till another advancing, said, I was as handsome as an angel, and desired to be of the party. I then just articulated "For Heaven's sake, Gentlemen, let me pass!"

Another then, rushing suddenly forward, ex claimed, "Heaven and earth! what voice is that?—"

"The voice of the prettiest little actress I have seen this age," answered one of my persecutors.

"No,—no,—no,—" I panted out, "I am no actress,—pray let me go,—pray let me pass—."

"By all that's sacred," cried the same voice, which I then knew for Sir Clement Willoughby's, "'tis herself!"

"Sir Clement Willoughby!" cried I. "O Sir, assist—assist me—or I shall die with terror!—"

268 "Gentlemen," cried he, disengaging them all from me in an instant, "pray leave this lady to me."

Loud laughs proceeded from every mouth, and two or three said, " Willoughby has all the luck! " But one of them, in a passionate manner, vowed he would not give me up, for that he had the first right to me, and would support it.

"You are mistaken," said Sir Clement, "this lady is—I will explain myself to you another time; but, I assure you, you are all mistaken."

And then, taking my willing hand, he led me off, amidst the loud acclamations, laughter, and gross merriment of his impertinent companions.

As soon as we had escaped from them, Sir Cle ment with a voice of surprise, exclaimed, "My dearest creature, what wonder, what strange revo lution, has brought you to such a spot as this?"

Ashamed of my situation, and extremely morti fied to be thus recognized by him, I was for some time silent, and when he repeated his question, only stammered out, "I have,—I hardly know how,—lost myself from my party.—"

He caught my hand, and eagerly pressing it, in a passionate voice, said, "O that I had sooner met with thee!"

Surprised at a freedom so unexpected, I angrily broke from him, saying, "Is this the protection you give me, Sir Clement?"

And then I saw what the perturbation of my mind had prevented my sooner noticing, that he had led me, though I know not how, into an other of the dark alleys, instead of the place whi ther I meant to go.

"Good God!" I cried, "where am I?—what way are you going?"

269 "Where," answered he, "we shall be least observed."

Astonished at this speech, I stopped short, and declared I would go no further.

"And why not, my angel?" again endeavour ing to take my hand.

My heart beat with resentment; I pushed him away from me with all my strength, and demanded how he dared treat me with such insolence?

"Insolence!" repeated he.

"Yes, Sir Clement, insolence; from you, who know me, I had a claim for protection,—not to such treatment as this."

"By Heaven," cried he with warmth, "you distract me,—why, tell me,—why do I see you here?—Is this a place for Miss Anville?—these dark walks!—no party!—no companion!—by all that's good, I can scarce believe my senses!"

Extremely offended at this speech, I turned an grily from him, and, not deigning to make any an swer, walked on towards that part of the garden whence I perceived the lights and company.

He followed me; but we were both some time silent.

"So you will not explain to me your situation?" said he, at length.

"No, Sir," answered I, disdainfully.

"Nor yet—suffer me to make my own inter pretation—?"

I could not bear this strange manner of speak ing; it made my very soul shudder,—and I burst into tears.

He flew to me, and actually flung himself at my feet, as if regardless who might see him, saying, "O Miss Anville—loveliest of women—forgive my—my—I beseech you forgive me;—if I have 270 offended,—if I have hurt you I could kill myself at the thought!—"

"No matter, Sir, no matter," cried I, "if I can but find my friends,—I will never speak to—never see you again!"

"Good God!—good Heaven!—my dearest life, what is it I have done?—What is it I have said?"

"You best know, Sir, what and why; —but don't hold me here,—let me be gone, and do you! "

"Not till you forgive me!—I cannot part with you in anger."

"For shame, for shame, Sir!" cried I indig nantly, "do you suppose I am to be thus com pelled?—do you take advantage of the absence of my friends, to affront me?"

"No, Madam," cried he, rising, "I would sooner forfeit my life than act so mean a part. But you have flung me into amazement unspeakable, and you will not condescend to listen to my request of giving me some explanation."

"The manner, Sir," said I, "in which you spoke that request, made and will make me scorn to answer it."

"Scorn!—I will own to you, I expected not such displeasure from Miss Anville."

"Perhaps, Sir, if you had, you would less vo luntarily have merited it."

"My dearest life, surely it must be known to you, that the man does not breathe, who adores you so passionately, so fervently, so tenderly as I do!—why then will you delight in perplexing me?—in keeping me in suspence—in torturing me with doubt?"—

"I, Sir, delight in perplexing you!—You are much mistaken.—Your suspence, your doubts, your perplexities,—are of your own creating; and, 271 believe me, Sir, they may offend but they can never delight me:—but, as you have yourself raised, you must yourself satisfy them."

"Good God!—that such haughtiness and such sweetness can inhabit the same mansion!"

I made no answer, but quickening my pace, I walked on silently and sullenly; till this most im petuous of men, snatching my hand, which he grasped with violence, besought me to forgive him, with such earnestness of supplication, that merely to escape his importunities, I was forced to speak, and, in some measure to grant the pardon he re quested: though it was accorded with a very ill grace; but, indeed, I knew not how to resist the humility of his entreaties: yet never shall I recol lect the occasion he gave me of displeasure, with out feeling it renewed.

We now soon arrived in the midst of the general crowd, and my own safety being then insured, I grew extremely uneasy for the Miss Branghtons, whose danger, however imprudently incurred by their own folly, I too well knew how to tremble for. To this consideration all my pride of heart yielded, and I determined to seek my party with the utmost speed; though not without a sigh did I recollect the fruitless attempt I had made, after the opera, of concealing from this man my unfortunate connections, which I was now obliged to make known.

I hastened therefore, to the room, with a view of sending young Branghton to the aid of his sisters. In a very short time, I perceived Madame Duval, and the rest, looking at one of the paintings. I must own to you honestly, my dear Sir, that an involun tary repugnance seized me, at presenting such a set to Sir Clement,—he, who had been used to see 272 me in parties so different!—My pace slackened as I approached them,—but they presently perceived me.

" Ah, Mademoiselle! " cried M. Du Bois, " Que je suis charme de vous voir! "

"Pray, Miss," cried Mr. Brown, "where's Miss Polly?"

"Why, Miss, you've been a long while gone," said Mr. Branghton; "we thought you'd been lost. But what have you done with your cousins?"

I hesitated,—for Sir Clement regarded me with a look of wonder.

" Pardie, " cried Madame Duval, "I sha'n't let you leave me again in a hurry. Why, here we've been in such a fright!—and all the while, I suppose you've been thinking nothing about the matter."

"Well," said young Branghton, "as long as Miss is come back, I don't mind, for as to Bid and Poll, they can take care of themselves. But the best joke is, Mr. Smith is gone all about a looking for you."

These speeches were made almost all in a breath: but when, at last, they waited for an answer, I told them, that in walking up one of the long al leys, we had been frightened and separated.

"The long alleys!" repeated Mr. Brangh ton, "and, pray, what had you to do in the long alleys? why, to be sure, you must all of you have had a mind to be affronted!"

This speech was not more impertinent to me, than surprising to Sir Clement, who regarded all the party with evident astonishment. However, I told young Branghton that no time ought to be lost, for that his sisters might require his immediate protection.

"But how will they get it?" cried this brutal brother; "if they've a mind to behave in such a 273 manner as that, they ought to protect themselves; and so they may for me."

"Well," said the simple Mr. Brown, "whe ther you go or no, I think I may as well see after Miss Polly."

The father then, interfering, insisted that his son should accompany him; and away they went.

It was now that Madame Duval first perceived Sir Clement; to whom turning with a look of great displeasure, she angrily said, " Ma foi, so you are comed here, of all the people in the world!—I wonder, child, you would let such a—such a person as that keep company with you."

"I am very sorry, Madam," said Sir Clement, in a tone of surprise, "if I have been so unfor tunate as to offend you; but I believe you will not regret the honour I now have of attending Miss Anville, when you hear that I have been so happy as to do her some service."

Just as Madame Duval, with her usual Ma foi, was beginning to reply, the attention of Sir Cle ment was wholly drawn from her, by the appear ance of Mr. Smith, who suddenly coming behind me, and freely putting his hands on my shoulders, cried, "O ho, my little runaway, have I found you at last? I have been scampering all over the gardens for you; for I was determined to find you, if you were above ground.—But how could you be so cruel as to leave us?"

I turned round to him, and looked with a degree of contempt that I hoped would have quieted him; but he had not the sense to understand me; and, attempting to take my hand, he added, "Such a demure looking lady as you are, who'd have thought of your leading one such a dance?—Come, now, 274 don't be so coy,—only think what a trouble I have had in running after you!"

"The trouble, Sir," said I, "was of your own choice—not mine." And I walked round to the other side of Madame Duval.

Perhaps I was too proud,—but I could not en dure that Sir Clement, whose eyes followed him with looks of the most surprized curiosity, should witness his unwelcome familiarity.

Upon my removal, he came up to me, and, in a low voice, said, "You are not, then, with the Mirvans?"

"No, Sir."

"And pray—may I ask,—have you left them long?

"No, Sir,"

"How unfortunate I am!—but yesterday I sent to acquaint the Captain I should reach the Grove by to-morrow noon! However I shall get away as fast as possible. Shall you be long in town?"

"I believe not, Sir."

And then, when you leave it,—which way—will you allow me to ask, which way you shall travel?"

"Indeed,—I don't know."

"Not know!—But do you return to the Mir vans any more?"

"I—I can't tell, Sir."

And then, I addressed myself to Madame Duval, with such a pretended earnestness, that he was ob liged to be silent.

As he cannot but observe the great change in my situation, which he knows not how to account for, there is something in all these questions, and this unrestrained curiosity, that I did not expect from a man, who when he pleases can be so well bred, as Sir Clement Willoughby. He seems dis posed 275 to think that the alteration in my compa nions authorizes an alteration in his manners. It is true, he has always treated me with uncom mon freedom, but never before with so disrespect ful an abruptness. This observation, which he has given me cause to make, of his changing with the tide, has sunk him more in my opinion, than any other part of his conduct.

Yet I could almost have laughed, when I looked at Mr. Smith, who no sooner saw me addressed by Sir Clement, than, retreating aloof from the company, he seemed to lose at once all his happy self-sufficiency and conceit; looking now at the baronet, now at himself, surveying, with sorrow ful eyes, his dress, struck with his air, his ges tures, his easy gaiety; he gazed at him with en vious admiration, and seemed himself, with con scious inferiority, to shrink into nothing.

Soon after, Mr. Brown, running up to us, called out, "La, what, i'n't Miss Polly come yet?"

"Come!" said Mr. Branghton, "why, I thought you went to fetch her yourself did n't you?"

"Yes, but I could n't find her;—yet I dare say I've been over half the garden."

"Half! but why did not you go over it all?"

"Why, so I will: but only I thought I'd just come and see if she was here first?"

"But where's Tom?"

"Why, I don't know; for he would not stay with me, all as ever I could say; for we met some young gentlemen of his acquaintance, and so he bid me go and look by myself, for he said, says he, I can divert myself better another way, says he."

This account being given, away again went this silly young man; and Mr. Branghton, extremely 276 incensed, said he would go and see after them him self.

"So now," cried Madame Duval, "he's gone too! why, at this rate we shall have to wait for one or other of them all night!"

Observing that Sir Clement seemed disposed to renew his enquiries, I turned towards one of the paintings, and, pretending to be very much occu pied in looking after it, asked M. Du Bois some questions concerning the figures.

"O, Mon Dieu! " cried Madame Duval, "don't ask him; your best way is to ask Mr. Smith, for he's been here the oftenest. Come, Mr. Smith, I dare say you can tell us all about them."

"Why, yes, Ma'am," said Mr. Smith, who, brightening up at this application, advanced to wards us, with an air of assumed importance (which, however, sat very uneasily upon him) and begged to know what he should explain first; "For I have attended," said he, "to all these paintings, and know every thing in them perfectly well; for I am rather fond of pictures, Ma'am; and, really, I must say, I think a picture is a—a very—is real ly a very—is something very pretty—"

"So do I too," said Madame Duval, "but pray now, Sir, tell us who that is meant for," pointing to a figure of Neptune.

"That!—why that, Ma'am, is,—Lord bless me, I can't think how I come to be so stupid, but really I have forgot his name,—and yet, I know it as well as my own, too,—however, he's a general, Ma'am, they are all generals."

I saw Sir Clement bite his lips; and, indeed, so did I mine.

"Well," said Madame Duval, "it's the oddest dress for a general ever I see!"

277 "He seems so capital a figure," said Sir Cle ment to Mr. Smith, "that I imagine he must be generalissimo of the whole army."

"Yes, Sir, yes," answered Mr. Smith, respect fully bowing, and highly delighted at being thus referred to, "you are perfectly right,—but I can not for my life think of his name;—perhaps, Sir, you may remember it?"

"No really," replied Sir Clement, "my ac quaintance among the generals is not so exten sive."

The ironical tone of voice in which Sir Cle ment spoke, entirely disconcerted Mr. Smith; who, again retiring to an humble distance, seemed sen sibly mortified at the failure of his attempt to reco ver his consequence.

Soon after, Mr. Branghton returned with his youngest daughter, whom he had rescued from a party of insolent young men; but he had not yet been able to find the eldest. Miss Polly was really frightened, and declared she would never go into the dark walks again. Her father, leaving her with us, went in quest of her sister.

While she was relating her adventures, to which nobody listened more attentively than Sir Clement, we saw Mr. Brown enter the room. "O la!" cried Miss Polly, "let me hide myself, and don't tell him I'm come."

She then placed herself behind Madame Duval, in such a manner that she could not be seen.

"So Miss Polly is not come yet!" said the sim ple swain; "well, I can't think where she can be! I've been a looking, and looking, and looking all about, and I can't find her, all I can do."

"Well but, Mr. Brown," said Mr. Smith, "sha'n't you go and look for the lady again?"

278 "Yes, Sir," said he, sitting down, "but I must rest me a little bit first. You can't think how tired I am."

"O fie, Mr. Brown, fie," cried Mr. Smith, winking at us, "tired of looking for a lady! Go, go, for shame!"

"So I will, Sir, presently; but you'd be tired too, if you'd walked so far: besides, I think she's gone out of the garden, or else I must have seen something or other of her."

A he, he, he! of the tittering Polly, now be trayed her, and so ended this ingenious little arti fice.

At last appeared Mr. Branghton and Miss Biddy, who, with a face of mixed anger and confusion, addressing herself to me, said, "So Miss, so you ran away from me! Well, see if I don't do as much by you, some day or other! But I thought how it would be, you'd no mind to leave the gen tlemen, though you'd run away from me. "

I was so much surprised at this attack, that I could not answer her for very amazement; and she proceeded to tell us how ill she had been used, and that two young men had been making her walk up and down the dark walks by absolute force, and as fast as ever they could tear her along; and many other particulars, which I will not tire you with relating. In conclusion, looking at Mr. Smith, she said, "But, to be sure, thought I, at least all the company will be looking for me; so I little expected to find you all here, talking as comfortably as ever you can. However, I know I may thank my cousin for it!"

"If you mean me, Madam," said I, very much shocked, "I am quite ignorant in what manner I can have been accessary to your distress."

279 "Why, by running away so. If you'd stayed with us, I'll answer for it, Mr. Smith and M. Du Bois would have come to look for us; but I suppose they could not leave your ladyship."

The folly and unreasonableness of this speech would admit of no answer. But what a scene was this for Sir Clement! his surprise was evi dent; and, I must acknowledge, my confusion was equally great.

We had now to wait for young Branghton, who did not appear for some time; and, during this in terval, it was with difficulty that I avoided Sir Clement, who was on the rack of curiosity, and dying to speak to me.

When, at last, the hopeful youth returned, a long and frightful quarrel ensued between him and his father, in which his sisters occasionally joined, concerning his neglect; and he defended himself only by a brutal mirth, which he indulged at their expence.

Every one, now, seemed inclined to depart,—when, as usual, a dispute arose, upon the way of our going, whether in a coach or a boat. After much debating, it was determined that we should make two parties, one by the water and the other by land; for Madame Duval declared she would not, upon any account, go into a boat at night.

Sir Clement then said, that if she had no car riage in waiting, he should be happy to see her and me safe home, as his was in readiness.

Fury started into her eyes, and passion inflamed every feature, as she answered, " Pardie, no,—you may take care of yourself, if you please; but as to me, I promise you I sha'n't trust myself with no such person."

280 He pretended not to comprehend her meaning, yet, to wave a discussion, acquiesced in her refu sal. The coach party fixed upon consisted of Ma dame Duval, M. Du Bois, Miss Branghton, and myself.

I now began to rejoice, in private, that, at least, our lodgings would be neither seen, nor known, by Sir Clement. We soon met with an hackney-coach, into which he handed me, and then took leave.

Madame Duval, having already given the coach man her direction, he mounted the box, and we were just driving off, when Sir Clement exclaim ed, "By Heaven, this is the very coach I had in waiting for myself!"

"This coach, your honour!" said the man, "no, that it i'nt."

Sir Clement, however, swore that it was, and, presently, the man, begging his pardon, said he had really forgotten that he was engaged.

I have no doubt but that this scheme occurred to him at the moment, and that he made some sign to the coachman, which induced him to support it: for there is not the least probability that the acci dent really happened, as it is most likely his own chariot was in waiting.

The man then opened the coach-door, and Sir Clement advancing to it, said, "I don't believe there is another carriage to be had, or I would not incommode you: but, as it may be disagreeable to you to wait here any longer, I beg you will not get out, for you shall be set down before I am car ried home, if you will be so good as to make a lit tle room."

And so saying, in he jumpt, and seated himself between M. Du Bois and me, while our astonish ment 281 at the whole transaction was too great for speech. He then ordered the coachman to drive on, according to the directions he had already re ceived.

For the first ten minutes, no one uttered a word; and then, Madame Duval, no longer able to con tain herself, exclaimed, " Ma foi, if this is n't one of the impudentest things ever I see!"

Sir Clement, regardless of this rebuke, attended only to me; however, I answered nothing he said, when I could possibly avoid so doing. Miss Brangh ton made several attempts to attract his notice, but in vain, for he would not take the trouble of pay ing her any regard.

Madame Duval, during the rest of the ride, ad dressed herself to M. Du Bois in French, and in that language exclaimed with great vehemence against boldness and assurance.

I was extremely glad when I thought our jour ney must be nearly at an end, for my situation was very uneasy to me, as Sir Clement perpetually en deavoured to take my hand. I looked out of the coach-window, to see if we were near home; Sir Clement, stooping over me did the same, and then, in a voice of infinite wonder, called out, "Where the d—l is the man driving to?—why we are in Broad St. Giles's!"

"O, he's very right," cried Madame Duval, "so never trouble your head about that, for I shan't go by no directions of yours, I promise you."

When, at last, we stopped, at an Hosier's in High Holborn, —Sir Clement said nothing, but his eyes, I saw, were very busily employed in view ing the place, and the situation of the house. The coach he insisted upon settling himself, as he said it belonged to him; and then he took leave. M. Du 282 Bois walked home with Miss Branghton, and Ma dame Duval and I retired to our apartments.

How disagreeable an evening's adventure! not one of the party seemed satisfied, except Sir Cle ment, who was in high spirits: but Madame Du val was enraged at meeting with him; Mr. Brangh ton, angry with his children; the frolick of the Miss Branghtons had exceeded their plan, and end ed in their own distress; their brother was provo ked that there had been no riot; Mr. Brown was tired; and Mr. Smith mortified. As to myself, I must acknowledge, nothing could be more disagree able to me, than being seen by Sir Clement Wil loughby with a party at once so vulgar in them selves, and so familiar to me.

And you, too, my dear Sir, will, I know, be sorry that I have met him; however, there is no apprehension of his visiting here, as Madame Du val is far too angry to admit him.

EVELINA. LETTER I. Evelina in continuation.

MADAME Duval rose very late this morn ing, and at one o'clock, we had but just break fasted, when Miss Branghton, her brother, Mr. Smith, and Monsieur du Bois, called to enquire after our healths.

This civility in young Branghton, I much sus pect, was merely the result of his father's com mands; but his sister and Mr. Smith, I soon found, had motives of their own. Scarce had they spoken to Madame Duval, when, advancing eagerly to me, "Pray, Ma'am," said Mr. Smith, "who was that gentleman?"

"Pray, Cousin," cried Miss Branghton, was "not he the same gentleman you ran away with that night at the opera?"

"Goodness! that he was," said young 4 Branghton; "and I declare, as soon as ever I saw him, I thought I knew his face."

"I'm sure I'll defy you to forget him," an swered his sister, "if once you had seen him: he is the finest gentleman I ever saw in my life; don't you think so, Mr. Smith?

"Why, you won't give the Lady time to speak," said Mr. Smith.— "Pray, Ma'am, what is the gentleman's name?"

"Willoughby, Sir."

"Willoughby! I think I have heard the name. Pray, Ma'am, is he married?"

"Lord, no, that he is not," cried Miss Branghton; "he looks too smart, by a great deal, for a married man. Pray, Cousin, how did you get acquainted with him?"

"Pray, Miss," said young Branghton, in the same breath, "what's his business?"

"Indeed I don't know," answered I.

"Something very genteel, I dare say," added Miss Branghton, "because he dresses so fine."

"It ought to be something that brings in a good income." said Mr. Smith, "for I'm sure he did not get that suit of cloaths he had on, un der thirty or forty pounds; for I know the price of Cloaths pretty well; pray, Ma'am, can you tell me what he has a year?"

"Don't talk no more about him;" cried Ma dame Duval, "for I don't like to hear his name; I believe he's one of the worst persons in the world; for, though I never did him no manner of harm, nor so much as hurt a hair of his head, I know he was an accomplice with that fellow, Captain Mirvan, to take away my life."

Every body, but myself, now crowding around her for an explanation, a violent rapping at the street-door was unheard; and, without any pre vious notice, in the midst of her narration, Sir 5 Clement Willoughby entered the room. They all started, and, with looks of guilty confusion, as if they feared his resentment for having listened to Madame Duval, they scrambled for Chairs, and, in a moment, were all formally seated.

Sir Clement, after a general bow, singling out Madame Duval, said, with his usual easiness, "I have done myself the honour of waiting on you, Madam, to enquire if you have any commands to Howard Grove, whither I am going to-mor-row morning."

Then, seeing the storm that gathered in her eyes, before he allowed her time to answer, he addressed himself to me;— "And, if you, Ma dam, have any with which you will honour me, I shall be happy to execute them."

"None at all, Sir."

"None! not to Miss Mirvan!—no message! no letter!—"

"I wrote to Miss Mirvan yesterday by the post."

"My application should have been earlier, had I sooner known your address."

" Ma foi, " cried Madame Duval, recovering from her surprize, "I believe never nobody saw the like of this!"

"Of what! Madam!" cried the undaunted Sir Clement, turning quick towards her, "I hope no one has offended you!"

"You don't hope no such a thing!" cried she, half choaked with passion, and rising from her chair. This motion was followed by the rest, and, in a moment, every body stood up.

Still Sir Clement was not abashed; affecting to make a bow of acknowledgment to the company in general, he said "Pary—I beg—Ladies,—pray Gentlemen,—don't let me disturb you, pray keep your seats."

6 "Pray, Sir," said Miss Branghton, moving a chair towards him, "won't you sit down your self?"

"You are extremely good, Ma'am: rather than make any disturbance—"

And so saying, this strange man seated himself, as did, in an instant, every body else, even Ma dame Duval herself, who, overpowered by his boldness, seemed too full for utterance.

He then, and with as much composure as if he had been an expected guest, began to discourse on the weather,—its uncertainty, the heat of the public places in summer, the emptiness of the town, and other such common topics.

Nobody, however, answered him; Mr. Smith seemed afraid, young Branghton ashamed, M. Du Bois amazed, Madame Duval enraged, and myself determined not to interfere. All that he could obtain, was the notice of Miss Branghton, whose nods, smiles, and attention, had some ap pearance of entering into conversation with him.

At length, growing tired, I suppose of engag ing every body's eyes, and nobody's tongue, ad dressing himself to Madame Duval and to me, he said, "I regard myself as peculiarly unfortunate, Ladies, in having fixed upon a time for my visit to Howard Grove, when you are absent from it."

"So I suppose, Sir, so I suppose," cried Madame Duval, hastily rising, and the next mo ment as hastily seating herself, "you'll be a want ing of somebody to make your game of, and so you may think to get me there again;—but I pro mise you, Sir, you won't find it so easy a matter to make me a fool: and besides that," raising her voice, "I've found you out, I assure you; so if ever you go to play your tricks upon me again, I'll make no more ado, but go directly to a justice of peace; so, Sir, if you can't think of 7 nothing but making people ride about the Coun try, at all hours of the night, just for your di version, why you'll find I know some justices, as well as Justice Tyrrel."

Sir Clement was evidently embarrassed at this attack; yet he affected a look of surprize, and protested he did not understand her meaning.

"Well" cried she, "if I don't wonder where people can get such impudence! if you'll say that, you'll say any thing; however, if you swear till you're black in the face, I shan't be lieve you; for nobody shan't persuade me out of my senses, that I'll promise you."

"Doubtless not, Madam," answered he, with some hesitation, "and I hope you do not suspect I ever had such an intention; my respect for you—"

"O Sir, you're vastly polite, all of a sud den! but I know what it's all for;—it's only for what you can get!—you cou'd treat me like no body at Howard Grove—but now you see I've a house of my own, you've a mind to wheedle yourself into it; but I sees your design, so you need n't trouble yourself to take no more trouble about that, for you shall never get nothing at my house,—not so much as a dish of tea:—so now, Sir, you see I can play you trick for trick."

There was something so extremely gross in this speech, that it even disconcerted Sir Clement, who was too much confounded to make any an swer.

It was curious to observe the effect which his embarrassment added to the freedom with which Madame Duval addressed him, had upon the rest of the company: every one, who, before, seem ed at a loss how, or if at all, to occupy a chair, now filled it with the most easy composure: and 8 Mr. Smith, whose countenance had exhibited the most striking picture of mortified envy, now be gan to recover his usual expression of satisfied con ceit.

Young Branghton, too, who had been appa rently awed by the presence of so fine a gentle man, was again himself, rude and familiar, while his mouth was wide distended into a broad grin, at hearing his Aunt give the beau such a trim ming.

Madame Duval, encouraged by this success, looked around her with an air of triumph, and continued her harangue: "And so, Sir, I sup pose you thought to have had it all your own way, and to have comed here as often as you pleased, and to have got me to Howard Grove again, on purpose to have served me as you did before; but you shall see I'm as cunning as you, so you may go and find somebody else to use in that manner, and to put your mask on, and to make a fool of; for as to me, if you go to tell me your stories about the Tower again, for a month toge ther, I'll never believe 'em no more; and I'll promise you, Sir, if you think I like such jokes, you'll find I'm no such person."

"I assure you, Ma'am,—upon my honour—I really don't comprehend—I fancy there is some misunderstanding—"

"What, I suppose you'll tell me next you don't know nothing of the matter?"

"Not a word, upon my honour."

O Sir Clement! thought I, is it thus you prize your honour!

" Pardie, " cried Madame Duval, "this is the most provokingest part of all! why you might as well tell me I don't know my own name."

9 "Here is certainly some mistake; for I assure you, Ma'am—"

"Don't assure me nothing," cried Madame Duval, raising her voice, "I know what I'm saying, and so do you too; for did not you tell me all that about the Tower; and about M. Du Bois?—why M. Du Bois was n't never there, nor nigh it, and so it was all your own invention."

"May there not be two persons of the same name? the mistake was but natural—"

"Don't tell me of no mistake, for it was all on purpose; besides, did not you come, all in a mask, to the chariot door, and help to get me put in that ditch?—I'll promise you, I've had the greatest mind in the world to take the law of you, and if ever you do as much again, so I will, I assure you!"

Here Miss Branghton tittered; Mr. Smith smiled contemptuously, and young Branghton thrust his handkerchief into his mouth to stop his laughter.

The situation of Sir Clement, who saw all that passed, became now very awkward, even to him self, and he stammered very much in saying, "surely, Madam—surely you—you cannot do me the—the injustice to think—that I had any share in the—the—the misfortune which—"

" Ma foi, Sir," cried Madame Duval, with encreasing passion, "you'd best not stand talking to me at that rate; I know it was you,—and if you stay there, provoking me in such a manner, I'll send for a Constable this minute."

Young Branghton, at these words, in spite of all his efforts, burst into a loud laugh; nor could either his sister, or Mr. Smith, though with more moderation, forbear joining in his mirth.

Sir Clement darted his eyes towards them, with looks of the most angry contempt, and then 10 told Madame Duval, that he would not now detain her, to make his vindication, but would wait on her some time when she was alone.

"O pardie, Sir," cried she, "I don't desire none of your company; and if you was n't the most impudentest person in the world, you would not dare look me in the face."

The ha, ha, ha's, and he, he, he's, grew more and more uncontroulable, as if the restraint from which they had burst, had added to their vi olence. Sir Clement could no longer endure be ing the object who excited them, and, having no answer ready for Madame Duval, he hastily stalked towards Mr. Smith and young Branghton, and sternly demanded what they laughed at?

Struck by the air of Importance which he as sumed, and alarmed at the angry tone of his voice, their merriment ceased, as instantaneously as if it had been directed by clock-work, and they stared foolishly, now at him, now at each other, without making any answer but a simple " No thing, Sir!"

"O pour le coup, " cried Madame Duval, "this is too much! pray, Sir, what business have you to come here a ordering people that comes to see me? I suppose, next, nobody must laugh but yourself!"

"With me, Madam," said Sir Clement, bowing, "a lady may do any thing, and, conse quently, there is no liberty in which I shall not be happy to indulge you: —but it has never been my custom to give the same licence to gentlemen. "

Then, advancing to me, who had sat very qui etly, on a window, during this scene, he said," Miss Anville, I may at least acquaint our friends at Howard Grove, that I had the honour of leav ing you in good health," and then, lowering his voice, he added, "For Heaven's sake, my 11 dearest creature, who are these people? and how came you so strangely situated?"

"I beg my respects to all the family, Sir," answered I, aloud, "and I hope you will find them well."

He looked at me reproachfully, but kissed my hand; and then, bowing to Madame Duval and Miss Branghton, passed hastily by the men, and made his exit.

I fancy he will not be very eager to repeat his visits, for I should imagine he has rarely, if ever, been before in a situation so awkward and disa greeable.

Madame Duval has been all spirits and exulta tion ever since he went, and only wishes Captain Mirvan would call, that she might do the same by him. Mr. Smith, upon hearing that he was a baronet, and seeing him drive off in a very beau tiful chariot, declared that he would not have laughed upon any account, had he known his rank, and regretted extremely having missed such an opportunity of making so genteel an acquaint ance. Young Branghton vowed, that, if he had known as much, he would have asked for his cus tom: and his sister has sung his praises ever since, protesting she thought, all along, he was a man of quality by his look.

LETTER II. Evelina in continuation.

THE last three evenings have passed tolerably quiet, for the Vauxhall adventures had given Madame Duval a surfeit of public places: home 12 however, soon growing tiresome, she determined to night, she said, to relieve her ennui, by some amusement; and it was therefore settled that we should call upon the Branghtons, at their house, and thence proceed to Marybone Gardens.

But, before we reached Snow-Hill, we were caught in a shower of rain: we hurried into the shop, where the first object I saw was Mr. Ma cartney, with a book in his hand, seated in the same corner where I saw him last; but his looks were still more wretched than before, his face yet thinner, and his eyes sunk almost hollow into his head. He lifted them up as we entered, and I even thought that they emitted a gleam of joy: involuntarily, I made to him my first courtesy; he rose and bowed, with a precipitation that ma nifested surprize and confusion.

In a few minutes, we were joined by all the family, except Mr. Smith, who, fortunately, was engaged.

Had all the future prosperity of our lives de pended upon the good or bad weather of this evening, it could not have been treated as a sub ject of greater importance. "Sure never any thing was so unlucky!—" "Lord, how provok ing!—" "It might rain for ever, if it would hold up now!—" These, and such expressions, with many anxious observations upon the kennels, filled up all the conversation till the shower was over.

And then a very warm debate arose, whether we should pursue our plan, or defer it to some finer evening; Miss Branghtons were for the for mer; their father was sure it would rain again; Madame Duval, though she detested returning home, yet dreaded the dampness of the gardens.

M. Du Bois then proposed going to the top of 13 the house, to examine whether the clouds looked threatening or peaceable; Miss Branghton starting at this proposal, said they might go to Mr. Ma cartney's room, if they would, but not to her's.

This was enough for the brother; who, with a loud laugh, declared he would have some fun, and immediately led the way, calling to us all to follow. His sisters both ran after him, but no one else moved.

In a few minutes, young Branghton, coming half way down stairs, called out, "Lord, why don't you all come? why here's Poll's things all about the room!

Mr. Branghton then went, and Madame Du val, who cannot bear to be excluded from whate ver is going forward, was handed up stairs by M. Du Bois.

I hesitated a few moments whether or not to join them; but, soon perceiving that Mr. Ma cartney had dropped his book, and that I en grossed his whole attention, I prepared, from mere embarrassment, to follow them.

As I went, I heard him move from his chair, and walk slowly after me. Believing that he wished to speak to me, and earnestly desiring my self to know if, by your means, I could possibly be of any service to him, I first slackened my pace, and then turned back. But, though I thus met him half-way, he seemed to want courage or resolution to address me; for, when he saw me returning, with a look extremely disordered, he retreated hastily from me.

Not knowing what I ought to do, I went to the street-door, where I stood some time, hoping he would be able to recover himself: but, on the con trary, his agitation encreased every moment; he walked up and down the room; in a quick, but 14 unsteady pace, seeming equally distressed and irresolute: and, at length, with a deep sigh, he flung himself into a chair.

I was so much affected by the appearance of such extreme anguish, that I could remain no lon ger in the room; I therefore glided by him, and went up stairs; but, ere I had gone five steps, he precipitately followed me, and, in a broken voice, called out, "Madam!—for Heaven's sake—"

He stopped, but I instantly descended, restrain ing, as well as I was able, the fullness of my own concern. I waited some time in painful expectati on, for his speaking: all that I had heard of his poverty, occurring to me, I was upon the point of presenting him my purse, but the fear of mistak ing or offending him, deterred me. Finding, however, that he continued silent, I ventured to say, "Did you—Sir, wish to speak to me?"

"I did!" cried he, with quickness, "but now—I cannot!"

"Perhaps, Sir, another time,—perhaps if you recollect yourself—"

"Another time!" repeated he mournfully, "alas! I look not forward but to misery and de spair!"

"O Sir," cried I, extremely shocked, "you must not talk thus!—if you forsake yourself, how can you expect—"

I stopped. "Tell me, tell me, "cried he, with eagerness, "who you are?—whence you come?—and by what strange means you seem to be arbitress and ruler of the destiny of such a wretch as I am?"

"Would to Heaven," cried I, "I could serve you!"

"You can!"

15 "And how? pray tell me how?"

"To tell you—is death to me! yet I will tell you,—I have a right to your assistance,—you have deprived me of the only resource to which I could apply,—and therefore—"

"Pray, pray, speak;" cried I, putting my hand into my pocket, "they will be down stairs in a moment!"

"I will, Madam.—Can you—will you—I think you will!—may I then—" he stopped and paused, "say, will you—" then suddenly turning from me, "Great Heaven! I cannot speak!" and he went back to the shop.

I now put my purse in my hand, and following him, said, "If indeed, Sir, I can assist you, why should you deny me so great a satisfaction? Will you permit me to—"

I dared not go on; but with a countenance ve ry much softened, he approached me, and said, "Your voice, Madam, is the voice of Com passion!—such a voice as these ears have long been strangers to!"

Just then, young Branghton called out vehe mently to me, to come up stairs; I seized the op portunity of hastening away: and therefore say ing, "Heaven, Sir, protect and comfort you!—" I let fall my purse upon the ground, not daring to present it to him, and ran up stairs with the utmost swiftness.

Too well do I know you, my ever honoured Sir, to fear your displeasure for this action: I must, however, assure you I shall need no fresh supply during my stay in town, as I am at little expence, and hope soon to return to Howard Grove.

Soon, did I say! when not a fortnight is yet 16 expired, of the long and tedious month I must linger out here!

I had many witticisms to endure from the Branghtons, upon account of my staying so long with the Scotch mope, as they call him; but I at tend to them very little, for my whole heart was filled with pity and concern. I was very glad to find the Marybone scheme was deferred, another shower of rain having put a stop to the dissention upon this subject; the rest of the evening was employed in most violent quarrelling between Miss Polly and her brother, on account of the discovery made by the latter, of the state of her apartment.

We came home early; and I have stolen from Madame Duval and M. Du Bois, who is here for ever, to write to my best friend.

I am most sincerely rejoiced that this opportu nity has offered for my contributing what little re lief was in my power, to this unhappy man; and I hope it will be sufficient to enable him to pay his debts to this pitiless family.

LETTER III. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

DISPLEASURE? my Evelina!—you have but done your duty; you have but shewn that humanity without which I should blush to own my child. It is mine, however, to see that your generosity be not repressed by your suffering from indulging it; I remit to you, therefore, not merely a token of my approbation, but an ac knowledgment of my desire to participate in your charity.

17 O my child, were my fortune equal to my con fidence in thy benevolence, with what transport should I, through thy means, devote it to the re lief of indigent virtue! yet let us not repine at the limitation of our power, for, while our boun ty is proportioned to our ability, the difference of the greater or less donation, can weigh but little in the scale of Justice.

In reading your account of the misguided man, whose misery has so largely excited your compas sion, I am led to apprehend, that his unhappy si tuation is less the effect of misfortune, than of misconduct. If he is reduced to that state of poverty represented by the Branghtons, he should endeavour by activity and industry to retrieve his affairs; and not pass his time in idle reading in the very shop of his creditor.

The pistol scene made me shudder: the cou rage with which you pursued this desperate man, at once delighted and terrified me. Be ever thus, my dearest Evelina, dauntless in the cause of dis tress! let no weak fears, no timid doubts, deter you from the exertion of your duty, according to the fullest sense of it that Nature has implanted in your mind. Though gentleness and Modesty are the peculiar attributes of your sex, yet fortitude and firmness, when occasion demands them, are vir tues as noble and as becoming in women as in men: the right line of conduct is the same for both sex es, though the manner in which it is pursued, may somewhat vary, and be accommodated to the strength or weakness of the different travellers.

There is, however, something so mysterious in all you have yet seen or heard of this wretched man, that I am unwilling to stamp a bad impres sion of his character, upon so slight and partial a knowledge of it. Where any thing is doubtful, the ties of society, and the laws of humanity, 18 claim a favourable interpretation; but remember, my dear child, that those of discretion have an equal claim to your regard.

As to Sir Clement Willoughby, I know not how to express my indignation at his conduct. Insolence so unsufferable, and the implication of suspicions so shocking, irritate me to a degree of wrath, which I hardly thought my almost worn out passions were capable of again experiencing. You must converse with him no more; he ima gines, from the pliability of your temper, that he may offend you with impunity; but his beha viour justifies, nay, calls for, your avowed re sentment: do not, therefore, hesitate in forbid ding him your sight.

The Branghtons, Mr. Smith, and young Brown, however ill-bred and disagreeable, are objects too contemptible for serious displeasure: yet I grieve much that my Evelina should be ex posed to their rudeness and impertinence.

The very day that this tedious month expires, I shall send Mrs. Clinton to town, who will ac company you to Howard Grove. Your stay there will, I hope, be short, for I feel daily an encreasing impatience to fold my beloved child to my bosom!

LETTER IV. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

I HAVE just received, my dearest Sir, your kind present, and still kinder letter. Surely never had orphan so little to regret as your grateful 19 Evelina! though motherless, though worse than fatherless, bereft from infancy of the two first and greatest blessings of life, never has she had cause to deplore their loss; never has she felt the omis sion of a parent's tenderness, care, or indulgence; never, but from sorrow for them, had reason to grieve at the separation! Most thankfully do I receive the token of your approbation, and most studiously will I endeavour so to dispose of it, as may merit your generous confidence in my con duct.

Your doubts concerning Mr. Macartney give me some uneasiness. Indeed, Sir, he has not the appearance of a man whose sorrows are the effect of guilt. But I hope, ere I leave town, to be better acquainted with his situation, and enabled with more certainty of his worth, to recommend him to your favour.

I am very willing to relinquish all acquaintance with Sir Clement Willoughby, as far as it may de pend upon myself so to do; but indeed, I know not how I should be able to absolutely forbid him my sight.

Miss Mirvan, in her last letter, informs me that he is now at Howard Grove, where he continues in high favour with the Captain, and is the life and spirit of the house. My time, since I wrote last, has passed very quietly; Madame Duval having been kept at home by a bad cold, and the Branghtons by bad weather. The young man, indeed, has called two or three times, and his behaviour, though equally absurd, is more unaccountable than ever: he speaks very little, takes hardly any notice of Madame Duval, and never looks at me, without a broad grin. Some times he approaches me, as if with intention to 20 communicate intelligence of importance, and then, suddenly stopping short, laughs rudely in my face.

O how happy shall I be, when the worthy Mrs. Clinton arrives!

Yesterday Morning, Mr. Smith called, to ac quaint us that the Hampstead assembly was to be held that evening; and then he presented Ma dame Duval with one ticket, and brought another to me. I thanked him for his intended civility, but told him I was surprized he had so soon forgot my having already declined going to the ball.

"Lord, Ma'am," cried he, "how should I suppose you were in earnest? come, come, don't be cross; here's your Grandmama ready to take care of you, so you can have no fair objection, for she'll see that I don't run away with you. Be sides, Ma'am, I got the tickets on purpose."

"If you were determined, Sir," said I, "in making me this offer, to allow me no choice of re fusal or acceptance, I must think myself less oblig ed to your intention, than I was willing to do.

"Dear Ma'am," cried he, "you're so smart, there is no speaking to you;—indeed, you are monstrous smart, Ma'am! but come, your Grandmama shall ask you, and then I know you'll not be so cruel."

Madame Duval was very ready to interfere; she desired me to make no further opposition, said she should go herself, and insisted upon my accompanying her. It was in vain that I remon strated; I only incurred her anger, and Mr. Smith, having given both the tickets to Madame Duval, with an air of triumph, said he should call early in the evening, and took leave.

I was much chagrined at being thus compelled to owe even the shadow of an obligation to so for ward 21 a young man; but I determined that nothing should prevail upon me to dance with him, how ever my refusal might give offence.

In the afternoon, when he returned, it was evident that he purposed to both charm and asto nish me by his appearance; he was dressed in a very shewy manner, but without any taste, and the inelegant smartness of his air and deport ment, his visible struggle, against education, to put on the fine gentleman, added to his frequent conscious glances at a dress to which he was but little accustomed, very effectually destroyed his aim of figuring, and rendered all his efforts use less.

During tea, entered Miss Branghton and her brother. I was sorry to observe the consternation of the former, when she perceived Mr. Smith. I had intended applying to her for advice upon this occasion, but been always deterred by her disa greeable abruptness. Having cast her eyes seve ral times from Mr. Smith to me, with manifest displeasure, she seated herself sullenly in the win dow, scarce answering Madame Duval's enqui ries, and, when I spoke to her, turning abso lutely away from me.

Mr. Smith, delighted at this mark of his im portance, sat indolently quiet on his chair, endea vouring by his looks rather to display, than to conceal, his inward satisfaction.

"Good gracious!" cried young Branghton, "why, you're all as fine as five-pence! Why, where are you going?"

"To the Hampstead Ball," answered Mr. Smith.

"To a ball!" cried he, "Why, what, is Aunt going to a ball? Ha, ha, ha!"

22 "Yes, to be sure," cried Madame Duval; "I don't know nothing need hinder me."

"And pray, Aunt, will you dance too?"

"Perhaps I may; but I suppose, Sir, that's none of your business, whether I do or not."

"Lord! well, I should like to go! I should like to see Aunt dance, of all things! But the joke is, I don't believe she'll get ever a partner.

"You're the most rudest boy ever I see," cried Madame Duval, angrily: "but, I promise you, I'll tell your father what you say, for I've no notion of such rudeness."

"Why, Lord, Aunt, what are you so angry for? there's no speaking a word, but you fly in to a passion: you're as bad as Biddy or Poll for that, for you're always a scolding."

"I desire, Tom," cried Miss Branghton, "you'd speak for yourself, and not make so free with my name."

"There, now, she's up! there's nothing but quarrelling with the women: it's my belief they like it better than victuals and drink."

"Fie, Tom," cried Mr. Smith, "you ne ver remember your manners before the ladies: I'm sure you never heard me speak so rude to them."

"Why, Lord, you are a beau; but that's nothing to me. So, if you've a mind, you may be so polite as to dance with Aunt yourself." Then with a loud laugh, he declared it would be good fun to see them.

"Let it be never so good, or never so bad," cried Madame Duval, "you won't see nothing of it, I promise you; so pray don't let me hear no more of such vulgar pieces of fun; for, I as sure you, I don't like it. And as to my dancing 23 with Mr. Smith, you may see wonderfuller things than that any day in the week."

"Why, as to that, Ma'am," said Mr. Smith, looking much surprised, "I always thought you intended to play at cards, and so I thought to dance with the young lady."

I gladly seized this opportunity to make my declaration, that I should not dance at all.

"Not dance at all!" repeated Miss Brangh ton; "yes, that's a likely matter truly, when peo ple go to balls."

"I wish she mayn't," said the brother; "cause then Mr. Smith will have nobody but Aunt for a partner. Lord, how mad he'll be!"

"O, as to that," said Mr. Smith, "I do'nt at all fear prevailing with the young lady, if once I get her to the room."

"Indeed, Sir," cried I, much offended by his conceit, "you are mistaken; and therefore I beg leave to undeceive you, as you may be assur ed my resolution will not alter."

"Then pray, Miss, if it is not impertinent," cried Miss Branghton, sneeringly, "What do you go for?"

"Merely and solely," answered I, "to com ply with the request of Madame Duval."

"Miss, cried young Branghton, "Bid only wishes it was she, for she has cast a sheep's-eye at Mr. Smith this long while."

"Tom," cried the sister, rising, "I've the greatest mind in the world to box your ears! How dare you say such a thing of me?"

"No, hang it, Tom, no, that's wrong," said Mr. Smith, simpering, "it is indeed, to tell the lady's secrets.—But never mind him, Miss Biddy, for I won't believe him."

"Why, I know Bid would give her ears to 24 go," returned the brother; "but only Mr. Smith likes Miss best,—so does every body else."

While the sister gave him a very angry answer, Mr. Smith said to me, in a low voice, "Why now, Ma'am, how can you be so cruel as to be so much handsomer than your cousins? Nobody can look at them when you are by."

"Miss," cried young Branghton, "what ever he says to you, don't mind him, for he means no good; I'll give you my word for it, he'll never marry you, for he has told me again and again, he'll never marry as long as he lives; besides, if he'd any mind to be married, there's Bid would have had him long ago, and thanked him too."

"Come, come, Tom, don't tell secrets; you'll make the ladies afraid of me: but I assure you," lowering his voice, "if I did marry, it should be your cousin."

Should be!—did you ever, my dear Sir, hear such unauthorised freedom? I looked at him with a contempt I did not wish to express, and walked to the other end of the room.

Very soon after, Mr. Smith sent for a hackney coach. When I would have taken leave of Miss Branghton, she turned angrily from me, without making any answer. She supposes, perhaps, that I have rather sought, than endeavoured to a void, the notice and civilities of this conceited young man.

The ball was at the long room at Hampstead.

This room seems very well named, for I be lieve it would be difficult to find any other epi thet which might, with propriety, distinguish it, as it is without ornament, elegance, or any sort of singularity, and merely to be marked by its length.

25 I was saved from the importunities of Mr. Smith, the beginning of the evening, by Madame Duval's declaring her intention to dance the two first dances with him herself. Mr. Smith's chagrin was very evident, but as she paid no regard to it, he was necessitated to lead her out.

I was, however, by no means pleased, when she said she was determined to dance a minuet. Indeed I was quite astonished, not having had the least idea she would have consented to, much less proposed, such an exhibition of her person.

She had some trouble to make her intentions known, as Mr. Smith was rather averse to speak ing to the Master of the ceremonies.

During this minuet, how much did I rejoice in being surrounded only with strangers! She danced in a style so uncommon; her age, her showy dress, and an unusual quantity of rouge, drew upon her the eyes, and, I fear, the derision of the whole company. Who she danced with, I know not; but Smith was so ill-bred as to laugh at her very openly, and to speak of her with as much ridi cule as was in his power. But I would neither look at, nor listen to him; nor would I suffer him to proceed with a speech which he began, expressive of his vexation at being forced to dance with her. I told him, very gravely, that complaints upon such a subject might, with less impropriety, be made to every person in the room, than to me.

When she returned to us, she distressed me ve ry much, by asking what I thought of her minu et. I spoke as civilly as I could, but the coldness of my compliment evidently disappointed reh. She then called upon Mr. Smith to secure a good 26 place among the country-dancers; and away they went, though not before he had taken the liberty to say to me in a low voice, "I protest to you, Ma'am, I shall be quite out of counte nance, if any of my acquaintance should see me dancing with the old lady!"

For a few moments I very much rejoiced at be ing relieved from this troublesome man; but scarce had I time to congratulate myself, ere I was accosted by another, who begged the favour of hopping a dance with me.

I told him that I should not dance at all; but he thought proper to importune me, very freely, not to be so cruel; and I was obliged to assume no little haughtiness ere I could satisfy him I was serious.

After this, I was addressed, much in the same manner, by several other young men, of whom the appearance and language were equally inele gant and low-bred: so that I soon found my situ ation was both disagreeable and improper; since, as I was quite alone, I fear I must seem rather to invite, than to forbid, the offers and notice I re ceived. And yet, so great was my apprehension of this interpretation, that I am sure, my dear Sir, you would have laughed had you seen how proud ly grave I appeared.

I knew not whether to be glad or sorry, when Madame Duval and Mr. Smith returned. The latter instantly renewed his tiresome entreaties, and Madame Duval said she would go to the card table: and, as soon as she was accommodated, she desired us to join the dancers.

I will not trouble you with the arguments that followed. Mr. Smith teazed me till I was weary of resistance; and I should at last have been ob liged to submit, had I not fortunately recollected 27 the affair of Mr. Lovel, and told my persecutor, that it was impossible I should dance with him, even if I wished it, as I had refused several persons in his absence.

He was not contented with being extremely chagrined, but took the liberty, openly and warm ly, to expostulate with me upon not having said I was engaged.

The total disregard with which, involuntarily, I heard him, made him soon change the subject. In truth, I had no power to attend to him, for all my thoughts were occupied in re-tracing the trans actions of the two former balls at which I had been present. The party—the conversation—the com pany—O how great the contrast!

In a short time, however, he contrived to draw my attention to himself, by his extreme imperti nence; for he chose to express what he called his admiration of me, in terms so open and familiar, that he forced me to express my displeasure with equal plainness.

But how was I surprised, when I found he had the temerity—what else can I call it?—to impute my resentment to doubts of his honour; for he said, "My dear Ma'am, you must be a little pa tient; I assure you I have no bad designs, I have not, upon my word; but, really, there is no re solving upon such a thing as matrimony all at once; what with the loss of one's liberty, and what with the ridicule of all one's acquaintance,—I assure you, Ma'am, you are the first lady who ever made me even demur upon this subject; for, after all, my dear Ma'am, marriage is the devil!"

"Your opinion, Sir," answered I, "of either the married or the single life, can be of no man ner of consequence to me, and therefore I would 28 by no means trouble you to discuss their different merits."

"Why, really, Ma'am, as to your being a lit tle out of sorts, I must own I can't wonder at it, for, to be sure, marriage is all in all with the la dies; but with us gentlemen it's quite another thing! Now only put yourself in my place,—sup pose you had such a large acquaintance of gentle men as I have,—and that you had always been used to appear a little—a little smart among them,—why now, how should you like to let yourself down all at once into a married man?"

I could not tell what to answer; so much con ceit, and so much ignorance, both astonished and silenced me.

"I assure you, Ma'am," added he, "there is not only Miss Biddy,—though I should have scorned to mention her, if her brother had not blab'd, for I'm quite particular in keeping ladies secrets,—but there are a great many other ladies that have been proposed to me,—but I never thought twice of any of them,—that is, not in a serious way,—so you may very well be proud," offering to take my hand, "for I assure you, there is nobody so likely to catch me at last as yourself."

"Sir," cried I, drawing myself back as haugh tily as I could, "you are totally mistaken, if you imagine you have given me any pride I felt not be fore, by this conversation; on the contrary, you must allow me to tell you, I find it too humilia ting to bear with it any longer."

I then placed myself behind the chair of Madame Duval; who, when she heard of the partners I had refused, pitied my ignorance of the world, but no longer insisted upon my dancing.

29 Indeed, the extreme vanity of this man makes me exert a spirit which I did not, till now know that I possessed: but I cannot endure that he should think me at his disposal.

The rest of the evening passed very quietly, as Mr. Smith did not attempt again to speak to me; except, indeed, after we had left the room, and while Madame Duval was seating herself in the coach, he said, in a voice of pique, "Next time I take the trouble to get any tickets for a young lady, I'll make a bargain beforehand that she sha'n't turn me over to her grandmother."

We came home very safe; and thus ended this so long projected, and most disagreeable affair.

LETTER V. Evelina in continuation.

I HAVE just received a most affecting letter from Mr. Macartney. I will inclose it, my dear Sir, for your perusal. More than ever have I cause to rejoice that I was able to assist him.

Mr. Macartney to Miss Anville. Madam,

IMPRESSED with the deepest, the most heart-felt sense of the exalted humanity with which you have rescued from destruction an un happy stranger, allow me, with the humblest gra titude, to offer you my fervent acknowledgments, and to implore your pardon for the terror I have caused you.

You bid me, Madam, live: I have now, in deed, a motive for life, since I should not willing ly 30 quit the world, while I withhold from the needy and distressed any share of that charity which a disposition so noble would, otherwise, bestow up on them.

The benevolence with which you have interest ed yourself in my concerns, induces me to suppose you would wish to be acquainted with the cause of that desperation from which you snatched me, and the particulars of that misery of which you have, so wonderfully, been a witness. Yet, as this ex planation will require that I should divulge secrets of a nature the most delicate, I must entreat you to regard them as sacred, even though I forbear to mention the names of the parties concerned.

I was brought up in Scotland, though my mo ther, who had the sole care of me, was an Eng lishman, and had not one relation in that country. She devoted to me her whole time. The retirement in which we lived, and the dis tance from our natural friends, she often told me were the effect of an unconquerable melancholy with which she was seized, upon the sudden loss of my father, some time before I was born.

At Aberdeen, where I finished my education, I formed a friendship with a young man of fortune, which I considered as the chief happiness of my life;—but, when he quitted his studies, I consider ed it as my chief misfortune, for he immediately prepared, by direction of his friends, to make the tour of Europe. For my part, designed for the church, and with no prospect even of maintenance but from my own industry, I scarce dared permit even a wish of accompanying him. It is true, he would joyfully have borne my expences; but my affection was as free from meanness as his own, and I made a determination the most solemn never 31 to lessen its dignity, by submitting to pecuniary obligations.

We corresponded with great regularity, and the most unbounded confidence, for the space of two years, when he arrived at Lyons in his way home. He wrote me, thence, the most pressing invitation to meet him at Paris, where he intended to remain for some time. My desire to comply with his re quest, and shorten our absence, was so earnest, that my mother, too indulgent to controul me, lent me what assistance was in her power, and, in an ill-fated moment I set out for that capital.

My meeting with this dear friend was the hap piest event of my life: he introduced me to all his acquaintance; and so quickly did time seem to pass at that delightful period, that the six weeks I had allotted for my stay were gone, ere I was sen sible I had missed so many days. But I must now own, that the company of my friend was not the sole subject of my felicity: I became acquainted with a young lady, daughter of an Englishman of distinction, with whom I formed an attachment which I have a thousand times vowed, a thousand times sincerely thought would be lasting as my life. She had but just quitted a convent, in which she had been placed when a child, and though English by birth, she could scarcely speak her na tive language. Her person and disposition were equally engaging; but chiefly I adored her for the greatness of the expectations which, for my sake, she was willing to resign.

When the time for my residence in Paris expir ed, I was almost distracted at the idea of quitting it; yet I had not the courage to make our attach ment known to her father, who might reasonably form for her such views as would make him re ject, with a contempt which I could not bear to 32 think of, such an offer as mine. Yet I had free access to the house, where she seemed to be left almost wholly to the guidance of an old servant, who was my fast friend.

But, to be brief, the sudden and unexpected re turn of her father, one fatal afternoon, proved the beginning of the misery which has ever since de voured me. I doubt not but he had listened to our conversation, for he darted into the room with the rage of a madman. Heavens! what a scene followed!—what abusive language did the shame of a clandestine affair, and the consciousness of acting ill, induce me to brook! At length, how ever, his fury exceeded my patience,—he called me a beggarly, cowardly Scotchman. Fired at the words, I drew my sword; he, with equal alertness, drew his; for he was not an old man, but, on the contrary, strong and able as myself. In vain his daughter pleaded;—in vain did I, re pentant of my anger, retreat;—his reproaches continued; myself, my country, were loaded with infamy,—till, no longer constraining my rage,—we fought,—and he fell!

At that moment I could almost have destroyed myself! The young lady fainted with terror; the old servant, drawn to us by the noise of the scuf fle, entreated me to escape, and promised to bring intelligence of what should pass to my apartment. The disturbance which I heard raised in the house obliged me to comply, and, in a state of mind in conceivably wretched, I tore myself away.

My friend, who I found at home, soon discover ed the whole affair. It was near midnight ere the woman came. She told me that her master was living, and her young mistress restored to her sen ses. The absolute necessity for my leaving Paris, while any danger remained, was forcibly urged by 33 my friend: the servant promised to acquaint him of whatever passed, and he, to transmit to me her information. Thus circumstanced, with the as sistance of this dear friend, I effected my depar ture from Paris, and, not long after, I returned to Scotland. I would fain have stopped by the way, that I might have been nearer the scene of all my concerns, but the low state of my finances denied me that satisfaction.

The miserable situation of my mind was soon discovered by my mother; nor would she rest till I communicated the cause. She heard my whole story with an agitation which astonished me;—the name of the parties concerned, seemed to strike her with horror;—but when I said, We fought, and he fell;"My son," cried she, "you have then murdered your father!" and she sunk breathless at my feet. Comments, Madam, upon such a scene as this, would to you be super fluous, and to me agonizing: I cannot, for both our sakes, be too concise. When she recovered, she confessed all the particulars of a tale which she had hoped never to have revealed.—Alas! the loss she had sustained of my father was not by death!—bound to her by no ties but those of ho nour, he had voluntarily deserted her!—Her set tling in Scotland was not the effect of choice,—she was banished thither by a family but too justly in censed;—pardon, Madam, that I cannot be more explicit!

My senses, in the greatness of my misery, actu ally forsook me, and for more than a week I was wholly delirious. My unfortunate mother was yet more to be pitied, for she pined with unmitigated sorrow, eternally reproaching herself for the dan ger to which her too strict silence had exposed me. When I recovered my reason, my impatience to 34 hear from Paris almost deprived me of it again; and though the length of time I waited for letters might justly be attributed to contrary winds, I could not bear the delay, and was twenty times upon the point of returning thither at all hazards. At length, however, several letters arrived at once, and from the most insupportable of my af flictions I was then relieved, for they acquainted me that the horrors of parricide were not in reserve for me. They informed me also, that as soon as the wound was healed, a journey would be made to England, where my unhappy sister was to be received by an aunt with whom she was to live.

This intelligence somewhat quieted the violence of my sorrows. I instantly formed a plan of meet ing them in London, and, by revealing the whole dreadful story, convincing this irritated parent that he had nothing more to apprehend from his daugh ter's unfortunate choice. My mother consented, and gave me a letter to prove the truth of my as sertions. As I could but ill afford to make this journey, I travelled in the cheapest way that was possible. I took an obscure lodging, I need not, Madam, tell you where,—and boarded with the people of the house.

Here I languished, week after week, vainly hoping for the arrival of my family; but my im petuosity had blinded me to the imprudence of which I was guilty in quitting Scotland so hastily. My wounded father, after his recovery, relapsed; and when I had waited in the most comfortless si tuation for six weeks, my friend wrote me word, that the journey was yet deferred for some time longer.

My finances were then nearly exhausted, and I was obliged, though most unwillingly, to beg fur ther assistance from my mother, that I might re turn 35 to Scotland. Oh! Madam!—my answer was not from herself,—it was written by a lady who had long been her companion, and acquainted me that she had been taken suddenly ill of a fever,—and was no more!

The compassionate nature of which you have given such noble proofs, assures me I need not, if I could, paint to you the anguish of a mind over whelmed with such accumulated sorrows.

Inclosed was a letter to a near relation which she had, during her illness, with much difficulty, written, and in which, with the strongest mater nal tenderness, she described my deplorable situati on, and entreated his interest to procure me some preferment. Yet so sunk was I by misfortune, that a fortnight elapsed ere I had the courage or spirit to attempt delivering this letter. I was then compelled to it by want. To make my appear ance with some decency, I was necessitated, my self, to the melancholy task of changing my co loured cloaths for a suit of mourning;—and then I proceeded to seek my relation.

I was informed that he was not in town.

In this desperate situation, the pride of my heart, which hitherto had not bowed to adversity, gave way, and I determined to entreat the assis tance of my friend, whose offered services I had a thousand times rejected. Yet, Madam, so hard is it to root from the mind its favourite princi ples, or prejudices, call them which you please, that I lingered another week ere I had the resolu tion to send away a letter which I regarded as the death of my independence.

At length, reduced to my last shilling, dunned insolently by the people of the house, and almost famished, I sealed this fatal letter, and, with a heavy heart, determined to take it to the post-office. 36 But Mr. Branghton and his son suffered me not to pass through their shop with impunity; they insulted me grossly, and threatened me with im prisonment, if I did not immediately satisfy their demands. Stung to the soul, I bid them have but a day's patience, and flung from them, in a state of mind too terrible for description.

My letter, which I now found would be receiv ed too late to save me from disgrace, I tore into a thousand pieces, and scarce could I refrain from put ting an instantaneous, an unlicensed period to my existence.

In this disorder of my senses, I formed the hor rible plan of turning foot-pad; for which purpose I returned to my lodging, and collected whatever of my apparel I could part with, which I immediately sold, and with the profits purchased a brace of pis tols, powder and shot. I hope, however, you will believe me, when I most solemnly assure you, my sole intention was to frighten the passengers I should assault, with these dangerous weapons, which I had not loaded, but from a resolution,—a dreadful one, I own,—to save myself from an ig nominious death if seized. And, indeed, I thought if I could but procure money sufficient to pay Mr. Branghton, and make a journey to Scotland, I should soon be able, by the public papers, to dis cover whom I had injured, and to make private retribution.

But, Madam, new to every species of villany, my perturbation was so great that I could with dif ficulty support myself: yet the Branghtons observ ed it not as I passed through the shop.

Here I stop: what followed is better known to yourself. But no time can ever efface from my memory that moment, when in the very action of preparing for my own destruction, or the lawless 37 seizure of the property of others, you rushed in to the room, and arrested my arm!—It was, in deed, an awful moment!—the hand of Providence seemed to intervene between me and eternity; I beheld you as an angel!—I thought you dropt from the clouds;—the earth, indeed, had never before presented to my view a form so celestial!—What wonder, then, that a spectacle so astonish ing should, to a man disordered as I was, appear too beautiful to be human?

And now, Madam, that I have performed this painful task, the more grateful one remains of re warding, as far as is in my power, your generous goodness, by assuring you it shall not be thrown away. You have awakened me to a sense of the false pride by which I have been actuated,—a pride which, while it scorned assistance from a friend, scrupled not to compel it from a stranger, though at the hazard of reducing that stranger to a situation as destitute as my own. Yet, Oh! how violent was the struggle which tore my con flicting soul, ere I could persuade myself to profit by the benevolence which you were so evidently disposed to exert in my favour!

By means of a ring, the gift of my much-re gretted mother, I have for the present satisfied Mr. Branghton; and by means of your compassion, I hope to support myself, either till I hear from my friend, to whom, at length, I have written, or till the relation of my mother returns to town.

To talk to you, Madam, of paying my debt, would be vain; I never can! the service you have done me exceeds all power of return; you have restored me to my senses, you have taught me to curb those passions which bereft me of them, and, since I cannot avoid calamity, to bear it as a man! An interposition so wonderfully circumstanced can 38 never be recollected without benefit. Yet allow me to say, the pecuniary part of my obligation must be settled by my first ability.

I am, Madam, with the most profound respect, and heart-felt gratitude,

Your obedient, and devoted humble servant, J. MACARTNEY.
LETTER VI. Evelina in continuation.

O SIR, what an adventure have I to write!—all night it has occupied my thoughts, and I am now risen thus early, to write it to you.

Yesterday it was settled that we should spend the evening in Marybone-gardens, where M. Torre, a celebrated foreigner, was to exhibit some fireworks. The party consisted of Madame Du val, all the Branghtons, M. Du Bois, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Brown.

We were almost the first persons who entered the Gardens, Mr. Branghton having declared he would have all he could get for his money, which, at best, was only fooled away, at such silly and idle places.

We walked in parties, and very much detached from one another; Mr. Brown and Miss Polly led the way by themselves; Miss Branghton and Mr. Smith followed, and the latter seemed determined to be revenged for my behaviour at the ball, by transferring all his former attention for me, to Miss Branghton, who received it with an air of exulta tion: 39 and very frequently they each of them, though from different motives, looked back, to discover whether I observed their good intelligence. Madame Duval walked with M. Du Bois; and Mr. Branghton by himself; but his son would wil lingly have attached himself wholly to me, saying frequently, "Come, Miss, let's you and I have a little fun together; you see they have all left us, so now let us leave them." But I begged to be excused, and went to the other side of Madame Duval.

This Garden, as it is called, is neither striking for magnificence nor for beauty; and we were all so dull and languid, that I was extremely glad when we were summoned to the orchestra, upon the opening of a concert; in the course of which, I had the pleasure of hearing a concerto on the violin by Mr. Barthelemon, who, to me, seems a player of exquisite fancy, feeling, and variety.

When notice was given us, that the fire-works were preparing, we hurried along to secure good places for the sight: but, very soon, we were so encircled and incommoded by the crowd, that Mr. Smith proposed the ladies should make interest for a form to stand upon; this was soon effected, and the men then left us, to accommodate themselves better, saying they would return the moment the exhibition was over.

The firework was really beautiful, and told, with wonderful ingenuity, the story of Orpheus and Eurydice: but, at the moment of the fatal look, which separated them for ever, there was such an explosion of fire, and so horrible a noise, that we all, as of one accord, jumpt hastily from the form, and ran away some paces, fearing that we were in danger of mischief, from the innume rable sparks of fire which glittered in the air.

40 For a moment or two, I neither knew nor con sidered whither I had run; but my recollection was soon awakened by a stranger's addressing me with, "Come along with me, my dear, and I'll take care of you."

I started, and then, to my great terror, per ceived that I had out-run all my companions, and saw not one human being I knew! with all the speed in my power, and forgetful of my first fright, I hastened back to the place I had left;—but found the form occupied by a new set of people.

In vain, from side to side, I looked for some face I knew; I found myself in the midst of a crowd, yet without party, friend, or acquain tance. I walked, in disordered haste, from place to place, without knowing which way to turn, or whither I went. Every other moment, I was spoken to, by some bold and unfeeling man, to whom my distress, which, I think, must be very apparent, only furnished a pretence for impertinent witticisms, or free gallantry.

At last, a young officer, marching fiercely up to me, said, "You are a sweet pretty creature, and I enlist you in my service;" and then, with great violence, he seized my hand. I screamed aloud with fear, and, forcibly snatching it away, I ran hastily up to two ladies, and cried, "For Heaven's sake, dear ladies, afford me some pro tection!"

They heard me with a loud laugh, but very readily said, "Ay, let her walk between us;" and each of them took hold of an arm.

Then, in a drawling, ironical tone of voice, they asked what had frightened my little Ladyship? I told them my adventure very simply, and en treated 41 they would have the goodness to assist me in finding my friends.

O yes, to be sure, they said, I should not want for friends, whilst I was with them. Mine, I said, would be very grateful for any civilities with which they might favour me. But imagine, my dear Sir, how I must be confounded, when I observed, that every other word I spoke produced a loud laugh! However, I will not dwell upon a conversation, which soon, to my inexpressible horror, convinced me I had sought protection from insult, of those who were themselves most likely to offer it! You, my dearest Sir, I well know, will both feel for, and pity my terror, which I have no words to describe.

Had I been at liberty, I should have instantly run away from them, when I made the shocking discovery; but, as they held me fast, that was utterly impossible: and such was my dread of their resentment or abuse, that I did not dare to make any open attempt to escape.

They asked me a thousand questions, accom panied by as many hallows, of who I was, what I was, and whence I came. My answers were very incoherent,—but what, good Heaven! were my emotions, when a few moments afterwards, I perceived advancing our way, Lord Orville!

Never shall I forget what I felt at that instant: had I, indeed, been sunk to the guilty state, which such companions might lead him to suspect, I could scarce have had feelings more cruelly de pressing.

However, to my infinite joy, he passed us without distinguishing me; though I saw that, in a careless manner, his eyes surveyed the party,

As soon as he was gone, one of these unhappy women said, "Do you know that young fellow?"

42 Not thinking it possible she should mean Lord Orville by such a term, I readily answered, ""No, Madam."

"Why then," answered she, "you have a monstrous good stare, for a little country Miss."

I now found I had mistaken her, but was glad to avoid an explanation.

A few minutes after, what was my delight, to hear the voice of Mr. Brown, who called out, "Lord, i'n't that Miss what's her name?"

"Thank God," cried I, suddenly springing from them both, "thank God, I have found my party!

Mr. Brown, was, however, alone, and, with out knowing what I did, I took hold of his arm.

"Lord, Miss, cried he, we've had such a hunt you can't think! some of them thought you was gone home; but I says, says I, I don't think says I, that she'll like to go home all alone, says I."

"So that gentleman belongs to you, Miss, does he?" said one of the women.

Yes, Madam," answered I, "and I now thank you for your civility; but as I am safe, will not give you any further trouble."

I courtsied slightly, and would have walked away; but, most unfortunately, Madame Du val and the two Miss Branghtons just then joined us.

They all began to make a thousand enquiries, to which I briefly answered, that I had been obliged to these two ladies for walking with me, and would tell them more another time: for, though I felt great comparative courage, I was yet too much intimidated by their presence, to dare be explicit.

43 Nevertheless, I ventured, once more, to wish them good night, and proposed seeking Mr. Branghton. These unhappy women listened to all that was said with a kind of callous curiosity, and seemed determined not to take any hint. But my vexation was terribly augmented, when, after having whispered something to each other, they very cavalierly declared, that they intended join ing our party! and then, one of them, very bold ly took hold of my arm, while the other, going round, seized that of Mr. Brown; and thus, al most forcibly, we were moved on between them, and followed by Madame Duval and the Miss Branghtons.

It would be very difficult to say which was greatest, my fright, or Mr. Brown's consternati on; who ventured not to make the least resist ance, though his uneasiness made him tremble al most as much as myself. I would instantly have withdrawn my arm; but it was held so tight, I could not move it; and poor Mr. Brown was cir cumstanced in the same manner on the other side; for I heard him say, "Lord, Ma'am, there's no need to squeeze one's arm so!"

And this was our situation,—for we had not taken three steps, when,—O Sir,—we again met Lord Orville!—but not again did he pass quietly by us,—unhappily I caught his eye;—both mine, immediately, were bent to the ground; but he approached me, and we all stopped.

I then looked up. He bowed. Good God, with what expressive eyes did he regard me! Ne ver were surprise and concern so strongly marked,—yes, my dear Sir, he looked greatly concerned; and that, the remembrance of that, is the only consolation I feel, for an evening the most pain ful of my life.

44 What he first said, I know not; for, indeed, I seemed to have neither ears nor understanding; but I recollect that I only courtsied in silence. He paused for an instant, as if—I believe so,—as if unwilling to pass on; but then, finding the whole party detained, he again bowed, and took leave.

Indeed, my dear Sir, I thought I should have fainted, so great was my emotion from shame, vexation, and a thousand other feelings, for which I have no expressions. I absolutely tore myself from the woman's arm, and then, disengaging myself from that of Mr. Brown, I went to Ma dame Duval, and besought that she would not suf fer me to be again parted from her.

I fancy—that Lord Orville saw what passed; for scarcely was I at liberty, ere he returned. Methought, my dear Sir, the pleasure, the sur prise of that moment, recompensed me for all the chagrin I had before felt: for do you not think, that this return, manifests, from a character so quiet, so reserved as Lord Orville's, something like solicitude in my concerns?—such at least, was the interpretation I involuntarily made upon again seeing him.

With a politeness to which I have been some time very little used, he apologised for returning, and then enquired after the health of Mrs. Mirvan, and the rest of the Howard Grove family. The flattering conjecture which I have just acknow ledged, had so wonderfully restored my spirits, that I believe I never answered him so readily, and with so little constraint. Very short, however, was the duration of this conversation: for we were soon most disagreeably interrupted.

The Miss Branghtons, though they saw almost immediately the characters of the women to whom I had so unfortunately applied, were, never theless, 45 so weak and foolish, as merely to titter at their behaviour. As to Madame Duval, she was really for some time so strangely imposed upon, that she thought they were two real fine ladies. Indeed it is wonderful to see how easily and how frequently she is deceived: our disturb ance, however, arose from young Brown, who was now between the two women, by whom his arms were absolutely pinioned to his sides: for a few minutes, his complaints had been only mur mured; but he now called out aloud, "Good ness, Ladies, you hurt me like any thing! why I can't walk at all, if you keep pinching my arms so!"

This speech raised a loud laugh in the women, and redoubled the tittering of the Miss Brangh ton's. For my own part, I was most cruelly con fused; while the countenance of Lord Orville manifested a sort of indignant astonishment; and, from that moment, he spoke to me no more, till he took leave.

Madame Duval who now began to suspect her company, proposed our taking the first box we saw empty, bespeaking a supper, and waiting till Mr. Branghton should find us.

Miss Polly mentioned one she had remarked, to which we all turned; Madame Duval instantly seated herself; and the two bold women, forcing the frightened Mr. Brown to go between them, fol lowed her example.

Lord Orville, with an air of gravity that wound ed my very soul, then wished me good night. I said not a word; but my face, if it had any con nection with my heart, must have looked melan choly indeed: and so, I have some reason to be lieve, it did; for he added, with much more soft ness, though not less dignity, "Will Miss Anville 46 allow me to ask her address, and to pay my re spects to her before I leave town?"

O how I changed colour at this unexpected re quest!—yet what was the mortification I suffered, in answering, "My Lord, I am—in Holborn!"

He then bowed and left us.

What, what can he think of this adventure! how strangely, how cruelly have all appearances turned against me! Had I been blessed with any presence of mind, I should instantly have explain ed to him the accident which occasioned my being in such terrible company;—but I have none!

As to the rest of the evening, I cannot relate the particulars of what passed; for, to you, I only write of what I think, and I can think of nothing but this unfortunate, this disgraceful meeting. These two poor women continued to torment us all, but especially poor Mr. Brown, who seemed to afford them uncommon diversion, till we were discovered by Mr. Branghton, who very soon found means to release us from their persecutions, by frightening them away. We stayed but a short time after they left us, which was all employed in explanations.

Whatever may be the construction which Lord Orville may put upon this affair, to me it cannot fail of being unfavourable; to be seen—gracious Heaven!—to be seen in company with two women of such character!—How vainly, how proudly have I wished to avoid meeting him when only with the Branghtons and Madame Duval,—but now, how joyful should I be had he seen me to no greater disadvantage!—Holborn, too! what a di rection!—he who had always—but I will not tor ment you, my dearest Sir, with any more of my mortifying conjectures and apprehensions: perhaps he may call,—and then I shall have an opportunity 47 of explaining to him all the most shocking part of the adventure. And yet, as I did not tell him at whose house I lived, he may not be able to disco ver me; I merely said in Holborn, and he, who I suppose saw my embarrassment, forbore to ask any other direction.

Well, I must take my chance!

Yet let me, in justice to Lord Orville, and in justice to the high opinion I have always enter tained of his honour and delicacy,—let me observe the difference of his behaviour, when nearly in the same situation to that of Sir Clement Wil loughby. He had at least equal cause to depreci ate me in his opinion, and to mortify and sink me in my own: but far different was his conduct;—perplexed, indeed, he looked, and much surpris ed,—but it was benevolently, not with insolence. I am even inclined to think, that he could not see a young creature whom he had so lately known in a higher sphere, appear so suddenly, so strangely, so disgracefully altered in her situation, without some pity and concern. But, whatever might be his doubts and suspicions, far from suffering them to influence his behaviour, he spoke, he looked, with the same politeness and attention with which he had always honoured me when countenanced by Mrs. Mirvan.

Once again, let me drop this subject.

In every mortification, every disturbance, how grateful to my heart, how sweet to my recollecti on, in the certainty of your never-failing tender ness, sympathy, and protection! Oh Sir, could I, upon this subject, could I write as I feel,—how animated would be the language of

Your devoted EVELINA!
48 LETTER VII. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

LISTLESS, uneasy, and without either spirit or courage to employ myself, from the time I had finished my last letter, I indolently seated myself at the window, where, while I waited Madame Duval's summons to breakfast, I perceived, among the carriages which passed by, a coronet coach, and, in a few minutes, from the window of it, Lord Orville! I instantly retreated, but not, I believe, unseen; for the coach immediately drove up to our door.

Indeed, my dear Sir, I must own I was greatly agitated; the idea of receiving Lord Orville by myself,—the knowledge that his visit was entirely to me, —the wish of explaining the unfortunate adventure of yesterday,—and the mortification of my present circumstances,—all these thoughts, oc curring to me nearly at the same time, occasioned me more anxiety, confusion, and perplexity, than I can possibly express.

I believe he meant to send up his name; but the maid, unused to such a ceremony, forgot it by the way, and only told me, that a great Lord was below, and desired to see me: and, the next moment he appeared himself.

If formerly when in the circle of high life, and accustomed to its manners, I so much admired and distinguished the grace, the elegance of Lord Orville, think, Sir, how they must strike me now,—now, when, far removed from that splendid circle, I live with those to whom even civility is unknown, and decorum a stranger!

49 I am sure I received him very awkwardly; de pressed by a situation so disagreeable, could I do otherwise? When his first enquiries were made, "I think myself very fortunate," he said, "in meeting with Miss Anville at home, and still more so, in finding her disengaged."

I only courtsied. He then talked of Mrs. Mir van; asked how long I had been in town, and other such general questions, which, happily, gave me time to recover from my embarrassment. After which, he said, "If Miss Anville will al low me the honour of sitting by her a few minutes "(for we were both standing)" I will venture to tell her the motive which, next to enquiring after her health, has prompted me to wait on her thus early."

We were then both seated, and, after a short pause, he said, "How to apologize for so great a liberty as I am upon the point of taking, I know not; shall I, therefore, rely wholly upon your goodness, and not apologize at all?"

I only bowed.

"I should be extremely sorry to appear imper tinent,—yet hardly know how to avoid it.

"Impertinent! O my Lord," cried I, eagerly, "that, I am sure, is impossible!"

"You are very good," answered he, "and encourage me to be ingenuous—"

Again he stopped; but my expectation was too great for speech: at last, without looking at me, in a low voice and hesitating manner, he said, "Were those Ladies with whom I saw you last night, ever in your company before?"

"No, my Lord," cried I, rising, and colour ing violently, "nor will they ever be again."

He rose too, and, with an air of the most con descending concern, said, "Pardon, Madam, the 50 abruptness of a question which I knew not how to introduce as I ought, and for which I have no excuse to offer, but my respect for Mrs. Mirvan, joined to the sincerest wishes for your happiness: yet I fear I have gone too far!"

"I am very sensible of the honour of your Lordship's attention," said I, "but—"

"Permit me to assure you," cried he, finding I hesitated, "that officiousness is not my charac teristic, and that I would by no means have risked your displeasure, had I not been fully satisfied you were too generous to be offended, without a real cause of offence."

"Offended!" cried I, no, my Lord, I am on ly grieved,—grieved, indeed! to find myself in a situation so unfortunate, as to be obliged to make explanations which cannot but mortify and shock me."

"It is I alone," cried he, with some eagerness, "who am shocked, as it is I who deserve to be mortified; I seek no explanation, for I have no doubt; but, in mistaking me, Miss Anville in jures herself: allow me, therefore, frankly and openly to tell you the intention of my visit."

I bowed, and we both returned to our seats.

"I will own myself to have been greatly sur prised," continued he, "when I met you yes terday evening, in company with two persons who I was sensible merited not the honour of your notice; nor was it easy for me to conjec ture the cause of your being so situated; yet, be lieve me, my incertitude did not for a moment do you injury; I was satisfied that their characters must be unknown to you, and I thought with con cern of the shock you would sustain, when you discovered their unworthiness. I should not, however, upon so short an acquaintance, have 51 usurped the privilege of intimacy, in giving my unasked sentiments upon so delicate a subject, had I not known that credulity is the sister of in nocence, and therefore feared you might be de ceived. A something, which I could not resist, urged me to the freedom I have taken to caution you; but I shall not easily forgive myself, if I have been so unfortunate as to give you pain."

The pride which his first question had excited, now subsided into delight and gratitude, and I in stantly related to him, as well as I could, the accident which had occasioned my joining the un happy women with whom he had met me. He listened with an attention so flattering, seemed so much interested during the recital, and, when I had done, thanked me, in terms so polite, for what he was pleased to call my condescension, that I was almost ashamed either to look at, or hear him.

Soon after, the maid came to tell me, that Madame Duval desired to have breakfast made in her own room.

"I fear," cried Lord Orville, instantly rising, "that I have intruded upon your time,—yet who, so situated, could do otherwise?" Then, taking my hand, "Will Miss Anville allow me thus to seal my peace?" He pressed it to his lips, and took leave.

Generous, noble Lord Orville! how disinte rested his conduct! how delicate his whole beha viour! willing to advise, yet afraid to wound me!—Can I ever, in future, regret the adventure I met with at Marybone, since it has been product ive of a visit so flattering? Had my mortificati ons been still more humiliating, my terrors still more alarming, such a mark of esteem—may I 52 not call it so?—from Lord Orville, would have made me ample amends.

And indeed, my dear Sir, I require some con solation in my present very disagreeable situation; for, since he went, two incidents have happened, that, had not my spirits been particularly elated, would greatly have disconcerted me.

During breakfast, Madame Duval, very abrupt ly, asked if I should like to be married? and ad ded, that Mr. Branghton had been proposing a match for me with his son. Surprised, and, I must own, provoked, I assured her that, in think ing of me, Mr. Branghton would very vainly lose his time.

"Why," cried she, "I have had grander views for you, myself, if once I could get you to Paris, and make you be owned; but, if I can't do that, and you can do no better, why, as you are both my relations, I think to leave my fortune between you, and then, if you marry, you never need want for nothing."

I begged her not to pursue the subject, as, I assured her, Mr. Branghton was totally disagree able to me: but she continued her admonitions and reflections, with her usual disregard of what ever I could answer. She charged me, very pe remptorily, neither wholly to discourage, nor yet to accept Mr. Branghton's offer, till she saw what could be done for me: the young man, she ad ded, had often intended to speak to me himself, but, not well knowing how to introduce the sub ject, he had desired her to pave the way for him.

I scrupled not, warmly and freely to declare my aversion to this proposal; but it was to no effect, as she concluded, just as she had begun, by saying, that I should not have him, if I could do better.

53 Nothing, however, shall persuade me to listen to any other person concerning this odious affair.

My second cause of uneasiness arises, very un expectedly, from M. Du Bois, who, to my infi nite surprise, upon Madame Duval's quitting the room after dinner, put into my hand a note, and immediately left the house.

This note contains an open declaration of an attachment to me, which, he says, he should ne ver have presumed to have acknowledged, had he not been informed that Madame Duval destined my hand to young Branghton,—a match which he cannot endure to think of. He beseeches me, earnestly, to pardon his temerity, professes the most inviolable respect, and commits his fate to time, patience, and pity.

This conduct in M. Du Bois gives me real con cern, as I was disposed to think very well of him. It will not, however, be difficult to discourage him, and therefore I shall not acquaint Madame Duval of his letter, as I have reason to believe it would greatly displease her.

LETTER VIII. Evelina in continuation.

O SIR, how much uneasiness must I suffer, to counterbalance one short morning of happiness!

Yesterday, the Branghtons proposed a party to Kensington-gardens, and, as usual, Madame Du val insisted upon my attendance.

We went in a hackney-coach to Piccadilly, and then had a walk through Hyde Park, which in any other company, would have been delightful. I 54 was much pleased with Kensington-gardens, and think them infinitely preferable to those of Vauxhall.

Young Branghton was extremely troublesome; he insisted upon walking by my side, and talked with me almost by compulsion: however, my re serve and coldness prevented his entering upon the hateful subject which Madame Duval had prepa red me to apprehend. Once, indeed, when I was, accidentally, a few yards before the rest, he said, "I suppose, Miss, aunt has told you about you know what?—ha'n't she, Miss?" —But I turned from him without making any answer. Neither Mr. Smith nor Mr. Brown were of the party; and poor M. Du Bois, when he found that I avoided him, looked so melancholy, that I was really sorry for him.

While we were strolling round the garden, I perceived, walking with a party of ladies at some distance, Lord Orville! I instantly retreated be hind Miss Branghton, and kept out of sight till we had passed him: for I dreaded being seen by him again, in a public walk, with a party of which I was ashamed.

Happily I succeeded in my design, and saw no more of him; for a sudden and violent shower of rain made us all hasten out of the gardens. We ran till we came to a small green-shop, where we begged shelter. Here we found ourselves in com pany with two footmen, whom the rain had dri ven into the shop. Their livery, I thought, I had before seen; and upon looking from the window, I perceived the same upon a coachman belonging to a carriage, which I immediately recollected to be Lord Orville's.

Fearing to be known, I whispered Miss Brangh ton not to speak my name. Had I considered but 55 a moment, I should have been sensible of the in utility of such a caution, since not one of the party call me by any other appellation than that of Cousin, or of Miss; but I am perpetually in volved in some distress or dilemma from my own heedlessness.

This request excited very strongly her curiosi ty; and she attacked me with such eagerness and bluntness of enquiry, that I could not avoid telling her the reason of my making it, and, consequent ly, that I was known to Lord Orville: an acknow ledgment which proved the most unfortunate in the world; for she would not rest till she had drawn from me the circumstances attending my first making the acquaintance. Then, calling to her sister, she said, "Lord, Polly only think! Miss has danced with a Lord!"

"Well," cried Polly, "that's a thing I should never have thought of! And pray, Miss, what did he say to you?"

This question was much sooner asked than an swered; and they both became so very inquisitive and earnest, that they soon drew the attention of Madame Duval and the rest of the party, to whom, in a very short time, they repeated all they had gathered from me.

"Goodness, then," cried young Branghton, "if I was Miss, if I would not make free with his Lordship's coach to take me to town."

"Why ay," said the father, "there would be some sense in that; that would be making some use of a Lord's acquaintance, for it would save us coach-hire."

"Lord, Miss," cried Polly, "I wish you would, for I should like of all things to ride in a coronet coach!"

56 "I promise you," said Madame Duval, "I'm glad you've thought of it, for I don't see no ob jection;—so let's have the coach-man called."

"Not for the world," cried I, very much alarmed, "indeed it is utterly impossible."

"Why so?" demanded Mr. Branghton; "pray where's the good of your knowing a Lord, if you're never the better for him?"

" Ma foi, child," said Madame Duval, "you don't know no more of the world than if you was a baby. Pray, Sir, (to one of the footmen,) tell that coachman to draw up, for I wants to speak to him."

The man stared, but did not move. "Pray, pray, Madam," said I, "pray, Mr. Branghton, have the goodness to give up this plan; I know but very little of his Lordship, and cannot, upon any account, take so great a liberty."

"Don't say nothing about it," said Madame Duval, "for I shall have it my own way: so if you won't call the coachman, Sir, I'll promise you I'll call him myself."

The footman, very impertinently, laughed and turned upon his heel. Madame Duval, extremely irritated, ran out in the rain, and beckoned the coachman, who instantly obeyed her summons. Shocked beyond all expression, I flew after her, and entreated her with the utmost earnestness, to let us return in a hackney-coach:—but oh!—she is impenetrable to persuasion! She told the man she wanted him to carry her directly to town, and that she would answer for him to Lord Orville. The man, with a sneer, thanked her, but said he should answer for himself; and was driving off, when another footman came up to him, with informati on that his Lord was gone into Kensington palace, and would not want him for an hour or two.

57 "Why then, friend, "said Mr. Branghton, (for we were followed by all the party) "where will be the great harm of your taking us to town?"

"Besides," said the son, "I'll promise you a pot of beer for my own share."

These speeches had no other answer from the coachman than a loud laugh, which was echoed by the insolent footmen. I rejoiced at their re sistance, though I was certain, that if their Lord had witnessed their impertinence, they would have been instantly dismissed his service.

" Pardie, " cried Madame Duval, "if I don't think all the footmen are the most impu dentest fellows in the kingdom! But I'll promise you I'll have your master told of your airs, so you'll get no good by 'em."

"Why pray," said the coachman, rather alarmed, "did my Lord give you leave to use the coach?"

"It's no matter for that," answered she; "I'm sure if he's a gentleman he'd let us have it sooner than we should be wet to the skin: but I'll promise you he shall know how saucy you've been, for this young lady knows him very well."

"Ay, that she does," said Miss Polly; "and she's danced with him too.

"Oh how I repented my foolish misma nagement! The men bit their lips, and looked at one another in some confusion. This was per ceived by our party, who, taking advantage of it, protested they would write Lord Orville word of their ill behaviour without delay. This quite startled them, and one of the footmen offered to run to the palace, and ask his Lord's permission for our having the carriage.

This proposal really made me tremble; and the Branghtons all hung back upon it: but Madame 58 Duval is never to be dissuaded from a scheme she has once formed. "Do so," cried she, "and give this child's compliments to your Master, and tell him, as we ha'n't no coach here, we should be glad to go just as far as Holborn in his."

"No, no, no,!" cried I; "don't go,—I know nothing of his Lordship,—I send no mes sage,—I have nothing to say to him!"

The men, very much perplexed, could with difficulty restrain themselves from resuming their impertinent mirth. Madame Duval scolded me very angrily, and then desired them to go direct ly, "Pray, then," said the coachman, "what name is to be given to my Lord?"

"Anville," answered Madame Duval, "tell him Miss Anville wants the coach; the young la dy he danced with once."

I was really in an agony: but the winds could not have been more deaf to me, than those to whom I pleaded! and therefore the footman, urg ed by the repeated threats of Madame Duval, and perhaps recollecting the name himself, actu ally went to the palace with this strange message!

He returned in a few minutes, and bowing to me with the greatest respect, said, "My Lord desires his compliments, and his carriage will be always at Miss Anville's service."

I was so much affected by this politeness, and chagrined at the whole affair, that I could scarce refrain from tears. Madame Duval and the Miss Branghtons eagerly jumped into the coach, and desired me to follow. I would rather have sub mitted to the severest punishment;—but all resist ance was vain.

During the whole ride, I said not a word; how ever, the rest of the party were so talkative, that my silence was very immaterial. We stopped 59 at our lodgings; but when Madame Duval and I alighted, the Branghtons asked if they could not be carried on to Snow-Hill? The servants, now all civility, made no objection. Remonstrances from me, would, I too well kn w, be fruitless; and therefore, with a heavy heart, I retired to my room, and left them to their own direction.

Seldom have I passed a night in greater uneasi ness:—so lately to have cleared myself in the good opinion of Lord Orville,—so soon to forfeit it!—to give him reason to suppose I presumed to boast of his acquaintance,—to publish his having danced with me!—to take with him a liberty I should have blushed to have taken with the most intimate of my friends!—to treat with such im pertinent freedom one who has honoured me with such distinguished respect!—indeed, Sir, I could have met with no accident that would so cruelly have tormented me!

If such were, then, my feelings, imagine,—for I cannot describe, what I suffered during the scene I am now going to write.

This morning, while I was alone in the dining room, young Branghton called. He entered with a most important air, and strutting up to me, said, "Miss, Lord Orville sends his compliments to you."

"Lord Orville!" —repeated I, much amazed.

"Yes, Miss, Lord Orville; for I know his Lordship now, as well as you,—And a very civil gentleman he is, for all he's a Lord."

"For Heaven's sake," cried I, "explain yourself."

"Why you must know, Miss, after we lest you, we met with a little misfortune; but I don't mind it now, for it's all turned out for the best: but, just as we were a going up Snow-Hill, plump 60 we comes against a cart, with such a jog it almost pulled the coach-wheel off; however, that i'n't the worst, for as I went to open the door in a hurry, a thinking the coach would be broke down, as ill-luck would have it, I never minded that the glass was up, and so I poked my head fairly through it. Only see, Miss, how I've cut my forehead!"

A much worse accident to himself, would not I believe, at that moment, have given me any concern for him: however, he proceeded with his account, for I was too much confounded to in terrupt him.

"Goodness, Miss, we were in such a stew, us, and the servants, and all, as you can't think, for besides the glass being broke, the coachman said how the coach would'n't be safe to go back to Kensington. So we did n't know what to do; however, the footmen said they'd go and tell his Lordship what had happened. So then father grew quite uneasy, like, for fear of his Lord ship's taking offence, and prejudicing us in our business: so he said I should go this morning and ask his pardon, 'cause of having broke the glass. So then I asked the footman the direction, and they told me he lived in Berkley-square; so this morning I went, and I soon found out the house."

"You did!" cried I, quite out of breath with apprehension.

"Yes, Miss, and a very fine house it is. Did you ever see it?"


"No!—why then, Miss, I know more of his Lordship than you do, for all you knew him first. So, when I came to the door, I was in a peck of troubles, a thinking what I should say to him; however, the servants had no mind I should see 61 him, for they told me he was busy, but I might leave my message. So I was just coming away, when I bethought myself to say I come from you."

"From me! —"

"Yes, Miss,—for you know why should I have such a long walk as that for nothing? So I says to the porter, says I, tell his Lordship, says I, one wants to speak to him as comes from one Miss Anville, says I."

"Good God," cried I, "and by what au thority did you take such a liberty?"

"Goodness, Miss, don't be in such a hurry, for you'll be as glad as me when you hear how well it all turned out. So then they made way for me, and said his Lordship would see me di rectly; and there I was led through such a heap of servants, and so many rooms, that my heart quite misgave me; for I thought, thinks I, he'll be so proud he'll hardly let me speak; but he's no more proud than I am, and he was as civil at if I'd been a lord myself. So then I said, I ho ped he would n't take it amiss about the glass, for it was quite an accident: but he bid me not men tion it, for it did n't signify. And then he said he hoped you got safe home, and was n't frightened; and so I said yes, and I gave your duty to him."

"My duty to him!" exclaimed I,— "and who gave you leave?—who desired you?"

"O, I did it of my own head, just to make him think I came from you. But I should have told you before how the footman said he was go ing out of town to-morrow evening, and that his sister was soon to be married, and that he was a ordering a heap of things for that; so it come into my head, as he was so affable, that I'd ask him for his custom. So I says, says I, my Lord, says I, if your Lordship i'n't engaged particular ly, 62 my father is a silversmith, and he'd be very proud to serve you, says I, and Miss Anville, as danced with you, is his cousin, and she's my cou sin too, and she'd be very much obligated to you, I'm sure."

"You'll drive me wild," (cried I, starting from my seat) "you have done me an irrepara ble injury;—but I will hear no more!" —and then I ran into my own room.

I was half frantic, I really raved; the good opinion of Lord Orville seemed now irretrievably lost: a faint hope, which in the morning I had vainly encouraged, that I might see him again, and explain the transaction, wholly vanished, now I found he was so soon to leave town: and I could not but conclude that, for the rest of my life, he would regard me as an object of utter contempt.

The very idea was a dagger to my heart!—I could not support it, and—but I blush to proceed—I fear your disapprobation, yet I should not be conscious of having merited it, but that the repug nance I feel to relate to you what I have done, makes me suspect I must have erred. Will you forgive me, if I own that I have first written an account of this transaction to Miss Mirvan?—and that I even thought of concealing it from you?—Short-lived, however, was the ungrateful idea, and sooner will I risk the justice of your displea sure, than unworthily betray your generous confi dence.

You are now probably prepared for what fol lows—which is a letter,—a hasty letter, that, in the height of my agitation, I wrote to Lord Orville.

63 To Lord Orville. My Lord,

I am so infinitely ashamed of the application made yesterday for your Lordship's carriage in my name, and so greatly shocked at hearing how much it was injured, that I cannot forbear writing a few lines, to clear myself from the imputation of an impertinence which I blush to be suspected of, and to acquaint you, that the request for your carriage was made against my consent, and the visit with which you were importuned this morning, with out my knowledge.

I am inexpressibly concerned at having been the instrument, however innocently, of so much trouble to your Lordship; but I beg you to be lieve, that reading these lines is the only part of it which I have given voluntarily.

I am, my Lord, Your Lordship's most humble servant, EVELINA ANVILLE.

I applied to the maid of the house to get this note conveyed to Berkeley-square; but scarce had I parted with it, ere I regretted having writ ten at all, and I was flying down stairs to recover it, when the voice of Sir Clement Willoughby stopped me. As Madame Duval had ordered we should be denied to him, I was obliged to return up stairs; and after he was gone, my appli cation was too late, as the maid had given it to a porter.

My time did not pass very serenely while he was gone; however, he brought me no answer, but that Lord Orville was not at home. Whe ther 64 or not he will take the trouble to send any;—or whether he will condescend to call;—or whether the affair will rest as it is, I know not;—but, in being ignorant, am most cruelly anxi ous.

LETTER IX. Evelina in continuation.

YOU may now, my dear Sir, send Mrs. Clin ton for your Evelina with as much speed as she can conveniently make the journey, for no fur ther opposition will be made to her leaving this town; happy had it perhaps been for her had she never entered it!

This morning Madame Duval desired me to go to Snow-hill, with an invitation to the Branghtons and Mr. Smith, to spend the evening with her: and she desired M. Du Bois, who breakfasted with us, to accompany me. I was very unwil ling to obey her, as I neither wished to walk with M. Du Bois, nor yet to meet young Branghton. And, indeed, another, a yet more powerful rea son, added to my reluctance,—for I thought it possible that Lord Orville might send some an swer, or perhaps might call, during my ab sence; however, I did not dare dispute her com mands.

Poor M. Du Bois spoke not a word during our walk, which was, I believe, equally unpleasant to us both. We found all the family assembled in the shop. Mr. Smith, the moment he per ceived 65 me, addressed himself to Miss Branghton, whom he entertained with all the gallantry in his power. I rejoice to find that my conduct at the Hampstead ball has had so good an effect. But young Branghton was extremely troublesome, he repeatedly laughed in my face, and looked so im pertinently significant, that I was obliged to give up my reserve to M. Du Bois, and enter into conversation with him, merely to avoid such bold ness.

"Miss," said Mr. Branghton, "I'm sorry to hear from my son that you was n't pleased with what we did about that Lord Orville; but I should like to know what it was you found fault with, for we did all for the best."

"Goodness!" cried the son, "why if you'd seen Miss, you'd have been surprised,—she went out of the room quite in a huff, like."

"It is too late, now," said I, "to reason up on this subject; but, for the future, I must take the liberty to request, that my name may never be made use of without my knowledge. May I tell Madame Duval that you will do her the favour to accept her invitation?"

"As to me, Ma'am," said Mr. Smith, "I am much obliged to the old lady, but I've no mind to be taken in by her again; you'll excuse me, Ma'am."

All the rest promised to come, and I then took leave: but as I left the shop, I heard Mr. Branghton say, "Take courage, Tom, she's only coy." And, before I had walked ten yards, the youth followed.

I was so much offended that I would not look at him, but began to converse with M. Du Bois, who was now more lively than I had ever before 66 seen him; for, most unfortunately, he misinter preted the reason of my attention to him.

The first intelligence I received when I came home, was that two gentlemen had called, and left cards. I eagerly enquired for them, and read the names of Lord Orville and Sir Clement Wil loughby. I by no means regretted that I missed seeing the latter, but perhaps I may all my life regret that I missed seeing the former, for proba bly he has now left town,—and I may see him no more!

"My goodness!" cried young Branghton, rudely looking over me, "only think of that Lord's coming all this way! It's my belief he'd got some order ready for father, and so he'd a mind to call and ask you if I'd told him the truth."

"Pray, Betty," cried I, "how long has he been gone?"

"Not two minutes, Ma'am."

"Why then I'll lay you any wager," said young Branghton, "he saw you and I a-walking up Holborn Hill!"

"God forbid!" cried I, impatiently; and too much chagrined to bear with any more of his remarks, I ran up stairs: but I heard him say to M. Du Bois, "Miss is so uppish this morning, that I think I had better not speak to her again."

I wish M. Du Bois had taken the same resolu tion; but he chose to follow me into the dining room, which we found empty.

" Vous ne l'aimez donc pas ce garcon, Made moiselle! " cried he.

"Me!" cried I, "no, I detest him!" for I was quite sick at heart.

" Ah, tu me rends la vie! " cried he, and slinging himself at my feet, he had just caught 67 my hand, as the door was opened by Madame Duval.

Hastily, and with marks of guilty confusion in his face, he arose; but the rage of that lady quite amazed me! advancing to the retreating M. Du Bois, she began, in French, an attack which her extreme wrath and wonderful volubili ty almost rendered unintelligible; yet I under stood but too much, since her reproaches convin ced me she had herself proposed being the object of his affection.

He defended himself in a weak and evasive manner, and upon her commanding him from her sight, very readily withdrew: and then, with yet greater violence, she upbraided me with having seduced his heart, called me an ungrateful, design ing girl, and protested she would neither take me to Paris, nor any more interest herself in my con cerns, unless I would instantly agree to marry young Branghton.

Frightened as I had been at her vehemence, this proposal restored all my courage; and I frank ly told her that in this point I never could obey her. More irritated than ever, she ordered me to quit the room.

Such is the present situation of affairs. I shall excuse myself from seeing the Branghtons this af ternoon: indeed, I never wish to see them again. I am sorry, however innocently, that I have dis pleased Madame Duval, yet I shall be very glad to quit this town, for I believe it does not, now, contain one person I ever wish to again meet. Had I but seen Lord Orville, I should regret no thing: I could then have more fully explained what I so hastily wrote; yet it will always be a pleasure to me to recollect that he called, since I 68 flatter myself it was in consequence of his being satisfied with my letter.

Adieu, my dear Sir; the time now approaches when I hope once more to receive your bles sing, and to owe all my joy, all my happiness to your kindness.

LETTER X. Mr. Villars to Evelina.

WELCOME, thrice welcome, my darling Evelina, to the arms of the truest, the fondest of your friends! Mrs. Clinton, who shall hasten to you with these lines, will conduct you directly hither, for I can consent no longer to be parted from the child of my bosom!—the comfort of my age!—the sweet solace of all my infirmities! Your worthy friends at Howard Grove must par don me that I rob them of the visit you purposed to make them before your return to Berry Hill, for I find my fortitude unequal to a longer sepa ration.

I have much to say to you, many comments to make upon your late letters, some parts of which give me no little uneasiness; but I will re serve my remarks for our future conversations. Hasten, then, to the spot of thy nativity, the abode of thy youth, where never yet care or sor row had power to annoy thee;—O that they might ever be banished this peaceful dwel ling!

69 Adieu, my dearest Evelina! I pray but that thy satisfaction at our approaching meeting, may bear any comparison with mine!

LETTER XI. Evelina to Miss Mirvan.

MY sweet Maria will be much surprised, and, I am willing to flatter myself, concerned, when, instead of her friend, she receives this letter;—this cold, this inanimate letter, which will but ill express the feelings of the heart which in dites it.

When I wrote to you last Friday, I was in hourly expectation of seeing Mrs. Clinton, with whom I intended to have set out for Howard Grove; Mrs. Clinton came, but my plan was necessarily altered, for she brought me a letter,—the sweetest that ever was penned, from the best and kindest friend that ever orphan was blest with, requiring my immediate attendance at Ber ry Hill.

I obeyed,—and pardon me if I own I obeyed without reluctance; after so long a separation, should I not else have been the most ungrateful of mortals?—And yet,—oh Maria! though I wished to leave London, the gratification of my wish afforded me no happiness! and though I felt an impatience inexpressible to return hither, no words, no language can explain the heaviness 70 of heart with which I made the journey. I be lieve you would hardly have known me;—in deed, I hardly know myself. Perhaps had I first seen you, in your kind and sympathising bosom I might have ventured to have reposed every secret of my soul; and then—but let me pursue my journal.

Mrs. Clinton delivered Madame Duval a let ter from Mr. Villars, which requested her leave for my return, and indeed it was very readily accorded: yet, when she found, by my wil lingness to quit town, that M. Du Bois was re ally indifferent to me, she somewhat softened in my favour, and declared that, but for punishing his folly in thinking of such a child, she would not have consented to my being again buried in the country.

All the Branghtons called to take leave of me: but I will not write a word more about them; indeed I cannot with any patience think of that family, to whose forwardness and impertinence is owing all the uneasiness I at this moment suf fer!

So great was the depression of my spirits up on the road, that it was with difficulty I could persuade the worthy Mrs. Clinton I was not ill: but alas, the situation of my mind was such as would have rendered any mere bodily pain, by comparison, even enviable!

And yet, when we arrived at Berry Hill,—when the chaise stopped at this place,—how did my heart throb with joy! and when, through the window, I beheld the dearest, the most ve nearble of men, with uplifted hands, returning, as I doubt not, thanks for my safe arrival,—good God! I thought it would have burst my bosom!—I opened the chaise-door myself, I 71 flew,—for my feet did not seem to touch the ground,—into the parlour; he had risen to meet me, but the moment I appeared, he sunk into his chair, uttering with a deep sigh, though his face beamed with delight, "My God, I thank thee!"

I sprung forward, and with a pleasure that bordered upon agony, I embraced his knees, I kissed his hands, I wept over them, but could not speak: while he, now raising his eyes in thankfulness towards heaven, now bowing down his reverend head, and folding me in his arms, could scarce articulate the blessings with which his kind and benevolent heart overflowed.

O Miss Mirvan, to be so beloved by the best of men,—should I not be happy?—Should I have one wish save that of meriting his good ness?—Yet think me not ungrateful; indeed I am not, although the internal sadness of my mind unfits me, at present, for enjoying as I ought, the bounties of Providence.

I cannot journalise; cannot arrange my ideas into order.

How little has situation to do with happi ness! I had flattered myself that, when restor ed to Berry Hill, I should be restored to tran quility: far otherwise have I found it, for never yet had tranquility and Evelina so little inter course.

I blush for what I have written: Can you, Maria, forgive my gravity? but I restrain it so much, and so painfully, in the presence of Mr. Villars, that I know not how to deny myself the consolation of indulging it to you.

Adieu, my dear Miss Mirvan.

Yet one thing I must add; do not let the seriousness of this letter deceive you: do not im pute 72 to a wrong cause the melancholy I confess, by supposing that the heart of your friend mourns a too great susceptibility; no, indeed! believe me it never was, never can be, more assuredly her own, than at this moment. So witness in all truth,

Your affectionate EVELINA.

P.S. You will make my excuses to the ho noured Lady Howard, and to your dear mo ther.

LETTER XII. Evelina in continuation.

YOU accuse me of mystery, and charge me with reserve: I cannot doubt but I must have merited the accusation;—yet, to clear myself,—you know not how painful will be the task. But I cannot resist your kind entreaties,—indeed, I do not wish to resist them, for your friendship and affection will soothe my chagrin. Had it ari sen from any other cause, not a moment would I have deferred the communication you ask;—but, as it is, I would, were it possible, not only conceal it from all the world, but endeavour to disbelieve it myself. Yet, since I must tell you, why trifle with your impatience?

I know not how to come to the point; twenty times have I attempted it in vain;—but I will force myself to proceed.

73 Oh, Miss Mirvan, could you ever have believ ed, that one who seemed formed as a pattern for his fellow-creatures, as a model of perfection,—one whose elegance surpassed all description,—whose sweetness of manners disgraced all compari son,—Oh, Miss Mirvan, could you ever have believed that Lord Orville would have treated me with indignity?

Never, never again will I trust to appearances,—never confide in my own weak judgment,—ne ver believe that person to be good, who seems to be amiable! What cruel maxims are we taught by a knowledge of the world!—But while my own reflections absorb me, I forget you are still in suspence.

I had just finished the last letter which I wrote to you from London, when the maid of the house brought me a note. It was given to her, she said, by a footman, who told her he would call the next day for an answer.

This note,—but let it speak for itself.

To Miss Anville.

With transport, most charming of thy sex, did I read the letter with which you yesterday morning favoured me. I am sorry the affair of the carriage should have given you any concern, but I am highly flattered by the anxiety you ex press so kindly. Believe me, my lovely girl, I am truly sensible of the honour of your good opi nion, and feel myself deeply penetrated with love and gratitude. The correspondence you have so sweetly commenced I shall be proud of continu ing, and I hope the strong sense I have or the fa vour you do me, will prevent your withdrawing it. Assure yourself that I desire nothing more ar dently, than to pour forth my thanks at your feet, 74 and to offer those vows which are so justly the tri bute of your charms and accomplishments. In your next, I entreat you to acquaint me how long you shall remain in town. The servant whom I shall commission to call for an answer, has orders to ride post with it to me. My impatience for his arrival will be very great, though inferior to that with which I burn, to tell you, in person, how much I am, my sweet girl,

Your grateful admirer, ORVILLE.

What a letter! how has my proud heart swelled every line I have copied! What I wrote to him you know; tell me then, my dear friend, do you think it merited such an answer?—and that I have deservedly incurred the liberty he has taken? I meant nothing but a simple apology, which I thought as much due to my own character, as to his; yet, by the construction he seems to have put upon it, should you not have imagined it con tained the avowal of sentiments which might, in deed, have provoked his contempt?

The moment the letter was delivered to me, I retired to my own room to read it, and so eager was my first perusal, that,—I am ashamed to own it gave me no sensation but of delight. Unsuspi cious of any impropriety from Lord Orville, I perceived not immediately the impertinence it im plied,—I only marked the expressions of his own regard; and I was so much surprised, that I was unable, for some time, to compose myself, or read it again,—I could only walk up and down the room, repeating to myself, "Good God, is it possible?—am I, then, loved by Lord Orville?"

But this dream was soon over, and I awoke to far different feelings; upon a second reading I thought every word changed,—it did not seem the 75 same letter,—I could not find one sentence that I could look at without blushing: my astonishment was extreme, and it was succeeded by the utmost indignation.

If, as I am very ready to acknowledge, I erred in writing to Lord Orville, was it for him to pu nish the error? If he was offended, could he not have been silent? If he thought my letter ill judged, should he not have pitied my ignorance? have considered my youth, and allowed for my inexperience.

Oh Maria, how have I been deceived in this man! Words have no power to tell the high opi nion I had of him; to that was owing the unfor tunate solicitude which prompted my writing,—a solicitude I must for ever repent!

Yet perhaps I have rather reason to rejoice than to grieve, since this affair has shewn me his real disposition, and removed that partiality, which, covering his every imperfection, left only his vir tues and good qualities exposed to view. Had the deception continued much longer, had my mind re ceived any additional prejudice in his favour, who knows whither my mistaken ideas might have led me? Indeed I fear I was in greater danger than I apprehended, or can now think of without trembling,—for oh, if this weak heart of mine had been penetrated with too deep an impression of his merit,—my peace and happiness had been lost for ever!

I would fain encourage more chearful thoughts, fain drive from my mind the melancholy that has taken possession of it,—but I cannot succeed; for, added to the humiliating feelings which so power fully oppress me, I have yet another cause of con cern;—alas, my dear Maria, I have broken the tranquility of the best of men!

76 I have never had the courage to shew him this cruel letter: I could not bear so greatly to depre ciate in his opinion, one whom I had, with infinite anxiety, raised in it myself. Indeed, my first determination was to confine my chagrin totally to my own bosom; but your friendly enquiries have drawn it from me; and now I wish I had made no concealment from the beginning, since I know not how to account for a gravity which not all my endeavours can entirely hide or re press.

My greatest apprehensions is, lest he should imagine that my residence in London has given me a distaste to the country. Every body I see takes notice of my being altered, and looking pale and ill. I should be very indifferent to all such observations, did I not perceive that they draw upon me the eyes of Mr. Villars, which glisten with affectionate concern.

This morning, in speaking of my London ex pedition, he mentioned Lord Orville. I felt so much disturbed, that I would instantly have changed the subject; but he would not allow me, and, very unexpectedly, he began his panegyric, extolling, in strong terms, his manly and honou rable behaviour in regard to the Marybone ad venture. My cheeks glowed with indignation every word he spoke;—so lately as I had myself fancied him the noblest of his sex, now that I was so well convinced of my mistake, I could not bear to hear his undeserved praises uttered by one so really good, so unsuspecting, so pure of heart!

What he thought of my silence and uneasiness I fear to know, but I hope he will mention the subject no more. I will not, however, with un grateful indolence, give way to a sadness which 77 I find infectious to him who merits the most chearful exertion of my spirits. I am thankful that he has forborne to probe my wound, and I will endeavour to heal it by the consciousness that I have not deserved the indignity I have received. Yet I cannot but lament to find myself in a world so deceitful, where we must suspect what we see, distrust what we hear, and doubt even what we feel!

LETTER XIII. Evelina in continuation.

I MUST own myself somewhat distressed how to answer your raillery: yet believe me, my dear Maria, your suggestions are those of fancy, not of truth. I am unconscious of the weakness you suspect; yet, to dispel your doubts, I will animate myself more than ever to conquer my chagrin, and to recover my spirits.

You wonder, you say, since my heart takes no part in this affair, why it should make me so unhappy? And can you, acquainted as you are with the high opinion I entertained of Lord Or ville, can you wonder that so great a disappoint ment in his character should affect me? indeed, had so strange a letter been sent to me from any body, it could not have failed shocking me; how much more sensibly, then, must I feel such an affront, when received from the man in the 78 world I had imagined least capable of giving it?

You are glad I made no reply; assure yourself, my dear friend, had this letter been the most re spectful that could be written, the clandestine air given to it, by his proposal of sending his ser vant for my answer, instead of having it directed to his house, would effectually have prevented my writing. Indeed, I have an aversion the most sincere to all mysteries, all private actions; however foolishly and blameably, in regard to this letter, I have deviated from the open path which, from my earliest infancy, I was taught to tread.

He talks of my having commenced a correspon dence with him; and could Lord Orville indeed believe I had such a design? believe me so for ward, so bold, so strangely ridiculous? I know not if his man called or not, but I rejoice that I quitted London before he came, and without leaving any message for him. What indeed, could I have said? it would have been a conde scension very unmerited, to have taken any, the least notice of such a letter.

Never shall I cease to wonder how he could write it. Oh, Maria, what, what could induce him so causelessly to wound and affront one who would sooner have died than wilfully offend him? —How mortifying a freedom of style! how cruel an implication conveyed by his thanks, and expressions of gratitude! Is it not astonishing, that any man can appear so modest, who is so vain?

Every hour I regret the secrecy I have observ ed with my beloved Mr. Villars; I know not what bewitched me, but I felt, at first, a repug nance to publishing this affair that I could not sur mount, 79 —and now, I am ashamed of confessing that I have any thing to confess! Yet I deserve to be punished for the false delicacy which occasi oned my silence; since, if Lord Orville him self was contented to forfeit his character, was it for me, almost at the expence of my own, to support it?

Yet I believe I should be very easy, now the first shock is over, and now that I see the whole affair with the resentment it merits, did not all my good friends in this neighbourhood, who think me extremely altered, teaze me about my gravity, and torment Mr. Villars with observations upon my dejection, and falling away. The subject is no sooner started, than a deep gloom overspreads his venerable countenance, and he looks at me with a tenderness so melancholy, that I know not how to endure the consciousness of exci ting it.

Mrs. Selwyn, a lady of large fortune, who lives about three miles from Berry Hill, and who has always honoured me with very distinguishing marks of regard, is going, in a short time, to Bristol, and has proposed to Mr. Villars to take me with her, for the recovery of my health. He seemed very much distressed whether to consent or refuse; but I, without any hesitation, warmly opposed the scheme, protesting my health could no where be better than in this pure air. He had the goodness to thank me for this readiness to stay with him: but he is all goodness! Oh that it were in my power to be, indeed, what in the kindness of his heart he has called me, the comfort of his age, and solace of his infir mities!

Never do I wish to be again separated from him. If here I am grave, elsewhere I should be 80 unhappy. In his presence, with a very little ex ertion, all the chearfulness of my disposition seems ready to return; the benevolence of his counte nance reanimates, the harmony of his temper com poses, the purity of his character edifies me! I owe to him every thing; and, far from finding my debt of gratitude a weight, the first pride, first pleasure of my life is the recollection of the obligations conferred upon me by a goodness so unequalled.

Once, indeed, I thought there existed another,—who, when time had wintered o'er his locks, would have shone forth among his fellow-crea tures, with the same brightness of worth which dignifies my honoured Mr. Villars; a brightness, how superior in value to that which results from mere quickness of parts, wit, or imagination! a brightness, which, not contented with merely diffusing smiles, and gaining admiration from the sallies of the spirits, reflects a real and a glorious lustre upon all mankind! Oh how great was my error! how ill did I judge! how cruelly have I been deceived!

I will not go to Bristol, though Mrs. Selwyn is very urgent with me;—but I desire not to see any more of the world; the few months I have already passed in it, have sufficed to give me a dis gust even to its name.

I hope, too, I shall see Lord Orville no more; accustomed, from my first knowledge of him, to regard him as a being superior to his race, his pre sence, perhaps, might banish my resentment, and I might forget his ill conduct,—for oh, Maria!—I should not know how to see Lord Orville —and to think of displeasure!

As a sister I loved him,—I could have entrust ed him with every thought of my heart, had he 81 deigned to wish my confidence; so steady did I think his honour, so feminine his delicacy, and so amiable his nature! I have a thousand times ima gined that the whole study of his life, and whole purport of his reflections, tended solely to the good and happiness of others:—but I will talk,—write,—think of him no more!

Adieu, my dear friend!
LETTER XIV. Evelina in continuation.

YOU complain of my silence, my dear Miss Mirvan,—but what have I to write? Narrative does not offer, nor does a lively imagination sup ply the deficiency. I have, however, at present, sufficient matter for a letter, in relating a conver sation I had yesterday with Mr. Villars.

Our breakfast had been the most chearful we have had since my return hither; and, when it was over, he did not, as usual, retire to his study, but continued to converse with me while I work ed. We might, probably, have passed all the morning thus sociably, but for the entrance of a farmer, who came to solicit advice concerning some domestic affairs. They withdrew together into the study.

The moment I was alone, my spirits failed me; the exertion with which I had supported them, had fatigued my mind: I flung away my work, 82 and, leaning my arms on the table, gave way to a train of disagreeable reflections, which, burst ing from the restraint that had smothered them, filled me with unusual sadness.

This was my situation, when, looking towards the door, which was open, I perceived Mr. Vil lars, who was earnestly regarding me, "Is Far mer Smith gone, Sir?" cried I, hastily rising, and snatching up my work.

"Don't let me disturb you," said he, grave ly; "I will go again to my study."

"Will you, Sir?—I was in hopes you were coming to sit here."

"In hopes!—and why, Evelina, should you hope it?"

This question was so unexpected, that I knew not how to answer it; but, as I saw he was mov ing away, I followed, and begged him to re turn.

"No, my dear, no," said he, with a forced smile, "I only interrupt your meditations."

Again I knew not what to say; and while I he sitated, he retired. My heart was with him, but I had not the courage to follow. The idea of an explanation, brought on in so seri ous a manner, frightened me. I recollected the suspicion you had drawn from my uneasiness, and I feared that he might make a similar interpre tation.

Solitary and thoughtful, I passed the rest of the morning in my own room. At dinner I a gain attempted to be chearful; but Mr. Villars himself was grave, and I had not sufficient spirits to support a conversation merely by my own efforts. As soon as dinner was over, he took a book, and I walked to the window. I believe I remained near an hour in this situation. All 83 my thoughts were directed to considering how I might dispel the doubts which I apprehended Mr. Villars had formed, without acknowledging a circumstance which I had suffered so much pain merely to conceal. But while I was thus planning for the future, I forgot the present; and so in tent was I upon the subject which occupied me, that the strange appearance of my unusual in activity, and extreme thoughtfulness, never oc curred to me. But when, at last, I recollected myself, and turned round, I saw that Mr. Vil lars had parted with his book, and was wholly engrossed in attending to me. I started from my reverie, and, hardly knowing what I said, asked if he had been reading?

He paused a moment, and then said, "Yes, my child;—a book that both afflicts and perplex es me!"

He means me, thought I; and therefore I made no answer.

"What if we read it together?" continu ed he, "will you assist me to clear its obscur ity?"

I knew not what to say, but I sighed, invo luntarily, from the bottom of my heart. He rose, and, approaching me, said, with emotion, "My child, I can no longer be a silent wit ness of thy sorrow,—is not thy sorrow my sor row?—and ought I to be a stranger to the cause, when I so deeply sympathise in the ef fect?"

"Cause, Sir," cried I, greatly alarmed,— "what cause?—I don't know, I can't tell,—I—"

"Fear not," said he, kindly, "to unbo som thyself to me, my dearest Evelina; open to me thy whole heart,—it can have no feelings 84 for which I will not make allowance. Tell me, therefore, what it is that thus afflicts us both, and who knows but I may suggest some means of relief?"

"You are too, too good," cried I, greatly embarrassed; "but indeed I know not what you mean."

"I see," said he, "it is painful to you to speak: suppose, then, I endeavour to save you by guessing?"

"Impossible! impossible!" cried I, eagerly, "no one living could ever guess, ever sup pose—" I stopped abruptly; for I then recol lected, I was acknowledging something was to be guessed: however, he noticed not my mis take.

"At least let me try," answered he, mild ly; "perhaps I may be a better diviner than you imagine: if I guess every thing that is pro bable, surely I must approach near the real rea son. Be honest, then, my love, and speak without reserve,—does not the country, after so much gaiety, so much variety, does it not appear insipid and tiresome?"

"No, indeed!" I love it more than ever, and more than ever do I wish I had never, never quitted it!"

"Oh, my child! that I had not permitted the journey! My judgment always opposed it, but my resolution was not proof against persua sion."

"I blush, indeed," cried I, "to recollect my earnestness;—but I have been my own pu nisher!"

"It is too late, now," answered he, "to re flect upon this subject; let us endeavour to a void repentance for the time to come, and we 85 shall not have erred without reaping some in struction." Then seating himself, and making me sit by him, he continued: "I must now guess again; perhaps you regret the loss of those friends you knew in town,—perhaps you miss their so ciety, and fear you may see them no more?—perhaps Lord Orville—"

I could not keep my seat, but rising hastily, said, "Dear Sir, ask me nothing more!—for I have nothing to own,—nothing to say;—my gravity has been merely accidental, and I can give no reason for it at all. Shall I fetch you ano ther book?—or will you have this again?"

For some minutes he was totally silent, and I pretended to employ myself in looking for a book. At last, with a deep sigh, "I see," said he, "I see, but too plainly, that though Evelina is returned,—I have lost my child!"

"No, Sir, no," cried I, inexpressibly shock ed, "she is more yours than ever! Without you, the world would be a desart to her, and life a burthen;—forgive her then, and—if you can,—condescend to be, once more, the confident of all her thoughts."

"How highly I value, how greatly I wish for her confidence," returned he, "she cannot but know;—yet to extort, to tear it from her,—my justice, my affection, both revolt at the idea. I am sorry that I was so earnest with you;—leave me, my dear, leave me and compose yourself;—we will meet again at tea."

"Do you then refuse to hear me?"

"No, but I abhor to compel you. I have long seen that your mind has been ill at ease, and mine has largely partaken of your concern: I forbore to question you, for I hoped that time, and absence from whatever excited your uneasi ness, 86 might best operate in silence: but, alas! your affliction seems only to augment,—your health declines,—your look alters.—Oh, Evelina, my aged heart bleeds to see the change!—bleeds to behold the darling it had cherished, the prop it had reared for its support, when bowed down by years and infirmities, sinking itself under the pressure of internal grief!—struggling to hide, what it should seek to participate!—But go, my dear, go to your own room,—we both want com posure, and we will talk of this matter some other time."

"Oh Sir," cried I, penetrated to the soul, "bid me not leave you!—think me not so lost to feeling, to gratitude—"

"Not a word of that," interrupted he; "it pains me you should think upon that subject; pains me you should ever remember that you have not a natural, an hereditary right to every thing within my power. I meant not to affect you thus,—I hoped to have soothed you!—but my anxiety betrayed me to an urgency that has distressed you. Comfort yourself, my love, and doubt not but that time will stand your friend, and all will end well."

I burst into tears: with difficulty had I so long restrained them; for my heart, while it glowed with tenderness and gratitude, was oppressed with a sense of its own unworthiness. "You are all, all goodness!" cried I, in a voice scarce audi ble, "little as I deserve,—unable as I am to re pay, such kindness,—yet my whole soul feels,—thanks you for it!"

"My dearest child," cried he, "I cannot bear to see thy tears;—for my sake dry them,—such a sight is too much for me: think of that, Evelina, and take comfort, I charge thee!"

87 "Say then," cried I, kneeling at his feet, "say then that you forgive me! that you par don my reserve,—that you will again suffer me to tell you my most secret thoughts, and rely up on my promise never more to forfeit your con fidence!—my father!—my protector!—my ever honoured,—ever loved,—my best and only friend!—say you forgive your Evelina, and she will study better to deserve your goodness!"

He raised, he embraced me; he called me his sole joy, his only earthly hope, and the child of his bosom! He folded me to his heart, and, while I wept from the fulness of mine, with words of sweetest kindness and consolation, he soothed and tranquilised me.

Dear to my remembrance will ever be that moment, when, banishing the reserve I had so foolishly planned, and so painfully supported, I was restored to the confidence of the best of men!

When, at length, we were again quietly and composedly seated by each other, and Mr. Vil lars waited for the explanation I had begged him to hear, I found myself extremely embarrassed how to introduce the subject which must lead to it. He saw my distress, and, with a kind of benevolent pleasantry, asked me if I would let him guess any more? I assented in silence.

"Shall I, then, go back to where I left off?"

"If—if you please;—I believe so,—" said I, stammering.

"Well then, my love, I think, I was speak ing of the regret it was natural you should feel upon quitting those from whom you had received civility and kindness, with so little certainty of ever seeing them again, or being able to return 88 their good offices? These are circumstances that afford but melancholy reflections to young minds; and the affectionate disposition of my Evelina, open to all social feelings, must be hurt more than usual by such considerations.—You are silent, my dear?—Shall I name those whom I think most worthy the regret I speak of? We shall then see if our opinions coincide."

Still I said nothing, and he continued.

"In your London journal, nobody appears in a more amiable, a more respectable light, than Lord Orville, and perhaps—"

"I knew what you would say," cried I, hast ily, "and I have long feared where your suspi cions would fall; but indeed, Sir, you are mis taken; I hate Lord Orville,—he is the last man in the world in whose favour I should be preju diced."

I stopped; for Mr. Villars looked at me with such infinite surprise, that my own warmth made me blush. "You hate Lord Orville!" re peated he.

I could make no answer, but took from my pocket-book the letter, and, giving it to him, "See, Sir," said I, "how differently the same man can talk, and write! "

He read it three times ere he spoke; and then said, "I am so much astonished, that I know not what I read. When had you this let ter?"

I told him. Again he read it; and, after con sidering its contents some time, said, "I can form but one conjecture concerning this most ex traordinary performance: he must certainly have been intoxicated when he wrote it."

"Lord Orville intoxicated!" repeated I; "once I thought him a stranger to all intempe rance, 89 —but it is very possible, for I can believe any thing now."

"That a man who had behaved with so strict a regard to delicacy," continued Mr. Villars, "and who, as far as occasion had allowed, manifested sentiments the most honourable, should thus insolently, thus wantonly, insult a modest young woman, in his perfect senses, I cannot think possible. But, my dear, you should have inclosed this letter in an empty cover, and have returned it to him again: such a resentment would at once have become your character, and have given him an opportunity, in some mea sure, of clearing his own. He could not well have read this letter the next morning, without being sensible of the impropriety of having writ ten it."

Oh Maria! why had not I this thought? I might then have received some apology; the mortification would then have been his, not mine. It is true, he could not have reinstated himself so highly in my opinion as I had once ignorantly placed him, since the conviction of such intem perance would have levelled him with the rest of his imperfect race; yet, my humbled pride might have been consoled by his acknowledg ments.

But why should I allow myself to be humbled by a man who can suffer his reason to be thus ab jectly debased, when I am exalted by one who knows no vice, and scarcely a failing,—but by hearsay? To think of his kindness, and reflect upon his praises, might animate and comfort me even in the midst of affliction. "Your indigna tion, "said he, is the result of virtue; you fan cied Lord Orville was without fault—he had the appearance of infinite worthiness, and you suppo sed 90 his character accorded with his appearance: guileless yourself, how could you prepare against the duplicity of another? Your disappointment has but been proportioned to your expectations, and you have chiefly owed its severity to the in nocence which hid its approach."

I will bid these words dwell ever in my memo ry, and they shall chear, comfort, and enliven me! This conversation, though extremely af fecting to me at the time it passed, has relieved my mind from much anxiety. Concealment, my dear Maria, is the foe of tranquility: however I may err in future, I will never be disingenu ous in acknowledging my errors. To you, and to Mr. Villars, I vow an unremitting confi dence.

And yet, though I am more at ease, I am far from well: I have been some time writing this letter; but I hope I shall send you, soon, a more chearful one.

Adieu, my sweet friend. I entreat you not to acquaint even your dear mother with this affair; Lord Orville is a favourite with her, and why should I publish that he deserves not that ho nour?

LETTER XV. Evelina in continuation.

YOU will be again surprised, my dear Maria, at seeing whence I date my letter: but I have been very ill, and Mr. Villars was so much alarmed, that he not only insisted upon my accompanying 91 Mrs. Selwyn hither, but earnestly desired she would hasten her intended journey.

We travelled very slowly, and I did not find myself so much fatigued as I expected. We are situated upon a most delightful spot; the prospect is beautiful, the air pure, and the weather very favourable to invalids. I am already better, and I doubt not but I shall soon be well; as well, in regard to mere health, as I wish to be.

I cannot express the reluctance with which I parted from my reverend Mr. Villars: it was not like that parting which, last April, preceded my journey to Howard Grove, when, all expectati on and hope, tho' I wept, I rejoiced, and though I sincerely grieved to leave him, I yet wished to be gone: the sorrow I now felt was unmixed with any livelier sensation; expectation was vanished, and hope I had none! All that I held most dear upon earth, I quitted, and that upon an errand to the success of which I was totally indifferent, the re-establishment of my health. Had it been to have seen my sweet Maria, or her dear mo ther, I should not have repined.

Mrs. Selwyn is very kind and attentive to me. She is extremely clever; her understanding, in deed, may be called masculine; but, unfortu nately, her manners deserve the same epithet; for, in studying to acquire the knowledge of the other sex, she has lost all the softness of her own. In regard to myself, however, as I have neither courage nor inclination to argue with her, I have never been personally hurt at her want of gentle ness; a virtue which, nevertheless, seems so es sential a part of the female character, that I find myself more awkward, and less at ease, with a woman who wants it, than I do with a man. She is not a favourite with Mr. Villars, who has often 92 been disgusted at her unmerciful propensity to sa tire: but his anxiety that I should try the effect of the Bristol waters, overcame his dislike of committing me to her care. Mrs. Clinton is also here; so that I shall be as well attended as his ut most partiality could desire.

I will continue to write to you, my dear Miss Mirvan, with as much constancy as if I had no other correspondent; tho', during my absence from Berry Hill, my letters may, perhaps, be shortened on account of the minuteness of the journal which I must write to my beloved Mr. Villars: but you, who know his expectations, and how many ties bind me to fulfil them, will, I am sure, rather excuse any omission to yourself, than any negligence to him.

LETTER XVI. Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars.

THE first fortnight that I passed here, was so quiet, so serene, that it gave me reason to expect a settled calm during my stay; but if I may now judge of the time to come, by the present state of my mind, the calm will be succeeded by a storm, of which I dread the violence!

This morning, in my way to the pump-room, with Mrs. Selwyn, we were both very much in commoded by three gentlemen, who were saun tering by the side of the Avon, laughing and talking very loud, and lounging so disagreeably that we knew not how to pass them. They all three fixed their eyes very boldly upon me, al ternately 93 looking under my hat, and whispering one another. Mrs. Selwyn assumed an air of un common sternness, and said, "You will please, gentlemen, either to proceed yourselves, or to suffer us."

"Oh! Ma'am," cried one of them, "we will suffer you, with the greatest pleasure in life."

"You will suffer us both, " answered she, "or I am much mistaken; you had better, therefore, make way quietly, for I should be sor ry to give my servant the trouble of teaching you better manners."

Her commanding air struck them, yet they all chose to laugh, and one of them wished the fellow would begin his lesson, that he might have the pleasure of rolling him into the Avon; while ano ther, advancing to me with a freedom that made me start, said, "By my soul, I did not know you!—but I am sure I cannot be mistaken;—had not I the honour of seeing you, once, at the Pantheon?"

I then recollected the nobleman who, at that place, had so much embarrassed me. I courtsied without speaking. They all bowed, and making, though in a very easy manner, an apology to Mrs. Selwyn, they suffered us to pass on, but chose to accompany us.

"And where," continued this Lord, "can you so long have hid yourself? do you know I have been in search of you this age? I could nei ther find you out, nor hear of you; not a crea ture could inform me what was become of you. I cannot imagine where you could be immured. I went to two or three public places every night, in hopes of meeting you. Pray did you leave town?"

"Yes, my Lord."

94 "So early in the season!—what could possibly induce you to go before the birth-day?"

"I had nothing, my Lord, to do with the birth-day."

"By my soul, all the women who had, may rejoice you were away. Have you been here any time?"

"Not above a fortnight, my Lord."

"A fortnight!—how unlucky that I did not meet you sooner! but I have had a run of ill luck ever since I came. How long shall you stay?"

"Indeed, my Lord, I don't know."

"Six weeks, I hope; for I shall wish the place at the devil when you go."

"Do you, then, flatter yourself, my Lord," said Mrs. Selwin, who had hitherto listened in si lent contempt, "that you shall see such a beauti ful spot as this when you visit the dominions of the devil?"

"Ha, ha, ha! Faith, my Lord, "said one of his companions, who still walked with us, though the other had taken leave; "the lady is rather hard upon you."

"Not at all," answered Mrs. Selwyn; "for as I cannot doubt but his Lordship's rank and interest will secure him a place there, it would be reflect ing on his understanding, to suppose he should not wish to enlarge and beautify his dwelling."

Much as I was disgusted with this Lord, I must own Mrs. Selwyn's severity rather surprised me; but you, who have so often observed it, will not wonder she took so fair an opportun ty of indulg ing her humour.

"As to places, " returned he, totally unmov ed, "I am so indifferent to them, that the devil take me, if I care which way I go! objects, in deed, I am not so easy about; and therefore I ex pect 95 that those angels with whose beauty I am so much enraptured in this world, will have the goodness to afford me some little consolation in the other."

"What, my Lord!" cried Mrs. Selwyn, "would you wish to degrade the habitation of your friend, by admitting into it the insipid com pany of the upper regions?"

"What do you do with yourself this even ing?" said his Lordship, turning to me.

"I shall be at home, my Lord."

"O, a-propos—where are you?"

"Young ladies, my Lord," said Mrs. Selwyn, "are no where. "

"Prithee," whispered his Lordship, "is that queer woman your mother?"

Good Heavens, Sir, what words for such a question!

"No, my Lord."

"Your maiden aunt, then?"


"Whoever she is, I wish she would mind her own affairs: I don't know what the devil a woman lives for after thirty: she is only in other folks way. Shall you be at the assemb ly?"

"I believe not, my Lord."

"No!—why then how in the world can you contrive to pass your time?"

"In a manner that your Lordship will think very extraordinary," cried Mrs. Selwyn; "for the young lady reads. "

"Ha, ha, ha! Egad, my Lord," cried the facetious companion, "you are got into bad hands"

"You had better, Madam," answered he, 96 "attack Jack Coverley, here, for you will make nothing of me."

"Of you, my Lord!" cried she; "Heaven forbid I should ever entertain so idle an expectati on! I only talk, like a silly woman, for the sake of talking; but I have by no means so low an opinion of your Lordship, as to suppose you vulnerable to censure."

"Do pray, Ma'am," cried he, "turn to Jack Coverley; he's the very man for you;—he'd be a wit himself if he was n't too modest."

"Prithee, my Lord, be quiet," returned the other; if the Lady is contented to bestow all her favours upon you, why should you make such a point of my going snacks?"

"Don't be apprehensive, Gentlemen," said Mrs. Selwyn, drily, "I am not romantic,—I have not the least design of doing good to either of you."

"Have not you been ill since I saw you?" said his Lordship, again addressing himself to me.

"Yes, my Lord."

"I thought so; you are paler than you was, and I suppose that's the reason I did not recollect you sooner."

"Has not your Lordship too much gallantry," cried Mrs. Selwyn, to discover a young lady's illness by her looks?"

"The devil a word can I speak for that wo man," said he, in a low voice; "do, prithee, Jack, take her in hand."

"Excuse me, my Lord!" answered Mr. Coverley.

"When shall I see you again?" continued his Lordship; "do you go to the pump-room every morning?"

97 "No, my Lord."

"Do you ride out?"

"No, my Lord."

Just then we arrived at the pump-room, and an end was put to our conversation, if it is not an abuse of words to give such a term to a string of rude questions and free compliments.

He had not opportunity to say much more to me, as Mrs. Selwyn joined a large party, and I walked home between two ladies. He had how ever, the curiosity to see us to the door.

Mrs. Selwyn was very eager to know how I had made acquaintance with this nobleman, whose manners so evidently announced the character of a confirmed libertine: I could give her very lit tle satisfaction, as I was ignorant even of his name. But, in the afternoon, Mr. Ridgeway, the apo thecary, gave us very ample information.

As his person was easily described, for he is remarkably tall, Mr. Ridgeway told us he was Lord Merton, a nobleman but lately come to his title, though he had already dissipated more than half his fortune: a professed admirer of beauty, but a man of most licentious character: that among men, his companions consisted chiefly of gamblers and jockies, and among women, he was rarely admitted.

"Well, Miss Anville," said Mrs. Selwyn, "I am glad I was not more civil to him. You may depend upon me for keeping him at a dis tance."

"O, Madam," said Mr. Ridgeway, "he may now be admitted any where, for he is going to reform. "

"Has he, under that notion, persuaded any fool to marry him?"

98 "Not yet, Madam, but a marriage is expect ed to take place shortly: it has been some time in agitation, but the friends of the Lady have ob liged her to wait till she is of age: however, her brother, who has chiefly opposed the match, now that she is near being at her own disposal, is tolerably quiet. She is very pretty, and will have a large fortune. We expect her at the Wells every day."

"What is her name?" said Mrs. Selwyn.

"Larpent," answered he, "Lady Louisa Larpent, sister of Lord Orville."

"Lord Orville!" repeated I, all amazement.

Yes, Ma'am; his Lordship is coming with her. I have had certain information. They are to be at the honourable Mrs. Beaumont's. She is a re lation of my Lord's, and has a very fine house upon Clifton Hill."

His Lordship is coming with her! —Good God, what an emotion did those words give me! How strange, my dear Sir, that, just at this time, he should visit Bristol! It will be impossible for me to avoid seeing him, as Mrs. Selwyn is very well acquainted with Mrs. Beaumont. Indeed, I have had an escape in not being under the same roof with him, for Mrs. Beaumont invited us to her house immediately upon our arrival; but the in conveniency of being so distant from the pump room made Mrs. Selwyn decline her civility.

Oh that the first meeting was over!—or that I could quit Bristol without seeing him!—inexpres sibly do I dread an interview: should the same impertinent freedom be expressed by his looks, which dictated his cruel letter, I shall not know how to endure either him or myself. Had I but returned it, I should be easier, because my senti ments of it would then be known to him; but 99 now, he can only gather them from my behavi our, and I tremble lest he should mistake my in dignation for confusion!—lest he should miscon strue my reserve into embarrassment!—for how, my dearest Sir, how shall I be able totally to di vest myself of the respect with which I have been used to think of him?—the pleasure with which I have been used to see him?

Surely he, as well as I, must think of the letter at the moment of our meeting, and he will, pro bably, mean to gather my thoughts of it from my looks;—oh that they could but convey to him my real detestation of impertinence and vanity! then would he see how much he had mis taken my disposition when he imagined them my due.

There was a time, when the very idea that such a man as Lord Merton would ever be con nected with Lord Orville, would have both surprised and shocked me, and even yet I am pleased to hear of his repugnance to the mar riage.

But how strange, that a man of so abandoned a character should be the choice of a sister of Lord Orville! and how strange that, almost at the moment of the union, he should be so im portunate in gallantry to another woman! What a world is this we live in! how corrupt, how de generate! well might I be contented to see no more of it! If I find that the eyes of Lord Orville agree with his pen, —I shall then think, that of all mankind, the only virtuous individual resides at Berry Hill!

100 LETTER XVII. Evelina in continuation.

OH Sir, Lord Orville is still himself! still, what from the moment I beheld, I believed him to be, all that was amiable in man! and your hap py Evelina, restored at once to spirits and tran quility, is no longer sunk in her own opinion, nor discontented with the world;—no longer, with dejected eyes, sees the prospect of passing her fu ture days in sadness, doubt, and suspicion!—with revived courage she now looks forward, and ex pects to meet with goodness, even among man kind;—though still she feels, as strongly as ever, the folly of hoping, in any second instance, to meet with perfection.

Your conjecture was certainly right; Lord Orville, when he wrote that letter, could not be in his senses. Oh that intemperance should have power to degrade so low, a man so noble!

This morning I accompanied Mrs. Selwyn to Clifton Hill, where, beautifully situated, is the house of Mrs. Beaumont. Most uncomfortable were my feelings during our walk, which was very slow, for the agitation of my mind made me more than usually sensible how weak I still conti nue. As we entered the house, I summoned all my resolution to my aid, determined rather to die than give Lord Orville reason to attribute my weakness to a wrong cause. I was happily reliev ed from my perturbation, when I saw Mrs. Beau mont was alone. We sat with her for, I believe, 101 an hour without interruption, and then we saw a phaeton drive up to the gate, and a lady and gen tleman alight from it.

They entered the parlour with the ease of peo ple who were at home. The gentleman, I soon saw, was Lord Merton; he came shuffling into the room with his boots on, and his whip in his hand; and, having made something like a bow to Mrs. Beaumont, he turned towards me. His sur prise was very evident, but he took no manner of notice of me. He waited, I believe, to discover, first, what chance had brought me to that house, where he did not look much rejoiced at meeting me. He seated himself very quietly at the win dow, without speaking to any body.

Mean time, the lady, who seemed very young, hobbling rather than walking into the room, made a passing courtsie to Mrs. Beaumont, saying, "How are you, Ma'am?" and then, without noticing any body else, with an air of languor, she flung herself upon a sofa, protesting, in a most affected voice, and speaking so softly she could hardly be heard, that she was fatigued to death. "Really, Ma'am, the roads are so monstrous dusty,—you can't imagine how troublesome the dust is to one's eyes!—and the sun, too, is mon strous disagreeable!—I dare say I shall be so tanned I sha'n't be fit to be seen this age. Indeed, my Lord, I won't go out with you any more, for you don't care where you take one."

"Upon my honour," said Lord Merton, "I took you the pleasantest ride in England; the fault was in the sun not me."

"Your Lordship is in the right," said Mrs. Selwyn, "to transfer the fault to the sun, because it has so many excellencies to counterbalance par tial 102 inconveniencies, that a little blame will not in jure that in our estimation."

Lord Merton looked by no means delighted at this attack; which I believe she would not so readily have made, but to revenge his neglect of us.

"Did you meet your brother, Lady Louisa?" said Mrs. Beaumont.

"No, Ma'am. Is he rode out this morn ing?"

I then found, what I had before suspected, that this Lady was Lord Orville's sister: how strange, that such near relations should be so different to each other! There is, indeed, some resemblance in their features, but in their manners, not the least.

"Yes," answered Mrs. Beaumont, "and I believe he wished to see you."

"My Lord drove so monstrous fast," said Lady Louisa, "that perhaps we passed him. He frighted me out of my senses; I declare my head is quite giddy. Do you know, Ma'am, we have done nothing but quarrel all the morning?—You can't think how I've scolded;—have not I, my Lord?" and she smiled expressively at Lord Merton.

"You have been, as you always are," said he, twisting his whip with his fingers, "all sweetness."

"O fie, my Lord," cried she, "I know you don't think so; I know you think me very ill natured;—don't you, my Lord?"

"No, upon my honour;—how can your Ladyship ask such a question? Pray how goes time? my watch stands."

"It is almost three," answered Mrs. Beau mont.

103 "Lord, Ma'am, you frighten me!" cried Lady Louisa; and then turning to Lord Merton, "why now, you wicked creature, you, did not you tell me it was but one?"

Mrs. Selwyn then rose to take leave; but Mrs. Beaumont asked if she would look at the shrubbery. "I should like it much," answered she, "but that I fear to fatigue Miss Anville."

Lady Louisa then, raising her head from her hand, on which it had leant, turned round to look at me, and, having fully satisfied her curiosity, without any regard to the confusion it gave me, turned about, and, again leaning on her hand, took no further notice of me.

I declared myself very able to walk, and begged that I might accompany them. "What say you, Lady Louisa," cried Mrs. Beaumont, "to a strole in the garden?"

"Me, Ma'am!—I declare I can't stir a step; the heat is so excessive, it would kill me. I'm half dead with it already; besides, I shall have no time to dress. Will any body be here to day, Ma'am?"

"I believe not, unless Lord Merton will fa vour us with his company."

"With great pleasure, Madam."

"Well, I declare you don't deserve to be ask ed," cried Lady Louisa, "you wicked creature, you!—I must tell you one thing, Ma'am,—you can't think how abominable he was! do you know we met Mr. Lovel in his new phaeton, and my Lord was so cruel as to drive against it?—we real ly flew. I declare I could not breathe. Upon my word, my Lord, I'll never trust myself with you again,—I won't indeed!"

We then went into the garden, leaving them to discuss the point at their leisure.

104 Do you remember a pretty but affected young la dy I mentioned to have seen, in Lord Orville's party, at the Pantheon? How little did I then imagine her to be his sister! yet Lady Louisa Lar pent is the very person. I can now account for the piqued manner of her speaking to Lord Mer ton that evening, and I can now account for the air of displeasure with which Lord Orville mark ed the undue attention of his future brother-in-law to me.

We had not walked long, ere, at a distance, I perceived Lord Orville, who seemed just dis mounted from his horse, enter the garden, All my perturbation returned at the sight of him!—yet I endeavoured to repress every feel ing but resentment. As he approached us, he bowed to the whole party; but I turned away my head, to avoid taking any share in his civi lity. Addressing himself immediately to Mrs. Beaumont, he was beginning to enquire after his sister, but upon seeing my face, he sudden ly exclaimed "Miss Anville!—" and then he advanced, and made his compliments to me,—not with an air of vanity or impertinence, nor yet with a look of consciousness or shame,—but with a countenance open, manly, and charm ing!—with a smile that indicated pleasure, and eyes that sparkled with delight! on my side was all the consciousness, for by him, I really believe, the letter was, at that moment, entirely forgot ten.

With what politeness did he address me! with what sweetness did he look at me! the very tone of his voice seemed flattering! he congra tulated himself upon his good fortune in meet ing with me,—hoped I should spend some time at Bristol, and enquired, even with anxiety en quired, 105 if my health was the cause of my journey, in which case his satisfaction would be converted into apprehension.

Yet, struck as I was with his manner, and charmed to find him such as he was wont to be, imagine not, my dear Sir, that I forgot the resentment I owe him, or the cause he has given me of displeasure; no, my behaviour was such as, I hope, had you seen, you would not have disapproved: I was grave and distant, I scarce looked at him when he spoke, or answered him when he was silent.

As he must certainly observe this alteration in my conduct, I think it could not fail making him both recollect and repent the provocation he had so causelessly given me: for surely he was not so wholly lost to reason, as to be now ignorant he had ever offended me.

The moment that, without absolute rudeness, I was able, I turned entirely from him, and asked Mrs. Selwyn if we should not be late home. How Lord Orville looked I know not, for I avoided meeting his eyes, but he did not speak another word as we proceeded to the garden-gate. Indeed I believe my abruptness surprised him, for he did not seem to expect I had so much spirit. And, to own the truth, convinced as I was of the propriety, nay, ne cessity of shewing my displeasure, I yet almost hated myself for receiving his politeness so un graciously.

When we were taking leave, my eyes accident ally meeting his, I could not but observe that his gravity equalled my own, for it had entirely tak en place of the smiles and good-humour with which he had met me.

106 "I am afraid this young Lady," said Mrs. Beaumont, "is too weak for another long walk till she is again rested."

"If the Ladies will trust to my driving," said Lord Orville, "and are not afraid of a phaeton, mine shall be ready in a moment."

"You are very good, my Lord," said Mrs. Selwyn, "but my will is yet unsigned, and I don't chuse to venture in a phaeton with a young man while that is the case."

"O," cried Mrs. Beaumont, "you need not be afraid of my Lord Orville, for he is remark ably careful."

"Well, Miss Anville," answered she, "what say you?"

"Indeed," cried I, "I had much rather walk.—" But then, looking at Lord Orville, I perceived in his face a surprise so serious at my abrupt refusal, that I could not forbear adding, "for I should be sorry to occasion so much trou ble."

Lord Orville brightening at these words, came forward, and pressed his offer in a manner not to be denied;—so the phaeton was ordered! And in deed, my dear Sir,—I know not how it was,—but, from that moment, my coldness and reserve insensibly wore away! You must not be angry;—it was my intention, nay, my endeavour, to sup port them with firmness; but, when I formed the plan, I thought only of the letter,—not of Lord Orville;—and how is it possible for resentment to subsist without provocation? yet, believe me, my dearest Sir, had he sustained the part he began to act when he wrote the ever-to-be regretted letter, your Evelina would not have forfeited her title to your esteem, by contentedly submitting to be treat ed with indignity.

107 We continued in the garden till the phaeton was ready. When we parted from Mrs. Beau mont, she repeated her invitation to Mrs. Selwyn to accept an apartment in her house, but the same reasons made it be again declined.

Lord Orville drove very slow, and so cautious ly, that, notwithstanding the height of the phae ton, fear would have been ridiculous. I support ed no part in the conversation, but Mrs. Selwyn extremely well supplied the place of two. Lord Orville himself did not speak much, but the ex cellent sense and refined good-breeding which ac company every word he utters, give a zest to whatever he says.

"I suppose, my Lord," said Mrs. Selwyn, "when we stopped at our lodgings, you would have been extremely confused had we met any gentlemen who have the honour of knowing you."

"If I had," answered he, gallantly, "it would have been from mere compassion at their envy."

"No, my Lord," answered she, "it would have been from mere shame, that, in an age so daring, you alone should be such a coward as to forbear to frighten women."

"O," cried he, laughing, "when a man is in a fright for himself, the ladies cannot but be in security; for you have not had half the appre hension for the safety of your persons, that I have for that of my heart."

He then alighted, handed us out, took leave, and again mounting the phaeton, was out of sight in a minute.

"Certainly," said Mrs. Selwyn, when he was gone, "there must have been some mistake in the birth of that young man; he was, undoubt edly, 108 designed for the last age; for, if you ob served, he is really polite."

And now, my dear Sir, do not you think, ac cording to the present situation of affairs, I may give up my resentment, without imprudence or impropriety? I hope you will not blame me. In deed, had you, like me, seen his respectful beha viour, you would have been convinced of the im practicability of supporting any further indigna tion.

LETTER XVIII. Evelina in continuation.

YESTERDAY morning, Mrs. Selwyn receiv ed a card from Mrs. Beaumont, to ask her to din ner to-day; and another, to the same purpose, came to me. The invitation was accepted, and we are but just arrived from Clifton-Hill.

We found Mrs. Beaumont alone in the parlour. I will write you that lady's character, as I heard it from our satirical friend Mrs. Selwyn, and in her own words. "She is an absolute Court Calendar bigot; for, chancing herself to be born of a no ble and ancient family, she thinks proper to be of opinion, that birth and virtue are one and the same thing. She has some good qualities, but they rather originate from pride than principle, as she piques herself upon being too high born to be capable of an unworthy action, and thinks it incumbent upon her to support the dignity of her ancestry. Fortunately for the world in general, 109 she has taken it into her head, that condescension is the most distinguishing virtue of high life; so that the same pride of family which renders others imperious, is with her the motive of affability. But her civility is too formal to be comfortable, and too mechanical to be flattering. That she does me the honour of so much notice, is merely owing to an accident which, I am sure, is very painful to her remembrance; for it so happened that I once did her some service, in regard to an apartment, at Southampton; and I have since been informed, that, at the time she accepted my assistance, she thought I was a woman of quality: and I make no doubt but she was miserable when she discovered me to be a mere country gentlewo man: however, her nice notions of decorum have made her load me with favours ever since. But I am not much flattered by her civilities, as I am convinced I owe them neither to attachment nor gratitude, but solely to a desire of cancelling an obligation which she cannot brook being under, to one whose name is no where to be found in the Court Calendar."

You well know, my dear Sir, the delight this lady takes in giving way to her satirical humour.

Mrs. Beaumont received us very graciously, though she somewhat distressed me by the ques tions she asked concerning my family,—such as, whether I was related to the Anvilles in the North?—Whether some of my name did not live in Lincolnshire? and many other enquiries, which much embarrassed me.

The conversation, next, turned upon the in tended marriage in her family. She treated the subject with reserve, but it was evident she disap proved Lady Louisa's choice. She spoke in terms of the highest esteem of Lord Orville, calling 110 him, in Marmontel's words, Un jeune homme comme il y en a peu.

I did not think this conversation very agreeably interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Lovel. Indeed I am heartily sorry he is now at the Hot-wells. He made his compliments with the most obsequi ous respect to Mrs. Beaumont, but took no sort of notice of any other person.

In a few minutes Lady Louisa Larpent made her appearance. The same manners prevailed; for courtsying, "I hope you are well, Ma'am," to Mrs. Beaumont, she passed straight forward to her seat on the sofa, where leaning her head on her hand, she cast her languishing eyes round the room, with a vacant stare, as if determined, though she looked, not to see who was in it.

Mr. Lovel, presently approaching her with re verence the most profound, hoped her Ladyship was not indisposed.

"Mr. Lovel," cried she, raising her head, "I declare I did not see you: Have you been here long?"

"By my watch, Madam," said he, "only five minutes,—but by your ladyship's absence, as many hours."

"O! now I think of it," cried she, "I am very angry with you,—so go along, do, for I shan't speak to you all day."

"Heaven forbid your La'ship's displeasure should last so long! in such cruel circumstances, a day would seem an age. But in what have I been so unfortunate as to offend?"

"O, you half-killed me, the other morning, with terror! I have not yet recovered from my fright. How could you be so cruel as to drive your phaeton against my Lord Merton's?"

111 "'Pon honour, Ma'am, your La'ship does me wrong; it was all owing to the horses,—there was no curbing them. I protest I suffered more than your Ladyship from the terror of alarming you."

Just then entered Lord Merton; stalking up to Mrs. Beaumont, to whom alone he bowed; he hoped he had not made her wait; and then ad vancing to Lady Louisa, said, in a careless man ner, "How is your Ladyship this morning?"

"Not well at all," answered she; "I have been dying with the head-ach ever since I got up."

"Indeed!" cried he, with a countenance wholly unmoved, "I am very unhappy to hear it. But should not your Ladyship have some advice?"

"I am quite sick of advice," answered she; "Mr. Ridgeway has but just left me,—but he has done me no good. Nobody here knows what is the matter with me, yet they all see how indif ferent I am."

"Your Ladyship's constitution," said Mr. Lo vel, "is infinitely delicate."

"Indeed it is," cried she, in a low voice, I am nerve all over!"

"I am glad, however," said Lord Merton, "that you did not take the air this morning, for Coverly has been driving against me as if he was mad: he has got two of the finest spirited horses I ever saw."

"Pray, My Lord," cried she, "why did not you bring Mr. Coverly with you? he's a droll creature; I like him monstrously."

"Why, he promised to be here as soon as me. I suppose he'll come before dinner's over."

112 In the midst of this trifling conversation, Lord Orville made his appearance. O how dif ferent was his address! how superior did he look, and move, to all about him! Having paid his respects to Mrs. Beaumont, and then to Mrs. Selwyn, he came up to me, and said, "I hope Miss Anville has not suffered from the fatigue of Monday morning!" Then turning to Lady Louisa, who seemed rather surprised at his speak ing to me, he added, "give me leave, sister, to introduce Miss Anville to you."

Lady Louisa, half-rising, said, very coldly, that she should be glad of the honour of know ing me; and then, very abruptly turning to Lord Merton and Mr. Lovel, continued, in a half-whisper, her conversation.

For my part, I had risen and courtsied, and now, feeling very foolish, I seated myself again; first I had blushed at the unexpected politeness of Lord Orville, and immediately afterwards, at the contemptuous failure of it in his sister. How can that young Lady see her brother so universally admired for his manners and deport ment, and yet be so unamiably opposite to him in her's!

Lord Orville, I am sure, was hurt, and dis pleased: he bit his lips, and turning from her, addressed himself wholly to me, till we were summoned to dinner. Do you think I was not grateful for his attention? yes, indeed, and every angry idea I had entertained, was totally obli terated.

As we were seating ourselves at the table, Mr. Coverly came into the room: he made a thousand apologies in a breath for being so late, but said he had been retarded by a little accident, for that he had overturned his phaeton, and broke 113 it all to pieces. Lady Louisa screamed at this intelligence, and looking at Lord Merton, declar ed she would never go into a phaeton again.

"O," cried he, "never mind Jack Coverly, for he does not know how to drive."

"My Lord," cried Mr. Coverly, "I'll drive against you for a thousand pounds."

"Done!" returned the other; "Name your day, and we'll each chuse a judge."

"The sooner the better," cried Mr. Coverly; "to-morrow, if the carriage can be repaired."

"These enterprises," said Mrs. Selwyn, "are very proper for men of rank, since 'tis a million to one but both parties will be incapacitated for any better employment."

"For Heaven's sake," cried Lady Louisa, changing colour, "don't talk so shockingly! Pray, my Lord, pray, Mr. Coverly, don't alarm me in this manner."

"Compose yourself, Lady Louisa," said Mrs. Beaumont, "the gentlemen will think bet ter of the scheme; they are neither of them in earnest."

"The very mention of such a scheme," said Lady Louisa, taking out her salts, "makes me tremble all over! Indeed, my Lord, you have frightened me to death! I shan't eat a morsel of dinner."

"Permit me," said Lord Orville, "to pro pose some other subject for the present, and we will discuss this matter some other time."

"Pray, Brother, excuse me; my Lord must give me his word to drop this project,—for, I declare it has made me sick as death."

"To compromise the matter," said Lord Orville, "suppose, if both parties are unwil ling to give up the bet, that, to make the ladies 114 easy, we change its object to something less dan gerous?"

This proposal was so strongly seconded by all the party, that both Lord Merton, and Mr. Co verly, were obliged to comply with it: and it was then agreed that the affair should be finally set tled in the afternoon.

"I shall now be entirely out of conceit with phaetons again," said Mrs. Selwyn, "though Lord Orville had almost reconciled me to them."

"My Lord Orville, "cried the witty Mr. Coverly, "why, my Lord Orville is as careful,—egad, as careful as an old woman! Why, I'd drive a one-horse cart against my Lord's phaeton for a hundred guineas!"

This sally occasioned much laughter; for Mr. Coverly, I find, is regarded as a man of infinite humour.

"Perhaps, Sir," said Mrs. Selwyn, "you have not discovered the reason my Lord Orville is so careful?"

"Why, no, Ma'am; I must own, I never heard any particular reason for it."

"Why then, Sir, I'll tell you; and I believe you will confess it to be very particular; his Lordship's friends are not yet tired of him."

Lord Orville laughed and bowed. Mr. Cover ly, a little confused, turned to Lord Merton, and said, "No foul play, my Lord! I remember your Lordship recommended me to the notice of this Lady the other morning, and, egad, I be lieve you have been doing me the same office to-day."

"Give you joy, Jack!" cried Lord Merton, with a loud laugh.

115 After this, the conversation turned wholly up on eating, a subject which was discussed with the utmost delight; and, had I not known they were men of rank and fashion, I should have imagined that Lord Merton, Mr. Lovel, and Mr. Coverly, had all been professed cooks; for they displayed so much knowledge of sauces and made dishes, and of the various methods of dres sing the same things, that I am persuaded they must have given much time, and much study, to make themselves such adepts in this art. It would be very difficult to determine, whether they were most to be distinguished as gluttons or ep