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- Evelina - 60/99 -


Seldom have I passed a night in greater uneasiness.-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 impertinent 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 left 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 we comes against a cart, with such a jogg 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 interrupt 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 wouldn't be safe to go back to Kensington. So we didn'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 Lordship'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 footmen the direction, and they told me he lived in Berkeley-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."

"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 him; for they told me he was busy, but I might leave my message. So I was just a-coming away, when I bethought myself to say I came 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 authority 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 directly: 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 as if I'd been a lord myself. So then I said, I hoped he wouldn't take it amiss about the glass, for it was quite an accident; but he bid me not mention it, for it did not signify. And then he said he hoped you got safe home, and wasn't frightened 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 out 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 going 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 particularly, my father is a silversmith, and he'll be very proud to serve you, says I; and Miss Anville, as danced with you, is his cousin, and she's my cousin 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 irreparable 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 irretrievable 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 repugnance I feel to relate to you what I have done, makes me suspect I must have erred. Will you forgive me, if I won that I first wrote 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 displeasure, than unworthily betray your generous confidence.

You are now probably prepared for what follows-which is a letter-a hasty letter, that, in the height of my agitation, I wrote 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 without 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 believe, that the 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 Berkley-square; but scarce had I parted with it, before I regretted having written 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 application 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. Whether 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 anxious.

LETTER LV.

EVELINA IN CONTINUATION. July 4th.

YOU may now, my dear Sir, send Mrs. Clinton for your Evelina with as much speed as she can conveniently make the journey, for no further 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 unwilling 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 reason, added to my reluctance;-for I thought it possible that Lord Orville might send some answer, or perhaps might


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