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- Evelina - 99/99 -


know at first but that my cheek might have been bit; but as 'tis no worse, why, it does not a great deal signify. Mrs. Beaumont, I have the honour to wish you a good evening; I'm sure my carriage must be waiting." And then, very abruptly, he left the room.

What a commotion has this mischief-loving Captain raised! Were I to remain here long, even the society of my dear Maria could scarce compensate for the disturbances which he excites.

When he returned, and heard of the quiet exit of Mr. Lovel, his triumph was intolerable. "I think, I think," he cried, "I have peppered him well! I'll warrant he won't give an hour tomorrow morning to settling what he shall put on; why, his coat," turning to me, "would be a most excellent match for old Madame Furbelow's best Lyons silk! 'Fore George, I'd desire no better sport than to have that there old cat here to go her snacks!"

All the company the, Lord Orville, Miss Mirvan, and myself excepted, played at cards; and we -oh, how much better did we pass our time!

While we were engaged in a most delightful conversation, a servant brought me a letter, which he told me had by some accident been mislaid. Judge of my feelings when I saw, my dearest Sir, your revered hand-writing! My emotions soon betrayed to Lord Orville whom the letter was from; the importance of the contents he well knew; and, assuring me I should not be seen by the card-players, he besought me to open it without delay.

Open it, indeed, I did-but read it I could not;-the willing, yet awful consent you have granted-the tenderness of your expressions-the certainty that no obstacle remained to my eternal union with the loved owner of my heart, gave me sensations too various, and, though joyful, too little placid for observation. Finding myself unable to proceed, and blinded by the tears of gratitude and delight, which started into my eyes, I gave over the attempt of reading till I retired to my own room; and, having no voice to answer the enquiries of Lord Orville, I put the letter into his hands, and left it to speak both for me and itself.

Lord Orville was himself affected by your kindness: he kissed the letter as he returned it; and, pressing my hand affectionately to his heart, "Your are now," said he, in a low voice, "all my own! Oh, my Evelina, how will my soul find room for its happiness?-it seems already bursting!" I could make no reply, indeed I hardly spoke another word the rest of the evening; so little talkative is the fulness of contentment.

O, my dearest Sir, the thankfulness of my heart I must pour forth at our meeting, when, at your feet, my happiness receives its confirmation from your blessing; and when my noble-minded, my beloved Lord Orville, presents to you the highly-honoured, and thrice-happy Evelina.

A few lines I will endeavour to write on Thursday, which shall be sent off express, to give you, should nothing intervene, yet more certain assurance of our meeting.

Now then, therefore, for the first-and probably the last time I shall ever own the name, permit me to sign myself, Most dear Sir, your gratefully affectionate, EVELINA BELMONT.

Lady Louisa, at her own particular desire, will be present at the ceremony, as well as Miss Mirvan and Mrs. Selwyn: Mr. Macartney will, the same morning, be united to my foster-sister; and my father himself will give us both away.

LETTER LXXXIII.

MR. VILLARS TO EVELINA.

EVERY wish of my soul is now fulfilled-for the felicity of my Evelina is equal to her worthiness!

Yes, my child, thy happiness is engraved in golden characters upon the tablets of my heart; and their impression is indelible: for, should the rude and deep-searching hand of Misfortune attempt to pluck them from their repository, the fleeting fabric of life would give way; and in tearing from my vitals the nourishment by which they are supported, she would but grasp at a shadow insensible to her touch.

Give thee my consent?-Oh thou joy, comfort, and pride of my life, how cold is that word to express the fervency of my approbation! Yes, I do indeed give thee my consent; and so thankfully, that, with the humblest gratitude to Providence, I would seal it with the remnant of my days.

Hasten then, my love, to bless me with thy presence, and to receive the blessings with which my fond heart overflows!-And oh, my Evelina, hear and assist in one only, humble, but ardent prayer, which yet animates my devotions: That the height of bliss to which thou art rising may not render thee giddy, but that the purity of thy mind may form the brightest splendour of thy prosperity!-and that the weak and aged frame of thy almost idolizing parent, nearly worn out by time, past afflictions, and infirmities, may yet be able to sustain a meeting with all its better part holds dear; and then, that all the wounds which the former severity of fortune inflicted, may be healed and purified by the ultimate consolation of pouring forth my dying words in blessings on my child!-closing these joy-streaming eyes in her presence, and breathing my last faint sighs in her loved arms!

Grieve not, oh child of my care! Grieve not at the inevitable moment! but may thy own end be equally propitious! Oh, may'st thou, when full of days, and full of honour, sink down as gently to rest!-be loved as kindly, watched as tenderly, as thy happy father! And mayest thou, when thy glass is run, be sweetly, but not bitterly, mourned by some remaining darling of thy affections-some yet surviving Evelina! ARTHUR VILLARS.

LETTER LXXXIV.

EVELINA TO THE REV. MR. VILLARS.

ALL is over, my dearest Sir; and the fate of your Evelina is decided! This morning, with fearful joy and trembling gratitude, she united herself for ever with the object of her dearest, her eternal affection.

I have time for no more; the chaise now waits which is to conduct me to dear Berry Hill, and to the arms of the best of men. EVELINA. THE END.


Evelina - 99/99

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