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Letter 33
Evelina In Continuation May 13th
THE Captain's operations are begun,-and, I hope, ended; for, indeed, poor
Madame Duval has already but too much reason to regret Sir Clement's visit to
Howard Grove.
Yesterday morning, during breakfast, as the Captain was reading the newspaper,
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 hither, 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 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 inquired into the occasion of his distress, 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 country," 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," answered Sir Clement, "but I cannot recollect it."
"It wasn't-it wasn't-Du Bois?" stammered 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 Monseer Slippery, i'n't
it?-Why, he's plaguy fond of sousing work; howsomever, 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 needn't be so overjoyed, for I dare say it was no more Monsieur
Du Bois than I am."