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Letter 23
Evelina In Continuation Queen Ann Street, Tuesday, April 19
THERE is something to me half melancholy in writing an account of our last
adventures in London. However, as this day is merely appropriated 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 together, 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
diversion; 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.
However, 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
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 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 observed that he looked at me without the least apparent
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 apartments 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 Orville 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 acquaint 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 attention, as if I had
addressed myself wholly to him; and yet I never once looked at him, and would
not have spoken to him on any account.