Evelina HTML version

Letter 32
Evelina To The Rev. Mr. Villars Howard Grove, Kent, May 10
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 effectually, that I even think it is really diminished; or, at least,
my thoughts are not so totally, so very anxiously, occupied by one subject only
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 languished since your absence;-or, at least, I have so much languished
myself, as to be absolutely 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 are 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 longer."
"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 have 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
respects to Captain Mirvan, that he had left London in its full lustre, and a
thousand engagements 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