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Letter 7
Lady Howard To The Rev. Mr. Villars Howard Grove, March 26
BE not alarmed, my worthy friend, at my so speedily troubling you again; I
seldom use the ceremony of waiting for answers, or writing with any regularity,
and I have at present immediate occasion for begging your patience.
Mrs. Mirvan has just received a letter from her long absent husband, containing
the welcome news of his hoping to reach London by the beginning of next week.
My daughter and the Captain have been separated almost seven years, and it
would therefore be needless to say what joy, surprise, and consequently
confusion, his at present unexpected return has caused at Howard Grove. Mrs.
Mirvan, you cannot doubt, will go instantly to town to meet him; her daughter is
under a thousand obligations to attend her; I grieve that her mother cannot.
And now, my good Sir, I almost blush to proceed;-but, tell me, may I ask-will you
permit-that your child may accompany them? Do not think us unreasonable, but
consider the many inducements which conspire to make London the happiest
place at present she can be in. The joyful occasion of the journey; the gaiety of
the whole party, opposed to the dull life she must lead, if left here with a solitary
old woman for her sole companion, while she so well knows the cheerfulness
and felicity enjoyed by the rest of the family,-are circumstances that seem to
merit your consideration. Mrs. Mirvan desires me to assure you that one week is
all she asks, as she is certain that the Captain, who hates London, will be eager
to revisit Howard Grove; and Maria is so very earnest in wishing to have the
company of her friend, that, if you are inexorable, she will be deprived of half the
pleasure she otherwise hopes to receive.
However, I will not, my good Sir, deceive you into an opinion that they intend to
live in a retired manner, as that cannot be fairly expected. But you have no
reason to be uneasy concerning Madame Duval; she has not any correspondent
in England, and obtains no intelligence but by common report. She must be a
stranger to the name your child bears; and, even should she hear of this
excursion, so short a time as a week or less spent in town upon so particular an
occasion, though previous to their meeting, cannot be construed into disrespect
to herself.
Mrs. Mirvan desires me to assure you, that if you will oblige her, her two children
shall equally share her time and her attention. She has sent a commission to a
friend in town to take a house for her; and while she waits for an answer
concerning it, I shall for one from you to our petition. However, your child is
writing herself; and that, I doubt not, will more avail than all we can possible urge.
My daughter desires her best compliments to you if, she says, you will grant her
request but not else.
Adieu, my dear Sir, we all hope every thing from your goodness. M. HOWARD.