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Letter 8
Evelina To The Rev. Mr. Villars Howard Grove, March 26
THIS house seems to be the house of joy; every face wears a smile, and a laugh
is at every body's service. It is quite amusing to walk about and see the general
confusion; a room leading to the garden is fitting up for Captain Mirvan's study.
Lady Howard does not sit a moment in a place; Miss Mirvan is making caps;
every body so busy!-such flying from room to room!-so many orders given, and
retracted, and given again! nothing but hurry and perturbation.
Well but, my dear Sir, I am desired to make a request to you. I hope you will not
think me an encroacher; Lady Howard insists upon my writing!-yet I hardly know
how to go on; a petition implies a want and have you left me one? No, indeed.
I am half ashamed of myself for beginning this letter. But these dear ladies are so
pressing-I cannot, for my life, resist wishing for the pleasures they offer me,-
provided you do not disapprove them.
They are to make a very short stay in town. The Captain will meet them in a day
or two. Mrs. Mirvan and her sweet daughter both go; what a happy party! Yet, I
am not very eager to accompany them: at least I shall be contented to remain
where I am, if you desire that I should.
Assured, my dearest Sir, of your goodness, your bounty, and your indulgent
kindness, ought I to form a wish that has not your sanction? Decide for me,
therefore, without the least apprehension that I shall be uneasy or discontented.
While I am yet in suspense, perhaps I may hope; but I am most certain that when
you have once determined I shall not repine.
They tell me that London is now in full splendour. Two playhouses are open,-the
Opera-house,-Ranelagh,-and the Pantheon.-You see I have learned all their
names. However, pray don't suppose that I make any point of going, for I shall
hardly sigh, to see them depart without me, though I shall probably never meet
with such another opportunity. And, indeed, their domestic happiness will be so
great,-it is natural to wish to partake of it.
I believe I am bewitched! I made a resolution, when I began, that I would not be
urgent; but my pen-or rather my thoughts, will not suffer me to keep it-for I
acknowledge, I must acknowledge, I cannot help wishing for your permission.
I almost repent already that I have made this confession; pray forget that you
have read it, if this journey is displeasing to you. But I will not write any longer; for
the more I think of this affair, the less indifferent to it I find myself.
Adieu, my most honoured, most reverenced, most beloved father! for by what
other name can I call you? I have no happiness or sorrow, no hope or fear, but
what your kindness bestows, or your displeasure may cause. You will not, I am
sure, send a refusal without reasons unanswerable, and therefore I shall
cheerfully acquiesce. Yet I hope-I hope you will be able to permit me to go! I am,
with the utmost affection, gratitude, and duty, your EVELINA -
I cannot to you sign ANVILLE, and what other name may I claim?