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Letter 12
Evelina In Continuation Tuesday, April 5
THERE is to be no end to the troubles of last night. I have this moment, between
persuasion and laughter, gathered from Maria the most curious dialogue that
ever I heard. You will at first be startled at my vanity; but, my dear Sir, have
It must have passed while I was sitting with Mrs. Mirvan, in the card-room. Maria
was taking some refreshment, and saw Lord Orville advancing for the same
purpose himself; but he did not know her, though she immediately recollected
him. Presently after, a very gay-looking man, stepping hastily up to him cried,
"Why, my Lord, what have you done with your lovely partner?"
"Nothing!" answered Lord Orville with a smile and a shrug.
"By Jove," cried the man, "she is the most beautiful creature I ever saw in my
Lord Orville, as he well might, laughed; but answered, "Yes, a pretty modest-
looking girl."
"O my Lord!" cried the madman, "she is an angel!"
"A silent one," returned he.
"Why ay, my Lord, how stands she as to that? She looks all intelligence and
"A poor weak girl!" answered Lord Orville, shaking his head.
"By Jove," cried the other, "I am glad to hear it!"
At that moment, the same odious creature who had been my former tormentor,
joined them. Addressing Lord Orville with great respect, he said, "I beg pardon,
my Lord,-if I was-as I fear might be the case-rather too severe in my censure of
the lady who is honoured with your protection-but, my Lord, ill-breeding is apt to
provoke a man."
"Ill-breeding!" cried my unknown champion, "impossible! that elegant face can
never be so vile a mask!"
"O Sir, as to that," answered he, "you must allow me to judge; for though I pay all
deference to your opinion-in other things-yet I hope you will grant-and I appeal to
your Lordship also-that I am not totally despicable as a judge of good or ill-
"I was so wholly ignorant," said Lord Orville, gravely, "of the provocation you
might have had, that I could not but be surprised at your singular resentment."
"It was far from my intention," answered he, "to offend your lordship; but, really,
for a person who is nobody, to give herself such airs,-I own I could not command
my passion. For, my Lord, though I have made diligent inquiry-I cannot learn who
she is."
"By what I can make out," cried my defender, "she must be a country parson's
"He! he! he! very good, 'pon honour!" cried the fop;-"well, so I could have sworn
by her manners."