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Letter 18
Evelina In Continuation
I HAD just finished my letter to you this morning, when a violent rapping at the
door made me run down stairs; and who should I see in the drawing room, but-
Lord Orville!
He was quite alone, for the family had not assembled to breakfast. He inquired
first of mine, then of the health of Mrs. and Miss Mirvan, with a degree of concern
that rather surprised me, till he said he had just been informed of the accident we
had met with at Ranelagh. He expressed his sorrow upon the occasion with
utmost politeness, and lamented that he had not been so fortunate as to hear of
it in time to offer his services. "But I think," he added, "Sir Clement Willoughby
had the honour of assisting you?"
"He was with Captain Mirvan, my Lord."
"I had heard of his being of your party."
I hope that flighty man has not been telling Lord Orville he only assisted me!
however, he did not pursue the subject: but said, "This accident though extremely
unfortunate, will not, I hope, be the means of frightening you from gracing
Ranelagh with your presence in future?"
"Our time, my Lord, for London, is almost expired already."
"Indeed! do you leave town so very soon?"
"O yes, my Lord, our stay has already exceeded our intentions."
"Are you, then, so particularly partial to the country?"
"We merely came to town, my Lord, to meet Captain Mirvan."
"And does Miss Anville feel no concern at the idea of the many mourners her
absence will occasion?"
"O, my Lord,-I'm sure you don't think-" I stopt there; for, indeed, I hardly knew
what I was going to say. My foolish embarrassment, I suppose, was the cause of
what followed; for he came to me, and took my hand saying, "I do think, that
whoever has once seen Miss Anville, must receive an impression never to be
This compliment,-from Lord Orville,-so surprised me, that I could not speak; but
felt myself change colour, and stood for some moments silent, and looking down:
however, the instant I recollected my situation, I withdrew my hand, and told him
that I would see if Mrs. Mirvan was not dressed. He did not oppose me-so away I
I met them all on the stairs, and returned with them to breakfast.
I have since been extremely angry with myself for neglecting so excellent an
opportunity of apologizing for my behaviour at the ridotto: but, to own the truth,
that affair never once occurred to me during the short tete-e-tete which we had
together. But, if ever we should happen to be so situated again, I will certainly
mention it; for I am inexpressibly concerned at the thought of his harbouring an
opinion that I am bold or impertinent, and I could almost kill myself for having
given him the shadow of a reason for so shocking an idea.