Evelina HTML version

Letter 22
Evelina In Continuation Monday Morning, April 18
MRS. MIRVAN has just communicated to me an anecdote concerning Lord
Orville, which has much surprised, half pleased, and half pained me.
While they were sitting together during the opera, he told her that he had been
greatly concerned at the impertinence which the young lady under her protection
had suffered from Mr. Lovel; but that he had the pleasure of assuring her, she
had no future disturbance to apprehend from him.
Mrs. Mirvan, with great eagerness, begged he would explain himself; and said
she hoped he had not thought so insignificant an affair worthy his serious
"There is nothing," answered he, "which requires more immediate notice than
impertinence, for it ever encroaches when it is tolerated." He then added, that he
believed he ought to apologize for the liberty he had taken in interfering; but that,
as he regarded himself in the light of a party concerned, from having had the
honour of dancing with Miss Anville, he could not possibly reconcile to himself a
patient neutrality.
He then proceeded to tell her, that he had waited upon Mr. Lovel the morning
after the play; that the visit had proved an amicable one, but the particulars were
neither entertaining nor necessary: he only assured her, Miss Anville might be
perfectly easy, since Mr. Lovel had engaged his honour never more to mention,
or even to hint at what had passed at Mrs. Stanley's assembly.
Mrs. Mirvan expressed her satisfaction at this conclusion, and thanked him for
his polite attention to her young friend.
"It would be needless," said he, "to request that this affair may never transpire,
since Mrs. Mirvan cannot but see the necessity of keeping it inviolably secret; but
I thought it incumbent upon me, as the young lady is under your protection, to
assure both you and her of Mr. Lovel's future respect."
Had I known of this visit previous to Lord Orville's making it, what dreadful
uneasiness would it have cost me! Yet that he should so much interest himself in
securing me from offence, gives me, I must own, an internal pleasure, greater
than I can express; for I feared he had too contemptuous an opinion of me, to
take any trouble upon my account. Though, after all, this interference might
rather be to satisfy his own delicacy, than from thinking well of me.
But how cool, how quiet is true courage! Who, from seeing Lord Orville at the
play, would have imagined his resentment would have hazarded his life? yet his
displeasure was evident, though his real bravery and his politeness equally
guarded him from entering into any discussion in our presence.
Madame Duval, as I expected, was most terribly angry yesterday: she scolded
me for, I believe, two hours, on account of having left her; and protested she had
been so much surprised at my going, without giving her time to answer, that she
hardly knew whether she was awake or asleep. But she assured me that if ever I
did so again, she would never more take me into public. And she expressed an
equal degree of displeasure against Sir Clement, because he had not even