Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 3, Ch. 1

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"Of you, my Lord," cried she, "Heaven forbid I should ever entertain so idle an expectation! I only talk, like a silly woman, for the sake of talking; but I have by no means so low an opinion of your Lordship, as to suppose you vulnerable to censure."

"Do, pray, Ma'am," cried he, "turn to Jack Coverley; he's the very man for you;-he'd be a wit himself if he was not too modest."

"Prithee, my Lord, be quiet," returned the other; "if the lady is contented to bestow all her favours upon you, why should you make such a point of my going snacksw?"

"Don't be apprehensive, gentlemen," said Mrs. Selwyn, drily, "I am not romanticw;-I have not the least design of doing good to either of you."

"Have not you been ill since I saw you?" said his Lordship, again addressing himself to me.

"Yes, my Lord."

"I thought so; you are paler than you was, and I suppose that's the reason I did not recollect you sooner."

"Has not your Lordship too much gallantry," cried Mrs. Selwyn, "to discover a young lady's illness by her looks?"

"The devil a word can I speak for that woman," said he, in a low voice; "do, prithee, Jack, take her in hand."

"Excuse me, my Lord," answered Mr. Coverley.

"When shall I see you again?" continued his Lordship; "do you go to the pump-room every morning?"

"No, my Lord."

"Do you ride out?"

"No, my Lord."

Just then we arrived at the pump-room, and an end was put to our conversation, if it is not an abuse of words to give such a term to a string of rude questions and free compliments.

He had not opportunity to say much more to me, as Mrs. Selwyn joined a large party, and I walked home between two ladies. He had, however, the curiosity to see us to the door.

Mrs. Selwyn was very eager to know how I had made acquaintance with this nobleman, whose manners so evidently announced the character of a confirmed libertinew. I could give her very little satisfaction, as I was ignorant even of his name: but, in the afternoon, Mr. Ridgeway, the apothecaryw, gave us very ample information.

As his person was easily described, for he is remarkably tall, Mr. Ridgeway told us he was Lord Merton, a nobleman who is but lately come to his title, though he has already dissipated more than half his fortune; a professed admirer of beauty, but a man of most licentious character; that among men, his companions consisted chiefly of gamblers and jockeys, and among women he was rarely admitted.

"Well, Miss Anville," said Mrs. Selwyn, "I am glad I was not more civil to him. You may depend upon me for keeping him at a distance."

X [w] going snacks

To split or share.

X [w] romantic

Given to fanciful or extravagent notions. 

X [w] libertine

Manners & Morals

"A person(typically a man) who is not restrained by morality, exp. with regard to sexual relations; a person of dissolute or promiscuous habits." OED 

 

X [w] apothecary

People

A chemist of sorts because an 18th-century apothecary would mix or prepare medicines as well as sell them.  Since the lines between his calling and a physician's were less clearly defined, he would likely dispense medical advice along with his concoctions. In a community of convalescents like a health spa, a Mr. Ridgeway would be well-situated to receive and offer up information about its inhabitants.