Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 2, Ch. 2

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"It is difficult to say," answered Sir Clement, very thoughtfully; "but I should suppose, that if he has not good friends to appear for him, he will be in a very unpleasant situation; for these are serious sorts of affairs."

"Why, do you think they'll hang him?" demanded the Captain.

Sir Clement shook his head, but made no answer.

Madame Duval could no longer contain her agitation; she started from her chair, repeating, with a voice half-choked, "Hang him!-they can't,-they sha'n't-let them at their peril!-However, it's all false, and I won't believe a word of it;-but I'll go to town this very moment, and see M. Du Bois myself;-I won't wait for nothing."

Mrs. Mirvan begged her not to be alarmed; but she flew out of the room, and up stairs into her own apartment. Lady Howard blamed both the gentlemen for having been so abrupt, and followed her. I would have accompanied her, but the Captain stopped me; and, having first laughed very heartily, said he was going to read his commission to his ship's company.

"Now, do you see," said he, "as to Lady Howard, I sha'n't pretend for to enlist her into my service, and so I shall e'en leave her to make it out as well as she can; but as to all you, I expect obedience and submission to orders; I am now upon a hazardous expedition, having undertaken to convoy a crazy vessel to the shore of Mortification; so, d'ye see, if any of you have anything to propose that will forward the enterprise,-why speak and welcome; but if any of you, that are of my chosen crew, capitulate, or enter into any treaty with the enemy,-I shall look upon you as mutinying, and turn you adrift."

Having finished this harangue, which was interlarded with many expressions, and sea-phrases, that I cannot recollect, he gave Sir Clement a wink of intelligence, and left us to ourselves.

Indeed, notwithstanding the attempts I so frequently make of writing some of the Captain's conversation, I can only give you a faint idea of his language; for almost every other word he utters is accompanied by an oath, which, I am sure, would be as unpleasant for you to read, as for me to write: and, besides, he makes use of a thousand sea-terms, which are to me quite unintelligible.

Poor Madame Duval sent to inquire at all probable places, whether she could be conveyed to town in any stage-coach: but the Captain's servant brought her for answer, that no London stage would pass near Howard Grove till to-day. She then sent to order a chaise; but was soon assured, that no horses could be procured. She was so much inflamed by these disappointments, that she threatened to set out for town on foot; and it was with difficulty that Lady Howard dissuaded her from this mad scheme.

The whole morning was filled up with these inquiries. But when we were all assembled to dinner, she endeavoured to appear perfectly unconcerned, and repeatedly protested that she gave not any credit to the report, as far as it regarded M. Du Bois, being very certain that he was not the person in question.

The Captain used the most provoking efforts to convince her that she deceived herself; while Sir Clement, with more art, though not less malice, affected to be of her opinion; but, at the same time that he pretended to relieve her uneasiness, by saying that he doubted not having mistaken the name, he took care to enlarge upon the danger to which the unknown gentleman was exposed, and expressed great concern at his perilous situation.

Dinner was hardly removed, when a letter was delivered to Madam Duval. The moment she had read it, she hastily demanded from whom it came.

"A country boy brought it," answered the servant," but he would not wait."