Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 1, Ch. 8

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Letter VIII

EVELINA TO THE REV. MR. VILLARS Howard Grove, March 26.

THIS house seems to be the house of joy; every face wears a smile, and a laugh is at every body's service. It is quite amusing to walk about and see the general confusion; a room leading to the garden is fitting up for Captain Mirvan's study. Lady Howard does not sit a moment in a place; Miss Mirvan is making caps; every body so busy!-such flying from room to room!-so many orders given, and retracted, and given again! nothing but hurry and perturbation.

Well but, my dear Sir, I am desired to make a request to you. I hope you will not think me an encroacher; Lady Howard insists upon my writing!-yet I hardly know how to go on; a petition implies a want and have you left me one? No, indeed.

I am half ashamed of myself for beginning this letter. But these dear ladies are so pressing-I cannot, for my life, resist wishing for the pleasures they offer me,-provided you do not disapprove them.

They are to make a very short stay in town. The Captain will meet them in a day or two. Mrs. Mirvan and her sweet daughter both go; what a happy party! Yet, I am not very eager to accompany them: at least I shall be contented to remain where I am, if you desire that I should.

Assured, my dearest Sir, of your goodness, your bounty, and your indulgent kindness, ought I to form a wish that has not your sanction? Decide for me, therefore, without the least apprehension that I shall be uneasy or discontented. While I am yet in suspense, perhaps I may hope; but I am most certain that when you have once determined I shall not repine.

They tell me that London is now in full splendour. Two playhouses are open,-the Opera-house,-Ranelagh,-and the Pantheonw.-You see I have learned all their names. However, pray don't suppose that I make any point of going, for I shall hardly sigh, to see them depart without me, though I shall probably never meet with such another opportunity. And, indeed, their domestic happiness will be so great,-it is natural to wish to partake of it.

I believe I am bewitched! I made a resolution, when I began, that I would not be urgent; but my pen-or rather my thoughts, will not suffer me to keep it-for I acknowledge, I must acknowledge, I cannot help wishing for your permission.

I almost repent already that I have made this confession; pray forget that you have read it, if this journey is displeasing to you. But I will not write any longer; for the more I think of this affair, the less indifferent to it I find myself.

Adieu, my most honoured, most reverenced, most beloved father! for by what other name can I call you? I have no happiness or sorrow, no hope or fear, but what your kindness bestows, or your displeasure may cause. You will not, I am sure, send a refusal without reasons unanswerable, and therefore I shall cheerfully acquiesce. Yet I hope-I hope you will be able to permit me to go! I am, with the utmost affection, gratitude, and duty, your EVELINA -

I cannot to you sign ANVILLE, and what other name may I claim?

X [w] Two playhouses are open,-the Opera-house,-Ran…

Places

Evelina's catalog shows that she has indeed mastered the public amusements London would offer.  One playhouse would be Drury Lane which Evelina attends with Mrs. Mirvan and Maria immediately upon their arrival in London, the other Covent Garden.  Ranelagh and the Pantheon offered promenades…

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