Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 1, Ch. 19

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Letter XIX

EVELINA IN CONTINUATION Saturday Morning, April 16.

MADAM DUVAL was accompanied by Monsieur Du Bois. I am surprised that she should choose to introduce him where he is so unwelcome: and, indeed, it is strange that they should be so constantly together, though I believe I should have taken notice of it,w but that Captain Mirvan is perpetually rallying me upon my grandmama's beau.

They were both received by Mrs. Mirvan with her usual good-breeding; but the Captain, most provokingly, attacked her immediately, saying, "Now, Madame, you that have lived abroad, please to tell me this here: Which did you like best, the warm room at Ranelagh, or the cold bath you went into afterwards? though I assure you, you look so well, that I should advise you to take another dip."

"Ma foi, Sir," cried she, "nobody asked for your advice, so you may as well keep it to yourself: besides, it's no such great joke to be splashed, and to catch cold, and spoil all one's things, whatever you may think of it."

"Splashed, quoth-a!-why I thought you were soused all over.-Come, come, don't mince the matter, never spoil a good story; you know you hadn't a dry thread about you-'Fore George, I shall never think on't without hollooing! such a poor forlorn draggle-tailed-gentlewoman! and poor Monseer French, here, like a drowned rat, by your side!-"

"Well, the worse pickle we was in, so much the worser in you not to help us; for you knowed where we were fast enough, because, while I laid in the mud, I'm pretty sure I heard you snigger: so it's like enough you jostled us down yourself; for Monsieur Du Bois says, that he is sure he had a great jolt given him, or he shouldn't have fell."

The Captain laughed so immoderately, that he really gave me also a suspicion that he was not entirely innocent of the charge: however, he disclaimed it very peremptorily.

"Why then," continued she, "if you didn't do that, why didn't you come to help us?"

"Who, I?-what, do you suppose I had forgot I was an Englishman, a filthy, beastly Englishman?"

"Very well, Sir, very well; but I was a fool to expect any better, for it's all of a piece with the rest; you know, you wanted to fling me out of the coach-window, the very first time ever I see you: but I'll never go to Ranelagh with you no more, that I'm resolved; for I dare say, if the horses had runn'd over me, as I laid in that nastiness, you'd never have stirred a step to save me."

"Lord, no, to be sure, Ma'am, not for the world! I know your opinion of our nation too well, to affront you by supposing a Frenchman would want my assistance to protect you. Did you think that Monseer here, and I had changed characters, and that he should pop you into the mud, and I help you out of it? Ha, ha, ha!"

"O very well, Sir, laugh on, it's like your manners; however, if poor Monsieur Du Bois hadn't met with that unlucky accident himself I shouldn't have wanted nobody's help."

"O, I promise you, Madame, you'd never have had mine; I knew my distance better: and as to your being a little ducked, or so, why, to be sure, Monseer and you settled that between yourselves; so it was no business of mine."

X [w] I should have taken notice of it,

A "not" is missing: correct reading is "I should not have. . . ."