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

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Letter II

EVELINA IN CONTINUATION May 13th.

THE Captain's operations are begun,-and, I hope, ended; for, indeed, poor Madame Duval has already but too much reason to regret Sir Clement's visit to Howard Grove.

Yesterday morning, during breakfast, as the Captain was reading the newspaper, Sir Clement suddenly begged to look at it, saying, he wanted to know if there was any account of a transaction, at which he had been present the evening before his journey hither, concerning a poor Frenchman, who had got into a scrape which might cost him his life.

The Captain demanded particulars; and then Sir Clement told a long story of being with a party of country friends at the Towerw, and hearing a man call out for mercy in French; and that, when he inquired into the occasion of his distress, he was informed that he had been taken up upon suspicion of treasonable practices against the government. "The poor fellow," continued he, "no sooner found that I spoke French, than he besought me to hear him, protesting that he had no evil designs; that he had been but a short time in England, and only waited the return of a lady from the country to quit it for ever."

Madame Duval changed colour, and listened with the utmost attention.

"Now, though I by no means approve of so many foreigners continually flocking into our country," added he, addressing himself to the Captain, "yet I could not help pitying the poor wretch, because he did not know enough of English to make his defence; however, I found it impossible to assist him; for the mob would not suffer me to interfere. In truth, I am afraid he was but roughly handled."

"Why, did they duck him?" said the Captain.

"Something of that sort," answered he.

"So much the better! so much the better!" cried the Captain, "an impudent French puppy! I'll bet you what you will he was a rascal. I only wish all his countrymen were served the same."

"I wish you had been in his place, with all my soul!" cried Madame Duval, warmly;-"but pray, Sir, did'n't nobody know who this poor gentleman was?"

"Why I did hear his name," answered Sir Clement, "but I cannot recollect it."

"It wasn't-it wasn't-Du Bois?" stammered out Madame Duval.

"The very name!" answered he: "yes, Du Bois, I remember it now."

Madame Duval's cup fell from her hand, as she repeated "Du
Bois! Monsieur Du Bois, did you say?"

"Du Bois! why, that's my friend," cried the Captain, "that's Monseer
Slippery, i'n't it?-Why, he's plaguy fond of sousing work; howsomever,
I'll be sworn they gave him his fill of it."

"And I'll be sworn," cried Madame Duval, "that you're a-but I don't believe nothing about it, so you needn't be so overjoyed, for I dare say it was no more Monsieur Du Bois than I am."

"I thought at the time," said Sir Clement, very gravely, "that I had seen the gentleman before; and now I recollect, I think it was in company with you, Madame."

"With me, Sir?" cried Madame Duval.

"Say you so?" said the Captain; "why then it must be he, as sure as you're alive!-Well, but, my good friend, what will they do with poor Monseer?"

X [w] Tower

Places

The Tower of London, historically a fortress constructed to protect the city and at times a prison for deposed royalty, captive foreign digitaries, or other crown prisoners.  By the 18th century it had become an attraction for its royal menagerie, display of the crown jewels, and the royal armory, thus a common destination for visitors or "country friends," but an unlikely site to find a state prisoner confined.