Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 2, Ch. 9

[+] | [-] | reset
 

Letter IX

EVELINA TO THE REV. MR. VILLARS London, June 6.

ONCE more, my dearest Sir, I write to you from this great city. Yesterday morning, with the truest concern, I quitted the dear inhabitants of Howard Grove, and most impatiently shall I count the days till I see them again. Lady Howard and Mrs. Mirvan took leave of me with the most flattering kindness; but indeed I knew not how to part with Maria, whose own apparent sorrow redoubled mine. She made me promise to send her a letter every post: and I shall write to her with the same freedom, and almost the same confidence, you allow me to make use of to yourself.

The Captain was very civil to me: but he wrangled with poor Madame Duval to the last moment; and, taking me aside, just before we got into the chaise, he said, "Hark'ee, Miss Anville, I've a favour for to ask of you, which is this; that you will write us word how the old gentlewoman finds herself, when she sees it was all a trick; and what the French lubber says to it, and all about it."

I answered that I would obey him, though I was very little pleased with the commission, which, to me, was highly improper; but he will either treat me as an informer, or make me a party in his frolic.

As soon as we drove away, Madame Duval, with much satisfaction, exclaimed, "Dieu merci, we've got off at last! I'm sure I never desire to see that place again. It's a wonder I've got away alive; for I believe I've had the worst luck ever was known, from the time I set my foot upon the threshold. I know I wish I'd never a gone. Besides, into the bargain, it's the most dullest place in all Christendom: there's never no diversions, nor nothing at all."

Then she bewailed M. Du Bois; concerning whose adventures she continued to make various conjectures during the rest of our journey.

When I asked her what part of London she should reside in, she told me that Mr. Branghton was to meet us at an inn, and would conduct us to a lodging. Accordingly, we proceeded to a house in Bishopsgate Streeth, and were led by a waiter into a room where we found Mr. Branghton.

He received us very civilly; but seemed rather surprised at seeing me, saying, "Why, I didn't think of your bringing Miss; however, she's very welcome."

"I'll tell you how it was," said Madame Duval: "you must know I've a mind to take the girl to Paris, that she may see something of the world, and improve herself a little; besides, I've another reason, that you and I will talk more about. But, do you know, that meddling old parson, as I told you of, would not let her go: however, I'm resolved I'll be even with him; for I shall take her on with me, without saying never a word more to nobody."

I started at this intimation, which very much surprised me. But, I am very glad she has discovered her intention, as I shall be carefully upon my guard not to venture from town with her.

Mr. Branghton then hoped we had passed our time agreeably in the country.

"O Lord, cousin," cried she, "I've been the miserablest creature in the world! I'm sure all the horses in London sha'n't drag me into the country again of one while: why, how do you think I've been served?-only guess."

"Indeed, cousin, I can't pretend to do that."

"Why then I'll tell you. Do you know I've been robbed!-that is, the villain would have robbed me if he could, only I'd secured all my money."

"Why, then cousin, I think your loss can't have been very great."

"O Lord, you don't know what you're a saying; you're talking in the unthinkingest manner in the world: why, it was all along of not having no money that I met with that misfortune."

"How's that, cousin? I don't see what great misfortune you can have met with, if you'd secured all your money."

X [h] Bishopsgate Street

Places

In the city of London about a mile east of Holborn where Evelina will reside for the month. The Branghton's shop on Snow Hill is also in Holborn.