Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 2, Ch. 14

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Letter XIV


YESTERDAY morning Madame Duval again sent me to Mr. Branghton's, attended by M. Du Bois, to make some party for the evening, because she had had the vapoursw the preceding day from staying at home.

As I entered the shop, I perceived the unfortunate North Briton seated in a corner, with a book in his hand. He cast his melancholy eyes up as we came in; and, I believe, immediately recollected my face-for he started, and changed colour. I delivered Madame Duval's message to Mr. Branghton, who told me I should find Polly up stairs, but that the others were gone out.

Up stairs, therefore, I went; and, seated on a window, with Mr. Brown at her side, sat Miss Polly. I felt a little awkward at disturbing them, and much more so at their behaviour afterwards; for, as soon as the common enquiries were over, Mr. Brown grew so fond and so foolish, that I was extremely disgusted. Polly, all the time, only rebuked him with, "La, now, Mr. Brown, do be quiet, can't you?-you should not behave so before company.-Why, now, what will Miss think of me?"-While her looks plainly showed not merely the pleasure, but the pride which she took in his caresses.

I did not by any means think it necessary to punish myself by witnessing their tenderness; and therefore telling them I would see if Miss Branghton were returned home, I soon left them, and against descended into the shop.

"So, Miss, you've come again," said Mr. Branghton; "what, I suppose you've a mind to sit a little in the shop, and see how the world goes, hey, Miss?"

I made no answer; and M. Du Bois instantly brought me a chair.

The unhappy stranger, who had risen at my entrance, again seated himself; and though his head leant towards his book, I could not help observing, his eyes were most intently and earnestly turned towards me.

M. Du Bois, as well as his broken English would allow him, endeavoured to entertain us till the return of Miss Branghton and her brother.

"Lord, how tired I am!" cried the former; "I have not a foot to stand upon." And, then, without any ceremony, she flung herself into the chair from which I had risen to receive her.

"You tired!" said the brother; "why, then, what must I be, that have walked twice as far?" And, with equal politeness, he paid the same compliment to M. Du Bois which his sister had done to me.

Two chairs and three stools completed the furniture of the shop; and Mr. Branghton, who chose to keep his own seat himself, desired M. Du Bois to take another; and then seeing that I was without any, called out to the stranger, "Come, Mr. Macartney, lend us your stool."

Shocked at their rudeness, I declined the offer; and, approaching Miss Branghton, said, "If you will be so good as to make room for me on your chair, there will be no occasion to disturb that gentleman."

"Lord, what signifies that?" cried the brother; "he has had his share of sitting, I'll be sworn."

"And, if he has not," said the sister, "he has a chair up stairs; and the shop is our own, I hope."

This grossness so much disgusted me, that I took the stool, and carrying it back to Mr. Macartney myself, I returned him thanks as civilly as I could for his politeness, but said that I had rather stand.

X [w] vapours


Low spirits, depression, or melancholy.