Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 2, Ch. 19

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I was much chagrined at being thus compelled to owe even the shadow of an obligation to so forward a young man; but I determined that nothing should prevail upon me to dance with him, however my refusal might give offence.

In the afternoon, when he returned, it was evident that he purposed to both charm and astonish me by his appearance: he was dressed in a very showy manner, but without any taste; and the inelegant smartness of his air and deportment, his visible struggle against educationw to put on the fine gentleman, added to his frequent conscious glances at a dress to which he was but little accustomed, very effectually destroyed his aim of figuringw, and rendered all his efforts useless.

During tea entered Miss Branghton and her brother. I was sorry to observe the consternation of the former, when she perceived Mr. Smith. I had intended applying to her for advice upon this occasion, but had been always deterred by her disagreeable abruptness. Having cast her eyes several times from Mr. Smith to me, with manifest displeasure, she seated herself sullenly in the window, scarce answering Madame Duval's enquiries; and when I spoke to her, turning absolutely away from me.

Mr. Smith, delighted at this mark of his importance, sat indolently quiet on his chair, endeavouring by his looks rather to display, than to conceal, his inward satisfaction.

"Good gracious!" cried young Branghton, "why, you're all as fine as a five-pence! Why, where are you going?"

"To the Hampstead ball," answered Mr. Smith.

"To a ball!" cried he. "Why, what, is aunt going to a ball? Ha, ha, ha!"

"Yes, to be sure," cried Madame Duval; "I don't know nothing need hinder me."

"And pray, aunt, will you dance too?"

"Perhaps I may; but I suppose, Sir, that's none of your business, whether I do or not."

"Lord! well, I should like to go! I should like to see aunt dance of all things! But the joke is, I don't believe she'll get ever a partner."

"You're the most rudest boy ever I see," cried Madame Duval, angrily: "but, I promise you, I'll tell your father what you say, for I've no notion of such vulgarness."

"Why, Lord, aunt, what are you so angry for? there's no speaking a word, but you fly into a passion: you're as bad as Biddy, or Poll, for that, for you're always a-scolding."

"I desire, Tom," cried Miss Branghton, "you'd speak for yourself, and not make so free with my name."

"There, now, she's up! There's nothing but quarrelling with the women; it's my belief they like it better than victuals and drink."

"Fie, Tom," cried Mr. Smith, "you never remember your manners before the ladies: I'm sure you never heard me speak so rude to them."

"Why, Lord, you are a beau; but that's nothing to me. So, if you've a mind, you may be so polite as to dance with aunt yourself." Then, with a loud laugh, he declared it would be good fun to see them.

X [w] education


"The process of 'bringing up' (young persons); . . .with reference to social station, kind of manners and habits acquired." OED This more general sense of upbringing is obsolete relative to modern usage: that is, education as systematic instruction.  Thus, though brought up for a lower station in life, Mr. Smith tries to "put on the fine gentleman." 


X [w] figuring

To shape or fashion himself to be like a gentleman.