Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 2, Ch. 24

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Letter XXIV.


YOU may now, my dear Sir, send Mrs. Clinton for your Evelina with as much speed as she can conveniently make the journey, for no further opposition will be made to her leaving this town: happy had it perhaps been for her had she never entered it!

This morning Madame Duval desired me to go to Snow-Hill, with an invitation to the Branghtons and Mr. Smith to spend the evening with her; and she desired M. Du Bois, who breakfasted with us, to accompany me. I was very unwilling to obey her, as I neither wished to walk with M. Du Bois, nor yet to meet young Branghton. And, indeed, another, a yet more powerful reason, added to my reluctance;-for I thought it possible that Lord Orville might send some answer, or perhaps might call, during my absence; however, I did not dare dispute her commands.

Poor M. Du Bois spoke not a word during our walk, which was, I believe, equally unpleasant to us both. We found all the family assembled in the shop. Mr. Smith, the moment he perceived me, addressed himself to Miss Branghton, whom he entertained with all the gallantry in his power. I rejoice to find that my conduct at the Hampstead ball has had so good an effect. But young Branghton was extremely troublesome; he repeatedly laughed in my face, and looked so impertinently significantw, that I was obliged to give up my reserve to M. Du Bois, and enter into conversation with him merely to avoid such boldness.

"Miss," said Mr. Branghton, "I'm sorry to hear from my son that you wasn't pleased with what we did about that Lord Orville: but I should like to know what it was you found fault with, for we did all for the best."

"Goodness!" cried the son, "why, if you'd seen Miss, you'd have been surprised-she went out of the room quite in a huff, like-"

"It is too late, now," said I, "to reason upon this subject; but, for the future, I must take the liberty to request, that my name may never be made use of without my knowledge. May I tell Madame Duval that you will do her the favour to accept her invitation?"

"As to me, Ma'am," said Mr. Smith, "I am much obliged to the old lady, but I have no mind to be taken in by her again; you'll excuse me, Ma'am."

All the rest promised to come, and I then took leave; but, as I left the shop, I heard Mr. Branghton say, "Take courage, Tom, she's only coy." And, before I had walked ten yards, the youth followed.

I was so much offended that I would not look at him, but began to converse with M. Du Bois, who was now more lively than I had ever before seen him; for, most unfortunately, he misinterpreted the reason of my attention to him.

The first intelligence I received when I came home, was, that two gentlemen had called, and left cards. I eagerly enquired for them, and read the names of Lord Orville and Sir Clement Willoughby. I by no means regretted that I missed seeing the latter, but perhaps I may all my life regret that I missed the former; for probably he has now left town,-and I may see him no more!

X [w] significant

Manners & Morals

That is, he acts as if there were something between them that might signify an attachment.