Evelina, by Fanny Burney

Letter xli

Evelina to Miss Mirvan

June 7th

I HAVE no words, my sweet friend, to express the thankfulness I feel for the unbounded kindness which you, your dear mother, and the much-honoured Lady Howard, have shown me; and still less can I find language to tell you with what reluctance I parted from such dear and generous friends, whose goodness reflects, at once, so much honour on their own hearts, and on her to whom it has been so liberally bestowed. But I will not repeat what I have already written to the kind Mrs. Mirvan; I will remember your admonitions, and confine to my own breast that gratitude with which you have filled it, and teach my pen to dwell upon subjects less painful to my generous correspondent.

O, Maria! London now seems no longer the same place where I lately enjoyed so much happiness; every thing is new and strange to me; even the town itself has not the same aspect. — My situation so altered! — my home so different! — my companions so changed! — But you well know my averseness to this journey.

Indeed, to me, London now seems a desert: that gay and busy appearance it so lately wore, is now succeeded by a look of gloom, fatigue, and lassitude; the air seems stagnant, the heat is intense, the dust intolerable, and the inhabitants illiterate and under-bred; At least, such is the face of things in the part of town where I at present reside.

Tell me, my dear Maria, do you never retrace in your memory the time we passed here when together? to mine it recurs for ever! And yet I think I rather recollect a dream, or some visionary fancy, than a reality. — That I should ever have been known to Lord Orville — that I should have spoken to — have danced with him — seems now a romantic illusion: and that elegant politeness, that flattering attention, that high-bred delicacy, which so much distinguished him above all other men, and which struck us with so much admiration, I now retrace the remembrance of rather as belonging to an object of ideal perfection, formed by my own imagination, than to a being of the same race and nature as those with whom I at present converse.

I have no news for you, my dear Miss Mirvan; for all that I could venture to say of Madame Duval I have already written to your sweet mother; and as to adventures, I have none to record. Situated as I now am, I heartily hope I shall not meet with any; my wish is to remain quiet and unnoticed.

Adieu! excuse the gravity of this letter; and believe me, your most sincerely Affectionate and obliged

EVELINA ANVILLE.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:32