Evelina, by Fanny Burney

Letter viii

Evelina to the Rev. Mr. Villars

Howard Grove, March 26.

THIS house seems to be the house of joy; every face wears a smile, and a laugh is at every body’s service. It is quite amusing to walk about and see the general confusion; a room leading to the garden is fitting up for Captain Mirvan’s study. Lady Howard does not sit a moment in a place; Miss Mirvan is making caps; every body so busy! — such flying from room to room! — so many orders given, and retracted, and given again! nothing but hurry and perturbation.

Well but, my dear Sir, I am desired to make a request to you. I hope you will not think me an encroacher; Lady Howard insists upon my writing! — yet I hardly know how to go on; a petition implies a want and have you left me one? No, indeed.

I am half ashamed of myself for beginning this letter. But these dear ladies are so pressing — I cannot, for my life, resist wishing for the pleasures they offer me — provided you do not disapprove them.

They are to make a very short stay in town. The Captain will meet them in a day or two. Mrs. Mirvan and her sweet daughter both go; what a happy party! Yet, I am not very eager to accompany them: at least I shall be contented to remain where I am, if you desire that I should.

Assured, my dearest Sir, of your goodness, your bounty, and your indulgent kindness, ought I to form a wish that has not your sanction? Decide for me, therefore, without the least apprehension that I shall be uneasy or discontented. While I am yet in suspense, perhaps I may hope; but I am most certain that when you have once determined I shall not repine.

They tell me that London is now in full splendour. Two playhouses are open — the Opera-house — Ranelagh — and the Pantheon. — You see I have learned all their names. However, pray don’t suppose that I make any point of going, for I shall hardly sigh, to see them depart without me, though I shall probably never meet with such another opportunity. And, indeed, their domestic happiness will be so great — it is natural to wish to partake of it.

I believe I am bewitched! I made a resolution, when I began, that I would not be urgent; but my pen — or rather my thoughts, will not suffer me to keep it — for I acknowledge, I must acknowledge, I cannot help wishing for your permission.

I almost repent already that I have made this confession; pray forget that you have read it, if this journey is displeasing to you. But I will not write any longer; for the more I think of this affair, the less indifferent to it I find myself.

Adieu, my most honoured, most reverenced, most beloved father! for by what other name can I call you? I have no happiness or sorrow, no hope or fear, but what your kindness bestows, or your displeasure may cause. You will not, I am sure, send a refusal without reasons unanswerable, and therefore I shall cheerfully acquiesce. Yet I hope — I hope you will be able to permit me to go!

I am, with the utmost affection, gratitude, and duty, your

EVELINA—

I cannot to you sign ANVILLE, and what other name may I claim?

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burney/fanny/evelina/letter8.html

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