Thursday, June 23, 2011
Evelina, Volume 2, Letter 23- Volume 3 Letter 9 (54-71)
Buckle up kiddos, a lot happened!
While on an outing to Kensington gardens with the Branghtons and Madame Duval Evelina is horrified to once again spy Lord Orville also enjoying the gardens and tries to avoid him for fear of her party making spectacles of themselves again. Her efforts have to opposite effect and when her party realizes her connection to a rich man they insist on taking his coach home by using her name. Evelina wants to melt into the ground and die. The next day Evelina finds out that Tom Branghton broke one of the windows after she left the coach and he went to Lord Orville himself to apologize as well as promote his father’s service as a silversmith. So humiliated by the turn of events, Evelina breaks etiquette by initiating written contact to Lord Orville in order to apologize and explain what brought about the impropriety.
Rev Villars sends his friend Mrs. Clinton to pick up Evelina to bring her back home. The timing could not have been better since Madame Duval just stumbled upon M. Dubois proclaiming his love for the shocked Evelina.
Evelina is overjoyed to be back home with Rev Villars and following her arrival is a letter from Lord Orville assuring her that her actions didn’t offend and hinting that he has strong feelings for her. Initially Evelina is relieved but upon a second reading she is embarrassed for Lord Orville, realizing that the letter is uncharacteristically improper. She grows gloomy over her crush’s impropriety and goes to Bristol with a family friend, Mrs. Selwyn to regain her health.
While in Bristol Evelina meets another rake, Lord Merton, and finds Lord Orville is there as well. Much to Evelina’s surprise Lord Orville doesn’t bring up the letter and acts as he did before the written exchange. Mrs. Selwyn and Evelina then take up Mrs. Beaumont’s invitation to stay at her home where Lord Orville is a guest as well. One morning during her garden stroll Evelina runs into Mr. Macartney who wants advice about his love life. Lord Orville runs into the two and shows his jealous side, but still in a gentleman-like manner.
Soon the letter becomes this mammoth issue that almost seems blown out of proportion. In a past salon (I can't recall which, now!) someone compared Evelina with Jersey Shore. Anyone who has suffered through the second season of that show (aka Miami Shore) should know that the whole season revolved around a letter as well. I can't help but compare!
This section of letters also introduces us to a new character. Mrs Selwyn. I am curious as to everyone’s thoughts on the lady. Evelina doesn’t seem too fond of her, and Mr Villars is known to not be much a fan (despite letting his daughter go with her). I however enjoy the woman’s intelligence and bluntness. She actually reminds me a bit of the author herself! Many have noted how Burney was quite shy, however her letters were always full of strong opinions. I like to think of Mrs Selwyn as Burney's inner-dialogue personified. However, if questioned, I wonder if Burney would agree! What do you think?