"My Lord,Kaum hat Evelina ihren Brief dem Boten übergeben, zweifelt sie schon, ob es recht war, ihn zu schreiben. Sie will ihm nacheilen, um ihn zurückzuholen, wird aber durch die Umstände gehindert.
"I am so infinitely ashamed of the application made yesterday for your Lordship's carriage in my name, and so greatly shocked at hearing how much it was injured, that I cannot forbear writing a few lines, to clear myself from the imputation of an impertinence which I blush to be suspected of, and to acquaint you, that the request for your carriage was made against my consent, and the visit with which you were importuned this morning without my knowledge.
"I am inexpressibly concerned at having been the instrument, however innocently, of so much trouble to your Lordship; but I beg you to believe, that the reading these lines is the only part of it which I have given voluntarily. I am, my Lord,
"Your Lordship's most Humble servant,"EVELINA ANVILLE."
Die Antwort stürzt sie in Verwirrung:
"To Miss Anville.
"With transport, most charming of thy sex, did I read the letter with which you yesterday morning favoured me. I am sorry the affair of the carriage should have given you any concern, but I am highly flattered by the anxiety you express so kindly. Believe me, my lovely girl, I am truly sensible to the honour of your good opinion, and feel myself deeply penetrated with love and gratitude. The correspondence you have so sweetly commenced, I shall be proud of continuing; and I hope the strong sense I have of the favour you do me will prevent your withdrawing it. Assure yourself, that I desire nothing more ardently than to pour forth my thanks at your feet, and to offer those vows which are so justly the tribute of your charms and accomplishments. In your next I intreat you to acquaint me how long you shall remain in town. The servant, whom I shall commission to call for an answer, has orders to ride post with it to me. My impatience for his arrival will be very great, though inferior to that with which I burn to tell you, in person, how much I am, my sweet girl, your grateful admirer,"ORVILLE."
What a letter! how has my proud heart swelled every line I have copied! What I wrote to him you know; tell me, then, my dear friend, do you think it merited such an answer? – and that I have deservedly incurred the liberty he has taken? I meant nothing but a simple apology, which I thought as much due to my own character as to his; yet by the construction he seems to have put upon it, should you not have imagined it contained the avowal of sentiments which might indeed have provoked his contempt?
The moment the letter was delivered to me, I retired to my own room to read it; and so eager was my first perusal, that, – I am ashamed to own, – it gave me no sensation but of delight. Unsuspicious of any impropriety from Lord Orville, I perceived not immediately the impertinence it implied, – I only marked the expressions of his own regard; and I was so much surprised, that I was unable for some time to compose myself, or read it again: – I could only walk up and down the room, repeating to myself, "Good God, is it possible? – am I then loved by Lord Orville?"
But this dream was soon over, and I awoke to far different feelings. Upon a second reading I thought every word changed, – it did not seem the same letter, – I could not find one sentence that I could look at without blushing: my astonishment was extreme, and it was succeeded by the utmost indignation.
If, as I am very ready to acknowledge, I erred in writing to Lord Orville, was it for him to punish the error? If he was offended, could he not have been silent? If he thought my letter ill-judged, should he not have pitied my ignorance? have considered my youth, and allowed for my inexperience?
Oh, Maria! how have I been deceived in this man! Words have no power to tell the high opinion I had of him; to that was owing the unfortunate solicitude which prompted my writing; a solicitude I must for ever repent!
(Fanny Burney: Evelina Brief 58)
1. Angenommen, Evelina ist dazu erzogen worden, propriety als die wichtigste Tugend einer jungen alleinstehenden Frau anzusehen: Was kann sie dazu veranlassen, den ersten Brief zu schreiben?
2. Wieso fasst Evelina diesen Brief als einen Beweis für mangelnde propriety von Lord Orville auf?
3. Wenn Lord Orville dem Leser bisher als Musterbeispiel von propriety erschienen ist: Welcher Verdacht kommt in ihm auf?
4. Auf welche Figur des Briefromans könnte sich der Verdacht des Lesers richten?
5. In welchem Roman von Jane Austen tritt eine Figur mit gleichem Nachnamen wie diese verdächtige Figur auf und welche Rolle spielt sie da?
Wer den Roman nicht kennt, kann den englischen Wikipediaartikel Evelina und sein Personenverzeichnis zur Hilfe heranziehen.