Evelina by Fanny Burney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4.5 stars. Yes, the country is better for your health, my dear, but the city beckons… While my favorite Georgian heroine is still Shamela, Evelina is not as annoying as Clarissa and has the good fortune to attract the attention of that paragon of taste and appropriate behavior, Lord Orville, rather than the dastardly Lovelace. Burney's satire is subtle at times and uproarious at others.
…But I'm a sad, weak creature;-don't you think I am, my Lord?"
"O, by no means," answered he, "your Ladyship is merely delicate,-and devil take me if ever I had the least passion for an Amazon."
"I have the honour to be quite of your Lordship's opinion," said Mr. Lovel, looking maliciously at Mrs. Selwyn; "for I have an insuperable aversion to strength, either of body or mind, in a female."
"Faith, and so have I," said Mr. Coverley, "for egad, I'd as soon see a woman chop wood, as hear her chop logic."
"So would every man in his senses," said Lord Merton, "for a woman wants nothing to recommend her but beauty and good-nature; in everything else she is either impertinent or unnatural. For my part, deuce take me if ever I wish to hear a word of sense from a woman as long as I live!"
"It has always been agreed," said Mrs. Selwyn, looking around her with the utmost contempt, "that no man ought to be connected with a woman whose understanding is superior to his own. Now I very much fear, that to accommodate all this good company, according to such a rule, would be utterly impracticable, unless we should choose subjects from Swift's hospital of idiots."
Captain Mirvan's coarse jesting embarrasses Evelina to no end, but makes for some hilarious situations. Spoiler alert: the monkey is the last straw!
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