Lord Orville

While reading Evelina, I kept thinking of how her situation and relationship was shaped in the eyes of Lord Orville.

For Evelina, it was either have Lord Orville as a lover, or not have him at all. Thus, parting away was not just to quit loving him, but to quit being his friend.

Do we have to choose between having a certain man as a lover, or not having him in our lives at all?

Lord Orville and Mr. Macartney were the two gentlemen that she had been interacting with in Vol 3.  They were similar in the fact they were both carrying for Evelina, but different in the way they had approached her. Evelina never said she would quit Mr. Macartney, but she did say she has to leave Lord Orville. Evelina kept questioning her relationship with Lord Orville and never understood the confusion that she was in. However the letter she had received signed by his name, was her guide to his personality.

Evelina, in various letters to Mr. Villars showed her distress for losing her friendship with Lord Orville (page 372). She had made her decision to leave him. But, why should she have to lose his friendship?

Lord Orville is interested in being with Evelina regardless where she would be. He was pleased to see her at the Cliffton Highiets. He was behaving naturally as he was unaware, in fact ignorant of the letter that Evelina received. He was also obvious about his interest in Evelina, and she also noticed that. His interest made him look more awkward and mysterious. He seemed like a man whose actions were not following his words.

For Evelina, a man who rejected her, like Lord Orville, would not be playing fool and ignorant. Why did he send the letter if he had any feelings for her? At the dance, he danced with another lady. Evelina might have thought of him as a womanizer, or a foolish young man. Either characteristics made Lord Orville look worse. For a young man to be undecided or unable to stick to his word, was not the type of a man that would be suitable for marriage. He changed his mind between wanting Evelina, flattering her and dancing with her, and rejecting her and dancing with another lady. Thus, it would be better for Evelina to leave him than stay.

It was easy to see Evelina’s perspectives through her letters. However, I think it would be more interesting to look into this from the prospective of Lord Orville. He had no idea of the reasons that made Evelina pull away. She was cold in many ways. He saw Evelina and Mr. Macartney were exchanging papers or letters. Lord Orville got jealous because Evelina met Mr. Macartney several times. These were hits for him that she might have loved Mr. Macartney. So, to know her more and know her secrets, he behaved as a brother. If in case she had a lover, he would not lose his dignity.

Evelina did not want Lord Orville misunderstand her or lose her reputation (pages, 334-335, 337). She did not want him to leave her, but she wanted to be the one who was leaving her. It was her opportunity to revenge. She would reject him back. Thus, only when Lord Orville was around her that she would be more conscious about dealing with Mr. Macartney. She knew that situation would make Lord Orville jealous of her, and might leave her. And, Lord Orville noticed that she was not comfortable dealing with Mr. Macartney while he was around. This made Evelina more mysterious.

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