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Frances Burney, Evelina

We are to go this evening to a private ball, given by Mrs. Stanley, a very


fashionable lady of Mrs. Mirvans acquaintance.

We have been a-shopping as Mrs. Mirvan calls it, all this morning, to buy
silks, caps, gauzes, and so forth.

The shops are really very entertaining, especially the mercers; there seem to
be six or seven men belonging to each shop; and every one took care by
bowing and smirking, to be noticed. We were conducted from one to another,
and carried from room to room with so much ceremony, that I was almost
afraid to go on.

I thought I should never have chosen a silk: for they produced so many, I
knew not which to fix upon; and they recommended them all so strongly,
that I fancy they thought I only wanted persuasion to buy everything they
showed me. And, indeed, they took so much trouble, that I was almost
ashamed I could not.

At the milliners, the ladies we met were so much dressed, that I should
rather have imagined they were making visits than purchases. But what
most diverted me was, that we were more frequently served by men than by
women; and such men! so finical, so affected! they seemed to understand
every part of a womans dress better than we do ourselves; and they
recommended caps and ribbands with an air of so much importance, that I
wished to ask them how long they had left off wearing them.

The dispatch with which they work in these great shops is amazing, for they
have promised me a complete suit of linen against the evening.

I have just had my hair dressed. You cant think how oddly my head feels; full
of powder and black pins, and a great cushion on the top of it. I believe you
would hardly know me, for my face looks quite different to what it did before
my hair was dressed. When I shall be able to make use of a comb for myself I
cannot tell; for my hair is so much entangled, frizzled they call it, that I fear it
will be very difficult.

I am half afraid of this ball to-night; for, you know, I have never danced but
at school: however, Miss Mirvan says there is nothing in it. Yet, I wish it was
over.
Adieu, my dear Sir, pray excuse the wretched stuff I write; perhaps I may
improve by being in this town, and then my letters will be less unworthy your
reading.

Meantime, I am, Your dutiful and affectionate, though unpolished, EVELINA

Evelina - Work sheet

1. The phrase to be noticed in line 7 implies that the mercers are


(A) solicitous
(B) officious
(C) cloying
(D) vigilant
(E) obsequious

2. The speakers tone in the phrase and such men! (15) can best be
described as
(A) perturbed
(B) frightened
(C) surprised and confused
(D) disappointed
(E) incredulous

3. In context, the word affected most likely means


(A) unnatural
(B) superficial
(C) concerned
(D) moved
(E) stirred

4. The paragraph beginning The dispatch with which they work suggests
that the speaker is impressed by
(A) the dresses
(B) the shops communication
(C) the milliners and the mercers haste
(D) the milliners efficiency
(E) the ladies demands

5. Regarding her dressed hair, the speaker feels


(A) disillusioned
(B) relieved
(C) dissatisfied
(D) proud
(E) bemused

6. The speaker is half afraid most likely because


(A) she fears the unpredictable
(B) her hair is odd but her clothes are beautiful
(C) she is perplexed and amazed by everything she has experienced
(D) she is insecure and apprehensive
(E) she does not know how to dance well

7. The final paragraph implies that the speaker is here


(A) to ingratiate herself
(B) to rise in social class
(C) to please her dear Sir
(D) to meet a husband
(E) to study

8. The closing lines indicate that the passage is


(A) an interior monologue
(B) stream of consciousness
(C) nonfiction
(D) excerpted from a journal
(E) part of a missive

9. The qualification in the final line of the passage serves to


(A) characterize Evelina as obtuse
(B) underscore Evelinas self-awareness
(C) berate Evelina
(D) contrast Evelina with her addressee
(E) undermine Evelinas authority

10. The purpose of the passage as a whole is


(A) to criticize the values of a particular society
(B) to characterize the speaker as guileless and uncouth
(C) to detail the oddities of a culture from a strangers perspective
(D) to reveal the speakers perception of her experiences
(E) to characterize the speaker as tenacious and wise