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Her dismayed companions now hesitated to consider what they could or ought to do. They had neither of them ever been in the market-place before, and knew not which turning would take them to the rectory. All the shops were shut, upon account of expected tumults, as evening should draw in, and the different public houses should be disembogued of their potvaliant heroes; when hearing Celestina say, as she sprang forward—“There is old Dick!" they concluded this man to be known to the Hargraves, and therefore they hastily determined to ask him to conduct them home.
By the time they had reached the hustings, Miss Hargrave and Dick had entered the booth. Julia and Miss Penrose entered too, to seek their hoped for convoy; and saw him hobbling after Celestina, who had now got out upon the hustings, and clambering over every impediment she met with. They had the whole length of the gallery to walk, to the furthest extremity of the building, to pursue those they sought; and they were congratulating each other upon there being only themselves in the booth, when they heard the sound of fastapproaching footsteps: they were both too prudent to look behind; but they quickened their pace with palpitating hearts and increased terror. Their speed, however, was vain; they were overtaken by two dashing, gay young men, extremely inebriated, who each rudely seized a trembling girl, and, in the moment of surprise and terror, separated them.
Julia's persecutor was infinitely the most inebriated of the two; and the moment he lost the supporting arm of his friend, he seemed ready to fall prostrate at the feet of Julia, who he swore was an angel, and that he would have a kiss. Our heroine's indignation, now combined with agonized terror, gave her strength to break from the rudesby; and the moment she eluded his grasp, she ran forward, and reaching the termination of the gallery, bounded over the rail upon the hustings, and was, without hesitation, about to jump off the platform into the area (where she now saw Miss Hargrave and her limping attendant), when she was prevented by an encircling arm, and an exclamation of_“ Dear creature! desist---you know not the danger you would brave!"
“ Oh, Mr. Fitzroy! what much distressing situation you have again found for me!” said Julia, turning her lovely face towards him; but her agitation was so violent, her articulation was scarcely to be heard.
“ Miss De Clifford !” exclaimed Fitzroy, in visible surprise-"Miss De Clifford ! how came you--why are you here, dearest madam ? why do I find you here, in so unprotected a situation ?”
Julia's little stock of courage had done as much as it could do for her, and now was completely exhausted. Her heart throbbed as if it would break from its boundary. She panted for breath; she trembled so, she was scarcely able to stand : to speak was impossible; and from the variation of her colour, Fitzroy was dreadfully alarmed, fearing she would faint: but he kindly soothed her terrors, by assurances of her being now in perfect safety, as he would protect her from every insult. At length the courage of our poor heroine rallied a little; she disengaged herself from Fitzroy's support, and leaned against the railing of the scaffolding
* Miss De Clifford,” said Fitzroy, looking anxiously at her, “ will you not speak
to me ?-Will you not tell me who you are with at Z.?"
“ Speak to you!" she replied; “ sure I will; for I have a great deal of many thanks to give you; and—and though I am here in so greatly-awkward situation, I did not to Z. come with any one improper. I did come with Mrs. Goodwin, to make a visit to doctor Hargrave's.”
“ Doctor Hargrave's!” exclaimed Fitzroy, his countenance portraying the most animated pleasure—“then, then, at last, I shall be allowed the happiness of seeing
“Oh,” said Julia,“ you come this evening! Lord Gaythorn did say so, at the rectory, this morning; and I was very glad, for I wanted still to give thanks for your so great goodness to me at Delamore House. But now I am again so fortunate as to be protected of your kindness, let me not forget my poor companion in so awkward distress.”
“Fear nothing for her,” replied Fitzroy; " she has got the very soul of honour for her champion-my particular friend, lord Francis Loraine; who, in fact, has now given me the happiness of being useful to you. As you passed the Castle Inn, you attracted his attention; and he saw you followed by two very inebriated young men, and he led me after you (little thinking whom I was pursuing), to protect you, should you require protection: and see, your fair friend approaches, with lord Francis."
Miss Penrose now joined our heroine, attended by a very elegant-looking young man, whom Julia recognized as the same who had, with Fitzroy, leaped from the sociable to Biddy's rescue, and whom Fitzroy now introduced to her. And Julia hastened briefly to account for the awkward situation they had been found in, by relating to lord Francis and Fitzroy the ingenious device of Miss Hargrave, to lure them to the hustings; and both young men were extremely hurt at the distressing situation the highly-reprehensible conduct of Miss Hargrave had thrown two such very young women into.
“ We cannot leave Miss Hargrave here,” said Miss Penrose; “ and to get her home against her inclination would be impossible.”
“ Then let us not attempt it,” replied