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sensibility; " but they present for me deep interest of your happiness; they tell to me
- There is not a blessing in existence they do not much wish for you.”
" Then, then, Julia !" replied Fitzroy, softened almost to tears of tenderness and joy, “ they wish you mine for ever.”
They now reached the door of the house, and lady Gaythorn called to him—“ My coach is last, Fitzroy,” said she; “and remember, I expect you to escort me home; therefore, if politesse has any demand up stairs upon you, be speedy in your civilities; for I shall be in waiting for you.”
“ I know not that there exists any necessity for my going up again,” replied Fitzroy, colouring. “ All the ladies have now left the ball-room, except the duchess of Springcourt and her party, and they are Mr. Smith's guests and friends, not mine.”
“ And notwithstanding that,” exclaimed lord Gaythorn, who was taking tender care of Miss Penrose, to whom he had most particularly attached himself during the evening—“and notwithstanding that, surely the elegant, well-bred disciple of the Chesterfieldean system, will not offend against every rule of propriety, by failing
to pay the friends of Mr. Smith the small attention which common civility demands.”
Fitzroy felt lord Gaythorn's malice, and was sensibly provoked ; and to Julia he instantly applied for her opinion on the subject.
Julia coloured at this public tribute of deference paid to her opinion, but unhesitatingly replied—“ Indeed, Mr. Fitzroy, I do agree very much with his lordship for thinking the friends to Mr. Smith claim for you this attention. Surely you will to them go," she added, in a lowered tone; and with a smile so ineffably sweet, and a look so unaffectedly confiding, that banished the idea of every woman but Julia De Clifford from the mind of Fitzroy at that moment; and having safely placed her in doctor Hargrave's coach, he took the arm of lord Francis Loraine, and hurried to pay his parting civilities to the duchess and her friends. The lures of lady Enderfield for detaining Fitzroy were exerted in vain; and lady Gaythorn had not to complain of being long delayed.
Ere Julia sought her pillow, she imparted every event of the evening to her kind and sincere friend Mrs. Goodwin, who had heard and observed sufficient of lady Enderfield, to make her tremble for the success of her ardent wishes, relative to Fitzroy and Julia, until the falling of the chandelier, when the conduct of Fitzroy banished every fear; and now the communications of our heroine strengthened her most sanguine expectations.
Full of hope and joy, this excellent woman quitted the chamber of Julia, whose gentle bosom felt the fluttering of an innovating guest, who seemed to monopolize every thought, and soften them into tender solicitude for Fitzroy, whose brilliant perfections, aided by the highly-flattering attentions and unequivocal language of respectful love, with which he assailed her, had imperceptibly made their progress towards attaching her; and although her resentment, and her momentary contempt, had been excited by his conduct during some part of this evening, yet had her pity for his past sufferings, her anxiety and sympathy for his present distressing embarrassment, been so powerfully awakened, resentment and contempt had been lulled; and the almost-frantic anguish he evinced when danger threatened her, had so completely subdued the last struggles of her affection for freedom, that rest for this night was banished from her pillow'; and Fitzroy was now enshrined in the pure temple of her heart.
With this newly-awakened fascination, she found ten thousand fears obtrude to agitate her bosom; and her thoughts were all tumult, without a certain hope to rest upon, except the affections of Fitzroy, and some entanglement with lady Enderfield; some unguarded promise, or wrong interpretation, might make imperious honour demand the sacrifice of those affections. “ And would the sacrifice be great which restored them to the object of his first attachment?” was a question her throbbing heart suggested; and the same heart nobly breathed a fervent wish, that if the trial should be required of him, the pain it inAieted might not be lasting, or deeply felt.
True to her appointment, Julia inhaled the refreshing breeze of morning in the rectory grounds by eight o'clock; and as, with fluttering expectation, she gained the mound, whence she could command a view of the footpath from the Priory, she beheld Fitzroy dashing the dew-drops from the tender grass in eager speed, that would not take the lengthened way that others trod, but hurried on in an undeviating line from the house to the boundary of the demesne. Over a stile into the high road (which only now separated him from the rectory grounds) he vaulted, when, to our heroine's inexpressible amazement and consternation, she suddenly saw lady Enderfield walking in the public road, unattended, and already advanced quite close to the spot where Fitzroy stood, in a retreating attitude, as if he meant to elude her observation. Her ladyship now seemed first to recognize him; she started, stumbled, screamed, and then, in a tumult of tender