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CHAPTER XII.

SHORTLY after our heroine's distressing adventure at Delamore House, Fitzroy had, through an agent, offered to take Mr. Good. win's unoccupied first floor, at a very advanced price. The rectitude of Mr. Goodwin's mind taught him instantly to reject the lucrative proposal, as he well developed its motive. Fitzroy then offered a carteblanche for the apartinents for threemonths; and this proposition was more peremptorily rejected by Mr. Goodwin than even the for.

mer.

Although there being no mention of in. troduction to lady Delamore, or any other of Fitzroy's family, had led Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin to doubt the purity of his intentions relative to the humbly-protected, portionless Miss De Clifford, yet having reason to believe she had captivated Fitzroy, and depending much upon the magic of her charms and virtues, they determined to persuade Julia into accepting the very oppor

tune invitation of Mrs. Hargrave, as they knew Fitzroy was one of the candidates who purposed setting up for the county of

and thought that throwing her in his way, under respectable and unexceptionable protection, might put his affection and honour to the test : but of all their views, and even their knowledge of Fitzroy having any thing to do with the election at Z. their lovely charge was (as she had been relative to his application for the lodgings) to be kept in total ignorance. With fear, and trembling observation, Mrs. Goodwin marked Fitzroy's conduct to our heroine ; but soon the unrestrained manner in which he evinced his partiality, and dedicated his attentions, openly, before all those whose good opinion political reasons must teach him to deserve, silenced every apprehension, and led her on to the conviction that his was, now at least, honourable love: and the decided manner in which he spoke of his attachment, and serious intentions, even before her, upon this eventful Sunday morning, silenced every lingering doubt that suspicion would have glanced at, and filled her with the most ardent joy at the brilliant

prospects opening to her almost-idolized

young friend.

Every moment this day which Julia could obtain for reflection, was now dedicate ed to Fitzroy; and not, as Mrs. Goodwin apprehended, to painful unavailing retrospections. She had been most unexpectedly told by Fitzroy--the amiable Fitzroy—that he aimed at her affections, and wished to present her to his father as the wife his heart had chosen; and the mournful tone of his voice, when he said, “ If

you send me from you, I shall be miserable,” still vibrated on her ear.

From the idea of making him mi. serable, her grateful heart recoiled. She would not make Mr. Fitzroy any thing but happy for worlds : he who was so kind, so, benevolent, whoso tenderly fed the poor, persecuted, unhappy, starving woman (and so sweet and good as that was of him), he ought not to be afflicted. And then, too, he was so generous and disinterested, to. think of making her his wife, when, with his expectations and attractions, he might, she thought, command the affections of almost any woman in existence and she was portionless, deserted, unclaimed by her father's family; and her mother's was now

extinct : and well Fitzroy knew her insulated situation, for he had told her he had obtained the letter of Mr. Goodwin addressed to lady Delamore, and still kept it in his possession.

Every thing which gratified pride and ardent gratitude could urge, spoke in Fitzroy's favour, and combined, with his own apparent merits, to soften Julia's heart. From the first moment of her knowledge of him, he appeared in so amiable a point of view, that she had felt very much disposed to regard him with the sincere affection of a sister; but still inclination kept the first place in her heart, to be filled with tender friendship for lady Storamond : even now her heart felt painful unwillingness at the thought of allowing him to precede this beloved friend in the tenderness of its at. tachment; and to his resemblance to lady Storamond, which Julia still saw undimi. nished, more than even to any other consideration, Fitzroy was indebted for every feeling which softened, towards more than friendship, in her heart for him.

Had not our heroine's spirits been in a state of extreme agitation this day, she would, with her cheerful friends, Mrs. Goodwin and Charles, have derived much amusement from the indefatigable prepartions Miss Penrose was making for her evening's performance ; who, from the moment she found she was to display her musical abilities to lord Gaythorn and his friends that evening, thought of nothing but how to exhibit to the greatest advantage. She declined going out in the coach, or to walk, or even to accompany the rest of the family to evening service at church, fearing the effect any fatigue or exertion might have upon her voice. At dinner, apprehending any dire consequence from food, she made a strikingly-scanty meal, upon the most rapidly-digestive viands; and not one bit even of her favourite pudding would she touch, but raw eggs innumerable she swallowed before evening : and so persevering was she in practising the songs she meant to sing, that every inmate of the rectory was completely weary of hearing them; and doctor Hargrave did, in an elaborate complimental speech, venture to tell her, “she would make herself hoarse by such frequent repe-titions.”

The patience of Celestina was entirely subdued by this unceasing practice of her

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