Barnaby Rudge HTML version

Chapter 21
It was for the moment an inexpressible relief to Dolly, to recognise in the person who
forced himself into the path so abruptly, and now stood directly in her way, Hugh of the
Maypole, whose name she uttered in a tone of delighted surprise that came from her
'Was it you?' she said, 'how glad I am to see you! and how could you terrify me so!'
In answer to which, he said nothing at all, but stood quite still, looking at her.
'Did you come to meet me?' asked Dolly.
Hugh nodded, and muttered something to the effect that he had been waiting for her,
and had expected her sooner.
'I thought it likely they would send,' said Dolly, greatly reassured by this.
'Nobody sent me,' was his sullen answer. 'I came of my own accord.'
The rough bearing of this fellow, and his wild, uncouth appearance, had often filled the
girl with a vague apprehension even when other people were by, and had occasioned
her to shrink from him involuntarily. The having him for an unbidden companion in so
solitary a place, with the darkness fast gathering about them, renewed and even
increased the alarm she had felt at first.
If his manner had been merely dogged and passively fierce, as usual, she would have
had no greater dislike to his company than she always felt--perhaps, indeed, would
have been rather glad to have had him at hand. But there was something of coarse bold
admiration in his look, which terrified her very much. She glanced timidly towards him,
uncertain whether to go forward or retreat, and he stood gazing at her like a handsome
satyr; and so they remained for some short time without stirring or breaking silence. At
length Dolly took courage, shot past him, and hurried on.
'Why do you spend so much breath in avoiding me?' said Hugh, accommodating his
pace to hers, and keeping close at her side.
'I wish to get back as quickly as I can, and you walk too near me, answered Dolly.'
'Too near!' said Hugh, stooping over her so that she could feel his breath upon her
forehead. 'Why too near? You're always proud to me, mistress.'
'I am proud to no one. You mistake me,' answered Dolly. 'Fall back, if you please, or go