Edmond chased after Mr. Hornburg, catching his coattails.
"For shame!" he said to the quivering man. "Behaving so rudely to a woman and then, when you are found to be a scoundrel and a cheat, you try to run away! You are a spineless man who does not deserve to be called a gentleman!"
I jumped a little and shivered. This was a side of Edmond that I had never seen before.
Just then, Rosie ran to us. I quickly explained the situation to her, quaking as I described Mr. Hornburg's behavior. She put her hand in mine and squeezed it, soothing me. Then suddenly, she dashed back into the crowd, returning with a man whom she introduced as Mr. Pierre De Johns, the elder brother of Amae. I nodded my head towards Mr. De Johns, but I was much too distressed to curtsy and introduce myself.
Rosie began addressing Mr. Hornburg, her voice soft and sweet, though the words she spoke were fiery with their hatred. Mr. De Johns seemed ready to let out a laugh; he glanced at Rosie several times, a smile on his face as if he found her speech comical.
Mr. Hornburg, however, did not seem to be enjoying Rosie's tirade. He sneered at me, then Rosie, then Edmond, then back at me. Then his eyes seemed to catch something in the distance, and he looked past us, over my head, with a triumphant smile on his face. I turned and saw Amae herself hurrying towards us.
"Pierre? Rose? What are you doing to my husband?" Amae choked out her question through her tears, and her words were barely louder than a whisper.
"Amae, don't cry," Mr. Hornburg started to say, his voice barely disguising his disgust.
"Amae, don't go to him. He is a liar and a cheat." Rosie spoke with authority. Amae's eyes were now drawn to her face, and then to Pierre's. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mr. Hornburg trying to slip away.
"Edward, what are you doing?"asked Amae. Mr. Hornburg turned, startled, and then, sighing with a look of defeat, allowed himself to be lead out of the room by Pierre.
I realized that I had never once danced during this whole ball. It had all been very frustrating and emotional, what with Maria fainting and Rosie's revelation about Mr. Hornburg and then Mr. Hornburg trying to fool me into thinking he was Edmond... I glanced at the clock on the wall and realized that it was just now nine o' clock. This evening had seemed to last so long, and yet it was now barely begun. Thinking of Edmond, I turned towards him. A smile was on his face.
"Would you care to dance, Miss Wickham?"
"I would be delighted, Mr. Kingsley."
And we whirled away into the other swirling dancers, no longer outsiders, but now apart of them. And soon, I forgot about the troubles and trials we had experienced before, only that it was all over now and that I was dancing with the man I loved.