Mrs. Costello spoke earnestly, and with a kind of suppressed passion. It seemed as if her words had an application beyond Lucia’s knowledge; yet they awed her strangely. Could they be true? Who then could be trusted? for according to her mother’s story, Lord Lastingham had not merely deceived his wife, he had deceived himself also, with this counterfeit love. She fell into a reverie, which lasted till the noise of cups and saucers, as Margery brought in tea, put it to flight.
Two or three weeks passed. The inhabitants of Cacouna had grown accustomed to the sight of Mr. Percy’s tall figure, as he lounged from his cousin’s house to his office, or rode and drove with Mrs. Bellairs. From different causes, the project of spending the day at the farm, as well as some other schemes of amusement, had been deferred, and, with one or two exceptions, all was going on as usual. The most notable of these exceptions was in the life at the cottage, formerly so calm, so regular, so smooth in its current. Now a change had crept over both mother and daughter, and the very atmosphere of the house seemed to have changed with them.
In Lucia, even a casual visitor would have remarked the difference. Her beauty seemed suddenly to have burst from bud into blossom; her childishness of manner had almost left her; her voice, especially in singing, had grown more full and musical.
In Mrs. Costello, the change was the reverse of all this. Mrs. Bellairs and Maurice Leigh, the two people, who, except her daughter, loved her best, grieved over her unrested, pallid face, and noticed that her soft brown hair had more and more visible streaks of grey. They thought her ill, and each had said so, but she answered so positively that nothing was the matter, that they were unable to do more than seem to accept her assurances. But to Lucia, when, with a tenderness which seemed to have grown both deeper and more fitful, she would implore to be told the cause of such evident suffering, Mrs. Costello gave a different answer.
“I have told our friends the truth,” she said; “I am not ill in body, but a little anxious and disturbed in mind. Have patience for a while, my darling, the time for you to share all my thoughts is, I fear, not far distant.”
So Lucia waited, too full of life and happiness herself to be much troubled even by the shadow resting on her mother, and growing daily more absorbed in a strange new delight of her own—seeing all things through a new medium, and filling her heart too full of the joy of the present, to leave room in it for one grave fear of the future.