Lucia’s tears were falling fast by this time in the darkness, yet she thought there was something cold and restrained in Maurice’s words and tone, and she could not guess how much the restraint cost him.
“As if I should forget you!” she said rather resentfully. “I could just as soon forget my brother, if I had one.”
The word did not suit Maurice. He sighed, with a kind of impatience.
“Shall we go in?” he said.
They turned towards the house, but when they reached it, instead of following Lucia in, he said “Good-night.”
She turned in surprise.
“But you are coming in?”
“Not to-night; my father will be waiting for me.”
“Let me call mamma, then.”
“I have said good-night to her. You will not forget? I do not mean forget me, but, forget that wherever I am, or wherever you are, you have the right to ask anything of me that a friend can do for you.”
“But we shall see you to-morrow?”
“Certainly. Go in; the air is damp and cold.”
He went away quickly, but Lucia lingered on the verandah until Mrs. Costello came to look for her. Already she thought the house looked desolate. What should they do without Maurice? Never in her life had she been so sorrowful, yet she had not the slightest idea how far his pain exceeded hers, or how he had longed for a word from her which would have encouraged him, at this last moment, to say all that was in his heart.
When Lucia awoke next morning, her first thought was of Maurice—what should she do without him? She rose and dressed hastily, fancying that at any moment he might come in, and anxious to lengthen, by every means, the time of their nearness to each other.
Maurice, however, though he looked wishfully at the Cottage as he went about his preparations, had too many things to think of and arrange, to steal a moment for the indulgence of his inclinations until afternoon, and she was obliged to wait with such patience as she could for his coming. He had told Mrs. Costello that it would be needful for him to spend two or three hours in Cacouna, and asked her to see his father in the meantime. Thus, in the afternoon, Lucia was for a considerable time quite alone.
Mrs. Costello, meanwhile, with more than friendly sympathy, heard from Mr. Leigh his reasons for urging upon Maurice this hasty departure, and cheered him with anticipations of his speedy return. They consulted over, and completed together, some last preparations for his voyage; and while they felt almost equally the trial of parting with him, the grief of each was a kind of solace to the other. For, in fact, whatever they might say, neither regarded this journey as an ordinary one, or thought that the return they spoke of would be what they tried to imagine it.