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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 162 pages of information about A Canadian Heroine, Volume 1.

“I am afraid you are right,” Mr. Strafford said.  “The only way to avoid, with certainty, any danger of meeting, is for you to leave Canada.”

“It is hard for both of us,” Mrs. Costello answered.  “Our little home is very pleasant, and we have dear and kind friends here—­but I see that we must go.”

“Have you decided where to go to?”

“No.  That is one of the things I want you to decide for me.”

“You cannot bear to live in a large town?”

“Better now probably than I did years ago,” Mrs. Costello said, with a faint smile.  “I am more used now to a civilized life than I was then.”

“I think your best security now, as then, would be found in a crowd—­or if you dislike that, you might travel from place to place for a time.”

“Are you strong enough for that, mamma?” asked Lucia.  “If you are, it is surely the best plan.”

“It is the best plan,” Mrs. Costello answered, “because it would be a sufficient reason for our leaving here.  Only it is a strange time of year to start on such a journey.  We must go south, and my not being very strong will be an additional excuse.”

“Perhaps,” said Mr. Strafford, “your absence need not be a long one.  It is quite probable, even now, that Christian may leave the neighbourhood again.”

“Why do you say, ‘even now?’”

“Because he is so much changed that he appears almost incapable of making many more long journeys.”

“You have seen him?”

“I saw him twice.  Once he came to my house.  You are not afraid to hear all I know?”

“No, no.  Pray go on.”

“A week or two after I first heard from Mary Wanita of his having appeared on the island, he came one night to my house.  As it happened, we met at the door, and I was obliged to let him in.  I saw, at once, that he was frightfully changed even from what you remember him.  I should have said there was no danger at all to be feared from his attempts to trace you, if I had not perceived that it had become a kind of mania with him, and that his senses, which seem to be completely dulled on other subjects, are still alive on that.  He asked me many questions; and although I told him plainly that I would answer none whatever which concerned you, he persisted for a long time, and declared that he knew both you and Lucia were living, and in Canada, and that he meant to find you, and make you come back to the island.  With that he went away, and came to me no more; but I saw him one day that I was on this side of the river, sitting in a tavern with some men who looked like lumberers.  I asked who they were, and heard that they were a gang in the employ of a man who lives near Cacouna.”

Mrs. Costello drew a long breath,

“Could he belong to the gang?  In that case he might be near here at any moment.”

“He did not then belong to them; but there were two or three other Indians with them, and it struck me that, knowing the river and all the creeks and small streams so well as he does, they would be not unlikely to employ him.  I could do nothing further then, however; and other affairs have prevented me from tracing him since.”

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