Beyond the Cottage, too, life had returned to its usual even flow. One household, it is true, was desolate; but that one had existed for so short a time that the change in it had scarcely any effect on the general current of daily affairs. Bella went away immediately after the funeral. Mrs. Bellairs had begun to despair of rousing her from her stupor of grief and horror, while she remained in the midst of all that could remind her of her husband; and, therefore, carried her away almost by force to the house of some relations near Toronto. When she came back, it would be to return to her old place in her brother-in-law’s house, a pale, silent woman in widow’s weeds, the very ghost of the gay bride who had left it so lately.
By Mrs. Morton’s absence Lucia was relieved from her most painful task; for, although she now no longer felt herself the daughter of the murderer, there was so much disingenuousness in her position as the most loved and trusted friend of the woman who still regarded her father as the criminal, as to make it in the highest degree irksome to be with her. She now tried to occupy herself as much as possible at home; and while she did so, the calm to which she had forced herself outwardly began to sink into her heart, and she found, almost with surprise, that former habits of thought, and old likes and dislikes, had survived her mental earthquake, and still kept their places when the dust had settled, and the debris were cleared away. One old habit in particular would have returned as strongly as ever, if circumstances had allowed—it was that of consulting and depending on Maurice in a thousand little daily affairs. Since the first two days of his absence there had been until now so constant a rush and strain of events and emotions, that she had not had time to miss him much; on the contrary, indeed, she had had passing sensations of gladness that he was not near at certain crises to pierce with his clear eyes and ready intuition, quite through the veil of composure which she could keep impervious enough to others. But now that the composure began to be more than a mere veil, and that her whole powers were no longer on the full stretch to maintain it; now, too, when everything outwardly went on the same as it had done three months ago, before Mr. Percy came to Cacouna, or the story of Christian had been told; now, she wanted the last and strongest of all old habits to be again practicable, and to see her old companion again at hand. She remained, however, totally unsuspicious of all that had passed between her mother and Maurice. She even fancied, sometimes, that Mrs. Costello did Maurice the injustice of believing him changed by the change of his circumstances, and that her affection for him had in consequence cooled.