A Canadian Heroine, Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 198 pages of information about A Canadian Heroine, Volume 2.
which suggested itself to her, that of placing her daughter at school, might be practicable.  She had, also, to add to her other perplexities, a lurking conviction that, whenever Lucia did become aware of the plans that had been made for her, those plans stood no small chance of being entirely swept away; or, if carried out at all, that they would be finally shaped and modified according to Lucia’s own judgment and affection for herself, of which two qualities she had for a long time been having daily stronger proofs.  But in whatever way she regarded the future, it was full of difficulties and darkness; and she had no longer either strength or courage to face these hopefully.  The fainting fits which had twice alarmed Lucia, and which she spoke of as trifling and temporary indispositions, she herself knew perfectly well to be only one of the symptoms of a firmly-rooted and increasing disease.  She had taken pains to satisfy herself of the truth; she knew that she might live for years; and that, under ordinary circumstances, there was very little fear of the immediate approach of death; but she knew, also, that every hour of agitation or excitement hastened its steps; and how could she hope to avoid either?  The very effort to decide whether she ought to part with her child, or to suffer her to remain and face the impending revelations, was in itself an excitement in which life wasted fast.

But in this, as in so many human affairs, forethought was useless; and the course of events, over which so many weary hours of calculation had been spent, was already tending in a direction wholly unthought of and unexpected.  The first indication of this was the increasing illness of Christian.

When Mr. Strafford returned to Moose Island, after his second stay at Cacouna, he had begged Elton, the kind-hearted jailer, to send word to Mrs. Costello if any decided change took place in the prisoner before his return; and as she was known to be his friend and correspondent, this attracted no remark, and was readily promised.  A little more than a fortnight before the expected trial, Elton himself came one day to the Cottage, and asked for Mrs. Costello.  She received him with an alarm difficult to conceal, and, guessing his errand, asked at once if he had a worse account of his prisoner to send to Mr. Strafford?

“Well, ma’am,” he answered, “I don’t know whether to call it a worse account or not, considering all things; but he is certainly very ill, poor creature.”

“What is it?  Anything new, or only an increase of weakness?”

“Just that, ma’am.  Always a fever, and every day less strength to stand against it.  The doctor says he can’t last long in the way he’s going on.”

“And can nothing be done?”

“Well, you see, he can’t take food; and more air than he has we can’t give him.  It is hard on those that have spent most of their lives out of doors to be shut up anywhere, and naturally he feels stifled.”

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A Canadian Heroine, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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