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.

He answered all her questions with this view clearly before him, and explained to her solicitously how very little consequence it now was to Christian whether the hands that ministered to his few remaining wants were those of his own kindred or of pitying strangers.  When he thought he had made this quite evident to her, he reminded her that there was no further question of removing either from Christian himself, or from his wife and daughter, the stain of an undeserved ignominy; he was at this very moment regarded by all who knew anything of the circumstances as a victim sacrificed to save Clarkson, and justified by the manifest interference of Providence—­placed thus in a better position as regarded public opinion than he could have been by any other train of events.  Thus no idea of compensation need longer be entertained; the generous yearning towards the oppressed must die now that oppression was ended; and the only result of declaring the long-concealed marriage would be to bring upon the two women who had already suffered so much in consequence of it, a fresh torture of wonder and notoriety—­in short, there was no longer any sufficient reason for the relationship becoming known, and Mr. Strafford came gradually to the point of suggesting this to Mrs. Costello.

She heard him with surprise.  As he went on telling her all that was meant to prepare her for this idea, she listened and assented without suspecting what was coming, but when she did understand him she said much as she had done before,

“It is too late to make any change now; three or four persons already know.”

“But,” Mr. Strafford answered, “they are just the persons whom you can trust, and whom, most likely you would have wished to tell, at any rate.”

“That is true.  You think then that the truth may still be kept secret?”

“I see no reason why it should not.  Doctor Hardy suspects it, but medical men know how to keep family secrets, and as for whatever wonder your illness may have excited in either Mrs. Elton or her husband, the doctor himself can easily set that at rest by saying what I am afraid is too true, that you are subject to fainting fits.”

“You must give him a hint to do so then, please; and I know that the others whom I have told will keep silence faithfully.  But then I am not yet quite convinced that silence ought to be kept.”

“You still feel, however, that not to keep it is in some degree to sacrifice Lucia?”

“Yes.  But you know that we have long ago weighed that matter.  Heaven knows that my heart is in the same scale as my darling’s happiness, and just for that very reason I am afraid to alter our decision.”

“You are right in saying ‘we.’  I helped you to decide once, and I wish to change your decision now; for we yielded then to what we both believed to be the claim of duty, arising out of Christian’s imprisonment and danger.  Now, however, that he is quite safe, and that his very imprisonment proves to be one of the very best things that could happen to him, the case is reversed; and he is no longer the first person to be thought of.”

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