Mr. Bellairs came, according to his promise, and drove Mrs. Costello and Lucia to Fairfield, where they were to take the boat for Moose Island. It was a distance of about five miles; and as they glided along rapidly and smoothly, Lucia remembered with a sigh that this was probably the last sleigh drive of any length that she would have before leaving Canada. Perhaps it was not right, considering what the object of their present journey was, that she should be at liberty to have any such thoughts; it might have been more decorous if she had been absorbed by the grave and sombre ideas which the occasion demanded; but Lucia was at heart too frank and natural to try to force upon herself the affectation of a grief she did not feel. It had come into her heart, while Christian was slowly wearing out the last days of his unhappy life, to care for him as her father, to be deeply sorry for him, and to desire to comfort him; but now that his sufferings were over, she honestly thought that there was no further reason for grieving on his account. She was sad, however, for very simple and childish reasons; and this idea that it was her last sleigh drive actually brought tears into her eyes. Everything was so lovely! The road along which they passed lay like a broad white line between the dark woods and the river. The sun, setting over the opposite shore, brought out millions of sparkling points brighter than diamonds on the surface of the snow, and the gorgeous colours of the sky, deeper and more vivid even than in summer, filled her heart with an inexpressible and ever-changing delight. That wonderful union of spotless purity and glorious colour seemed almost supernatural—as if it needed but for men’s eyes to be opened that they might see plainly the city of “pure gold like unto clear glass” which stood upon those many-hued foundations, and the forms with garments white as snow which might come down and walk unsullied over the white-robed earth. But to see all this loveliness for the last time! To enjoy for the last time this luxury of nestling down among the sleigh robes, and being carried silently and swiftly forward, with nothing to disturb the dreamy, fanciful mood of the moment! She was actually crying, letting large heavy tears drop quietly down upon her furs—crying with the first premonitory attack of homesickness—when the village came in sight, and she had to rouse herself and dry her eyes, lest her mother should turn round and see her.
By-and-by they turned down the road to the steamboat wharf, and found themselves among a little group of people. The boats only stopped here when they were signalled to do so; but to-night there happened to be other passengers going, and Mr. Bellairs advised Mrs. Costello to remain in the sleigh till the ‘Reindeer,’ which was just in sight, should arrive. They sat still, accordingly, while he stood beside them talking; and when the boat had stopped at the landing,