When the letter had been sent off, she said to her daughter, “Suppose that we are penniless in consequence of our flight? What is to done then?”
“Surely that cannot be?”
“I do not know until I see my cousin. I think it must depend legally on the terms of your grandfather’s will; but, in fact, I suppose George had the decision in his hands.”
After this they both looked anxiously for Mr. Wynter’s answer.
But before Mr. Wynter had time to reply.—indeed, by the very first possible post—came a letter to Lucia, the sight of which made her very rosy. She had had plenty of letters from Maurice long ago, and never blushed over them as she did over this; but then this was so different. She did not even like to read it in her mother’s presence. She just glanced at it there, and carried it off to devour in comfort alone. It was quite short, after all, for he had scarcely had ten minutes before the post hour; but it said—beside several things which were of no interest except to the reader—that he had found Lady Dighton at Hunsdon on his arrival, and had told her and his father together of his engagement; that his cousin was going to write and invite Mrs. Costello to Dighton; and that Mr. Leigh said, if they did not come down immediately, he should be obliged to start for London himself to tell them how pleased he was.
“At any rate,” Maurice concluded, “I shall be in town again on Saturday. I find I have business to see my lawyer about.”
All this—as well as the rest of the note—was very agreeable. Lucia went and sat down on a footstool at her mother’s feet to tell her the news. Mrs. Costello laid her hand on her child’s head and sighed softly.
“You will have to give up this fashion of yours, darling,” she said, “you must learn to be a woman now.”
“I don’t believe I ever shall,” she answered. “At least, not with you or with Maurice.”
“Would you like to go to Dighton?”
She considered for a minute.
“Yes, mamma, I think I should. You know how things are in those great houses; but I have never seen anything but Canada, and even there, just the country. I should not like, by-and-by, for people to laugh at Maurice, because I was only an ignorant country girl.”
She spoke very slowly and timidly; but Mrs. Costello began to think she was right. It would be as well that the future mistress of Hunsdon should have some little introduction to her new world, to prepare her for “by-and-by.”
Next day came two letters for Mrs. Costello, as well as one for Lucia. The first was from Lady Dighton full of congratulation, and pressing her invitation; the other, from Mr. Wynter, announced that he, his wife, and daughter, would be in London next evening. Next evening was Saturday, and Maurice also would be there, and would, of course spend Sunday with them; so that they had a prospect of plenty of guests.