Maurice thought, uselessly, but persistently. He thought of the past, when he had been quite happy, looking forward to a laborious life with Lucia to brighten it. He thought of the future which must now have one of two aspects—either cold, matter-of-fact and solitary, in the great empty house at Hunsdon without Lucia, or bright and perfect beyond even his former dreams, in that same great old house with her. He meant to win her, however, sooner or later, and the real trouble which he feared at present was nothing worse than delay.
Mrs. Costello and Lucia found their journey from Cacouna to New York a very melancholy one. They had gone through so much already, that change and travel had no power to stimulate their overstrained nerves to any further excitement; the time of reaction had begun, and a sort of languid indifference, which was in itself a misery, seemed to have taken possession of them. Even Lucia’s spirits, generally strong both for enjoyment or for suffering, were completely subdued; she sat by the window of the car looking out at the wintry landscape all day long, yet saw nothing, or remembered nothing that she had seen. Once or twice she thought, “Perhaps in a few days more, Maurice will be passing over this very line; he will be disappointed when he reaches home and finds that we are gone;” but all her meditations were dreamy and unreal—her mind acted mechanically. A kind of moral catalepsy benumbed her. Afterwards when she remembered this time, she wondered at herself; she could not comprehend the absence of sensation with which she had left the dear home and all the familiar objects of her whole life, the incapability of feeling either keen sorrow at the parting, or hope in the unknown future. The days they spent in hurrying hour by hour further away from Canada, always remained in her recollection little more than a blank, and she scarcely seemed to recover herself until Mr. Strafford touched her gently on the shoulder, late in the evening and said,
“New York at last, Lucia.”
She got up then, in a hurried, confused way, and looked at her mother helplessly.
Mrs. Costello, though to some degree she had shared Lucia’s stunned feeling during their journey, had watched her child with considerable anxiety, and was glad of any change in her manner. She hastened to leave the train, thinking that the few hours’ rest they would have before going on board the steamer would be the best remedy for this strange torpor. They found, however, when they reached the Hotel and went to bed, that weary as they were, they could not sleep. The unaccustomed noise of the city—the mere sensation of being in a strange place, kept them both waking, and they were glad to get up early, and go down to the vast empty drawing-room where Mr. Stafford could join them for the last time, and talk of the subjects which were near the hearts of all three. And yet, after all, they did not talk much. Those last hours which are so precious, and in which we seem to have so much to say, are often silent ones.