They went back to their hotel for another night. Next day they moved to the apartment they had taken, and submitted themselves to the ministrations of Claudine, their French version of Margery. Submitted is exactly the right word for Lucia’s behaviour, at any rate. Claudine appeared to her to have an even greater than common facility of speech; it only needed a single hesitating phrase to open the floodgates, and let out a torrent. Accordingly, until her stock of available French should increase, Lucia decided to take everything with the utmost possible quietness. She would devote herself to her mother, and to becoming a little acquainted with Paris, and give Claudine the fewest possible occasions for eloquence.
Before the two days which Mr. Wynter spent with them in their new dwelling were over, they had begun to feel tolerably settled. In fact, Lucia’s spirits, raised by excitement, were beginning to droop a little, and her thoughts to make more and more frequent excursions in search of the friends from whom she was so widely separated. She thought most, it is true, of Percy, and her fancies about him were rose-coloured; but she thought, also, a little sadly, of the dear old home, and the Bellairs and Bella, and even Magdalen Scott, who had been an old acquaintance, if never a very dear friend. She had many wondering thoughts, too, about Maurice. Was he still in England? or was he in Canada? was he at sea? would he come over to see them? would he even know where to find them if he came? Of these last subjects she spoke freely to her mother, only she kept utter silence as to Percy. So it happened that Mrs. Costello, knowing her own estimate of her daughter’s lover, and strangely forgetting not only how different Lucia’s had been, but that in a nature essentially faithful, love increases instead of dying, through time and absence, comforted herself, and believed that all was now settled for the best. Neither Percy nor Maurice, it was evident, would ever be Lucia’s husband. Nothing could be more satisfactory, therefore, than that she should have become indifferent to the one, and have only a sisterly affection for the other. And yet, with unconscious perversity, she was not satisfied. She allowed to herself that Maurice’s conduct had been reasonable enough. He had accepted the common belief that Christian was the murderer of Dr. Morton; and the conclusion which naturally followed, that Christian’s daughter, beautiful and good though she might be, was not a fit mistress for Hunsdon; to have done otherwise, would have been Quixotic. Yet in her heart she was bitterly disappointed. If he had but loved Lucia well enough to dare to take her with all her inherited shame, how richly he would have been rewarded when the cloud cleared away! Where would he find another like her? And now, since Maurice could change, who might ever be trusted?