No doubt these meditations were romantic. If Mrs. Costello had been the mother of half-a-dozen children—a woman living in the midst of a busy, lively household, where motherly cares and castle-buildings had to be shared among three or four daughters—she would not have had time to occupy herself so intensely with the affairs of any one. As it was, however, this one girl was her life of life; she threw into her interests the hopes of youth and the experience of middle age. As Lucia grew up, she had watched with anxiety, with hope, and with fear, for the coming of that inevitable time when, either for good or evil, she must love. It had been her fancy that, if Lucia loved Maurice, all would be well; if she loved any other, all would be ill. But time had passed on, and brought change; not one thing had happened according to her anticipations. And she tried to believe that she was glad that it was so, while a shadow of dissatisfaction lay at the bottom of her heart.
When Mr. Wynter left Paris, he did so with the comfortable conviction that his cousins were happily settled; and with the persuasion that, as they both appeared to have a fair share of common sense, they would soon forget their past troubles, and be just like other people.
“I don’t like Mary’s state of health at present,” he said to his wife; “and, if I am not mistaken, she thinks even worse of it than I do; but still, rest of mind and body may do a great deal; and now she is really a widow, and quite safe from any further annoyances, I dare say she will come round.”
“And her daughter?” asked Mrs. Wynter rather anxiously. “Do you think she would get on with the girls?”
“I don’t know, I’m sure, my dear. She is not much like them, certainly, or, indeed, like any English girl. She is wonderfully pretty, but quite Indian in looks.”
“Poor child! what a pity!”
“I am not sure about that. She seems a good girl, and Mary says is the greatest comfort to her, so I suppose she is English at heart; and as for her black eyes, there is something very attractive about them.”
Mrs. Wynter sighed again. Lucia’s beauty, of which it cannot be said that Mr. Wynter’s account was overdrawn, lost all its advantages in her eyes by being of an Indian type. She could never quite persuade herself that her husband had not been walking about the streets of Paris with a handsome young squaw in skins and porcupine quills.
Poor Maurice! He came up the river early one glorious morning, and standing on the steamboat’s deck watched for the first glimpse of the Cottage. His heart was beating so that he could scarcely see, but he knew just where to look, and what to look for. At this time of year there was no hope of seeing the fair figure watching on the verandah as it had done when he went away, but the curl of smoke from the chimney would satisfy him and prove that his darling was still