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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about A Canadian Heroine.

“I knew we might come to-day,” Mrs. Bellairs said, still holding her favourite’s hand and scanning his face with her bright eyes.  “We shall not stay long, but it is pleasant to see you home again, Maurice.”

“Don’t say too many kind things, Mrs. Bellairs,” he answered, “or you will make me want to stay when I ought to be going.”

“Going!  You are surely not talking of that yet?”

“Indeed I am.  We hope to be away in a fortnight.”

“Oh! if you hope it, there is no more to be said.”

“If you knew how I have hoped to be here, and how disappointed I have been to-day, you would not be so hard on me.”

They had both sat down now and were a little apart, for the moment, from the others.  Mrs. Bellairs was surprised at Maurice’s words, though she understood instantly what he meant.  He had never before given her a single hint in words of his love for Lucia, though she had been perfectly aware of it.  She guessed now that his grandfather’s death had changed his wishes into intentions, and that since he was in a position to offer Lucia a share of his own good fortune, he no longer cared to make any secret of his feelings towards her.

“You did not expect that our friends would be gone,” she asked in a tone which expressed the sympathy she felt and yet could not be taken as inquisitive.  As for Maurice, he wanted to speak out his trouble to somebody, and was glad of this result of his little impetuous speech.

“I was altogether uncertain,” he answered; “I wanted to start from England a week sooner, and if I had done so, it seems, I should have found them here; but I was hindered, and for some reason or other, they chose to keep me in the dark as to their intentions.”

“Lucia often talked of you and of her regret at going away just when you were expected.”

“She did?  Do you know where they are?”

“No; and that is the strangest thing.  I believe their plans were not quite fixed; but still Mrs. Costello was not a woman to start away into the world without plans of some kind, and yet no one in Cacouna knows more than that they sailed from New York to Havre.”

“It is incomprehensible, except on one supposition.  Did you ever hear Mrs. Costello speak of my return?”

“Not particularly.  Don’t be offended, Maurice, either with her or with me, but I did fancy once or twice that she wished to be away before you came.  Only, mind, that is simply my fancy.”

“I have no doubt you fancied right; but I have a thousand questions to ask you.  Tell me first—­”

“Maurice,” interrupted Mr. Bellairs from the other side of the room, “what is this your father says about going away immediately?  You can’t be in earnest in such a scheme!”

“I am afraid I am,” Maurice answered, getting up and standing with his arm resting on the mantelpiece, “at least, if my father can stand the journey.”

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