When he got home he set himself to consider whether it were better to write boldly to Mr. Wynter and ask for news of the travellers, or whether to wait, and after taking his father to Hunsdon run over himself to Chester, and make his request in person. There was little to be gained by writing, for Mr. Wynter’s answer, even if it were satisfactory, would have to be sent to Hunsdon, and there wait his arrival, while Mrs. Costello would have plenty of time to hear of his application, and to baffle him if she wished to do so. He quickly decided, therefore, to do nothing until he could go himself to Chester, and from thence direct to the place, wherever that might be, where Lucia was to be found.
Mr. Leigh’s day, meanwhile, had been far less comfortable than Maurice’s. He had made a pretence of looking over papers, and arranging various small affairs in readiness for their voyage, but his mind all the while had been occupied with two or three questions. Had Maurice really sent to him a note for Mrs. Costello which by any carelessness of his had been lost? Had the change he remembered in her manner been connected with the loss? Had Lucia cared for Maurice? Had either mother or daughter thought so ill of Maurice as he, his own father, had done? The poor old man tormented himself, much as a woman might have done, with these speculations, but he dared not breathe a word of them. He even went so far in his self-accusations and self-disgust as to imagine that if he had been his son’s faithful helper, he might have prevented that flight from the Cottage which had caused so much trouble and vexation.
Still, when Maurice came home full of energy and hope, and anxious to atone for his unreasonableness of the previous day, the aspect of affairs brightened a good deal, and the evening passed happily with both.
But after that first day a certain amount of disturbance began to be felt in the household. People came and went perpetually. There was so much to be done, and so little time to do it in; and there was not only the actual business of moving, but innumerable claims from old friends were made upon Maurice, all of which had to be satisfied one way or other.
And the days flew by so quickly. Maurice congratulated himself again and again on having provided so good a reason for leaving Cacouna at a certain time. “Our berths are taken,” was a conclusive answer to all proposals of delay; and if it had not been for that, he often thought it would have been impossible to have held to his purpose. But as it was, all engagements, whatever they might be, had to be pressed into the short space of a fortnight, and under the double impulse of Maurice’s own energies, and of that irrevocable must, things went on fast and prosperously.