“He has soon consoled himself.”
“My dear fellow, everybody can’t step into possession of L10,000 a year all at once. Most people have to do something for a living, and the only thing Percy could do was to marry.”
They said good-night soon after this, and went upstairs, Maurice blessing the Fates which seemed determined to give him all possible hope and encouragement. Only he could not quite understand this idea of Mr. Bellairs’. He could imagine anybody, even Percy, being so far carried away by Lucia’s beauty as to forget prudence for the moment; but he could not help but feel that it was improbable that Percy would have gone so far as to propose to Lucia unless he were sure she would say yes. Why, then, had she not said yes?
Next morning the last farewells had to be said—the last look taken at the old home. Night found father and son far on their way to New York, and Maurice’s eagerness all renewed by this fresh start upon his quest.
There was little of novelty in the journey or the voyage. There were the usual incidents of winter travelling—the hot, stifling car—the snowy country stretching out mile after mile from morning till night—the hotels, which seemed strangely comfortless for an invalid—and then the great city with its noise and bustle, and the steamer where they had nothing to do but to wait.
And, at last, there was England. There was the Mersey and Liverpool, looking, as they came in, much as if the accumulated dirt of the three kingdoms had been bestowed there, but brightening up into a different aspect when they had fairly landed and left the docks behind them. For it was a lovely March day—only the second or third of the month it is true,—and winter, which they had left in full possession in Canada, seemed to be over here, and the warm sunny air so invigorated Mr. Leigh that he would not hear Maurice’s proposal to rest until next day, but insisted on setting out at once for Norfolk.
As they drove to the railway they passed the jeweller’s shop where Maurice had bought Lucia’s ring. Alas! it still lay in his pocket, where he had carried it ever since that day—when would it find its destination? He was not going to be disheartened now, however. He was glad of the little disturbance to his thoughts of having to take tickets and see his father comfortably placed, and at the very last moment he was just able to seize upon a Times, and set himself to reading it as if he had never been out of England.