There were messages from his wife and daughters, in conclusion, which seemed to promise that they also would be ready to welcome their unknown relatives.
“Blood is thicker than water.” Mrs. Costello began to feel that the one secure asylum for Lucia, in her probable orphanhood, would be in the old house by the Dee.
The next time she saw Mr. Leigh, she told him her plans quite frankly. She did so with some suspicion of his real feelings, only that in spite of their long acquaintance she did him the injustice to fancy that he would, for reasons of his own, be glad that Lucia should be out of Maurice’s way if he returned to Canada. She supposed that he had, on reflection, begun to shrink from the idea of a half-Indian daughter-in-law, and while she confessed to herself that the feeling was, according to ordinary custom, reasonable enough, she was at heart extremely angry that it should be entertained.
“My beautiful Lucia!” she said to herself indignantly; “as if she were not ten times more lovely, and a thousand times more worth loving, than any of those well-born, daintily brought up, pretty dolls, that Lady Dighton is likely to find for him! I did think better of Maurice. But, of course, it is all right enough. I had no right to expect him to be more than mortal.”
And Lucia went on in the most perfect unconsciousness of all the troubled thoughts circling round her. She spoke honestly of her regret at leaving Canada when, perhaps, Maurice might so soon be there, though she kept to herself the hopes which made her going so much less sad than it would have been otherwise. She was extremely busy, for Mrs. Costello, now that she thought no more of returning to the Cottage, had decided to sell it; all their possessions, therefore, had to be divided into three parts, the furniture to be sold with the house, their more personal belongings to go with them, and various books and knickknacks to be left as keepsakes with their friends. It was generally known now all over Cacouna that Mrs. Costello was going “home,” in order that Lucia might be near her relations in case of “anything happening,”—a thing nobody doubted the probability of, who saw the change made during the last few months in their grave and quiet neighbour. They were a little vague in their information about these relations, but that was a matter of secondary importance; and as the mother and daughter were really very much liked by their neighbours, they were quite overwhelmed with invitations and visits.
So the days passed on quickly; and for the second time, the one fixed for their journey was close at hand. One more letter had arrived from Maurice, containing the news of his grandfather’s death. It was short, like the previous one, and almost equally hurried. He said that he was struggling through the flood of business brought upon him by his accession to estates so large, and till lately so zealously cared for by their possessor. As soon as ever he could get away, he meant to start for Canada; and as the time of his doing so depended only on his success in hurrying on certain affairs which were already in hand, his father might expect him by any mail except the first after his letter arrived. There was no message to Mrs. Costello in this note, but, on the other side of the half sheet which held the conclusion of it, was a postscript hastily scrawled,