She got up, put down her work, and went towards the door. “I wish Claudine would come,” she said to herself; but Claudine was not likely to come yet, and meanwhile somebody was waiting.
“I suppose I shall have a flood of French poured over me,” she thought dolorously; but there was clearly no help.
She went to the door, and opened it; a gentleman stood there—a gentleman! She uttered one little cry—
And then they were both standing inside the closed door; and he held her two hands in his, and they were looking at each other with eyes too full of joy to see well.
“Lucia!” he said; “just yourself.” But somehow his voice was not quite steady, and he dare not trust it any further.
“We wanted you so, and you are come. Oh, Maurice! you are good to find us so soon!”
“Did you think I should not?”
“I cannot tell. How could you know where we were?”
“I went to Chester, and asked.”
“To Chester? To my cousin’s? Just to find us out?”
“Why not? Did not you know perfectly well that my first thought when I was free would be to find you?”
He spoke half laughing, but there was no mistaking his earnestness in the matter; was not he here to prove it? Tears came very fast to Lucia’s eyes. This was really like the old happy days coming back.
“Come in,” she said, “mamma is here.” But mamma still slept undisturbed, for their tones had been low in the greatness of their joy; and Maurice drew Lucia back, and would not let her awake her.
“She looks very tired,” he said rather hypocritically; “and it will be time enough to see me when she awakes. Don’t disturb her.”
Lucia looked at her mother anxiously. She knew this sleep was good for the invalid, and yet it might last an hour, and how could she wait all that time for the thousand things she wanted to hear from Maurice? The door of their tiny salle a manger stood a little open.
“Come in here, then,” she said, “we shall be able to see when she wakes—and I must talk to you.”
Maurice followed obediently—this was better than his hopes, to have Lucia all to himself for the first half hour. She made him sit down in such a manner that he could not be seen by Mrs. Costello, while she herself could see through the open door and watch for her mother’s waking.