Mrs. Costello woke up gradually from her doze. She had been dreaming of Cacouna, and that Maurice and Lucia were sitting near her talking of his journey to England. She opened her eyes and found herself in a strange room which she soon recognized, but still it seemed as if part of her dream continued, for she could hear the murmur of two voices, very low, and could see Lucia sitting in the adjoining room and talking to somebody. Lucia, in fact, had forgotten to keep watch.
Mrs. Costello listened for a minute. It was strangely like Maurice’s voice. She sat up, and called her daughter.
Lucia started up and came into the salon. She bent down over her mother, and kissed her to hide her flushed face and happy eyes for a moment.
“Are you rested, dear mamma?” she asked.
“Yes, darling. Who is there?”
“A visitor, mother, from England.”
“From England? Not your cousin?”
“No, indeed. Guess again.”
“Tell me. Quickly, Lucia.”
“What do you say to Maurice?”
But Maurice, hearing his own name, came forward boldly.
“I have but just arrived, Mrs. Costello. I told you I should find you out.”
They looked at each other with something not unlike defiance, but nevertheless Mrs. Costello shook hands with her guest cordially enough. Certainly he had kept his word—there might be a mistake somewhere, and at all events, for the present moment he was here, and it was very pleasant to see him.
So the three sat together and talked, and it seemed so natural that they should be doing it, that what did begin to be strange and incredible was the separation, and the various events of the past six months. But after Claudine had come in, and Lucia had been obliged to go away “on hospitable cares intent,” to arrange with her some little addition to the dinner which Maurice was to share with them, the newcomer took advantage of her absence, and resolved to get as many as possible of his difficulties over at once. He had not yet quite forgiven his faithless ally, and he meant to make a new treaty, now that he was on the spot to see it carried out.
“I am afraid,” he began, “that my coming so unexpectedly must have startled you a little, but I thought it was best not to write.”
Mrs. Costello could not help smiling—she was quite conscious of her tactics having been surpassed by Maurice’s.
“I am glad to see you, at any rate,” she said, “now you are here; but” she added seriously, “you must not forget, nor try to tempt me to forget, that we are all changed since we met last.”
“I do not wish it. I don’t wish to forget anything that is true and real, and I wish to remind you that when I left Canada I did so with a promise—an implied promise at any rate—from you, which has not been kept.”
“Maurice! Have you a right to speak to me so?”