A Canadian Heroine eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 211 pages of information about A Canadian Heroine.
Gratitude, therefore, and duty kept him here.  But there, meanwhile, so far out of his reach, what might be going on?  He lived a perfectly double life.  Lucia was in trouble—­some inexplicable shadow of disgrace was threatening her—­something so grave that even her mother, who knew him so well, thought it an unsurmountable barrier between them—­something which looked the more awful from its vagueness and mystery.  It is true that he was only troubled—­not discouraged by the appearance of this phantom.  He was as ready to fight for his Una as ever was Redcross Knight—­but then would his Una wait for him?  To be forcibly held back from the combat must have been much worse to a true champion than any wounds he could receive in fair fight.  So at least it seemed to Maurice, secretly chafing, and then bitterly reproaching himself for his impatience; yet the next moment growing as impatient as before.

To him in this mood came Mrs. Costello’s last letter.  Now at last the mystery was cleared up, and its impalpable shape reduced to a positive and ugly reality.  Like his father, Maurice found no small difficulty in understanding and believing the story told to him.  That Mrs. Costello, calm, gentle, and just touched with a quiet stateliness, as he had always known her, could ever have been an impulsive, romantic girl, so swayed by passion or by flattery as to have left her father’s house and all the protecting restraints of her English life to follow the fortunes of an Indian, was an idea so startling that he could not at once accept it for truth.  In Lucia the incongruity struck him less.  Her beauty, dark and magnificent, her fearless nature, her slender erect shape, her free and graceful movements—­all the charms which he had by heart, suited an Indian origin.  He could readily imagine her the daughter of a chief and a hero.  But this was not what he was required to believe.  He had read lately the description of a brutal, half-imbecile savage, who had committed a peculiarly frightful and revolting murder, and he was told to recognize in this wretch the father of his darling.  But it was just this which saved him.  He would believe that Christian was Mrs. Costello’s husband and Lucia’s father, because Mrs. Costello told him so herself and of her own knowledge—­but as for a murder, innocent men were often accused of that; and when a man is once accused by the popular voice of a horrible crime, everybody knows how freely appropriate qualities can be bestowed on him.  So the conviction which remained at the bottom of Maurice’s mind, though he never drew it up and looked steadily at it, was just the truth—­that Christian, by some train of circumstances or other, had been made to bear the weight of another person’s guilt.  As to the other question of his giving up Lucia, Maurice never troubled himself to think about it.  He was, it must be confessed, of a singularly obstinate disposition, and in spite of his legal training not particularly

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A Canadian Heroine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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