Towards night Mrs. Costello had greatly revived. She was able to sit up a little, and to talk much as usual. She did not allude at all to her last conversation with her daughter, and Lucia herself dared not renew so exciting a subject. But all anger seemed to have entirely passed away from between them. They were completely restored to their old natural confidence and tenderness; and that was a comfort which Lucia’s terror of last night made exquisitely sweet to her.
Two or three days passed before its former tranquillity was restored to the apartment in the Champs Elysees. Its “former tranquillity,” indeed, did not seem to come back at all. There were new elements of discomfort and disturbance at work, even more than in the days before Maurice came, and when Mrs. Costello both feared and hoped for his coming. He was never mentioned now, except during Lady Dighton’s daily visit. She, much mystified, and not sure whether Lucia was to be pitied or blamed, was too kind-hearted not to sympathize with her anxiety for her mother, and she therefore came constantly—first to inquire for, and then to sit with Mrs. Costello, insisting that Lucia should take that opportunity of going out in her carriage.
These drives gave the poor child not only fresh air, but also a short interval each day in which she could be natural, and permit herself the indulgence of the depression which had taken possession of her. She felt certain that her mother, though she treated her with her usual tenderness, still felt surprised and disappointed by her conduct. Maurice also, who had been always so patient, so indulgent, had gone away in trouble through her; he had reproached her, perhaps justly, and had given up for ever their old intimacy. She was growing more and more miserable. If ever, for a moment, she forgot her burden, some little incident was sure to occur which brought naturally to her lips the words, ‘I wish Maurice were here;’ and she would turn sick with the thought, ‘He never will be here again, and it is my fault.’
So the days went on till the Dightons left Paris. They did so without any clear understanding having reached Lady Dighton’s mind of the state of affairs between Maurice and Lucia. All she actually knew was that Maurice had been obliged to go home unexpectedly, and that ever since he went Lucia had looked like a ghost. And as this conjunction of circumstances did not appear unfavourable to her cousin’s wishes, and as she had no hint of those wishes having been given up, she was quite disposed to continue to regard Lucia as the future mistress of Hunsdon.
However, she was not sorry to leave Paris. Her visit there, with regard to its principal object, had been rather unsatisfactory; at all events it had had no visible results, and she liked results. She wanted to go home and see how Maurice reigned at Hunsdon, and tell her particular friends about the beautiful girl she hoped some day to have the pleasure of patronizing.