“To-night, mamma, for England?”
Mrs. Costello looked a little displeased at Lucia’s surprise, “To be sure,” she said; “why, my dear child, you yourself thought England would be the best place.”
“I did think so certainly, but I did not know I had said it.”
“Well, can we be ready?”
“I can finish packing in an hour, but there is Madame Everaert to arrange with.”
“We must wait till Maurice comes back before doing that.”
“I suppose we must; mamma, will you please go and lie down? Otherwise you will not be able to go.”
Mrs. Costello smiled. She felt able for any exertion to escape from her enemy under Maurice’s guidance. However, she did as her daughter wished, and lay quietly waiting for his coming back.
Lucia heard his steps first, notwithstanding. She had her last trunk just ready for locking, and went into the sitting-room to hear the decision, with her hair a little disordered and a bright flush of excitement and fatigue on her cheeks.
“Are we to go?” she said quickly.
“I think you should if you can,” he answered her. “But can you be ready?”
“By what time?”
“Everything is packed. Half an hour is all we really need now.”
“Three hours to spare then. Everything is in our favour. It is not a bad boat, and there is room for us on board.”
“Have you taken berths then?” Mrs. Costello asked.
“Yes. And I will tell you why I did so without waiting to consult you. I made some inquiries about this fellow Bailey, and found out that it would most likely not suit him to go to England for some time to come.”
“You inquired about him? Good heavens, what a risk!”
“You forget, dear Mrs. Costello, that I was meant for a lawyer. Don’t be afraid. He has no more thought of you than of the Khan of Tartary.”
“If you only knew the comfort it is having you, Maurice; I was quite helpless, quite upset by this last terror.”
“But you had been ill, mamma,” Lucia interposed. “It was no wonder you were upset.”
“That is not kind, Lucia,” Maurice said, turning to her with a half smile. “Mrs. Costello wishes to make me believe she depends on me, and you try to take away the flattering impression.”
“Oh! no; I did not mean that. Mamma knows—” but there she got into confusion and stopped.
“Well,” Mrs. Costello said, “we had better send for Madame Everaert, and tell her we are going.”
Madame came. She was desolated, but had nothing to say against the departure of her lodgers, and, as Lucia had told Maurice, half an hour was enough for the settling of their last affairs at Bourg-Cailloux.
Mrs. Costello did not wish to go on board the boat till near the hour named for sailing; it was well, too, that she should have as much rest as possible before her journey. She kept on her sofa, therefore, where so large a portion of her time lately had been spent; and Lucia, from habit, took her seat by the window.