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A Canadian Heroine, Volume 3 by Mrs. Harry Coghill

A CANADIAN HEROINE.

A CANADIAN HEROINE.

A Novel.

BY

THE AUTHOR OF "LEAVES FROM THE BACKWOODS."

"Questa chiese Lucia in suo dimando, E disse: Or ha bisogna il tuo fidele Di te, ed io a te lo raccomando."--_Inferno. Canto II._

"Qu'elles sont belles, nos campagnes; En Canada qu'on vit content! Salut o sublimes montagnes, Bords du superbe St. Laurent! Habitant de cette contree Que nature veut embellir, Tu peux marcher tete levee, Ton pays doit t'enorgueillir."--_J. Bedard._

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

LONDON: TINSLEY BROTHERS, 8, CATHERINE STREET. STRAND 1873.

[_All rights Reserved._]

PRINTED BY TAYLOR AND CO.,

LITTLE QUEEN STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.

A CANADIAN HEROINE.

CHAPTER I.

Mr. Leigh was in a very depressed and anxious mood. His late conversations with Mrs. Costello had disturbed him and broken up the current of his thoughts, and even to some extent of his usual occupations, without producing any result beneficial to either of them. She had told him a strange and almost incredible story of her life; and then, just when he was full of sympathy and eagerness to be of use to her, everything seemed suddenly to have changed, and the events that followed had been wholly, as it were, out of his reach. He thought over the matter with a little sensation, which, if he had been less simple and generous a man, might have been offence. Even as it was, he felt uncomfortably divided between his real interest in his old friends, and a temptation to pretend that he was not interested at all. He remembered, too, with a serio-comical kind of remorse, the manner in which he had spoken to Mrs. Costello about Maurice. He was obliged to confess to himself that Maurice had never said a word to him which could be taken as expressing any other than a brotherly feeling of regard for Lucia; he had certainly _fancied_ that there was another kind of affection in his thoughts; but it was no part of the old soldier's code of honour to sanction the betrayal of a secret discovered by chance, and he felt guilty in remembering how far the warmth of his friendship had carried him. He considered, by way of tormenting himself yet further, that it was perfectly possible for a young man, being daily in the company of a beautiful and charming girl, to fancy himself in love with her, and yet, on passing into a different world and seeing other charming girls, to discover that he had been mistaken. It is true that if any other person had suggested that Maurice might have done this, Mr. Leigh would have been utterly offended and indignant; nevertheless, having proposed the idea to himself, he tried to look upon it as quite natural and justifiable. After all, this second theory of inconstancy rested upon the first theory of supposed love, and that upon guesses and surmises, so that the whole edifice was just as shadowy and unsubstantial as it could well be. But then it is curious to see how much real torment people manage to extract from visionary troubles.


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