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like itself again without his familiar presence. It was by way of relieving their minds from the horror of the idea, that the good people rushed into consultations what Lucilla would do. It took their minds a little off the ghastly imagination of that dark room with the snow on the window, and the late moonlight trying to get into the darkness, and the white rigid face inside, as he was said to have been found. It could not but make a terrible change to her—indeed, through her it could not but make a great change to everybody. The Doctor's house would, of course, be shut up, which had been the most hospitable house in Carlingford, and things would drop into the unsatisfactory state they used to be in before Miss Marjoribanks's time, and there would no longer be anybody to organise society. Such were the ideas the ladies of Grange Lane relapsed into by way of delivering themselves from the pain of their first realisation of what had happened. It would make a great change. Even the election and its anticipated joys could not but change character in some respects at least, and there would be nobody to make the best of them; and then the question was, What would Lucilla do? Would she have strength to "make an effort," as some people suggested; or would she feel not only her grief, but her downfall, and that she was now only a single woman, and sink into a private life, as some others were inclined to believe?
'Inside the house, naturally, the state of affairs was sad enough. Lucilla, notwithstanding the many other things she had had to occupy her mind, was fond of her father, and the shock overwhelmed her for the moment. Though she was not the kind of woman to torture herself with thinking of things that she might have done, still at the first moment the idea that she ought not to have left him alone—that she should have sat up and watched or taken some extraordinary unusual precaution —was not to be driven away from her mind. The reign of reason was eclipsed in her as it often is in such an emergency. She said it was her fault in the first horror. "When I saw how he was looking, and how he was talking, I should never have left him," said Lucilla, which indeed was a very natural thing to say, but would have been an utterly impossible one to carry out, as she saw when she came to think of it. But she could not think of it just then. She did not think at all that first long snowy, troubled day, but went about the house, on the bedroom floor, wringing her hands like a creature distracted. "If I had only sat up," she said; and then she would recall the touch of his hand on her shoulder, which she seemed still to be feeling, and cry out, like all the rest of the world, that it could not be true. But, to be sure, that was a state of feeling that could not last long. There are events for which something higher than accident must be held accountable, were one ever so ready to take the burden of affairs on one's own shoulders; and Lucilla knew, when she came to herself, that if she had watched ever so long or so closely, that could have had no effect upon the matter. After a while the bewildering sense of her own changed position began to come upon her, and roused her up into that feverish and unnatural activity of thought which, in some minds, is the inevitable reaction after the unaccustomed curb and shock of grief. When she had got used to that dreadful certainty about her father, and had suddenly come with a leap to the knowledge that she was not to blame, and could not help it, and that though he was gone, she remained, it is no censure upon Lucilla to say that her head became immediately full of a horror and confusion of thoughts, an involuntary stir and bustle of plans and projects, which she did all she could to put down, but which would return and overwhelm her whether she chose it or not. She could not help asking herself what her new position was, thinking it over, so strangely free and new and unlimited as it seemed. And it must be recollected that Miss Marjoribanks was a woman of very active mind and great energies, too old to take up a girl's fancy that all was over because she had encountered a natural grief on her passage, and too young not to see a long future still before her. She kept her room, as was to be expected, and saw nobody, and only moved the household and superintended the arrangements in a muffled way through Thomas, who was an old servant, and knew " the ways" of the house; but notwithstanding her seclusion and her honste sorrow, and her perfect observance of all the ordinary restraints of the moment, it would be wrong to omit all mention of this feverish bustle of thinking which came into Lucilla's mind in her solitude. Of all that she had to bear, it was the thing that vexed and irritated and distressed her the most—as if, she said to herself indignantly, she ought to have been able to think of anything! And the chances are that Lucilla, for sheer duty's sake, would have said, if anybody had asked, that of course she had not thought of anything as yet; without being aware that the mere shock, and horror, and profound commotion had a great deal more to do than anything else in producing that fluttering crowd of busy, vexatious speculations which had come, without any will of hers, into her heart. she were her father's widow instead of his daughter. To keep up a position of social importance in a single woman's house, unless, as she had herself lightly said so short a time since, she were awfully rich, would be next to impossible. All that gave importance to the centre of society—the hospitable table, the open house —had come to an end with the Doctor. Things could no more be as they had once been, in that respect at least. She might stay in the house, and keep up to the furthest extent possible to her its old traditions; but even to the utmost limit to which Lucilla could think it right to go it could never be the same. This consciousness kept gleaming upon her as she sat in the dull daylight behind the closed blinds, with articles of mourning piled about everywhere, and the grey dimness getting into her very eyes, and her mind distressed by the consciousness that she ought to have been unable to think; and the sadness of the prospect altogether was enough to stir up a reaction, in spite of herself, in Miss Marjoribanks's mind.
It looked a dreadful change in one way as she looked at it without wishing to look at it in the solitude of her own room, where the blinds were all down, and the snow sometimes came with a little thump against the window, and where it was so dark that it was a comfort when night came, and the lamp could be lighted. So far as Carlingford was concerned, it would be almost as bad for Miss Marjoribanks as if
And on the other side she would no doubt be very well off, and could go wherever she liked, and had no limit, except what was right and proper and becoming, to what she might please to do. She might go abroad if she liked, which perhaps is the first idea of the modern English mind when anything happens to it, and settle wherever she pleased, and arrange her mode