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of existence as seemed good in her own eyes. She would be an heiress in a moderate way, and aunt Jemima was by this time absolutely at her disposal, and could be taken anywhere; and at Lucilla's age it was quite impossible to predict what might not happen to a woman in such a position. When these fairer possibilities gleamed into Lucilla's mind, it would be difficult to describe the anger and self-disgust with which she reproached herself—for perhaps it was the first time that she had consciously failed in maintaining a state of mind becoming the occasion; and though nobody but herself knew of it, the pain of the accusation was acute and bitter. But how could Miss Marjoribanks help it?—the mind travels so much quicker than anything else, and goes so far, and makes its expeditions in such subtle, stealthy ways. She might begin by thinking of her dear papa, and yet before she could dry her eyes might be off in the midst of one of these bewildering speculations. For everything was certain now so far as he was concerned; and everything was so uncertain, and full of such unknown issues for herself. Thus the dark days before the funeral passed by—and everybody was very kind Dr Marjoribanks was one of the props of the place, and all Carlingford bestirred itself to do him the final honours; and all her friends conspired how to save Lucilla from all possible trouble, and help her over the trial; and to see how much he was respected was the greatest of all possible comforts to her, as she said. Thus it was that among the changes that everybody looked for, there occurred all at once this change which was entirely unexpected, and put everything else out of mind for the moment. For to tell the truth, Dr Marjoribanks was one of the men who, according to external appearance, need never have died. There was nothing about him that wanted to be set right, no sort of loss, or failure, or misunderstanding, so far as anybody could see. An existence in which he could have his friends to dinner every week, and a good house, and good wine, and a very good table, and nothing particular to put him out of his way, seemed in fact the very ideal of the best life for the Doctor. There was nothing in him that seemed to demand anything better, and it was confusing to try to follow him into that which, no doubt, must be in all its fundamentals a very different kind of world. He was a just man and a good man in his way, and had been kind to many people in his lifetime—but still he did not seem to have that need of another rectifying, completer existence which most men have. There seemed no reason why he should die—a man who was so well contented with this lower region in which many of us fare badly, and where so few of us are contented. This was a fact which exercised a very confusing influence, even when they themselves were not aware of it, on many people's minds. It was hard to think of him under any other circumstances, or identify him with angels and spirits—which feeling on the whole made the regret for him a more poignant sort of regret.
And they buried him with the greatest signs of respect. People from twenty miles off sent their carriages, and all the George Street people shut their shops, and there was very little business done all day. Mr Cavendish and Mr Ashburton walked side by side at the funeral, which was an affecting sight to see; and if anything more could have been done to show their respect which was not done, the corporation of Carlingford would have been sorry for it. And the snow still lay deep in all the corners, though it had been trampled down all about the Doctor's house, where the lamp was not lighted now of nights; for what was the use of lighting the lamp, which was a kind of lighthouse in its way, and meant to point out succour and safety for the neighbours, when the physician himself was lying beyond all hope of succour or aid? And all the Grange Lane people retired in a sympathetic, awe-stricken way, and decided, or at least the ladies did, to see Lucilla next day, if she was able to see them, and to find out whether she was going to make an effort, or what she meant to do.
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And Mrs Chiley was so much better that she was able to be up a little in the evening, though she scarcely could forgive herself, and still could not help thinking that it was she who had really been sent for, and that the Doctor had been taken in mistake. And as for Lucilla, she sat in her room and cried, and thought of her father's hand upon her shoulder—that last unusual caress which was more touching to think of than a world of words. He had been fond of her and proud of her, and at the last moment he had showed it. And by times she seemed to feel again that lingering touch, and cried as if her heart would break: and yet, for all that, she could not keep her thoughts steady, nor prevent them from wandering to all kinds of profane out-of-door matters, and to considerations of the future, and estimates of her own position. It wounded her sadly to feel herself in such an inappropriate state of mind, but she could not help it; and then the want of natural light and air oppressed her sorely, and she longed for the evening, which felt a little more.natural, and thought that at last she might have a long talk with aunt Jemima, who was a kind of refuge in her present loneliness, and gave her a means of escape at the same time from all this bustle and commotion of unbecoming thoughts.
This was enough surely for any one to have to encounter at one time; but that very night another rumour began to murmur through Carlingford—a rumour more bewildering, more incredible still, than that of the Doctor's death, which the town had been obliged to confirm and acknowledge, and put its seal to. When the thing was first mentioned, everybody (who could find it in their heart to laugh) laughed loud in the face of the first narrator with mingled scepticism and indignation. They asked him what he meant by it, and ridiculed and scoffed at him to his face. "Lucilla will be the richest woman in Grange Lane," people said; "everybody in Carlingford knows that." But after this statement had been made, the town began to listen. It was obliged to listen, for other witnesses came in to confirm the story. It never might have been found out while the Doctor lived, for he had a great practice, and mado a great deal of money; but now that he was dead, nothing could be hid. He was dead, and he had made an elaborate will, which was all as just and righteous as a will could be; but after the will was read, it was found out that everything named in it had disappeared like a bubble. Instead of being the richest, Dr Marjoribanks was one of the poorest men in Carlingford, when he shut his door behind him on that snowy night. It was a revelation which took the town perfectly by storm, and startled everybody out of their senses. Lucilla's