Part 2 out of 5
exultation with which she joined in the Psalms, and the swelling of
heart as she followed the prayer for a blessing on the families of
those who had been the means of the building of that House. But we
must go no farther; for, such thoughts and scenes are too high to be
more than touched upon in a story of this kind; therefore we will
only add, that Winifred and Edward behaved quite as well as Elizabeth
had engaged that they should do, only beginning to yawn just before
the end of the service.
After they had returned from the church, the luncheon at the Vicarage
gave ample employment to Elizabeth's hands, and nearly enough to her
thoughts, in carving cold chicken, and doing the honours of Merton
Hall peaches, at the side-table; and she was very glad, when at three
o'clock the company adjourned to the quadrangle, to see the school-
The quadrangle was enclosed on the north side by the old church, on
the south and west by the alms-houses, and on the east by the low
wall of the Vicarage garden; there was a wide gravel path all round
the court, and here tables were spread, around which were to be seen
the merry faces of all the children of the two schools--the boys, a
uniform rank arrayed in King Edward's blue coats and yellow
stockings, with but a small proportion of modern-looking youths in
brown or blue, and deep white collars--the girls, a long party-
coloured line, only resembling each other in the white tippets, which
had lately encumbered Elizabeth's room.
Much activity was called for, from all who chose to take part in
supplying the children; the young ladies' baskets of buns were
rapidly emptied, and Mr. Somerville's great pitcher of tea frequently
drained, although he pretended to be very exclusive, and offer his
services to none but the children of St. Austin's, to whom Winifred
introduced him. The rest of the company walked round the cloisters,
which were covered with dark red roses and honeysuckles, talking to
the old people, admiring their flowers, especially Mr. Dillon's
dahlias, and watching the troop of children, who looked like a living
Mrs. Hazleby chanced to be standing near Mrs. Bouverie, a lady who
lived at some distance from Abbeychurch, and who was going to stay
and dine at the Vicarage. She was tolerably well acquainted with Mr.
Woodbourne, but she had not seen the girls since they were quite
young children, and now, remarking Elizabeth, she asked Mrs. Hazleby
if she was one of Mr. Woodbourne's daughters.
'Oh yes,' said Mrs. Hazleby, 'the eldest of them.'
'She has a remarkably fine countenance,' said Mrs. Bouverie.
'Do you admire her?' said Mrs. Hazleby; 'well, I never could see
anything so remarkably handsome in Lizzie Woodbourne. Too thin, too
sharp, too high-coloured; Kate is twenty times prettier, to say
nothing of the little ones.'
'I should not call Miss Woodbourne pretty,' said Mrs. Bouverie, 'but
I think her brow and eye exceedingly beautiful and full of
'Oh yes,' cried Mrs. Hazleby, 'she is thought vastly clever, I assure
you, though for my part I never could see anything in her but
'She has not the air of being pert,' said Mrs. Bouverie.
'Oh! she can give herself airs enough,' said Mrs. Hazleby; 'my poor
sister-in-law has had trouble enough with her; just like her mother,
'So I was thinking,' said Mrs. Bouverie, looking at Elizabeth, who
was stooping down to a little shy girl, and trying to hear her
Mrs. Bouverie spoke in a tone so different from that which Mrs.
Hazleby expected, that even she found that she had gone too far, and
recollected that it was possible that Mrs. Bouverie might have known
the first Mrs. Woodbourne. She changed her note. 'Just like her poor
mother, and quite as delicate, poor girl.'
'Is she indeed?' said Mrs. Bouverie, in a tone of great interest.
'Yes, that she is, scarcely ever without a cough. Full of spirits,
you see--rather too, much of it; but I should not be surprised any
At this moment Winifred came running up, to cry, 'Look, Aunt Hazleby,
at the basket of balls; I have been to the house to fetch them, and
now the boys are going away to the cricket-ground, and the girls are
to have a famous game at play.'
Mrs. Hazleby only said, 'Hm,' but the other lady paid more attention
to the little girl, who was very little troubled with shyness, and
soon was very happy--throwing the balls to the girls, and--at the
same time--chattering to Mrs. Bouverie, and saying a great deal about
'Lizzie,' telling how Lizzie said that one little girl was good and
another was naughty, that Lizzie said she should soon begin to teach
her French; Lizzie taught her all her lessons, Mamma only heard her
music; Lizzie had shewn her where to look in her Consecration-book,
so that she should not be puzzled at Church to-day; Lizzie said she
had behaved very well, and that she should tell Papa so; she had a
red ribbon with a medal with Winchester Cathedral upon it, which
Lizzie let her wear to shew Papa and Mamma when she was good at her
lessons; she hoped she should wear it to-day, though she had not done
any lessons, for Lizzie said it was a joyful day, like a Sunday.
All this made Mrs. Bouverie desirous of being acquainted with
'Lizzie,' but she could find no opportunity of speaking to her, as
Elizabeth never willingly came near strangers, and was fully occupied
with the school-children, so that she and Anne were the last to come
in-doors to dress.
They were surprised on coming in to find Helen sitting on the last
step of the stairs, with Dora on her lap, the latter crying bitterly,
and Helen using all those means of consolation, which, with the best
intention, have generally the effect of making matters worse. As
soon as Elizabeth appeared, Dora sprang towards her, exclaiming,
'Lizzie, dear Lizzie, do you know, Aunt Hazleby says that my mamma is
not your mamma, nor Kate's, nor Helen's, and I do not like it. What
does she mean? Lizzie, I do not understand.'
Elizabeth looked up rather fiercely; but, kissing her little sister,
said, gently, 'Yes, Dora, it is really true, my own mother lies in
the churchyard. I will shew you where.'
'And are you, not my sisters?' asked Dora, holding firmly by the
hands of Elizabeth, and Helen.
'Oh yes, yes, Dora!' cried Helen, 'we are your sisters, only not
quite, the same as Winifred.'
'And have you no mamma, really no mamma?' continued Dora looking
frightened, although soothed by Elizabeth's manner, and by feeling
that the truth was really told her.
'Not really, Dora; but your mamma is quite the same to us as if she
really was our mother,' said. Elizabeth, leading the little girl
away, and leaving Anne and Helen looking unutterable things at each
Helen then went into the large, drawing-room, to fetch some, of her
out-of-door apparel which she had left there, and Anne followed her.
No one was in the room but Mrs. Hazleby, who looked more disconcerted
than Helen had ever seen her before. She seemed to think, it
necessary to make some apology, and began, 'I am sure I had no notion
that, the child did not know it all perfectly at her age.'
'Mamma has always wished to keep the little ones from knowing of any
difference as long as possible,' said Helen, rather indignantly; but
recollecting herself, she added, 'I think Dora is rather tired, and
perhaps she was the more easily overcome for that reason.'
'Ah! very likely, poor child,' said Mrs. Hazleby; 'it was folly to
take her to such a ceremony.'
'She seemed to enjoy it, and enter into it as much as any of us,'
'Ah! well, some people's children are vastly clever,' said Mrs.
Hazleby. 'Do you know where Fido is, Miss Helen? if one may ask you
such a question.'
Helen replied very courteously, by an offer to go and look for him.
He was quickly found, and as soon as she had brought him to his
mistress, she followed Anne to Elizabeth's room, where in a short
time they were joined by the latter, looking worn and tired, and with
the brilliant flush of excitement on her cheeks.
'Is Dora comforted?' was the first question asked on her entrance.
'Oh yes,' said Elizabeth, 'that was soon settled; she was only
scared, so I took her to Mamma, who kissed us both, told Dora she
loved us all the same, and so on; which made her quite happy again.'
'Dear little affectionate creature!' exclaimed Helen warmly.
'How very angry with her Mrs. Hazleby seemed!' said Anne.
'Yes,' said Helen, 'because Dora came to me in her distress, and
would not let Mrs. Hazleby kiss her.'
'How came Mrs. Hazleby to begin upon it?' said Elizabeth; 'was it
from her instinctive perception of disagreeable subjects?'
'I can hardly tell,' said Helen, 'I was not there at first; I rather
think--' but here she stopped short, and looked confused.
'Well, what do you think?'
'Why, I believe it arose from her seeing Uncle Edward playing with
Edward on the green,' began Helen, with a good deal of hesitation,
'saying that he was his godfather, and--and she--she hoped he would
be would be as--he would do as much for him, as if he was actually
'Horrid woman!' said Elizabeth, blushing deeply.
'My dear Lizzie,' said Anne, laughing, 'do you hope he will not?'
'Nonsense, Anne,' said Elizabeth, laughing too; 'but I hope you quite
give up the Hazlebys after this specimen.'
'Now, Lizzie,' said Helen, 'that is quite in your unjust sweeping
style of censuring. You do not mean to say that Lucy, or the Major,
or the boys, are disagreeable.'
'Root and branch, they are all infected,' said Elizabeth; 'who could
help it, living with Mrs. Hazleby?'
'Pray do not be so unfair, Lizzie,' continued Helen; 'I am sure that
Lucy is a most amiable, sensible, gentle creature; the more to be
admired for having such a mother and sister.'
'By way of foil, I suppose,' said Elizabeth; 'still, saving your
presence, Helen, I think that if Lucy had all the sense you ascribe
to her, she might keep things a little more straight.'
'Really, Lizzie,' said Helen, 'it is not like you to blame poor Lucy
for her misfortunes; but I know very well that you only do it to
'Well,' said Elizabeth impatiently, 'I do allow that she is a
redeeming point, but I do not give her such hyperbolical praise as
you do; I may say she is the best of them, without calling her a
paragon of perfection.'
'I never called her any such thing!' exclaimed Helen; 'but you will
always wrest my words, and pretend to misunderstand me.'
'I am sorry I have vexed you, Helen,' said Elizabeth, more kindly;
and Helen left the room.
'Indeed, Lizzie,' said Anne, 'I cannot think why you argued against
this poor girl, after what you said yesterday.'
'Because I cannot bear Helen's sententious decided manner,' said
Elizabeth; 'and she exaggerates so much, that I must sometimes take
'But,' said Anne, 'do you not exaggerate the exaggeration, and so put
her more in the right than yourself?'
'You mean by turning her string of superlatives into a paragon of
perfection,' said Elizabeth; 'I certainly believe I was unjust, but I
could not help it.'
Anne did not see that her cousin might not have helped it, but she
thought she had said enough on the subject, and let it pass.
'Now, Anne,' said Elizabeth, presently after, 'what strange people we
are, to stand here abusing Helen and the Hazlebys, instead of talking
over such wonderful happiness as it is to think that your father and
mine have been allowed to complete such a work as this church.'
'Indeed it is wonderful happiness,' said Anne, her eyes filling with
tears, 'but I do not know whether you feel as I do, that it is too
great, too overwhelming, to talk of now it is fresh. We shall enjoy
looking back to it more when we are further from it.'
'Yes,' said Elizabeth; 'this morning I was only fit to laugh or cry,
at I did not know what, and now I am vexed with myself for having
been too much occupied and annoyed with little things to be happy
enough. This Consecration day will be a glorious time to look back
to, when it is alone on the horizon, and we have lost sight of all
that blemishes it now. I will tell you what it will be like. I once
saw the Church, on a misty day, from a great distance. It was about
the middle of the day, and the veil of mist was hanging all round the
hill, but there stood the Church, clear and bright, and alone in the
sunshine, all the scaffold poles and unfinished roughness lost sight
of in the distance. I never saw a more beautiful sight.'
'And do you expect that distance of time will conceal all blemishes
as well as distance of place?' said Anne.
'Yes, unless I take a telescope to look at them with,' answered
Elizabeth; 'perhaps, Anne, in thirty years time, if we both live so
long, we may meet and talk over this day, and smile, and wonder that
we could have been vexed by anything at such a time.'
'You like looking forward,' said Anne; 'I suppose I am too happy, for
I am afraid to look forward; any change of any sort must bring sorrow
'I suppose you are right,' said Elizabeth; 'that is, I believe the
safest frame of mind to be that which resigns itself to anything that
may be appointed for it, rather than that which makes schemes and
projects for itself.'
'Oh! but, Lizzie,' said Anne, 'I did not mean that. Mine is rather
an indolent frame, which does not scheme, because my present
condition is, I do believe, happier than any I could imagine upon
earth. I do not think that is resignation--there are some things
under which I do not think I could be resigned, at least not with my
'Yes, you would, Anne,' said Elizabeth; 'you are just the calm
tempered person who would rise up to meet the trial in peace.--But I
do not know what I am talking about; and so I shall go on with what I
meant to say before--that bright visions are my great delight. I
like to fancy what Horace and Edward may be, I like to imagine my own
mind grown older, I like to consider what I shall think of the things
that occupy us now. But then I am not likely to be disappointed,
even if my castles in the air should fall down. You know I am not
likely to be a long-lived person.'
'Oh! do not say so, my dear Lizzie,' cried Anne; 'I cannot bear it.'
'Indeed, Anne,' said Elizabeth, 'I did not mean to say anything which
could shock you. I only touched upon what you must have known half
your life, and what Mrs. Hazleby has taken good care that I should
not forget. I am perfectly well now, and have nothing the matter
with me; but then I know that a little illness has a great effect
upon me, and my colds are much sooner caught than cured.'
Before Anne could answer, there was a knock at the door, and Lady
Merton's maid appeared, ready to dress her young lady for the
evening; and thus the conversation ended.
The girls were to drink tea in the inner drawing-room, as soon as the
company were gone into the dining-room; and Anne and Elizabeth waited
to come down-stairs till dinner had begun.
As soon as they entered the room, Harriet began to admire the lace
trimming of Anne's dress, asking many questions about it, to all of
which Anne replied with great good nature. As soon as the lace had
been sufficiently discussed, Harriet turned round to Elizabeth,
exclaiming, 'Why, Lizzie, why in the world have you taken to that
fashion of doing your hair? it makes you look thinner than ever.
Such dark hair too! it wants a little colour to relieve it; why do
you not wear a red band in it, like mine?'
'I thought this way of wearing it saved time,' said Elizabeth; 'but I
believe I shall curl it again.'
'Indeed I hope you will; you have no notion how thin it makes you
look,' said Harriet.
'Of course I must look thin if I am thin,' said Elizabeth, a good
deal annoyed by Harriet's pertinacity.
'Thin you are, indeed,' continued Harriet, taking hold of her wrist.
Elizabeth drew back hastily, and Harriet relinquished it; conscious
perhaps, that however thin the arm might look, her own broad ruddy
hand would hardly bear a comparison with Elizabeth's long slender
white fingers, and returned to the subject of the hair, shaking her
profusion of ringlets.
'And straight hair is all the fashion now, but I think it gives a
terrible dowdy look. Only that does not signify when you are not
out.--By-the-bye, Miss Merton, are you out?'
'I shall not be seventeen these three months,' said Anne.
'Well, I am not seventeen yet, nor near it,' pursued Harriet; 'but I
always dine out, and at home too. Don't I, Lucy?'
Elizabeth did not think it necessary to make any apology for
Harriet's not having been asked to dine with the company, since Mrs.
Woodbourne had already settled that matter with Mrs. Hazleby; but
Katharine, who, though younger, had more idea of manner, said, after
a little hesitation, 'Mamma talked of it, but Papa said that if one
dined all must, and there would be too many.'
'Oh, law! Kate,' said Harriet, 'never mind; I do not mind it a bit, I
would just as soon drink tea here, as dine.--You are not out, are
'If you consider that dining constitutes being out, I generally am,'
said Elizabeth, rather coldly and haughtily.
'Ay, ay,' cried Harriet, laughing, 'you would be out indeed, to go
without your dinner.--Capital, is not it, Kate? but I wanted to know
whether you are regularly come out?'
'I do not know,' replied Elizabeth.
'Oh, then, you are not,' said Harriet; 'everyone knows who is out:
I should not have been out now, if it had not been for Frank Hollis,
(he is senior lieutenant at last, you know)--well, when our officers
gave the grand ball at Hull, Frank Hollis came to Mamma, and said
they could do nothing without the Major's daughter, and I must open
the ball. Such nonsense he talked--didn't he, Lucy? Well, Mamma
gave way, and said she'd persuade the Major. Papa was rather grumpy
at first, you know, Lucy, but we coaxed him over at last. Oh, it was
such fun! I danced first with Frank Hollis--just out of gratitude,
you know, and then with Captain Murphy, and then--O Lucy, do you
remember _who_?--and I had a silk dress which Mamma brought from
India, trimmed just like yours, Miss Merton, only with four rows of
lace, because I am taller, you know, and a berthe of--'
Elizabeth could endure this no longer, and broke in, 'And pray,
Harriet, did you learn the book of fashions by heart?'
'Not quite,' said Harriet, with provoking obtuseness, or good humour;
'I did very nearly, though, when I was making my dress. Now, Lizzie,
do not you wish you were out?'
'No, not in the least,' said Elizabeth, by this time quite out of
patience; 'I think society a nuisance, and I am glad to be free of it
as long as I can.'
'Lizzie,' said Helen gravely, 'you are talking rhodomontade.'
'By no means, Helen,' said Elizabeth; 'it is my serious opinion,
that, unless you can find real friends, minds that suit you, you
should keep to yourself, and let bores and geese keep to themselves.'
'Becoming yourself one of the interesting tribe of bears, or perhaps
of crabs,' whispered Anne.
'Well, what an odd girl you are!' cried Harriet; 'well, if ever--!'
'But, Lizzie, what would become of the world if there was no
society?' said Katherine.
'And, Lizzie,' began Helen, very seriously, 'do not you know that it
is a duty to take part in society, that--'
'Oh yes, Helen!' answered Elizabeth; 'I know all that books and wise
people say; but what I say is this: if a sumptuary law could decree
that wits should be measured by one standard, like the ruffs and
rapiers in Queen Elizabeth's time, so that those found wanting might
be banished, there might be some use in meeting people; but in the
present state of things there is none.'
'But how would you choose your standard?' said Anne; 'everyone would
take their own degree of sense as a measure.'
'Let them,' said Elizabeth; 'there would be a set of measures like
the bolters in a mill, one for the pastry-flour, one for the bread-
flour, one for the blues, one for the bran.'
'I am glad you put the blues after the bread,' said Anne; 'there is
hope of you yet, Lizzie.'
Elizabeth was too far advanced in her career of nonsense to be easily
checked, even by Anne; and she continued, 'Sir Walter Scott says in
one of his letters, that he wishes there could be a whole village of
poets and antiquaries isolated from the rest of the world. That must
be like what I mean.'
'I do not think he meant what he said there,' said Helen.
'And pray remember,' said Anne, 'that your favourite brown bread is
made of all those kinds mixed--bran, and pastry-flour, and all.'
'Yes,' said Helen, 'all the world would turn idiots if there were not
a few sensible people to raise the others.'
'Well,' said Elizabeth, 'you know the Veillees du Chateau says, there
is a village where all the people do turn idiots at fourteen.'
'You are just the right age, Helen,' said Anne, 'you had better take
care, since Lizzie says you live in such a foolish world.'
Helen had not tact enough to perceive that it was better to turn off
the discussion by a joke, and continued, 'And you forget how useful
it is to the sensible people to be obliged to bear and forbear.'
'I should be content, if the foolish people would be raised by the
wise, instead of debasing them,' said Elizabeth.
'If people are really wise, they will not let themselves be debased,'
Helen glanced towards Lucy, Elizabeth caught her eye, and smiled in a
way which almost compensated for all her unkindness in their dispute
an hour before.
Harriet and Katherine, who had not been much interested by this
argument, now started another subject of conversation, which they had
almost entirely to themselves, and which occupied them until tea was
over, somewhat to Anne's amusement and Elizabeth's disgust, as they
listened to it.
As soon as the tea-things were removed, Elizabeth and Anne went to
fetch the children. Elizabeth let loose her indignation as soon as
she was out of the drawing-room.
'Did you ever hear anything so vulgar?' said she.
'Indeed it was very ridiculous,' said Anne, beginning to laugh at the
'How can you be diverted with things that enrage me?' said Elizabeth.
'It is better than taking them to heart, as you do, my poor Lizzie,'
said Anne; 'they are but folly after all.'
'Disgusting provoking folly,' said Elizabeth; 'and then to see Kate
looking as if she thought it must be so delectable. Really, Kate is
quite spoiled between Harriet and the Abbeychurch riff-raff, and I
can do nothing to prevent it.'
'But,' said Anne diffidently, seeing that her cousin was in a graver
mood this evening, 'do not you think that perhaps if you could be a
little more companionable to Kate, and not say things so evidently
for the sake of contradiction, you might gain a little useful
'Well,' said Elizabeth, smiling, 'I believe I do deserve a good
scolding; I fancy I was outrageously rude; but when people talk such
stuff, I do not much care what I say, as long as I am on the other
side of the question.'
'Still the reverse of wrong is not always right,' said Anne.
They now found themselves at the nursery door, and summoned the
children from that scene of playthings, and bread and butter. Down-
stairs, one of those games at romps arose, for which little children
are often made an excuse by great ones, and which was only concluded
by the entrance of the ladies from the drawing-room, which caused
Harriet hastily to retreat into the inner drawing-room, to smoothe
her ruffled lace; while Katherine was re-tying Winifred's loosened
sash, and laying a few refractory curls in their right places.
Mrs. Woodbourne called Elizabeth, and introduced her as 'my eldest
daughter,' to Mrs. Bouverie, and to Mrs. Dale, a lady who had lately
come to live in the neighbourhood, and who discovered a most striking
resemblance between Mrs. Woodbourne and Elizabeth, certainly at the
expense of a considerable stretch of imagination, as Mrs. Woodbourne
was a very little and very elegant looking person, very fair and
pale, and Elizabeth was tall, dark-eyed, dark-haired, her figure much
too slender for her height, and her movements too rapid to be
graceful, altogether as different a style of person as could well be
Not much prepossessed in favour of the party in general by this
specimen, Elizabeth, after shaking hands with Miss Maynard and her
niece, people whom she seldom saw, and did not much like, retreated
to one of the windows, and there began to meditate, as was her usual
custom on such occasions. Once, when accompanying Mrs. Woodbourne on
a morning visiting expedition, she had translated the Erl King, which
she knew by heart, into English, far more literal than Sir Walter
Scott's, and with no fault, except that not above half the couplets
professed to rhyme, and most of those that did were deficient in
metre. Another time she had composed three quarters of a story of a
Saxon hero, oppressed by a Norman baron, and going to the Crusades;
and at another time she had sent back the whole party to the times of
Queen Elizabeth, and fancied what they might be saying about the
Spanish Armada. But now, whether because there was too much talking
in the room, or because the Consecration had lately left no room for
the fancies on which she was accustomed to feed, she could find
nothing more sublime to reflect upon than the appearance of her
cousin Anne, who was entertaining the young Miss Maynard, a shy girl,
yet pleased with notice, by a conversation, which, if not very
interesting, saved her from belonging to any of the four agreeable
tribes mentioned at tea-time.
Now, Anne, though she did not posses the tall figure or striking
countenance of her cousins, the Woodbournes, or the brilliant
complexion of her brother, was one of those people who always look
well. She was small and slightly made, and very graceful; and
everything she wore was appropriate and becoming, so that, without
bestowing much thought on the matter, she never looked otherwise than
perfectly well dressed. She was rather pale; her eyes were grey,
with long dark lashes; and her hair brown; her features were well
formed and animated; and though by no means remarkable, everyone
called her nice-looking; some said she was pretty, and a few thought
and felt that her countenance was lovely. So much had lately been
said about dress--about Elizabeth's curls, and Helen's tails, and
Anne's lace--that, wonderful to say, it was the readiest subject
Elizabeth could find to meditate upon. As she looked at her cousin's
white muslin frock, with its border of handsome Moravian work, and
its delicate blue satin ribbons, at her well arranged hair, and
pretty mosaic brooch, she entered upon a calculation respecting the
portion of a woman's mind which ought to be occupied with her dress--
a mental process, the result of which might perhaps have proved of
great benefit to herself, and ultimately to Dora and Winifred, had it
not been suddenly cut short in the midst by a piercing scream from
the latter young lady, who had been playing on the floor with Edward
Mrs. Woodbourne instantly caught up the little girl in her arms, and
sat down on the sofa with her on her lap, while Winifred buried her
hand in her pocket-handkerchief, screaming and sobbing violently.
Fido slunk away under the sofa; and Elizabeth hastily made her way
through the circle of ladies who surrounded Mrs. Woodbourne.
'That is what comes of teazing him,' said Mrs. Hazleby reproachfully
to Edward; who answered in a loud voice, 'I am sure I did not make
him do it.'
Elizabeth knelt down by Mrs. Woodbourne, and began to unroll the
handkerchief in which Winifred had wound up her hand; but she was
prevented by a fresh scream from the patient.
'Oh! my dear, never mind, do not cry; come, be a brave woman,' said
poor Mrs. Woodbourne, her voice quivering with alarm.
'Poor little dear!' exclaimed Mrs. Dale, 'she bears it like a little
angel; but it is quite a severe bite.'
'Mamma,' said Elizabeth, rising, 'I think she had better come up-
stairs with me. Do not you come, Mamma; I will send for you, if--if
it is more than a scratch.'
She took Winifred in her arms and carried her off, followed by Mrs.
Dale, Miss Maynard, Harriet, Katherine, and Dora, the last-mentioned
looking quite pale with fright.
'If you please,' said Elizabeth, turning round at the foot of the
stairs, 'I can manage her better alone.'
She gained her point, though at the expense of politeness. Mrs. Dale
and Miss Maynard retreated, and Harriet and Katherine followed in
their train. Dora looked inquiringly at her eldest sister.
'Yes, Dora, you may come,' said she, running up-stairs to her own
room, where she shut the door, and set Winifred on her feet again.
'Well, Winifred, let us see,' said she cheerfully, 'are you much
'It bleeds,' said Winifred, withholding her hand.
'Not very much,' said Elizabeth, removing the handkerchief, and
washing off the blood, which had been more the cause of the scream
than the pain. She soon satisfied herself and her sisters that the
bite was scarcely more than a scratch; and a piece of sticking-
plaster, fetched by Dora, whose ready eye and clear thoughtful head
had already made her the best finder in the family, had covered the
wound before Mrs. Woodbourne came up to satisfy herself as to the
extent of the injury. Winifred had by this time been diverted from
the contemplation of her misfortunes by the fitting on of the
sticking-plaster, and by admiration of Anne's bright rose-wood
dressing-box, and was full of the delight of discovering that A. K.
M., engraven in silver upon the lid, stood for Anne Katherine Merton,
when her mamma came in. It appeared that the little girl and her
brother had been playing rather too roughly with Fido, and that he
had revenged himself after the usual fashion of little dogs,
especially of those not come to years of discretion. Winifred was
quite ready to assure her mamma that he had scarcely hurt her, and
that she was very sorry she had cried so much. Mrs. Woodbourne and
Elizabeth, however, agreed that it would be better for her to appear
no more that evening, and Dora undertook to keep her company in the
nursery--glad, as Elizabeth could see, to escape from the presence of
Aunt Hazleby, who had sunk much in Dora's good graces since her
conversation with her in the afternoon.
'If people would but let children alone,' said Elizabeth, as the two
little girls departed hand in hand; 'it puts me out of all patience
to see her first made silly by being pitied, and then told she is an
angel. Too bad and too silly, I declare.'
'You should consider a little, my dear, and not speak so hastily,'
said gentle Mrs. Woodbourne; 'they mean it kindly.'
'Mistaken kindness,' said Elizabeth, as she opened the drawing-room
In a moment they were overwhelmed with inquiries for 'the sweet
little sufferer,' as Mrs. Dale called her.
'I only hope there is no fear of the dog's being mad,' observed that
'Oh! there is no danger of that,' said Elizabeth, knowing how such a
terror would dwell on Mrs. Woodbourne's spirits. 'See, he can
Mrs. Hazleby had taken possession of the cream-jug, which had
accompanied the coffee, and was consoling the offender by pouring
some of its contents into a saucer for him.
'But I thought it was water that mad dogs refuse,' said Mrs. Dale.
'Mad dog!' cried Mrs. Hazleby, 'he is as mad as I am, I fancy; it was
quite enough to make him bite when Edward there was pulling his
'I did not pull his ears, Aunt Hazleby; I did not make him bite
Winifred,' vociferated Edward; 'I told you so before, Aunt Hazleby,
and you will say so.'
'Fine little fellow,' whispered Mrs. Dale, quite loud enough for
Edward to hear her; 'I quite admire his spirit.'
'Do not be rude, Edward my dear,' said his mother.
'But Aunt Hazleby will say that I made Fido bite Winifred, Mamma,'
said Edward; 'and I did not, he did it of himself.'
'Never mind now, my love, pray be quiet, my dear boy,' said Mrs.
Woodbourne imploringly; and Edward, who was really a very tractable
boy, walked off to his sister Katherine.
Mrs. Dale then seized upon Mrs. Woodbourne, to tell her some horrible
stories of hydrophobia; and Elizabeth, in hopes of lessening the
impression such stories were likely to make on Mrs. Woodbourne's
mind, listened also, sometimes not very courteously correcting
evident exaggerations, and at others contradicting certain
statements. At last, just as the subject, fertile as it was, was
exhausted, Anne's going to the piano, and carrying off a train of
listeners, brought Mrs. Bouverie next to Elizabeth, and she took the
opportunity of entering into conversation with her.
'Do you play, Miss Woodbourne?'
'No, I do not,' replied Elizabeth, who particularly disliked this
mode of beginning a conversation.
'Do not you like music?' continued Mrs. Bouverie.
'I seldom have heard any I liked,' said Elizabeth shortly.
'Indeed you have been unfortunate,' said Mrs. Bouverie; 'but perhaps
you are not fond of the piano?'
'No,' said Elizabeth, with rather less of the manner of a suspected
criminal examined in sight of the rack; 'I am sick of all the
Abbeychurch pianos; I know them all perfectly, and hear nothing
Mrs. Bouverie laughed, and was glad to obtain something like an
answer. 'Your cousin plays very well,' said she.
'Yes,' said Elizabeth, 'I like her music better than most people's,
and she does not make a great fuss about it, she plays when she
thinks people like it, and not when they ask only out of politeness,
without caring about it.'
'Do you think many people ask in that manner?' said Mrs. Bouverie.
'Oh yes, everyone,' said Elizabeth; 'what can they do when they see a
disconsolate damsel sitting in a corner with nothing to say, and only
longing to be at the piano by way of doing something? It would be
too cruel not to ask her.'
'Did you ever do so?' said Mrs. Bouverie, smiling.
'No,' said Elizabeth, 'luckily it is no affair of mine yet; but if
ever it was, there would be a hard struggle between my politeness and
'Sincerity would be most likely to gain the day,' thought Mrs.
Bouverie. 'Perhaps,' said she, 'you are not a fair judge of other
people's sincerity, since you do not like music yourself.'
'I think,' said Elizabeth, 'that even if I did play, I could see in
people's faces whether they meant what they said; that is, if vanity
and love of applause did not blind me.'
Mrs. Bouverie was silent for a moment, and then said, 'Well, I must
say, I am disappointed to find that you do not play.'
Elizabeth remembered how well her mother had, played, and it was
plain to her that Mrs. Bouverie was noticing her for her mother's
sake. She looked down and coloured as she replied, 'Both my sisters
are musical, and Helen is said to be likely to sing very well. I
believe the history of my want of music to be,' added she, with a
bright smile, 'that I was too naughty to learn; and now, I am afraid
--I am not sorry for it, as it would have taken up a great deal of
time, and two singing sisters are surely enough for one family.'
'I was in hopes of hearing,' said Mrs. Bouverie, 'that you had
trained your school-children to sing the sixty-fifth Psalm as nicely
as they did to-day. I am sure their teacher must have come from the
'No,' said Elizabeth, 'it was the school-master who taught them.
Perhaps, if Helen had not been from home so long, she might have
helped the girls, but when she came home three weeks ago, it was
hardly worth while for her to begin. That is the only reason I ever
wished to understand music.'
Mrs. Bouverie now began talking to her about the church and its
architecture, and of the children, in exactly the way that Elizabeth
liked, and in half an hour she saw more of Elizabeth's true self than
Miss Maynard had ever seen, though she had known her all her life.
Miss Maynard had seen only her roughness. Mrs. Bouverie had found
her way below it. Elizabeth was as sincere and open as the day,
although from seldom meeting with anyone who could comprehend or
sympathize with her ideas, her manners had acquired a degree of
roughness and reserve, difficult to penetrate, and anything but
attractive, suiting ill with her sweet smile and beaming eyes. She
was talking quite happily and confidentially to Mrs. Bouverie, when
she caught Mrs. Woodbourne's eye, and seeing her look anxious, she
remembered Winifred's disaster, and took the first opportunity of
hastening up-stairs to see whether the little girl's hand was still
in as favourable a state as when she left her.
A few moments after she had quitted the room, Sir Edward Merton
approached Mrs. Bouverie, and took the place beside her, which
Elizabeth had lately occupied.
'I hope Elizabeth has been gracious to you, as I see you have been so
kind as to talk to her,' said he, smiling.
'Oh, I hope we are becoming good friends,' said Mrs. Bouverie; 'I
have seldom seen so young a girl shew as much mind as your niece.'
'I am very glad to hear you say so,' said Sir Edward, 'for she is apt
to be rather more reserved with strangers than could be wished.'
'Perhaps she did not consider me as an entire stranger; I remember
seeing her once when a most engaging little child of four or five
years old,' said Mrs. Bouverie; 'and now I hope our acquaintance will
continue. Shall we see her at Marlowe Court to-morrow, as I believe
we meet you there? Of course we shall see Miss Merton?'
'No, I believe not,' said Sir Edward; 'we are rather too large a
number without the girls, who really form quite a troop by
'I like to see your daughter and Miss Woodbourne together,' said Mrs.
Bouverie; 'I am sure they must be great allies.'
'Yes,' said Sir Edward, 'there is a tolerably strong cousinly
friendship between them: Anne has a wholesome feeling of inferiority,
which makes her rather proud of her cousin's preference.'
'Do you not think Miss Woodbourne very like her mother?' said Mrs.
Bouverie. 'I knew her immediately by the resemblance.'
'Very--very like her, a little darker certainly,' said Sir Edward,
'but she reminds me of her constantly--there--that smile is my
Elizabeth had just then re-entered the room, and was assuring her
mamma that Winifred had been as playful as ever all the remainder of
the evening, and was now fast asleep in bed.
'I am only afraid she is too fragile and delicate a creature,' said
Mrs. Bouverie; 'is her health strong?'
'Strong? no, not very,' said Sir Edward, 'she requires care, but
there is nothing much amiss with her; I know most people about here
are in the habit of lamenting over her as in a most dangerous state;
but I believe the fact is, that Mrs. Woodbourne is a nervous anxious
person, and frightens herself more than there is any occasion for.'
'Then I hope she generally looks less delicate than she does to-
night,' said Mrs. Bouverie.
'Oh! she may well look over-worked to-night,' said Sir Edward; 'she
has a spirit in her which would not let her rest on such a day as
this.--Come here, Miss Lizzie,' said he, beckoning to her, 'I want
you to account for those two red spots upon your cheeks. Do you
think they ought to be there ?'
'Yes, if they come in a good cause, Uncle,' said Elizabeth.
'Do you mean, then, to wear them any longer than necessary?' said Sir
Edward; 'pray have you sat still for five minutes together to-day?'
'Yes, while I was at tea,' said Elizabeth.
'And why are not you in bed and asleep at this moment?' asked her
'That is the very question Mamma has been asking,' said Elizabeth;
'and I have been promising to depart, as soon as I can make my
escape; so good night, Uncle Edward--good night,' said she, giving
her hand to her uncle and to Mrs. Bouverie with almost equal
'Good night, Lizzie, get you gone,' said Sir Edward; 'and if you can
carry off my girl with you, I shall be all the better pleased.'
Elizabeth succeeded in touching Anne's arm; and the two cousins
flitted away together, and soon forgot the various delights and
annoyances of the day in sleep.
The next morning was gloomy and rainy, as Elizabeth informed Anne at
about seven o'clock; 'and I am not sorry for it,' said she, 'for I
want to have you all to myself at home, so we will turn the incubi
over to Kate and Helen, and be comfortable together.'
'Will they submit to such treatment?' said Anne.
'Oh yes, my dear,' said Elizabeth; 'they want us as little as we want
them; they only want a little civility, and I will not be so sparing
of that useful commodity as I was yesterday evening. And now, Anne,
I am going to beg your pardon for being so excessively rude to
Harriet, as I was last night. She did not mind it, but you did, and
much more than if it had been to yourself.'
'I believe I did,' said Anne; 'other people do not know what you mean
when you set up your bristles, and I do. Besides, I was sorry for
Lucy, who looks as if she had sensitiveness enough for the whole
'Poor Lucy!' said Elizabeth;
"A weary lot is thine, fair maid,
A weary lot is thine."
Yes, Lucy has very deep feeling; you may see it in the painful
flushing of her cheek, and the downcast look of her eye, when her
mother and sister expose themselves. I really believe that that poor
girl has more to endure than most people.'
'O Lizzie,' said Anne, 'how differently you spoke of her yesterday!'
'Yes,' said Elizabeth, 'but then I was furious with Mrs. Hazleby; and
besides, I believe the truth was, that I was very tired and very
cross, not exactly the way in which I intended to conclude the
Consecration day; and now I am in my senses, I am very sorry I
behaved as I did. But, Anne, though I hereby retract all I said in
dispraise of Lucy, and confess that I was rude to Harriet, do not
imagine that I disavow all I said about society last night, for I
assure you that I expressed my deliberate opinion.'
'Your deliberate opinion, my dear?' said Anne, laughing.
'Yes, my deliberate opinion, my dear,' repeated Elizabeth. 'Pray why
should not I have a deliberate opinion, as well as Hannah More, or
Locke on the Human Understanding, or anyone else?'
'Because,' rejoined Anne, 'I think that if the rest of the world were
of your deliberate opinion, there would soon be a lock on the human
'I am sure I think there is at present,' returned Elizabeth; 'did you
see Aunt Anne last night wasted upon Mrs. Dale, obliged to listen to
the dullest stuff that ever was invented, and poor Mamma frightened
out of her wits? I should not wonder if she had dreamt of mad dogs
'I do not defend Mrs. Dale's powers of intellect,' said Anne, 'but I
should have thought that you at least had little reason to complain.
You were very well off next to Mrs. Bouverie.'
'Oh! Mrs. Bouverie is a rara avis, an exception to the general rule,'
said Elizabeth; 'but you know, she or my uncle, or aunt, or Papa, are
generally forced to put a lock on their understanding. Why, Anne,
what are you laughing at?'
'Lizzie, I beg your pardon,' said Anne, trying to check herself, 'but
I could not help it. Your speech put me in mind of the prints from
Albano's four elements. Do not you remember Juno's visit to AEolus,
where he is opening the door of a little corner cupboard where he
keeps the puff-cheeked winds locked up? Do you mean to say that
Mamma keeps her mighty powers of mind locked up in the same way, for
fear they should burst out and overwhelm everybody?'
Elizabeth heartily joined in her cousin's merriment. 'I will tell
you what I do mean, Anne, what the great law of society is. Now, do
not put on that absurd face of mock gravity, or I shall only laugh,
instead of arguing properly.'
'Well, let us hear,' said Anne.
'It is almost more important than the law that you must eat with a
knife and fork,' said Elizabeth. 'There is one level of
conversation, fit for the meanest capacity; and whoever ventures to
transgress it, is instantly called blue, or a horrid bore, &c., &c.'
'Nonsense, Lizzie,' said Anne, laughing; 'I am sure I have heard
plenty of clever people talk, about sensible things too, and never
did I hear them called bores, or blue, or any of your awful et
'Because people did not dare to do so,' said Elizabeth, 'but they
thought it all the same.'
'What do you mean by people?' said Anne.
'The dull, respectable, common-place gentry, who make up the mass of
mankind,' said Elizabeth.
'Do they ?' said Anne.
'Do not they?' said Elizabeth.
'I do not know what the mass of mankind may be at Abbeychurch,' said
Anne, 'but I am sure the people whom we see oftenest at home, are
such as I think it a privilege to know.' And she began to enumerate
'Oh! Anne,' interrupted Elizabeth, 'do not, for pity's sake, make me
discontented; here am I in Abbeychurch, and must make the best of it.
I must be as polite and hypocritical as I can make myself. I must
waste my time and endure dullness.'
'As to waste of time,' said Anne, 'perhaps it is most usefully
employed in what is so irksome as you find being in company. Mamma
has always wished me to remember, that acquiring knowledge may after
all be but a selfish gratification, and many things ought to be
attended to first.'
'That doctrine would not do for everybody,' said Elizabeth.
'No,' said Anne, 'but it does for us; and you will see it plainer, if
you remember on what authority it is said that all knowledge is
profitable for nothing without charity.'
'Charity, yes,' said Elizabeth; 'but Christian love is a very
different thing from drawing-room civility.'
'Not very different from bearing and forbearing, as Helen said,'
'Politeness is not great enough,' said Elizabeth, 'to belong to
'You are not the person to say so,' said Anne.
'Because I dislike it so much,' said Elizabeth, 'but that is because
I despise it. It is such folly to sit a whole evening with your
hands before you doing nothing.'
'But do you not think,' said Anne, 'that enduring restraint, and
listening to what is not amusing, for the sake of pleasing others, is
'Passively, not actively,' said Elizabeth; 'but it is not to please
others, it is only that they may think you well bred, or rather that
they may not think about you at all.'
'It is to please our father and mother,' said Anne.
'Yes, and that is the reason it must be done,' said Elizabeth; 'it is
the way of the world, and cannot be helped.'
'Rather say it is the trial which has been ordained for us,' said
'Well,' said Elizabeth, smiling, 'I know all the time that you have
the best of the argument. It would not be so if it was not good for
'And as it is,' said Anne, 'I believe that there is more enjoyment in
the present order of things, than there would be in any arrangement
we could devise.'
'Oh! doubtless,' said Elizabeth, 'just as the corn ripens better with
all the disasters that seem to befall it, than it would if we had the
command of the clouds.'
'Of course,' said Anne, 'you really are a much more reasonable
creature than you pretend to be, Lizzie.'
'Am I?' said Elizabeth. 'Well, I will just tell you my great horror,
and I suppose you will laugh at me. I can endure gossip for old
people who cannot employ themselves, and must talk, and have nothing
to talk of but their neighbours; but only think of those wretched
faineants who go chattering on, wasting their own time and other
people's, doing no good on the face of the earth, and a great deal of
'But these unfortunates are probably quite as unable to talk on any
very wise subjects, as your beloved old people, to whom you give a
license to gossip,' said Anne; 'and you do not wish to condemn them
to perpetual silence. They are most likely to be estimable people,
who ought to be amused.'
'Estimable--yes, perhaps,' said Elizabeth, 'but then I cannot esteem
a silly gossip.'
'Why, Lizzie,' cried Anne, 'you are still at the old story that it is
better to be wicked than stupid; at least, you reason upon that
foundation, though you do not really think so.'
'I believe,' said Elizabeth, 'that there must be some great crook in
my mind; for though I know and believe as firmly as I do any other
important thing, that mere intellect is utterly worthless, I cannot
feel it; it bewitches me as beauty does some people, and I suppose
always will, till I grow old and stupid, or get my mind into better
'Really,' said Anne, 'I think the strongest proof of your beginning
to grow old and stupid, is your doing such a very common-place thing,
as to abuse honest gossip.'
There was service at St. Mary's Church on Wednesday and Friday
mornings; but on this day the rain was so violent, that of all the
party at the Vicarage, the Mertons, and Elizabeth, Katherine, and
Helen, alone ventured to go to church.
When they returned, Anne followed her mother to her room, to talk
over the events of the previous day. After much had been said of the
Consecration, and also of their wonder and regret at Rupert's
absence, Anne said, 'How strange it seems to lose sight of you and
Papa as I have done ever since I have been here! Mamma, I have
scarcely been with you at all, and never see Papa but when he is
talking to Uncle Woodbourne, and everyone else is in the room.'
'But I hope you are enjoying yourself, my dear?' said Lady Merton.
'Oh yes, Mamma,' cried Anne; 'Lizzie is more delightful than ever,
when we are alone.'
'Are you taking a sudden romantic turn?' said Lady Merton, smiling;
'do you mean in future to keep one friend all to yourself?'
'Oh no, Mamma,' said Anne, laughing; 'I only meant that Lizzie is
more like herself when we are alone together. Sometimes when the
others are there, she gets vexed, and says things which I do not like
to hear, only for the sake of differing from them.'
'I have seen something of the kind about her before,' said Lady
Merton, 'but not enough to be unpleasant.'
'No, Mamma, because you do not talk as Miss Hazleby did yesterday,'
said Anne, smiling. 'She certainly did make a very ridiculous
oration about officers and flirtations; but Lizzie, instead of
putting a stop to it quietly and gently, only went into the other
extreme, and talked about disliking all society.'
'I am very sorry to hear this,' said Lady Merton; 'I am afraid she
will make herself absurd and disagreeable by this spirit of
contradiction, even if nothing worse comes of it.'
'It was not all out of a spirit of contradiction,' said Anne, 'though
she said this morning, that she was very tired and very cross
yesterday evening. But, Mamma, she also said that she thinks the
time she spends in company wasted, and she really believes that no
one dares to talk sense, or that if he does, everyone dislikes him.'
'That is only a little unconscious affectation of being wiser than
other people, assisted by living in a place where there are the usual
complement of dull people, and where her father's situation prevents
him from associating only with those whom he would prefer,' said Lady
Merton; 'her good sense will get the better of it. I am much more
anxious about this spirit of contradiction.'
'Yes, it certainly led her to be very unjust, as she acknowledged
this morning,' said Anne, 'and rather unkind to Helen. But then it
was no wonder that she was mad with the Hazlebys.'
Anne then told the history of poor Dora's trouble, and was quite
satisfied with her mother's displeasure at Mrs. Hazleby, and her
admiration of little Dora.
'And what do you think of Helen?' asked she presently.
'I can hardly tell,' said Anne, 'she is still very demure, with very
little of Lizzie's sparkling merriment; indeed, she does not seem in
the least able to enter into a joke. But then she said some very
sensible things. Lizzie said she wondered what we should think of
her. She thinks her very much improved, but complains that she has
lost her home feelings, and cares only for Dykelands; I scarcely know
what she means.'
'I think that I can guess,' said Lady Merton, 'from knowing a little
more of Mrs. Staunton's character. She is a very amiable person, and
has in reality, I believe, plenty of good sense; but she has allowed
herself to fall into an exaggerated style of feeling and expression,
which, I dare say, bewitched a girl like Helen, and now makes her
find home cold and desolate.'
'Like the letter which Mrs. Staunton wrote to you about Rupert, and
which Papa called ecstatic,' said Anne.
'That is an instance of Mrs. Staunton's way of expressing herself,'
said Lady Merton; 'now I will give you one of her acuteness of
feeling, as she calls it. Your Aunt Katherine was her greatest
friend when she was a girl, though I believe the kind epithets she
lavished upon me would have been enough to stock two or three
moderate friendships. We all used to walk together, and spend at
least one evening in the week together. One evening, your aunt, who
had a good deal of the same high careless spirit which you observe in
Lizzie, chanced to make some observation upon the rudeness of sailors
in general, forgetting that Helen Atherley's brother was a sailor.'
'Or if she had remembered it,' said Anne, 'judging by Lizzie, she
would have said the same thing; she would have taken it for granted
that the present company was always excepted.'
'Captain Atherley was not of the present company,' said Lady Merton,
'he was in the Mediterranean; and it happened that he had not had
time to call at Merton Hall in due form, the last time he had been at
home, so that poor Helen thought that this speech was aimed at him.
She said nothing at the time; but next morning arrived a note to me,
to entreat me to find out what her darling Henry could possibly have
done to offend dearest Katherine Merton, for she should be wretched
till she understood it, and Katherine had forgiven her and him. She
assured me that she had lain awake all night, thinking it over, and
had at last come to the conclusion that it must be this unfortunate
omission, and she promised to write to dear Henry immediately, to
make him send all possible apologies.'
'Poor Captain Atherley!' exclaimed Anne; 'and what could my aunt
'Unfortunately,' said Lady Merton, 'both she and I had entirely
forgotten the speech, and could not guess what could have given rise
to Helen's imaginations. After a consultation, I was deputed to
Helen with many assurances that Katherine was very sorry, she could
not exactly tell why, but for whatever had grieved Helen; and after a
good deal of kissing and lamenting on both sides, which, I believe,
Katherine considered as a punishment for her inconsiderate speech,
things were set right again.'
'Inconsiderate, Mamma?' said Anne; 'that seems as if you blamed my
aunt, when it seems to me that Mrs. Staunton deserved all the blame
for her excessive folly, and what I should think want of confidence
in her friend's affection.'
'It was certainly very silly,' said Lady Merton; 'but you know, Anne,
that when people have once accustomed themselves to get into a habit
of making mountains of mole-hills, they cannot see anything as it
really is. I thought Katherine quite in the right, as you do now,
but I believe she considered that, knowing as she did the over-
sensitiveness of her friend, she should have been more cautious in
what she said.'
'That was the right way for her to take it,' said Anne; 'but I still
think Mrs. Staunton must be an excessively silly person. Of course
one would wish to keep from hurting people's feelings, but it really
is hardly possible to help it, if they will ride out to meet offence
in such a way.'
'Yet, Anne,' said her mother, 'you may comfort yourself with knowing
that as long as you do what is commanded, set a watch before your
lips, you are not likely to wound the feelings of others, however
'I know, Mamma,' said Anne, 'that would correct every fault of that
kind; but then I hardly know how to do so thoroughly. And I think
sensitiveness is a good thing--at least, it makes people know better
what will hurt others.'
'Be sensitive for others, without being ready to take offence for
yourself, then, Anne,' said Lady Merton. 'And now that you have
fitted the moral to my story, I must go down and help Mrs. Woodbourne
to entertain Mrs. Hazleby.'
'I pity you,' said Anne. 'If everyone, or indeed if half the world
were like her, I should be more violent in my opinions than Lizzie
'And what are you going to do?' asked Lady Merton.
'I am going to sit in the school-room,' said Anne; 'I had a special
invitation from Dora this morning.'
On going down-stairs, Anne found that Katherine and Harriet had gone
to spend the morning with the Mrs. Turner mentioned during the walk
to St. Austin's, as her daughter, Miss Wilhelmina, had engaged to
teach Harriet to make wax flowers. Lucy was up-stairs, writing to
Major Hazleby; and Helen was sitting in the school-room, where
Elizabeth was teaching the children. Little Winifred had just
finished her lessons, and was skipping off in high glee with her
medal round her neck, to tell her mamma that she had gained four good
marks. Dora was perched on a high stool, at Elizabeth's desk, with a
broadly ruled paper before her, on the top of which the words, 'My
dear Horace, St. Austin's Church was consecrated yesterday,' were to
be seen in fair round hand. No more was visible, for the little girl
laughingly laid down her rosy cheek, and all her light wavy curls,
flat upon the letter, as Anne advanced and made a stealthy attempt
to profit by the intelligence she was sending to her brother. Edward
was standing by Elizabeth, reading Mrs. Trimmer's Fabulous Histories,
for, though five years old, he made very slow progress in English
literature, being more backward in learning to read than any of the
others had been, excepting Helen. He did not like the trouble of
spelling, and was in the habit of guessing at every word he did not
know; and on his very composedly calling old Joe the gardener, 'the
old gander,' Anne burst into an irrepressible giggle, and Helen,
sedate as she was, could not help following her example. They had
just composed themselves, when Edward made another blunder, which set
them off again, and Elizabeth, who when alone with the children,
could bear anything with becoming gravity, also gave way.
Edward, finding that he was diverting them, began to make absurd
mistakes on purpose, so that Elizabeth was forced to call him to
order. Anne thought it best to leave the room, and Helen followed
her, saying, 'We had better leave Lizzie to manage him by herself;
she always does better without me.'
'You have never shewn me your drawings, Helen,' said Anne; 'I should
like very much to see them, if you will let me.'
'If you please,' said Helen. 'Will you come up to my room? I keep
all my own things there, out of the way of the critics.'
'What critics?' inquired Anne.
'Lizzie, to be sure, and Papa,' said Helen; 'I think them the
severest people I know.'
'Do you indeed!' said Anne.
'Do not you?' said Helen; 'does not Lizzie say the sharpest things
possible? I am sure she does to me, and she never likes anything I
do. If there is any little fault in it, she and Papa always look at
that, rather than anything else.'
'Well,' said Anne, 'it is a comfort that if they like anything you
do, you are sure it is really very good. Their praise is worth more
than that of other people.'
Helen sighed, but made no reply, as by this time they had arrived at
the door of the room which she shared with Katherine. It was a
complete contrast to Elizabeth's; it was larger and lighter, and
looked out upon the bright garden, the alms-houses, and the church
tower. The upper part of the window was occupied by Katherine's
large cage of canary birds, and below was a stand of flower-pots, a
cactus which never dreamt of blossoming, an ice-plant, and a columnia
belonging to Katherine, a nourishing daphne of Helen's, and a
verbena, and a few geranium cuttings which she had brought from
Dykelands, looking very miserable under cracked tumblers and stemless
wine-glasses. On a small round table were, very prettily arranged,
various little knicknacks and curiosities, which Elizabeth always
laughed at, such as a glass ship, which was surrounded with miniature
watering-pots, humming-tops, knives and forks, a Tonbridge-ware box,
a gold-studded horn bonbonniere, a Breakwater-marble ruler, several
varieties of pincushions, a pen-wiper with a doll in the middle of
it, a little dish of money-cowries, and another of Indian shot, the
seed of the mahogany tree, some sea-eggs, a false book made of the
wreck of the Royal George, and some pieces of spar and petrifactions
which Helen had acquired on an expedition to Matlock with the
Stauntons. The book-shelf, however, was to Anne the most attractive
object in the room; and whilst Helen was untying the strings of her
portfolio, she went up to it.
'What a beautiful little Bishop Wilson!' exclaimed she, taking out
one of the books.
'Yes,' said Helen with a sigh, 'that was dear Mrs. Staunton's last
present to me before I left Dykelands. She said that perhaps she
should not see me again before I was confirmed, and it was the
fittest Godmother's gift she could find.'
'And is this pretty Lady of the Lake yours too?' said Anne; 'what a
pretty binding, with the Douglas arms on it!'
'Yes,' said Helen, 'that was Fanny's present; and Jane gave me the
pretty forget-me-not brooch I wore yesterday. You see I have plenty
of keep-sakes from the dear people.'
Anne then turned to the portfolio on the table. Helen shewed her, in
the first place, a rather stiff and formal looking forget-me-not,
painted by Fanny Staunton, and a carelessly sketched but neatly
shaded head drawn by Jane, both which specimens of art Anne tried
hard to admire for Helen's sake, but could not find it in her heart
to do so. Helen's own drawings, which were landscapes, gave more
promise of improvement, and displayed a good deal of taste and
freedom of hand, though some were by no means correct in the outline.
Helen pointed out several faults which she candidly acknowledged to
be wrong, and some others which she said 'Lizzie called blunders.'
'There,' said she, 'is the house at dear Dykelands; there is my
window with the Banksia roses clustering round it, so that I could
gather them as I stood in my room. That room is still to be called
Helen's. But now, Anne, do you think that line ought to be straight?
Lizzie says it should, but I think the perspective alters it; I am
sure I saw it so.'
'Indeed, Helen,' said Anne, 'I think the shadow must have deceived
you.' And with a little trouble she proved that Elizabeth was right.
'Ah!' said Helen, 'if Lizzie would but have shewn me patiently,
instead of saying, 'Why, Helen, cannot you draw a straight line?' I
should have understood her.' Then she continued, while taking out
India-rubber and pencil to rectify the mistake, 'I used to draw a
great deal at dear Dykelands; we had a sketching master, and used to
go out with him twice a week, but it was very delightful when we
three went alone, when one of us used to read while the others drew.
I am sure these sketches will for ever remind me of those happy
'Why, Helen,' said Anne, smiling, 'you speak as if you never meant to
be happy again.'
'Do I?' said poor Helen; 'I am afraid I do seem rather silly about
dear Dykelands. The other day I was singing
"My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, gone chasing the deer,"
when in came Lizzie, and said, "No, Helen,
Your heart is at Dykelands, your heart's in the bogs,
Your heart is at Dykelands, gone chasing the frogs,"
for she is always laughing at it for being so damp, dear place. And
it was before Horace went to school, and he would do nothing but sing
it at me all day, and make Winifred do so too.'
Anne could not help laughing.
'Then you too think me absurd,' said Helen; 'but if you only knew how
happy I was at Dykelands, and how desolate I sometimes feel here, you
would not wonder at me.'
'Then you do not like Abbeychurch?' said Anne incredulously; she
could not say 'you are not happy at home.'
'Who could prefer a little dismal town to a pleasant house in the
country?' said Helen; 'you like Merton Hall better than this place,
do not you, Anne?'
'Of course,' replied Anne; 'but then Merton Hall is my home.'
'And Abbeychurch is mine,' sighed poor Helen. 'I believe it is very
wrong to be discontented with home, but I cannot help it.'
'My dear Helen, what do you mean?' exclaimed Anne, quite aghast.
'Indeed, Anne,' said Helen, 'I do not wonder that you are shocked,
but you do not know how I feel here. At Dykelands I felt that people
liked me and were pleased with me, but at home nobody wants me,
nobody cares for me, I am in the way wherever I go.'
'My dear Helen,' cried Anne, 'that must be fancy!'
'I wish it was,' said poor Helen, shaking her head.
'But only think,' proceeded Anne, 'what you are accusing them of.
Not loving you, and wishing you away.'
'No, I do not say it is as bad as that,' said Helen; 'but I am sure I
am of no use here, and might as well be away.'
'I suppose,' said Anne, 'that you have been so long away as to have
lost all your old home occupations, and you have not yet had time to
make new ones.'
'Perhaps it is so,' said Helen; 'but I do not think I had any
occupations before I went to Dykelands, at least none worth having,
and now I cannot make myself new ones. Lizzie does everything, and
will not let me help her, for fear I should do mischief.'
'Now, Helen,' said Anne, who had by this time collected her ideas,
which had been completely startled by her cousin's avowal of dislike
of home, 'I will tell you what I think Mamma would say to you. I
think you used to be indolent and waste your senses, but now
Dykelands has given you a spur, and you are very much improved.'
'Do you really think so?' interrupted Helen, who had lately felt
quite starved for want of praise.
'Yes,' said Anne, 'and so does everyone, and so Lizzie told me.'
'Lizzie?' said Helen; 'I thought she considered me as great a baby as
'No, no, my dear,' said Anne; 'I will tell you what she said of you.
She said you were almost all she could wish in a sister, and that you
were quite a reflective creature; and that is high praise from her.'
'Well, if she thinks so,' said Helen, 'she does not shew it; she is
always making game of my opinions and feelings.'
'So she does of almost everyone's,' said Anne; 'but that is no proof
that she does not love them.'
'And she will never listen to anything that I say, or take interest
in anything I care for,' continued Helen.
'Indeed, Helen, you only think so because you do not understand her
ways,' said Anne; 'all last month she could think of nothing but the
Consecration, and Horace's going to school. Now all that is over and
you are quiet again, after we are gone you will get on capitally
'I am sure she contradicts every word I say,' said Helen.
'That is not out of unkindness, I assure you,' said Anne, who
unfortunately could not deny that such was the fact. 'She only likes
an argument, which sharpens your wits, and does no harm, if both
sides are but good-humoured and cheerful. She will find you out in
time, and you will understand her better.'
'Oh! Lizzie is delightful when she does not contradict,' said Helen;
'she is cleverer than anyone I ever saw, even than Fanny Staunton,
and Papa says her patience and diligence with Horace were beyond all
praise; but I can never be clever enough for her to make me her
'But you do not think people choose their friends only for their
cleverness?' said Anne.
'Why, no,' said Helen, 'I do not think they ought, but Lizzie does.
You would not be her friend if you were not clever.'
'Well,' said Anne, 'but try and convince her that you can be her
friend without being clever, if you will not allow that you are.'
'Oh!' said Helen, brightening up, 'if Lizzie would but make a friend
of me, how happy we should be! if she would but talk to me of her own
concerns, and listen to mine! But she never chooses to hear me speak
'Then,' said Anne, 'you must remember that she has never been there,
and does not know the people.'
'Yes,' said Helen; 'but I think that if she had been there, and I at
home, I should have listened for her sake, besides that Mrs. Staunton
was our own mamma's dearest friend.'
Anne had always thought that her own mother had been Aunt Katherine's
dearest friend; but she had forbearance enough to leave the honour to
Mrs. Staunton in Helen's imagination, and answered, 'And for that
very reason, and for your sake too, Helen, she will delight to hear
about Mrs. Staunton when you are quiet together, if you do not give
her too much at a time, or talk of Dykelands when she is thinking of
something else. Oh yes, Helen, you and Lizzie will be excellent
friends, unless you are much more silly than I think either of you.'
Anne smiled so cheerfully, that Helen could not help smiling too; but
she would probably have found another sorrow to lament over, if at
this moment Dora had not come up to summon them to their early
Helen felt exceedingly grateful to Anne for having listened so kindly
and patiently to her list of grievances. It was the first sympathy,
as she considered, that she had met with since she had left
Dykelands, and it atoned in her mind for various little thoughtless
ways of Anne's, which had wounded her in former years, and which she
had not perhaps striven sufficiently to banish from her memory; and
this was a great advantage from this conversation, even if she
derived no further benefit from it.
On her side, Anne had some thoughts of telling Elizabeth what Helen's
feelings really were, in hopes that she might shew a little regard
for them; but, sisterless herself, she thought the bond of sisterhood
too sacred to be rashly interfered with by a stranger's hand;
besides, she considered Helen's complaints as really confidential, if
not expressly so, and resolved to mention them to no one but Lady
Merton, and to limit her attempts at being useful to bringing the two
sisters before each other in their most amiable light, and at any
rate to avoid saying anything that could possibly occasion a
discussion between them, though she could hardly imagine that it was
possible to dislike one of the merry arguments that she delighted in.
However, remembering her mother's story of Mrs. Staunton, she decided
that though it was a great misfortune for people to have such strange
fancies, yet their friends ought to respect them.
As soon as dinner was over, Elizabeth went up to her own room, and
was followed in a few moments by Anne, who found her putting on her
bonnet and cloak. 'Can you be going out in such weather as this?'
'Yes,' said Elizabeth; 'I must
"Let content with my fortunes fit,
Though the rain it raineth every day."'
'But what are the fortunes which oblige you to go out?' said Anne.
'The fortunes of an old woman to whom Kate or I read every Friday,'
said Elizabeth, 'and the fortunes of various young school-children,
who must be prepared for Papa or Mr. Walker to catechize in Church on
'Why do not you send Kate or Helen, instead of murdering yourself in
the wet?' said Anne.
'Miss Kitty is three inches deep in the mysteries of a spencer, (I do
not mean Edmund,)' said Elizabeth, 'and it will not be out of her
head these three days, at least not till she has made Mamma's old
black satin gown into one after Harriet's pattern; I heard her asking
for it as I came up-stairs.'
'And would not Helen go?' said Anne; 'she does not catch cold as
easily as you do.'
'Helen has contrived, somehow or other,' said Elizabeth, 'to know no
more about the school-children than if they were so many Esquimaux;
besides, anyone with any experience of Helen's ways, had rather walk
ninety miles in the rain, than be at the pains of routing her out of
the corner of the sofa to do anything useful.'
'Indeed,' said Anne, 'I think Helen does wish to make herself
'I dare say she sits still and wishes it in the abstract, for I think
it must be a very disagreeable thing to reflect that she might as
well be that plaster statue for any good that she does,' said
Elizabeth; 'but she grumbles at every individual thing you propose
for her to do, just as she says she wishes to be a companion to Dora
and Winifred, yet whenever they wish her to play with them or tell
them a story, which is all the companionship children of their age
understand, she is always too much at her ease to be disturbed. And
now, as she is the only person in the house with whom poor Lucy is
tolerably at her ease, it would be cruel to take her away.'
'That is more of a reason,' said Anne; 'what a pity it is that Lucy
is so shy!'
'Excessive shyness and reserve is what prevents her mother from being
able to spoil her,' said Elizabeth; 'so do not regret it.'
'Still I do not like to see you going out in this way,' said Anne.
'I may truly say that rain never hurts me,' said Elizabeth; 'and if I
once let one trifle stop me in these parish matters, I shall be
stopped for ever, and never do anything. Perhaps I shall not come
back this hour and a half, for old Mrs. Clayton must be dying to hear
all about our Consecration, luncheon, dinner, &c., and as she is the
widow of the last Vicar, we are in duty bound to be civil to her, and
I must go and call upon her. Oh! you poor thing, I forgot how
deserted you will be, and really the drawing-room is almost
uninhabitable with that Bengal tiger in it. Here is that delightful
Norman Conquest for you to read; pray look at the part about Hereward
Elizabeth would not trust herself to stay with Anne any longer, and
ran down-stairs, and might soon be heard putting up her umbrella and
shutting the front door after her.
Anne found the afternoon pass rather heavily, in spite of the
companionship of William the Conqueror and Hereward the Saxon, of
assisting the children in a wet day game of romps, and of shewing
Dora and Winifred the contents of the box they had admired the day
before. Helen and Lucy were sitting at work very comfortably in the
corner of the sofa in the inner drawing-room; Harriet and Katherine
very busy contriving the spencer in the front drawing-room, keeping
up a whispering accompaniment to the conversation of the elder
ladies--if conversation it could be called, when Mrs. Hazleby had it
all to herself, while giving Lady Merton and Mrs. Woodbourne an
account of the discomforts she had experienced in country quarters in
Sir Edward and Mr. Woodbourne were engaged in looking over the
accounts of the church in the study, and Fido was trying to settle
his disputes with Meg Merrilies, who, with arching back, tail erect,
and eyes like flaming green glass, waged a continual war with him
over her basket in the hall.
Anne was very glad to hear her cousin's footstep in the hall as she
returned. Coming straight to the drawing-room, Elizabeth exclaimed,
'Mamma, did you tell Mrs. Clarke that she might have a frock for
'Yes, my dear,' said Mrs. Woodbourne; 'she asked me yesterday when
you were not near, and I told her you would give her one. I thought
the child looked very ragged.'
'I suppose she must have it,' said Elizabeth, looking much vexed; 'I
told her she should not, a month ago, unless she sent the children to
school regularly, and they have scarcely been there five days in the
'I wish I had known it, my dear,' said Mrs. Woodbourne; 'you know I
am always very sorry to interfere with any of your plans.'
'O Mamma, there is no great harm done,' said Elizabeth. She then
went to fetch the frock, and gave it to the woman with a more gentle
and sensible rebuke than could have been expected from the vehemence
of her manner towards Mrs. Woodbourne a minute before. When this was
done, and she had taken off her bonnet, she came to beckon Anne up-
'So you have finished your labours,' said Anne, taking up her work,
while Elizabeth sat down to rule a copy-book for Winifred.
'Yes,' said Elizabeth, '"we are free to sport and play;" I have read
to the old woman, and crammed the children, and given old Mrs.
Clayton a catalogue raisonnee of all the company and all their
dresses, and a bill of fare of our luncheon and dinner, and where
everything came from.'
'And yet you profess to hold gossip in abomination,' said Anne.
'Oh! but this is old gossip, regular legitimate amusement for the
poor old lady,' said Elizabeth. 'She really is a lady, but very
badly off, and most of the Abbeychurch gentility are too fine to
visit her, so that a little quiet chat with her is by no means of the
common-place kind. Besides, she knows and loves us all like her own
children. It was one of the first pleasures I can remember, to
gather roses for her, and carry them to her from her own old garden
'Well, in consideration of all that you say,' said Anne, 'I suppose I
must forgive her for keeping you away all this afternoon.'
'And what did you do all that time?' said Elizabeth. 'Have you read
Hereward, and do not you delight in him?'
'Yes,' said Anne, 'and I want to know whether he is not the father of
Cedric of Rotherwood.'
'He must have been his grandfather,' said Elizabeth; 'Cedric lived a
hundred years after.'
'But Cedric remembered Torquilstone before the Normans came,' said
'No, no, he could not, though he had been told what it had been
before Front-de-Boeuf altered it,' said Elizabeth.
'And old Ulrica was there when Front-de-Boeuf's father took it,' said
'I cannot tell how long a hag may live,' said Elizabeth, 'but she
could not have been less than a hundred and thirty years old in the
time of Richard Coeur-de-Lion.'
'Coeur-de-Lion came to the throne in 1189,' said Anne. 'No, I
suppose Torquil Wolfganger could not have been dispossessed
immediately after the Conquest. But then you know Ulrica calls
Cedric the son of the great Hereward.'
'Her wits were a little out of order,' said Elizabeth; 'either she
meant his grandson, or Sir Walter Scott made as great an anachronism
as when he made that same Ulrica compare Rebecca's skin to paper. If
she had said parchment, it would not have been such a compliment.'
'How much interest Ivanhoe makes us take in the Saxons and Normans!'
'And what nonsense it is to say that works of fiction give a distaste
for history,' said Elizabeth.
'You are an instance to the contrary,' said Anne; 'no one loves
stories so well, and no one loves history better.'
'I believe such stories as Ivanhoe were what taught me to like
history,' said Elizabeth.
'In order to find out the anachronisms in them?' said Anne; 'I think
it is very ungrateful of you.'
'No indeed,' said Elizabeth; 'why, they used to be the only history I
knew, and almost the only geography. Do not you remember Aunt Anne's
laughing at me for arguing that Bohemia was on the Baltic, because
Perdita was left on its coast? And now, I believe that Coeur de Lion
feasted with Robin Hood and his merry men, although history tells me
that he disliked and despised the English, and the only sentence of
their language history records of his uttering was, "He speaks like a
fool Briton." I believe that Queen Margaret of Anjou haunted the
scenes of grandeur that once were hers, and that she lived to see the
fall of Charles of Burgundy, and die when her last hope failed her,
though I know that it was not so.'
'Then I do not quite see how such stories have taught you to like
history,' said Anne.
'They teach us to realize and understand the people whom we find in
history,' said Elizabeth.
'Oh yes,' said Anne; 'who would care for Louis the eleventh if it was
not for Quentin Durward? and Shakespeare makes us feel as if we had
been at the battle of Shrewsbury.'
'Yes,' said Elizabeth; 'and they have done even more for history.
They have taught us to imagine other heroes whom they have not
mentioned. Cannot you see the Black Prince, his slight graceful
figure, his fair delicate face full of gentleness and kindness--
fierce warrior as he is--his black steel helmet, and tippet of chain-
mail, his clustering white plume, his surcoat with England's leopards
and France's lilies? Cannot you make a story of his long constant
attachment to his beautiful cousin, the Fair Maid of Kent? Cannot
you imagine his courteous conference with Bertrand du Guesclin, the
brave ugly Breton?--Edward lying almost helpless on his couch, broken
down with suffering and disappointment, and the noble affectionate
Captal de Buch, who died of grief for him, thinking whether he will
ever be able to wear his black armour again, and carry terror and
dismay to the stoutest hearts of France.'
'Give Froissart some of the credit of your picture,' said Anne.
'Froissart is in some places like Sir Walter himself,' said
Elizabeth; 'but now I will tell you of a person who lived in no days
of romance, and has not had the advantage of a poetical historian to
light him up in our imagination. I mean the great Prince of Conde.
Now, though he is very unlike Shakespeare's Coriolanus, yet there is
resemblance enough between them to make the comparison very amusing.
There was much of Coriolanus' indomitable pride and horror of mob
popularity when he offended Beaufort and his kingdom in the halles,
when, though as 'Louis de Bourbon' he refused to do anything to shake
the power of the throne, he would not submit to be patronized by the
mean fawning Mazarin. Not that the hard-hearted Conde would have
listened to his wife and mother, even if he had loved them as
Coriolanus did, or that his arrogance did not degenerate into
wonderful meanness at last, such as Coriolanus would have scorned;
but the parallel was very amusing, and gave me a great interest in
Conde. And did you ever observe what a great likeness there is in
the characters of the two apostates, Julian and Frederick the Great?'
'Then you like history for the sake of comparing the characters
mentioned in it?' said Anne.
'I think so,' said Elizabeth; 'and that is the reason I hate
abridgements, the mere bare bones of history. I cannot bear dry
facts, such as that Charles the Fifth beat Francis the First, at
Pavia, in a war for the duchy of Milan, and nothing more told about
them. I am always ready to say, as the Grand Seignior did about some
such great battle among the Christians, that I do not care whether
the dog bites the hog, or the hog bites the dog.'
'What a kind interest in your fellow-creatures you display!' said
Anne. 'I think one reason why I like history is because I am
searching out all the characters who come up to my notion of perfect
chivalry, or rather of Christian perfection. I am making a book of
true knights. I copy their portraits when I can find them, and write
the names of those whose likenesses I cannot get. I paint their
armorial bearings over them when I can find out what they are, and I
have a great red cross in the first page.'
'And I will tell you of something else to put at the beginning,' said
Elizabeth, 'a branch of laurel entwined with the beautiful white
bind-weed. One of our laurels was covered with wreaths of it last
year, and I thought it was a beautiful emblem of a pure-hearted hero.
The glaring sun, which withers the fair white spotless flower, is
like worldly prosperity spoiling the pure simple mind; and you know
how often it is despised and torn away from the laurel to which it is
so bright an ornament.'
'Yes,' said Anne, 'it clings more safely and fearlessly round the
simplest and most despised of plants. And would you call the little
pink bindweed childish innocence?'
'No, I do not think I should,' said Elizabeth, 'it is not
sufficiently stainless. But then innocence, from not seeing or
knowing what is wrong, is not like the guilelessness which can use
the world as not abusing it.'
'Yet Adam and Eve fell when they gained the knowledge of good and
evil,' said Anne.
'Yes, because they gained their knowledge by doing evil,' said
Elizabeth, 'but you must allow that what is tried and not found
wanting is superior to what has failed only because it has had no
trial. St. John's Day is placed nearer Christmas than that of the
'And St. John knew what evil was,' said Anne; 'yes you are right
'You speak as if you still had some fault to find with me, Anne,'
'No, indeed I have not,' said Anne, 'I quite agree with you; it was
only your speaking of knowledge of evil us a kind of advantage, that
'Because you think knowledge and discernment my idol,' said
Elizabeth; 'but we have wandered far away from my white convolvulus,
and I have not done with it yet. When autumn came, and the leaves
turned bright yellow, it was a golden crown.'
'But there your comparison ends,' said Anne; 'the laurel ought to
vanish away, and leave the golden wreath behind.'
'No,' said Elizabeth; 'call the golden wreath the crown of glory on
the brow of the old saint-like hero, and remember that when he dies,
the immortality the world prizes is that of the coarse evergreen
laurel, and no one dreams of his white wreath.'
'I wish you would make a poem of your comparison, for the beginning
of my book of chivalry,' said Anne.
'It will not do,' said Elizabeth, 'I am no poet; besides, if I wished
to try, just consider what a name the flower has--con-vol-vu-lus, a
prosaic, dragging, botanical term, a mile long. Then bindweed only
reminds me of smothered and fettered raspberry bushes, and a great
hoe. Lily, as the country people call it, is not distinguishing
enough, besides that no one ever heard of a climbing lily. But,
Anne, do tell me whom you have in your book of knights. I know of a
good many in the real heroic age, but tell me some of the later
'Lord Exmouth,' said Anne; 'I am sure he was a true knight.'
'And the Vendeen leaders, I suppose,' said Elizabeth.
'Yes, I have written the names of M. de Lescure and of Henri de la
Rochejaquelein; I wish I knew where to find their pictures, and I
want a Prussian patriot. I think the Baron de la Motte Fouque, who
was a Knight of St. John, and who thought so much of true chivalry,
would come in very well.'
'I do not know anything about himself,' said Elizabeth, 'though,
certainly, no one but a true knight could have written Sintram. I am
afraid there was no leader good enough for you among the Spanish
patriots in the Peninsular war.'
'I do not know,' said Anne; 'I admire Don Jose Palafox for his
defence of Zaragoza, but I know nothing more of him, and there is no
chance of my getting his portrait. I am in great want of Cameron of
Lochiel, or Lord Nithsdale, or Derwentwater; for Claverhouse is the
only Jacobite leader I can find a portrait of, and I am afraid the
blood of the Covenanters is a blot on his escutcheon, a stain on his
'I am sorry you have nothing to say to bonnie Dundee,' said
Elizabeth, 'for really, between the Whiggery and stupidity of
England, and the wickedness of France, good people are scarce from
Charles the Martyr to George the Third. How I hate that part of
history! Oh! but there were Prince Eugene and the Vicomte de
'Prince Eugene behaved very well to Marlborough in his adversity,'
said Anne: 'but I do not like people to take affront and abandon
their native country.'
'Oh! but Savoy was more his country than France,' said Elizabeth,
'however, I do not know enough about him to make it worth while to
fight for him.'
'And as to Turenne,' said Anne, 'I do not like the little I know of
him; he was horribly cruel, was he not?'
'Oh! every soldier was cruel in those days,' said Elizabeth; 'it was
the custom of their time, and they could not help it.'
Anne shook her head.
'Then you will be forced to give up my beloved Black Prince,'
continued Elizabeth piteously; 'you know he massacred the people at
'I cannot do without him,' said Anne; 'he was ill and very much
exasperated at the time, and I choose to believe that the massacre
was commanded by John of Gaunt.'
'And I choose to believe that all the cruelties of the French were by
the express order of Louis Quatorze,' said Elizabeth; 'you cannot be
hard on a man who gave all his money and offered to pawn his plate to
bring Charles the Second back to England.'
'I must search and consider,' said Anne; 'I will hunt him out when I
go home, and if we have a print of him, and if he is tolerably good-
looking, I will see what I can do with him.'
'You have Lodge's portraits,' said Elizabeth, 'so you are well off
for Cavaliers; do you mean to take Prince Rupert in compliment to
'No, he is not good enough, I am afraid,' said Anne, 'though besides
our own Vandyke there is a most tempting print of him, in Lodge, with
a buff coat and worked ruffles; but though I used to think him the
greatest of heroes, I have given him up, and mean to content myself
with Charles himself, the two Lindsays, Ormond and Strafford, Derby
and Capel, and Sir Ralph Hopton.'
'And Montrose, and the Marquis of Winchester,' said Elizabeth; 'you
must not forget the noblest of all.'
'I only forgot to mention them,' said Anne, 'I could not leave them
out. The only difficulty is whom to choose among the Cavaliers.'
'And who comes next?' said Elizabeth.
'Gustavus Adolphus and Sir Philip Sydney.'
'Do not mention them together, they are no pair,' said Elizabeth.
'What a pity it was that Sir Philip was a euphuist.'
'Forgive him for that failing, in consideration of his speech at
Zutphen,' said Anne.
'Only that speech is so hackneyed and commonplace,' said Elizabeth,
'I am tired of it.'
'The deed was not common-place,' said Anne.
'No, and dandyism was as entirely the fault of his time as cruelty
was of Turenne's,' said Elizabeth; 'Sir Walter Raleigh was worse than
Sydney, and Surrey quite as bad, to judge by his picture.'
'It is not quite as bad a fault as cruelty,' said Anne, 'little as
you seem to think of the last.'
'Now comes the chivalric age,' said Elizabeth; 'never mind telling me
all the names, only say who is the first of your heroes--neither
Orlando nor Sir Galahad, I suppose.'
'No, nor Huon de Bordeaux,' said Anne.
'The Cid, then, I suppose,' said Elizabeth, 'unless he is too fierce
for your tender heart.'
'Ruy, mi Cid Campeador?' said Anne, 'I must have him in consideration
of his noble conduct to the King who banished him, and the speech the
ballad gives him:
"For vassals' vengeance on their lord,
Though just, is treason still;
The noblest blood is his, who best
Bears undeserved ill."
And the loyalty he shewed in making the King clear himself of having
any share in his brother's death, even though Alphonso was silly
enough to be affronted.'
'Like Montrose's feeling towards his lady-love,' said Elizabeth; 'not
bearing the least stain on what he loved or honoured.'
'But he is not our earliest knight,' said Anne; 'I begin with our own
Alfred, with his blue shield and golden cross.'
'King Alfred!' exclaimed Elizabeth, 'do you consider him a knight?'
'Certainly,' said Anne; 'besides that I care more for the spirit of
chivalry than for the etiquette of the accolade and golden spurs; we
know that Alfred knighted his grandson Athelstane, so that he must
have been a knight himself.'
'By-the-bye,' said Elizabeth, 'I think I have found out the origin of