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Abbeychurch by Charlotte M Yonge

Part 4 out of 5

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the knight who had committed the offence, who is for ever riding up
and down the castle court, repenting of his discourtesy, with his
face towards the tail of a cream-coloured donkey, wearing a cap and
bells for a helmet, with a rod for a lance, and a cockle-shell for a
shield, and star-fishes for spurs, and the Princess can only be
disenchanted by her devoted champion doing battle with him. All,
however, has vanished away from vulgar eyes, and can only be brought
to light by being thrice whistled for. A slight tradition has
remained, and the place has ever since been known by the mysterious
name of Whistlefar.'

'And has no one ever found it?' said Dora.

'I cannot say,' answered Rupert.

'A deed of such high emprise can only be reserved for the great
Prince Rupert himself,' said Elizabeth.

'How can such nonsensical traditions be kept up?' said Harriet; 'I
thought everyone had forgotten such absurd old stories, only fit to
frighten children.'

'Oh! you know nobody believes them,' said Katherine.

'But, Rupert,' said Helen, 'this must be a modern story, it cannot be
a genuine old legend, it is really not according to the spirit of
those times to say that a palmer could be an enchanter, or so
revengeful.'

'Oh!' said Rupert, 'you know everything bad is to be learnt among the
Saracens.'

'Still,' said Helen, 'if you consider the purpose for which the
Palmers visited the Holy Land, you cannot think them likely to learn
the dark rites of the Infidels, and scarcely to wish to gratify
personal resentment.'

'The frock does not make the friar,' said Rupert, 'and this may have
been a bad palmer. Think of the Knights Templars.'

'Besides,' said Helen, 'how could the squires see either palmer or
jester when it was pitch dark ?'

'I suppose there were lamps in the court,' said Rupert; 'but

"I cannot tell how the truth may be,
I tell the tale as 'twas told to me."'

'But who told you, Rupert?' said Helen.

'Why, the story of Red Mantle, Helen, cannot you see?' said
Elizabeth; 'it was on the table all the morning.'

'O Lizzie, was there ever anything so cruel?' cried Rupert; 'Edie
Ochiltree was nothing to you. Everyone was swallowing it so quietly,
and you will not even let me enjoy the credit of originality.'

'I am sure I give you credit due,' said Elizabeth; 'it is really an
ingenious compound of Red Mantle, the Sleeping Beauty, Robert of
Paris, and Triermain, and the cockle-shell shield and star-fish spurs
form an agreeable variation.'

'I never will tell another story in your presence, Lizzie,' said
Rupert, evidently vexed, but carrying it off with great good humour;
'you are worse than Quarterly, Edinburgh, and Blackwood put
together.'

'I really think you deserved it, Rupert,' said Anne; 'I cannot pity
you, you ought not to laugh at the pilgrims.'

'Oh! I dare not open my lips before such devotees of crusading,' said
Rupert.

'And pray, Rupert,' said Elizabeth, 'what did you mean by comparing
me to Edie Ochiltree? did you mean to say that you were like
Monkbarns? I never heard that that gentleman fabricated either
legends or curiosities, and made them pass for genuine ancient ones.'

At this moment, happily for Rupert, they came to the top of a small
rising ground, and beheld a farmhouse at about a hundred yards before
them. Rupert whistled long and loud and shrill, and two or three of
the young ladies exclaimed, 'Is this Whistlefar Castle?'

'It is only enchanted,' said Elizabeth; 'clear away the mist of
incredulity from your eyes, and behold keep, drawbridge, tower and
battlement, and loop-hole grates where captives weep.'

It cannot be denied that the young party were a little disappointed
by the aspect of the renowned Whistlefar, but they did ample justice
to all that was to be seen; a few yards of very thick stone wall in
the court, a coat of arms carved upon a stone built into the wall
upside down, and the well-turned arch of the door-way. Some, putting
on Don Quixote's eyes for the occasion, saw helmets in milk-pails,
dungeons in cellars, battle-axes in bill-hooks, and shields in
pewter-plates, called the baby in its cradle the sleeping Princess,
agreed that the shield must have been reversed by order of the
palmer, and that one of the cows was the mischievous knight's cream-
coloured donkey; so that laughter happily supplied the place of
learned lore.

On the way home the party were not quite so merry, although Helen was
unusually agreeable, and enjoyed a very pleasant conversation with
Rupert and Anne, who, she was pleased to find, really thought her
worth talking to. Elizabeth was occupied with Dora, who was tired,
and wanted to be cheered and amused. She did not however forget her
bulrushes, and when they came in sight of them, she ran forwards to
claim Rupert's promise of gathering some for her and her little
brother and sister. This was a service of difficulty, for some of
the bulrushes grew in the water, and others on deceitful ground,
where a pool appeared wherever Rupert set his foot. With two or
three strides and leaps, however, he reached a little dry island,
covered with a tuft of sedges, in the midst of the marsh, and was
reaching some of the bulrushes with the hook of Anne's parasol, when
he suddenly cried out, 'Hollo, what have we here?'

'What?' said some of the girls.

'A dead dog, I believe,' said Rupert.

'Oh! let me see,' cried Harriet, advancing cautiously over the
morass.

'Are you curious in such matters. Miss Hazleby?' said Rupert,
laughing, as Harriet came splashing towards him through the wet,
holding up her frock with one hand, and stretching out the other to
him, to be helped upon the island. He pulled her upon it safely, but
it quaked fearfully; and there was hardly room for them both to stand
on it, while Harriet, holding fast by Rupert's hand, bent forwards,
beheld the object of her curiosity, uttered a loud scream, lost her
balance, and would have fallen into the river had she not been
withheld by Rupert's strength of arm. They both slipped down on the
opposite sides of the island, into the black mud, and Harriet
precipitately retreated to the mainland.

'Well, what is the matter?' said Elizabeth.

'Oh! my poor dear little doggie!' cried Harriet.

'Is it Fido?' said Elizabeth; 'then, Harriet, there is no fear of
your eating him in a sausage; you may be at rest on that score.'

'But can it really be Fido?' said Katherine, pressing forwards.

'Do you wish to see?' said Rupert, 'for if so, I advise you to make
haste, the island is sinking fast.'

'I am splashed all over, so I do not care. Can I have one more
look?' said Harriet, in a melancholy voice.

Rupert handed her back to the island, where she took her last
farewell of poor Fido, all his long hair drenched with water, and the
very same blue ribbon which she had herself tied round his neck the
day before, floating, a funeral banner, on the surface of the stream.
She contemplated him until her weight and Rupert's had sunk the
island so much, that it was fast becoming a lake, while Elizabeth
whispered to Anne to propose presenting her with a forget-me-not, on
Fido's part.

'I hope,' said Rupert, as they proceeded with their walk, 'that you
are fully sensible of poor Fido's generous self-sacrifice; he
immolated himself to remove, by the manner of his death, any
suspicions of Winifred's having the Fidophobia.'

'Perhaps,' said Elizabeth, 'he had some knowledge of the frightful
suspicions which attached to him, and, like the Irish varmint in St.
Patrick's days,

"went flop,
Slap bang into the water,
And thus committed suicide
To save himself from slaughter."'

They now began to consider how Fido could have met with his death.
Harriet was sure that some naughty boy must have thrown him in. Lucy
thought that in that case he would have lost his blue ribbon; Dora
indignantly repelled the charge of cruelty from the youth of
Abbeychurch; Elizabeth said such a puppy was very likely to fall off
the bridge; and Rupert decided that he had most probably been
attacked by a fit, to which, he said, half-grown puppies were often
liable.

Rupert and Anne then began talking about a dog which they had lost
some time ago in nearly the same manner; and during this dialogue the
party divided, Harriet and Katherine walked on in close consultation,
and Lucy and Helen began helping Dora to sort and carry her
bulrushes, which detained them behind the others.

'What appears to me the most mysterious part of the story,' said
Rupert, 'is how the beloved Fido, petted and watched and nursed and
guarded as he seems to have been, should have contrived to stray from
your house as far as to the river.'

'Oh! that is no mystery at all,' said Elizabeth; 'we crossed the
bridge twice yesterday evening, and I dare say we left him behind us
there.'

'What could you have been doing on the bridge yesterday evening?'
said Rupert. 'Oh! I know; I saw the people coming away from a tee-
total entertainment; you were certainly there, Anne, I hope you
enjoyed it.'

'How very near the truth you do contrive to get, Rupert,' said
Elizabeth.

'Then,' cried Rupert, with a start, 'I see it all. I thought you all
looked very queer at breakfast. I understand it all. You have been
to the Mechanics' Institute.'

'Yes, Rupert,' said Elizabeth.

'No, but you do not mean to say that you really have, Lizzie and
Anne,' cried Rupert, turning round to look into their faces.

Each made a sign of assent; and Rupert, as soon as he had recovered
from his astonishment, burst into a violent fit of laughter, which
lasted longer than either his sister or cousin approved, and it was
not till after he had been well scolded by both, that he chose to
listen to their full account of all that had passed on the subject.

'The worst of it is, now,' said Elizabeth, 'that as soon as Mrs.
Hazleby hears that Fido has been found in the river, she will ask how
he came near it.'

'And what then?' said Anne.

'Why, she well knows that the bridge is not a place to which we are
likely to resort; she will ask what took us there; I would not trust
Harriet to tell the truth, and I have promised not to betray her, so
what is to be done if Mrs. Hazleby asks me?' said Elizabeth.

'I hope she will not ask her youngest daughter,' said Anne.

'That she shall not do,' said Elizabeth: 'I will tell her myself that
Fido was found in the river, and answer all her questions as best I
can.'

'It is rather a pity,' said Anne archly, 'that Miss Hazleby did not
actually fall into the river, for the sensation caused by Rupert's
rescuing her would quite have absorbed all the interest in Fido's
melancholy fate.'

'Thank you, Anne,' said Rupert; 'I am sure I only wonder she was not
submerged. I never could have guessed any fair lady could be so
heavy. I am sure I feel the claw she gave my arm at this moment.'

'How very ungallant!' said Anne.

'Still,' said Rupert, 'without appearing as the preserver of the fair
Harriet from a watery grave, I think I have interest enough with Mrs.
Hazleby to be able to break the fatal news to her, and calm her first
agonies of grief and wrath.'

'You, Rupert?' said Anne.

'Myself, Anne,' replied Rupert; 'you have no notion what friends Mrs.
Hazleby and I have become. We had a tete-a-tete of an hour and a
half this morning.'

'What could you find to talk about?' said Anne.

'First,' said Rupert, 'she asked about my grouse shooting; where I
went, and with whom, and whether I had seen any of the Campbells of
Inchlitherock. Of course we embarked in a genealogy of the whole
Campbell race; then came a description of the beauties of
Inchlitherock. Next I was favoured with her private history; how
she, being one of thirteen, was forced, at eighteen, to leave the
lovely spot, and embark with her brother for India.'

'On speculation,' said Elizabeth.

'And finally, how she came to marry the Major.'

'O Rupert, that is too much; you must have invented it!' cried Anne.

'Indeed I did not, Anne,' said Rupert; 'it is a fact that she lived
somewhere in the Mofussil with her brother, and there she encountered
the Major. You, young ladies, may imagine how she fascinated him,
and how finally her brother seems to have bullied the Major into
marrying her.'

'Poor man!' said Elizabeth, 'I always wondered how he chanced to fall
into her clutches. But did you hear no more?'

'No more of her personal history,' said Rupert; 'she kindly employed
the rest of her time in giving me wise counsels.'

'Oh! pray let us have the benefit of them,' said Anne, who had by
this time pretty well forgotten her prudence.

'There were many regrets that I was not in the army,' said Rupert,
'and many pieces of advice which would have been very useful if I
had, but which I am afraid were thrown away upon me, ending with
wise reflections upon the importance of a wise choice of a wife,
especially for a young man of family, exposed to danger from
designing young ladies, with cautions against beauty because of its
perishable nature, and learning, because literary ladies are fit for
nothing.'

'Meaning to imply,' said Elizabeth, 'how fortunate was Major Hazleby
in meeting with so sweet a creature as the charming Miss Barbara
Campbell, possessed of neither of these dangerous qualities.'

'I do not know,' said Anne; 'I think she might have possessed some of
the former when she left Inchlitherock.'

'Before twenty years of managing and scolding had fixed her eyes in
one perpetual stare,' said Elizabeth. 'But here we are at home.'

They found the hall table covered with parcels, which shewed that
Mrs. Woodbourne and her party had returned from their drive, and the
girls hastened up-stairs.

Anne found her mamma in her room, as well as Sir Edward, who was
finishing a letter.

'Well, Mamma, had you a prosperous journey?' said she.

'Yes, very much so,' said Lady Merton: 'Mrs. Hazleby was in high
good-humour, she did nothing but sing Rupert's praises, and did not
scold Mrs. Woodbourne as much as usual.'

'And what have you been doing, Miss Anne?' said Sir Edward; 'you are
quite on the qui vive.'

'Oh! I have been laughing at the fun which Rupert and Lizzie have
been making about Mrs. Hazleby,' said Anne; 'I really could not help
it, Mamma, and I do not think I began it.'

'Began what?' said Sir Edward.

'Why, Mamma was afraid I should seem to set Lizzie against her step-
mother's relations, if I quizzed them or abused them,' said Anne.

'I do not think what you could say would make much difference in
Lizzie's opinion of them,' said Sir Edward, 'but certainly I should
think they were not the best subjects of conversation here.'

'But I have not told you of the grand catastrophe,' said Anne; 'we
have found poor Fido drowned among the bulrushes.'

'I hope Mrs. Woodbourne will be happy again,' said Lady Merton.

'And, Mamma, he must have fallen in while we were at the Mechanics'
Institute,' said Anne; 'there is one bad consequence of our folly
already.'

'I cannot see what induced you to go,' said Sir Edward; 'I thought
Lizzie had more sense.'

'I believe the actual impulse was given by a dispute between Lizzie
and me on the date of chivalry,' said Anne.

'And so Rupert's friends, the Turners, are great authorities in
history,' said Sir Edward; 'I never should have suspected it.'

'Now I think of it,' said Anne, 'it was the most ridiculous part of
the affair, considering the blunder that Lizzie told me Mrs. Turner
made about St. Augustine. What could we have been dreaming of?'

'Midsummer madness,' said Sir Edward.

'But just tell me, Papa,' said Anne, 'do you not think Helen quite
the heroine of the story?'

'I think Helen very much improved in appearance and manners,' said
Sir Edward; 'and I am quite willing to believe all that I see you
have to tell me of her.'

'Do not wait to tell it now, Anne,' said Lady Merton, 'or Mrs.
Woodbourne will not think us improved in appearance or manners.
It is nearly six o'clock.'

'I will keep it all for the journey home,' said Anne, 'when Papa's
ears will be disengaged.'

'And his tongue too, to give you a lecture upon Radicalism, Miss,'
said Sir Edward, with a fierce gesture, which drove Anne away
laughing.

Elizabeth had finished dressing, a little too rapidly, and had gone
to find Mrs. Woodbourne. 'Well, Mamma,' said she, as soon as she
came into her room, 'Winifred has lived to say 'the dog is dead'.'

'What do you mean, my dear?' said Mrs. Woodbourne.

'The enemy is dead, Mamma,' said Elizabeth; 'we found him drowned by
the green meadow.'

'Poor little fellow! your aunt will be very sorry,' was kind Mrs.
Woodbourne's remark.

'But now, Mamma,' said Elizabeth, 'you may be quite easy about
Winifred; he could not possibly have been mad.'

'How could he have fallen in, poor little dog?' said Mrs. Woodbourne.

'He must have strayed about upon the bridge while we were at the
Mechanics' Institute,' said Elizabeth; 'it was all my fault, and I am
afraid it is a very great distress to Lucy. Helen might well say
mischief would come of our going.'

'I wish the loss of Fido was all the mischief likely to come of it,
my dear,' said Mrs. Woodbourne, with a sigh; 'I am afraid your papa
will be very much annoyed by it, with so much as he has on his mind
too.'

'Ah! Mamma, that is the worst of it, indeed,' said Elizabeth,
covering her face with her hands; 'if I could do anything--'

'My dearest child,' said Mrs. Woodbourne, 'do not go on making
yourself unhappy, I am very sorry I said anything about your Papa;
you know he cannot be angry with one who grieves so sincerely for
what she has done amiss. I am sure you have learnt a useful lesson,
and will be wiser in future. Now do put your scarf even, and let me
pin this piece of lace straight for you, it is higher on one side
than the other, and your band is twisted.'

On her side, Lucy, trembling as she entered her mother's room, but
firm in her purpose of preserving her sister from the temptation to
prevaricate, by taking all the blame which Mrs. Hazleby chose to
ascribe to her, quietly communicated the fatal intelligence to Mrs.
Hazleby. Her information was received with a short angry 'H--m,' and
no more was said upon the matter, as Mrs. Hazleby was eager to shew
Harriet some wonderful bargains which she had met with at Baysmouth.

CHAPTER XI.

As soon as Mrs. Hazleby made her appearance in the drawing-room
before dinner, Rupert began repeating,

'The wound it seemed both sore and sad
To every Christian eye,
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the child would die,

But soon a wonder came to light,
That shewed the rogues they lied,
The child recovered of the bite,
It was the dog that died.'

'I beg to offer my congratulations,' continued he, setting a chair
for her.

Mrs. Hazleby looked surprised.

'On the demonstration we have this day received of your superior
judgement, Ma'am,' said Rupert, 'though indeed we could hardly have
doubted it before.'

'Pray let me understand you, Mr. Merton,' said Mrs. Hazleby.

'Have you not heard of the circumstance to which I allude?' said
Rupert; 'for if you are not already aware of it, I must beg to be
excused from relating it; I could not bear to give so great a shock
to a lady's feelings.'

'Oh! you mean about Fido,' said Mrs. Hazleby, almost smiling; 'yes,
Lucy told me that you had found him. Really, my girls are so
careless, I can trust nothing to them.'

'Indeed, Madam,' said Rupert, 'I assure you that nothing could have
been more heart-rending than the scene presented to our eyes when the
Miss Hazlebys first became aware of the untimely fate of their
favourite. Who could behold it with dry eye--or dry foot?' added he,
in an under-tone, with a side glance at Anne.

Rupert contrived to talk so much nonsense to Mrs. Hazleby, that he
charmed her with his attention, gave her no time to say anything
about Fido, and left Anne much surprised that she had never found out
that he was laughing at her. At dinner, the grouse he had brought
came to their aid; Mrs. Hazleby was delighted to taste a blackcock
once more, and was full of reminiscences of Inchlitherock; and by
means of these recollections, and Rupert's newly imported histories,
Sir Edward and Mr. Woodbourne contrived to make the conversation more
entertaining than Elizabeth thought it ever could be in any party in
which Mrs. Hazleby was present.

Afterwards in the drawing-room, Dora's bulrushes and the other
children's purchases were duly admired, and the little people, being
rather fatigued, were early sent to bed, although Edward vehemently
insisted, with his eyes half shut, that he was not in the least
sleepy. The elder girls then arranged themselves round the table.
Helen was working a bunch of roses of different colours; Anne admired
it very much, but critics were not wanting to this, as to every other
performance of Helen's.

'It is all very pretty except that rose,' said Katherine, 'but I am
sure that is an unnatural colour.--Is it not, Anne ?'

'I do not think that I ever saw one like it,' said Anne; 'but that is
no proof that there is no such flower.'

'What do you think, Lizzie?' said Katherine; 'ought not Helen to
alter it?'

Anne was rather alarmed by this appeal; but Elizabeth answered
carelessly, without looking up, 'Oh! you know I know nothing about
that kind of work.'

'But you can tell what colour a rose is,' persisted Katherine; 'now
do not you think Helen will spoil her work with that orange-coloured
rose? who ever heard of such a thing?'

Helen was on the point of saying that one of the gable-ends of the
house at Dykelands was covered with a single rose of that colour, but
she remembered that Dykelands was not a safe subject, and refrained.

'Come, do not have a York and Lancaster war about an orange-coloured
rose, Kate,' said Elizabeth, coming up to Helen; 'why, Anne, where
are your eyes? did you never see an Austrian briar, just the the
colour of Helen's lambs-wools?'

Though this was a mere trifle, Helen was pleased to find that
Elizabeth could sometimes be on her side of the question, and worked
on in a more cheerful spirit.

'Why, Anne,' said Elizabeth, presently after, 'you are doing that old
wreath over again, that you were about last year, when I was at
Merton Hall.'

'Yes,' said Anne; 'it is a pattern which I like very much.'

'Do you like working the same thing over again?' said Katherine; 'I
always get tired of it.'

'I like it very much,' said Anne; 'going over the same stitches puts
me in mind of things that were going on when I was working them
before.--Now, Lizzie, the edge of that poppy seems to have written in
it all that delightful talk we had together, at home, about growing
up, that day when Papa and Mamma dined out, and we had it all to
ourselves. And the iris has the whole of Don Quixote folded up in
it, because Papa was reading it to us, when I was at work upon it.'

'There certainly seems to be a use and pleasure in never sitting down
three minutes without that carpet-work, which I should never have
suspected,' said Elizabeth.

'Anne thinks as I do,' said Mrs. Woodbourne; 'I find carpet-work
quite a companion to me, but I cannot persuade Lizzie to take any
pleasure in it.'

'I have not time for it,' said Elizabeth, 'nor patience if I had
time. It is all I can persuade myself to do to keep my clothes from
being absolute rags.'

'Yes,' said Katherine; 'you always read with Meg in your lap, when
you have no mending to do; you have been six months braiding that
frock.'

'Oh! that is company work,' said Elizabeth; 'I began it at Merton
Hall for Dora, but I believe Winifred must have it now. But now it
is so nearly done, that I shall finish while you are here.'

Elizabeth did not however long continue working, for as soon as tea
was over she proposed to play at the game of Conglomeration, as she
had talked of doing in the course of the walk. 'I give notice,
however,' said she, 'that we are likely to laugh more than will suit
the gravity of the elders, therefore I recommend adjourning to the
inner drawing-room.--Mamma, may we have candles there?'

Consent was given, and while the candles were being brought, and
Elizabeth was looking out some paper, Anne whispered to her brother,
'Rupert, pray say nothing about Fido, or the Mechanics' Institute, or
something unpleasant will surely come of it.'

'Oh! Anne,' was the answer, 'you have robbed me of my best couplet--

Weeping like forsaken Dido,
When she found the slaughtered Fido.

Where is the use of playing if there is to be no fun?'

''Where is the use of fun?' said the cockchafer to the boy who was
spinning it,' said Anne.

'Impertinence, impertinence, impertinence,' said Rupert, shaking his
head at her.

By this time all was ready, and Elizabeth called the brother and
sister to take their places at the table in the inner drawing-room.
She then wrote a substantive at the upper end of a long strip of
paper, and folding it down, handed it on to Lucy, who also wrote a
noun, turned it down, and gave the paper to Helen, who, after writing
hers and hiding it, passed it on to Rupert. Thus the paper was
handed round till it was filled. It was then unrolled, and each
player was required to write a copy of verses in which these words
were to be introduced as rhymes in the order in which they stood in
the list. Rupert was rather put out by his sister's not allowing him
to turn the poem in the way he wished, and he thought proper to find
fault with half the words in the list.

'HARROGATE,' said he, 'what is to be done with such a word ?'

'You can manage it very well if you choose,' said Elizabeth.

'But who could have thought of such a word?' said he, holding up the
list to the candle, and scrutinizing the writing. 'Some one with a
watery taste, doubtless.'

'You know those things are never divulged,' said Anne.

'FRANCES, too,' continued Rupert, 'there is another impossible case;
I will answer for it, Helen wrote that, a reminiscence of dear
Dykelands.'

'No, indeed I did not,' said Helen; 'it is FRANCIS, too, I believe.'

'Oh yes,' said Harriet, 'it is FRANCIS, I wrote it, because--do not
you remember, Lucy?--Frank Hollis--'

'Well, never mind,' said Elizabeth, who wished to hear no more of
that gentleman; 'you may make it whichever you please. And Rupert,
pray do not be so idle; put down the list, no one can see it; write
your own verses, and tell me the next word to witch'

'EYES,' said Rupert, 'and then BOUNCE. I do not believe that word is
English.'

'BOUNCE, no,' said Katherine; 'it is BONNET, I wrote it myself.'

'Then why do you make your 't' so short?' said Rupert; 'I must give
you a writing lesson, Miss Kitty.'

'I must give you a lesson in silence, Mr. Rupert,' said Elizabeth.

'I obey,' said Rupert, with a funny face of submission, and taking up
his paper and pencil; but in a minute or two he started up,
exclaiming, 'What are they saying about Oxford?' and walked into the
next room, intending to take part in the conversation between his
father and uncle. Mr. Woodbourne, however, who was no great admirer
of Rupert's forwardness, did not shew so much deference to his
nephew's opinion as to make him very unwilling to return to the inner
drawing-room, when Anne came to tell him that all the poems were
finished, and Elizabeth ready to read them aloud.

'So this is all that you have to shew for yourself,' said Elizabeth,
holding up a scrap of paper; 'what is all this?'

'A portrait of Miss Merton,' said Rupert; 'do not you see the poet's
eye in a fine frenzy rolling?'

'Is it?' said Elizabeth; 'I took it for Miss Squeers in the agonies
of death, as I see that is the subject of the poem--all that there is
of it, at least.

Did ever you see a stupider POEM?
Pray who is the author? I know him, I know him,
He went to school to Mr. Squeers,
Who often made the youth shed TEARS.

Now for the next, which is nearly as short.

I will write a POEM,
Clear and flowing,
It will make you shed TEARS,
And excite your fears.
'Tis about a witch,
Drowned in a ditch,
Your tears come from your EYES.
If you are wise,
Don't make a BOUNCE,
Or you'll tear your flounce,
And upset the sugar JAR,
Which I cannot spare,
I must give some to FRANCIS,
So well he dances;
Sugar canes packed up in LEAVES,
The canes are tied up like wheat sheaves;
Francis wears a scarlet JACKET,
He made a dreadful racket
At HARROGATE,
Because he had to wait,
In a field of BARLEY,
To hold a parley,
About a bone of marrow;
His heart was transfixed by an ARROW,
By a lady in VELVET,
And he was her pet.'

All laughed heartily at this poem, which perhaps diverted them more
than a better would have done; Harriet was highly delighted with what
she considered their applause, though she knew that of all the
rhymes, scarcely three had been found by herself.

'Why, Mr. Merton, what are you doing?' asked Harriet; 'are you
writing any more?'

'Oh! I hope he will tell us about Mr. Squeers,' said Katherine.

No one could doubt that the next which Elizabeth read was her own.

I'm afraid you expect a beautiful POEM,
Though I make a long and tedious proem,
But great and dreadful are my fears,
No poem of mine will put you in TEARS.
My genius suggests neither fairy nor witch,
My tales to adorn with cauldrons of pitch,
Alarm the world with fiery EYES,
And from the hero snatch his prize,
Leap out from her den with a terrible BOUNCE,
And on the trembling damsel pounce,
And bottle her up in a close corked JAR,
Or whirl her away in a flaming car;
Then her knight, the brave Sir FRANCIS,
Upon his noble steed advances,
All his armour off he LEAVES,
Preserves alone his polished greaves,
His defence is a buff JACKET,
Nor sword nor axe nor lance can crack it,
It was made at HARROGATE,
By a tailor whose shop had a narrow gate;
The elves attack with spears of BARLEY,
But he drives them off, oh! rarely,
Then they shoot him with an ARROW,
From bow-strings greased with ear-wigs' marrow,
The feathers, moth-wings downy VELVET,
The bow-strings, of the spider's net:
Thousands come, armed in this PATTERN,
Which proves their mistress is no slattern;
Some wear the legs and hoof of PAN,
And some are in the form of man;
But the knight is armed, for in his POCKET
He has a talismanic locket,
Which once belonged to HERCULES,
Who wore it on his bunch of keys;
The fairy comes, quite old and fat,
Mounted upon a monstrous BAT;
Around the knight a web she weaves,
And holds him fast, and there she LEAVES
Sir Francis weeping for his charmer,
And longing for his knightly ARMOUR.
But his sword was cast in the self-same forge
As that of the great champion GEORGE;
Thus he defies the witch's ARMY,
He breaks his bands; 'Ye elves, beware me,
I fear not your LEVIATHAN,
No spells can stop a desperate man.'
Away in terror flies the REAR-GUARD,
He seizes on the witch abhorred,
Confines her in a COCKLE SHELL,
And breaks all her enchantments fell,
Catches her principal LIEUTENANT,
Makes him of a split pine the tenant;
Carries away the lady, nimble,
As e'er Miss Merton plied her THIMBLE;
Oh! this story would your frowns unbend.
Could I tell it to the END.

'Oh!' said Rupert, glad to seize an opportunity of retaliating upon
Elizabeth; 'I give you credit; a very ingenious compound of Thalaba,
Pigwiggin, and the Tempest, and the circumstance of the witch
whirling away the lady is something new.'

'No, it is not,' said Elizabeth; 'it is the beginning of the story of
the Palace of Truth, in the Veillees du Chateau. I only professed to
conglomerate the words, not to pass off my story as a regular old
traditional legend.'

'Well, well,' said Rupert; 'go on; have you only two more?'

'Only two,' said Elizabeth; 'Kate and Lucy behaved as shabbily as you
did. Helen, I believe you must read yours. I can never read your
writing readily, and besides, I am growing hoarse.'

Helen obeyed.

How hard it is to write a POEM,
Graceful and witty, plain and clear,
Harder than ploughing--'tis, or sowing,
So hard that I should shed a TEAR.

Did I not know the highest pitch
Of merit, in the poet's EYES
Is but to laugh, a height to WHICH
'Tis not so hard for me to rise.

For badness soon is gained, forth BOUNCE
My rhymes such as they are;
Good critics, on my lines don't pounce,
Though on the ear they JAR.

I've had a letter from dear FRANCES,
Who says, through the light plane tree LEAVES,
Upon the lawn the sun-beam glances,
The wheat is bound up in its sheaves

By Richard, in the fustian JACKET
His mistress bought at HARROGATE,
And up in lofty ricks they stack it,
There for the threshing will it wait.

Then will they turn to fields of BARLEY,
Bearded and barbed with many an ARROW,
Just where the fertile soil is marly,
And in the spring was used the harrow.

Drawn by the steeds in coats of VELVET,
Old Steady, Jack, and Slattern,
Their manes well combed, and black as jet,
Their tails in the same PATTERN.

While Richard's son, with pipe of PAN,
His hands within his POCKETS,
Walks close beside the old plough-man,
Dreaming of squibs and rockets.

That youth, he greatly loves his ease,
He's growing much too fat,
And though as strong as HERCULES,
He'll only use his BAT.

He won't sweep up the autumn LEAVES,
The tree's deciduous ARMOUR,
No scolding Dickey's spirit grieves
Like working like a farmer,

Or labouring like his cousin GEORGE,
With arms all bare and brawny,
Within the blacksmith's glowing forge;
He would be in the ARMY.

But no, young Dick, you're not the man
Our realms to watch and ward,
For worse than a LEVIATHAN
You'd dread the foe's REAR-GUARD,

And in the storm of shot and SHELL,
You'd soon desert your pennant,
Care nought for serjeant, corporal,
Or general LIEUTENANT,

But prove yourself quite swift and nimble,
And thus would meet your END;
No, better take a tailor's THIMBLE
And learn your ways to mend.

'Capital, Helen!' said Elizabeth.

'How very pretty!' said Lucy.

'And very well described,' said Anne; 'you have brought in those
ungainly words most satisfactorily.'

'Now, Helen, here is Anne's,' said Elizabeth; 'it is a choice one,
and I have kept it for the last.'

'Let me read Anne's,' said Rupert; 'no one can decypher her writing
as well as I can.'

'As was proved by the thorough acquaintance you shewed with the
contents of her last letter,' said Elizabeth.

Rupert began as follows:

Now must I write in numbers flowing
Extemporaneously a POEM?

'Why, Rupert,' cried Anne, 'you must be reading Kate's. Mine began
with--'

'I declare that I have yours in my hand, Anne,' said Rupert.

'And I did not write one,' said Katherine.

Now must I write in numbers flowing
Extemporaneously a POEM?
One that will fill your eyes with TEARS,
While I relate how our worst fears
Were realized in yonder ditch.
Conveyed there by some water-WITCH,
We found, sad sight for longing EYES!
Fido, much loved, though small in size.
Hard fate, but while our tears bemoan it,
Let us take up the corpse and BONE it,
Then place the mummy in a JAR,
Keep it from sausage-makers far,
Extract his heart to send to FRANCIS;
This gift from HER, his soul entrances,
Within his scarlet gold-laced JACKET
His heart makes a tremendous racket;
Visions of bliss arise, a surrogate,
Ay, and a wedding tour to HARROGATE.

When Rupert came to Fido, Anne uttered one indignant 'Rupert!' but as
he proceeded, she was too much confounded to make the slightest
demonstration, and yet she was nearly suffocated with laughter in the
midst of her vexation, when she thought of the ball at Hull, and
'Frank Hollis.' Elizabeth and Katherine too were excessively
diverted, though the former repented of having ever proposed such a
game for so incongruous a party. There was a little self-reproach
mingled even with Anne's merriment, for she felt that if she had more
carefully abstained from criticising the Hazlebys, or from looking
amused by what was said of them, Rupert would hardly have attempted
this piece of impertinence. Helen, who considered it as a most
improper proceeding, sat perfectly still and silent, with a
countenance full of demure gravity, which made Elizabeth and Anne
fall into fresh convulsions as they looked at her; Lucy only blushed;
and as for Harriet, the last two lines could scarcely be heard, for
her exclamations of, 'O Mr. Merton, that is too bad! O Mr. Merton,
how could you think of such a thing? O Mr. Merton, I can never
forgive you! Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall never stop laughing. Oh
dear! Mr. Merton, what would Frank Hollis say to you? how
ridiculous!'

'Now for Anne's real poem, Rupert,' said Elizabeth, not choosing to
make any remarks, lest Rupert should consider them as compliments.

'Have you not heard it?' said Rupert.

'Nonsense,' said Elizabeth.

'Why, I told you I had it in my hand,' said Rupert.

'And you have it still,' said Elizabeth; 'deliver it up, if you
please; it is the best of all, I can tell you, I had a cursory view
of it.'

'No, no,' said Anne, who saw that her brother meant to teaze her, and
not to restore her verses; 'it was a very poor performance, it is
much better for my fame that it should never be seen. Only think
what a sublime notion the world will have of it, when it is said that
even the great Rupert himself is afraid to let it appear.'

Elizabeth made another attempt to regain the poem, but without
effect, and Anne recalled the attention of all to Helen's verses.

'What is a pennant?' said Elizabeth; 'I do not like words to be
twisted for the sake of the rhyme.'

A flag,' said Helen.

'I never doubted that you intended it for a flag,' said Elizabeth;
'but what I complain of is, that it is a transmogrified pennon.'

'I believe a pennant to be a kind of flag,' said Helen.

'Let us refer the question to Papa,' said Anne, 'as soon as he has
finished that interminable conversation with Uncle Woodbourne.'

'Really, in spite of that slight blemish,' said Elizabeth, 'your poem
is the best we have heard, Helen.'

'And I can testify,' said Rupert, 'that the description of the cart-
horses at Dykelands is perfectly correct. But, Helen, is it true
that your friend Dicky has been seized with a fit of martial ardour
such as you describe?'

'Yes,' said Helen, 'he was very near enlisting, but it made his
mother very unhappy, and Mrs. Staunton--'

'Went down upon her knees to beseech him to remain, and let her roast
beef be food for him, not himself be food for powder,' said Rupert,
'never considering how glad the parish would be to get rid of him.'

'No,' said Helen, 'her powder became food for him; she made him
under-gamekeeper.'

'Excellent, Helen, you shine to-night,' cried Elizabeth; 'such a bit
of wit never was heard from you before.'

'Your poem is a proof that the best way of being original is to
describe things as you actually see them,' said Anne.

'Is not mine original? I do not think it was taken from any book,'
said Harriet, willing to pick up a little more praise.

'Not perhaps from any book,' said Elizabeth, with a very grave face;
'but I am afraid we must convict you of having borrowed from the
mother of books, Oral tradition.'

'Oral tradition!' repeated Harriet, opening her mouth very wide.

'Yes,' said Elizabeth; 'for I cannot help imagining that the former
part of your ode is a parody upon

"I'll tell you a story
About Jack A'Nory,
And now my story's begun;
I'll tell you another
About Jack and his brother,
And now my story is done."

And that your friend Francis must have been the hero who complains so
grievously of Taffy the Welshman, whose house was doubtless situated
in a field of barley, while his making a dreadful racket is quite
according to the ancient notions of what he did with the marrow-
bone.'

'Oh! there is Papa looking in at us,' said Anne; 'now for the
question of pennon and pennant.'

'Oh! Anne, it is all nonsense,' cried Helen; 'do not shew it.'

But Anne, with Helen's paper in her hand, had already attacked Sir
Edward, who, to the author's great surprise, actually read the poem
all through, smiling very kindly, and finished by saying, 'Ah ha!
Helen, it is plain enough that your friends are naval. I can see
where your pennant came from.'

'But is it not a flag, Uncle Edward?' asked Helen.

'A flag it is,' said Sir Edward, 'and properly called and spelt
pendant.'

'There, Helen, you are an antidote to the hydrophobia,' said Rupert;
'everything becomes--'

'Do not let us have any more of that stale joke,' said Elizabeth; 'it
is really only a poetical license to use a sea-flag for a land-flag,
and Helen had the advantage of us, since we none of us knew that
Pennant signified anything but the naturalist.'

'And pray, Helen,' said Sir Edward, 'am I to consider this poem as an
equivalent for the music you have cheated us of, this evening?'

'I hope you will consider that it is,' said Elizabeth; 'is it not
positively poetical, Uncle Edward?'

Helen was hardly ever in a state of greater surprise and pleasure
than at this moment, for though she could not seriously believe that
her lines were worthy of all the encomiums bestowed on them, yet she
was now convinced that Elizabeth was not absolutely determined to
depreciate every performance of hers, and that she really possessed a
little kindness for her.

When Mr. Woodbourne rang the bell, Elizabeth gathered up all the
papers, and was going to put them into a drawer, when Harriet came up
to her, saying in a whisper, evidently designed to attract notice,
'Lizzie, do give me that ridiculous thing, you know, of Mr. Merton's;
I could not bear you to have it, you would shew it to everyone.'

'Indeed I should do no such thing,' said Elizabeth; 'I never wish to
see it more, you are very welcome to it.'

Harriet received the precious document with great satisfaction,
carefully folded it up, and placed it in her bag, very much to
Rupert's delight, as he silently watched her proceedings.

When they went up to bed, Anne followed Lady Merton to her room, in
order to ask some question about the dress which she was to wear the
next day, Sunday, and after remaining with her a few minutes, she
returned to Elizabeth. She found her looking full of trouble, quite
a contrast to the bright animated creature she had been a few minutes
before.

'My dear Lizzie,' exclaimed Anne, 'has anything happened? what has
grieved you?'

'Why, Anne,' said Elizabeth, with almost a groan, 'has not enough
happened to grieve me? is it not terrible to think of what I have
done?'

Anne stood still and silent, much struck by her cousin's sorrow; for
she had considered their expedition to the Mechanics' Institute as a
foolish girlish frolic, but by no means as serious a matter as it now
proved to be.

'I want you to tell me, Anne,' continued Elizabeth; 'was I not quite
out of my senses yesterday evening? I can hardly believe it was
myself who went to that horrible place, I wish you could prove that
it was my double-ganger.'

Anne laughed,

'But does it not seem incredible,' said Elizabeth, 'that I, Elizabeth
Woodbourne, should have voluntarily meddled with a radical, levelling
affair, should have sought out Mrs. Turner and all the set I most
dislike, done perhaps an infinity of mischief, and all because Kate
wanted to go out on a party of pleasure with that foolish Willie.
Oh! Anne, I wish you would beat me.'

'Would that be any comfort to you?' said Anne, smiling.

'Yes,' said Elizabeth; 'I should feel as if I was suffering a little
for my madness. Oh! how I hope Papa will speak to me about it. If
he does not, I shall see his displeasure in his eyes, and oh! I could
bear anything better than the silent stern way in which he used to
look at me, once before, when I had behaved very ill. And then, to-
morrow is Sunday, and I shall scarcely see him all day, and he will
have no time to speak to me; and how can I get through a Sunday,
feeling that he is angry with me? how shall I teach the children, or
do anything as usual? Anne, what do you think was the first sound in
my ears when I awoke this morning, and has been returning upon me all
day?--the words, "It was a tree to be desired to make one wise."'

'Little wisdom we have gained from it,' said Anne.

'Eve's wisdom,' said Elizabeth, 'the knowledge of evil, and the
wisdom of vanity and vexation of spirit. But was it not curious,
Anne? when first I woke, before I had opened my eyes, those words
were sounding in my ears, like a dream of Papa's voice, reading the
Lesson at church; I almost fell asleep again, and again those words
came back in Papa's voice, and then I woke entirely, and before I had
seen what kind of day it was, before I knew whether it was Saturday
or Sunday, I was sure there was something wrong, and then there was
all this black Mechanics' Institute business before me. And all
through this day those words have been ringing in my ears, and coming
upon me like the pressure of King James's iron belt.'

'Have they indeed?' said Anne, 'I could hardly have believed it.
I have not seen your "look o'ercast and lower," like his.'

'Perhaps not,' said Elizabeth; 'but yet I was like him.

"Forward he rushed with double glee
Into the tide of revelry."

And I believe that having anything on my mind puts me in wilder
spirits, apparently, than usual, but I am sure that my merriment to-
day was no proof that I was happy. It was partly, I believe, from a
mad spirit, like what drives wicked men to drinking, and partly from
folly and levity. It was the same when Mamma's sister, Miss Dorothea
Hazleby, died; I am sure I was very sorry for Aunt Dorothy, for she
was a most amiable person, and had always been particularly kind to
me, and I was very sorry too for Mamma and old Mrs. Hazleby, who were
broken-hearted about it; yet would you believe it? the very day that
Papa was gone to Hastings, to the funeral, and Mamma was at home, too
ill and too wretched to go, even to her mother, I was out in the
garden with Horace and Dora, forgot all about her distress, and began
a noisy game with them close under her window. She sent Kate to tell
them not to make such a noise; and when we came in, and she found
that it was my doing, she gave me such a kind, grieved, reproachful
look, that I think I shall never forget it. And now it is most
strange to think how wildly and merrily I laughed at all Rupert's
jokes, when I knew I was in disgrace, and after having behaved so
very ill.'

'Indeed, I did not think it would have distressed you so much,' said
Anne; 'I never thought it was more than a very foolish affair.'

'It is a very different thing for you,' said Elizabeth; 'you have
nothing to do with the town, and you need not have known that it was
not a fit place to go to.'

'But you did not know that it was not fit for us,' said Anne.

'I did know that I ought not to go where I had not been told I might
go,' said Elizabeth. 'It was relying on my own judgement that led me
astray. But, oh! I wish I had been here at the time the Socialist
lectures were given; I should as soon have thought of climbing up the
kitchen-chimney, as of going to that den, and giving the ragamuffins
such a victory over Papa.'

'It was very silly of us not to ask a few more questions,' said Anne.

'Ah! that is the worst part of my behaviour,' said Elizabeth; 'that
abominably unfair account which I gave you, at Mr. Turner's door, of
Helen's objections. It was in fact almost deceit, and the only thing
that can take off from the blackness of it, is that I was
sufficiently senseless to believe it myself at the time I spoke.'

'Oh yes, of course you did,' said Anne.

'Yet there must have been a sort of feeling that your hearing her
arguments would put a stop to the beautiful scheme,' said Elizabeth;
'you do not know, perhaps, that Kate was nearly convinced by Helen's
good sense, and I do believe that the reason I was not, was, what I
tremble to think of, that I have been indulging in a frightful spirit
of opposing and despising Helen, because I was angry with her for
loving Dykelands better than home. I do believe she hardly dares to
open her lips. I heard her telling Lucy afterwards that there was a
rose at Dykelands of the colour of her pattern, and I dare say she
did not say so, when it would have been to the purpose, for fear I
should say that damp turns roses orange-coloured; and I could see she
did not defend her pendant with Captain Atherley for fear I should
tell her he was not infallible. No wonder she pines for Dykelands; a
fine sort of sister and home she has found here, poor child.'

'Oh! now you think so--' Anne began, but here she stopped short,
checked by her dread of interfering between sisters; she could not
bear to add to Elizabeth's bitter feelings of self-reproach, and she
could not say that her conduct on the preceding evening had been by
any means what it ought to have been, that she had treated Helen
kindly, or that Helen had not suffered much from her want of
consideration for her. She only kissed her cousin, and wished her
good night very affectionately, and nothing more was said that
evening.

But Anne's silence was often very expressive to those who could
understand it, and of these Elizabeth was one.

The toilette of Katherine and Helen passed in a very different manner
that evening; Katherine did nothing but giggle and chatter
incessantly, about the game they had been playing at, in order to
prevent Helen from saying anything about the result of their
excursion the evening before, and to keep herself from thinking of
the cowardly part she had been acting all day. Helen only wished to
be left in peace, to think over her share in all these transactions,
and to consider how she might become a tolerably useful member of
society for the future; and on her making no reply to one of
Katherine's speeches, the latter suddenly became silent, and she was
left to her own reflections.

CHAPTER XII.

Elizabeth was always fully employed on a Sunday, and on that which
followed the Consecration she had perhaps more on her hands even than
usual, so that she had little opportunity for speaking, or even for
thinking, of her troubles.

Mr. Woodbourne was going to assist Mr. Somerville in the services at
St. Austin's, leaving Mr. Walker to do the duty at St. Mary's, as the
old church was now to be always called.

Mr. Somerville had asked Mrs. Woodbourne to bring all her party to
luncheon at his house, and had added a special invitation to the
children to be present at the opening of the new Sunday-school, which
was to take place between the services. It was however necessary
that someone should stay and superintend what the young people
called, rather contemptuously, 'the old school;' and this Elizabeth
undertook, saying that she did not like to lose one Sunday's teaching
of her own class. Anne was about to offer to remain with her and
assist her, but on Helen's making the same proposal, she thought it
better to give the sisters an opportunity of being alone together,
and, as she was more desirous of doing right than of appearing eager
to be useful, she said nothing of what she had intended. Elizabeth
was much gratified by her sister's voluntary proffer of assistance,
for the head and front of Helen's offences on her return from
Dykelands, had been, that she had loathed the idea of helping to
train the screaming school-girls to sing in church, and had
altogether shewn far less interest in parish matters than Elizabeth
thought their due.

'I am sure,' said Elizabeth, as they were walking from school to
church, 'it is worth while to stay to see the aisle now it is clear
of the benches, and there is breathing room left in the dear old
church. And listen to the bells! does not it seem as if the two
churches were exchanging greetings on St. Austin's first Sunday?
Yes, St. Mary's is our home, our mother church,' added she, as she
walked under the heavy stone porch, its groined roof rich with quaint
bosses, the support of many a swallow's nest, and came in sight of
the huge old square font, standing on one large column and four small
ones, where she herself and all her brothers and sisters had been
christened.

The three little children were not to go to St. Austin's in the
morning, but Katherine had promised to come back to fetch them in
time for the luncheon at Mr. Somerville's, and thus Dora had the full
advantage of studying the Puddington monument before the service
began.

Katherine and Harriet came back whilst Elizabeth and Helen were at
luncheon, and after giving them a list of half the people who were at
church, they called the children to come to Mr. Somerville's with
them.

'Why do not you put on your bonnet, Dora?' said Winifred.

'I am not going,' said Dora.

'Why not?' asked Winifred.

'Because I had rather not,' was the answer.

'Why, you silly little child,' said Katherine; 'are you shy of Mr.
Somerville? look there, Edward and Winifred are not shy, and you are
quite a great girl. How Horace would laugh!'

'I cannot help it,' said Dora; 'I had rather not go.'

'If you are thinking of your little class, Dora,' said Elizabeth,
'I will hear them for you; you will trust them with me, will you not?
and I will remember who is first.'

'Thank you,' said Dora; 'I had rather go to church and school with
you.'

'Nonsense, Dora,' said Katherine; 'I wish you would come.'

'Now do,' said Harriet; 'you cannot think what a nice luncheon Mr.
Somerville will have for you.'

'There is a very nice luncheon here,' said Dora.

'Oh! but not like a company luncheon,' said Harriet; 'besides, Mr.
Somerville will be so disappointed if you do not come. Poor Mr.
Somerville, won't you be sorry for him, Dora?'

'Oh no, he does not want me--does he, Lizzie?' said Dora.

'No, I do not suppose he does,' said Elizabeth; 'he only asked you
out of good nature.'

'Well, if Dora will not come,' said Katherine, 'there is no use in
staying.--Come, Winifred and Edward.'

Elizabeth was sure that Dora had reasons of her own for choosing to
remain with her, but she thought it best to ask no questions; and the
reasons appeared, when, as they came into the Alms-house Court after
evening service, Dora pressed her hand, saying, in a low mysterious
tone, 'Lizzie, will you shew me what you promised?'

Elizabeth knew what she meant, and returning through the church into
the church-yard, led the way to the east end, where, close beside a
projecting buttress, Dora beheld a plain flat white stone, with three
small crosses engraven on it, and with a feeling between awe and
wonder, read the simple inscription.

KATHERINE,

WIFE OF THE REV. HORATIO WOODBOURNE,

VICAR OF ABBEYCHURCH ST. MARY'S,

MAY 14TH, 1826,

AGED 28.

It was the first time that Elizabeth and Helen had stood together at
their mother's grave, for Helen was but three years old at the time
she had been deprived of her, and, after their father's second
marriage, a kind of delicacy in Elizabeth, young as she was, had
prevented her from ever mentioning her to her younger sisters.

After a few minutes, during which no one spoke, the three sisters
turned away, and re-entered the church. Helen and Dora had reached
the north door, and were leaving the church, when they missed
Elizabeth, and looking round, saw her sitting in one of the low pews,
in the centre aisle, her face raised towards the flamboyant tracery
of the east window. Dora, who seemed to have a sort of perception
that her presence was a restraint upon her sisters, whispered, 'I am
going to feed the doves,' and hastened across the quadrangle, while
Helen came back to Elizabeth's side. Her sister rose, and with her
own bright smile, said, 'Helen, I could not help coming here, it was
where I sat at the day of the funeral, and I wanted to look at that
flame-shaped thing in the top of the window, as I did all through the
reading of the Lesson. Do you see? What strange thoughts were in my
head, as I sat looking at that deep blue glass, with its shape like
an angel's head and meeting wings, and heard of glories celestial!
I never hear those words without seeing that form.'

With these words Elizabeth and Helen left the church; Helen put her
arm into her sister's, a thing which Elizabeth very seldom liked
anyone to do, even Anne, but now the two girls walked slowly arm-in-
arm, through the quadrangle, and along the broad gravel path in the
Vicarage garden.

'Then you were at her funeral?' was the first thing Helen said.

'Yes,' said Elizabeth; 'Papa wished it, and I am sure I am very glad
they let me go.'

No more was spoken till Helen began again. 'When I was at Dykelands,
Mrs. Staunton used often to talk to me about our mother, and I began
to try to recollect her, but I had only an impression of something
kind, some voice I should know again, but I could not remember her in
the least.'

'Ah! I wish you could,' said Elizabeth thoughtfully.

'I suppose you remember her quite well,' said Helen, 'and all that
happened?'

'Yes,' said Elizabeth, 'I remember some things as well as if they had
happened yesterday, and others are all confusion in my mind; I quite
remember going to kiss her, the last day, and how strange and silent
and sad all the room looked, and Aunt Anne keeping quite calm and
composed in the room, but beginning to cry as soon as she had led me
out. I shall never forget the awful mysterious feelings I had then.'

'And could she speak to you?' said Helen; 'did she know you?'

'Yes, she gave me one of her own smiles, and said something in a very
low voice.'

'Tell me a little more, Lizzie,' said Helen, 'for I have thought very
much about her lately. Can you remember her before she was ill?'

'Oh yes,' said Elizabeth, speaking slowly, and pausing now and then;
'I remember her well; I sometimes fancy I can hear her voice and her
step at night, when she used to come up to the nursery to see us in
bed. I always used to listen for her; and when she began to grow
weak, and could not come up so many stairs, I used to lie and cry for
half an hour. And now, when I am reading the same books with the
children that I read with her, things that she said to me come back
upon me.'

'Do you think,' said Helen, 'that you are as like her as Uncle Edward
once said you were?'

Elizabeth paused; 'possibly,' said she, 'in eyes, nose, and mouth;
but, Helen, I do not think there ever could be anyone really like our
mother; I was much too young to know all that she was whilst she was
alive, but as I have grown older, and compared what I have seen of
other people with what I recollect of her, I have grown certain that
she must have been the most excellent, sensible, clever, kind,
charming person that ever lived.'

'So Mrs. Staunton says,' replied Helen; 'she used to tell me that I
was a good deal like her, and should be more so; but I do not think
she would have said so, if she had seen you. I am so slow and so
dull, and so unlike to you in your quick active ways.'

'Do you know, Helen,' said Elizabeth, who had been pursuing her own
thoughts, rather than listening to her sister's words, 'I do believe
that we should all have been more like her if she had lived; at
least, I am sure I should.'

Helen did not answer; and Elizabeth continued in her usual rapid
manner, 'I do not mean to lay all my faults at Mamma's door, for I
should have been much worse without her, and I have spurned away most
of the good she would have done me in her kind gentle way; but I do
believe no one but my own mother ever knew how to manage me. You
never were so wild, Helen, and you will do far far better.'

'O Lizzie, what do you mean?' cried Helen.

'I mean, my dear Helen,' exclaimed Elizabeth, hardly knowing what she
was saying, 'that I have been using you shamefully ever since you
came home. I have done nothing but contradict you, and snap at you,
whether right or wrong; and a pretty spectacle we must have made of
ourselves. Now I see that you have twice the sense and understanding
that I have, and are so unpretending as to be worth a hundred times
more. I wish with all my heart that I had taken your advice, and
that the Mechanics' Institute was at the bottom of the sea.'

Before Helen had recovered from her astonishment at this incoherent
speech, sufficiently to make any sort of reply, the rest of the party
were seen returning from St. Austin's, and Winifred and Edward
hastened towards the two sisters, to tell them all the wonders they
had seen.

During the remainder of that day, a few words in her mother's feeble
voice rung in Elizabeth's ears more painfully even than the text she
had mentioned the day before. It was, 'Lizzie, I know you will be a
kind sister to Kate and poor little Helen.'

In the course of the evening, Lady Merton found Anne and Helen alone
together in the drawing-room. Helen was reclining on the sofa, in a
dreamy state, her book half closed in her hand, and Anne was sitting
at the window, reading as well as she could by the failing light.

'So you are alone here,' said Lady Merton, as she entered the room.

'Yes,' said Helen, starting up; 'I rather think the Hazlebys are
packing up--you know they go by the one o'clock train to-morrow--and
I believe Kate is helping them; and Mamma is hearing the little ones
say the Catechism.'

'So I thought,' said Lady Merton. 'I was surprised to find you
here.'

'Oh!' said Helen, 'we generally say the Catechism to Papa every
Sunday evening, and he asks us questions about it; and we are to go
on with him till we are confirmed.'

'And when will that be?' said her aunt.

'Next spring,' said Helen; 'we shall all three of us be confirmed at
the same time. But if Mrs. Hazleby had not been here, Papa would
have heard us all down-stairs. I should have liked for you to hear
how perfect Edward is now, and how well Dora answers Papa's
questions; though perhaps before you she would be too shy.'

'And I should have been glad for Anne to have joined you,' said Lady
Merton; 'it is long since your godfather has heard you, Anne.'

'Not since we were here last,' said Anne, 'and that is almost two
years ago.'

'And where is Lizzie?' said Lady Merton; 'is she with your Mamma?'

'No,' said Helen, 'her other work is not over yet. On Sunday
evening, she always reads with four great girls who have left school,
and have no time to learn except on Sunday evenings. I am sure I
cannot think how she can; I should have thought morning and afternoon
school quite enough for anyone!' And she threw herself back on the
sofa, and gave a very long yawn.

Her aunt smiled as she answered, 'You certainly seem to find it so.'

'Indeed I do,' said Helen; 'I think teaching the most tiresome work
in the world.'

'O Helen, is it possible?' cried Anne.

'Helen is not much used to it,' said her aunt.

'No,' said Helen, 'there used to be teachers enough without me, but
now Lizzie wants me to take a class, I suppose I must, because it is
my duty; but really I do not think I can ever like it.'

'If you do it cheerfully because it is your duty, you will soon be
surprised to find yourself interested in it,' said her aunt.

'Now, Aunt Anne,' said Helen, sitting up, and looking rather more
alive, 'I really did take all the pains I could to-day, but I was
never more worried than with the dullness of those children. They
could not answer the simplest question.'

'Most poor children seem dull with a new teacher,' said Lady Merton;
'besides which, you perhaps did not use language which they could
understand.'

'Possibly,' said Helen languidly; 'but then there is another thing
which I dislike--I cannot bear to hear the most beautiful chapters in
the Bible stammered over as if the children had not the least
perception of their meaning.'

'Their not being able to read the chapter fluently is no proof that
they do not enter into it,' said Lady Merton; 'it often happens that
the best readers understand less than some awkward blunderers, who
read with reverence.'

'Then it is very vexatious,' said Helen.

'You will tell a different story next year,' said Lady Merton, 'when
you have learnt a little more of the ways of the poor children.'

'I hope so,' said Helen; 'but what I have seen to-day only makes me
wonder how Papa and Lizzie can get the children to make such
beautiful answers as they sometimes do in church.'

'And perhaps,' said Lady Merton, smiling, 'the person who taught Miss
Helen Woodbourne to repeat Gray's Elegy, would be inclined to wonder
how at fourteen she could have become a tolerably well-informed young
lady.'

'Oh, Aunt,' said Helen, 'have not you forgotten that day? How
dreadfully I must have tormented everybody! I am sure Mamma's
patience must have been wonderful.'

'And I am very glad that Lizzie saves her from so much of the labour
of teaching now,' said Lady Merton.

'I see what you mean,' said Helen; 'I ought to help too.'

'Indeed, my dear, I had no intention of saying so,' said Lady Merton;
'yourself and your mamma can be the only judges in such a matter.'

'I believe Mamma does think that Lizzie has almost too much to do,'
said Helen; 'but there has been less since Horace has been at
school.'

'But Edward is fast growing up to take his place,' said her aunt.

'Edward will never take Horace's place,' said Helen; 'he will be five
times the trouble. Horace could learn whatever he pleased in an
instant, and the only drawback with him was inattention; but Edward
is so slow and so dawdling, that his lessons are the plague of the
school-room. His reading is tiresome enough, and what Lizzie will do
with his Latin I cannot think; but that can be only her concern. And
Winifred is sharp enough, but she never pays attention three minutes
together; I could not undertake her, I should do her harm and myself
too.'

'I am rather of your opinion, so far,' said Lady Merton; 'but you
have said nothing against Dora.'

'Dora!' said Helen; 'yes, she has always been tolerably good, but she
knows nearly as much as I do. Lizzie says she knows the reasons of a
multiplication sum, and I am sure I do not.'

'Perhaps you might learn by studying with her,' aaid Lady Merton.

'Yes, Lizzie says she has learnt a great deal from teaching the
children,' said Helen; 'but then she had a better foundation than
most people. You know she used to do her lessons with Papa, and he
always made her learn everything quite perfect, and took care she
should really understand each step she took, so that she knows more
about grammar and arithmetic, and all the latitude and longitude
puzzling part of geography than I do--a great deal more.'

'I am sorry to find there is some objection to all the lessons of all
the children,' said Lady Merton.

'I suppose I might help in some,' said Helen; 'but then I have very
little time; I have to draw, and to practise, and to read French and
Italian and history to Mamma, and to write exercises; but then Mamma
has not always leisure to hear me, and it is very unsatisfactory to
go on learning all alone. At Dykelands there were Fanny and Jane.'

'I should not have thought a person with four sisters need complain
of having to learn alone,' said her aunt.

'No more should I,' said Helen; 'but if you were here always, you
would see how it is; Lizzie is always busy with the children, and
learns her German and Latin no one knows when or how, by getting up
early, and reading while she is dressing, or while the children are
learning. She picks up knowledge as nobody else can; and Kate will
only practise or read to Mamma, and she is so desultory and
unsettled, that I cannot go on with her as I used before I went to
Dykelands; and Dora--I see I ought to take to her, but I am afraid to
do so--I do not like it.'

'So it appears,' said Lady Merton.

'I should think it the most delightful thing!' cried Anne.

'You two are instances of the way in which people wish for the
advantages they have not, and undervalue those they have,' said Lady
Merton, smiling.

'Advantages!' repeated Helen.

'Why, do not you think it an advantage to have sisters?' said Anne;
'I wish you would give some of them to me if you do not.'

'Indeed,' said Helen warmly, 'I do value my sisters very much; I am
sure I am very fond of them.'

'As long as they give you no trouble,' said Lady Merton.

'Well,' said Helen, 'I see you may well think me a very poor selfish
creature, but I really do mean to try to improve. I will offer to
undertake Dora's music; Lizzie does not understand that, and it is
often troublesome to Mamma to find time to hear her practise, and I
think I should pay more attention to it than Kate does sometimes. I
think Dora will play very well, and I should like her to play duets
with me.'

'I am glad you can endure one of your sisters,' said Anne, laughing
rather maliciously.

'Pray say no more of that, Anne,' said Helen; 'it was only my foolish
indolence that made me make such a speech.'

As Helen finished speaking, Elizabeth came into the room, looking
rather weary, but very blithe. 'I have been having a most delightful
talk about the Consecration with the girls,' said she, 'hearing what
they saw, and what they thought of it. Mary Watson took her master's
children up the hill to see the church-yard consecrated, and the
eldest little boy--that fine black-eyed fellow, you know, Helen--said
he never could play at ball there again, now the Bishop had read the
prayers there. I do really hope that girl will be of great use to
those little things; her mistress says no girl ever kept them in such
good order before.'

'I was going to compliment you on the good behaviour of your children
at St. Austin's, Lizzie,' said Lady Merton; 'I thought I never saw a
more well conducted party.'

'Ah! some of our best children are gone to St. Austin's,' said
Elizabeth; 'I quite grudge them to Mr. Somerville; I hate the girls
to get out of my sight.'

'So do I,' said Anne, 'I am quite angry when our girls go out to
service, they _will_ get such horrid places--public houses, or at
best farm houses, where they have a whole train of babies to look
after, and never go to church.'

'And very few of the most respectable fathers and mothers care where
their children go to service,' said Elizabeth; 'I am sure I often
wish the children had no parents.'

'In order that they may learn a child's first duty?' said Lady
Merton.

'Well, but is it not vexatious, Aunt Anne,' said Elizabeth, 'when
there is a nice little girl learning very well in school, but
forgetting as soon as she is out of it, her mother will not put
herself one inch out of the way to keep her there regularly; when the
child goes to church continually, the mother never comes at all, or
never kneels down when she is there. If you miss her at school on
the Sunday morning, her mother has sent her to the shop, and perhaps
told her to tell a falsehood about it; if her hand is clammy with
lollipops, or there is a perfume of peppermint all round her, or down
clatters a halfpenny in the middle of church, it is all her father's
fault.'

'Oh! except the clatter, that last disaster never happens with us,'
said Anne; 'the shop is not open on Sunday.'

'Ah! that is because Uncle Edward is happily the king of the parish,'
said Elizabeth; 'it has the proper Church and State government, like
Dante's notion of the Empire. But you cannot help the rest; and we
are still worse off, and how can we expect the children to turn out
well with such home treatment?'

'No, Lizzie,' said Lady Merton; 'you must not expect them to turn out
well.'

'O Mamma! Mamma!' cried Anne.

'What do you teach them for?' exclaimed Helen.

'I see what you mean,' said Elizabeth; 'we can only cast our bread
upon the waters; we must look to the work, and not to the present
appearance. But, Aunt Anne, the worst is, if they go wrong, I must
be afraid it is my fault; that it is from some slip in my teaching,
some want of accordance between my example and my precept, and no one
can say that it is not so.'

'No one on earth,' said her aunt solemnly; 'and far better it is for
you, that you should teach in fear.'

'I sometimes fancy,' said Elizabeth, 'that the girls would do better
if we had the whole government of them, but I know that is but fancy;
they are each in the place and among the temptations which will do
them most good. But oh! it is a melancholy thing to remember that of
the girls whom I myself have watched through the school and out into
the world, there are but two on whom I can think with perfect
satisfaction.'

'Taking a high standard, of course?' said Lady Merton.

'Oh yes, and not reckoning many who I hope will do well, like this
one of whom I was talking, but who have had no trial,' said
Elizabeth; 'there are many very good ones now, if they will but keep
so. One of these girls that I was telling you of, has shewn that she
had right principle and firmness, by her behaviour towards a bad
fellow-servant; she is at Miss Maynard's.'

'And where is the other?' asked Anne.

'In her grave,' said Elizabeth.

'Ah!' said Helen, 'I missed her to-day, in the midst of her little
class, bending over them as she used to do, and looking in their
faces, as if she saw the words come out of their mouths.'

'Do you mean the deaf girl with the speaking eyes?' said Anne; 'you
wrote to tell me you had lost her.'

'Yes,' said Elizabeth; 'she it was whose example shewed me that an
infirmity may be a blessing. Her ear was shut to the noises of the
world, the strife of tongues, and as her mother said, "she did not
know what a bad word was," only it was tuned to holy things. She
always knew what was going on in church, and by her eager attention
learnt to do everything in school; and when her deafness was
increased by her fever, and she could not hear her mother's and
sisters' voices, she could follow the prayers Papa read, the delirium
fled away from them. Oh! it is a blessing and a privilege to have
been near such a girl; but then--though the last thing she said was
to desire her sisters to be good girls and keep to their church and
school--she would have been the same, have had the same mind, without
our teaching--our mere school-keeping, I mean. Aunt Anne, you say
you have kept school in your village for thirty years; you were just
in my situation, the clergyman's daughter; so do tell me what effect
your teaching has had as regards the children of your first set of
girls. Are they better managed at home than their mothers?'

'More civilized and better kept at school, otherwise much the same,'
said Lady Merton. 'Yes, my experience is much the same as yours;
comparatively few of those I have watched from their childhood have
done thoroughly well, and their good conduct has been chiefly owing
to their parents. Some have improved and returned to do right,
perhaps partly in consequence of their early teaching.'

'Sad work, sad work, after all!' said Elizabeth, as she left the room
to finish hearing the little ones, and release Mrs. Woodbourne.

'And yet,' said Helen, as the door closed, 'no one is so happy at
school as Lizzie, or delights more in the children, or in devising
pleasure for them.'

'I never shall understand Lizzie,' said Anne, with a kind of sigh;
'who would have suspected her of such desponding feelings? and I
cannot believe it is so bad an affair. How can it be, taking those
dear little things fresh from their baptism, training them with holy
things almost always before them, their minds not dissipated by all
kinds of other learning, like ours.'

'I do not know that that is quite the best thing, though in a degree
it is unavoidable,' said her mother.

'So I was thinking,' said Helen; 'I think it must make religious
knowledge like a mere lesson; I know that is what Lizzie dreads, and
they begin the Bible before they can read it well.'

'But can it, can it really be so melancholy? will all those bright-
faced creatures, who look so earnest and learn so well, will they
turn their backs upon all that is right, all they know so well?' said
poor Anne, almost ready to cry. 'O Mamma, do not tell me to think
so.'

'No, no, you need not, my dear,' said Lady Merton; 'it would be
grievous and sinful indeed to say any such things of baptized
Christians, trained up by the Church. The more you love them, and
the more you hope for them, the better. You will learn how to hope
and how to fear as you grow older.'

'But I have had as much experience as Lizzie,' said Anne; 'I am but a
month younger, and school has been my Sunday delight ever since I can
remember; Mamma, I think the Abbeychurch people must be very bad--you
see they keep shop on Sunday; but then you spoke of our own people.
It must have been my own careless levity that has prevented me from
feeling like Lizzie; but I cannot believe--'

'You have not been the director of the school for the last few years,
as Lizzie has,' said Lady Merton; 'the girls under your own
protection are younger, their trial is hardly begun.'

'I am afraid I shall be disheartened whenever I think of them,' said
Anne; 'I wish you had not said all this--and yet--perhaps--if
disappointment is really to come, I had better be prepared for it.'

'Yes, you may find this conversation useful, Anne,' said Lady Merton;
'if it is only to shew you why I have always tried to teach you self-
control in your love of the school.'

'I know I want self-control when I let myself be so engrossed in it
as to neglect other things,' said Anne; 'and I hope I do manage now
not to shew more favour to the girls I like best, than to the others;
but in what other way do you mean, Mamma?'

'I mean that you must learn not to set your heart upon individual
girls, or plans which seem satisfactory at first,' said Lady Merton;
'disappointment will surely be sent in some form or other, to try
your faith and love; and if you do not learn to fear now that your
hopes are high, you will hardly have spirit enough left to persevere
cheerfully when failure has taught you to mistrust yourself.'

'I know that I must be disappointed if I build upon schemes or
exertions of my own,' said Anne; 'but I should be very conceited--
very presumptuous, I mean--to do so, and I hope I never shall.'

'I cannot think how you, or anybody who thinks like you, can ever
undertake to keep school,' said Helen; 'I never saw how awful a thing
it is, before; not merely hearing lessons, and punishing naughty
children, I am sure I dread it now; I would have nothing to do with
it if Papa did not wish it, and so make it my duty.'

'Nobody would teach the children at all if they thought like you,
Helen,' said Anne; 'and then what would become of them?'

'People who are not fit often do teach them, and is not that worse
than nothing?' said Helen; 'I should think irreverence and false
doctrine worse than ignorance.'

'Certainly,' said Lady Merton; 'and happy it is, that, as in your
case, Helen, the duty of obedience, or some other equally plain,
teaches us when to take responsibility upon ourselves and when to
shrink from it.'

'I must say,' said Anne, 'I cannot recover from hearing Mamma and
Lizzie talk of their "little victims," just in Gray's tone.'

'No,' said Lady Merton; 'I only say,

"If thou wouldst reap in love,
First sow in holy fear."'

CHAPTER XIII.

On Monday morning, as soon as breakfast was over, Elizabeth and
Katherine went to the school to receive the penny-club money, and to
change the lending library books. They were occupied in this manner
for about half an hour; and on their return, Elizabeth went to Mrs.
Woodbourne's dressing-room, to put away the money, and to give her an
account of her transactions. While she was so employed, her father
came into the room with a newspaper in his hand.

'Look here, Mildred,' said he, laying it down on the table before his
wife, 'this is what Walker has just brought me.'

Mrs. Woodbourne glanced at the paragraph he pointed out, and
exclaimed, 'O Lizzie! this is a sad thing!'

Elizabeth advanced, she grew giddy with dismay as she read as
follows:

'On Friday last, a most interesting and instructive lecture on the
Rise and Progress of the Institution of Chivalry was delivered at the
Mechanics' Institute, in this city, by Augustus Mills, Esq. This
young gentleman, from whose elegant talents and uncommon eloquence we
should augur no ordinary career in whatever profession may be
honoured with his attention, enlarged upon the barbarous manners of
the wild untutored hordes among whom the proud pageantry of pretended
faith, false honour, and affected punctilio, had its rise. He traced
it through its gilded course of blood and carnage, stripped of the
fantastic and delusive mantle which romance delights to fling over
its native deformity, to the present time, when the general
civilization and protection enjoyed in this enlightened age, has left
nought but the grim shadow of the destructive form which harassed and
menaced our trembling ancestors. We are happy to observe that
increasing attendance at the Mechanics' Institute of Abbeychurch,
seems to prove that the benefits of education are becoming more fully
appreciated by all classes. We observed last Friday, at the able
lecture of Mr. Mills, among a numerous assemblage of the
distinguished inhabitants and visitors of Abbeychurch, Miss Merton,
daughter of Sir Edward Merton, of Merton Hall, Baronet, together with
the fair and accomplished daughters of the Rev. H. Woodbourne, our
respected Vicar.'

'I shall certainly contradict it,' continued Mr. Woodbourne, while
Elizabeth was becoming sensible of the contents of the paragraph; 'I
did not care what Higgins chose to any of my principles, but this is
a plain fact, which may be believed if it is not contradicted.'

'O Mamma, have not you told him?' said Elizabeth faintly.

'What, do you mean to say that this is true?' exclaimed Mr.
Woodbourne, in a voice which sounded to Elizabeth like a clap of
thunder.

'Indeed, Papa,' said she, once looking up in his face, and then
bending her eyes on the ground, while the colour in her checks grew
deeper and deeper; 'I am sorry to say that it is quite true, that we
did so very wrong and foolishly as to go. Helen and Lucy alone were
sensible and strong-minded enough to refuse to go.'

Mr. Woodbourne paced rapidly up and down the room, and Elizabeth
plainly saw that his displeasure was great.

'But, Mr. Woodbourne,' said her mamma, 'she did not know that it was
wrong. Do you not remember that she was not at home at the time that
Socialist was here? and I never told her of all that passed then.
You see it was entirely my fault.'

'Oh! no, no, Mamma, do not say so!' said Elizabeth; 'it was entirely
mine. I was led away by my foolish eagerness and self-will, I was
bent on my own way, and cast aside all warnings, and now I see what
mischief I have done. Cannot you do anything to repair it, Papa?
cannot you say that it was all my doing, my wilfulness, my
carelessness of warning, my perverseness?'

'I wish I had known it before,' said Mr. Woodbourne, 'I could at
least have spoken to Mr. Turner on Saturday, and prevented the
Mertons' name from appearing.'

'I did not tell you because I had no opportunity,' said Mrs.
Woodbourne; 'Lizzie came and told me all, the instant she knew that
she had done wrong; but I thought it would harass you, and you were
so much occupied that I had better wait till all this bustle was
over, but she told me everything most candidly, and would have come
to you, but that Mr. Roberts was with you at the time.--My dear
Lizzie, do not distress yourself so much, I am sure you have suffered
a great deal.'

'O Mamma,' said Elizabeth, 'how can I ever suffer enough for such a
tissue of ill-conduct? you never will see how wrong it was in me.'

'Yet, Lizzie,' said her father kindly, 'we may yet rejoice over the
remembrance of this unpleasant affair, if it has made you reflect
upon the faults that have led to it.'

'But what is any small advantage to my own character compared with
the injury I have done?' said Elizabeth; 'I have made it appear as if
you had granted the very last thing you would ever have thought of; I
have led Kate and Anne into disobedience. Oh! I have done more
wrongly than I ever thought I could.'

At this moment Katherine came into the room with some message for
Mrs. Woodbourne.

'Come here, Kate,' said her father; 'read this.'

Katherine cast a frightened glance upon Elizabeth, who turned away
from her. She read on, and presently exclaimed, 'Fair and
accomplished daughters! dear me! that is ourselves.' Then catching
Elizabeth by the arm, she whispered, 'Does he know it?'

'Yes, Katherine,' said Mr. Woodbourne sternly; 'your sister has shewn
a full conviction that she has done wrong, a feeling of which I am
sorry to see that you do not partake.'

'Indeed, indeed, Papa,' cried Katherine, bursting into tears, 'I am
very sorry; I should never have gone if it had not been for the
others.'

'No excuses, if you please, Katherine,' said Mr. Woodbourne; 'I wish
to hear exactly how it happened.'

'First, Papa,' said Elizabeth, 'let me beg one thing of you, do not
tell Mrs. Hazleby that Harriet went with us, for she could not know

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