“Like yourself, I presume!” said Helen, with a slight sneer.
“Oh, no! oh no, dear Helen; did I say any thing like that? I did not mean it, for I am very often angered and impatient, and on the very eve of breaking out; but I don’t.”
“And why don’t you? Do you expect to inherit the old man’s gold?”
“Helen, I never think of it. I have a higher motive, I trust. My peculiar trials give me so many opportunities of learning the rudiments of Christian virtue; therefore, after the first sting is over, I feel thankful and happy.”
“Help us all! I shall never attain such perfection.”
“Nor do I ever expect to arrive at perfection. Oh, no! I am too imperfect; too full of infirmities and faults!” said May, earnestly. “But shall I read the night prayers, or do you prefer reading them alone?”
“Oh, read them by all means; but don’t begin until I get on my cloak—it is freezing cold here,” said Helen, shivering.
May read the beautiful prayers and litany of our Blessed Lady with such fervor and piety that Helen was touched in spite of herself, and responded with heartfelt earnestness; and at the De Profundis, she thought of her dead father, and wept bitterly.
“I am very, very sad, May,” said Helen, when May kissed her good-night.
“To-morrow, dear Helen, we will seek a heavenly physician; He who comes to the lowly and repentant, and dispenses healing and divine gifts from his throne—the altar!” whispered May.
Helen sighed deeply, but made no reply.
The great bell of the cathedral was just tolling the Angelus, when May, laying her hand softly on Helen, awoke her.
“Rise, dear Helen; it is six o’clock.”
“It is not daylight yet, and I shan’t rise, I assure you,” she said, in a fretful tone.
“Yes you will, I am sure. Uncle Stillinghast will be quite displeased if you do not. He said yesterday morning that you should rise when I do, and lo! you have slept an hour later. Come! it is hard I know to get up in the cold, but you’ll soon become accustomed to it.”
“I declare, May, you are as bad as your uncle. Heavens! what a pair to live with. One as exacting as a Jew, the other obedient as a saint, and obstinate as a mule! I never was so persecuted in my life!” exclaimed Helen, rising very unwillingly.
“That is right,” said May, laughing, “be brisk now, for there is a great deal to do.”
“What is it, May? Are you going to build a house before breakfast?”
“Come and see, and I promise you a nice time. The fire is already made in the kitchen-stove. Hurry down, I want you to grind the coffee.”
“Grind the coffee! What is that?” asked Helen, with amazement.
“I will show you. Really, I would not ask you, only I have rolls to make.”