“I shouldn’t think so, for she never was at school in her life, nor at church either, since they left Ireland, till last Sunday.”
“I wonder,” said Stella, “whether she understood anything she heard.”
“Possibly she might be able to give as good an account of the sermon as some other people,” remarked Alick mischievously. “Come, Stella, what was the text?”
“I don’t believe you know yourself,” retorted Stella, colouring; and, fortunately for her, Alick’s attention was just then directed to the care of landing his passengers.
As they walked home, Stella and Marian in front, eagerly engrossed in a children’s party which the former was describing, Lucy remarked impatiently to Alick, “How can Stella talk in that hard, unfeeling way about poor people?”
“Poor girl!” said Alick, “it is sad to see any one so spoiled by living in a cold worldly atmosphere. As you know more of the world, Lucy, you will be more and more thankful for such a home as you have always had.”
Lucy was silent. Her cousin’s words made her feel that she had been indulging in self-righteous and uncharitable feelings, and she felt humbled at the lesson which she had thus received from one who did not profess to be a Christian, in one of a Christian’s most important graces. But she accepted the rebuke, and she added to her evening prayer the petition that she might be made more humble, and less ready to condemn; as well as that Stella’s heart might be opened to receive the love of Christ, and, through this, of her poor earthly brothers and sisters.
The little party were soon assembled at home, and after cheerful “good-nights,”—Harry remarking that “he was awful tired, but there never had been a nicer picnic,”—the wearied excursionists soon lost all sense of fatigue in peaceful slumbers and happy dreams.
“And if this simple
Has now brought peace to you,
Make known the old, old story,
For others need it too.”
Two days after the picnic was the day fixed upon for Miss Preston’s wedding, to which, as has been said, Lucy had been invited to accompany her father and aunt. Stella had not been included in the invitation, which she privately thought a great omission. It would have been such a good opportunity for showing the Ashleigh people how they dress in the city, and she felt sure that, tastefully attired in a lovely white grenadine, which would have been just the thing for the occasion, she and her dress would have added no small eclat to the wedding.
Nevertheless she behaved very amiably to Lucy, who, when she pressed her to wear one of her own pretty white dresses, and offered to lend her any of her ornaments which she fancied, felt somewhat ashamed of her own condemnatory feelings toward her cousin, since it is a very natural tendency in all of us to make our own estimate of others depend to a considerable extent upon their treatment of ourselves.