Lucy looked pained, and Sophy interposed. “Well, you’ve shocked Lucy enough for one night, and it’s high time she and you too were in bed. So come at once, Stella.”
Ada and Stella kissed Lucy affectionately, as they followed Sophy out of the room, and Lucy was left alone, to think with surprise and distress of the total want of religious feeling which her cousins’ remarks betrayed. When she had once more thanked God for His goodness, and implored His supporting help, and had read a few comforting verses out of her Bible, she did not forget to pray that her cousins, who so little appreciated its treasures of divine counsel and consolation, might yet be led to know them for themselves. But the fatigue and excitement of the day had thoroughly tired her out, and almost as soon as her head sank on the pillow she was fast asleep, dreaming of the happy times past, and the dear friends now so far away.
“I need Thy presence
every passing hour;
Who but Thyself can foil the tempter’s power?
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, Lord, abide with me!”
Lucy could hardly understand where she was when she awoke the next morning. She had scarcely ever been absent from home in her life; and the strange and unfamiliar aspect of everything around her quite bewildered her, till little Amy’s gentle touch recalled the events of the preceding day. Her home-sickness returned for a time; but the strength came for which she prayed, and she was able to go down to breakfast with a cheerful face.
Sophy and her father were the only ones who appeared at the nominal breakfast hour. Stella had always been late for breakfast at Ashleigh in summer, so it was not surprising that in winter she should be one of the last to appear. But it did not apparently matter much, for the different members of the family seemed to come to the breakfast table just as it suited them, and the meal could scarcely be called a social one. Neither Sophy nor her father talked much, he having his newspaper open before him. Lucy was too shy as yet to talk without encouragement, which Sophy did not give; and she felt it a relief when Stella, with her unfailing loquacity, made her appearance.
“You see it’s Saturday morning, so one can have a little more sleep,” she said, yawning as if she had not had enough yet.
“Then why don’t you go to bed sooner at night, my dear, if you want more sleep?” asked her father.
But Stella quickly turned the conversation to another subject, and kept up a full stream of talk till Mrs. Brooke and Ada appeared, and soon afterwards Edwin sauntered in.
“Lucy,” said her aunt, as she left the breakfast table, “you must let me see your dresses this morning; I am sure you’ll want some new things, and you must get them at once.”