Abbeychurch eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 274 pages of information about Abbeychurch.
There were genealogical and chronological charts of Kings and Kaisars, comparisons of historical characters, tables of Christian names and their derivations, botanical lists, maps, and drawings—­all in such confusion, that once, when Helen attempted to find the Pope contemporary with Edward the First, she asked Elizabeth why she had written the Pope down as Leo Nonus Cardinal, on which she was informed, with a sufficient quantity of laughter, that the word in question was the name of a flower, Leonurus Cardiaca, looking like anything but what it was intended for in Elizabeth’s writing, and that Pope Martin the Fourth was to be found on the other side of the Kings of France and Spain, and the portrait of Charles the First.  The chimney-piece was generally used as a place of refuge for all small things which were in danger of being thrown away if left loose on the table; but, often forgotten in their asylum, had accumulated and formed a strange medley, which its mistress jealously defended from all attacks of housemaids.  In the middle stood a plaster cast of the statue of the Maid of Orleans, a present from her little brother Horace; above it hung a small Geneva watch, which had belonged to Elizabeth’s own mother; and there were besides a few treasures of Horace’s, too tender to be trusted in the nursery in his absence at school.

The window looked out upon the empty solitary street of the old town, and though little was to be seen from it which could interest the two girls, yet after the little ones were gone, they stood there talking for some minutes; Elizabeth inquiring after half the people about Merton Hall, a place which she knew almost as well as her own home.

‘When does Mrs. Hazleby come?’ said Anne, beginning to dress.

‘Oh! do not ask me,’ said Elizabeth, ’I do not know, and hardly care; quite late, I hope and trust.’

‘But, Lizzie,’ asked Anne, ’what have these unfortunate Hazlebys done to offend you?’

‘Done!’ answered Elizabeth, ’oh! a thousand things, all too small to be described, but together they amount to a considerable sum, I can tell you.  There has been a natural antipathy, an instinctive dislike, between Mrs. Major Hazleby and me, ever since she paid her first visit here, and, seeing me listening to something she was saying to Mamma, she turned round upon me with that odious proverb, “Little pitchers have long ears."’

‘Perhaps she meant it as a compliment,’ said Anne; ’you know, Mary of Scotland says, that “Sovereigns ought to have long ears."’

‘I suppose her son was of the same opinion,’ said Elizabeth, ’when he built his famous lug.  As to Mrs. Hazleby, she is never happy but when she is finding fault with someone.  It will make you sick to hear her scolding and patronizing poor Mamma.’

‘She has been in India, has she not?’ said Anne, in order to avoid answering.

‘Yes,’ replied Elizabeth, ’she married the poor Major there, and the eldest son was born there.  I often think I should like to ask old Mrs. Hazleby how she felt on her first meeting with her fair daughter-in-law.  They were safe in Ireland when Papa married, and did not burst upon us in full perfection till Horace’s christening, when the aforesaid little pitcher speech was made.’

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Abbeychurch from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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