‘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.’