When Mrs. Woodbourne came down, she advised Helen not to call Katherine, saying that she thought it would be better for her to be left to herself, so that she was seen no more till just before the Hazlebys departed, when she came down to take leave of them, looking very pale, her eyes very red, and her voice nearly choking, but still there was no appearance of submission about her.
‘Helen,’ said Lucy, as they were standing in the window of the inner drawing-room, ’I should like you to tell Aunt Mildred how very much I have enjoyed this visit.’
‘I wish you would tell her so yourself,’ said Helen; ’I am sure you cannot be afraid of her, Lucy.’
‘Oh no, I am not afraid of her,’ said Lucy, ’only I do not like to say this to her. It is putting myself too forward almost, to say it to you even, Helen; but I have been wishing all the time I have been here, to thank her for having been so very kind as to mention me especially, in her letter to Papa.’
‘But have you really enjoyed your visit here?’ said Helen, thinking how much she had felt for Lucy on several occasions.
‘Oh! indeed I have, Helen,’ answered she; ’to say nothing of the Consecration, such a sight as I may never see again in all my life, and which must make everyone very happy who has anything to do with your Papa, and Aunt Mildred; it has been a great treat to be with you all again, and to see your uncle and aunt, and Miss Merton. I hardly ever saw such a delightful person as Miss Merton, so clever and so sensible, and now I shall like to hear all you have to say about her in your letters.’
‘Yes, I suppose Anne is clever and sensible,’ said Helen musingly.
‘Do not you think her so?’ said Lucy, with some surprise.
‘Why, yes, I do not know,’ said Helen, hesitating; ’but then, she does laugh so very much.’
Lucy could not make any answer, for at this moment her mother called her to make some arrangement about the luggage; but she pondered a little on the proverb which declares that it is well to be merry and wise.
Mrs. Hazleby had been condoling with Mr. Woodbourne upon his daughter’s misbehaviour, and declaring that her dear girls would never dream of taking a single step without her permission, but that learning was the ruin of young ladies.
Mr. Woodbourne listened to all this discourse very quietly, without attempting any remark, but as soon as the Hazlebys had gone up-stairs to put on their bonnets, he said, ’Well, I wish Miss Harriet joy of her conscience.’
‘I wish Barbara had been more gentle with those girls,’ replied Mrs. Woodbourne, with a sigh. And this was all that passed between the elders on the subject of the behaviour of Miss Harriet Hazleby.
Mr. Woodbourne and Rupert accompanied Mrs. Hazleby and her daughters to the railroad station, Rupert shewing himself remarkably polite to Mrs. Hazleby’s pet baskets, and saving Lucy from carrying the largest and heaviest of them, which generally fell to her share.