‘I do not understand you, Lizzie,’ said Helen; ’unsuitable as what? Patience, or building chimneys, or making pews?’
‘Patience is a virtue when she is not on a monument,’ said Elizabeth.
‘And neither pews nor chimneys can be unsuitable to a clergyman,’ said little Dora; ’there are four pews in the new church, and Papa built a chimney for the school.’
Everyone laughed, much to Dora’s surprise, and somewhat to Helen’s, and Elizabeth was forced to explain, for Dora’s edification, that what she intended by the speech in question, was only that it was unsuitable to a clergyman to leave no record behind him, but what had been intended to gratify his own love of luxury.
‘I am sorry I said anything about him,’ said she to Anne; ’it was scarcely right to laugh at him, especially before Dora; I am afraid she will never see the monument without thinking of the chimney.’
At this moment they arrived at the church, and all their attention was bestowed upon it. It was built in the Early English style, and neither pains nor expense had been spared. Anne, who had not been there since the wall had been four feet above the ground, was most eager to see it; and Elizabeth, who had watched it from day to day, was equally eager to see whether Anne would think of everything in it as she did herself.
As the door opened, a flood of golden light poured in upon the pure white stone Font, while the last beams of the evening sun were streaming through the western window, shining on the edges of the carved oak benches, and glancing upon the golden embroidery of the crimson velvet on the Altar, above which, the shadows on the groined roof of the semi-octagonal chancel were rapidly darkening, and the deep tints of the five narrow lancet windows within five arches, supported and connected by slender clustered shafts with capitals of richly carved foliage, were full of solemn richness when contrasted with the glittering gorgeous hues of the west window.
‘Oh! Anne,’ whispered Elizabeth, as they stood together in the porch, giving a parting look before she closed the door, ’it is “all glorious within,” even now; and think what it will be to-morrow!’
Nothing more was said till they had left the churchyard, when Anne exclaimed, looking wistfully towards the railroad, ’Then there is but one chance of Rupert’s coming to-night.’
‘When the eight o’clock train comes in,’ said Katherine; ’it is that which is to bring the Hazlebys.’
‘I really think,’ said Helen, ’that the gas manufactory and the union poor-house grow more frightful every day. I thought they looked worse than ever when I came home, and saw the contrast with Lincolnshire. I hope the old and new towns will long be as different as they are now.’
‘I am afraid they hardly will,’ said Anne; ’the old town will soon begin to rival the new one. You must already find new notions creeping into it.’