‘Creeping!’ cried Elizabeth, ’they gallop along the railroad as fast as steam can carry them. However, we are happily a quiet dull race, and do not take them in; we only open our eyes and stare at all the wonders round. I do not know what we may come to in time, we may be as genteel as Kate’s friend, Willie Turner, says the people are in Aurelia Place—that perked-up row of houses, whose windows and doors give them such a comical expression of countenance, more like butterflies than aurelias.’
‘Who is Kate’s friend?’ asked Anne, in a wondering tone.
‘Willie Turner!’ said Elizabeth; ’oh! the apothecary’s daughter, Wilhelmina. You must have heard of Mr. Turner. Rupert has made a standing joke of him, ever since the scarlet-fever.’
‘Oh yes!’ said Anne, ’I know Mr. Turner’s name very well; but I never knew that Miss Turner was a friend of Kate’s.’
‘She was not,’ said Elizabeth, ’till Helen went to Dykelands, and poor Kitty was quite lonely for want of someone to gossip with, and so she struck up a most romantic friendship with Willie Turner; and really, it has done us one most important service.—May I mention it, Kate, without betraying your confidence?’
‘Nonsense, Lizzie,’ said Katherine.
‘Oh! you do not object,’ said Elizabeth; ’then be it known to you, Anne, that once upon a time, Kitty confided to me, what I forthwith confided to Papa, that Mrs. Turner was working in cross-stitch a picture of St. Augustine preaching to the Saxons, which she intended to present as a cushion for one of the chairs of St. Austin’s Church.’
‘Oh! dreadful!’ cried Anne.
’Papa walked up and down the room for full ten minutes after he heard of it,’ said Elizabeth; ’but Mamma came to our rescue. She, the mild-spoken, (Mildred, you know,) set off with the Saxon Winifred, the peace-maker, to reject the Saint of the Saxons, more civilly than the British bishops did. She must have managed most beautifully, so as to satisfy everybody. I believe that she lamented that the Austin Friars who named our hill were not called after the converter of our forefathers, looking perfectly innocent of Kitty’s secret all the time; and Winifred eat Mrs. Turner’s plum-cake, and stared at her curiosities, so as to put her into good humour. Thus far is certain, from that day to this no more has been heard of St. Augustine or King Ethelbert.’
‘Oh! her work is made up into a screen now,’ said Katharine, ’and is very pretty.’
’And last time Mrs. Turner called at the Vicarage, she was very learned about the Bishop of Hippo,’ said Elizabeth; ’she is really very clever in concealing her ignorance, when she does not think herself learned.’
’I thought they were not likely to promote the decoration of the new church,’ said Anne.