Abbeychurch eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 274 pages of information about Abbeychurch.

‘If I wore yellow gowns and scarlet bonnets, for instance?’ asked Anne.

‘No, no, that would not be modest,’ said Elizabeth; ’you would be no longer a lady, so that you could not look lady-like, which I maintain a lady always is, whether each morsel of her apparel is beautiful in itself or not.’

‘Indeed, Lizzie,’ said Anne, ’I cannot say that I think as you do, at least as far as regards ourselves, I think that it may be possible to wear ugly things and still be lady-like, and I am sure I honour people greatly who really deny themselves for the sake of doing right, if anyone can seriously care for such a thing as dress; but I consider it as a duty in such as ourselves, to consult the taste of the people we live with.’

‘As your mother said about my hair,’ said Elizabeth thoughtfully; ’I will do as she advised, Anne, but not while she is here, for fear Mamma should fancy that I do so because Aunt Anne wished it, though I would not to please her.  I believe you are right; but look here, will my bonnet do?’

‘I think it looks very well,’ said Anne; ’but will it not seem remarkable for you to be unlike your sisters?’

’Ah! it will give Mrs. Hazleby an opportunity of calling me blue, and tormenting Mamma,’ said Elizabeth; ’besides, Mamma wished us all to be alike down to the little ones, so I will make the best of it, and trim it like any London milliner.  But, Anne, you must consider it is a great improvement in me to allow that respectable people must be neat.  I used to allow it in theory, but not in practice.’

‘I do not think I ever saw you untidy, Lizzie,’ said Anne, ’except after a day’s nutting in the hanging wood.’

‘Oh yes, I could generally preserve a little outward tidiness,’ said Elizabeth; ’besides, a visit at Merton Hall is very different from every day in shabby old Abbeychurch.  No, you must know that when I was twelve years old, I was supposed to be capable of taking care of my own wardrobe; and for some time all went on very smoothly, only that I never did a stitch towards mending anything.’

‘Did a beneficent fairy do it for you, then?’

’Not a sprite, nor even a brownie, but one of the old wrinkled kind of fairies.  Old Margaret, that kindest of nurses, could not bear to see her dear Miss Lizzie untidy, or to hear her dear Miss Lizzie scolded, so she mended and mended without saying anything, encouraging me in habits of arrant slovenliness, and if I had but known it, of deceit.  Dear old Margery, it was a heart-breaking thing when she went away, to all from Winifred upwards, and to none more than to me, who could remember those two melancholy years when she often seemed my only friend, when I was often naughty and Papa angry with me, and I feeling motherless and wretched, used to sit on her lap and cry.  Dear old Margery, it is a shame to abuse her in spite of the mischief her over-kindness did us all.  Well, when our new maid came, on the supposition

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Abbeychurch from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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