‘Has he indeed?’ said Helen, with an air that expressed, ’I should not have thought it.’
‘O Helen, how can you take so little interest in the church?’ said Elizabeth; ’do not you remember how much trouble Rupert took to find a pattern for the kneeling-stools, and what a beautiful drawing he sent of those at Magdalen Collegia Chapel? I am sure he would be very much vexed to miss the Consecration.’
‘I suppose he might come if he pleased,’ said Helen; ’but perhaps he did not choose to get up early enough.’
‘That is the first time I ever heard Rupert accused of indolence,’ said Elizabeth.
‘I do not mean that he does not generally get up in good time,’ said Helen; ’he is not lazy; but I do not think he chooses to put himself out of the way; and besides, he rather likes to make people anxious about him.’
‘I know you have never liked Rupert,’ said Elizabeth drily.
‘Papa thinks as I do,’ said Helen; ’I have heard him say that he is a spoiled child, and thinks too much of himself.’
’Oh! that was only because Aunt Anne worked that beautiful waistcoat for him,’ said Elizabeth; ‘that was not Rupert’s fault.’
’And Papa said that he was quite fond enough already of smart waistcoats,’ said Helen; ‘and he laughed at his wearing a ring.’
‘That is only a blood-stone with his crest,’ said Elizabeth, ’and I am sure no one can accuse Rupert of vulgar smartness.’
‘Not of vulgar smartness,’ said Helen, ’but you must allow that everything about him has a—kind of—what shall I say?—recherche air, that seems as if he thought a great deal of himself; I am sure you must have heard Papa say something of the kind.’
‘Really, Helen,’ said Elizabeth, ’I cannot think why you should be determined to say all that you can against that poor Rupert.’
Helen made no answer.
‘I do believe,’ said Elizabeth, ’that you have had a grudge against him ever since he made you an April fool. Oh! how capital it was,’ cried she, sitting down to laugh at the remembrance. ’To make you believe that the beautiful work-box Uncle Edward sent you, was a case of surgical instruments for Mr. Turner, to shew his gratitude for his attendance upon Rupert when he had the fever, and for setting his mouth to rights when his teeth were knocked out at school. Oh! there never was such fun as to see how frightened you looked, and how curious Kate and Horace were, and how Mamma begged him not to open the box and shew her the horrid things.’
‘I wish Rupert would keep to the truth with his jokes,’ said Helen.
‘Helen,’ said Elizabeth, ’you cannot mean to say that he ever says what is untrue. You are letting yourself be carried much too far by your dislike.’
’If he does not positively assert what is not true, he often makes people believe it,’ said Helen.
‘Only stupid people, who have no perception of a joke,’ said Elizabeth; ’he never deceived me with any joke; it is only that you do not understand.’