‘I am sure she contradicts every word I say,’ said Helen.
‘That is not out of unkindness, I assure you,’ said Anne, who unfortunately could not deny that such was the fact. ’She only likes an argument, which sharpens your wits, and does no harm, if both sides are but good-humoured and cheerful. She will find you out in time, and you will understand her better.’
‘Oh! Lizzie is delightful when she does not contradict,’ said Helen; ’she is cleverer than anyone I ever saw, even than Fanny Staunton, and Papa says her patience and diligence with Horace were beyond all praise; but I can never be clever enough for her to make me her friend.’
’But you do not think people choose their friends only for their cleverness?’ said Anne.
‘Why, no,’ said Helen, ’I do not think they ought, but Lizzie does. You would not be her friend if you were not clever.’
‘Well,’ said Anne, ’but try and convince her that you can be her friend without being clever, if you will not allow that you are.’
‘Oh!’ said Helen, brightening up, ’if Lizzie would but make a friend of me, how happy we should be! if she would but talk to me of her own concerns, and listen to mine! But she never chooses to hear me speak of Dykelands.’
‘Then,’ said Anne, ’you must remember that she has never been there, and does not know the people.’
‘Yes,’ said Helen; ’but I think that if she had been there, and I at home, I should have listened for her sake, besides that Mrs. Staunton was our own mamma’s dearest friend.’
Anne had always thought that her own mother had been Aunt Katherine’s dearest friend; but she had forbearance enough to leave the honour to Mrs. Staunton in Helen’s imagination, and answered, ’And for that very reason, and for your sake too, Helen, she will delight to hear about Mrs. Staunton when you are quiet together, if you do not give her too much at a time, or talk of Dykelands when she is thinking of something else. Oh yes, Helen, you and Lizzie will be excellent friends, unless you are much more silly than I think either of you.’
Anne smiled so cheerfully, that Helen could not help smiling too; but she would probably have found another sorrow to lament over, if at this moment Dora had not come up to summon them to their early dinner.
Helen felt exceedingly grateful to Anne for having listened so kindly and patiently to her list of grievances. It was the first sympathy, as she considered, that she had met with since she had left Dykelands, and it atoned in her mind for various little thoughtless ways of Anne’s, which had wounded her in former years, and which she had not perhaps striven sufficiently to banish from her memory; and this was a great advantage from this conversation, even if she derived no further benefit from it.