‘O Mamma, do you think so?’ said Anne, as if she thought it a terrible accusation. ’Yes, I really think that she has, but then her way is generally right.’
‘Yes,’ said Lady Merton, ’she is in some respects more fit to govern herself than most girls of sixteen. Her good sense will keep her from going very far wrong.’
‘Very far, Mamma?’ repeated Anne.
’Yes, for such an excitable impetuous creature is not likely to escape going wrong, without steady control from herself or from someone else,’ said Lady Merton.
‘But I can hardly imagine Lizzie’s actually doing wrong,’ said Anne; ’we were certainly both naughty children, but I think the worst we did, was rather what makes nurses scold, than what would seriously displease you or Papa.’
‘Oh! she was always an upright, noble-spirited child,’ said Lady Merton,
‘And now,’ continued Anne, ’when she is much interested in anything, when her brilliant dark eyes are lighted up, and her beautiful smile is on her lips, and her whole face is full of brightness, and she looks slight and airy enough to be a spirit, and when she is talking about some things—I could fancy her some higher kind of creature.’
Lady Merton smiled. ‘I think I know what you mean,’ said she; ’I used to feel something of the kind with her mother.’
‘What a wonderful person Aunt Katherine must have been!’ cried Anne. She paused, and presently added, ’Mamma, I do not know whether I ought to say so, but much as I like Mrs. Woodbourne, I do rather wonder that Uncle Woodbourne married again.’
‘So did your Papa and I,’ said Lady Merton; ’but you must excuse him, when you think of his three little girls, Elizabeth especially, requiring such anxious care of body and mind.’
‘But you do not think Mrs. Woodbourne could manage Lizzie?’ said Anne.
‘No,’ said Lady Merton, ’she could not manage her in the least, but her mild influence has, I think, been of great service to her. Lizzie has certainly grown more gentle of late, and I think it is from consideration for her and the little children.’
‘And I suppose,’ said Anne, ’that Mrs, Woodbourne has done as much for Kate as anyone could.’
‘Not quite,’ said Lady Merton; ’I think your Aunt Katherine would have made her a little less trifling and silly.’
‘But no one could ever have made her like Lizzie,’ said Aune.
’No, but I think she might have been rather more than a mere good-natured gossip,’ said Lady Merton.
’It is curious to see how much difference expression makes in those two sisters,’ said Anne; ’their features are so much alike, that strangers never know them apart; the only difference between them, that I could mention, is that Lizzie is the most delicate looking; yet how exceedingly unlike they are to each other!’
‘Yes,’ said Lady Merton; ’though Lizzie’s whole countenance and air is almost exactly her mother’s, yet there is nothing about Kate but her voice, which they have in common, that reminds me of her.’