’Nor should I have seen them in this light, if it had not been for a conversation between Captain Atherly and another gentleman, one day at Dykelands,’ said Helen. ’But, Lucy, did you leave this party, then, only because I said it was wrong, or because you thought so yourself?’
‘Indeed, I can hardly tell,’ answered Lucy; ’I scarcely know what to think right and what wrong, but I thought I might be certain that it was safer to go home.’
‘I do not see,’ said Helen, drawing herself up, and feeling as if she had done a very wise thing, and known her reasons for doing it, too, ’I do not see that it is so very hard to know what is right from what is wrong. It is the easiest way to think what Papa and Mamma would approve, and then try to recollect what reasons they would give.’
‘But then you are not always sure of what they would say,’ replied Lucy; ’at least I am not, and it is not always possible to ask them. What did you do all the time you were at Dykelands?’
‘Oh! dear Mrs. Staunton was quite a mother to me,’ said Helen; ’and besides, it was as easy to think what would please Papa there as it is here. You were from home for some time last year, were you not, Lucy?’
‘Yes,’ replied Lucy, ’I spent several months at Hastings, with Grandmamma; and I am almost ashamed to say that I felt more comfortable there than anywhere else. I liked being by the sea, and having a garden, and being out of the way of the officers. Papa and Grandmamma talked of my always living there, and I hoped I should; but then I should not have liked to leave Papa and the rest, and not to be at home in my brothers’ holidays, so I believe things are best as they are.’
‘How you must wish to have a home!’ said Helen.
’Do not you think that home is wherever your father and mother and brothers and sisters are, Helen?’ said Lucy.
‘Oh yes, certainly,’ said Helen, quickly; ’but I meant a settled home.’
‘I do sometimes wish we were settled,’ said Lucy; ’but I have been used to wandering all my life, and do not mind it as much as you would, perhaps. We scarcely stay long enough in one place to get attached to it; and some places are so disagreeable, that it is a pleasure to leave them.’
’Such as those in Ireland, that Mrs. Hazleby was talking of yesterday?’ said Helen.
‘I did not mind those half so much as I do some others,’ said Lucy; ’we could easily get into the country, and I used to walk with Papa every day, or ride when Harriet did not want the horse. It was rather uncomfortable, for we were very much crowded when George and Allan were at home; but then they had leave to shoot and fish, and enjoyed themselves very much.’
‘Really, Lucy,’ said Helen, ’I cannot think how you can be so very contented.’
‘I did not know there was anything to be discontented with,’ said Lucy, smiling; ‘I am sure I am very happy.’
‘But what did you say just now you disliked?’ said Helen.