’I do not wonder that Miss Hazleby was ready to do almost anything to avoid such a scene,’ said Anne.
‘Mean selfish creature!’ said Helen; ’she ran away on purpose that Lucy might stay and bear all this. Anne, I do believe that if martyrs are made, and crowns are gained, by daily sufferings and hourly self-denial, that such a crown will be dear dear Lucy’s.’
Anne’s answer was—
’And all the happy souls that rode
Transfigured through that fresh abode,
Had heretofore in humble trust,
Shone meekly ’mid their native dust,
The glow-worms of the earth!’
‘Thank you, Anne,’ said Helen, wiping away her tears; ’I will think of Lucy as the light, the glow-worm of her family. Thank you; the thought of her meek clear light in darkness need not be gloomy, as it has been.’
Anne had never thought of Helen as possessing so much enthusiasm, and was almost more inclined to wonder at her than at Lucy. While they had been talking, Mrs. Hazleby’s voice had ceased, steps were now heard in the passage, and a letter was brought in and given to Helen. It was from Fanny Staunton, but she had only just time to glance it over, before the three children came in, followed by their mother and Elizabeth. Anne went to call her mother to join them in reading the Psalms and Lessons; and Winifred was sent to summon Katherine, who had purposely lingered up-stairs till all the rest were assembled.
Elizabeth’s eyes were very red, and she was afraid to trust her voice to read the first verse of the Psalm, as it was always her part to do; but little Dora, who sat next to her, and who seemed in part to enter into her feelings, although she said nothing, read the first verse for her; and Elizabeth took Edward, who always looked over her book, upon her knee when the Lessons began, so as to screen her face from her aunt. When they had finished, attention was drawn away from her by Edward, who was eagerly assuring Lady Merton that the Bible and Prayer-book which Uncle Edward, his godfather, had given him, were quite safe, and he was to use them himself when Lizzie thought he could read well enough. This Dora explained as meaning when he had for a week abstained from guessing words instead of spelling them; and Elizabeth proposed to him to try whether he could read to-day without one mistake. Edward objected to reading at that time, as he was to go out at half-past twelve, and there would be no time for lessons. Elizabeth demonstrated that it was now only half-past ten, and that it was impossible that he could spend two hours in putting on his best frock and trowsers, and in settling what to buy with the bright half-crown which Uncle Edward had given him; and Winifred assured him that she meant to do all her lessons to-day. Edward looked round to appeal to his mother, but both she and Lady Merton had left the room, and he was forced to content himself with asking Anne whether she thought there was time.