Almost crying with vexation, she walked home, and sat down to write to Alethea, but, alas! she did not know where to direct a letter. Bitterly did she repent of the burst of ill-temper which had stained her last meeting with her friend, and she was scarcely comforted even by the long and affectionate letter which she received a week after their departure. Kindness from her was now forgiveness; never did she so strongly feel Florence’s inferiority; and she wondered at herself for having sought her society so much as to neglect her patient and superior friend. She became careless and indifferent to Florence, and yet she went on in her former course, following Emily, and fancying that nothing at Beechcroft could interest her in the absence of her dear Alethea Weston.
’O guide us when our faithless hearts
From Thee would start aloof,
Where patience her sweet skill imparts,
Beneath some cottage roof.’
Palm Sunday brought Lily many regrets. It was the day of the school prize giving, and she reflected with shame, how much less she knew about the children than last year, and how little they owed to her; she feared to think of the approach of Easter Day, a dread which she had never felt before, and which she knew to be a very bad sign; but her regret was not repentance—she talked, and laughed, and tried to feel at ease. Agnes Eden’s happy face was the most pleasant sight on that day. The little girl received a Bible, and as it was given to her her pale face was coloured with bright pink, her blue eyes lighted up, her smile was radiant with the beauty of innocence, but Lily could not look at her without self-reproach. She resolved to make up for her former neglect by double kindness, and determined that, at any rate, Passion Week should be properly spent—she would not once miss going to church.
But on Monday, when Emily proposed to ride to Devereux Castle, she assented, only saying that they would return for evening service. She took care to remind her sister when it was time to set out homewards; but Emily was, as usual, so long in taking her leave that it was too late to think of going to church when they set off.