‘And the reading at one is as fixed as fate,’ said Claude.
‘Oh, no!’ said Jane, ’when we were about old “Russell,” we did not begin till nearly two, but since we have been reading this book, Lily will never let us rest till we begin; she walks up and down, and hurries and worries and—’
‘Yes,’ said Emily, in a murmuring voice, ’we should do better if Lily would not make such a point of that one thing; but she never minds what else is cut short, and she never thinks of helping me. It never seems to enter her head how much I have on my hands, and no one does anything to help me.’
‘Oh, Emily! you never asked me,’ said Lily.
‘I knew you would not like it,’ said Emily. ’No, it is not my way to complain, people may see how to help me if they choose to do it.’
‘Lily, Lily, take care,’ said Claude, in a low voice; ’is not the rule you admire, the rule of love of yourself?’
‘Oh, Claude!’ returned Lily, ’do not say so, you know it was Emily that I called an example of it, not myself, and see how forbearing she has been. Now I see that I am really wanted, I will help. It must be love, not duty, that calls me to the schoolroom, for no one ever said that was my province.’
‘Poor duty! you give it a very narrow boundary.’
Lilias, who, to say the truth, had been made more careful of her own conduct, by the wish to establish her principle, really betook herself to the schoolroom for an hour every morning, with a desire to be useful. She thought she did great things in undertaking those tasks of Phyllis’s which Emily most disliked. But Lilias was neither patient nor humble enough to be a good teacher, though she could explain difficult rules in a sensible way. She could not, or would not, understand the difference between dulness and inattention; her sharp hasty manner would frighten away all her pupil’s powers of comprehension; she sometimes fell into the great error of scolding, when Phyllis was doing her best, and the poor child’s tears flowed more frequently than ever.
Emily’s gentle manner made her instructions far more agreeable, though she was often neither clear nor correct in her explanations; she was contented if the lessons were droned through in any manner, so long as she could say they were done; she disliked a disturbance, and overlooked or half corrected mistakes rather than cause a cry. Phyllis naturally preferred being taught by her, and Lily was vexed and unwilling to persevere. She went to the schoolroom expecting to be annoyed, created vexation for herself, and taught in anything but a loving spirit. Still, however, the thought of Claude, and the wish to do more than her duty, kept her constant to her promise, and her love of seeing things well done was useful, though sadly counterbalanced by her deficiency in temper and patience.