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hated drive, she went down stairs with a promise to keep her temper as far as possible.
"As far as possible, Helen, no farther; and I must not sit opposito my aunt, nor look at her once, or I shall break my promise; good-bye," and with a martyr's face Effie went down into the hall.
Helen soon recovered herself when she was left alone. A few minutes quiet thought, a few silent aspirations to Him who alone can effectually say to the troubled waters of the human heart, "peace, be still," and "there was a great calm." It was a fine afternoon; she had a beautiful walk before her, and she was sure of a kind welcome at the end; so just waiting till her aunt's carriage was out of the avenue, she put Kyle's little hymn-book into her pocket, and, with a glad heart and light footstep, she set off. She had not walked far when she met Mr. Marsden.
"Oh, Miss Burnet, I wonder whether you will do a little work for me to-day?"
"I will, with pleasure, if I can," said Helen. "I am going to Heathside, but I nave the afternoon before me."
"It is all in your way, then. Will you call and see Mrs. Wood? She ought to be visited, and I have no time to go to her to-day."
"Oh, yes, I will go. I have seen her before. She is very ill, is she not?"
"Yes, she is ill and sorrowful, and her outward circumstances are all adverse. She wants comfort, and she wants, as we all do, perpetually reminding where alone to look for it. I will see her in a day or two, and you may tell her so."
Helen pursued her walk, and soon arrived at the cottage to which Mr. Marsden had sent her. It was a low, damp tenement, with no sign of outward comfort. The garden was neglected, the gate hanging upon a broken hinge, a pool of water stood before the door, and a broken pane of glass in the window had its place supplied by a coloured pocket-handkerchief stuffed in. There were no other dwellings near, and the place had a very cheerless, uncomfortable aspect. A pretty, but very dirty little child, with curling matted locks, was fretting, not playing, outside the door, and Helen thought that whining, moaning voice must make sad discordant music to tho poor sick mother's ear. So, going up to tho child, she attracted its attention by a few kind words, and taking its little hand, she opened the door and went in. The poor invalid was sitting in an arm-chair, and her face brightened when she saw her visitor. Helen looked round the room. There was no fire in the grate, a brick floor, and not so much as a mat to put her feet upon, and yet there was about the invalid herself a look of better days; but an imprudent marriage with a husband who had never been steady, and now, in addition to his other transgressions, had taken to drinking— this, with her own long and wearying illness, had brought her into the desolate condition in which Helen now found her.