Although she had sat up so much later than usual the night before, Anne was
dressed on Saturday morning in time to go to her mother's room for a little while
'Mamma,' said she, after they had spoken of Rupert's arrival, 'where do you think
we went yesterday evening?'
'Where, my dear?'
'To hear a lecture at the Mechanics' Institute, Mamma.'
'I should not have thought that your uncle would have approved of his daughters
going to such a place,' said Lady Merton.
'Do you think we ought not to have gone, Mamma?' said Anne.
'I do not know the circumstances, my dear,' said Lady Merton; 'the Mechanics'
Institute may perhaps be under your uncle's management, and in that case--'
'Oh no,' said Anne. 'I do not think it is--at least, I do not think Uncle Woodbourne
would have liked the lecture we heard much better than Lizzie and I did; and after
it was too late, I found that Helen had declared it was very wrong of us to go. She
would not go; and I found that when I was out of the room, she and Lizzie had
had a great debate about it.'
Anne then gave a full account of all that had occurred, and ended with, 'Now,
Mamma, do you think we could have helped going on after we once came to Mrs.
Turner's, and found what kind of a thing it was likely to be?'
'People certainly cannot stop themselves easily when they have taken the first
wrong step,' said Lady Merton.
Anne sighed. 'Then I am afraid we have done very wrong,' said she.
'For yourself, Anne,' said her mother, 'I do not think you are much to blame, since
I cannot see how you were to know that your cousins were going without their
'I am glad you think so, Mamma,' said Anne; 'but I cannot be quite happy about it,
for I might certainly have supposed that there was some reason against our
going, when Helen and the youngest Miss Hazleby turned back and went home.'