Mrs. Morse did not require a mothers intuition to read the advertisement in Ruths face when she returned home. The flush that would not leave the cheeks told the simple story, and more eloquently did the eyes, large and bright, reflecting an unmistakable inward glory.
What has happened? Mrs. Morse asked, having bided her time till Ruth had gone to bed.
You know? Ruth queried, with trembling lips.
For reply, her mothers arm went around her, and a hand was softly caressing her hair.
He did not speak, she blurted out. I did not intend that it should happen, and I would never have let him speak only he didnt speak.
But if he did not speak, then nothing could have happened, could it?
But it did, just the same.
In the name of goodness, child, what are you babbling about? Mrs. Morse was bewildered. I dont think know what happened, after all. What did happen?
Ruth looked at her mother in surprise.
I thought you knew. Why, were engaged, Martin and I.
Mrs. Morse laughed with incredulous vexation.
No, he didnt speak, Ruth explained. He just loved me, that was all. I was as surprised as you are. He didnt say a word. He just put his arm around me. And and I was not myself. And he kissed me, and I kissed him. I couldnt help it. I just had to. And then I knew I loved him.
She paused, waiting with expectancy the benediction of her mothers kiss, but Mrs. Morse was coldly silent.
It is a dreadful accident, I know, Ruth recommenced with a sinking voice. And I dont know how you will ever forgive me. But I couldnt help it. I did not dream that I loved him until that moment. And you must tell father for me.
Would it not be better not to tell your father? Let me see Martin Eden, and talk with him, and explain. He will understand and release you.
No! no! Ruth cried, starting up. I do not want to be released. I love him, and love is very sweet. I am going to marry him of course, if you will let me.
We have other plans for you, Ruth, dear, your father and I oh, no, no; no man picked out for you, or anything like that. Our plans go no farther than your marrying some man in your own station in life, a good and honorable gentleman, whom you will select yourself, when you love him.
But I love Martin already, was the plaintive protest.
We would not influence your choice in any way; but you are our daughter, and we could not bear to see you make a marriage such as this. He has nothing but roughness and coarseness to offer you in exchange for all that is refined and delicate in you. He is no match for you in any way. He could not support you. We have no foolish ideas about wealth, but comfort is another matter, and our daughter should at least marry a man who can give her that and not a penniless adventurer, a sailor, a cowboy, a smuggler, and Heaven knows what else, who, in addition to everything, is hare-brained and irresponsible.
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