Mrs. Hughes patiently awaited their leisure for answering her practical question. Where could the watch be sold? Suddenly her face brightened.
"Mr. Jones, the doctor, is just going to be married, perhaps he would like nothing better than to give this pretty watch to his bride; indeed, and I think it's very likely; and he'll pay money for it as well as letting alone his bill. I'll ask him, sir, at any rate."
Mr. Jones was only too glad to obtain possession of so elegant a present at so cheap a rate. He even, as Mrs. Hughes had foretold, "paid money for it;" more than was required to defray the expenses of Ruth's accommodation, as most of the articles of food she had were paid for at the time by Mr. or Miss Benson, but they strictly forbade Mrs. Hughes to tell Ruth of this.
"Would you object to my buying you a black gown?" said Miss Benson to her, the day after the sale of the watch. She hesitated a little, and then went on--
"My brother and I think it would be better to call you--as if in fact you were--a widow. It will save much awkwardness, and it will spare your child much"----mortification, she was going to have added; but that word did not exactly do. But, at the mention of her child, Ruth started, and turned ruby-red; as she always did when allusion was made to it.
"Oh, yes! certainly. Thank you much for thinking of it. Indeed," said she, very low, as if to herself, "I don't know how to thank you for all you are doing; but I do love you, and will pray for you, if I may."
"If you may, Ruth" repeated Miss Benson, in a tone of surprise.
"Yes, if I may. If you will let me pray for you."