"Why, Thurstan, there is something so shocking the matter, that I cannot tell you."
Mr. Benson changed colour with affright. All things possible and impossible crossed his mind but the right one. I said, "all things possible"; I made a mistake. He never believed Ruth to be more guilty than she seemed.
"Faith, I wish you would tell me, and not bewilder me with those noises of yours," said he nervously.
"I beg your pardon; but something so shocking has just been discovered--I don't know how to word it--she will have a child. The doctor says so."
She was allowed to make noises unnoticed for a few minutes. Her brother did not speak. At last she wanted his sympathy.
"Isn't it shocking, Thurstan? You might have knocked me down with a straw when he told me."
"Yes; and I am not sure that that isn't the worst part of all."
"Oh, I was just beginning to have a good opinion of her; but I'm afraid she is very depraved. After the doctor was gone, she pulled the bed-curtain aside, and looked as if she wanted to speak to me. (I can't think how she heard, for we were close to the window, and spoke very low.) Well, I went to her, though I really had taken quite a turn against her. And she whispered, quite eagerly, 'Did he say I should have a baby?' Of course I could not keep it from her; but I thought it my duty to look as cold and severe as I could. She did not seem to understand how it ought to be viewed, but took it just as if she had a right to have a baby. She said, 'Oh, my God, I thank Thee! Oh, I will be so good!' I had no patience with her then, so I left the room."