"Well, well! don't be alarmed; I cannot spare you: by the way, just attend to the strings on my dress; the chambermaid here pulled them into knots, and broke them terribly, last night. It is awkward, though, very," said she, relapsing into a musing fit over the condition of Ruth.
"If you'll allow me, ma'am, I think I might say some thing that would alter the case. I believe, ma'am, you put a bank-note into the letter to the young woman yesterday?"
Mrs. Bellingham bowed acquiescence, and the maid went on--
"Because, ma'am, when the little deformed man wrote that note (he's Mr. Benson, ma'am), I have reason to believe neither he nor Mrs. Morgan knew of any provision being made for the young woman. Me and the chambermaid found your letter and the bank-note lying quite promiscuous, like waste paper, on the floor of her room; for I believe she rushed out like mad after you left."
"That, as you say, alters the case. This letter, then, is principally a sort of delicate hint that some provision ought to have been made; which is true enough, only it has been attended to already. What became of the money?"
"Law, ma'am! do you ask? Of course, as soon as I saw it, I picked it up and took it to Mrs. Morgan, in trust for the young person."
"Oh, that's right. What friends has she? Did you ever hear from Mason?--perhaps they ought to know where she is."
"Mrs. Mason did tell me, ma'am, she was an orphan; with a guardian who was noways akin, and who washed his hands of her when she ran off. But Mrs. Mason was sadly put out, and went into hysterics, for fear you would think she had not seen after her enough, and that she might lose your custom; she said it was no fault of hers, for the girl was always a forward creature, boasting of her beauty, and saying how pretty she was, and striving to get where her good looks could be seen and admired,--one night in particular, ma'am, at a county ball; and how Mrs. Mason had found out she used to meet Mr. Bellingham at an old woman's house, who was a regular old witch, ma'am, and lives in the lowest part of the town, where all the bad characters haunt."