"Don't be too severe in your self-reproaches while you are so feeble, dear Henry; it is right to repent, but I have no doubt in. my own mind she led you wrong with her artifices. But, as you say, everything should be done handsomely. I confess I was deeply grieved when I first heard of the affair, but since I have seen the girl---- Well! I'll say no more about her, since I see it displeases you; but I am thankful to God that you see the error of your ways.
She sat silent, thinking for a little while, and then sent for her writing-case and began to write. Her son became restless, and nervously irritated.
"Mother," he said, "this affair worries me to death. I cannot shake off the thoughts of it."
"Leave it to me, I'll arrange it satisfactorily."
"Could we not leave to-night? I should not be so haunted by this annoyance in another place. I dread seeing her again, because I fear a scene; and yet I believe I ought to see her in order to explain."
"You must not think of such a thing, Henry," said she, alarmed at the very idea. "Sooner than that, we will leave in half-an-hour, and try to get to Pen tre Voelas to-night. It is not yet three, and the evenings are very long. Simpson should stay and finish the packing; she could go straight to London and meet us there. Macdonald and nurse could go with us. Could you bear twenty miles, do you think?"
Anything to get rid of his uneasiness. He felt that he was not behaving as he should do to Ruth, though the really right never entered his head. But it would extricate him from his present dilemma, and save him many lectures; he knew that his mother, always liberal where money was concerned, would "do the thing handsomely"; and it would always be easy to write and give Ruth what explanation he felt inclined, in a day or two; so he consented, and soon lost some of his uneasiness in watching the bustle of the preparation for their departure.
All this time Ruth was quietly spending in her room, beguiling the waiting, weary hours, with pictures of the meeting at the end. Her room looked to the back, and was in a side-wing away from the principal state apartments, consequently she was not roused to suspicion by any of the commotion; but, indeed, if she had heard the banging of doors, the sharp directions, the carriage-wheels, she would still not have suspected the truth; her own love was too faithful.