"Mother, you are not helping me in my difficulty. I have no desire to banish you, nor to hurt you, after all your care for me. Ruth has not been so much to blame as you imagine, that I must say; but I do not wish to see her again, if you can tell me how to arrange it otherwise, without behaving unhandsomely. Only spare me all this worry a while, I am so weak. I put myself in your hands. Dismiss her, as you wish it; but let it be done handsomely, and let me hear no more about it; I cannot bear it; let me have a quiet life, without being lectured, while I am pent up here, and unable to shake off unpleasant thoughts."
"No more, mother; it's a bad business, and I can hardly avoid blaming myself in the matter. I don't want to dwell upon it."
"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?"