"Here is a parcel for you, Ruth!" said Miss Benson on the Tuesday morning.
"For me!" said Ruth, all sorts of rushing thoughts and hopes filling her mind, and turning her dizzy with expectation. If it had been from "him," the new-born resolutions would have had a bard struggle for existence.
"It is directed 'Mrs. Denbigh,'" said Miss Benson, before giving it up. "It is in Mrs. Bradshaw's handwriting;" and, far more curious than Ruth, she awaited the untying of the close-knotted string. When the paper was opened, it displayed a whole piece of delicate cambric muslin; and there was a short note from Mrs. Bradshaw to Ruth, saying her husband had wished her to send this muslin in aid of any preparations Mrs. Denbigh might have to make. Ruth said nothing, but coloured up, and sat down again to her employment.
"Very fine muslin, indeed," said Miss Benson, feeling it, and holding it up against the light, with the air of a connoisseur; yet all the time she was glancing at Ruth's grave face. The latter kept silence, and showed no wish to inspect her present further. At last she said, in a low voice--
"I suppose I may send it back again?"
"My dear child! send it back to Mr. Bradshaw! You'd offend him for life. You may depend upon it, he means it as a mark of high favour!"
"What right had he to send it me?" asked Ruth, still in her quiet voice.
"What right? Mr. Bradshaw thinks---- I don't know exactly what you mean by 'right.'"