Miss Benson had resumed every morsel of the briskness which she had rather lost in the middle of the day; her foot was on her native stones, and a very rough set they were, and she was near her home and among known people. Even Mr. Benson spoke very cheerfully to Ben, and made many inquiries of him respecting people whose names were strange to Ruth. She was cold, and utterly weary. She took Miss Benson's offered arm, and could hardly drag herself as far as the little quiet street in which Mr. Benson's house was situated. The street was so quiet that their footsteps sounded like a loud disturbance, and announced their approach as effectually as the "trumpet's lordly blare" did the coming of Abdallah. A door flew open, and a lighted passage stood before them. As soon as they had entered, a stout elderly servant emerged from behind the door, her face radiant with welcome.
"Eh, bless ye! are ye hack again? I thought I should ha' been lost without ye."
She gave Mr. Benson a hearty shake of the hand, and kissed Miss Benson warmly; then, turning to Ruth, she said, in a loud whisper--
Mr. Benson was silent, and walked a step onwards. Miss Benson said boldly out--
"The lady I named in my note, Sally--Mrs. Denbigh, a distant relation."
"Ay, but you said hoo was a widow. Is this chit a widow?"
"Yes, this is Mrs. Denbigh," answered Miss Benson.
"If I'd been her mother, I'd ha' given her a lollypop instead on a husband. Hoo looks fitter for it."