"I have a strong feeling against taking it. While he," said she, deeply blushing, and letting her large white lids drop down and veil her eyes, "loved me, he gave me many things--my watch--oh, many things; and I took them from him gladly and thankfully, because he loved me--for I would have given him anything--and I thought of them as signs of love. But this money pains my heart. He has left off loving me, and has gone away. This money seems--oh, Miss Benson--it seems as if he could comfort me, for being forsaken, by money." And at that word the tears, so long kept back and repressed, forced their way like rain.
She checked herself, however, in the violence of her emotion, for she thought of her child.
"So, will you take the trouble of sending it back to Mrs. Bellingham?"
"That I will, my dear. I am glad of it, that I am! They don't deserve to have the power of giving: they don't deserve that you should take it."
Miss Benson went and enclosed it up there and then; simply writing these words in the envelope, "From Ruth Hilton."
"And now we wash our hands of these Bellinghams," said she triumphantly. But Ruth looked tearful and sad; not about returning the note, but from the conviction that the reason she had given for the ground of her determination was true--he no longer loved her.
To cheer her, Miss Benson began to speak of the future. Miss Benson was one of those people who, the more she spoke of a plan in its details, and the more she realised it in her own mind, the more firmly she became a partisan of the project. Thus she grew warm and happy in the idea of taking Ruth home; but Ruth remained depressed and languid under the conviction that he no longer loved her. No home, no future, but the thought of her child, could wean her from this sorrow. Miss Benson was a little piqued; and this pique showed itself afterwards in talking to her brother of the morning's proceedings in the sick chamber.
"I admired her at the time for sending away her fifty pounds so proudly; but I think she has a cold heart: she hardly thanked me at all for my proposal of taking her home with us."