"In your mother's name, whether she be dead or alive, I command you to stay here until I am able to speak to you."
She knelt down at the foot of the sofa, and shook it with her sobs. Her heart was touched, and he hardly dared to speak again. At length he said--
"I know you will not go--you could not--for her sake. You will not, will you?"
"No," whispered Ruth; and then there was a great blank in her heart. She had given up her chance. She was calm, in the utter absence of all hope.
"And now you will do what I tell you?" said he gently, but unconsciously to himself, in the tone of one who has found the hidden spell by which to rule spirits.
She slowly said, "Yes." But she was subdued.
He called Mrs. Hughes. She came from her adjoining shop.
"You have a bedroom within yours, where your daughter used to sleep, I think? I am sure you will oblige me, and I shall consider it as a great favour, if you will allow this young lady to sleep there to-night. Will you take her there now? Go, my dear. I have full trust in your promise not to leave until I can speak to you." His voice died away to silence; but as Ruth rose from her knees at his bidding, she looked at his face through her tears. His lips were moving in earnest, unspoken prayer, and she knew it was for her.