"Come here directly, Miss Hilton," she exclaimed sharply. Then, dropping her voice to low, bitter tones of concentrated wrath; she said to the trembling, guilty Ruth--
"Don't attempt to show your face at my house again after this conduct. I saw you, and your spark too. I'll have no slurs on the character of my apprentices. Don't say a word. I saw enough. I shall write and tell your guardian to-morrow.
The horse started away, for he was impatient to be off; and Ruth was left standing there, stony, sick, and pale, as if the lightning had tom up the ground beneath her feet. She could not go on standing, she was so sick and faint; she staggered back to the broken sand-bank, and sank down, and covered her face with her hands.
"My dearest Ruth! are you ill? Speak, darling! My love, my love, do speak to me!"
What tender words after such harsh ones! They loosened the fountain of Ruth's tears, and she cried bitterly.
"Oh! did you see her--did you hear what she said?"
"She! Who, my darling? Don't sob so, Ruth; tell me what it is. Who has been near you?--who has been speaking to you to make you cry so?"
"Oh, Mrs. Mason." And there was a fresh burst of sorrow.