"Young woman, if you have any propriety or decency left, I trust that you will not dare to force yourself into his room."
She stood for a moment as if awaiting an answer, and half expecting it to be a defiance. But she did not understand Ruth. She did not imagine the faithful trustfulness of her heart. Ruth believed that, if Mr. Bellingham was alive and likely to live, all was well. When he wanted her, he would send for her, ask for her, yearn for her, till every one would yield before his steadfast will. At present she imagined that he was probably too weak to care or know who was about him; and though it would have been an infinite delight to her to hover and brood around him, yet it was of him she thought and not of herself. She gently drew herself on one side to make way for Mrs. Bellingham to pass.
By and by Mrs. Morgan came up. Ruth was still near the door, from which it seemed as if she could not tear herself away.
"Indeed, miss, and you must not hang about the door in this way; it is not pretty manners. Mrs. Bellingham has been speaking very sharp and cross about it, and I shall lose the character of my inn if people take to talking as she does. Did I not give you a room last night to keep in, and never be seen or heard of; and did I not tell you what a particular lady Mrs. Bellingham was, but you must come out here right in her way? Indeed, it was not pretty, nor grateful to me, Jenny Morgan, and that I must say."
Ruth turned away like a chidden child. Mrs. Morgan followed her to her room, scolding as she went; and then, having cleared her heart after her wont by uttering hasty words, her real kindness made her add, in a softened tone--
"You stop up here like a good girl. I'll send you your breakfast by-and-by, and let you know from time to time how he is; and you can go out for a walk, you know: but if you do, I'll take it as a favour if you'll go out by the side-door. It will, maybe, save scandal."
All that day long, Ruth kept herself close prisoner in the room to which Mrs. Morgan accorded her; all that day, and many succeeding days. But at nights, when the house was still, and even the little brown mice had gathered up the crumbs, and darted again to their holes, Ruth stole out, and crept to his door to catch, if she could, the sound of his beloved voice. She could tell by its tones how he felt, and how he was getting on, as well as any of the watchers in the room. She yearned and pined to see him once more; but she had reasoned herself down into something like patience. When he was well enough to leave his room, when he had not always one of the nurses with him, then he would send for her, and she would tell him how very patient she had been for his dear sake. But it was long to wait, even with this thought of the manner in which the waiting would end. Poor Ruth! her faith was only building up vain castles in the air; they towered up into heaven, it is true; but, after all, they were but visions.
MRS. BELLINGHAM "DOES THE THING HANDSOMELY"