"Oh, can't he come sooner?" asked Ruth, wild with terror.
"'Deed no! he lives at Llanglas when he's at home, and that's seven mile away, and he may be gone a round eight or nine mile on the other side Llanglas; but I'll send a boy on the pony directly."
Saying this, Mrs. Morgan left Ruth alone. There was nothing to be done, for Mr. Bellingham had again fallen into heavy sleep. Sounds of daily life began, bells rang, break-fast-services clattered up and down the passages, and Ruth sat on shivering by the bedside in that darkened room. Mrs. Morgan sent her breakfast upstairs by a chambermaid; but Ruth motioned it away in her sick agony, and the girl had no right to urge her to partake of it. That alone broke the monotony of the long morning. She heard the sound of merry parties setting out on excursions, on horseback or in carriages; and once, stiff and wearied, she stole to the window, and looked out on one side of the blind; but the day looked bright and discordant to her aching, anxious heart. The gloom of the darkened room was better and more befitting.
It was some hours after he was summoned before the doctor made his appearance. He questioned his patient, and, receiving no coherent answer, he asked Ruth concerning the symptoms; but when she questioned him in turn he only shook his head and looked grave. He made a sign to Mrs. Morgan to follow him out of the room, and they went down to her parlour, leaving Ruth in a depth of despair, lower than she could have thought it possible there remained for her to experience, an hour before.
"I am afraid this is a bad case," said Mr. Jones to Mrs. Morgan in Welsh. "A brain-fever has evidently set in."
"Poor young gentleman! poor young man! He looked the very picture of health!"
"That very appearance of robustness will, in all probability, make his disorder more violent. However, we must hope for the best, Mrs. Morgan. Who is to attend upon him? He will require careful nursing. Is that young lady his sister? She looks too young to be his wife?"
"No, indeed! Gentlemen like you must know, Mr. Jones, that we can't always look too closely into the ways of young men who come to our houses. Not but what I am sorry for her, for she's an innocent, inoffensive young creature. I always think it right, for my own morals, to put a little scorn into my manners when such as her come to stay here; but indeed, she's so gentle, I've found it hard work to show the proper contempt."