"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."
She would have gone on to her inattentive listener if she had not heard a low tap at the door, which recalled her from her morality, and Mr. Jones from his consideration of the necessary prescriptions.
"Come in!" said Mrs. Morgan sharply. And Ruth came in. She was white and trembling; but she stood in that dignity which strong feeling, kept down by self-command, always imparts.
"I wish you, sir, to be so kind as to tell me, clearly and distinctly, what I must do for Mr. Bellingham. Every direction you give me shall be most carefully attended to. You spoke about leeches--I can put them on, and see about them. Tell me everything, sir, that you wish to have done!"
Her manner was calm and serious, and her countenance and deportment showed that the occasion was calling out strength sufficient to meet it. Mr. Jones spoke with a deference which he had not thought of using upstairs, even while he supposed her to be the sister of the invalid. Ruth listened gravely; she repeated some of the injunctions, in order that she might be sure that she fully comprehended them, and then, bowing, left the room.