The cold grey dawn was drearily lighting up the streets when Mrs. Mason and her company returned home. The lamps were extinguished, yet the shutters of the shops and dwelling-houses were not opened. All sounds had an echo unheard by day. One or two houseless beggars sat on doorsteps, and shivering, slept with heads bowed on their knees, or resting against the cold hard support afforded by the wall.
Ruth felt as if a dream had melted away, and she were once more in the actual world. How long it would be, even in the most favourable chance, before she should again enter the shire-hall, or hear a band of music, or even see again those bright, happy people--as much without any semblance of care or woe as if they belonged to another race of beings! Had they ever to deny themselves a wish, much less a want? Literally and figuratively their lives seemed to wander through flowery pleasure-paths. Here was cold, biting, mid-winter for her, and such as her--for those poor beggars almost a season of death; but to Miss Duncombe and her companions, a happy, merry time--when flowers still bloomed, and fires crackled, and comforts and luxuries were piled around them like fairy gifts. What did they know of the meaning of the word, so terrific to the poor? What was winter to them? But Ruth fancied that Mr. Bellingham looked as if he could understand the feelings of those removed from him by circumstance and station. He had drawn up the windows of his carriage, it is true, with a shudder.
Ruth, then, had been watching him.
Yet she had no idea that any association made her camellia precious to her. She believed it was solely on account of its exquisite beauty that she tended it so carefully. She told Jenny every particular of its presentation, with open, straight-looking eye, and without the deepening of a shade of colour.
"Was it not kind of him? You can't think how nicely he did it, just when I was a little bit mortified by her ungracious ways."
"It was very nice, indeed," replied Jenny. "Such a beautiful flower! I wish it had some scent." two way strapon
"I wish it to be exactly as it is--it is perfect. So pure!" said Ruth, almost clasping her treasure as she placed it in water. "Who is Mr. Bellingham?" strapon purchase
"He is son to that Mrs. Bellingham of the Priory, for whom we made the grey satin pelisse," answered Jenny sleepily. the best strap on harness
"That was before my time," said Ruth. But there was no answer. Jenny was asleep.
It was long before Ruth followed her example. Even on a winter day, it was clear morning light that fell upon her face as she smiled in her slumber. Jenny would not waken her, but watched her face with admiration; it was So lovely in its happiness.