Jemima wanted to wind a skein of wool. Mr. Farquhar saw it, and came to her, anxious to do her this little service. She turned away pettishly, and asked Ruth to hold it for her.
Ruth was hurt for Mr. Farquhar, and looked sorrowfully at Jemima; but Jemima would not see her glance of upbraiding, as Ruth, hoping that she would relent, delayed a little to comply with her request. Mr. Farquhar did; and went back to his seat to watch them both. He saw Jemima turbulent and stormy in look; he saw Ruth, to all appearance heavenly calm as the angels, or with only that little tinge of sorrow which her friend's behaviour had called forth. He saw the unusual beauty of her face and form, which he had never noticed before; and he saw Jemima, with all the brilliancy she once possessed in eyes and complexion, dimmed and faded. He watched Ruth, speaking low and soft to the little girls, who seemed to come to her in every difficulty, and he remarked her gentle firmness when their bed-time came, and they pleaded to stay up longer (their father was absent in his counting-house, or they would not have dared to do so). He liked Ruth's soft, distinct, unwavering "No! you must go. You must keep to what is right," far better than the good-natured yielding to entreaty he had formerly admired in Jemima. He was wandering off into this comparison, while Ruth with delicate and unconscious tact, was trying to lead Jemima into some subject which should take her away from the thoughts, whatever they were, that made her so ungracious and rude.
Jemima was ashamed of herself before Ruth, in a way which she had never been before any one else. She valued Ruth's good opinion so highly, that she dreaded lest her friend should perceive her faults. She put a check upon herself--a check at first; but after a little time she had forgotten something of her trouble, and listened to Ruth, and questioned her about Leonard, and smiled at his little witticisms; and only the sighs, that would come up from the very force of habit, brought back the consciousness of her unhappiness. Before the end of the evening, Jemima had allowed herself to speak to Mr. Farquhar in the old way--questioning, differing, disputing. She was recalled to the remembrance of that miserable conversation by the entrance of her father. After that she was silent. But he had seen her face more animated, and bright with a smile, as she spoke to Mr. Farquhar; and although he regretted the loss of her complexion (for she was still very pale), he was highly pleased with the success of his project. He never doubted but that Ruth had given her some sort of private exhortation to behave better. He could not have understood the pretty art with which, by simply banishing unpleasant subjects, and throwing a wholesome natural sunlit tone over others, Ruth had insensibly drawn Jemima out of her gloom. He resolved to buy Mrs. Denbigh a handsome silk gown the very next day. He did not believe she had a silk gown, poor creature! He had noticed that dark-grey stuff, this long, long time, as her Sunday dress. He liked the colour; the silk one should be just the same tinge. Then he thought that it would, perhaps, be better to choose a lighter shade, one which might be noticed as different to the old gown. For he had no doubt she would like to have it remarked, and, perhaps, would not object to tell people, that it was a present from Mr. Bradshaw--a token of his approbation. He smiled a little to himself as he thought of this additional source of pleasure to Ruth. She, in the meantime, was getting up to go home. While Jemima was lighting the bed-candle at the lamp, Ruth came round to bid good-night. Mr. Bradshaw could not allow her to remain till the morrow uncertain whether he was satisfied or not.
"Good-night, Mrs Denbigh," said he. "Good-night. Thank you. I am obliged to you--I am exceedingly obliged to you." jelly vibrator
He laid emphasis on these words, for he was pleased to see Mr. Farquhar step forward to help Jemima in her little office.
Mr. Farquhar offered to accompany Ruth home; but the streets that intervened between Mr. Bradshaw's and the Chapel-house were so quiet that he desisted, when he learnt. from Ruth's manner how much she disliked his proposal. Mr. Bradshaw, too, instantly observed--
"Oh! Mrs. Denbigh need not trouble you, Farquhar. I have servants at liberty at any moment to attend on her, if she wishes it."
In fact, he wanted to make hay while the sun shone, and to detain Mr. Farquhar a little longer, now that Jemima was so gracious. She went upstairs with Ruth to help her to put on her things.
"Dear Jemima!" said Ruth, "I am so glad to see you looking better to-night! You quite frightened me this morning, you looked so ill."
"Did I?" replied Jemima. "O Ruth! I have been so unhappy lately. I want you to come and put me to rights," she continued, half smiling. "You know I'm a sort of out-pupil of yours, though we are so nearly of an age. You ought to lecture me, and make me good."