"Yes, Mr. Bradshaw would try; and he would blazon out poor Ruth's sin, and there would not be a chance for her left. I know him well, Thurstan; and why should he be told now, more than a year ago?"
"A year ago he did not want to put her in a situation of trust about his children."
"And you think she'll abuse that trust, do you? You've lived a twelvemonth in the house with Ruth, and the end of it is, you think she will do his children harm! Besides, who encouraged Jemima to come to the house so much to see Ruth? Did you not say it would do them both good to see something of each other?"
"If you had not known Ruth as well as you do--if, during her stay with us, you had marked anything wrong, or forward, or deceitful, or immodest, I would say at once, Don't allow Mr. Bradshaw to take her into his house; but still I would say, Don't tell of her sin and sorrow to so severe a man--so unpitiful a judge. But here I ask you, Thurstan, can you or I, or Sally (quick-eyed as she is), say, that in any one thing we have had true, just occasion to find fault with Ruth? I don't mean that she is perfect--she acts without thinking, her temper is sometimes warm and hasty; but have we any right to go and injure her prospects for life, by telling Mr. Bradshaw all we know of her errors--only sixteen when she did so wrong, and never to escape from it all her many years to come--to have the despair which would arise from its being known, clutching her back into worse sin? What harm do you think she can do? What is the risk to which you think you are exposing Mr. Bradshaw's children?" She paused, out of breath, her eyes glittering with tears of indignation, and impatient for an answer that she might knock it to pieces.
"I do not see any danger that can arise," said he at length, and with slow difficulty, as if not fully convinced. "I have watched Ruth, and I believe she is pure and truthful; and the very sorrow and penitence she has felt--the very suffering she has gone through--has given her a thoughtful conscientiousness beyond her age."
"That and the care of her baby," said Miss Benson, secretly delighted at the tone of her brother's thoughts.
"Ah, Faith! that baby you so much dreaded once, is turning out a blessing, you see," said Thurstan, with a faint, quiet smile.
"Yes! any one might be thankful, and better too, for Leonard; but how could I tell that it would be like him?"
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