Much as she longed for the delight of seeing the noble shire-hall--the boast of the county--and of catching glimpses of the dancers, and hearing the band; much as she longed for some variety to the dull, monotonous life she was leading, she could not feel happy to accept a privilege, granted, as she believed, in ignorance of the real state of the case; so she startled her companions by rising abruptly and going up to Mrs. Mason, who was finishing a dress which ought to have been sent home two hours before--
"If you please, Mrs. Mason, I was not one of the most diligent; I am afraid--I believe--I was not diligent at all. I was very tired; and I could not help thinking, and, when I think, I can't attend to my work." She stopped, believing she had sufficiently explained her meaning; but Mrs. Mason would not understand, and did not wish for any further elucidation.
"Well, my dear, you must learn to think and work, too; or, if you can't do both, you must leave off thinking. Your guardian, you know, expects you to make great progress in your business, and I am sure you won't disappoint him."
But that was not to the point. Ruth stood still an instant, although Mrs. Mason resumed her employment in a manner which any one but a "new girl" would have known to be intelligible enough, that she did not wish for any more conversation just then.
"But as I was not diligent I ought not to go, ma'am. Miss Wood was far more industrious than I, and many of the others."
"Tiresome girl!" muttered Mrs. Mason; "I've half a mind to keep her at home for plaguing me so." But, looking up, she was struck afresh with the remarkable beauty which Ruth possessed; such a credit to the house, with her waving outline of figure, her striking face, with dark eyebrows and dark lashes, combined with auburn hair and a fair complexion. No I diligent or idle, Ruth Hilton must appear to-night. adam eve toy