He was revolving plans in his head for giving her this pleasure, and he had also his own in view. If they went in any of his carriages, the loitering charm of the walk would be lost; and they must, to a certain degree, be encumbered by, and exposed to the notice of servants.
"Are you a good walker, Ruth? Do you think you can manage six miles? If we set off at two o'clock, we shall be there by four, without hurrying; or say half-past four. Then we might stay two hours, and you could show me all the old walks and old places you love, and we could still come leisurely home. Oh, it's all arranged directly!"
"But do you think it would be right, sir? It seems as if it would be such a great pleasure, that it must be in some way wrong."
"Why, you little goose, what can be wrong in it?"
"In the first place, I miss going to church by setting out at two," said Ruth, a little gravely.
"Only for once. Surely you don't see any harm in missing church for once? You will go in the morning, you know."
"I wonder if Mrs. Mason would think it right--if she would allow it?"
"No, I dare say not. But you don't mean to be governed by Mrs. Mason's notions of right and wrong. She thought it right to treat that poor girl Palmer in the way you told me about. You would think that wrong, you know, and so would every one of sense and feeling. Come, Ruth, don't pin your faith on any one, but judge for yourself. The pleasure is perfectly innocent: it is not a selfish pleasure either, for I shall enjoy it to the full as much as you will. I shall like to see the places where you spent your childhood; I shall almost love them as much as you do." He had dropped his voice; and spoke in low, persuasive tones. Ruth hung down her head, and blushed with exceeding happiness; but she could not speak, even to urge her doubts afresh. Thus it was in a manner settled.
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