cept that I'm proud of my brave girl, and mean to take care of her if she will let me."
With that and a motherly embrace, the old lady bustled away to stir up her maid and wake John from his first nap with the smell of coffee, a most unromantic but satisfying perfume to all the weary watchers in the house.
An hour later, dressed in Miss Scott's gray wrapper and rose-colored shawl, Ruth came slowly to the beach leaning on Captain John's arm, while Aunt Mary waved her napkin from the rocks above, and sent kind messages after them as they pushed off.
It was the loveliest hour of all the day. The sun had not yet risen, but sea and sky were rosy with the flush of dawn; the small waves rippled up the sand, the wind blew fresh and fragrant from hayfields far away, and in the grove the birds were singing, as they only sing at peep of day. A still, soft, happy time before the work and worry of the world began, the peaceful moment which is so precious to those who have learned to love its balm and consecrate its beauty with their prayers.
Ruth sat silent, looking about her as if she saw a new heaven and earth, and had no words in which to tell the feeling that made her eyes so soft, sent the fresh color back into her cheeks, and touched her lips with something sweeter than a smile.
Captain John rowed very slowly, watching her with a new expression in his face; and when she drew a long breath, a happy sort of sigh, he leaned forward to ask, as if he knew what brought it,—