Martin Eden HTML version

Chapter 22
Mrs. Morse did not require a mother's intuition to read the advertisement in
Ruth's face when she returned home. The flush that would not leave the cheeks
told the simple story, and more eloquently did the eyes, large and bright,
reflecting an unmistakable inward glory.
"What has happened?" Mrs. Morse asked, having bided her time till Ruth had
gone to bed.
"You know?" Ruth queried, with trembling lips.
For reply, her mother's arm went around her, and a hand was softly caressing
her hair.
"He did not speak," she blurted out. "I did not intend that it should happen, and I
would never have let him speak - only he didn't speak."
"But if he did not speak, then nothing could have happened, could it?"
"But it did, just the same."
"In the name of goodness, child, what are you babbling about?" Mrs. Morse was
bewildered. "I don't think know what happened, after all. What did happen?"
Ruth looked at her mother in surprise.
"I thought you knew. Why, we're engaged, Martin and I."
Mrs. Morse laughed with incredulous vexation.
"No, he didn't speak," Ruth explained. "He just loved me, that was all. I was as
surprised as you are. He didn't say a word. He just put his arm around me. And -
and I was not myself. And he kissed me, and I kissed him. I couldn't help it. I just
had to. And then I knew I loved him."
She paused, waiting with expectancy the benediction of her mother's kiss, but
Mrs. Morse was coldly silent.
"It is a dreadful accident, I know," Ruth recommenced with a sinking voice. "And I
don't know how you will ever forgive me. But I couldn't help it. I did not dream
that I loved him until that moment. And you must tell father for me."