RUBY RUGGLES HEARS A LOVE TALE
Too Long; Didn't ReadMiss Ruby Ruggles, the granddaughter of old Daniel Ruggles, of Sheep's Acre, in the parish of Sheepstone, close to Bungay, received the following letter from the hands of the rural post letter-carrier on that Sunday morning;—"A friend will be somewhere near Sheepstone Birches between four and five o'clock on Sunday afternoon." There was not another word in the letter, but Miss Ruby Ruggles knew well from whom it came.
Daniel Ruggles was a farmer, who had the reputation of considerable wealth, but who was not very well looked on in the neighbourhood as being somewhat of a curmudgeon and a miser. His wife was dead;—he had quarrelled with his only son, whose wife was also dead, and had banished him from his home;—his daughters were married and away; and the only member of his family who lived with him was his granddaughter Ruby. And this granddaughter was a great trouble to the old man. She was twenty-three years old, and had been engaged to a prosperous young man at Bungay in the meal and pollard line, to whom old Ruggles had promised to give £500 on their marriage. But Ruby had taken it into her foolish young head that she did not like meal and pollard, and now she had received the above very dangerous letter. Though the writer had not dared to sign his name she knew well that it came from Sir Felix Carbury,—the most beautiful gentleman she had ever set her eyes upon. Poor Ruby Ruggles! Living down at Sheep's Acre, on the Waveney, she had heard both too much and too little of the great world beyond her ken. There were, she thought, many glorious things to be seen which she would never see were she in these her early years to become the wife of John Crumb, the dealer in meal and pollard at Bungay. Therefore she was full of a wild joy, half joy half fear, when she got her letter; and, therefore, punctually at four o'clock on that Sunday she was ensconced among the Sheepstone Birches, so that she might see without much danger of being seen. Poor Ruby Ruggles, who was left to be so much mistress of herself at the time of her life in which she most required the kindness of a controlling hand!