There was a silence between them. Then Hermione said, gently:
"I am very sorry for your poor mother, Ruffo--very sorry. Tell me, can she manage? About money, I mean?"
"It is not so much the money she was crying about, Signora. But, of course, while Patrigno is in prison he cannot earn money for her. I shall give her my money. But my mamma does not like all the neighbors knowing about that girl. It is a shame for her."
"Yes, of course it is. It is very hard."
She thought a moment. Then she said:
"It must be horrible--horrible!"
She spoke with all the vehemence of her nature. Again, as long ago, when she knelt before a mountain shrine in the night, she had put herself imaginatively in the place of a woman, this time in the place of Ruffo's mother. She realized how she would have felt if her husband, her "man," had ever been faithless to her.
Ruffo looked at her almost in surprise.