Meghan, my dear wife, was reading Jayne Eyre and came across this description of Mrs. Reed, “… she had a somewhat large face, the under-jaw being much developed and very solid; her brow was low, her chin large and prominent, mouth and nose sufficiently regular; under her light eyebrows glimmered an eye devoid of ruth” (43).
I couldn’t remember reading ruth as a common noun, so I did some research.
“ruth, n.” in the Oxford English Dictionary:
Etymology: < rue v. + -th suffix, perhaps after early Scandinavian (compare Old Icelandic hryggð). Compare earlier rue n.
arch. in later use.1. a. The quality of being compassionate; the feeling of sorrow for another; compassion, pity. Also with for.b. to have ruth; usually with of, on, upon, or for. Now rare.c. to take ruth; also with of, on, or upon. Now rare.2. Contrition, repentance; remorse. Now rare.3. a. Matter for sorrow or regret; occasion of sorrow or regret. Obsolete.b. Mischief; calamity; ruin. Obsolete.4. Sorrow, grief, distress; lamentation. Obsolete.5. As a count noun: an occasion or cause of sorrow or regret; a matter for sorrow or regret; a calamity; a lament. Obsolete.