Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/17

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
I.
7
THE BOSTONIANS.

that he had always supposed she was domiciled in New York. This last remark he made at a venture, for he had, naturally, not devoted any supposition whatever to Mrs. Luna. His dishonesty, however, only exposed him the more.

'If you thought I lived in New York, why in the world didn't you come and see me?' the lady inquired.

'Well, you see, I don't go out much, except to the courts.'

'Do you mean the law-courts? Every one has got some profession over here! Are you very ambitious? You look as if you were.'

'Yes, very,' Basil Ransom replied, with a smile, and the curious feminine softness with which Southern gentlemen enunciate that adverb.

Mrs. Luna explained that she had been living in Europe for several years—ever since her husband died—but had come home a month before, come home with her little boy, the only thing she had in the world, and was paying a visit to her sister, who, of course, was the nearest thing after the child. 'But it isn't the same,' she said. 'Olive and I disagree so much.'

'While you and your little boy don't,' the young man remarked.

'Oh no, I never differ from Newton!' And Mrs. Luna added that now she was back she didn't know what she should do. That was the worst of coming back; it was like being born again, at one's age—one had to begin life afresh. One didn't even know what one had come back for. There were people who wanted one to spend the winter in Boston; but she couldn't stand that—she knew, at least, what she had not come back for. Perhaps she should take a house in Washington; did he ever hear of that little place? They had invented it while she was away. Besides, Olive didn't want her in Boston, and didn't go through the form of saying so. That was one comfort with Olive; she never went through any forms.

Basil Ransom had got up just as Mrs. Luna made this last declaration; for a young lady had glided into the