Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/210

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Luna broke in. 'I will go if you would like me to. I remember your being immensely excited about her that time you met her. Don't you recollect that?'

Ransom hesitated an instant. 'I can't say I do. It is too long ago.'

'Yes, I have no doubt that's the way you change, about women! Poor Miss Tarrant, if she thinks she made an impression on you!'

'She won't think about such things as that, if her mind has been formed by your sister,' Ransom said. 'It does come back to me now, what you told me about the growth of their intimacy. And do they mean to go on living together for ever?'

'I suppose so—unless some one should take it into his head to marry Verena.'

'Verena—is that her name?' Ransom asked.

Mrs. Luna looked at him with a suspended needle. 'Well! have you forgotten that too? You told me yourself you thought it so pretty, that time in Boston, when you walked me up the hill.' Ransom declared that he remembered that walk, but didn't remember everything he had said to her; and she suggested, very satirically, that perhaps he would like to marry Verena himself—he seemed so interested in her. Ransom shook his head sadly, and said he was afraid he was not in a position to marry; whereupon Mrs. Luna asked him what he meant—did he mean (after a moment's hesitation) that he was too poor?

'Never in the world—I am very rich; I make an enormous income!' the young man exclaimed; so that, remarking his tone, and the slight flush of annoyance that rose to his face, Mrs. Luna was quick enough to judge that she had overstepped the mark. She remembered (she ought to have remembered before), that he had never taken her in the least into his confidence about his affairs. That was not the Southern way, and he was at least as proud as he was poor. In this surmise she was just; Basil Ransom would have despised himself if he had been capable of confessing to a woman that he couldn't make a living. Such questions were none of their business (their business was simply to be provided for, practise the domestic virtues,