Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/235

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XXIV.
225
THE BOSTONIANS.

'And does she make speeches too?'

'Well, she makes mine—or the best part of them. She tells me what to say—the real things, the strong things. It's Miss Chancellor as much as me!' said the singular girl, with a generous complacency which was yet half ludicrous.

'I should like to hear you again,' Basil Ransom rejoined.

'Well, you must come some night. You will have plenty of chances. We are going on from triumph to triumph.'

Her brightness, her self-possession, her air of being a public character, her mixture of the girlish and the comprehensive, startled and confounded her visitor, who felt that if he had come to gratify his curiosity he should be in danger of going away still more curious than satiated. She added in her gay, friendly, trustful tone—the tone of facile intercourse, the tone in which happy, flower-crowned maidens may have talked to sunburnt young men in the golden age—'I am very familiar with your name; Miss Chancellor has told me all about you.'

'All about me?' Ransom raised his black eyebrows. 'How could she do that? She doesn't know anything about me!'

'Well, she told me you are a great enemy to our movement. Isn't that true? I think you expressed some unfavourable idea that day I met you at her house.'

'If you regard me as an enemy, it's very kind of you to receive me.'

'Oh, a great many gentlemen call,' Verena said, calmly and brightly. 'Some call simply to inquire. Some call because they have heard of me, or been present on some occasion when I have moved them. Every one is so interested.'

'And you have been in Europe,' Ransom remarked, in a moment.

'Oh yes, we went over to see if they were in advance. We had a magnificent time—we saw all the leaders.'

'The leaders?' Ransom repeated.

'Of the emancipation of our sex. There are gentlemen