Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/238

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XXIV.
THE BOSTONIANS.

entail. 'Do you suppose any journey is too great, too wearisome, when it's a question of so great a pleasure?' On this occasion it was not worse than that.

'Well, people have come from other cities,' Verena answered, not with pretended humility, but with pretended pride. 'Do you know Cambridge?'

'This is the first time I have ever been here.'

'Well, I suppose you have heard of the university; it's so celebrated.'

'Yes—even in Mississippi. I suppose it's very fine.'

'I presume it is,' said Verena; 'but you can't expect me to speak with much admiration of an institution of which the doors are closed to our sex.'

'Do you then advocate a system of education in common?'

'I advocate equal rights, equal opportunities, equal privileges. So does Miss Chancellor,' Verena added, with just a perceptible air of feeling that her declaration needed support.

'Oh, I thought what she wanted was simply a different inequality—simply to turn out the men altogether,' Ransom said.

'Well, she thinks we have great arrears to make up. I do tell her, sometimes, that what she desires is not only justice but vengeance. I think she admits that,' Verena continued, with a certain solemnity. The subject, however, held her but an instant, and before Ransom had time to make any comment, she went on, in a different tone: 'You don't mean to say you live in Mississippi now? Miss Chancellor told me when you were in Boston before, that you had located in New York.' She persevered in this reference to himself, for when he had assented to her remark about New York, she asked him whether he had quite given up the South.

'Given it up—the poor, dear, desolate old South? Heaven forbid!' Basil Ransom exclaimed.

She looked at him for a moment with an added softness. 'I presume it is natural you should love your home. But I am afraid you think I don't love mine much; I have been here—for so long—so little. Miss Chancellor has