Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/241

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XXIV.
231
THE BOSTONIANS.

fact that he had not so kept away as a secret seemed the greater, perhaps, in the light of this other fact, that so far as simply seeing Mr. Ransom went—why, she quite liked it. She had remembered him perfectly after their two former meetings, superficial as their contact then had been; she had thought of him at moments and wondered whether she should like him if she were to know him better. Now, at the end of twenty minutes, she did know him better, and found that he had rather a curious, but still a pleasant way. There he was, at any rate, and she didn't wish his call to be spoiled by any uncomfortable implication of consequences. So she glanced off, at the touch of Mrs. Luna's name; it seemed to afford relief. 'Oh yes, Mrs. Luna—isn't she fascinating?'

Ransom hesitated a little. 'Well, no, I don't think she is.'

'You ought to like her—she hates our movement!' And Verena asked, further, numerous questions about the brilliant Adeline; whether he saw her often, whether she went out much, whether she was admired in New York, whether he thought her very handsome. He answered to the best of his ability, but soon made the reflection that he had not come out to Monadnoc Place to talk about Mrs. Luna; in consequence of which, to change the subject (as well as to acquit himself of a social duty), he began to speak of Verena's parents, to express regret that Mrs. Tarrant had been sick, and fear that he was not to have the pleasure of seeing her. 'She is a great deal better,' Verena said; 'but she's lying down; she lies down a great deal when she has got nothing else to do. Mother's very peculiar,' she added in a moment; 'she lies down when she feels well and happy, and when she's sick she walks about—she roams all round the house. If you hear her on the stairs a good deal, you can be pretty sure she's very bad. She'll be very much interested to hear about you after you have left.'

Ransom glanced at his watch. 'I hope I am not staying too long—that I am not taking you away from her.'

'Oh no; she likes visitors, even when she can't see them. If it didn't take her so long to rise, she would have