Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/253

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the inscribed tablets, and read again the names of the various engagements, at several of which he had been present. When he came back to her she greeted him abruptly, with a question which had no reference to the solemnity of the spot. 'If Miss Birdseye knew you were coming out to see me, can't she easily tell Olive? Then won't Olive make her reflections about your neglect of herself?'

'I don't care for her reflections. At any rate, I asked Miss Birdseye, as a favour, not to mention to her that she had met me,' Ransom added.

Verena was silent a moment. 'Your logic is almost as good as a woman's. Do change your mind and go to see her now,' she went on. 'She will probably be at home by the time you get to Charles Street. If she was a little strange, a little stiff with you before (I know just how she must have been), all that will be different to-day.'

'Why will it be different?'

'Oh, she will be easier, more genial, much softer.'

'I don't believe it,' said Ransom; and his scepticism seemed none the less complete because it was light and smiling.

'She is much happier now—she can afford not to mind you.'

'Not to mind me? That's a nice inducement for a gentleman to go and see a lady!'

'Well, she will be more gracious, because she feels now that she is more successful.'

'You mean because she has brought you out? Oh, I have no doubt that has cleared the air for her immensely, and you have improved her very much. But I have got a charming impression out here, and I have no wish to put another—which won't be charming, anyhow you arrange it—on top of it.'

'Well, she will be sure to know you have been round here, at any rate,' Verena rejoined.

'How will she know, unless you tell her?'

'I tell her everything,' said the girl; and now as soon as she had spoken, she blushed. He stood before her, tracing a figure on the mosaic pavement with his cane, conscious that in a moment they had become more intimate. They