Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/285

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'I am much obliged to you; I never touch supper. I shall not leave this room—I like it.'

'Then let me send you something—or let Mr. ———, your cousin, remain with you.'

Olive looked at Mrs. Burrage with a strange beseechingness, 'I am very tired, I must rest. These occasions leave me exhausted.'

'Ah yes, I can imagine that. Well, then, you shall be quite quiet—I shall come back to you.' And with a smile of farewell for Basil Ransom, Mrs. Burrage moved away.

Basil lingered a moment, though he saw that Olive wished to get rid of him. 'I won't disturb you further than to ask you a single question,' he said. 'Where are you staying? I want to come and see Miss Tarrant. I don't say I want to come and see you, because I have an idea that it would give you no pleasure.' It had occurred to him that he might obtain their address from Mrs. Luna—he only knew vaguely it was Tenth Street; much as he had displeased her she couldn't refuse him that; but suddenly the greater simplicity and frankness of applying directly to Olive, even at the risk of appearing to brave her, recommended itself. He couldn't, of course, call upon Verena without her knowing it, and she might as well make her protest (since he proposed to pay no heed to it), sooner as later. He had seen nothing, personally, of their life together, but it had come over him that what Miss Chancellor most disliked in him (had she not, on the very threshold of their acquaintance, had a sort of mystical foreboding of it?) was the possibility that he would interfere. It was quite on the cards that he might; yet it was decent, all the same, to ask her rather than any one else. It was better that his interference should be accompanied with all the forms of chivalry.

Olive took no notice of his remark as to how she herself might be affected by his visit; but she asked in a moment why he should think it necessary to call on Miss Tarrant. 'You know you are not in sympathy,' she added, in a tone which contained a really touching element of entreaty that he would not even pretend to prove he was.

I know not whether Basil was touched, but he said,