Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/299

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XXX.
289
THE BOSTONIANS.

know, Verena, this isn't our real life—it isn't our work,' Olive went on.

'Well, no, it isn't, certainly,' said Verena, not pretending at first that she did not know what Olive meant. In a moment, however, she added, 'Do you refer to this social intercourse with Mr. Burrage?'

'Not to that only.' Then Olive asked abruptly, looking at her, 'How did you know his address?'

'His address?'

'Mr. Ransom's—to enable Mrs. Burrage to invite him?'

They stood for a moment interchanging a gaze. 'It was in a letter I got from him.'

At these words there came into Olive's face an expression which made her companion cross over to her directly and take her by the hand. But the tone was different from what Verena expected when she said, with cold surprise: 'Oh, you are in correspondence!' It showed an immense effort of self-control.

'He wrote to me once—I never told you,' Verena rejoined, smiling. She felt that her friend's strange, uneasy eyes searched very far; a little more and they would go to the very bottom. Well, they might go if they would; she didn't, after all, care so much about her secret as that. For the moment, however, Verena did not learn what Olive had discovered, inasmuch as she only remarked presently that it was really time to go down. As they descended the staircase she put her arm into Miss Chancellor's and perceived that she was trembling.

Of course there were plenty of people in New York interested in the uprising, and Olive had made appointments, in advance, which filled the whole afternoon. Everybody wanted to meet them, and wanted everybody else to do so, and Verena saw they could easily have quite a vogue, if they only chose to stay and work that vein. Very likely, as Olive said, it wasn't their real life, and people didn't seem to have such a grip of the movement as they had in Boston; but there was something in the air that carried one along, and a sense of vastness and variety, of the infinite possibilities of a great city, which—Verena hardly knew whether she ought to confess it to herself—