Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/30

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III.
THE BOSTONIANS.

greatly between several things she might say, all so important that it was difficult to choose.

'I think it might interest you,' she remarked presently. 'You will hear some discussion, if you are fond of that. Perhaps you wouldn't agree,' she added, resting her strange eyes on him.

'Perhaps I shouldn't—I don't agree with everything,' he said, smiling and stroking his leg.

'Don't you care for human progress?' Miss Chancellor went on.

'I don't know—I never saw any. Are you going to show me some?'

'I can show you an earnest effort towards it. That's the most one can be sure of. But I am not sure you are worthy.'

'Is it something very Bostonian? I should like to see that,' said Basil Ransom.

'There are movements in other cities. Mrs. Farrinder goes everywhere; she may speak to-night.'

'Mrs. Farrinder, the celebrated———?'

'Yes, the celebrated; the great apostle of the emancipation of women. She is a great friend of Miss Birdseye.'

'And who is Miss Birdseye?'

'She is one of our celebrities. She is the woman in the world, I suppose, who has laboured most for every wise reform. I think I ought to tell you,' Miss Chancellor went on in a moment, 'she was one of the earliest, one of the most passionate, of the old Abolitionists.'

She had thought, indeed, she ought to tell him that, and it threw her into a little tremor of excitement to do so. Yet, if she had been afraid he would show some irritation at this news, she was disappointed at the geniality with which he exclaimed:

'Why, poor old lady—she must be quite mature!'

It was therefore with some severity that she rejoined:

'She will never be old. She is the youngest spirit I know. But if you are not in sympathy, perhaps you had better not come,' she went on.

'In sympathy with what, dear madam?' Basil Ransom asked, failing still, to her perception, to catch the tone of