Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/305

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XXXI.
295
THE BOSTONIANS.

'That's wholly your own affair, my dear,' Olive replied, with a melancholy sigh, gazing down the vista of Fourteenth Street (which they happened just then to be traversing, with much agitation), toward the queer barrier of the elevated railway.

It was nothing new to Verena that if the great striving of Olive's life was for justice she yet sometimes failed to arrive at it in particular cases; and she reflected that it was rather late for her to say, like that, that Basil Ransom's letters were only his correspondent's business. Had not his kinswoman quite made the subject her own during their drive that afternoon? Verena determined now that her companion should hear all there was to be heard about the letter; asking herself whether, if she told her at present more than she cared to know, it wouldn't make up for her hitherto having told her less. 'He brought it with him, written, in case I should be out. He wants to see me tomorrow—he says he has ever so much to say to me. He proposes an hour—says he hopes it won't be inconvenient for me to see him about eleven in the morning; thinks I may have no other engagement so early as that. Of course our return to Boston settles it,' Verena added, with serenity.

Miss Chancellor said nothing for a moment; then she replied, 'Yes, unless you invite him to come on with you in the train.'

'Why, Olive, how bitter you are!' Verena exclaimed, in genuine surprise.

Olive could not justify her bitterness by saying that her companion had spoken as if she were disappointed, because Verena had not. So she simply remarked, 'I don't see what he can have to say to you—that would be worth your hearing.'

'Well, of course, it's the other side. He has got it on the brain!' said Verena, with a laugh which seemed to relegate the whole matter to the category of the unimportant.

'If we should stay, would you see him—at eleven o'clock?' Olive inquired.

'Why do you ask that—when I have given it up?'

'Do you consider it such a tremendous sacrifice?'