Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/342

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'Ah, I told Olive!' said Verena, quickly, as if his words had confirmed an old fear; which was general, however, and did not relate particularly to him.

Ransom still had an impression that he was not making love to her, especially when he could observe, with all the superiority of a man—'I wonder whether you have understood ten words I have said to you?'

'I should think you had made it clear enough—you had rubbed it in!'

'What have you understood, then?'

'Why, that you want to put us back further than we have been at any period.'

'I have been joking; I have been piling it up,' Ransom said, making that concession unexpectedly to the girl. Every now and then he had an air of relaxing himself, becoming absent, ceasing to care to discuss.

She was capable of noticing this, and in a moment she asked—'Why don't you write out your ideas?'

This touched again upon the matter of his failure; it was curious how she couldn't keep off it, hit it every time. 'Do you mean for the public? I have written many things, but I can't get them printed.'

'Then it would seem that there are not so many people—so many as you said just now—who agree with you.'

'Well,' said Basil Ransom, 'editors are a mean, timorous lot, always saying they want something original, but deadly afraid of it when it comes.'

'Is it for papers, magazines?' As it sank into Verena's mind more deeply that the contributions of this remarkable young man had been rejected—contributions in which, apparently, everything she held dear was riddled with scorn—she felt a strange pity and sadness, a sense of injustice. 'I am very sorry you can't get published,' she said, so simply that he looked up at her, from the figure he was scratching on the asphalt with his stick, to see whether such a tone as that, in relation to such a fact, were not 'put on.' But it was evidently genuine, and Verena added that she supposed getting published was very difficult always; she remembered, though she didn't mention, how little success her father had when he tried. She hoped