Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/366

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356
XXXV.
THE BOSTONIANS.

'And that's the time you choose for your walk?' Ransom said, smiling.

'Well, it's the time my old lady has least need of me; she's too absorbed.'

Doctor Prance dealt in facts; Ransom had already discovered that; and some of her facts were very interesting.

'The Music Hall—isn't that your great building?' he asked.

'Well, it's the biggest we've got; it's pretty big, but it isn't so big as Miss Chancellor's ideas,' added Doctor Prance. 'She has taken it to bring out Miss Tarrant before the general public—she has never appeared that way in Boston—on a great scale. She expects her to make a big sensation. It will be a great night, and they are preparing for it. They consider it her real beginning.'

'And this is the preparation?' Basil Ransom said.

'Yes; as I say, it's their principal interest.'

Ransom listened, and while he listened he meditated. He had thought it possible Verena's principles might have been shaken by the profession of faith to which he treated her in New York; but this hardly looked like it. For some moments Doctor Prance and he stood together in silence.

'You don't hear the words,' the doctor remarked, with a smile which, in the dark, looked Mephistophelean.

'Oh, I know the words!' the young man exclaimed, with rather a groan, as he offered her his hand for goodnight.