Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/370

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her, the incarnation of well-earned rest, of patient, submissive superannuation. At the end of her long day's work she might have been placed there to enjoy this dim prevision of the peaceful river, the gleaming shores, of the paradise her unselfish life had certainly qualified her to enter, and which, apparently, would so soon be opened to her. After a while she said, placidly, without turning:

'I suppose it's about time I should take my remedy again. It does seem as if she had found the right thing; don't you think so?'

'Do you mean the contents of that tumbler? I shall be delighted to give it to you, and you must tell me how much you take.' And Basil Ransom, getting up, possessed himself of the glass on the table.

At the sound of his voice Miss Birdseye pushed back her straw-hat by a movement that was familiar to her, and twisting about her muffled figure a little (even in August she felt the cold, and had to be much covered up to sit out), directed at him a speculative, unastonished gaze.

'One spoonful—two?' Ransom asked, stirring the dose and smiling.

'Well, I guess I'll take two this time.'

'Certainly, Doctor Prance couldn't help finding the right thing,' Ransom said, as he administered the medicine; while the movement with which she extended her face to take it made her seem doubly childlike.

He put down the glass, and she relapsed into her position; she seemed to be considering. 'It's homœopathic,' she remarked, in a moment.

'Oh, I have no doubt of that; I presume you wouldn't take anything else.'

'Well, it's generally admitted now to be the true system.'

Ransom moved closer to her, placed himself where she could see him better. 'It's a great thing to have the true system,' he said, bending towards her in a friendly way; 'I'm sure you have it in everything.' He was not often hypocritical; but when he was he went all lengths.

'Well, I don't know that any one has a right to say that. I thought you were Verena,' she added in a moment, taking him in again with her mild, deliberate vision.