Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/371

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
XXXVI.
361
THE BOSTONIANS.

'I have been waiting for you to recognise me; of course you didn't know I was here—I only arrived last night.'

'Well, I'm glad you have come to see Olive now.'

'You remember that I wouldn't do that when I met you last?'

'You asked me not to mention to her that I had met you; that's what I principally recall.'

'And don't you remember what I told you I wanted to do? I wanted to go out to Cambridge and see Miss Tarrant. Thanks to the information that you were so good as to give me, I was able to do so.'

'Yes, she gave me quite a little description of your visit,' said Miss Birdseye, with a smile and a vague sound in her throat—a sort of pensive, private reference to the idea of laughter—of which Ransom never learned the exact significance, though he retained for a long time afterwards a kindly memory of the old lady's manner at the moment.

'I don't know how much she enjoyed it, but it was an immense pleasure to me; so great a one that, as you see, I have come to call upon her again.'

'Then, I presume, she has shaken you?'

'She has shaken me tremendously!' said Ransom, laughing.

'Well, you'll be a great addition,' Miss Birdseye returned. 'And this time your visit is also for Miss Chancellor?'

'That depends on whether she will receive me.'

'Well, if she knows you are shaken, that will go a great way,' said Miss Birdseye, a little musingly, as if even to her unsophisticated mind it had been manifested that one's relations with Miss Chancellor might be ticklish. 'But she can't receive you now can she? because she's out. She has gone to the post-office for the Boston letters, and they get so many every day that she had to take Verena with her to help her carry them home. One of them wanted to stay with me, because Doctor Prance has gone fishing, but I said I presumed I could be left alone for about seven minutes. I know how they love to be together; it seems as if one couldn't go out without the other. That's what they came down here for, because it's quiet, and it didn't look as if there was any one else they