Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/375

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but he was aware that whatever he said or did he was condemned to seem impudent now, and he argued within himself that if he was to have the dishonour of being thought brazen he might as well have the comfort. He didn't care a straw, in truth, how he was judged or how he might offend; he had a purpose which swallowed up such inanities as that, and he was so full of it that it kept him firm, balanced him, gave him an assurance that might easily have been confounded with a cold detachment. 'This place will do me good,' he pursued; 'I haven't had a holiday for more than two years, I couldn't have gone another day; I was finished. I would have written to you beforehand that I was coming, but I only started at a few hours' notice. It occurred to me that this would be just what I wanted; I remembered what Miss Tarrant had said in her note, that it was a place where people could lie on the ground and wear their old clothes. I delight to lie on the ground, and all my clothes are old. I hope to be able to stay three or four weeks.'

Olive listened till he had done speaking; she stood a single moment longer, and then, without a word, a glance, she rushed into the house. Ransom saw that Miss Birdseye was immersed in her letters; so he went straight to Verena and stood before her, looking far into her eyes. He was not smiling now, as he had been in speaking to Olive. 'Will you come somewhere apart, where I can speak to you alone?'

'Why have you done this? It was not right in you to come!' Verena looked still as if she were blushing, but Ransom perceived he must allow for her having been delicately scorched by the sun.

'I have come because it is necessary—because I have something very important to say to you. A great number of things.'

'The same things you said in New York? I don't want to hear them again—they were horrible!'

'No, not the same—different ones. I want you to come out with me, away from here.'

'You always want me to come out! We can't go out here; we are out, as much as we can be!' Verena laughed.