Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/378

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368
XXXVI.
THE BOSTONIANS.

able to bring it to the light or not. The other day I got a letter from the editor of the "Rational Review," telling me that he should be very happy to print it, that he thought it very remarkable, and that he should be glad to hear from me again. He shall hear from me again—he needn't be afraid! It contained a good many of the opinions I have expressed to you, and a good many more besides. I really believe it will attract some attention. At any rate, the simple fact that it is to be published makes an era in my life. This will seem pitiful to you, no doubt, who publish yourself, have been before the world these several years, and are flushed with every kind of triumph; but to me it's simply a tremendous affair. It makes me believe I may do something; it has changed the whole way I look at my future. I have been building castles in the air, and I have put you in the biggest and fairest of them. That's a great change, and, as I say, it's really why I came on.'

Verena lost not a word of this gentle, conciliatory, explicit statement; it was full of surprises for her, and as soon as Ransom had stopped speaking she inquired: 'Why, didn't you feel satisfied about your future before?'

Her tone made him feel how little she had suspected he could have the weakness of a discouragement, how little of a question it must have seemed to her that he would one day triumph on his own erratic line. It was the sweetest tribute he had yet received to the idea that he might have ability; the letter of the editor of the 'Rational Review' was nothing to it. 'No, I felt very blue; it didn't seem to me at all clear that there was a place for me in the world.'

'Gracious!' said Verena Tarrant.

A quarter of an hour later Miss Birdseye, who had returned to her letters (she had a correspondent at Framingham who usually wrote fifteen pages), became aware that Verena, who was now alone, was re-entering the house. She stopped her on her way, and said she hoped she hadn't pushed Mr. Ransom overboard.

'Oh no; he has gone off—round the other way.'

'Well, I hope he is going to speak for us soon.'

Verena hesitated a moment. 'He speaks with the pen.