Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/406

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or Georgia before the war—shown her round among the negroes and talked over New England ideas with her; there were a good many he didn't care much about now, but at that time they would have been tremendously refreshing. Miss Birdseye had given herself away so lavishly all her life that it was rather odd there was anything left of her for the supreme surrender. When he looked at Olive he saw that she meant to ignore him; and during the few minutes he remained on the spot his kinswoman never met his eye. She turned away, indeed, as soon as Doctor Prance said, leaning over Miss Birdseye, 'I have brought Mr. Ransom to you. Don't you remember you asked for him?'

'I am very glad to see you again,' Ransom remarked. 'It was very good of you to think of me.' At the sound of his voice Olive rose and left her place; she sank into a chair at the other end of the piazza, turning round to rest her arms on the back and bury her head in them.

Miss Birdseye looked at the young man still more dimly than she had ever done before. 'I thought you were gone. You never came back.'

'He spends all his time in long walks; he enjoys the country so much,' Verena said.

'Well, it's very beautiful, what I see from here. I haven't been strong enough to move round since the first days. But I am going to move now.' She smiled when Ransom made a gesture as if to help her, and added: 'Oh, I don't mean I am going to move out of my chair.'

'Mr. Ransom has been out in a boat with me several times. I have been showing him how to cast a line,' said Doctor Prance, who appeared to deprecate a sentimental tendency.

'Oh, well, then, you have been one of our party; there seems to be every reason why you should feel that you belong to us.' Miss Birdseye looked at the visitor with a sort of misty earnestness, as if she wished to communicate with him further; then her glance turned slightly aside; she tried to see what had become of Olive. She perceived that Miss Chancellor had withdrawn herself, and, closing her eyes, she mused, ineffectually, on the mystery she had