Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/428

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418
XL.
THE BOSTONIANS.

house of Miss Tarrant's parents, in Cambridge, but it is closed and empty, destitute of any sign of life. I went there first, on arriving this morning, and rang at this door only when my journey to Monadnoc Place had proved fruitless. Your sister's servant told me that Miss Tarrant was not staying here, but she added that Mrs. Luna was. No doubt you won't be pleased at having been spoken of as a sort of equivalent; and I didn't say to myself—or to the servant—that you would do as well; I only reflected that I could at least try you. I didn't even ask for Miss Chancellor, as I am sure she would give me no information whatever.'

Mrs. Luna listened to this candid account of the young man's proceedings with her head turned a little over her shoulder at him, and her eyes fixed as unsympathetically as possible upon his own. 'What you propose, then, as I understand it,' she said in a moment, 'is that I should betray my sister to you.'

'Worse than that; I propose that you should betray Miss Tarrant herself.'

'What do I care about Miss Tarrant? I don't know what you are talking about.'

'Haven't you really any idea where she is living? Haven't you seen her here? Are Miss Olive and she not constantly together?'

Mrs. Luna, at this, turned full round upon him, and, with folded arms and her head tossed back, exclaimed: 'Look here, Basil Ransom, I never thought you were a fool, but it strikes me that since we last met you have lost your wits!'

'There is no doubt of that,' Ransom answered, smiling.

'Do you mean to tell me you don't know everything about Miss Tarrant that can be known?'

'I have neither seen her nor heard of her for the last ten weeks; Miss Chancellor has hidden her away.'

'Hidden her away, with all the walls and fences of Boston flaming to-day with her name?'

'Oh yes, I have noticed that, and I have no doubt that by waiting till this evening I shall be able to see her. But I don't want to wait till this evening; I want to see her now, and not in public—in private.'

'Do you indeed?—how interesting!' cried Mrs. Luna,