Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/433

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XL.
423
THE BOSTONIANS.

not going to let you off! We want the last news about Miss Verena, and it has got to come out of this house.'

'Oh murder!' Ransom muttered, beneath his breath, taking up his hat.

'Miss Chancellor has hidden her away; I have been scouring the city in search of her, and her own father hasn't seen her for a week. We have got his ideas; they are very easy to get, but that isn't what we want.'

'And what do you want?' Ransom was now impelled to inquire, as Mr. Pardon (even the name at present came back to him), appeared sufficiently to have introduced himself.

'We want to know how she feels about to-night; what report she makes of her nerves, her anticipations; how she looked, what she had on, up to six o'clock. Gracious! if I could see her I should know what I wanted, and so would she, I guess!' Mr. Pardon exclaimed. 'You must know something, Mrs. Luna; it isn't natural you shouldn't. I won't inquire any further where she is, because that might seem a little pushing, if she does wish to withdraw herself—though I am bound to say I think she makes a mistake; we could work up these last hours for her! But can't you tell me any little personal items—the sort of thing the people like? What is she going to have for supper? or is she going to speak—a—without previous nourishment?'

'Really, sir, I don't know, and I don't in the least care; I have nothing to do with the business!' Mrs. Luna cried, angrily.

The reporter stared; then, eagerly, 'You have nothing to do with it—you take an unfavourable view, you protest?' And he was already feeling in a side-pocket for his note-book.

'Mercy on us! are you going to put that in the paper?' Mrs. Luna exclaimed; and in spite of the sense, detestable to him, that everything he wished most to avert was fast closing over the girl, Ransom broke into cynical laughter.

'Ah, but do protest, madam; let us at least have that fragment!' Mr. Pardon went on. 'A protest from this house would be a charming note. We must have it—we've got nothing else! The public are almost as much