Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/435

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XL.
425
THE BOSTONIANS.

we had on the subject. I remarked, candidly, that if they didn't look out they would overdo the quietness. Doctor Tarrant has felt very low about it. However, I have done what I could with the material at my command, and the "Vesper" has let the public know that her whereabouts was the biggest mystery of the season. It's difficult to get round the "Vesper."'

'I am almost afraid to open my lips in your presence.' Mrs. Luna broke in, 'but I must say that I think my sister was strangely communicative. She told you ever so much that I wouldn't have breathed.'

'I should like to try you with something you know!' Matthias Pardon returned, imperturbably. 'This isn't a fair trial, because you don't know. Miss Chancellor came round—came round considerably, there's no doubt of that; because a year or two ago she was terribly unapproachable. If I have mollified her, madam, why shouldn't I mollify you? She realises that I can help her now, and as I ain't rancorous I am willing to help her all she'll let me. The trouble is, she won't let me enough, yet; it seems as if she couldn't believe it of me. At any rate,' he pursued, addressing himself more particularly to Ransom, 'half an hour ago, at the Hall, they knew nothing whatever about Miss Tarrant, beyond the fact that about a month ago she came there, with Miss Chancellor, to try her voice, which rang all over the place, like silver, and that Miss Chancellor guaranteed her absolute punctuality to-night.'

'Well, that's all that is required,' said Ransom, at hazard; and he put out his hand, in farewell, to Mrs. Luna.

'Do you desert me already?' she demanded, giving him a glance which would have embarrassed any spectator but a reporter of the 'Vesper.'

'I have fifty things to do; you must excuse me.' He was nervous, restless, his heart was beating much faster than usual; he couldn't stand still, and he had no compunction whatever about leaving her to get rid, by herself, of Mr. Pardon.

This gentleman continued to mix in the conversation, possibly from the hope that if he should linger either Miss