Page:The Bostonians (London & New York, Macmillan & Co., 1886).djvu/77

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IX.
67
THE BOSTONIANS.

recognised. It was portentously grave, the eyes were enlarged, there was a red spot in each of the cheeks, and as directed to him, a quick, piercing question, a kind of leaping challenge, in the whole expression. He could only answer this sudden gleam with a stare, and wonder afresh what trick his Northern kinswoman was destined to play him. Impressed too? He should think he had been! Mrs. Farrinder, who was decidedly a woman of the world, came to his assistance, or to Miss Chancellor's, and said she hoped very much Olive wouldn't stay—she felt these things too much. 'If you stay, I won't speak,' she added; 'I should upset you altogether.' And then she continued, tenderly, for so preponderantly intellectual a nature: 'When women feel as you do, how can I doubt that we shall come out all right?'

'Oh, we shall come out all right, I guess,' murmured Miss Birdseye.

'But you must remember Beacon Street,' Mrs. Farrinder subjoined. 'You must take advantage of your position—you must wake up the Back Bay!'

'I'm sick of the Back Bay!' said Olive fiercely; and she passed to the door with Miss Birdseye, bidding goodbye to no one. She was so agitated that, evidently, she could not trust herself, and there was nothing for Ransom but to follow. At the door of the room, however, he was checked by a sudden pause on the part of the two ladies: Olive stopped and stood there hesitating. She looked round the room and spied out Verena, where she sat with her mother, the centre of a gratified group; then, throwing back her head with an air of decision, she crossed over to her. Ransom said to himself that now, perhaps, was his chance, and he quickly accompanied Miss Chancellor. The little knot of reformers watched her as she arrived; their faces expressed a suspicion of her social importance, mingled with conscientious scruples as to whether it were right to recognise it. Verena Tarrant saw that she was the object of this manifestation, and she got up to meet the lady whose approach was so full of point. Ransom perceived, however, or thought he perceived, that she recognised nothing; she had no suspicions of social import-