Yet the morning was brought to a violent as end by Morgan’s suddenly

leaning his arms on the table, burying his head in them and bursting into

tears: at which Pemberton was the more startled that, as it then came

over him, it was the first time he had ever seen the boy cry and that the

impression was consequently quite awful.

The next day, after much thought, he took a decision and, believing it to

be just, immediately acted on it. He cornered Mr. and Mrs. Moreen again

and let them know that if on the spot they didn’t pay him all they owed

him he wouldn’t only leave their house but would tell Morgan exactly what

had brought him to it.

“Oh you _haven’t_ told him?” cried Mrs. Moreen with a pacifying hand on

her well-dressed bosom.

“Without warning you? For what do you take me?” the young man returned.

Mr. and Mrs. Moreen looked at each other; he could see that they

appreciated, as tending to their security, his superstition of delicacy,

and yet that there was a certain alarm in their relief. “My dear

fellow,” Mr. Moreen demanded, “what use can you have, leading the quiet

life we all do, for such a lot of money?”—a question to which Pemberton

made no answer, occupied as he was in noting that what passed in the mind

of his patrons was something like: “Oh then, if we’ve felt that the

child, dear little angel, has judged us and how he regards us, and we

haven’t been betrayed, he must have guessed—and in short it’s _general_!”

an inference that rather stirred up Mr. and Mrs. Moreen, as Pemberton had

desired it should. At the same time, if he had supposed his threat would

do something towards bringing them round, he was disappointed to find

them taking for granted—how vulgar their perception _had_ been!—that he

had already given them away. There was a mystic uneasiness in their

parental breasts, and that had been the inferior sense of it. None the

less however, his threat did touch them; for if they had escaped it was

only to meet a new danger. Mr. Moreen appealed to him, on every

precedent, as a man of the world; but his wife had recourse, for the

first time since his domestication with them, to a fine hauteur,

reminding him that a devoted mother, with her child, had arts that

protected her against gross misrepresentation.

“I should misrepresent you grossly if I accused you of common honesty!”

our friend replied; but as he closed the door behind him sharply,

thinking he had not done himself much good, while Mr. Moreen lighted

another cigarette, he heard his hostess shout after him more touchingly:

“Oh you do, you _do_, put the knife to one’s throat!”

The next morning, very early, she came to his room. He recognised her

knock, but had no hope she brought him money; as to which he was wrong,

for she had fifty francs in her hand. She squeezed forward in her

dressing-gown, and he received her in his own, between his bath-tub and

(C) 2013