“And pray with whom _should_ a child be but with those whom he loves

most?”

“If you think that, why don’t you dismiss me?”

“Do you pretend he loves you more than he loves _us_?” cried Mrs. Moreen.

“I think he ought to. I make sacrifices for him. Though I’ve heard of

those _you_ make I don’t see them.”

Mrs. Moreen stared a moment; then with emotion she grasped her inmate’s

hand. “_Will_ you make it—the sacrifice?”

He burst out laughing. “I’ll see. I’ll do what I can. I’ll stay a

little longer. Your calculation’s just—I _do_ hate intensely to give him

up; I’m fond of him and he thoroughly interests me, in spite of the

inconvenience I suffer. You know my situation perfectly. I haven’t a

penny in the world and, occupied as you see me with Morgan, am unable to

earn money.”

Mrs. Moreen tapped her undressed arm with her folded bank-note. “Can’t

you write articles? Can’t you translate as _I_ do?”

“I don’t know about translating; it’s wretchedly paid.”

“I’m glad to earn what I can,” said Mrs. Moreen with prodigious virtue.

“You ought to tell me who you do it for.” Pemberton paused a moment, and

she said nothing; so he added: “I’ve tried to turn off some little

sketches, but the magazines won’t have them—they’re declined with

thanks.”

“You see then you’re not such a phœnix,” his visitor pointedly smiled—“to

pretend to abilities you’re sacrificing for our sake.”

“I haven’t time to do things properly,” he ruefully went on. Then as it

came over him that he was almost abjectly good-natured to give these

explanations he added: “If I stay on longer it must be on one

condition—that Morgan shall know distinctly on what footing I am.”

Mrs. Moreen demurred. “Surely you don’t want to show off to a child?”

“To show _you_ off, do you mean?”

Again she cast about, but this time it was to produce a still finer

flower. “And _you_ talk of blackmail!”

“You can easily prevent it,” said Pemberton.

“And _you_ talk of practising on fears,” she bravely pushed on.

“Yes, there’s no doubt I’m a great scoundrel.”

His patroness met his eyes—it was clear she was in straits. Then she

thrust out her money at him. “Mr. Moreen desired me to give you this on

account.”

“I’m much obliged to Mr. Moreen, but we _have_ no account.”

“You won’t take it?”

“That leaves me more free,” said Pemberton.

“To poison my darling’s mind?” groaned Mrs. Moreen.

“Oh your darling’s mind—!” the young man laughed.

She fixed him a moment, and he thought she was going to break out

tormentedly, pleadingly: “For God’s sake, tell me what _is_ in it!” But

she checked this impulse—another was stronger. She pocketed the

money—the crudity of the alternative was comical—and swept out of the

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