cheating? What had their forefathers—all decent folk, so far as he

knew—done to them, or what had he done to them? Who had poisoned their

blood with the fifth-rate social ideal, the fixed idea of making smart

acquaintances and getting into the monde chic, especially when it was

foredoomed to failure and exposure? They showed so what they were after;

that was what made the people they wanted not want _them_. And never a

wince for dignity, never a throb of shame at looking each other in the

face, never any independence or resentment or disgust. If his father or

his brother would only knock some one down once or twice a year! Clever

as they were they never guessed the impression they made. They were

good-natured, yes—as good-natured as Jews at the doors of clothing-shops!

But was that the model one wanted one’s family to follow? Morgan had dim

memories of an old grandfather, the maternal, in New York, whom he had

been taken across the ocean at the age of five to see: a gentleman with a

high neck-cloth and a good deal of pronunciation, who wore a dress-coat

in the morning, which made one wonder what he wore in the evening, and

had, or was supposed to have “property” and something to do with the

Bible Society. It couldn’t have been but that he was a good type.

Pemberton himself remembered Mrs. Clancy, a widowed sister of Mr.

Moreen’s, who was as irritating as a moral tale and had paid a

fortnight’s visit to the family at Nice shortly after he came to live

with them. She was “pure and refined,” as Amy said over the banjo, and

had the air of not knowing what they meant when they talked, and of

keeping something rather important back. Pemberton judged that what she

kept back was an approval of many of their ways; therefore it was to be

supposed that she too was of a good type, and that Mr. and Mrs. Moreen

and Ulick and Paula and Amy might easily have been of a better one if

they would.

But that they wouldn’t was more and more perceptible from day to day.

They continued to “chivey,” as Morgan called it, and in due time became

aware of a variety of reasons for proceeding to Venice. They mentioned a

great many of them—they were always strikingly frank and had the

brightest friendly chatter, at the late foreign breakfast in especial,

before the ladies had made up their faces, when they leaned their arms on

the table, had something to follow the demitasse, and, in the heat of

familiar discussion as to what they “really ought” to do, fell inevitably

into the languages in which they could tutoyer. Even Pemberton liked

them then; he could endure even Ulick when he heard him give his little

flat voice for the “sweet sea-city.” That was what made him have a

sneaking kindness for them—that they were so out of the workaday world

and kept him so out of it. The summer had waned when, with cries of

ecstasy, they all passed out on the balcony that overhung the Grand

(C) 2013