Canal. The sunsets then were splendid and the Dorringtons had arrived.

The Dorringtons were the only reason they hadn’t talked of at breakfast;

but the reasons they didn’t talk of at breakfast always came out in the

end. The Dorringtons on the other hand came out very little; or else

when they did they stayed—as was natural—for hours, during which periods

Mrs. Moreen and the girls sometimes called at their hotel (to see if they

had returned) as many as three times running. The gondola was for the

ladies, as in Venice too there were “days,” which Mrs. Moreen knew in

their order an hour after she arrived. She immediately took one herself,

to which the Dorringtons never came, though on a certain occasion when

Pemberton and his pupil were together at St. Mark’s—where, taking the

best walks they had ever had and haunting a hundred churches, they spent

a great deal of time—they saw the old lord turn up with Mr. Moreen and

Ulick, who showed him the dim basilica as if it belonged to them.

Pemberton noted how much less, among its curiosities, Lord Dorrington

carried himself as a man of the world; wondering too whether, for such

services, his companions took a fee from him. The autumn at any rate

waned, the Dorringtons departed, and Lord Verschoyle, the eldest son, had

proposed neither for Amy nor for Paula.

One sad November day, while the wind roared round the old palace and the

rain lashed the lagoon, Pemberton, for exercise and even somewhat for

warmth—the Moreens were horribly frugal about fires; it was a cause of

suffering to their inmate—walked up and down the big bare sala with his

pupil. The scagliola floor was cold, the high battered casements shook

in the storm, and the stately decay of the place was unrelieved by a

particle of furniture. Pemberton’s spirits were low, and it came over

him that the fortune of the Moreens was now even lower. A blast of

desolation, a portent of disgrace and disaster, seemed to draw through

the comfortless hall. Mr. Moreen and Ulick were in the Piazza, looking

out for something, strolling drearily, in mackintoshes, under the

arcades; but still, in spite of mackintoshes, unmistakeable men of the

world. Paula and Amy were in bed—it might have been thought they were

staying there to keep warm. Pemberton looked askance at the boy at his

side, to see to what extent he was conscious of these dark omens. But

Morgan, luckily for him, was now mainly conscious of growing taller and

stronger and indeed of being in his fifteenth year. This fact was

intensely interesting to him and the basis of a private theory—which,

however, he had imparted to his tutor—that in a little while he should

stand on his own feet. He considered that the situation would

change—that in short he should be “finished,” grown up, producible in the

world of affairs and ready to prove himself of sterling ability. Sharply

as he was capable at times of analysing, as he called it, his life, there

(C) 2013