of that fun that Mrs. Moreen, who was very angry when he had announced

her his intention, should charge him, grotesquely and vulgarly and in

reference to the loan she had vainly endeavoured to effect, with bolting

lest they should “get something out” of him. On the other hand he had to

do Mr. Moreen and Ulick the justice to recognise that when on coming in

they heard the cruel news they took it like perfect men of the world.

CHAPTER VIII

When he got at work with the opulent youth, who was to be taken in hand

for Balliol, he found himself unable to say if this aspirant had really

such poor parts or if the appearance were only begotten of his own long

association with an intensely living little mind. From Morgan he heard

half a dozen times: the boy wrote charming young letters, a patchwork of

tongues, with indulgent postscripts in the family Volapuk and, in little

squares and rounds and crannies of the text, the drollest

illustrations—letters that he was divided between the impulse to show his

present charge as a vain, a wasted incentive, and the sense of something

in them that publicity would profane. The opulent youth went up in due

course and failed to pass; but it seemed to add to the presumption that

brilliancy was not expected of him all at once that his parents,

condoning the lapse, which they good-naturedly treated as little as

possible as if it were Pemberton’s, should have sounded the rally again,

begged the young coach to renew the siege.

The young coach was now in a position to lend Mrs. Moreen three louis,

and he sent her a post-office order even for a larger amount. In return

for this favour he received a frantic scribbled line from her: “Implore

you to come back instantly—Morgan dreadfully ill.” They were on there

rebound, once more in Paris—often as Pemberton had seen them depressed he

had never seen them crushed—and communication was therefore rapid. He

wrote to the boy to ascertain the state of his health, but awaited the

answer in vain. He accordingly, after three days, took an abrupt leave

of the opulent youth and, crossing the Channel, alighted at the small

hotel, in the quarter of the Champs Elysées, of which Mrs. Moreen had

given him the address. A deep if dumb dissatisfaction with this lady and

her companions bore him company: they couldn’t be vulgarly honest, but

they could live at hotels, in velvety entresols, amid a smell of burnt

pastilles, surrounded by the most expensive city in Europe. When he had

left them in Venice it was with an irrepressible suspicion that something

was going to happen; but the only thing that could have taken place was

again their masterly retreat. “How is he? where is he?” he asked of Mrs.

Moreen; but before she could speak these questions were answered by the

pressure round hid neck of a pair of arms, in shrunken sleeves, which

still were perfectly capable of an effusive young foreign squeeze.

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