it appeared also to be under the influence of curious intuitions and

knowledges. Pemberton rather disliked precocity and was disappointed to

find gleams of it in a disciple not yet in his teens. Nevertheless he

divined on the spot that Morgan wouldn’t prove a bore. He would prove on

the contrary a source of agitation. This idea held the young man, in

spite of a certain repulsion.

“You pompous little person! We’re not extravagant!” Mrs. Moreen gaily

protested, making another unsuccessful attempt to draw the boy to her

side. “You must know what to expect,” she went on to Pemberton.

“The less you expect the better!” her companion interposed. “But we

_are_ people of fashion.”

“Only so far as _you_ make us so!” Mrs. Moreen tenderly mocked. “Well

then, on Friday—don’t tell me you’re superstitious—and mind you don’t

fail us. Then you’ll see us all. I’m so sorry the girls are out. I

guess you’ll like the girls. And, you know, I’ve another son, quite

different from this one.”

“He tries to imitate me,” Morgan said to their friend.

“He tries? Why he’s twenty years old!” cried Mrs. Moreen.

“You’re very witty,” Pemberton remarked to the child—a proposition his

mother echoed with enthusiasm, declaring Morgan’s sallies to be the

delight of the house.

The boy paid no heed to this; he only enquired abruptly of the visitor,

who was surprised afterwards that he hadn’t struck him as offensively

forward: “Do you _want_ very much to come?”

“Can you doubt it after such a description of what I shall hear?”

Pemberton replied. Yet he didn’t want to come at all; he was coming

because he had to go somewhere, thanks to the collapse of his fortune at

the end of a year abroad spent on the system of putting his scant

patrimony into a single full wave of experience. He had had his full

wave but couldn’t pay the score at his inn. Moreover he had caught in

the boy’s eyes the glimpse of a far-off appeal.

“Well, I’ll do the best I can for you,” said Morgan; with which he turned

away again. He passed out of one of the long windows; Pemberton saw him

go and lean on the parapet of the terrace. He remained there while the

young man took leave of his mother, who, on Pemberton’s looking as if he

expected a farewell from him, interposed with: “Leave him, leave him;

he’s so strange!” Pemberton supposed her to fear something he might say.

“He’s a genius—you’ll love him,” she added. “He’s much the most

interesting person in the family.” And before he could invent some

civility to oppose to this she wound up with: “But we’re all good, you


“He’s a genius—you’ll love him!” were words that recurred to our aspirant

before the Friday, suggesting among many things that geniuses were not

invariably loveable. However, it was all the better if there was an

(C) 2013   2