pass his pupil.

“Oh we’ll settle that. You used to talk about it,” said Morgan. “If we

can only go all the rest’s a detail.”

“Talk about it as much as you like, but don’t think you can attempt it.

Mr. Moreen would never consent—it would be so _very_ hand-to-mouth,”

Pemberton’s hostess beautifully explained to him. Then to Morgan she

made it clearer: “It would destroy our peace, it would break our hearts.

Now that he’s back it will be all the same again. You’ll have your life,

your work and your freedom, and we’ll all be happy as we used to be.

You’ll bloom and grow perfectly well, and we won’t have any more silly

experiments, will we? They’re too absurd. It’s Mr. Pemberton’s

place—every one in his place. You in yours, your papa in his, me in

mine—n’est-ce pas, chéri? We’ll all forget how foolish we’ve been and

have lovely times.”

She continued to talk and to surge vaguely about the little draped stuffy

salon while Pemberton sat with the boy, whose colour gradually came back;

and she mixed up her reasons, hinting that there were going to be

changes, that the other children might scatter (who knew?—Paula had her

ideas) and that then it might be fancied how much the poor old

parent-birds would want the little nestling. Morgan looked at Pemberton,

who wouldn’t let him move; and Pemberton knew exactly how he felt at

hearing himself called a little nestling. He admitted that he had had

one or two bad days, but he protested afresh against the wrong of his

mother’s having made them the ground of an appeal to poor Pemberton.

Poor Pemberton could laugh now, apart from the comicality of Mrs.

Moreen’s mustering so much philosophy for her defence—she seemed to shake

it out of her agitated petticoats, which knocked over the light gilt

chairs—so little did their young companion, _marked_, unmistakeably

marked at the best, strike him as qualified to repudiate any advantage.

He himself was in for it at any rate. He should have Morgan on his hands

again indefinitely; though indeed he saw the lad had a private theory to

produce which would be intended to smooth this down. He was obliged to

him for it in advance; but the suggested amendment didn’t keep his heart

rather from sinking, any more than it prevented him from accepting the

prospect on the spot, with some confidence moreover that he should do so

even better if he could have a little supper. Mrs. Moreen threw out more

hints about the changes that were to be looked for, but she was such a

mixture of smiles and shudders—she confessed she was very nervous—that he

couldn’t tell if she were in high feather or only in hysterics. If the

family was really at last going to pieces why shouldn’t she recognise the

necessity of pitching Morgan into some sort of lifeboat? This

presumption was fostered by the fact that they were established in

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