“Well, dash it, you know what I mean.” Pemberton knew perfectly what he

meant; but there were a good many things that—dash it too!—it didn’t make

any clearer. This episode of his second sojourn in Paris stretched

itself out wearily, with their resumed readings and wanderings and

maunderings, their potterings on the quays, their hauntings of the

museums, their occasional lingerings in the Palais Royal when the first

sharp weather came on and there was a comfort in warm emanations, before

Chevet’s wonderful succulent window. Morgan wanted to hear all about the

opulent youth—he took an immense interest in him. Some of the details of

his opulence—Pemberton could spare him none of them—evidently fed the

boy’s appreciation of all his friend had given up to come back to him;

but in addition to the greater reciprocity established by that heroism he

had always his little brooding theory, in which there was a frivolous

gaiety too, that their long probation was drawing to a close. Morgan’s

conviction that the Moreens couldn’t go on much longer kept pace with the

unexpended impetus with which, from month to month, they did go on.

Three weeks after Pemberton had rejoined them they went on to another

hotel, a dingier one than the first; but Morgan rejoiced that his tutor

had at least still not sacrificed the advantage of a room outside. He

clung to the romantic utility of this when the day, or rather the night,

should arrive for their escape.

For the first time, in this complicated connexion, our friend felt his

collar gall him. It was, as he had said to Mrs. Moreen in Venice, trop

fort—everything was trop fort. He could neither really throw off his

blighting burden nor find in it the benefit of a pacified conscience or

of a rewarded affection. He had spent all the money accruing to him in

England, and he saw his youth going and that he was getting nothing back

for it. It was all very well of Morgan to count it for reparation that

he should now settle on him permanently—there was an irritating flaw in

such a view. He saw what the boy had in his mind; the conception that as

his friend had had the generosity to come back he must show his gratitude

by giving him his life. But the poor friend didn’t desire the gift—what

could he do with Morgan’s dreadful little life? Of course at the same

time that Pemberton was irritated he remembered the reason, which was

very honourable to Morgan and which dwelt simply in his making one so

forget that he was no more than a patched urchin. If one dealt with him

on a different basis one’s misadventures were one’s own fault. So

Pemberton waited in a queer confusion of yearning and alarm for the

catastrophe which was held to hang over the house of Moreen, of which he

certainly at moments felt the symptoms brush his cheek and as to which he

wondered much in what form it would find its liveliest effect.

(C) 2013