“For ever and ever? Comme vous-y-allez!” Mr. Moreen laughed indulgently.

“For as long as Mr. Pemberton may be so good.”

“We’ve struggled, we’ve suffered,” his wife went on; “but you’ve made him

so your own that we’ve already been through the worst of the sacrifice.”

Morgan had turned away from his father—he stood looking at Pemberton with

a light in his face. His sense of shame for their common humiliated

state had dropped; the case had another side—the thing was to clutch at

_that_. He had a moment of boyish joy, scarcely mitigated by the

reflexion that with this unexpected consecration of his hope—too sudden

and too violent; the turn taken was away from a _good_ boy’s book—the

“escape” was left on their hands. The boyish joy was there an instant,

and Pemberton was almost scared at the rush of gratitude and affection

that broke through his first abasement. When he stammered “My dear

fellow, what do you say to _that_?” how could one not say something

enthusiastic? But there was more need for courage at something else that

immediately followed and that made the lad sit down quietly on the

nearest chair. He had turned quite livid and had raised his hand to his

left side. They were all three looking at him, but Mrs. Moreen suddenly

bounded forward. “Ah his darling little heart!” she broke out; and this

time, on her knees before him and without respect for the idol, she

caught him ardently in her arms. “You walked him too far, you hurried

him too fast!” she hurled over her shoulder at Pemberton. Her son made

no protest, and the next instant, still holding him, she sprang up with

her face convulsed and with the terrified cry “Help, help! he’s going,

he’s gone!” Pemberton saw with equal horror, by Morgan’s own stricken

face, that he was beyond their wildest recall. He pulled him half out of

his mother’s hands, and for a moment, while they held him together, they

looked all their dismay into each other’s eyes, “He couldn’t stand it

with his weak organ,” said Pemberton—“the shock, the whole scene, the

violent emotion.”

“But I thought he _wanted_ to go to you!”, wailed Mrs. Moreen.

“I _told_ you he didn’t, my dear,” her husband made answer. Mr. Moreen

was trembling all over and was in his way as deeply affected as his wife.

But after the very first he took his bereavement as a man of the world.


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