element that would make tutorship absorbing: he had perhaps taken too

much for granted it would only disgust him. As he left the villa after

his interview he looked up at the balcony and saw the child leaning over

it. “We shall have great larks!” he called up.

Morgan hung fire a moment and then gaily returned: “By the time you come

back I shall have thought of something witty!”

This made Pemberton say to himself “After all he’s rather nice.”


On the Friday he saw them all, as Mrs. Moreen had promised, for her

husband had come back and the girls and the other son were at home. Mr.

Moreen had a white moustache, a confiding manner and, in his buttonhole,

the ribbon of a foreign order—bestowed, as Pemberton eventually learned,

for services. For what services he never clearly ascertained: this was a

point—one of a large number—that Mr. Moreen’s manner never confided.

What it emphatically did confide was that he was even more a man of the

world than you might first make out. Ulick, the firstborn, was in

visible training for the same profession—under the disadvantage as yet,

however, of a buttonhole but feebly floral and a moustache with no

pretensions to type. The girls had hair and figures and manners and

small fat feet, but had never been out alone. As for Mrs. Moreen

Pemberton saw on a nearer view that her elegance was intermittent and her

parts didn’t always match. Her husband, as she had promised, met with

enthusiasm Pemberton’s ideas in regard to a salary. The young man had

endeavoured to keep these stammerings modest, and Mr. Moreen made it no

secret that _he_ found them wanting in “style.” He further mentioned

that he aspired to be intimate with his children, to be their best

friend, and that he was always looking out for them. That was what he

went off for, to London and other places—to look out; and this vigilance

was the theory of life, as well as the real occupation, of the whole

family. They all looked out, for they were very frank on the subject of

its being necessary. They desired it to be understood that they were

earnest people, and also that their fortune, though quite adequate for

earnest people, required the most careful administration. Mr. Moreen, as

the parent bird, sought sustenance for the nest. Ulick invoked support

mainly at the club, where Pemberton guessed that it was usually served on

green cloth. The girls used to do up their hair and their frocks

themselves, and our young man felt appealed to to be glad, in regard to

Morgan’s education, that, though it must naturally be of the best, it

didn’t cost too much. After a little he _was_ glad, forgetting at times

his own needs in the interest inspired by the child’s character and

culture and the pleasure of making easy terms for him.

During the first weeks of their acquaintance Morgan had been as puzzling

(C) 2013