never abuse his parents. To this Morgan had the easy retort that he

hadn’t dreamed of abusing them; which appeared to be true: it put

Pemberton in the wrong.

“Then why am I a humbug for saying _I_ think them charming?” the young

man asked, conscious of a certain rashness.

“Well—they’re not your parents.”

“They love you better than anything in the world—never forget that,” said

Pemberton.

“Is that why you like them so much?”

“They’re very kind to me,” Pemberton replied evasively.

“You _are_ a humbug!” laughed Morgan, passing an arm into his tutor’s.

He leaned against him looking oft at the sea again and swinging his long

thin legs.

“Don’t kick my shins,” said Pemberton while he reflected “Hang it, I

can’t complain of them to the child!”

“There’s another reason, too,” Morgan went on, keeping his legs still.

“Another reason for what?”

“Besides their not being your parents.”

“I don’t understand you,” said Pemberton.

“Well, you will before long. All right!”

He did understand fully before long, but he made a fight even with

himself before he confessed it. He thought it the oddest thing to have a

struggle with the child about. He wondered he didn’t hate the hope of

the Moreens for bringing the struggle on. But by the time it began any

such sentiment for that scion was closed to him. Morgan was a special

case, and to know him was to accept him on his own odd terms. Pemberton

had spent his aversion to special cases before arriving at knowledge.

When at last he did arrive his quandary was great. Against every

interest he had attached himself. They would have to meet things

together. Before they went home that evening at Nice the boy had said,

clinging to his arm:

“Well, at any rate you’ll hang on to the last.”

“To the last?”

“Till you’re fairly beaten.”

“_You_ ought to be fairly beaten!” cried the young man, drawing him

closer.

CHAPTER IV

A year after he had come to live with them Mr. and Mrs. Moreen suddenly

gave up the villa at Nice. Pemberton had got used to suddenness, having

seen it practised on a considerable scale during two jerky little

tours—one in Switzerland the first summer, and the other late in the

winter, when they all ran down to Florence and then, at the end of ten

days, liking it much less than they had intended, straggled back in

mysterious depression. They had returned to Nice “for ever,” as they

said; but this didn’t prevent their squeezing, one rainy muggy May night,

into a second-class railway-carriage—you could never tell by which class

they would travel—where Pemberton helped them to stow away a wonderful

collection of bundles and bags. The explanation of this manœuvre was

that they had determined to spend the summer “in some bracing place”; but

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