strain of stoicism, doubtless the fruit of having had to begin

early to bear pain, which counted for pluck and made it of less

consequence that he might have been thought at school rather a

polyglot little beast. Pemberton indeed quickly found himself

rejoicing that school was out of the question: in any million of

boys it was probably good for all but one, and Morgan was that

millionth. It would have made him comparative and superior - it

might have made him really require kicking. Pemberton would try to

be school himself - a bigger seminary than five hundred grazing

donkeys, so that, winning no prizes, the boy would remain

unconscious and irresponsible and amusing - amusing, because,

though life was already intense in his childish nature, freshness

still made there a strong draught for jokes. It turned out that

even in the still air of Morgan's various disabilities jokes

flourished greatly. He was a pale lean acute undeveloped little

cosmopolite, who liked intellectual gymnastics and who also, as

regards the behaviour of mankind, had noticed more things than you

might suppose, but who nevertheless had his proper playroom of

superstitions, where he smashed a dozen toys a day.


At Nice once, toward evening, as the pair rested in the open air

after a walk, and looked over the sea at the pink western lights,

he said suddenly to his comrade: "Do you like it, you know - being

with us all in this intimate way?"

"My dear fellow, why should I stay if I didn't?"

"How do I know you'll stay? I'm almost sure you won't, very long."

"I hope you don't mean to dismiss me," said Pemberton.

Morgan debated, looking at the sunset. "I think if I did right I

ought to."

"Well, I know I'm supposed to instruct you in virtue; but in that

case don't do right."

"'You're very young - fortunately," Morgan went on, turning to him


"Oh yes, compared with you!"

"Therefore it won't matter so much if you do lose a lot of time."

"That's the way to look at it," said Pemberton accommodatingly.

They were silent a minute; after which the boy asked: "Do you like

my father and my mother very much?"

"Dear me, yes. They're charming people."

Morgan received this with another silence; then unexpectedly,

familiarly, but at the same time affectionately, he remarked:

"You're a jolly old humbug!"

For a particular reason the words made our young man change colour.

The boy noticed in an instant that he had turned red, whereupon he

turned red himself and pupil and master exchanged a longish glance

in which there was a consciousness of many more things than are

usually touched upon, even tacitly, in such a relation. It

produced for Pemberton an embarrassment; it raised in a shadowy

form a question - this was the first glimpse of it - destined to

play a singular and, as he imagined, owing to the altogether

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