peculiar conditions, an unprecedented part in his intercourse with
his little companion. Later, when he found himself talking with
the youngster in a way in which few youngsters could ever have been
talked with, he thought of that clumsy moment on the bench at Nice
as the dawn of an understanding that had broadened. What had added
to the clumsiness then was that he thought it his duty to declare
to Morgan that he might abuse him, Pemberton, as much as he liked,
but must 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
"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
"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
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 preventDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>