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 manoeuvre
was that they had determined to spend the summer "in some bracing
place"; but in Paris they dropped into a small furnished apartment
- a fourth floor in a third-rate avenue, where there was a smell on
the staircase and the portier was hateful - and passed the next
four months in blank indigence.
The better part of this baffled sojourn was for the preceptor and
his pupil, who, visiting the Invalides and Notre Dame, the
Conciergerie and all the museums, took a hundred remunerative
rambles. They learned to know their Paris, which was useful, for
they came back another year for a longer stay, the general
character of which in Pemberton's memory to-day mixes pitiably and
confusedly with that of the first. He sees Morgan's shabby
knickerbockers - the everlasting pair that didn't match his blouse
and that as he grew longer could only grow faded. He remembers the
particular holes in his three or four pair of coloured stockings.
Morgan was dear to his mother, but he never was better dressed than
was absolutely necessary - partly, no doubt, by his own fault, for
he was as indifferent to his appearance as a German philosopher.
"My dear fellow, you ARE coming to pieces," Pemberton would say to
him in sceptical remonstrance; to which the child would reply,
looking at him serenely up and down: "My dear fellow, so are you!
I don't want to cast you in the shade." Pemberton could have no
rejoinder for this - the assertion so closely represented the fact.
If however the deficiencies of his own wardrobe were a chapter by
themselves he didn't like his little charge to look too poor.
Later he used to say "Well, if we're poor, why, after all,
shouldn't we look it?" and he consoled himself with thinking there
was something rather elderly and gentlemanly in Morgan's disrepair
- it differed from the untidiness of the urchin who plays and
spoils his things. He could trace perfectly the degrees by which,
in proportion as her little son confined himself to his tutor for
society, Mrs. Moreen shrewdly forbore to renew his garments. She
did nothing that didn't show, neglected him because he escaped
notice, and then, as he illustrated this clever policy, discouraged
at home his public appearances. Her position was logical enough -
those members of her family who did show had to be showy.
During this period and several others Pemberton was quite aware of
how he and his comrade might strike people; wandering languidly
through the Jardin des Plantes as if they had nowhere to go,
sitting on the winter days in the galleries of the Louvre, so
splendidly ironical to the homeless, as if for the advantage of the
calorifere. They joked about it sometimes: it was the sort ofDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>