fact the importance of the character - from the advantage it gave
Mr. Moreen. He was not even confused or embarrassed, whereas the
young man in his service was more so than there was any reason for.
Neither was he surprised - at least any more than a gentleman had
to be who freely confessed himself a little shocked - though not
perhaps strictly at Pemberton.
"We must go into this, mustn't we, dear?" he said to his wife. He
assured his young friend that the matter should have his very best
attention; and he melted into space as elusively as if, at the
door, he were taking an inevitable but deprecatory precedence.
When, the next moment, Pemberton found himself alone with Mrs.
Moreen it was to hear her say "I see, I see" - stroking the
roundness of her chin and looking as if she were only hesitating
between a dozen easy remedies. If they didn't make their push Mr.
Moreen could at least disappear for several days. During his
absence his wife took up the subject again spontaneously, but her
contribution to it was merely that she had thought all the while
they were getting on so beautifully. Pemberton's reply to this
revelation was that unless they immediately put down something on
account he would leave them on the spot and for ever. He knew she
would wonder how he would get away, and for a moment expected her
to enquire. She didn't, for which he was almost grateful to her,
so little was he in a position to tell.
"You won't, you KNOW you won't - you're too interested," she said.
"You are interested, you know you are, you dear kind man!" She
laughed with almost condemnatory archness, as if it were a reproach
- though she wouldn't insist; and flirted a soiled pocket-
handkerchief at him.
Pemberton's mind was fully made up to take his step the following
week. This would give him time to get an answer to a letter he had
despatched to England. If he did in the event nothing of the sort
- that is if he stayed another year and then went away only for
three months - it was not merely because before the answer to his
letter came (most unsatisfactory when it did arrive) Mr. Moreen
generously counted out to him, and again with the sacrifice to
"form" of a marked man of the world, three hundred francs in
elegant ringing gold. He was irritated to find that Mrs. Moreen
was right, that he couldn't at the pinch bear to leave the child.
This stood out clearer for the very reason that, the night of his
desperate appeal to his patrons, he had seen fully for the first
time where he was. Wasn't it another proof of the success with
which those patrons practised their arts that they had managed to
avert for so long the illuminating flash? It descended on our
friend with a breadth of effect which perhaps would have struck a
spectator as comical, after he had returned to his little servile
room, which looked into a close court where a bare dirty opposite
wall took, with the sound of shrill clatter, the reflexion ofDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>