by Morgan's suddenly leaning his arms on the table, burying his
head in them and bursting into tears: at which Pemberton was the
more startled that, as it then came over him, it was the first time
he had ever seen the boy cry and that the impression was
consequently quite awful.
The next day, after much thought, he took a decision and, believing
it to be just, immediately acted on it. He cornered Mr. and Mrs.
Moreen again and let them know that if on the spot they didn't pay
him all they owed him he wouldn't only leave their house but would
tell Morgan exactly what had brought him to it.
"Oh you HAVEN'T told him?" cried Mrs. Moreen with a pacifying hand
on her well-dressed bosom.
"Without warning you? For what do you take me?" the young man
Mr. and Mrs. Moreen looked at each other; he could see that they
appreciated, as tending to their security, his superstition of
delicacy, and yet that there was a certain alarm in their relief.
"My dear fellow," Mr. Moreen demanded, "what use can you have,
leading the quiet life we all do, for such a lot of money?" - a
question to which Pemberton made no answer, occupied as he was in
noting that what passed in the mind of his patrons was something
like: "Oh then, if we've felt that the child, dear little angel,
has judged us and how he regards us, and we haven't been betrayed,
he must have guessed - and in short it's GENERAL!" an inference
that rather stirred up Mr. and Mrs. Moreen, as Pemberton had
desired it should. At the same time, if he had supposed his threat
would do something towards bringing them round, he was disappointed
to find them taking for granted - how vulgar their perception HAD
been! - that he had already given them away. There was a mystic
uneasiness in their parental breasts, and that had been the
inferior sense of it. None the less however, his threat did touch
them; for if they had escaped it was only to meet a new danger.
Mr. Moreen appealed to him, on every precedent, as a man of the
world; but his wife had recourse, for the first time since his
domestication with them, to a fine hauteur, reminding him that a
devoted mother, with her child, had arts that protected her against
"I should misrepresent you grossly if I accused you of common
honesty!" our friend replied; but as he closed the door behind him
sharply, thinking he had not done himself much good, while Mr.
Moreen lighted another cigarette, he heard his hostess shout after
him more touchingly
"Oh you do, you DO, put the knife to one's throat!"
The next morning, very early, she came to his room. He recognised
her knock, but had no hope she brought him money; as to which he
was wrong, for she had fifty francs in her hand. She squeezed
forward in her dressing-gown, and he received her in his own,
between his bath-tub and his bed. He had been tolerably schooled
by this time to the "foreign ways" of his hosts. Mrs. Moreen wasDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>