ardent, and when she was ardent she didn't care what she did; so

she now sat down on his bed, his clothes being on the chairs, and,

in her preoccupation, forgot, as she glanced round, to be ashamed

of giving him such a horrid room. What Mrs. Moreen's ardour now

bore upon was the design of persuading him that in the first place

she was very good-natured to bring him fifty francs, and that in

the second, if he would only see it, he was really too absurd to

expect to be paid. Wasn't he paid enough without perpetual money -

wasn't he paid by the comfortable luxurious home he enjoyed with

them all, without a care, an anxiety, a solitary want? Wasn't he

sure of his position, and wasn't that everything to a young man

like him, quite unknown, with singularly little to show, the ground

of whose exorbitant pretensions it had never been easy to discover?

Wasn't he paid above all by the sweet relation he had established

with Morgan - quite ideal as from master to pupil - and by the

simple privilege of knowing and living with so amazingly gifted a

child; than whom really (and she meant literally what she said)

there was no better company in Europe? Mrs. Moreen herself took to

appealing to him as a man of the world; she said "Voyons, mon

cher," and "My dear man, look here now"; and urged him to be

reasonable, putting it before him that it was truly a chance for

him. She spoke as if, according as he SHOULD be reasonable, he

would prove himself worthy to be her son's tutor and of the

extraordinary confidence they had placed in him.

After all, Pemberton reflected, it was only a difference of theory

and the theory didn't matter much. They had hitherto gone on that

of remunerated, as now they would go on that of gratuitous,

service; but why should they have so many words about it? Mrs.

Moreen at all events continued to be convincing; sitting there with

her fifty francs she talked and reiterated, as women reiterate, and

bored and irritated him, while he leaned against the wall with his

hands in the pockets of his wrapper, drawing it together round his

legs and looking over the head of his visitor at the grey negations

of his window. She wound up with saying: "You see I bring you a

definite proposal."

"A definite proposal?"

"To make our relations regular, as it were - to put them on a

comfortable footing."

"I see - it's a system," said Pemberton. "A kind of organised

blackmail."

Mrs. Moreen bounded up, which was exactly what he wanted. "What do

you mean by that?"

"You practise on one's fears - one's fears about the child if one

should go away."

"And pray what would happen to him in that event?" she demanded,

with majesty.

"Why he'd be alone with YOU."

"And pray with whom SHOULD a child be but with those whom he loves

most?"

"If you think that, why don't you dismiss me?"

"Do you pretend he loves you more than he loves US?" cried Mrs.

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