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
"A definite proposal?"
"To make our relations regular, as it were - to put them on a
"I see - it's a system," said Pemberton. "A kind of organised
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,
"Why he'd be alone with YOU."
"And pray with whom SHOULD a child be but with those whom he loves
"If you think that, why don't you dismiss me?"
"Do you pretend he loves you more than he loves US?" cried Mrs.Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>