them it wouldn't be to lend them to HER - as to which he
consciously did himself injustice, knowing that if he had them he
would certainly put them at her disposal. He accused himself, at
bottom and not unveraciously, of a fantastic, a demoralised
sympathy with her. If misery made strange bedfellows it also made
strange sympathies. It was moreover a part of the abasement of
living with such people that one had to make vulgar retorts, quite
out of one's own tradition of good manners. "Morgan, Morgan, to
what pass have I come for you?" he groaned while Mrs. Moreen
floated voluminously down the sala again to liberate the boy,
wailing as she went that everything was too odious.
Before their young friend was liberated there came a thump at the
door communicating with the staircase, followed by the apparition
of a dripping youth who poked in his head. Pemberton recognised
him as the bearer of a telegram and recognised the telegram as
addressed to himself. Morgan came back as, after glancing at the
signature - that of a relative in London - he was reading the
words: "Found a jolly job for you, engagement to coach opulent
youth on own terms. Come at once." The answer happily was paid
and the messenger waited. Morgan, who had drawn near, waited too
and looked hard at Pemberton; and Pemberton, after a moment, having
met his look, handed him the telegram. It was really by wise looks
- they knew each other so well now - that, while the telegraph-boy,
in his waterproof cape, made a great puddle on the floor, the thing
was settled between them. Pemberton wrote the answer with a pencil
against the frescoed wall, and the messenger departed. When he had
gone the young man explained himself.
"I'll make a tremendous charge; I'll earn a lot of money in a short
time, and we'll live on it."
"Well, I hope the opulent youth will be a dismal dunce - he
probably will - " Morgan parenthesised - "and keep you a long time
a-hammering of it in."
"Of course the longer he keeps me the more we shall have for our
"But suppose THEY don't pay you!" Morgan awfully suggested.
"Oh there are not two such - !" But Pemberton pulled up; he had
been on the point of using too invidious a term. Instead of this
he said "Two such fatalities."
Morgan flushed - the tears came to his eyes. "Dites toujours two
such rascally crews!" Then in a different tone he added: "Happy
"Not if he's a dismal dunce."
"Oh they're happier then. But you can't have everything, can you?"
the boy smiled.
Pemberton held him fast, hands on his shoulders - he had never
loved him so. "What will become of you, what will you do?" He
thought of Mrs. Moreen, desperate for sixty francs.
"I shall become an homme fait." And then as if he recognised all
the bearings of Pemberton's allusion: "I shall get on with them
better when you're not here."Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>