"Ah don't say that - it sounds as if I set you against them!"
"You do - the sight of you. It's all right; you know what I mean.
I shall be beautiful. I'll take their affairs in hand; I'll marry
"You'll marry yourself!" joked Pemberton; as high, rather tense
pleasantry would evidently be the right, or the safest, tone for
It was, however, not purely in this strain that Morgan suddenly
asked: "But I say - how will you get to your jolly job? You'll
have to telegraph to the opulent youth for money to come on."
Pemberton bethought himself. "They won't like that, will they?"
"Oh look out for them!"
Then Pemberton brought out his remedy. "I'll go to the American
Consul; I'll borrow some money of him - just for the few days, on
the strength of the telegram."
Morgan was hilarious. "Show him the telegram - then collar the
money and stay!"
Pemberton entered into the joke sufficiently to reply that for
Morgan he was really capable of that; but the boy, growing more
serious, and to prove he hadn't meant what he said, not only
hurried him off to the Consulate - since he was to start that
evening, as he had wired to his friend - but made sure of their
affair by going with him. They splashed through the tortuous
perforations and over the humpbacked bridges, and they passed
through the Piazza, where they saw Mr. Moreen and Ulick go into a
jeweller's shop. The Consul proved accommodating - Pemberton said
it wasn't the letter, but Morgan's grand air - and on their way
back they went into Saint Mark's for a hushed ten minutes. Later
they took up and kept up the fun of it to the very end; and it
seemed to Pemberton a part of that fun that Mrs. Moreen, who was
very angry when he had announced her his intention, should charge
him, grotesquely and vulgarly and in reference to the loan she had
vainly endeavoured to effect, with bolting lest they should "get
something out" of him. On the other hand he had to do Mr. Moreen
and Ulick the justice to recognise that when on coming in they
heard the cruel news they took it like perfect men of the world.
When he got at work with the opulent youth, who was to be taken in
hand for Balliol, he found himself unable to say if this aspirant
had really such poor parts or if the appearance were only begotten
of his own long association with an intensely living little mind.
From Morgan he heard half a dozen times: the boy wrote charming
young letters, a patchwork of tongues, with indulgent postscripts
in the family Volapuk and, in little squares and rounds and
crannies of the text, the drollest illustrations - letters that he
was divided between the impulse to show his present charge as a
vain, a wasted incentive, and the sense of something in them that
publicity would profane. The opulent youth went up in due course
and failed to pass; but it seemed to add to the presumption thatDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>