and Pemberton knew exactly how he felt at hearing himself called a

little nestling. He admitted that he had had one or two bad days,

but he protested afresh against the wrong of his mother's having

made them the ground of an appeal to poor Pemberton. Poor

Pemberton could laugh now, apart from the comicality of Mrs.

Moreen's mustering so much philosophy for her defence - she seemed

to shake it out of her agitated petticoats, which knocked over the

light gilt chairs - so little did their young companion, MARKED,

unmistakeably marked at the best, strike him as qualified to

repudiate any advantage.

He himself was in for it at any rate. He should have Morgan on his

hands again indefinitely; though indeed he saw the lad had a

private theory to produce which would be intended to smooth this

down. He was obliged to him for it in advance; but the suggested

amendment didn't keep his heart rather from sinking, any more than

it prevented him from accepting the prospect on the spot, with some

confidence moreover that he should do so even better if he could

have a little supper. Mrs. Moreen threw out more hints about the

changes that were to be looked for, but she was such a mixture of

smiles and shudders - she confessed she was very nervous - that he

couldn't tell if she were in high feather or only in hysterics. If

the family was really at last going to pieces why shouldn't she

recognise the necessity of pitching Morgan into some sort of

lifeboat? This presumption was fostered by the fact that they were

established in luxurious quarters in the capital of pleasure; that

was exactly where they naturally WOULD be established in view of

going to pieces. Moreover didn't she mention that Mr. Moreen and

the others were enjoying themselves at the opera with Mr. Granger,

and wasn't THAT also precisely where one would look for them on the

eve of a smash? Pemberton gathered that Mr. Granger was a rich

vacant American - a big bill with a flourishy heading and no items;

so that one of Paula's "ideas" was probably that this time she

hadn't missed fire - by which straight shot indeed she would have

shattered the general cohesion. And if the cohesion was to crumble

what would become of poor Pemberton? He felt quite enough bound up

with them to figure to his alarm as a dislodged block in the

edifice.

It was Morgan who eventually asked if no supper had been ordered

for him; sitting with him below, later, at the dim delayed meal, in

the presence of a great deal of corded green plush, a plate of

ornamental biscuit and an aloofness marked on the part of the

waiter. Mrs. Moreen had explained that they had been obliged to

secure a room for the visitor out of the house; and Morgan's

consolation - he offered it while Pemberton reflected on the

nastiness of lukewarm sauces - proved to be, largely, that his

circumstance would facilitate their escape. He talked of their

escape - recurring to it often afterwards - as if they were making

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