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The Pupil

CHAPTER I

The poor young man hesitated and procrastinated: it cost him such

an effort to broach the subject of terms, to speak of money to a

person who spoke only of feelings and, as it were, of the

aristocracy. Yet he was unwilling to take leave, treating his

engagement as settled, without some more conventional glance in

that direction than he could find an opening for in the manner of

the large affable lady who sat there drawing a pair of soiled gants

de Suede through a fat jewelled hand and, at once pressing and

gliding, repeated over and over everything but the thing he would

have liked to hear. He would have liked to hear the figure of his

salary; but just as he was nervously about to sound that note the

little boy came back - the little boy Mrs. Moreen had sent out of

the room to fetch her fan. He came back without the fan, only with

the casual observation that he couldn't find it. As he dropped

this cynical confession he looked straight and hard at the

candidate for the honour of taking his education in hand. This

personage reflected somewhat grimly that the thing he should have

to teach his little charge would be to appear to address himself to

his mother when he spoke to her - especially not to make her such

an improper answer as that.

When Mrs. Moreen bethought herself of this pretext for getting rid

of their companion Pemberton supposed it was precisely to approach

the delicate subject of his remuneration. But it had been only to

say some things about her son that it was better a boy of eleven

shouldn't catch. They were extravagantly to his advantage save

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