when she lowered her voice to sigh, tapping her left side

familiarly, "And all overclouded by THIS, you know; all at the

mercy of a weakness - !" Pemberton gathered that the weakness was

in the region of the heart. He had known the poor child was not

robust: this was the basis on which he had been invited to treat,

through an English lady, an Oxford acquaintance, then at Nice, who

happened to know both his needs and those of the amiable American

family looking out for something really superior in the way of a

resident tutor.

The young man's impression of his prospective pupil, who had come

into the room as if to see for himself the moment Pemberton was

admitted, was not quite the soft solicitation the visitor had taken

for granted. Morgan Moreen was somehow sickly without being

"delicate," and that he looked intelligent - it is true Pemberton

wouldn't have enjoyed his being stupid - only added to the

suggestion that, as with his big mouth and big ears he really

couldn't be called pretty, he might too utterly fail to please.

Pemberton was modest, was even timid; and the chance that his small

scholar might prove cleverer than himself had quite figured, to his

anxiety, among the dangers of an untried experiment. He reflected,

however, that these were risks one had to run when one accepted a

position, as it was called, in a private family; when as yet one's

university honours had, pecuniarily speaking, remained barren. At

any rate when Mrs. Moreen got up as to intimate that, since it was

understood he would enter upon his duties within the week she would

let him off now, he succeeded, in spite of the presence of the

child, in squeezing out a phrase about the rate of payment. It was

not the fault of the conscious smile which seemed a reference to

the lady's expensive identity, it was not the fault of this

demonstration, which had, in a sort, both vagueness and point, if

the allusion didn't sound rather vulgar. This was exactly because

she became still more gracious to reply: "Oh I can assure you that

all that will be quite regular."

Pemberton only wondered, while he took up his hat, what "all that"

was to amount to - people had such different ideas. Mrs. Moreen's

words, however, seemed to commit the family to a pledge definite

enough to elicit from the child a strange little comment in the

shape of the mocking foreign ejaculation "Oh la-la!"

Pemberton, in some confusion, glanced at him as he walked slowly to

the window with his back turned, his hands in his pockets and the

air in his elderly shoulders of a boy who didn't play. The young

man wondered if he should be able to teach him to play, though his

mother had said it would never do and that this was why school was

impossible. Mrs. Moreen exhibited no discomfiture; she only

continued blandly: "Mr. Moreen will be delighted to meet your

wishes. As I told you, he has been called to London for a week.

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