As soon as he comes back you shall have it out with him."
This was so frank and friendly that the young man could only reply,
laughing as his hostess laughed: "Oh I don't imagine we shall have
much of a battle."
"They'll give you anything you like," the boy remarked
unexpectedly, returning from the window. "We don't mind what
anything costs - we live awfully well."
"My darling, you're too quaint!" his mother exclaimed, putting out
to caress him a practised but ineffectual hand. He slipped out of
it, but looked with intelligent innocent eyes at Pemberton, who had
already had time to notice that from one moment to the other his
small satiric face seemed to change its time of life. At this
moment it was infantine, yet it appeared also to be under the
influence of curious intuitions and knowledges. Pemberton rather
disliked precocity and was disappointed to find gleams of it in a
disciple not yet in his teens. Nevertheless he divined on the spot
that Morgan wouldn't prove a bore. He would prove on the contrary
a source of agitation. This idea held the young man, in spite of a
"You pompous little person! We're not extravagant!" Mrs. Moreen
gaily protested, making another unsuccessful attempt to draw the
boy to her side. "You must know what to expect," she went on to
"The less you expect the better!" her companion interposed. "But
we ARE people of fashion."
"Only so far as YOU make us so!" Mrs. Moreen tenderly mocked.
"Well then, on Friday - don't tell me you're superstitious - and
mind you don't fail us. Then you'll see us all. I'm so sorry the
girls are out. I guess you'll like the girls. And, you know, I've
another son, quite different from this one."
"He tries to imitate me," Morgan said to their friend.
"He tries? Why he's twenty years old!" cried Mrs. Moreen.
"You're very witty," Pemberton remarked to the child - a
proposition his mother echoed with enthusiasm, declaring Morgan's
sallies to be the delight of the house.
The boy paid no heed to this; he only enquired abruptly of the
visitor, who was surprised afterwards that he hadn't struck him as
offensively forward: "Do you WANT very much to come?"
"Can you doubt it after such a description of what I shall hear?"
Pemberton replied. Yet he didn't want to come at all; he was
coming because he had to go somewhere, thanks to the collapse of
his fortune at the end of a year abroad spent on the system of
putting his scant patrimony into a single full wave of experience.
He had had his full wave but couldn't pay the score at his inn.
Moreover he had caught in the boy's eyes the glimpse of a far-off
"Well, I'll do the best I can for you," said Morgan; with which he
turned away again. He passed out of one of the long windows;
Pemberton saw him go and lean on the parapet of the terrace. He
remained there while the young man took leave of his mother, who,Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>