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

certain repulsion.

"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,

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