on Pemberton's looking as if he expected a farewell from him,
interposed with: "Leave him, leave him; he's so strange!"
Pemberton supposed her to fear something he might say. "He's a
genius - you'll love him," she added. "He's much the most
interesting person in the family." And before he could invent some
civility to oppose to this she wound up with: "But we're all good,
"He's a genius - you'll love him!" were words that recurred to our
aspirant before the Friday, suggesting among many things that
geniuses were not invariably loveable. However, it was all the
better if there was an element that would make tutorship absorbing:
he had perhaps taken too much for granted it would only disgust
him. As he left the villa after his interview he looked up at the
balcony and saw the child leaning over it. "We shall have great
larks!" he called up.
Morgan hung fire a moment and then gaily returned: "By the time
you come back I shall have thought of something witty!"
This made Pemberton say to himself "After all he's rather nice."
On the Friday he saw them all, as Mrs. Moreen had promised, for her
husband had come back and the girls and the other son were at home.
Mr. Moreen had a white moustache, a confiding manner and, in his
buttonhole, the ribbon of a foreign order - bestowed, as Pemberton
eventually learned, for services. For what services he never
clearly ascertained: this was a point - one of a large number -
that Mr. Moreen's manner never confided. What it emphatically did
confide was that he was even more a man of the world than you might
first make out. Ulick, the firstborn, was in visible training for
the same profession - under the disadvantage as yet, however, of a
buttonhole but feebly floral and a moustache with no pretensions to
type. The girls had hair and figures and manners and small fat
feet, but had never been out alone. As for Mrs. Moreen Pemberton
saw on a nearer view that her elegance was intermittent and her
parts didn't always match. Her husband, as she had promised, met
with enthusiasm Pemberton's ideas in regard to a salary. The young
man had endeavoured to keep these stammerings modest, and Mr.
Moreen made it no secret that HE found them wanting in "style." He
further mentioned that he aspired to be intimate with his children,
to be their best friend, and that he was always looking out for
them. That was what he went off for, to London and other places -
to look out; and this vigilance was the theory of life, as well as
the real occupation, of the whole family. They all looked out, for
they were very frank on the subject of its being necessary. They
desired it to be understood that they were earnest people, and also
that their fortune, though quite adequate for earnest people,
required the most careful administration. Mr. Moreen, as the
parent bird, sought sustenance for the nest. Ulick invoked supportDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>