had once found Mr. Moreen shaving in the drawing-room), their

French, their Italian and, cropping up in the foreign fluencies,

their cold tough slices of American. They lived on macaroni and

coffee - they had these articles prepared in perfection - but they

knew recipes for a hundred other dishes. They overflowed with

music and song, were always humming and catching each other up, and

had a sort of professional acquaintance with Continental cities.

They talked of "good places" as if they had been pickpockets or

strolling players. They had at Nice a villa, a carriage, a piano

and a banjo, and they went to official parties. They were a

perfect calendar of the "days" of their friends, which Pemberton

knew them, when they were indisposed, to get out of bed to go to,

and which made the week larger than life when Mrs. Moreen talked of

them with Paula and Amy. Their initiations gave their new inmate

at first an almost dazzling sense of culture. Mrs. Moreen had

translated something at some former period - an author whom it made

Pemberton feel borne never to have heard of. They could imitate

Venetian and sing Neapolitan, and when they wanted to say something

very particular communicated with each other in an ingenious

dialect of their own, an elastic spoken cipher which Pemberton at

first took for some patois of one of their countries, but which he

"caught on to" as he would not have grasped provincial development

of Spanish or German.

"It's the family language - Ultramoreen," Morgan explained to him

drolly enough; but the boy rarely condescended to use it himself,

though he dealt in colloquial Latin as if he had been a little


Among all the "days" with which Mrs. Moreen's memory was taxed she

managed to squeeze in one of her own, which her friends sometimes

forgot. But the house drew a frequented air from the number of

fine people who were freely named there and from several mysterious

men with foreign titles and English clothes whom Morgan called the

princes and who, on sofas with the girls, talked French very loud -

though sometimes with some oddity of accent - as if to show they

were saying nothing improper. Pemberton wondered how the princes

could ever propose in that tone and so publicly: he took for

granted cynically that this was what was desired of them. Then he

recognised that even for the chance of such an advantage Mrs.

Moreen would never allow Paula and Amy to receive alone. These

young ladies were not at all timid, but it was just the safeguards

that made them so candidly free. It was a houseful of Bohemians

who wanted tremendously to be Philistines.

In one respect, however, certainly they achieved no rigour - they

were wonderfully amiable and ecstatic about Morgan. It was a

genuine tenderness, an artless admiration, equally strong in each.

They even praised his beauty, which was small, and were as afraid

of him as if they felt him of finer clay. They spoke of him as a

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