The poor young man hesitated and procrastinated: it cost him such an effort to broach the subject of
terms, to speak of money to a person who spoke only of feelings and, as it were, of the aristocracy. Yet
he was unwilling to take leave, treating his engagement as settled, without some more conventional
glance in that direction than he could find an opening for in the manner of the large affable lady who sat
there drawing a pair of soiled gants de Suede 1 through a fat jewelled hand and, at once pressing and
gliding, repeated over and over everything but the thing he would have liked to hear. He would have
liked to hear the figure of his salary; but just as he was nervously about to sound that note the little boy
came back - the little boy Mrs. Moreen had sent out of the room to fetch her fan. He came back without
the fan, only with the casual observation that he couldn't find it. As he dropped this cynical confession
he looked straight and hard at the candidate for the honour of taking his education in hand. This
personage reflected somewhat grimly that the thing he should have to teach his little charge would be
to appear to address himself to his mother when he spoke to her - especially not to make her such an
improper answer as that.
When Mrs. Moreen bethought herself of this pretext for getting rid of their companion, Pemberton
supposed it was precisely to approach the delicate subject of his remuneration. But it had been only to
say some things about her son that it was better a boy of eleven shouldn't catch. They were
extravagantly to his advantage save 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, as soon as 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
1. suede gloves
James, Henry. The Pupil. Ed. David Price. Fullbooks.com, n.d.. Web. 20 March 2016.
The word "barren" (line 34) can BEST be understood to mean