“How much should you have to give away?” she asked.
“Thirty or forty thousand pounds,” I said. “It depends on how much the farm costs.”
“Hadn’t you better keep a little, in case the farm fails?” she put in.
“It won’t fail,” I said. “How could it?”
“And you’d do all that just because you’ve—remembered me?”
“There was another influence,” I admitted.
“What was that?” she asked, with the sound of new interest in her voice.
“All this affair with the Jervaises,” I said. “It has made me hate the possession of money and the power money gives. That farm of ours is going to be a communal farm. Our workers shall have an interest in the profits. No one is to be the proprietor. We’ll all be one family—no scraping for favours, or fears of dismissal; we’ll all be equal and free.”
She did not answer that, at once; and I had an unpleasant feeling that she was testing my quality by some criterion of her own, weighing the genuineness of my emotion.
“Did you feel like this about things this afternoon?” she asked, after what seemed to me an immense interval.
I was determined to tell her nothing less than the truth. “No,” I confessed, “much of it was a result of what you said to me. I—I had an illumination. You made me see what a poor thing my life had been; how conventional, artificial, worthless, it was. What you said about my plays was so true. I had never realised it before—I hadn’t bothered to think about it.”
“I don’t remember saying anything about your plays,” she interrupted me.
“Oh! you did,” I assured her; “very little; nothing directly; but I knew what you felt, and when I came to think it over, I agreed with you.”
“I’ve only seen one,” she remarked.
“They’re all the same,” I assured her, becoming fervent in my humility.
“But why go to Canada?” she asked. “Why not try to write better plays?”
“Because I saw my whole life plainly, in the wood this afternoon,” was my reply. “I did not know what to do then. I couldn’t see any answer to my problem. But when you were speaking to me a minute ago, I realised the whole thing clearly. I understood what I wanted to do.
“It’s a form of conversion,” I concluded resolutely.
“I’m sure you mean it all—now,” she commented, as if she were speaking to herself.
“It isn’t a question of meaning anything,” I replied. “The experiences of this week-end have put the whole social question in a new light for me. I could never go back, now, to the old life. My conscience would always be reproaching me, if I did.”
“But if you’re rich, and feel like that, oughn’t you to shoulder your responsibilities?” she asked.
“Do something? Wouldn’t it be rather like running away to give your money to the hospitals and go to Canada to work on a farm?”
“That’s my present impulse,” I said. “And I mean to follow it. I don’t know that I shall want to stay in Canada for the rest of my life. I may see further developments after I’ve been there for a few years. But...”