A costly residence, beautifully located and furnished in the most luxurious manner, was on the eve of being sold. Mrs. Belgrave purchased this house and installed herself as mistress thereof. Here she lived in isolation with her boy, receiving no callers and paying no visits. Being a devoted Catholic, she attended all the services of her church and reared Bernard in that faith.
For a time white and colored people speculated much as to who Mrs. Belgrave was, and as to what was the source of her revenue; for she was evidently a woman of wealth. She employed many servants and these were plied with thousands of questions by people of both races. But the life of Mrs. Belgrave was so circumspect, so far removed from anything suspicious, and her bearing was so evidently that of a woman of pure character and high ideals that speculation died out after a year or two, and the people gave up the finding out of her history as a thing impossible of achievement. With seemingly unlimited money at her command, all of Bernard’s needs were supplied and his lightest wishes gratified. Mrs. Belgrave was a woman with very superior education. The range of her reading was truly remarkable. She possessed the finest library ever seen in the northern section of Virginia, and all the best of the latest books were constantly arriving at her home. Magazines and newspapers arrived by every mail. Thus she was thoroughly abreast with the times.
As Bernard grew up, he learned to value associating with his mother above every other pleasure. She superintended his literary training and cultivated in him a yearning for literature of the highest and purest type. Politics, science, art, religion, sociology, and, in fact, the whole realm of human knowledge was invaded and explored. Such home training was an invaluable supplement to what Bernard received in school. When, therefore, he entered Harvard, he at once moved to the front rank in every particular. Many white young men of wealth and high social standing, attracted by his brilliancy, drew near him and became his fast friends. In his graduating year, he was so popular as to be elected president of his class, and so scholarly as to be made valedictorian.
These achievements on his part were so remarkable that the Associated Press telegraphed the news over the country, and many were the laudatory notices that he received. The night of his graduation, when he had finished delivering his oration that swept all before it as does the whirlwind and the hurricane, as he stepped out of the door to take his carriage for home, a tall man with a broad face and long flowing beard stepped up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.
Bernard turned and the man handed him a note. Tearing the envelope open he saw in his mother’s well known handwriting the following:
“Follow this man and
trust him as you would your loving