Then he told Clara all that had happened to him since the day they had parted, and how sorry he had been for all his past conduct, and he asked her who the gentleman was that had brought her into the garden.
“It is our uncle, dear Charles. You know our dear mother had a brother who lived in India that she used frequently to talk about. Well, when he came home, and heard that mother was dead, and we were in distress, he came to nurse’s cottage, and took me home to his house, and has now come to find you, for he is very good and kind, and loves us both for our dear mother’s sake.”
“And will he take me home too?” said Charles.
“Yes, my boy,” said Charles’s uncle, taking him by the hand, “because you are good and kind, and are no longer cross and proud, as I heard you used to be. You shall come home with me this very day, if you please, and I will teach you everything that a young gentleman should know, and you and Clara shall be my children so long as you continue to be deserving of my love, and are not unkind, nor despise those who are beneath you in situation.”
“Indeed, uncle,” said Charles, “I can now feel for the poor, and I would rather remain as I am than be rich if I thought I should ever behave as I used to do.”
“My dear child,” said his uncle, kissing him with great affection, “continue to think so, and you will never act amiss. The first and greatest step toward amendment is acknowledging our faults. What is passed shall be remembered no more, and I doubt not but that we shall all be happy for the time to come.”
“But uncle,” said Charles, laying his hand on his uncle’s arm, “I have something to ask of you.”
“Well, Charles, and what would you have of me?” said his uncle.
Then Charles led Giles to his uncle, and related all he had done for him; how he had taken him to his own home, and given him half of his food and his bed, and taught him to read and to work; he, likewise, told his uncle how ill he had behaved to Giles in depriving him of his pretty Snowball, and he said: “Dear uncle, will you allow Giles to share my good fortune, for I cannot be happy while he is in want, and he is better than me, for he returned good for evil.”
Then his uncle said: “Charles, I should not have loved you had you forgotten your kind friend.” And he asked Giles if he would like to go to his house and live with him, and spend his time in learning to read and write, and in improving his mind, instead of hard labor.
“I should like it very much indeed, sir,” said Giles, “but I cannot accept your kind offer.”
“And why not, my good little friend?”
“Because, sir,” said Giles, bursting into tears, “my poor mother and sisters must go to the workhouse or starve if I did not stay and work for them, and I could not be happy if I lived in a fine house, and knew they were in want of a bit of bread to eat.”
“Then,” said the gentleman smiling, “for your sake they shall never want anything, for I will put them into a cottage of my own, and will take care of them, and you shall live with me, and I will love you as if you were my own child, and remember, Giles, I do this as a reward for your kindness to Charles when he was unhappy and in great distress.”