And yet the prospect seemed far from pleasing to me. It was the beginning of the end of our Utopia. Upon the threshold of the world Jerry was eager for that which I had scorned. Our paths would separate. The old relation would be no more.
I went home slowly and I think some sign of my weariness and perplexity must have been marked upon my features as I entered the hall where Jerry with sober countenance awaited me. There was nothing for it but to talk the thing out. I did not upbraid him nor he me. We understood each other too well for that.
Then followed the flood of eager questions from a mind topsy-turvy. I answered him slowly, deliberately, and gave him in some detail his father’s thesis on education, explaining how and why I happened to be in sympathy with it and pointing out by the results attained the wisdom of our plans.
“Results!” he cried. “What results? In what respect is my education better than another man’s? I know my Latin, and my Greek, my French, my German. I’m a good history scholar, and what you’ve taught me of philosophy,—the inside of books—all of it. But life, Roger,—you’ve starved me—starved me! If I were a babe in arms I couldn’t know less—”
“You’ll know life in time, Jerry, see it through a finer prism.”
“I want to see it as it is, in the raw, not beautiful when it is not beautiful. I want the truth—all the truth, Roger, the rough and the ugly where it is rough and ugly. You say you’ve made me a man, taught me to think fine thoughts, given me a good mind and a strong body, but all the while you were sheltering me, saving me—from what? What good are my mind and body if they aren’t strong enough to be put to the test of life and survive it?”
He was much agitated.
“I have no fear to put you to any test—today, tomorrow,” I said quietly.
“Then put me to it—out there.” With a wave of his arm he cried: “I must see for myself, think for myself.”
“You shall, Jerry, soon. Will you be patient a little while longer?”
He controlled himself with an effort and bent forward in his chair, bringing his head down into his hands.
“It’s hard. I feel like a coward, a coward—not taking my share—”