My mother was alone when she received this letter; she read it again and again, and with each perusal her heart warmed toward the brother whom she had not seen for so many years. “But,” thought she, “whatever my own wishes may be in the matter, Walter must decide for himself. I should consult his feelings (as far as possible) upon a matter which concerns him so deeply.” When I came home that evening my mother gave me Uncle Nathan’s letter, and with silent amusement watched my face grow sober as I read it. She really knew this kind-hearted brother—I did not, and that made all the difference in the world. I suppose my grave countenance, as I perused the letter, informed my mother that a second Farmer Judson was rising before my mental vision. When I had finished, I looked up, and, with an anxious voice, said:
“Tell me, mother, is Uncle Nathan as gruff and crusty as his letter?”
“My son,” replied she, “your uncle’s manner may seem somewhat short and crusty to one not acquainted with him; but beneath this rough exterior, he has a very kind heart. I am well aware that he makes this offer with sincerity, and that he has your interest at heart. You certainly need more education to fit you for the duties of life, and now a way is open for you to obtain it. I can hardly bear the thought of your going so far from home, and yet I need not expect you always to remain under my own roof. It is my duty to submit to a temporary separation, if that separation is for your own interest. I will not advise you too strongly, for I consider you have a right to a voice in the matter as well as myself. Should you decide to go, where my advice and influence cannot reach you, I trust you will retain the good principles I have endeavoured to inculcate; you are my only son and should you allow yourself to be led into evil ways, it would be the heaviest trial I have ever known, and my sorrows have been neither few nor light.” I had such full confidence in the opinions of my mother, that I allowed her to write to uncle Nathan accepting, for me, his generous offer. Charley Gray was entirely cast down when he learned that I was to go so far away. “It’s too bad,” said he, “that they must send you away to an old Uncle, who very likely is cross as a bear, and that before the holidays are over; and then in the fall I’m to be sent off to school, nobody knows where, so I suppose we may as well call our good times ended.” As Charley said this his lip quivered and the un-shed tear glistened in his fine dark eyes. I was the only companion with whom he was intimate, and the swiftly coming separation grieved him deeply. I tried to cheer him up, but when any thing chanced to cross the wishes of Charley he was prone to look upon the dark side of every thing, and I fear there are many older and wiser than Charley Gray who yield to the same failing.