A job. Collecting and delivering laundry. That’s how I finished at college. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but at first that work hurt me like a knife. I couldn’t see any relation between that and my ambition for art. But it wore off. I grew tougher, I learned the real meaning of things. And now I am glad it happened.
Admirable, admirable! Really, Richard, I am more than ever convinced that I have decided rightly. Richard, you must make this your home!
Are you still talking about my duty?
Richard, a man begins by working for himself alone, then he works for the woman he marries, but even that is not enough. One by one I have seen every motive that ever impelled or guided me grow insufficient and have to be replaced. Ambition and love, once satisfied, point forward. We must always have a future before us, Richard, unless we are willing to become machines of habit. At one point or another most men do become machines. Thank heaven, I never could. In these last few months I have begun to realize.... It was your Aunt Ethel’s tragedy that she had no children. I wonder now whether it is not even more my own.
Richard, I have made you my heir.
My heir. And that is why, Richard—of course you could not realize it at the time—that is why I allowed myself to use the word “duty” as having reference to the future if not to the past.
For the future, Richard, is ours to enjoy, without misunderstanding, without disharmony, I at the end of my labours, you at the beginning of yours. You have revealed qualities I confess I had not suspected, qualities fitting you for responsibility and administration. With the position you will henceforth occupy, Richard, you should enter public life. Nothing more honorable for a responsible citizen.... Nothing more essential to the welfare of our beloved republic at its present critical state. We need the English tradition over here, Richard—solid, responsible men to administer public affairs. I have often felt the need of an efficient aristocracy in our social and industrial life. And nothing would please me more than to see you rise to authority by the leverage of my wealth. Nothing would please me more—why, Richard, I should consider it the prolongation of my own life!
No. No you don’t, Uncle Richard. Never!