No, I don’t.
Why, it’s simple enough!
Yes, the facts are, but I don’t understand—an income, a home. Why, I never dreamed of such a thing!
And why not, my boy, why not? We haven’t seen enough of each other, Richard. Perhaps I have been at fault there, not to show more clearly the interest I have always taken in you. Yes, indeed, a warm interest, Richard!
Why not, Uncle Richard? Three years ago you might have asked me that question. Now I ask you why?
Why? How strange! How could that question arise between a man and his own nephew?
Three years ago, before Aunt Ethel died, I spent Thanksgiving with you. It was during the recess, my second year at Harvard. I came here practically from my mother’s funeral. I had just learned the truth about our affairs—not a thing of ours really ours, not a penny left. How mother had kept the truth from me, I don’t know. But suddenly everything changed. The ground I had been standing on gave way—my hands grasped everywhere for support. I had never lacked, never thought about money either way. I took it for granted that families like ours were provided with a decent living by some law of Providence.... I came here. I thought of course you would help me. I didn’t think so consciously—I turned to you and Aunt Ethel from blind instinct.
We spent Thanksgiving together. It was very quiet, very sad. You both talked about mother and the old days. At breakfast the next morning you wished me good luck and went off to your office. Afterward Aunt Ethel and I talked in the living room while I waited for the train. She seemed ill at ease. She alluded to your affairs once or twice, saying that you were quite embarrassed by the state of politics, and how sad it was that people couldn’t do all they wanted to in this world for others.
Uncle Richard, when Joseph came with the carriage, Aunt Ethel kissed me, cried, and gave me—a twenty dollar bill. Good God! and I thanked her for it. Twenty dollars—carfare and a week’s board! I left the house completely dazed: it seemed like a bad dream....
There, there, Richard! We never imagined for a moment. I thought your college course all provided for—and your Aunt Ethel never understood business. She doubtless exaggerated my difficulty. If either of us had dreamed you were so worried! As if I should have grudged you money!