That a certain rest had come into Rutter’s soul could be seen in his face—a peace that had not settled on his features for years—but, if the truth must be told, he was far from happy. Somehow the joy he had anticipated at the boy’s home-coming had not been realized. With the warmth of Harry’s grasp still lingering in his own and the tones of his voice still sounding in his ears, try as he might, he yet felt aloof from him—outside—far off. Something had snapped in the years they had been apart—something he knew could never be repaired. Where there had once been boyish love there was now only filial regard. Down in his secret soul he felt it—down in his secret soul he knew it! Worse than that—another had replaced him! “Come, you dear old cripple!”—he could hear the voice and see the love and joy in the boy’s eyes as he shouted it out. Yes, St. George was his father now!
Then his mind reverted to his former treatment of his son and for the hundredth time he reviewed his side of the case. What else could he have done and still maintain the standards of his ancestors?—the universal question around Kennedy Square, when obligations of blood and training were to be considered. After all it had only been an object lesson; he had fully intended to forgive him later on. When Harry was a boy he punished him as boys were punished; when he became a man he punished him as men were punished. But for St. George the plan would long since have worked. St. George had balked him twice—once at the club and once at his home in Kennedy Square, when he practically ordered him from the house.
And yet he could not but admit—and at this he sat bolt upright in his seat—that even according to his own high standards both St. George and Harry had measured up to them! Rather than touch another penny of his uncle’s money Harry had become an exile; rather than accept a penny from his enemy, St. George had become a pauper. With this view of the case fermenting in his mind—and he had not realized the extent of both sacrifices until that moment—a feeling of pride swept through him. It was his boy and his friend, who had measured up!—by suffering, by bodily weakness—by privation—by starvation! And both had manfully and cheerfully stood the test! It was the blood of the DeRuyters which had put courage into the boy; it was the blood of the cavaliers that had made Temple the man he was. And that old DeRuyter blood! How it had told in every glance of his son’s eyes and every intonation of his voice! If he had not accumulated a fortune he would—and that before many years were gone. But!—and here a chill went through him. Would not this still further separate them, and if it did how could he restore in the shortest possible time the old dependence and the old confidence? His efforts so far had met with almost a rebuff, for Harry had shown no particular pleasure when he told him of his intention to put him in charge of the estate: he had watched his face closely for a sign of satisfaction, but none had come. He had really seemed more interested in getting St. George downstairs than in being the fourth heir of Moorlands —indeed, it was very evident that he had no thought for anybody or anything except St. George.