The family ghosts had been dissatisfied with him. Well, they could go hang. Using his father as the working tool, they had sought to remake him according to their pattern. He would show them. There would be a row, but he was buoyed up for whatever might happen by what had just happened. ... The girl he loved had promised to marry him—and to-morrow. With a consciousness of that he was ready for anything.
He did not realize how strongly he was gripped by the teaching that had been his from his cradle; he did not realize how the Foote tradition was an integral part of him, as his arm or his skin. It would not be so easy to escape. Nor, perhaps, would his father be so ready to make concessions. He thought of that. But he banished it from his mind. When his father saw how determined he was the concessions would follow. They would have to follow. He did not ask himself what would happen if they did not follow.
Of course his father and mother would resent Ruth. Because Bonbright loved her so truly he was unable to see how anybody could resent her very much. He was blinded by young happiness. Optimism had been born in him in a twinkling, and set aside a knowledge of his parents and their habits of thought and life that should have warned him. He might have known that his father could have overlooked anything but this—the debasing of the Foote blood by mingling with it a plebeian, boarding-house strain; he might have comprehended that his mother, Mrs. Bonbright Foote VI, no less, could have excused crime, could have winked at depravity, but could never tolerate a daughter-in-law of such origin; would never acknowledge or receive her.
As a last resort, to save Bonbright Foote, Incorporated, his father might even submit to Bonbright’s wife; his mother did not bow so low before that god; her particular deity was a social deity. If Bonbright’s argosy did not wreck against the reef of his father, it never could weather the hidden rock of his mother’s class consciousness.
Bonbright went along, whistling boyishly. He was worried, but not so worried but that he could find room also to be very happy. Everything would come out all right. ... Young folks are prone to trust implicitly to the goodness of the future. The future will take care of troubles, will solve difficulties, will always bring around a happy ending. He was not old enough or experienced enough to know that the future bothers with nobody’s desires, but goes on turning out each day’s work with calm detachment, continues to move its endless film of tomorrow’s events to the edge of its kingdom and to give them life on the screen of to-day. It does not change or retouch the film, but gives it to to-day as it is, relentlessly, without pity and without satisfaction.
Bonbright saw the future as a benignant soul; he did not realize it is a nonsentient machine.