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reaching up. Labor has a long way to climb to reach you, but it wants to reach you. Perhaps it doesn't know it, but it does. As long as a height remains to be climbed to, man will try to climb ... Class exists. The employer class and the employed. So long as one man can boss another; so long as one man can say to another, 'Do this or do that,' there will be conflict. Everybody, whether he knows it or not, wants to be his own boss, and by as much as he is bossed he is galled ... It can never be otherwise..."

"You knew from the beginning I would fail," said Bonbright.

"You haven't failed, my boy. You've done a fine thing; but you haven't solved a problem that has no solution ... You are upset by it now, but after a while you'll see it and the disappointment will go. But you haven't failed ... I don't believe you will ever understand all you have accomplished."

But Bonbright was unhappy, and he carried his unhappiness to his wife. "It's all been futile," he said.

She was wiser than he. "No," she said, hotly, "it's been wonderful ... Nothing was ever more wonderful. I've told you how I've visited them and seen the new happiness--seen women happy who had never been happy before; seen comfort where there had been nothing but misery ... It's anything but futile, dear. You've done your best--and it was a splendid best ... If it doesn't do all you hoped, that's no sign of failure. I'm satisfied, dear."

"They want something I can't give them."

"Nobody can give it to them ... It's the way things are. I think I understand what the professor said. It's true. You've given all you can and done all you can. ... You'd have to be God and create a new world ... Don't you see?"

"I see ..." he said. "I see ..."

"And you won't be unhappy about it?"

He smiled. "I'm like the men, I guess. I want more than the world has to give me ... I don't blame them. They're right."

"Yes," she said, "they're right."

It was not many weeks after this that Bonbright sat, frightened and anxious, in the library--waiting. A nurse appeared in the door and motioned. She smiled, and a weight passed from his heart.

Bonbright followed into Ruth's room, pausing timidly at the door.

"Come in, come in, young man. I have the pleasure to announce the safe arrival of Bonbright Foote VIII."

Bonbright looked at Ruth, who smiled up at him and shook her head.

"Not Bonbright Foote VIII, doctor," said Bonbright, as he moved toward his wife and son. "Plain Bonbright Foote. There are no numerals in this family. Everyone who is born into it stands by himself ... I'll have no ancestors hanging around my boy's neck ..."

"I know it," Ruth whispered in his ear, "but I was a--a teeny bit-- afraid. He's OURS--but he's more than that. He's HIS OWN ... as God wants every man to be."

THE END


Youth Challenges - 62/62

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