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Two Boys
by [?]

“But my father–you know him, don’t you?–he’s disappointed about it. He’d like me to bring home prizes or cups. I don’t think he’d mind what it was, so long as he could be proud about it. Of course he never says anything: but a fellow gets to know.”

“I daresay you’re right,” I said. “But what has this to do with insuring yourself for twenty thousand pounds?”

“Well, you see, I’m to go into the Bank some day: and I expect my father thinks I shall be just as big a duffer at that. I know he does. But I’m not, if he’d only trust me a bit. So now if we were to smash up–collide, go off the rails, run over a bridge, or something of that sort–just think how he’d feel when he found out I’d cleared twenty thousand by it!”

“So that’s what you were picturing to yourself?”

He nodded. “That, and the smash, and all. I kept saying, ‘Now–if it comes this moment?’ And I wondered a little how it would take you suddenly: whether you’d start up or fall forward–and if you would say anything.”

“You are a cheerful companion!”

He grinned politely. “And afterwards–just before the train stopped I had a splendid idea. I began making my will. You see, I know something about investments. I read about them every day.”

“In the Boy’s Own Paper?”

“We take in the Standard in our school library, and I have it all to myself unless there’s a war on. I’ve heard my father say often that it’s a very reliable paper, and so it is, for I’ve tried it for two years now. So if I left a will telling just how the twenty thousand ought to be invested, it would open my father’s eyes more than ever.”

“My dear sir,” said I, “don’t be in a hurry. Serve out your time among the barbarians at school, and I’ll promise you in time your father’s respectful astonishment.”

These were my two boys; and you may wonder why I always think of them together. I do, though: and, what is more, I find that together they help to explain to me my country’s greatness.