'To me you would never be either hindrance or shame; be quite sure of that. And as for father, I am all but certain that, if he became rich, he would be a very much kinder man, a better man in every way. It is poverty that has made him worse than he naturally is; it has that effect on almost everybody. Money does harm, too, sometimes; but never, I think, to people who have a good heart and a strong mind. Father is naturally a warm-hearted man; riches would bring out all the best in him. He would be generous again, which he has almost forgotten how to be among all his disappointments and battlings. Don't be afraid of that change, but hope for it.'
Mrs Yule gave a troublous sigh, and for a few minutes pondered anxiously.
'I wasn't thinking so much about myself' she said at length. 'It's the hindrance I should be to father. Just because of me, he mightn't be able to use his money as he'd wish. He'd always be feeling that if it wasn't for me things would be so much better for him and for you as well.'
'You must remember,' Marian replied, 'that at father's age people don't care to make such great changes. His home life, I feel sure, wouldn't be so very different from what it is now; he would prefer to use his money in starting a paper or magazine. I know that would be his first thought. If more acquaintances came to his house, what would that matter? It isn't as if he wished for fashionable society. They would be literary people, and why ever shouldn't you meet with them?'
'I've always been the reason why he couldn't have many friends.'
'That's a great mistake. If father ever said that, in his bad temper, he knew it wasn't the truth. The chief reason has always been his poverty. It costs money to entertain friends; time as well. Don't think in this anxious way, mother. If we are to be rich, it will be better for all of us.'
Marian had every reason for seeking to persuade herself that this was true. In her own heart there was a fear of how wealth might affect her father, but she could not bring herself to face the darker prospect. For her so much depended on that hope of a revival of generous feeling under sunny influences.
It was only after this conversation that she began to reflect on all the possible consequences of her uncle's death. As yet she had been too much disturbed to grasp as a reality the event to which she had often looked forward, though as to something still remote, and of quite uncertain results. Perhaps at this moment, though she could not know it, the course of her life had undergone the most important change. Perhaps there was no more need for her to labour upon this 'article' she was manufacturing.