Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/52

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know. He had been away from Belleville for a couple of days when my letter reached there. After reading it, he hesitated whether to write a reply or to make it in person, and advised first with my uncle and other relatives about it; the former authorizing him to offer me a home in his family. He decided finally to come, as he was afraid I might hesitate to accept. His strongest motive, however, was the solemn promise he had given to my mother, who had been a second mother to him, to make every effort to discover my whereabouts and to aid me in my upward struggles. This promise was not, indeed, his main motive in coming to this country a few months before. He had been wishing to go to America ever since he had finished his four years apprenticeship at Frankfort, believing that his prospects in life would be much better over here. He had visited my parents shortly before leaving Germany, and thus could give the latest news of them and of my sisters. It was such as to move me inexpressibly, and I promised to write home at the earliest possible moment, and open communication with my loved ones after the long interval of more than a year.

Robert then brought up the subject of my immediate future. He urged me to go at once with him to Belleville, assuring me that our relatives were ready to extend a kindly welcome to me. At first I could not look upon his proposal in the same light that he did. At last he appealed to me in the name of my mother, who certainly would not be relieved of her anxieties about me if I continued to lead the precarious life I had led for a year, instead of being under the care and guidance of my relatives. This argument prevailed with me, and we agreed to start together for St. Louis on the following evening. The next day I showed Robert the city. In the evening I took leave of my host and hostess, to whom I expressed my sincere gratitude. We travelled all night, and reached St. Louis the following noon.

We went directly to the house of a maternal aunt of