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Chapter XII.

So far I had had more good fortune than falls to the lot of most youths starting in life; now I was to taste ill-luck and be tried as with fire. I had been so taken up with my own concerns that I had hardly given a thought to public affairs; now I was forced to take a wider view.

One day Kate told me that Willie was heavily in arrears: he had gone back to Deacon Conkling's to live on the other side of the Kaw River and I had naturally supposed that he had paid up everything before leaving. Now I found that he owed the Gregorys sixty dollars on his own account and more than that on mine.

I went across to him really enraged. If he had warned me, I should not have minded so much; but to leave the Gregorys to tell me, made me positively dislike him and I did not know then the full extent of his selfishness. Years later my sister told me that he had written time and again to my father and got money from him, alleging that it was for me and that I was studying and couldn't earn anything: "Willie kept us poor, Frank", she said, and I could only bow my head; but if I had known this fact at the time, it would have changed all my relations with Willie.