out of touch with the family for some time, so I had not an opportunity of seeing him yet.
Mama told me what a wonderful boy Adam had been how he had bought and sold a bicycle at a profit of ten shil lings before he was thirteen; how a year later he got interes ted in business, and without any special training went into Mr McKeller's office; how now, at twenty-seven, he was considered a reliable official by most of the businessmen he dealt with and earned four hundred pounds a year, even more than Papa.
At one o’clock on Saturday a car pulled up at the door.
Adam entered, smiling, wearing a fashionable coat, and greeted everybody cheerfully.
He sat down to the rich meal which Mama had put before him. We all sat round and, exchanging hungry looks, wat ched him — we had had our poor dinner an hour ago...
After Adam had spoken to the grown-ups about things which I did not understand and therefore took no interest in, he turned to me and said:
“I hope you’ll see me to the station, Robert, I like the way you behave and want to make you a little present.”
He showed me a gold coin (монета).
“Money ... Money is everything," he continued.
“Not a bad idea to understand it while you’re young, Robert. But you mustn’t think I don’t like spending money. I like to eat the best, to wear the best, to stop at the best hotels. I like to have everybody running after me. And now look at Grandpa. What's his position! Not a penny ... lives mostly on bread and water ..."
He stopped and smiled so pleasantly that I smiled in return...
Waiting for him downstairs, I thought of the day when, with pockets full of money, I should walk into a restaurant and order an expensive meal, while the waiters hurried to carry out my orders. I looked forward to receiving the pre sent Adam would buy me with that beautiful gold coin.
“Will you carry my bag?" Adam asked me as Mama helped him to put on his coat.
I was ready to serve him and took the bag, which was much heavier than I had expected. Adam walked fast. I fol lowed him half running, changing the bag from hand to hand.
“What sort of present would you like?"
“Anything will do, Adam," I said politely.
“No, no. It must be something you’d really like."