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Ashburn VA US [X]

Letters of a Lifetime (1912)

Drama | Short

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The wealthy old bachelor returned to his home after a visit to his club, and found waiting him news that his time on earth was pitifully brief. He had money to pay for the best of medical attention, but doctors could not save him. For the first time it struck the old millionaire that no man or woman would care whether he lived or died. Essentially selfish, he had never made friends. From his safe he took a package of letters and legal papers. As a boy he and his brother had loved the same young woman. The boy was the favored suitor, and although not engaged, he confidently expected to wed the girl some day. Then a letter arrived from a lawyer. It informed the brothers of the death of their uncle, a recluse and woman hater. He left all his large fortune to them, conditional upon their remaining bachelors. The old man who now sat musing, had accepted the condition. His brother refused them. The elder boy with the money that had so strangely come to him, lived a happy, careless, heartless life. Another letter told how the brother had achieved the ambition of his younger days and won the woman he loved. Other notes told of poverty and sufferings and unsuccessful appeals for aid to his rich relative. Sickness and want, that might have been warded off by money, cost the life of one of his children, and he bitterly blamed his wealthy brother. The millionaire mused over these things, and wondered what good his money was after all. Even his relatives were estranged from him, and in his time of affliction he could not appeal to them. While he sat there dreaming over the past, a servant brought him a letter from his brother that had just arrived. In it the writer told of hearing of his brother's illness, and offered to welcome him at his "humble but happy little home." For the poor brother had triumphed over the sorrow of years, and although far from wealthy, he was content, as his declining days were made comfortable by his children and grandchildren. Then he shuddered, for his doctors had only given him a month to live.
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