Practical & business
Practical, sensible, business like, highly respected and undisputed characters can learn sometimes about life from twelve year olds, or maybe they are only reminded of other important things in life than what they came to consider important. The story introduces us to Uncle Henry, as to one of those men. Uncle Henry, who was the manager of a sawing mill and took his nephew, Luke Baldwin, to his house, after his father’s death, is presented as a man everyone advised little Luke to try being like. His father, before his death and his aunt, Uncle Henry’s wife, suggest the little boy it would be wise for him to step in his Uncle’s shoes.
The storyteller describes Uncle Henry as a big, powerful and yet with a weak health man. The man imposes respect and his words are never contested by his employees or by his wife. They seem to know he is the wisest of them and he will always know to make the best decision. Everybody seems comfortable having Uncle Henry to take decisions and be in charge of everything. On one hand we are presented a very rational man, who is always practical and sensible, a good manager who can weigh the importance of a thing by its usefulness and always gets rid of something when this has no use anymore.
Uncle Henry buys his nephew good clothing and a good bike because he knows a good bike will help him to get to school every day and good cloths are important. There is nothing Uncle Henry does out of sentimentalism. He takes decisions around his house and sawmill based on his ability to evaluate everything and everyone after their practicality. That is why one day he decides to get rid of the eleven year old almost blind dog because he was of no use anymore. They could not use it as a watchdog or as a hunting dog.
Because he cannot see the purpose of keeping the dog anymore, he comes to the decision to replace it with a puppy. His nephew, Luke is not happy about it at all and he will do anything in his power to save the poor old soul, even by putting up with his uncle and fighting him with his own instruments: burgeoning for it, offering money in exchange. Eventually, Uncle Henry proves to have a heart and gives up, impressed by the boy’s stubbornness, intelligence and loyalty, maybe seeing himself in the little fellow, when he was twelve years old.
Callaghan, Morley. Luke Baldwin’s Vow.