Chapter 13 - Conclusion
The tramp wondered how he had gotten O' Sullivan's pocket watch. He dressed quickly and ran down the stairs. Daisy was already downstairs helping her mother.
"R'becca, R'becca!" shouted the tramp, frantically.
"Charlie, do sit down. Now, what's the trouble?"
"I 'afta do somethin'…"
"Where are you going?"
"I need t' go see Mrs O' Sullivan…May I 'ave th' mornin off?"
"Certainly…do you know Mrs O'Sullivan? Are you talking about the banking family?" She sounded confused.
"I'm no' sure…" The tramp put on his derby and took his bamboo cane. He straightened his tie and collar and brushed off his clothes. Then satisfied that he looked good, he headed for the door.
"Charlie….do you know where they live?"
"Yeah, I do…"
Daisy ran in to see her friend leaving…"Mama, can I go with Charlie?" Her mother nodded and smiled.
"Daisy, d' y' know anything' 'bout Mr O'Sullivan? Do y' know who 'e is?" asked the tramp, as they started walking.
"I had a strange dream about him. I don't know him, but I did in my dream. It was weird. You were him. And he was you… And he has a bad leg…."
"Int'restin', Daisy. Tha's th' same dream wha' I 'ad…"
The tramp and Daisy walked the few miles to the O'Sullivan mansion, on the outskirts of town. It was just as in the dream. They walked up the long driveway and knocked at the door.
Templeton answered the door. "Yes?" he said looking at the tramp disapprovingly.
"We come t' see Mrs O'Sullivan, Sir," said Charlie, tipping his hat politely.
"She is not home. Is that all?" said the butler, wanting to dismiss the tramp quickly and close the door.
"C'n we wait?" asked Charlie.
"Perhaps the Master would deign to see you…let me find out. Who shall I say is calling?"
"Say it's Charlie an' Daisy from the Mission."
He shut the door and the tramp looked at Daisy and shrugged. The butler had been abrupt and almost rude when they had lived there too…then the tramp remembered he had only lived there in his dream.
The door opened again. "The Master will see you." The butler held it wide this time to let the visitors in. The butler led them into the drawing room, where O'Sullivan was on the settee, his left leg resting on the ottoman.
"Ah, Charlie. I've wanted to meet you." He took his cane and made a move to get up.
Charlie tipped his hat, then took it off. "Don' ge' up; I know wha' y' leg feels loike…"
"What can I do for you?"
"I came t' return yer gran'father's watch…" He handed the watch to O'Sullivan.
"Thank you. And here's yours. I don't know how they got mixed up:" He handed Charlie his old familiar railroad-style watch."
"Thank y, Sir!"
"Charlie, you can just call me Mike….after all we've been pretty close…."
"Did y' 'ave a dream, too?"
"I did. Although I have doubts that it was a dream."
"Wha' d' y' mean, Moike?"
"The dream seemed quite real. I apparently exchanged lives with you. I lived your life as a tramp…there is a certain freedom to it….but it's a hard life…I don't know how you do it."
"Then I saw you come in the mission one day…I recognized that you were me. But you had more class than I would have…I would have been rude and insulting and arrogant. You were very kind." He gave a wry smile.
"I learned somethin' from me dream, Moike…ain't no one's life as good f' y'self bu' y' own."
"I agree, Charlie."
The two very different men talked for several hours. Charlie learned that Mike had decided to get help for his drinking problem. His mother and he had become very close and he didn't want to spoil that relationship. He also felt more responsibility in bringing up his daughter. Daisy sought out Annie and the two girls played with each other. And the girls didn't believe it had ever been a dream.
When the tramp was ready to go, Mike insisted on seeing him to the door.
"You are welcome in my home any time. Come see me. I enjoy your company."
One year and a few months later, a tall man in a top hat, ebony cane and Inverness cape strode into the mission. He limped a bit on his left leg, but his stride otherwise was fast and confident. Rebecca came out to see the visitor.
"Mr O'Sullivan," said Rebecca in greeting. "What can I do for you?" He had blue eyes and dark curly hair, very similar to the tramp's. His smiling face made him look quite attractive and handsome.
He reached in his pocket. "I have something for the mission, Ma'am."
"Please call me Rebecca, Sir." She looked at the check. It was another large donation. "Oh, thank you sir, you are very generous."
"And it's Mike, Rebecca. By the way, where is Charlie? He hasn't come by to see me lately…"
"He hasn't been here for several months, now, Mike. He told me it was time to move on. He said he probably would be back some time, whenever the wind blows him this way. Daisy got herself in a very bad state over it…She actually wanted to go with him…He had to leave in the middle of the night so she wouldn't follow him."
"Yes, that's the lifestyle I envied for a while, but it takes a certain kind of person to live that way." Charlie had told Mike that he had explained everything that had happened to Rebecca. "It was too difficult for me."
"I think he found your life difficult too, Mike. Won't you come and sit down?" Mike took a seat and he and Rebecca talked for several hours. They discussed the tramp, who somehow had helped Mike turn his life around.
"Thanks to Charlie's encouragement, I'm getting along with my mother again. I enjoy being around her now. I'm back in the theatre too." Mike didn't want to mention it, but he had gotten help for his alcoholism too.
Rebecca smiled. "You look wonderful, Mike."
"Thank you, "he smiled.
In the following weeks and months, Mike and Rebecca got to know each other better and spent long evenings talking. Mike was fascinated with Rebecca because she looked exactly like his deceased wife Maggie. The Mission became his pet charity.
In time, a romance blossomed and Charles Michael O'Sullivan the 2nd soon had a new bride and 'twin' 9-year old daughters.
As for Charlie the Tramp, he walked down the road of life happily, taking one day at a time and being careful what he wished for.