Will envisioned a family business in which all of his sons were involved. An unspoken prerequisite to his sons’ working for him was his expectation that they live under the roof of the Beauvais household; as a result, there were few times that all five sons worked simultaneously for Beauvais Signs.
To a large extent, Will Beauvais was a man living in the past, for in business matters, he was twenty years behind the times. A man of rigid fairness (or what he perceived to be fairness), he tried to conduct his business with impeccable honesty. Although he already charged too little for his sign work, he sometimes felt that he had overcharged. On such occasions, he would partially reimburse the customers, even when the client was pleased with the initial price.
However, when buying supplies in Tyler City, he sometimes complained about the prices charged by the local merchants; as a result, the store manager often adjusted the price of the goods to whatever Will considered to be fair. Although they understood his ways and held Will in their highest regard, they were often sad to see him coming into their stores.
The townspeople knew of Will’s strict moral code and respected him for it. He was a religious man—a devout Christian, but not in the conventional sense. He believed that to be a Christian was to follow a difficult, but simple path. Although most of his friends were church members, and since he also sometimes attended church, he respected their views about religion; however, he felt that many of them were blind followers of tradition, much like sheep. In his opinion, many were enslaved by religious dogma—doctrines and creeds that were created by man, not by God.
Will understood the thinking of such people because he recognized that they found a sense of identity and meaning in religion only through a strict adherence to ritual and following prescribed disciplines. He refused to follow those who blindly exercised an unthinking obedience to orthodoxy, because being his own man was the essence of his spirit; for the integrity of spirit and the courage to be an individual were the qualities that he so desperately yearned to instill in the character of his sons.