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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

I don't blame Coonrod for not wantun' to go


"Well,

anyway," said Mela, "I don't care whether Christine's goon' or not; I am. And you got to go with me, Mrs. Mandel."

"Well, there's a little difficulty," said Mrs. Mandel, with her unfailing dignity and politeness. "I haven't been asked, you know."

"Then what are we goun' to do?" demanded Mela, almost crossly. She was physically too amiable, she felt too well corporeally, ever to be quite cross. "She might 'a' knowed--well known--we couldn't 'a' come alone, in New York. I don't see why, we couldn't. I don't call it much of an invitation."

"I suppose she thought you could come with your mother," Mrs. Mandel suggested.

"She didn't say anything about mother: Did she, Christine? Or, yes, she did, too. And I told her she couldn't git mother out. Don't you remember?"

"I didn't pay much attention," said Christine. "I wasn't certain we wanted to go."

"I reckon you wasn't goun' to let her see that we cared much," said Mela, half reproachful, half proud of this attitude of Christine. "Well, I don't see but what we got to stay at home." She laughed at this lame conclusion of the matter.

"Perhaps Mr. Conrad--you could very properly take him without an express invitation--" Mrs. Mandel began.

Conrad looked up in alarm

and protest. "I--I don't think I could go that evening--"

"What's the reason?" his father broke in, harshly. "You're not such a sheep that you're afraid to go into company with your sisters? Or are you too good to go with them?"

"If it's to be anything like that night when them hussies come out and danced that way," said Mrs. Dryfoos, "I don't blame Coonrod for not wantun' to go. I never saw the beat of it."

Mela sent a yelling laugh across the table to her mother. "Well, I wish Miss Vance could 'a' heard that! Why, mother, did you think it like the ballet?"

"Well, I didn't know, Mely, child," said the old woman. "I didn't know what it was like. I hain't never been to one, and you can't be too keerful where you go, in a place like New York."

"What's the reason you can't go?" Dryfoos ignored the passage between his wife and daughter in making this demand of his son, with a sour face.

"I have an engagement that night--it's one of our meetings."

"I reckon you can let your meeting go for one night," said Dryfoos. "It can't be so important as all that, that you must disappoint your sisters."

"I don't like to disappoint those poor creatures. They depend so much upon the meetings--"

"I reckon they can stand it for one night," said the old man. He added, "The poor ye have with you always."

"That's so, Coonrod," said his mother. "It's the Saviour's own words."

"Yes, mother. But they're not meant just as father used them."

"How do you know how they were meant? Or how I used them?" cried the father. "Now you just make your plans to go with the girls, Tuesday night. They can't go alone, and Mrs. Mandel can't go with them."


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