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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

Dryfoos turned from him to Fulkerson without speaking


March

had listened with growing amusement to the mingled burlesque and earnest of Fulkerson's self-sacrificing impudence, and with wonder as to how far Dryfoos was consenting to his preposterous proposition, when Conrad broke out: "Mr. Fulkerson, I could not allow you to do that. It would not be true; I did not wish to be here; and--and what I think--what I wish to do--that is something I will not let any one put me in a false position about. No!" The blood rushed into the young man's gentle face, and he met his father's glance with defiance.

Dryfoos turned from him to Fulkerson without speaking, and Fulkerson said, caressingly: "Why, of course, Coonrod! I know how you feel, and I shouldn't let anything of that sort go out uncontradicted afterward. But there isn't anything in these times that would give us better standing with the public than some hint of the way you feel about such things. The publics expects to be interested, and nothing would interest it more than to be told that the success of 'Every Other Week' sprang from the first application of the principle of Live and let Live to a literary enterprise. It would look particularly well, coming from you and your father, but if you object, we can leave that part out; though if you approve of the principle I don't see why you need object. The main thing is to let the public know that it owes this thing to the liberal and enlightened spirit of one of the foremost capitalists of the country; and

that his purposes are not likely to be betrayed in the hands of his son, I should get a little cut made from a photograph of your father, and supply it gratis with the paragraphs."

"I guess," said the old man, "we will get along without the cut."

Fulkerson laughed. "Well, well! Have it your own way, But the sight of your face in the patent outsides of the country press would be worth half a dozen subscribers in every school district throughout the length and breadth of this fair land."

"There was a fellow," Dryfoos explained, in an aside to March, "that was getting up a history of Moffitt, and he asked me to let him put a steel engraving of me in. He said a good many prominent citizens were going to have theirs in, and his price was a hundred and fifty dollars. I told him I couldn't let mine go for less than two hundred, and when he said he could give me a splendid plate for that money, I said I should want it cash, You never saw a fellow more astonished when he got it through him. that I expected him to pay the two hundred."

Fulkerson laughed in keen appreciation of the joke. "Well, sir, I guess 'Every Other Week' will pay you that much. But if you won't sell at any price, all right; we must try to worry along without the light of your countenance on, the posters, but we got to have it for the banquet."

"I don't seem to feel very hungry, yet," said they old man, dryly.

"Oh, 'l'appeit vient en mangeant', as our French friends say. You'll be hungry enough when you see the preliminary Little Neck clam. It's too late for oysters."

"Doesn't that fact seem to point to a postponement till they get back, sometime in October," March suggested.

"No, no!" said Fulkerson, "you don't catch on to the business end of this thing, my friends. You're proceeding on something like the old exploded idea that the demand creates the supply, when everybody knows, if he's watched the course of modern events, that it's just as apt to be the other way. I contend that we've got a real substantial success to celebrate now; but even if we hadn't, the celebration would do more than anything else to create the success, if we got it properly before the public. People will say: Those fellows are not fools; they wouldn't go and rejoice over their magazine unless they had got a big thing in it. And the state of feeling we should produce in the public mind would make a boom of perfectly unprecedented grandeur for E. O. W. Heigh?"


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