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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

Mandel keeps her urn and her willow


"Well,

he is rather apt to scoop the conversation. I must draw his fire, sometime, when you and Mrs. March are around, and get you a chance with Miss Woodburn."

"I should like that better, I believe," said March.

"Well, I shouldn't wonder if you did. Curious, but Miss Woodburn isn't at all your idea of a Southern girl. She's got lots of go; she's never idle a minute; she keeps the old gentleman in first-class shape, and she don't believe a bit in the slavery solution of the labor problem; says she's glad it's gone, and if it's anything like the effects of it, she's glad it went before her time. No, sir, she's as full of snap as the liveliest kind of a Northern girl. None of that sunny Southern languor you read about."

"I suppose the typical Southerner, like the typical anything else, is pretty difficult to find," said March. "But perhaps Miss Woodburn represents the new South. The modern conditions must be producing a modern type."

"Well, that's what she and the colonel both say. They say there ain't anything left of that Walter Scott dignity and chivalry in the rising generation; takes too much time. You ought to see her sketch the old-school, high-and-mighty manners, as they survive among some of the antiques in Charlottesburg. If that thing could be put upon the stage it would be a killing success. Makes the old gentleman laugh in spite of himself.

But he's as proud of her as Punch, anyway. Why don't you and Mrs. March come round oftener? Look here! How would it do to have a little excursion, somewhere, after the spring fairly gets in its work?"

"Reporters present?"

"No, no! Nothing of that kind; perfectly sincere and disinterested enjoyment."

"Oh, a few handbills to be scattered around: 'Buy Every Other Week,' 'Look out for the next number of "Every Other Week,"' 'Every Other Week at all the news-stands.' Well, I'll talk it over with Mrs. March. I suppose there's no great hurry."

March told his wife of the idyllic mood in which he had left Fulkerson at the widow's door, and she said he must be in love.

"Why, of course! I wonder I didn't think of that. But Fulkerson is such an impartial admirer of the whole sex that you can't think of his liking one more than another. I don't know that he showed any unjust partiality, though, in his talk of 'those girls,' as he called them. And I always rather fancied that Mrs. Mandel--he's done so much for her, you know; and she is such a well-balanced, well-preserved person, and so lady-like and correct----"

"Fulkerson had the word for her: academic. She's everything that instruction and discipline can make of a woman; but I shouldn't think they could make enough of her to be in love with."

"Well, I don't know. The academic has its charm. There are moods in which I could imagine myself in love with an academic person. That regularity of line; that reasoned strictness of contour; that neatness of pose; that slightly conventional but harmonious grouping of the emotions and morals--you can see how it would have its charm, the Wedgwood in human nature? I wonder where Mrs. Mandel keeps her urn and her willow."


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