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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

And a pure advertising essence like Fulkerson


"Of

course," said Fulkerson, with some trouble in his face. "I appreciate your feeling. But there ain't any danger," he added, buoyantly. "Anyhow, you spoke too late, as the Irishman said to the chicken when he swallowed him in a fresh egg. I've asked Lindau, and he's accepted with blayzure; that's what he says."

March made no other comment than a shrug.

"You'll see," Fulkerson continued, "it 'll go off all right. I'll engage to make it, and I won't hold anybody else responsible."

In the course of his married life March had learned not to censure the irretrievable; but this was just what his wife had not learned; and she poured out so much astonishment at what Fulkerson had done, and so much disapproval, that March began to palliate the situation a little.

"After all, it isn't a question of life and death; and, if it were, I don't see how it's to be helped now."

"Oh, it's not to be helped now. But I am surprised at Mr. Fulkerson."

"Well, Fulkerson has his moments of being merely human, too."

Mrs. March would not deign a direct defence of her favorite. "Well, I'm glad there are not to be ladies."

"I don't know. Dryfoos thought of having ladies, but it seems your infallible Fulkerson overruled him. Their presence

might have kept Lindau and our host in bounds."

It had become part of the Marches' conjugal joke for him to pretend that she could allow nothing wrong in Fulkerson, and he now laughed with a mocking air of having expected it when she said: "Well, then, if Mr. Fulkerson says he will see that it all comes out right, I suppose you must trust his tact. I wouldn't trust yours, Basil. The first wrong step was taken when Mr. Lindau was asked to help on the magazine."

"Well, it was your infallible Fulkerson that took the step, or at least suggested it. I'm happy to say I had totally forgotten my early friend."

Mrs. March was daunted and silenced for a moment. Then she said: "Oh, pshaw! You know well enough he did it to please you."

"I'm very glad he didn't do it to please you, Isabel," said her husband, with affected seriousness. "Though perhaps he did."

He began to look at the humorous aspect of the affair, which it certainly had, and to comment on the singular incongruities which 'Every Other Week' was destined to involve at every moment of its career. "I wonder if I'm mistaken in supposing that no other periodical was ever like it. Perhaps all periodicals are like it. But I don't believe there's another publication in New York that could bring together, in honor of itself, a fraternity and equality crank like poor old Lindau, and a belated sociological crank like Woodburn, and a truculent speculator like old Dryfoos, and a humanitarian dreamer like young Dryfoos, and a sentimentalist like me, and a nondescript like Beaton, and a pure advertising essence like Fulkerson, and a society spirit like Kendricks. If we could only allow one another to talk uninterruptedly all the time, the dinner would be the greatest success in the world, and we should come home full of the highest mutual respect. But I suspect we can't manage that--even your infallible Fulkerson couldn't work it--and I'm afraid that there'll be some listening that 'll spoil the pleasure of the time."


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