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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

Christine gave Mela a little pinch


"May

I, think this over till morning?" asked the colonel.

"Oh, certainly, certainly," said Fulkerson, eagerly. "I don't know as there's any hurry."

Miss Woodburn found a chance to murmur to him before he went: "He'll come. And Ah'm so much oblahged, Mr. Fulkerson. Ah jost know it's all you' doing, and it will give papa a chance to toak to some new people, and get away from us evahlastin' women for once."

"I don't see why any one should want to do that," said Fulkerson, with grateful gallantry. "But I'll be dogged," he said to March when he told him about this odd experience, "if I ever expected to find Colonel Woodburn on old Lindau's ground. He did come round handsomely this morning at breakfast and apologized for taking time to think the invitation over before he accepted. 'You understand,' he says, 'that if it had been to the table of some friend not so prosperous as Mr. Dryfoos--your friend Mr. March, for instance--it would have been sufficient to know that he was your friend. But in these days it is a duty that a gentleman owes himself to consider whether he wishes to know a rich man or not. The chances of making money disreputably are so great that the chances are against a man who has made money if he's made a great deal of it.'"

March listened with a face of ironical insinuation. "That was very good; and he seems to have had a good deal

of confidence in your patience and in your sense of his importance to the occasion--"

"No, no," Fulkerson protested, "there's none of that kind of thing about the colonel. I told him to take time to think it over; he's the simplest-hearted old fellow in the world."

"I should say so. After all, he didn't give any reason he had for accepting. But perhaps the young lady had the reason."

"Pshaw, March!" said Fulkerson.

VI.

So far as the Dryfoos family was concerned, the dinner might as well have been given at Frescobaldi's rooms. None of the ladies appeared. Mrs. Dryfoos was glad to escape to her own chamber, where she sat before an autumnal fire, shaking her head and talking to herself at times, with the foreboding of evil which old women like her make part of their religion. The girls stood just out of sight at the head of the stairs, and disputed which guest it was at each arrival; Mrs. Mandel had gone to her room to write letters, after beseeching them not to stand there. When Kendricks came, Christine gave Mela a little pinch, equivalent to a little mocking shriek; for, on the ground of his long talk with Mela at Mrs. Horn's, in the absence of any other admirer, they based a superstition of his interest in her; when Beaton came, Mela returned the pinch, but awkwardly, so that it hurt, and then Christine involuntarily struck her.

Frescobaldi's men were in possession everywhere they had turned the cook out of her kitchen and the waitress out of her pantry; the reluctant Irishman at the door was


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