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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

Dryfoos agrees with them or not


"But

don't you see," said Fulkerson, "that it's just Lindau's opinions the old man can't stand? He hasn't got anything against him personally. I don't suppose there's anybody that appreciates Lindau in some ways more than the old man does."

"I understand. He wants to punish him for his opinions. Well, I can't consent to that, directly or indirectly. We don't print his opinions, and he has a perfect right to hold them, whether Mr. Dryfoos agrees with them or not."

Mrs. March had judged it decorous for her to say nothing, but she now went and sat down in the chair next her husband.

"Ah, dog on it!" cried Fulkerson, rumpling his hair with both his hands. "What am I to do? The old man says he's got to go."

"And I don't consent to his going," said March.

"And you won't stay if he goes."

Fulkerson rose. "Well, well! I've got to see about it. I'm afraid the old man won't stand it, March; I am, indeed. I wish you'd reconsider. I--I'd take it as a personal favor if you would. It leaves me in a fix. You see I've got to side with one or the other."

March made no reply to this, except to say, "Yes, you must stand by him, or you must stand by me."

"Well, well! Hold on awhile! I'll see you in the morning. Don't take any

steps--"

"Oh, there are no steps to take," said March, with a melancholy smile. "The steps are stopped; that's all." He sank back into his chair when Fulkerson was gone and drew a long breath. "This is pretty rough. I thought we had got through it."

"No," said his wife. "It seems as if I had to make the fight all over again."

"Well, it's a good thing it's a holy war."

"I can't bear the suspense. Why didn't you tell him outright you wouldn't go back on any terms?"

"I might as well, and got the glory. He'll never move Dryfoos. I suppose we both would like to go back, if we could."

"Oh, I suppose so."

They could not regain their lost exaltation, their lost dignity. At dinner Mrs. March asked the children how they would like to go back to Boston to live.

"Why, we're not going, are we?" asked Tom, without enthusiasm.

"I was just wondering how you felt about it, now," she said, with an underlook at her husband.

"Well, if we go back," said Bella, "I want to live on the Back Bay. It's awfully Micky at the South End."

"I suppose I should go to Harvard," said Tom, "and I'd room out at Cambridge. It would be easier to get at you on the Back Bay."

The parents smiled ruefully at each other, and, in view of these grand expectations of his children, March resolved to go as far as he could in meeting Dryfoos's wishes. He proposed the theatre as a distraction from the anxieties that he knew were pressing equally on his wife. "We might go to the 'Old Homestead,'" he suggested, with a sad irony, which only his wife felt.

"Oh yes, let's!" cried Bella.


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