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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

You have got an ahdeal of friendship


"There

is no question of courage," said the colonel. "It is a question of dignity--of personal dignity."

"Well, don't let that delay you, papa," said his daughter, following him to the door, where she found him his hat, and Fulkerson helped him on with his overcoat. "Ah shall be jost wald to know ho' it's toned oat."

"Won't you let me go up to the house with you?" Fulkerson began. "I needn't go in--"

"I prefer to go alone," said the colonel. "I wish to turn the points over in my mind, and I am afraid you would find me rather dull company."

He went out, and Fulkerson returned with Miss Woodburn to the drawing-room, where she said the Leightons were. They, were not there, but she did not seem disappointed.

"Well, Mr. Fulkerson," she said, "you have got an ahdeal of friendship, sure enough."

"Me?" said Fulkerson. "Oh, my Lord! Don't you see I couldn't do anything else? And I'm scared half to death, anyway. If the colonel don't bring the old man round, I reckon it's all up with me. But he'll fetch him. And I'm just prostrated with gratitude to you, Miss Woodburn."

She waved his thanks aside with her fan. "What do you mean by its being all up with you?"

"Why, if the old man sticks to his position, and I stick to March,

we've both got to go overboard together. Dryfoos owns the magazine; he can stop it, or he can stop us, which amounts to the same thing, as far as we're concerned."

"And then what?" the girl pursued.

"And then, nothing--till we pick ourselves up."

"Do you mean that Mr. Dryfoos will put you both oat of your places?"

"He may."

"And Mr. Mawch takes the risk of that jost fo' a principle?"

"I reckon."

"And you do it jost fo' an ahdeal?"

"It won't do to own it. I must have my little axe to grind, somewhere."

"Well, men awe splendid," sighed the girl. "Ah will say it."

"Oh, they're not so much better than women," said Fulkerson, with a nervous jocosity. "I guess March would have backed down if it hadn't been for his wife. She was as hot as pepper about it, and you could see that she would have sacrificed all her husband's relations sooner than let him back down an inch from the stand he had taken. It's pretty easy for a man to stick to a principle if he has a woman to stand by him. But when you come to play it alone--"

"Mr. Fulkerson," said the girl, solemnly, "Ah will stand bah you in this, if all the woald tones against you." The tears came into her eyes, and she put out her hand to him.


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