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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

Then Mela said I reckon the rest of us better be goun' too


"That

poor boy's father!" sighed Mrs. March. "I can't get his face out of my sight. He looked so much worse than death."

"Oh, death doesn't look bad," said March. "It's life that looks so in its presence. Death is peace and pardon. I only wish poor old Lindau was as well out of it as Conrad there."

"Ah, Lindau! He has done harm enough," said Mrs. March. "I hope he will be careful after this."

March did not try to defend Lindau against her theory of the case, which inexorably held him responsible for Conrad's death.

"Lindau's going to come out all right, I guess," said Fulkerson. "He was first-rate when I saw him at the hospital to-night." He whispered in March's ear, at a chance he got in mounting the station stairs: "I didn't like to tell you there at the house, but I guess you'd better know. They had to take Lindau's arm off near the shoulder. Smashed all to pieces by the clubbing."

In the house, vainly rich and foolishly unfit for them, the bereaved family whom the Marches had just left lingered together, and tried to get strength to part for the night. They were all spent with the fatigue that comes from heaven to such misery as theirs, and they sat in a torpor in which each waited for the other to move, to speak.

Christine moved, and Mela spoke. Christine rose and went out

of the room without saying a word, and they heard her going up-stairs. Then Mela said:

"I reckon the rest of us better be goun' too, father. Here, let's git mother started."

She put her arm round her mother, to lift her from her chair, but the old man did not stir, and Mela called Mrs. Mandel from the next room. Between them they raised her to her feet.

"Ain't there anybody agoin' to set up with it?" she asked, in her hoarse pipe. "It appears like folks hain't got any feelin's in New York. Woon't some o' the neighbors come and offer to set up, without waitin' to be asked?"

"Oh, that's all right, mother. The men 'll attend to that. Don't you bother any," Mela coaxed, and she kept her arm round her mother, with tender patience.

"Why, Mely, child! I can't feel right to have it left to hirelin's so. But there ain't anybody any more to see things done as they ought. If Coonrod was on'y here--"

"Well, mother, you are pretty mixed!" said Mela, with a strong tendency to break into her large guffaw. But she checked herself and said: "I know just how you feel, though. It keeps acomun' and agoun'; and it's so and it ain't so, all at once; that's the plague of it. Well, father! Ain't you goun' to come?"

"I'm goin' to stay, Mela," said the old man, gently, without moving. "Get your mother to bed, that's a good girl."


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