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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

Wasn't it Munich where you studied


"In

New York City!" she exclaimed.

"Surely, Alma," said her mother, "you remember Mr. Beaton's telling us he lived in New York."

"But I thought you came from Rochester; or was it Syracuse? I always get those places mixed up."

"Probably I told you my father lived at Syracuse. I've been in New York ever since I came home from Paris," said Beaton, with the confusion of a man who feels himself played upon by a woman.

"From Paris!" Alma echoed, leaning forward, with her smiling mask tight on. "Wasn't it Munich where you studied?"

"I was at Munich, too. I met Wetmore there."

"Oh, do you know Mr. Wetmore?"

"Why, Alma," her mother interposed again, "it was Mr. Beaton who told you of Mr. Wetmore."

"Was it? Why, yes, to be sure. It was Mrs. Horn who suggested Mr. Ilcomb. I remember now. I can't thank you enough for having sent me to Mr. Wetmore, Mr. Beaton. Isn't he delightful? Oh yes, I'm a perfect Wetmorian, I can assure you. The whole class is the same way."

"I just met him and Mrs. Wetmore at dinner," said Beaton, attempting the recovery of something that he had lost through the girl's shining ease and steely sprightliness. She seemed to him so smooth and hard, with a repellent

elasticity from which he was flung off. "I hope you're not working too hard, Miss Leighton?"

"Oh no! I enjoy every minute of it, and grow stronger on it. Do I look very much wasted away?" She looked him full in the face, brilliantly smiling, and intentionally beautiful.

"No," he said, with a slow sadness; "I never saw you looking better."

"Poor Mr. Beaton!" she said, in recognition of his doleful tune. "It seems to be quite a blow."

"Oh no--"

"I remember all the good advice you used to give me about not working too hard, and probably it's that that's saved my life--that and the house-hunting. Has mamma told you of our adventures in getting settled?

"Some time we must. It was such fun! And didn't you think we were fortunate to get such a pretty house? You must see both our parlors." She jumped up, and her mother followed her with a bewildered look as she ran into the back parlor and flashed up the gas.

"Come in here, Mr. Beaton. I want to show you the great feature of the house." She opened the low windows that gave upon a glazed veranda stretching across the end of the room. "Just think of this in New York! You can't see it very well at night, but when the southern sun pours in here all the afternoon--"

"Yes, I can imagine it," he said. He glanced up at the bird-cage hanging from the roof. "I suppose Gypsy enjoys it."


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