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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by Howells

Beaton remained solemnly silent


"It

was different," March went on, "when the illustrations used to be bad. Then the text had some chance."

"Old legitimate drama days, when ugliness and genius combined to storm the galleries," said Fulkerson.

"We can still make them bad enough," said Beaton, ignoring Fulkerson in his remark to March.

Fulkerson took the reply upon himself. "Well, you needn't make 'em so bad as the old-style cuts; but you can make them unobtrusive, modestly retiring. We've got hold of a process something like that those French fellows gave Daudet thirty-five thousand dollars to write a novel to use with; kind of thing that begins at one side; or one corner, and spreads in a sort of dim religious style over the print till you can't tell which is which. Then we've got a notion that where the pictures don't behave quite so sociably, they can be dropped into the text, like a little casual remark, don't you know, or a comment that has some connection, or maybe none at all, with what's going on in the story. Something like this." Fulkerson took away one knee from the table long enough to open the drawer, and pull from it a book that he shoved toward Beacon. "That's a Spanish book I happened to see at Brentano's, and I froze to it on account of the pictures. I guess they're pretty good."

"Do you expect to get such drawings in this country?" asked Beaton, after a glance

at the book. "Such character--such drama? You won't."

"Well, I'm not so sure," said Fulkerson, "come to get our amateurs warmed up to the work. But what I want is to get the physical effect, so to speak-get that sized picture into our page, and set the fashion of it. I shouldn't care if the illustration was sometimes confined to an initial letter and a tail-piece."

"Couldn't be done here. We haven't the touch. We're good in some things, but this isn't in our way," said Beaton, stubbornly. "I can't think of a man who could do it; that is, among those that would."

"Well, think of some woman, then," said Fulkerson, easily. "I've got a notion that the women could help us out on this thing, come to get 'em interested. There ain't anything so popular as female fiction; why not try female art?"

"The females themselves have been supposed to have been trying it for a good while," March suggested; and Mr. Dryfoos laughed nervously; Beaton remained solemnly silent.

"Yes, I know," Fulkerson assented. "But I don't mean that kind exactly. What we want to do is to work the 'ewig Weibliche' in this concern. We want to make a magazine that will go for the women's fancy every time. I don't mean with recipes for cooking and fashions and personal gossip about authors and society, but real high-tone literature that will show women triumphing in all the stories, or else suffering tremendously. We've got to recognize that women form three-fourths of the reading public in this country, and go for their tastes and their sensibilities and their sex-piety along the whole line. They do like to think that women can do things better than men; and if we can let it leak out and get around in the papers that the managers of 'Every Other Week' couldn't stir a peg in the line of the illustrations they wanted till they got a lot of God-gifted girls to help them, it 'll make the fortune of the thing. See?"


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