A Hazard of New Fortunes, V4
by William Dean Howells
Not long after Lent, Fulkerson set before Dryfoos one day his
scheme for a dinner in celebration of the success of 'Every Other
Week.' Dryfoos had never meddled in any manner with the conduct of
the periodical; but Fulkerson easily saw that he was proud of his
relation to it, and he proceeded upon the theory that he would be
willing to have this relation known: On the days when he had been
lucky in stocks, he was apt to drop in at the office on Eleventh
Street, on his way up-town, and listen to Fulkerson's talk. He was on
good enough terms with March, who revised his first impressions of the
man, but they had not much to say to each other, and it seemed to
March that Dryfoos was even a little afraid of him, as of a piece of
mechanism he had acquired, but did not quite understand; he left the
working of it to Fulkerson, who no doubt bragged of it sufficiently.
The old man seemed to have as little to say to his son; he shut
himself up with Fulkerson, where the others could hear the manager
begin and go on with an unstinted flow of talk about 'Every Other
Week;' for Fulkerson never talked of anything else if he could help
it, and was always bringing the conversation back to it if it strayed:
The day he spoke of the dinner he rose and called from his door :
"March, I say, come down here a minute, will you? Conrad, I want you,
The editor and the publisher found the manager and the proprietor
seated on opposite sides of the table. "It's about those funeral
baked meats, you know," Fulkerson explained, "and I was trying to give
Mr. Dryfoos some idea of what we wanted to do. That is, what I wanted
to do," he continued, turning from March to Dryfoos. "March, here, is
opposed to it, of course. He'd like to publish 'Every Other Week' on
the sly; keep it out of the papers, and off the newsstands; he's a
modest Boston petunia, and he shrinks from publicity; but I am not
that kind of herb myself, and I want all the publicity we can
get--beg, borrow, or steal-- for this thing. I say that you can't
work the sacred rites of hospitality in a better cause, and what I
propose is a little dinner for the purpose of recognizing the hit
we've made with this thing. My idea was to strike you for the
necessary funds, and do the thing on a handsome scale. The term
little dinner is a mere figure of speech. A little dinner wouldn't
make a big talk, and what we want is the big talk, at present, if we
don't lay up a cent. My notion was that pretty soon after Lent, now,
when everybody is feeling just right, we should begin to send out our
paragraphs, affirmative, negative, and explanatory, and along about
the first of May we should sit down about a hundred strong, the most
distinguished people in the country, and solemnize our triumph. There
it is in a nutshell. I might expand and I might expound, but that's
the sum and substance of it."
Fulkerson stopped, and ran his eyes eagerly over the faces of his
three listeners, one after the other. March was a little surprised
when Dryfoos turned to him, but that reference of the question seemed
to give Fulkerson particular pleasure: "What do you think, Mr. March?"
The editor leaned back in his chair. " I don't pretend to have Mr.
Fulkerson's genius for advertising; but it seems to me a little early
yet. We might celebrate later when we've got more to celebrate. At
present we're a pleasing novelty, rather than a fixed fact."
"Ah, you don't get the idea!" said Fulkerson. "What we want to do
with this dinner is to fix the fact."
"Am I going to come in anywhere?" the old man interrupted.
"You're going to come in at the head of the procession! We are
going to strike everything that is imaginative and romantic in the
newspaper soul with you and your history and your fancy for going in
for this thing. I can start you in a paragraph that will travel
through all the newspapers, from Maine to Texas and from Alaska to
Florida. We have had all sorts of rich men backing up literary
enterprises, but the natural- gas man in literature is a new thing,
and the combination of your picturesque past and your aesthetic
present is something that will knock out the sympathies of the
American public the first round. I feel," said Fulkerson, with a
tremor of pathos in his voice, "that 'Every Other Week' is at a
disadvantage before the public as long as it's supposed to be my
enterprise, my idea. As far as I'm known at all, I'm known simply as
a syndicate man, and nobody in the press believes that I've got the
money to run the thing on a grand scale; a suspicion of insolvency
must attach to it sooner or later, and the fellows on the press will
work up that impression, sooner or later, if we don't give them
something else to work up. Now, as soon as I begin to give it away to
the correspondents that you're in it, with your untold millions--that,
in fact, it was your idea from the start, that you originated it to
give full play to the humanitarian tendencies of Conrad here, who's
always had these theories of co-operation, and longed to realize them
for the benefit of our struggling young writers and artists--"
March had listened with growing amusement to the mingled burlesque
and earnest of Fulkerson's self-sacrificing impudence, and with wonder
as to how far Dryfoos was consenting to his preposterous proposition,
when Conrad broke out: "Mr. Fulkerson, I could not allow you to do
that. It would not be true; I did not wish to be here; and--and what
I think--what I wish to do--that is something I will not let any one
put me in a false position about. No!" The blood rushed into the
young man's gentle face, and he met his father's glance with defiance.
Dryfoos turned from him to Fulkerson without speaking, and
Fulkerson said, caressingly: "Why, of course, Coonrod! I know how you
feel, and I shouldn't let anything of that sort go out uncontradicted
afterward. But there isn't anything in these times that would give us
better standing with the public than some hint of the way you feel
about such things. The publics expects to be interested, and nothing
would interest it more than to be told that the success of 'Every
Other Week' sprang from the first application of the principle of Live
and let Live to a literary enterprise. It would look particularly
well, coming from you and your father, but if you object, we can leave
that part out; though if you approve of the principle I don't see why
you need object. The main thing is to let the public know that it
owes this thing to the liberal and enlightened spirit of one of the
foremost capitalists of the country; and that his purposes are not
likely to be betrayed in the hands of his son, I should get a little
cut made from a photograph of your father, and supply it gratis with
"I guess," said the old man, "we will get along without the cut."
Fulkerson laughed. "Well, well! Have it your own way, But the
sight of your face in the patent outsides of the country press would
be worth half a dozen subscribers in every school district throughout
the length and breadth of this fair land."
There was a fellow," Dryfoos explained, in an aside to March, "that
was getting up a history of Moffitt, and he asked me to let him put a
steel engraving of me in. He said a good many prominent citizens were
going to have theirs in, and his price was a hundred and fifty
dollars. I told him I couldn't let mine go for less than two hundred,
and when he said he could give me a splendid plate for that money, I
said I should want it cash, You never saw a fellow more astonished
when he got it through him. that I expected him to pay the two
Fulkerson laughed in keen appreciation of the joke. "Well, sir, I
guess 'Every Other Week' will pay you that much. But if you won't
sell at any price, all right; we must try to worry along without the
light of your countenance on, the posters, but we got to have it for
"I don't seem to feel very hungry, yet," said they old man, dryly.
"Oh, 'l'appeit vient en mangeant', as our French friends say.
You'll be hungry enough when you see the preliminary Little Neck
clam. It's too late for oysters."
"Doesn't that fact seem to point to a postponement till they get
back, sometime in October," March suggested,
"No, no!" said Fulkerson, "you don't catch on to the business end
of this thing, my friends. You're proceeding on something like the
old exploded idea that the demand creates the supply, when everybody
knows, if he's watched the course of modern events, that it's just as
apt to be the other way. I contend that we've got a real substantial
success to celebrate now; but even if we hadn't, the celebration would
do more than anything else to create the success, if we got it
properly before the public. People will say: Those fellows are not
fools; they wouldn't go and rejoice over their magazine unless they
had got a big thing in it. And the state of feeling we should produce
in the public mind would make a boom of perfectly unprecedented
grandeur for E. O. W. Heigh?"
He looked sunnily from one to the other in succession. The elder
Dryfoos said, with his chin on the top of his stick, "I reckon those
Little Neck clams will keep."
"Well, just as you say," Fulkerson cheerfully assented. "I
understand you to agree to the general principle of a little dinner?"
"The smaller the better," said the old man.
"Well, I say a little dinner because the idea of that seems to
cover the case, even if we vary the plan a little. I had thought of a
reception, maybe, that would include the lady contributors and
artists, and the wives and daughters of the other contributors. That
would give us the chance to ring in a lot of society correspondents
and get the thing written up in first-class shape. By-the-way!" cried
Fulkerson, slapping himself on the leg, "why not have the dinner and
the reception both?"
"I don't understand," said Dryfoos.
"Why, have a select little dinner for ten or twenty choice spirits
of the male persuasion, and then, about ten o'clock, throw open your
palatial drawing-rooms and admit the females to champagne, salads, and
ices. It is the very thing! Come!"
"What do you think of it, Mr. March?" asked Dryfoos, on whose
social inexperience Fulkerson's words projected no very intelligible
image, and who perhaps hoped for some more light.
"It's a beautiful vision," said March, "and if it will take more
time to realize it I think I approve. I approve of anything that will
delay Mr. Fulkerson's advertising orgie."
"Then," Fulkerson pursued, "we could have the pleasure of Miss
Christine and Miss Mela's company; and maybe Mrs. Dryfoos would look
in on us in the course of the evening. There's no hurry, as Mr. March
suggests, if we can give the thing this shape. I will cheerfully
adopt the idea of my honorable colleague."
March laughed at his impudence, but at heart he was ashamed of
Fulkerson for proposing to make use of Dryfoos and his house in that
way. He fancied something appealing in the look that the old man
turned on him, and something indignant in Conrad's flush; but probably
this was only his fancy. He reflected that neither of them could feel
it as people of more worldly knowledge would, and he consoled himself
with the fact that Fulkerson was really not such a charlatan as he
seemed. But it went through his mind that this was a strange end for
all Dryfoos's money-making to come to; and he philosophically accepted
the fact of his own humble fortunes when he reflected how little his
money could buy for such a man. It was an honorable use that
Fulkerson was putting it to in 'Every Other Week;' it might be far
more creditably spent on such an enterprise than on horses, or wines,
or women, the usual resources of the brute rich; and if it were to be
lost, it might better be lost that way than in stocks. He kept a
smiling face turned to Dryfoos while these irreverent considerations
occupied him, and hardened his heart against father and son and their
The old man rose to put an end to the interview. He only repeated,
"I guess those clams will keep till fall."
But Fulkerson was apparently satisfied with the progress he had
made; and when he joined March for the stroll homeward after office
hours, he was able to detach his mind from the subject, as if content
to leave it.
"This is about the best part of the year in New York," he said; In
some of the areas the grass had sprouted, and the tender young foliage
had loosened itself froze the buds on a sidewalk tree here and there;
the soft air was full of spring, and the delicate sky, far aloof, had
the look it never wears at any other season. "It ain't a time of year
to complain much of, anywhere; but I don't want anything better than
the month of May in New York. Farther South it's too hot, and I've
been in Boston in May when that east wind of yours made every nerve in
my body get up and howl. I reckon the weather has a good deal to do
with the local temperament. The reason a New York man takes life so
easily with all his rush is that his climate don't worry him. But a
Boston man must be rasped the whole while by the edge in his air.
That accounts for his sharpness; and when he's lived through
twenty-five or thirty Boston Mays, he gets to thinking that Providence
has some particular use for him, or he wouldn't have survived, and
that makes him conceited. See?"
"I see," said March. "But I don't know how you're going to work
that idea into an advertisement, exactly."
"Oh, pahaw, now, March! You don't think I've got that on the brain
all the time?"
"You were gradually leading up to 'Every Other Week', somehow."
"No, sir; I wasn't. I was just thinking what a different creature
a Massachusetts man is from a Virginian, And yet I suppose they're
both as pure English stock as you'll get anywhere in America. Marsh,
I think Colonel Woodburn's paper is going to make a hit."
"You've got there! When it knocks down the sale about one-half, I
shall know it's made a hit."
"I'm not afraid," said Fulkerson. "That thing is going to attract
attention. It's well written--you can take the pomposity out of it,
here and there and it's novel. Our people like a bold strike, and
it's going to shake them up tremendously to have serfdom advocated on
high moral grounds as the only solution of the labor problem. You
see, in the first place, he goes for their sympathies by the way he
portrays the actual relations of capital and labor; he shows how
things have got to go from bad to worse, and then he trots out his
little old hobby, and proves that if slavery had not been interfered
with, it would have perfected itself in the interest of humanity. He
makes a pretty strong plea for it."
March threw back his head and laughed. "He's converted you! I
swear, Fulkerson, if we had accepted and paid for an article
advocating cannibalism as the only resource for getting rid of the
superfluous poor, you'd begin to believe in it."
Fulkerson smiled in approval of the joke, and only said: "I wish
you could meet the colonel in the privacy of the domestic circle,
March. You'd like him. He's a splendid old fellow; regular type.
Talk about spring!
You ought to see the widow's little back yard these days. You know
that glass gallery just beyond the dining-room? Those girls have got
the pot- plants out of that, and a lot more, and they've turned the
edges of that back yard, along the fence, into a regular bower;
they've got sweet peas planted, and nasturtiums, and we shall be in a
blaze of glory about the beginning of June. Fun to see 'em work in
the garden, and the bird bossing the job in his cage under the
cherry-tree. Have to keep the middle of the yard for the clothesline,
but six days in the week it's a lawn, and I go over it with a mower
myself. March, there ain't anything like a home, is there? Dear
little cot of your own, heigh? I tell you, March, when I get to
pushing that mower round, and the colonel is smoking his cigar in the
gallery, and those girls are pottering over the flowers, one of these
soft evenings after dinner, I feel like a human being. Yes, I do. I
struck it rich when I concluded to take my meals at the widow's. For
eight dollars a week I get good board, refined society, and all the
advantages of a Christian home. By-the-way, you've never had much
talk with Miss Woodburn, have you, March?"
"Not so much as with Miss Woodburn's father."
"Well, he is rather apt to scoop the conversation. I must draw his
fire, sometime, when you and Mrs. March are around, and get you a
chance with Miss Woodburn."
"I should like that better, I believe," said March.
"Well, I shouldn't wonder if you did. Curious, but Miss Woodburn
isn't at all your idea of a Southern girl. She's got lots of go;
she's never idle a minute; she keeps the old gentleman in first-class
shape, and she don't believe a bit in the slavery solution of the
labor problem; says she's glad it's gone, and if it's anything like
the effects of it, she's glad it went before her time. No, sir, she's
as full of snap as the liveliest kind of a Northern girl. None of
that sunny Southern languor you read about."
"I suppose the typical Southerner, like the typical anything else,
is pretty difficult to find," said March. "But perhaps Miss Woodburn
represents the new South. The modern conditions must be producing a
"Well, that's what she and the colonel both say. They say there
ain't anything left of that Walter Scott dignity and chivalry in the
rising generation; takes too much time. You ought to see her sketch
the old- school, high-and-mighty manners, as they survive among some
of the antiques in Charlottesburg. If that thing could be put upon
the stage it would be a killing success. Makes the old gentleman
laugh in spite of himself. But he's as proud of her as Punch, anyway.
Why don't you and Mrs. March come round oftener? Look here! How
would it do to have a little excursion, somewhere, after the spring
fairly gets in its work?"
"No, no! Nothing of that kind; perfectly sincere and disinterested
"Oh, a few handbills to be scattered around: "Buy Every Other
Week," Look out for the next number of 'Every Other Week,' 'Every
Other Week at all the news-stands.' Well, I'll talk it over with Mrs.
March. I suppose there's no great hurry."
March told his wife of the idyllic mood in which he had left
Fulkerson at the widow's door, and she said he must be in love.
"Why, of course! I wonder I didn't think of that. But Fulkerson is
such an impartial admirer of the whole sex that you can't think of his
liking one more than another. I don't know that he showed any unjust
partiality, though, in his talk of 'those girls,' as he called them.
And I always rather fancied that Mrs. Mandel--he's done so much for
her, you know; and she is such a well-balanced, well-preserved person,
and so lady-like and correct----"
"Fulkerson had the word for her: academic. She's everything that
instruction and discipline can make of a woman; but I shouldn't think
they could make enough of her to be in love with."
"Well, I don't know. The academic has its charm. There are moods
in which I could imagine myself in love with an academic person. That
regularity of line; that reasoned strictness of contour; that neatness
of pose; that slightly conventional but harmonious grouping of the
emotions and morals--you can see how it would have its charm, the
Wedgwood in human nature? I wonder where Mrs. Mandel keeps her urn
and her willow."
"I should think she might have use for them in that family, poor
thing!" said Mrs. March.
"Ah, that reminds me," said her husband, "that we had another talk
with the old gentleman, this afternoon, about Fulkerson's literary,
artistic, and advertising orgie, and it's postponed till October."
"The later the better, I should think," said Mrs: March, who did
not really think about it at all, but whom the date fixed for it
caused to think of the intervening time. "We have got to consider
what we will do about the summer, before long, Basil."
"Oh, not yet, not yet," he pleaded; with that man's willingness to
abide in the present, which is so trying to a woman. "It's only the
end of April."
"It will be the end of June before we know. And these people
wanting the Boston house another year complicates it. We can't spend
the summer there, as we planned."
"They oughtn't to have offered us an increased rent; they have
taken an advantage of us."
"I don't know that it matters," said Mrs. March. "I had decided
not to go there."
"Had you? This is a surprise."
"Everything is a surprise to you, Basil, when it happens."
"True; I keep the world fresh, that way."
"It wouldn't have been any change to go from one city to another
for the summer. We might as well have stayed in New York."
"Yes, I wish we had stayed," said March, idly humoring a conception
of the accomplished fact. "Mrs. Green would have let us have the
gimcrackery very cheap for the summer months; and we could have made
all sorts of nice little excursions and trips off and been twice as
well as if we had spent the summer away."
"Nonsense! You know we couldn't spend the summer in New York."
"I know I could."
"What stuff! You couldn't manage."
"Oh yes, I could. I could take my meals at Fulkerson's widow's; or
at Maroni's, with poor old Lindau: he's got to dining there again.
Or, I could keep house, and he could dine with me here."
There was a teasing look in March's eyes, and he broke into a
laugh, at the firmness with which his wife said: "I think if there is
to be any housekeeping, I will stay, too; and help to look after it.
I would try not intrude upon you and your guest."
"Oh, we should be only too glad to have you join us," said March,
playing with fire.
"Very well, then, I wish you would take him off to Maroni's, the
next time he comes to dine here!" cried his wife.
The experiment of making March's old friend free of his house had
not given her all the pleasure that so kind a thing ought to have
afforded so good a woman. She received Lindau at first with robust
benevolence, and the high resolve not to let any of his little
peculiarities alienate her from a sense of his claim upon her sympathy
and gratitude, not only as a man who had been so generously fond of
her husband in his youth, but a hero who had suffered for her country.
Her theory was that his mutilation must not be ignored, but must be
kept in mind as a monument of his sacrifice, and she fortified Bella
with this conception, so that the child bravely sat next his maimed
arm at table and helped him to dishes he could not reach, and cut up
his meat for him. As for Mrs. March herself, the thought of his
mutilation made her a little faint; she was not without a bewildered
resentment of its presence as a sort of oppression. She did not like
his drinking so much of March's beer, either; it was no harm, but it
was somehow unworthy, out of character with a hero of the war. But
what she really could not reconcile herself to was the violence of
Lindau's sentiments concerning the whole political and social fabric.
She did not feel sure that he should be allowed to say such things
before the children, who had been nurtured in the faith of Bunker Hill
and Appomattox, as the beginning and the end of all possible progress
in human rights. As a woman she was naturally an aristocrat, but as
an American she was theoretically a democrat; and it astounded, it
alarmed her, to hear American democracy denounced as a shuffling
evasion. She had never cared much for the United States Senate, but
she doubted if she ought to sit by when it was railed at as a rich
man's club. It shocked her to be told that the rich and poor were not
equal before the law in a country where justice must be paid for at
every step in fees and costs, or where a poor man must go to war in
his own person, and a rich man might hire someone to go in his. Mrs.
March felt that this rebellious mind in Lindau really somehow outlawed
him from sympathy, and retroactively undid his past suffering for the
country: she had always particularly valued that provision of the law,
because in forecasting all the possible mischances that might befall
her own son, she had been comforted by the thought that if there ever
was another war, and Tom were drafted, his father could buy him a
substitute. Compared with such blasphemy as this, Lindau's
declaration that there was not equality of opportunity in America, and
that fully one-half the people were debarred their right to the
pursuit of happiness by the hopeless conditions of their lives, was
flattering praise. She could not listen to such things in silence,
though, and it did not help matters when Lindau met her arguments with
facts and reasons which she felt she was merely not sufficiently
instructed to combat, and he was not quite gentlemanly to urge. "I am
afraid for the effect on the children," she said to her husband.
"Such perfectly distorted ideas--Tom will be ruined by them."
"Oh, let Tom find out where they're false," said March. "It will
be good exercise for his faculties of research. At any rate, those
things are getting said nowadays; he'll have to hear them sooner or
"Had he better hear them at home?" demanded his wife.
"Why, you know, as you're here to refute them, Isabel," he teased,
"perhaps it's the best place. But don't mind poor old Lindau, my
dear. He says himself that his parg is worse than his pidte, you
"Ah, it's too late now to mind him," she sighed. In a moment of
rash good feeling, or perhaps an exalted conception of duty, she had
herself proposed that Lindau should come every week and read German
with Tom; and it had become a question first how they could get him to
take pay for it, and then how they could get him to stop it. Mrs.
March never ceased to wonder at herself for having brought this about,
for she had warned her husband against making any engagement with
Lindau which would bring him regularly to the house: the Germans stuck
so, and were so unscrupulously dependent. Yet, the deed being done,
she would not ignore the duty of hospitality, and it was always she
who made the old man stay to their Sunday-evening tea when he lingered
near the hour, reading Schiller and Heine and Uhland with the boy, in
the clean shirt with which he observed the day; Lindau's linen was not
to be trusted during the week. She now concluded a season of mournful
reflection by saying, "He will get you into trouble, somehow, Basil."
"Well, I don't know how, exactly. I regard Lindau as a political
economist of an unusual type; but I shall not let him array me against
the constituted authorities. Short of that, I think I am safe."
"Well, be careful, Basil; be careful. You know you are so rash."
"I suppose I may continue to pity him? He is such a poor, lonely
old fellow. Are you really sorry he's come into our lives, my dear?"
"No, no; not that. I feel as you do about it; but I wish I felt
easier about him--sure, that is, that we're not doing wrong to let him
keep on talking so."
"I suspect we couldn't help it," March returned, lightly. "It's
one of what Lindau calls his 'brincibles' to say what he thinks."
The Marches had no longer the gross appetite for novelty which
urges youth to a surfeit of strange scenes, experiences, ideas; and
makes travel, with all its annoyances and fatigues, an inexhaustible
delight. But there is no doubt that the chief pleasure of their life
in New York was from its quality of foreignness: the flavor of olives,
which, once tasted, can never be forgotten. The olives may not be of
the first excellence; they may be a little stale, and small and poor,
to begin with, but they are still olives, and the fond palate craves
them. The sort which grew in New York, on lower Sixth Avenue and in
the region of Jefferson Market and on the soft exposures south of
Washington Square, were none the less acceptable because they were of
the commonest Italian variety.
The Marches spent a good deal of time and money in a grocery of
that nationality, where they found all the patriotic comestibles and
potables, and renewed their faded Italian with the friendly family in
charge. Italian table d'hotes formed the adventure of the week, on the
day when Mrs. March let her domestics go out, and went herself to dine
abroad with her husband and children; and they became adepts in the
restaurants where they were served, and which they varied almost from
dinner to dinner. The perfect decorum of these places, and their
immunity from offence in any, emboldened the Marches to experiment in
Spanish restaurants, where red pepper and beans insisted in every
dinner, and where once they chanced upon a night of 'olla podrida',
with such appeals to March's memory of a boyish ambition to taste the
dish that he became poetic and then pensive over its cabbage and
carrots, peas and bacon. For a rare combination of international
motives they prized most the table d'hote of a French lady, who had
taken a Spanish husband in a second marriage, and had a Cuban negro
for her cook, with a cross-eyed Alsation for waiter, and a slim young
South-American for cashier. March held that some thing of the
catholic character of these relations expressed itself in the generous
and tolerant variety of the dinner, which was singularly abundant for
fifty cents, without wine. At one very neat French place he got a
dinner at the same price with wine, but it was not so abundant; and
March inquired in fruitless speculation why the table d'hote of the
Italians, a notoriously frugal and abstemious people, should be
usually more than you wanted at seventy-five cents and a dollar, and
that of the French rather less at half a dollar. He could not see
that the frequenters were greatly different at the different places;
they were mostly Americans, of subdued manners and conjecturably
subdued fortunes, with here and there a table full of foreigners.
There was no noise and not much smoking anywhere; March liked going
to that neat French place because there Madame sat enthroned and high
behind a 'comptoir' at one side of the room, and every body saluted
her in going out. It was there that a gentle-looking young couple
used to dine, in whom the Marches became effectlessly interested,
because they thought they looked like that when they were young. The
wife had an aesthetic dress, and defined her pretty head by wearing
her back-hair pulled up very tight under her bonnet; the husband had
dreamy eyes set wide apart under a pure forehead. "They are artists,
August, I think," March suggested to the waiter, when he had vainly
asked about them. "Oh, hartis, cedenly," August consented; but Heaven
knows whether they were, or what they were: March never learned.
This immunity from acquaintance, this touch-and go quality in their
New York sojourn, this almost loss of individuality at times, after
the intense identification of their Boston life, was a relief, though
Mrs. March had her misgivings, and questioned whether it were not
perhaps too relaxing to the moral fibre. March refused to explore his
conscience; he allowed that it might be so; but he said he liked now
and then to feel his personality in that state of solution. They went
and sat a good deal in the softening evenings among the infants and
dotards of Latin extraction in Washington Square, safe from all who
ever knew them, and enjoyed the advancing season, which thickened the
foliage of the trees and flattered out of sight the church warden's
Gothic of the University Building. The infants were sometimes cross,
and cried in their weary mothers' or little sisters' arms; but they
did not disturb the dotards, who slept, some with their heads fallen
forward, and some with their heads fallen back; March arbitrarily
distinguished those with the drooping faces as tipsy and ashamed to
confront the public. The small Italian children raced up and down the
asphalt paths, playing American games of tag and hide and-whoop;
larger boys passed ball, in training for potential championships. The
Marches sat and mused, or quarrelled fitfully about where they should
spend the summer, like sparrows, he once said, till the electric
lights began to show distinctly among the leaves, and they looked
round and found the infants and dotards gone and the benches filled
with lovers. That was the signal for the Marches to go home. He said
that the spectacle of so much courtship as the eye might take in there
at a glance was not, perhaps, oppressive, but the thought that at the
same hour the same thing was going on all over the country, wherever
two young fools could get together, was more than he could bear; he
did not deny that it was natural, and, in a measure. authorized, but
he declared that it was hackneyed ; and the fact that it must go on
forever, as long as the race lasted, made him tired.
At home, generally, they found that the children had not missed
them, and were perfectly safe. It was one of the advantages of a flat
that they could leave the children there whenever they liked without
anxiety. They liked better staying there than wandering about in the
evening with their parents, whose excursions seemed to them somewhat
aimless, and their pleasures insipid. They studied, or read, or
looked out of the window at the street sights; and their mother always
came back to them with a pang for their lonesomeness. Bella knew some
little girls in the house, but in a ceremonious way; Tom had formed no
friendships among the boys at school such as he had left in Boston; as
nearly as he could explain, the New York fellows carried canes at an
age when they would have had them broken for them by the other boys at
Boston; and they were both sissyish and fast. It was probably
prejudice; he never could say exactly what their demerits were, and
neither he nor Bella was apparently so homesick as they pretended,
though they answered inquirers, the one that New York was a hole, and
the other that it was horrid, and that all they lived for was to get
back to Boston. In the mean time they were thrown much upon each
other for society, which March said was well for both of them; he did
not mind their cultivating a little gloom and the sense of a common
wrong; it made them better comrades, and it was providing them with
amusing reminiscences for the future. They really enjoyed
Bohemianizing in that harmless way: though Tom had his doubts of its
respectability; he was very punctilious about his sister, and went
round from his own school every day to fetch her home from hers. The
whole family went to the theatre a good deal, and enjoyed themselves
together in their desultory explorations of the city.
They lived near Greenwich Village, and March liked strolling
through its quaintness toward the waterside on a Sunday, when a
hereditary Sabbatarianism kept his wife at home; he made her observe
that it even kept her at home from church. He found a lingering
quality of pure Americanism in the region, and he said the very bells
called to worship in a nasal tone. He liked the streets of small
brick houses, with here and there one painted red, and the mortar
lines picked out in white, and with now and then a fine wooden portal
of fluted pillars and a bowed transom. The rear of the
tenement-houses showed him the picturesqueness of clothes-lines
fluttering far aloft, as in Florence; and the new apartment-houses,
breaking the old sky-line with their towering stories, implied a life
as alien to the American manner as anything in continental Europe. In
fact, foreign faces and foreign tongues prevailed in Greenwich
Village, but no longer German or even Irish tongues or faces. The eyes
and earrings of Italians twinkled in and out of the alleyways and
basements, and they seemed to abound even in the streets, where long
ranks of trucks drawn up in Sunday rest along the curbstones suggested
the presence of a race of sturdier strength than theirs. March liked
the swarthy, strange visages; he found nothing menacing for the future
in them; for wickedness he had to satisfy himself as he could with the
sneering, insolent, clean-shaven mug of some rare American of the
b'hoy type, now almost as extinct in New York as the dodo or the
volunteer fireman. When he had found his way, among the ash-barrels
and the groups of decently dressed church-goers, to the docks, he
experienced a sufficient excitement in the recent arrival of a French
steamer, whose sheds were thronged with hacks and express-wagons, and
in a tacit inquiry into the emotions of the passengers, fresh from the
cleanliness of Paris, and now driving up through the filth of those
Some of the streets were filthier than others; there was at least a
choice; there were boxes and barrels of kitchen offal on all the
sidewalks, but not everywhere manure-heaps, and in some places the
stench was mixed with the more savory smell of cooking. One Sunday
morning, before the winter was quite gone, the sight of the frozen
refuse melting in heaps, and particularly the loathsome edges of the
rotting ice near the gutters, with the strata of waste-paper and straw
litter, and egg - shells and orange peel, potato-skins and
cigar-stumps, made him unhappy. He gave a whimsical shrug for the
squalor of the neighboring houses, and said to himself rather than the
boy who was with him: "It's curious, isn't it, how fond the poor
people are of these unpleasant thoroughfares? You always find them
living in the worst streets."
"The burden of all the wrong in the world comes on the poor," said
the boy. "Every sort of fraud and swindling hurts them the worst.
The city wastes the money it's paid to clean the streets with, and
the poor have to suffer, for they can't afford to pay twice, like the
March stopped short. "Hallo, Tom!. Is that your wisdom?"
"It's what Mr. Lindau says," answered the boy, doggedly, as if not
pleased to have his ideas mocked at, even if they were second-hand.
"And you didn't tell him that the poor lived in dirty streets
because they liked them, and were too lazy and worthless to have them
"No; I didn't."
"I'm surprised. What do you think of Lindau, generally speaking,
"Well, sir, I don't like the way he talks about some things. I
don't suppose this country is perfect, but I think it's about the best
there is, and it don't do any good to look at its drawbacks all the
"Sound, my son," said March, putting his hand on the boy's shoulder
and beginning to walk on. "Well?"
"Well, then, he says that it isn't the public frauds only that the
poor have to pay for, but they have to pay for all the vices of the
rich; that when a speculator fails, or a bank cashier defaults, or a
firm suspends, or hard times come, it's the poor who have to give up
necessaries where the rich give up luxuries."
"Well, well! And then?"
"Well, then I think the crank comes in, in Mr. Lindau. He says
there's no need of failures or frauds or hard times. It's ridiculous.
There always have been and there always will be. But if you tell him
that, it seems to make him perfectly furious."
March repeated the substance of this talk to his wife. "I'm glad
to know that Tom can see through such ravings. He has lots of good
It was the afternoon of the same Sunday, and they were sauntering
up Fifth Avenue, and admiring the wide old double houses at the lower
end; at one corner they got a distinct pleasure out of the gnarled
elbows that a pollarded wistaria leaned upon the top of a garden
wall--for its convenience in looking into the street, he said. The
line of these comfortable dwellings, once so fashionable, was
continually broken by the facades of shops; and March professed
himself vulgarized by a want of style in the people they met in their
walk to Twenty-third Street.
"Take me somewhere to meet my fellow-exclusives, Isabel," he
demanded. "I pine for the society of my peers."
He hailed a passing omnibus, and made his wife get on the roof with
him. "Think of our doing such a thing in Boston!" she sighed, with a
little shiver of satisfaction in her immunity from recognition and
"You wouldn't be afraid to do it in London or Paris?"
"No; we should be strangers there--just as we are in New York. I
wonder how long one could be a stranger here."
"Oh, indefinitely, in our way of living. The place is really vast,
so much larger than it used to seem, and so heterogeneous."
When they got down very far up-town, and began to walk back by
Madison Avenue, they found themselves in a different population from
that they dwelt among; not heterogeneous at all; very homogeneous, and
almost purely American; the only qualification was American Hebrew.
Such a well -dressed, well-satisfied, well-fed looking crowd poured
down the broad sidewalks before the handsome, stupid houses that March
could easily pretend he had got among his fellow-plutocrats at last.
Still he expressed his doubts whether this Sunday afternoon parade,
which seemed to be a thing of custom, represented the best form among
the young people of that region; he wished he knew; he blamed himself
for becoming of a fastidious conjecture; he could not deny the fashion
and the richness and the indigeneity of the spectacle; the promenaders
looked New-Yorky; they were the sort of people whom you would know for
New-Yorkers elsewhere, --so well equipped and so perfectly kept at all
points. Their silk hats shone, and their boots; their frocks had the
right distension behind, and their bonnets perfect poise and
The Marches talked of these and other facts of their appearance,
and curiously questioned whether this were the best that a great
material civilization could come to; it looked a little dull. The
men's faces were shrewd and alert, and yet they looked dull; the
women's were pretty and knowing, and yet dull. It was, probably, the
holiday expression of the vast, prosperous commercial class, with
unlimited money, and no ideals that money could not realize; fashion
and comfort were all that they desired to compass, and the culture
that furnishes showily, that decorates and that tells; the culture,
say, of plays and operas, rather than books.
Perhaps the observers did the promenaders injustice; they might not
have been as common-minded as they looked. "But," March said, "I
understand now why the poor people don't come up here and live in this
clean, handsome, respectable quarter of the town; they would be bored
to death. On the whole, I think I should prefer Mott Street myself."
In other walks the Marches tried to find some of the streets they
had wandered through the first day of their wedding journey in New
York, so long ago. They could not make sure of them; but once they ran
down to the Battery, and easily made sure of that, though not in its
old aspect. They recalled the hot morning, when they sauntered over
the trodden weed that covered the sickly grass-plots there, and
sentimentalized the sweltering paupers who had crept out of the
squalid tenements about for a breath of air after a sleepless night.
Now the paupers were gone, and where the old mansions that had fallen
to their use once stood, there towered aloft and abroad those heights
and masses of many-storied brick- work for which architecture has yet
no proper form and aesthetics no name. The trees and shrubs, all in
their young spring green, blew briskly over the guarded turf in the
south wind that came up over the water; and in the well-paved alleys
the ghosts of eighteenth-century fashion might have met each other in
their old haunts, and exchanged stately congratulations upon its
vastly bettered condition, and perhaps puzzled a little over the
colossal lady on Bedloe's Island, with her lifted torch, and still
more over the curving tracks and chalet-stations of the Elevated road.
It is an outlook of unrivalled beauty across the bay, that smokes and
flashes with the in numerable stacks and sails of commerce, to the
hills beyond, where the moving forest of masts halts at the shore, and
roots itself in the groves of the many villaged uplands. The Marches
paid the charming prospects a willing duty, and rejoiced in it as
generously as if it had been their own. Perhaps it was, they decided.
He said people owned more things in common than they were apt to
think; and they drew the consolations of proprietorship from the
excellent management of Castle Garden, which they penetrated for a
moment's glimpse of the huge rotunda, where the immigrants first set
foot on our continent. It warmed their hearts, so easily moved to any
cheap sympathy, to see the friendly care the nation took of these
humble guests; they found it even pathetic to hear the proper
authority calling out the names of such as had kin or acquaintance
waiting there to meet them. No one appeared troubled or anxious; the
officials had a conscientious civility; the government seemed to
manage their welcome as well as a private company or corporation could
have done. In fact, it was after the simple strangers had left the
government care that March feared their woes might begin; and he would
have liked the government to follow each of them to his home, wherever
he meant to fix it within our borders. He made note of the looks of
the licensed runners and touters waiting for the immigrants outside
the government premises; he intended to work them up into a dramatic
effect in some sketch, but they remained mere material in his
memorandum-book, together with some quaint old houses on the Sixth
Avenue road, which he had noticed on the way down. On the way up,
these were superseded in his regard by some hip-roof structures on the
Ninth Avenue, which he thought more Dutch-looking. The perspectives of
the cross-streets toward the river were very lively, with their
turmoil of trucks and cars and carts and hacks and foot passengers,
ending in the chimneys and masts of shipping, and final gleams of
dancing water. At a very noisy corner, clangorous with some sort of
ironworking, he made his wife enjoy with him the quiet sarcasm of an
inn that called itself the Home-like Hotel, and he speculated at
fantastic length on the gentle associations of one who should have
passed his youth under its roof.
First and last, the Marches did a good deal of travel on the
Elevated roads, which, he said, gave you such glimpses of material
aspects in the city as some violent invasion of others' lives might
afford in human nature. Once, when the impulse of adventure was very
strong in them, they went quite the length of the West Side lines, and
saw the city pushing its way by irregular advances into the country.
Some spaces, probably held by the owners for that rise in value which
the industry of others providentially gives to the land of the wise
and good, it left vacant comparatively far down the road, and built up
others at remoter points. It was a world of lofty apartment houses
beyond the Park, springing up in isolated blocks, with stretches of
invaded rusticity between, and here and there an old country-seat
standing dusty in its budding vines with the ground before it in rocky
upheaval for city foundations. But wherever it went or wherever it
paused, New York gave its peculiar stamp; and the adventurers were
amused to find One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street inchoately like
Twenty-third Street and Fourteenth Street in its shops and shoppers.
The butchers' shops and milliners' shops on the avenue might as well
have been at Tenth as at One Hundredth Street.
The adventurers were not often so adventurous. They recognized
that in their willingness to let their fancy range for them, and to
let speculation do the work of inquiry, they were no longer young.
Their point of view was singularly unchanged, and their impressions
of New York remained the same that they had been fifteen years before:
huge, noisy, ugly, kindly, it seemed to them now as it seemed then.
The main difference was that they saw it more now as a life, and then
they only regarded it as a spectacle; and March could not release
himself from a sense of complicity with it, no matter what whimsical,
or alien, or critical attitude he took. A sense of the striving and
the suffering deeply possessed him; and this grew the more intense as
he gained some knowledge of the forces at work-forces of pity, of
destruction, of perdition, of salvation. He wandered about on Sunday
not only through the streets, but into this tabernacle and that, as
the spirit moved him, and listened to those who dealt with
Christianity as a system of economics as well as a religion. He could
not get his wife to go with him; she listened to his report of what he
heard, and trembled; it all seemed fantastic and menacing. She
lamented the literary peace, the intellectual refinement of the life
they had left behind them; and he owned it was very pretty, but he
said it was not life--it was death-in- life. She liked to hear him
talk in that strain of virtuous self- denunciation, but she asked him,
"Which of your prophets are you going to follow?" and he answered:
"All-all! And a fresh one every Sunday." And so they got their laugh
out of it at last, but with some sadness at heart, and with a dim
consciousness that they had got their laugh out of too many things in
What really occupied and compassed his activities, in spite of his
strenuous reveries of work beyond it, was his editorship. On its
social side it had not fulfilled all the expectations which
Fulkerson's radiant sketch of its duties and relations had caused him
to form of it. Most of the contributions came from a distance; even
the articles written in New York reached him through the post, and so
far from having his valuable time, as they called it, consumed in
interviews with his collaborators, he rarely saw any of them. The boy
on the stairs, who was to fence him from importunate visitors, led a
life of luxurious disoccupation, and whistled almost uninterruptedly.
When any one came, March found himself embarrassed and a little
anxious. The visitors were usually young men, terribly respectful,
but cherishing, as he imagined, ideals and opinions chasmally
different from his; and he felt in their presence something like an
anachronism, something like a fraud. He tried to freshen up his
sympathies on them, to get at what they were really thinking and
feeling, and it was some time before he could understand that they
were not really thinking and feeling anything of their own concerning
their art, but were necessarily, in their quality of young,
inexperienced men, mere acceptants of older men's thoughts and
feelings, whether they were tremendously conservative, as some were,
or tremendously progressive, as others were. Certain of them called
themselves realists, certain romanticists; but none of them seemed to
know what realism was, or what romanticism; they apparently supposed
the difference a difference of material. March had imagined himself
taking home to lunch or dinner the aspirants for editorial favor whom
he liked, whether he liked their work or not; but this was not an easy
matter. Those who were at all interesting seemed to have engagements
and preoccupations; after two or three experiments with the bashfuller
sort--those who had come up to the metropolis with manuscripts in
their hands, in the good old literary tradition--he wondered whether
he was otherwise like them when he was young like them. He could not
flatter himself that he was not; and yet he had a hope that the world
had grown worse since his time, which his wife encouraged:
Mrs. March was not eager to pursue the hospitalities which she had
at first imagined essential to the literary prosperity of 'Every Other
Week'; her family sufficed her; she would willingly have seen no one
out of it but the strangers at the weekly table-d'hote dinner, or the
audiences at the theatres. March's devotion to his work made him
reluctant to delegate it to any one; and as the summer advanced, and
the question of where to go grew more vexed, he showed a man's base
willingness to shirk it for himself by not going anywhere. He asked
his wife why she did not go somewhere with the children, and he joined
her in a search for non-malarial regions on the map when she consented
to entertain this notion. But when it came to the point she would not
go; he offered to go with her then, and then she would not let him.
She said she knew he would be anxious about his work; he protested
that he could take it with him to any distance within a few hours, but
she would not be persuaded. She would rather he stayed; the effect
would be better with Mr. Fulkerson; they could make excursions, and
they could all get off a week or two to the seashore near Boston--the
only real seashore--in August. The excursions were practically
confined to a single day at Coney Island; and once they got as far as
Boston on the way to the seashore near Boston; that is, Mrs. March and
the children went; an editorial exigency kept March at the last
moment. The Boston streets seemed very queer and clean and empty to
the children, and the buildings little; in the horse-cars the Boston
faces seemed to arraign their mother with a down-drawn severity that
made her feel very guilty. She knew that this was merely the Puritan
mask, the cast of a dead civilization, which people of very amiable
and tolerant minds were doomed to wear, and she sighed to think that
less than a year of the heterogeneous gayety of New York should have
made her afraid of it. The sky seemed cold and gray; the east wind,
which she had always thought so delicious in summer, cut her to the
heart. She took her children up to the South End, and in the pretty
square where they used to live they stood before their alienated home,
and looked up at its close-shuttered windows. The tenants must have
been away, but Mrs. March had not the courage to ring and make sure,
though she had always promised herself that she would go all over the
house when she came back, and see how they had used it; she could
pretend a desire for something she wished to take away. She knew she
could not bear it now; and the children did not seem eager. She did
not push on to the seaside; it would be forlorn there without their
father; she was glad to go back to him in the immense, friendly
homelessness of New York, and hold him answerable for the change, in
her heart or her mind, which made its shapeless tumult a refuge and a
She found that he had been giving the cook a holiday, and dining
about hither and thither with Fulkerson. Once he had dined with him
at the widow's (as they always called Mrs. Leighton), and then had
spent the evening there, and smoked with Fulkerson and Colonel
Woodburn on the gallery overlooking the back yard. They were all
spending the summer in New York. The widow had got so good an offer
for her house at St. Barnaby for the summer that she could not refuse
it; and the Woodburns found New York a watering-place of exemplary
coolness after the burning Augusts and Septembers of Charlottesburg.
"You can stand it well enough in our climate, sir," the colonel
explained, "till you come to the September heat, that sometimes runs
well into October; and then you begin to lose your temper, sir. It's
never quite so hot as it is in New York at times, but it's hot longer,
sir." He alleged, as if something of the sort were necessary, the
example of a famous Southwestern editor who spent all his summers in a
New York hotel as the most luxurious retreat on the continent,
consulting the weather forecasts, and running off on torrid days to
the mountains or the sea, and then hurrying back at the promise of
cooler weather. The colonel had not found it necessary to do this
yet; and he had been reluctant to leave town, where he was working up
a branch of the inquiry which had so long occupied him, in the
libraries, and studying the great problem of labor and poverty as it
continually presented itself to him in the streets. He said that he
talked with all sorts of people, whom he found monstrously civil, if
you took them in the right way; and he went everywhere in the city
without fear and apparently without danger. March could not find out
that he had ridden his hobby into the homes of want which he visited,
or had proposed their enslavement to the inmates as a short and simple
solution of the great question of their lives; he appeared to have
contented himself with the collection of facts for the persuasion of
the cultivated classes. It seemed to March a confirmation of this
impression that the colonel should address his deductions from these
facts so unsparingly to him; he listened with a respectful patience,
for which Fulkerson afterward personally thanked him. Fulkerson said
it was not often the colonel found such a good listener; generally
nobody listened but Mrs. Leighton, who thought his ideas were
shocking, but honored him for holding them so conscientiously.
Fulkerson was glad that March, as the literary department, had
treated the old gentleman so well, because there was an open feud
between him and the art department. Beaton was outrageously rude,
Fulkerson must say; though as for that, the old colonel seemed quite
able to take care of himself, and gave Beaton an unqualified contempt
in return for his unmannerliness. The worst of it was, it distressed
the old lady so; she admired Beaton as much as she respected the
colonel, and she admired Beaton, Fulkerson thought, rather more than
Miss Leighton did; he asked March if he had noticed them together.
March had noticed them, but without any very definite impression
except that Beaton seemed to give the whole evening to the girl.
Afterward he recollected that he had fancied her rather harassed by
his devotion, and it was this point that he wished to present for his
"Girls often put on that air," she said. "It's one of their ways
of teasing. But then, if the man was really very much in love, and
she was only enough in love to be uncertain of herself, she might very
well seem troubled. It would be a very serious question. Girls often
don't know what to do in such a case."
"Yes," said March, "I've often been glad that I was not a girl, on
that account. But I guess that on general principles Beaton is not
more in love than she is. I couldn't imagine that young man being
more in love with anybody, unless it was himself. He might be more in
love with himself than any one else was."
"Well, he doesn't interest me a great deal, and I can't say Miss
Leighton does, either. I think she can take care of herself. She has
herself very well in hand."
"Why so censorious?" pleaded March. "I don't defend her for
having herself in hand; but is it a fault?"
Mrs. March did not say. She asked, "And how does Mr. Fulkerson's
affair get on?"
"His affair? You really think it is one? Well, I've fancied so
myself, and I've had an idea of some time asking him; Fulkerson
strikes one as truly domesticable, conjugable at heart; but I've
waited for him to speak."
"I should think so."
"Yes. He's never opened on the subject yet. Do you know, I think
Fulkerson has his moments of delicacy."
"Moments! He's all delicacy in regard to women."
"Well, perhaps so. There is nothing in them to rouse his
The Dryfoos family stayed in town till August. Then the father went
West again to look after his interests; and Mrs. Mandel took the two
girls to one of the great hotels in Saratoga. Fulkerson said that he
had never seen anything like Saratoga for fashion, and Mrs. Mandel
remembered that in her own young ladyhood this was so for at least
some weeks of the year. She had been too far withdrawn from fashion
since her marriage to know whether it was still so or not. In this,
as in so many other matters, the Dryfoos family helplessly relied upon
Fulkerson, in spite of Dryfoos's angry determination that he should
not run the family, and in spite of Christine's doubt of his
omniscience; if he did not know everything, she was aware that he knew
more than herself. She thought that they had a right to have him go
with them to Saratoga, or at least go up and engage their rooms
beforehand; but Fulkerson did not offer to do either, and she did not
quite see her way to commanding his services. The young ladies took
what Mela called splendid dresses with them; they sat in the park of
tall, slim trees which the hotel's quadrangle enclosed, and listened
to the music in the morning, or on the long piazza in the afternoon
and looked at the driving in the street, or in the vast parlors by
night, where all the other ladies were, and they felt that they were
of the best there. But they knew nobody, and Mrs. Mandel was so
particular that Mela was prevented from continuing the acquaintance
even of the few young men who danced with her at the Saturday-night
hops. They drove about, but they went to places without knowing why,
except that the carriage man took them, and they had all the
privileges of a proud exclusivism without desiring them. Once a
motherly matron seemed to perceive their isolation, and made overtures
to them, but then desisted, as if repelled by Christine's suspicion,
or by Mela's too instant and hilarious good-fellowship, which
expressed itself in hoarse laughter and in a flow of talk full of
topical and syntactical freedom. From time to time she offered to bet
Christine that if Mr. Fulkerson was only there they would have a good
time; she wondered what they were all doing in New York, where she
wished herself; she rallied her sister about Beaton, and asked her why
she did not write and tell him to come up there.
Mela knew that Christine had expected Beaton to follow them. Some
banter had passed between them to this effect; he said he should take
them in on his way home to Syracuse. Christine would not have
hesitated to write to him and remind him of his promise; but she had
learned to distrust her literature with Beaton since he had laughed at
the spelling in a scrap of writing which dropped out of her music-book
one night. She believed that he would not have laughed if he had
known it was hers; but she felt that she could hide better the
deficiencies which were not committed to paper; she could manage with
him in talking; she was too ignorant of her ignorance to recognize the
mistakes she made then. Through her own passion she perceived that
she had some kind of fascination for him; she was graceful, and she
thought it must be that; she did not understand that there was a kind
of beauty in her small, irregular features that piqued and haunted his
artistic sense, and a look in her black eyes beyond her intelligence
and intention. Once he sketched her as they sat together, and
flattered the portrait without getting what he wanted in it; he said
he must try her some time in color; and he said things which, when she
made Mela repeat them, could only mean that he admired her more than
anybody else. He came fitfully, but he came often, and she rested
content in a girl's indefiniteness concerning the affair; if her
thought went beyond lovemaking to marriage, she believed that she
could have him if she wanted him. Her father's money counted in this;
she divined that Beaton was poor; but that made no difference; she
would have enough for both; the money would have counted as an
irresistible attraction if there had been no other.
The affair had gone on in spite of the sidelong looks of restless
dislike with which Dryfoos regarded it; but now when Beaton did not
come to Saratoga it necessarily dropped, and Christine's content with
it. She bore the trial as long as she could; she used pride and
resentment against it; but at last she could not bear it, and with
Mela's help she wrote a letter, bantering Beaton on his stay in New
York, and playfully boasting of Saratoga. It seemed to them both that
it was a very bright letter, and would be sure to bring him; they
would have had no scruple about sending it but for the doubt they had
whether they had got some of the words right. Mela offered to bet
Christine anything she dared that they were right, and she said, Send
it anyway; it was no difference if they were wrong. But Christine
could not endure to think of that laugh of Beaton's, and there
remained only Mrs. Mandel as authority on the spelling. Christine
dreaded her authority on other points, but Mela said she knew she
would not interfere, and she undertook to get round her. Mrs. Mandel
pronounced the spelling bad, and the taste worse; she forbade them to
send the letter; and Mela failed to get round her, though she
threatened, if Mrs. Mandel would not tell her how to spell the wrong
words, that she would send the letter as it was; then Mrs. Mandel said
that if Mr. Beaton appeared in Saratoga she would instantly take them
both home. When Mela reported this result, Christine accused her of
having mismanaged the whole business; she quarrelled with her, and
they called each other names. Christine declared that she would not
stay in Saratoga, and that if Mrs. Mandel did not go back to New York
with her she should go alone. They returned the first week in
September; but by that time Beaton had gone to see his people in
Conrad Dryfoos remained at home with his mother after his father
went West. He had already taken such a vacation as he had been
willing to allow himself, and had spent it on a charity farm near the
city, where the fathers with whom he worked among the poor on the East
Side in the winter had sent some of their wards for the summer. It
was not possible to keep his recreation a secret at the office, and
Fulkerson found a pleasure in figuring the jolly time Brother Conrad
must have teaching farm work among those paupers and potential
reprobates. He invented details of his experience among them, and
March could not always help joining in the laugh at Conrad's humorless
helplessness under Fulkerson's burlesque denunciation of a summer
outing spent in such dissipation.
They had time for a great deal of joking at the office during the
season of leisure which penetrates in August to the very heart of
business, and they all got on terms of greater intimacy if not greater
friendliness than before. Fulkerson had not had so long to do with
the advertising side of human nature without developing a vein of
cynicism, of no great depth, perhaps, but broad, and underlying his
whole point of view; he made light of Beaton's solemnity, as he made
light of Conrad's humanity. The art editor, with abundant sarcasm, had
no more humor than the publisher, and was an easy prey in the
manager's hands; but when he had been led on by Fulkerson's flatteries
to make some betrayal of egotism, he brooded over it till he had
thought how to revenge himself in elaborate insult. For Beaton's
talent Fulkerson never lost his admiration; but his joke was to
encourage him to give himself airs of being the sole source of the
magazine's prosperity. No bait of this sort was too obvious for
Beaton to swallow; he could be caught with it as often as Fulkerson
chose; though he was ordinarily suspicious as to the motives of people
in saying things. With March he got on no better than at first. He
seemed to be lying in wait for some encroachment of the literary
department on the art department, and he met it now and then with
anticipative reprisal. After these rebuffs, the editor delivered him
over to the manager, who could turn Beaton's contrary-mindedness to
account by asking the reverse of what he really wanted done. This was
what Fulkerson said; the fact was that he did get on with Beaton and
March contented himself with musing upon the contradictions of a
character at once so vain and so offensive, so fickle and so sullen,
so conscious and so simple.
After the first jarring contact with Dryfoos, the editor ceased to
feel the disagreeable fact of the old man's mastery of the financial
situation. None of the chances which might have made it painful
occurred; the control of the whole affair remained in Fulkerson's
hands; before he went West again, Dryfoos had ceased to come about the
office, as if, having once worn off the novelty of the sense of owning
a literary periodical, he was no longer interested in it.
Yet it was a relief, somehow, when he left town, which he did not
do without coming to take a formal leave of the editor at his office.
He seemed willing to leave March with a better impression than he had
hitherto troubled himself to make; he even said some civil things
about the magazine, as if its success pleased him; and he spoke openly
to March of his hope that his son would finally become interested in
it to the exclusion of the hopes and purposes which divided them. It
seemed to March that in the old man's warped and toughened heart he
perceived a disappointed love for his son greater than for his other
children; but this might have been fancy. Lindau came in with some
copy while Dryfoos was there, and March introduced them. When Lindau
went out, March explained to Dryfoos that he had lost his hand in the
war; and he told him something of Lindau's career as he had known it.
Dryfoos appeared greatly pleased that 'Every Other Week' was giving
Lindau work. He said that he had helped to enlist a good many fellows
for the war, and had paid money to fill up the Moffitt County quota
under the later calls for troops. He had never been an Abolitionist,
but he had joined the Anti- Nebraska party in '55, and he had voted
for Fremont and for every Republican President since then.
At his own house March saw more of Lindau than of any other
contributor, but the old man seemed to think that he must transact all
his business with March at his place of business. The transaction had
some peculiarities which perhaps made this necessary. Lindau always
expected to receive his money when he brought his copy, as an
acknowledgment of the immediate right of the laborer to his hire; and
he would not take it in a check because he did not approve of banks,
and regarded the whole system of banking as the capitalistic
manipulation of the people's money. He would receive his pay only from
March's hand, because he wished to be understood as working for him,
and honestly earning money honestly earned; and sometimes March
inwardly winced a little at letting the old man share the increase of
capital won by such speculation as Dryfoos's, but he shook off the
feeling. As the summer advanced, and the artists and classes that
employed Lindau as a model left town one after another, he gave
largely of his increasing leisure to the people in the office of
'Every Other Week.' It was pleasant for March to see the respect with
which Conrad Dryfoos always used him, for the sake of his hurt and his
gray beard. There was something delicate and fine in it, and there
was nothing unkindly on Fulkerson's part in the hostilities which
usually passed between himself and Lindau. Fulkerson bore himself
reverently at times, too, but it was not in him to keep that up,
especially when Lindau appeared with more beer aboard than, as
Fulkerson said, he could manage shipshape. On these occasions
Fulkerson always tried to start him on the theme of the unduly rich;
he made himself the champion of monopolies, and enjoyed the invectives
which Lindau heaped upon him as a slave of capital; he said that it
did him good.
One day, with the usual show of writhing under Lindau's scorn, he
said, "Well, I understand that although you despise me now, Lindau--"
"I ton't desbise you," the old man broke in, his nostrils swelling
and his eyes flaming with excitement, "I bity you."
"Well, it seems to come to the same thing in the end," said
Fulkerson. "What I understand is that you pity me now as the slave of
capital, but you would pity me a great deal more if I was the master
"How you mean?"
"If I was rich."
"That would tebendt," said Lindau, trying to control himself. "If
you hat inheritedt your money, you might pe innocent; but if you hat
mate it, efery man that resbectedt himself would haf to ask how you
mate it, and if you hat mate moch, he would know--"
"Hold on; hold on, now, Lindau! Ain't that rather un-American
doctrine? We're all brought up, ain't we, to honor the man that made
his money, and look down--or try to look down; sometimes it's
difficult on the fellow that his father left it to?"
The old man rose and struck his breast. "On Amerigan!" he roared,
and, as he went on, his accent grew more and more uncertain. "What
iss Amerigan? Dere iss no Ameriga any more! You start here free and
brafe, and you glaim for efery man de right to life, liperty, and de
bursuit of habbiness. And where haf you entedt? No man that vorks
vith his handts among you has the liperty to bursue his habbiness. He
iss the slafe of some richer man, some gompany, some gorporation, dat
crindt him down to the least he can lif on, and that rops him of the
marchin of his earnings that he knight pe habby on. Oh, you
Amerigans, you haf cot it down goldt, as you say! You ton't puy
foters; you puy lechislatures and goncressmen; you puy gourts; you puy
gombetitors; you pay infentors not to infent; you atfertise, and the
gounting-room sees dat de etitorial- room toesn't tink."
"Yes, we've got a little arrangement of that sort with March here,"
"Oh, I am sawry," said the old man, contritely, "I meant noting
bersonal. I ton't tink we are all cuilty or gorrubt, and efen among
the rich there are goodt men. But gabidal"--his passion rose again"
where you find gabidal, millions of money that a man hass cot togeder
in fife, ten, twenty years, you findt the smell of tears and ploodt!
Dat iss what I say. And you cot to loog oudt for yourself when you
meet a rich man whether you meet an honest man."
"Well," said Fulkerson, "I wish I was a subject of suspicion with
you, Lindau. By-the-way," he added, "I understand that you think
capital was at the bottom of the veto of that pension of yours."
"What bension? What feto?" --The old man flamed up again. "No
bension of mine was efer fetoedt. I renounce my bension, begause I
would sgorn to dake money from a gofernment that I ton't peliefe in
any more. Where you hear that story?"
"Well, I don't know," said Fulkerson, rather embarrassed. "It's
"It's a gommon lie, then! When the time gome dat dis iss a free
gountry again, then I dake a bension again for my woundts; but I would
sdarfe before I dake a bension now from a rebublic dat iss bought oap
by monobolies, and ron by drusts and gompines, and railroadts andt oil
"Look out, Lindau," said Fulkerson. "You bite yourself mit dat dog
some day." But when the old man, with a ferocious gesture of
renunciation, whirled out of the place, he added: "I guess I went a
little too far that time. I touched him on a sore place; I didn't
mean to; I heard some talk about his pension being vetoed from Miss
Leighton." He addressed these exculpations to March's grave face, and
to the pitying deprecation in the eyes of Conrad Dryfoos, whom
Lindau's roaring wrath had summoned to the door. "But I'll make it
all right with him the next time he comes. I didn't know he was
loaded, or I wouldn't have monkeyed with him."
"Lindau does himself injustice when he gets to talking in that
way," said March. "I hate to hear him. He's as good an American as
any of us; and it's only because he has too high an ideal of us--"
"Oh, go on! Rub it in--rub it in!" cried Fulkerson, clutching his
hair in suffering, which was not altogether burlesque. "How did I
know he had renounced his 'bension'? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't know it myself. I only knew that he had none, and I
didn't ask, for I had a notion that it might be a painful subject."
Fulkerson tried to turn it off lightly. "Well, he's a noble old
fellow; pity he drinks." March would not smile, and Fulkerson broke
out: "Dog on it! I'll make it up to the old fool the next time he
comes. I don't like that dynamite talk of his; but any man that's
given his hand to the country has got mine in his grip for good. Why,
March! You don't suppose I wanted to hurt his feelings, do you?"
"Why, of course not, Fulkerson."
But they could not get away from a certain ruefulness for that
time, and in the evening Fulkerson came round to March's to say that
he had got Lindau's address from Conrad, and had looked him up at his
"Well, there isn't so much bric-a-brac there, quite, as Mrs. Green
left you; but I've made it all right with Lindau, as far as I'm
concerned. I told him I didn't know when I spoke that way, and I
honored him for sticking to his 'brinciples'; I don't believe in his '
brincibles'; and we wept on each other's necks--at least, he did.
Dogged if he didn't kiss me before I knew what he was up to. He said
I was his chenerous gong friendt, and he begged my barton if he had
said anything to wound me. I tell you it was an affecting scene,
March; and rats enough round in that old barracks where he lives to
fit out a first-class case of delirium tremens. What does he stay
there for? He's not obliged to?"
Lindau's reasons, as March repeated them, affected Fulkerson as
deliciously comical; but after that he confined his pleasantries at
the office to Beaton and Conrad Dryfoos, or, as he said, he spent the
rest of the summer in keeping Lindau smoothed up.
It is doubtful if Lindau altogether liked this as well. Perhaps he
missed the occasions Fulkerson used to give him of bursting out
against the millionaires; and he could not well go on denouncing as
the slafe of gabidal a man who had behaved to him as Fulkerson had
done, though Fulkerson's servile relations to capital had been in
nowise changed by his nople gonduct.
Their relations continued to wear this irksome character of mutual
forbearance; and when Dryfoos returned in October and Fulkerson
revived the question of that dinner in celebration of the success of
'Every Other Week,' he carried his complaisance to an extreme that
alarmed March for the consequences.
"You see," Fulkerson explained, "I find that the old man has got an
idea of his own about that banquet, and I guess there's some sense in
it. He wants to have a preliminary little dinner, where we can talk
the thing up first-half a dozen of us; and he wants to give us the
dinner at his house. Well, that's no harm. I don't believe the old
man ever gave a dinner, and he'd like to show off a little; there's a
good deal of human nature in the old man, after all. He thought of
you, of course, and Colonel Woodburn, and Beaton, and me at the foot
of the table; and Conrad; and I suggested Kendricks: he's such a nice
little chap; and the old man himself brought up the idea of Lindau.
He said you told him something about him, and he asked why couldn't
we have him, too; and I jumped at it."
"Have Lindau to dinner?" asked March.
"Certainly; why not? Father Dryfoos has a notion of paying the old
fellow a compliment for what he done for the country. There won't be
any trouble about it. You can sit alongside of him, and cut up his
meat for him, and help him to things--"
"Yes, but it won't do, Fulkerson! I don't believe Lindau ever had
on a dress-coat in his life, and I don't believe his 'brincibles'
would let him wear one."
"Well, neither had Dryfoos, for the matter of that. He's as high-
principled as old Pan-Electric himself, when it comes to a
dress-coat," said Fulkerson. "We're all going to go in business
dress; the old man stipulated for that.
"It isn't the dress-coat alone," March resumed. "Lindau and
Dryfoos wouldn't get on. You know they're opposite poles in
everything. You mustn't do it. Dryfoos will be sure to say something
to outrage Lindau's 'brincibles,' and there'll be an explosion. It's
all well enough for Dryfoos to feel grateful to Lindau, and his wish
to honor him does him credit; but to have Lindau to dinner isn't the
way. At the best, the old fellow would be very unhappy in such a
house; he would have a bad conscience; and I should be sorry to have
him feel that he'd been recreant to his 'brincibles'; they're about
all he's got, and whatever we think of them, we're bound to respect
his fidelity to them." March warmed toward Lindau in taking this view
of him. "I should feel ashamed if I didn't protest against his being
put in a false position. After all, he's my old friend, and I
shouldn't like to have him do himself injustice if he is a crank."
"Of course," said Fulkerson, with some trouble in his face. "I
appreciate your feeling. But there ain't any danger," he added,
buoyantly. "Anyhow, you spoke too late, as the Irishman said to the
chicken when he swallowed him in a fresh egg. I've asked Lindau, and
he's accepted with blayzure; that's what he says."
March made no other comment than a shrug.
"You'll see," Fulkerson continued, "it 'll go off all right. I'll
engage to make it, and I won't hold anybody else responsible."
In the course of his married life March had learned not to censure
the irretrievable; but this was just what his wife had not learned;
and she poured out so much astonishment at what Fulkerson had done,
and so much disapproval, that March began to palliate the situation a
"After all, it isn't a question of life and death; and, if it were,
I don't see how it's to be helped now."
"Oh, it's not to be helped now. But I am surprised at Mr.
"Well, Fulkerson has his moments of being merely human, too."
Mrs. March would not deign a direct defence of her favorite.
"Well, I'm glad there are not to be ladies."
"I don't know. Dryfoos thought of having ladies, but it seems your
infallible Fulkerson overruled him. Their presence might have kept
Lindau and our host in bounds."
It had become part of the Marches' conjugal joke for him to pretend
that she could allow nothing wrong in Fulkerson, and he now laughed
with a mocking air of having expected it when she said: "Well, then,
if Mr. Fulkerson says he will see that it all comes out right, I
suppose you must trust his tact. I wouldn't trust yours, Basil. The
first wrong step was taken when Mr. Lindau was asked to help on the
"Well, it was your infallible Fulkerson that took the step, or at
least suggested it. I'm happy to say I had totally forgotten my early
Mrs. March was daunted and silenced for a moment. Then she said:
"Oh, pshaw ! You know well enough he did it to please you."
"I'm very glad he didn't do it to please you, Isabel," said her
husband, with affected seriousness. "Though perhaps he did."
He began to look at the humorous aspect of the affair, which it
certainly had, and to comment on the singular incongruities which
'Every Other Week' was destined to involve at every moment of its
career. "I wonder if I'm mistaken in supposing that no other
periodical was ever like it. Perhaps all periodicals are like it.
But I don't believe there's another publication in New York that
could bring together, in honor of itself, a fraternity and equality
crank like poor old Lindau, and a belated sociological crank like
Woodburn, and a truculent speculator like old Dryfoos, and a
humanitarian dreamer like young Dryfoos, and a sentimentalist like me,
and a nondescript like Beaton, and a pure advertising essence like
Fulkerson, and a society spirit like Kendricks. If we could only
allow one another to talk uninterruptedly all the time, the dinner
would be the greatest success in the world, and we should come home
full of the highest mutual respect. But I suspect we can't manage
that--even your infallible Fulkerson couldn't work it--and I'm afraid
that there'll be some listening that 'll spoil the pleasure of the
March was so well pleased with this view of the case that he
suggested the idea involved to Fulkerson. Fulkerson was too good a
fellow not to laugh at another man's joke, but he laughed a little
ruefully, and he seemed worn with more than one kind of care in the
interval that passed between the present time and the night of the
Dryfoos necessarily depended upon him for advice concerning the
scope and nature of the dinner, but he received the advice
suspiciously, and contested points of obvious propriety with
pertinacious stupidity. Fulkerson said that when it came to the point
he would rather have had the thing, as he called it, at Delmonico's or
some other restaurant; but when he found that Dryfoos's pride was
bound up in having it at his own house, he gave way to him. Dryfoos
also wanted his woman-cook to prepare the dinner, but Fulkerson
persuaded him that this would not do; he must have it from a caterer.
Then Dryfoos wanted his maids to wait at table, but Fulkerson
convinced him that this would be incongruous at a man's dinner. It
was decided that the dinner should be sent in from Frescobaldi's, and
Dryfoos went with Fulkerson to discuss it with the caterer. He
insisted upon having everything explained to him, and the reason for
having it, and not something else in its place; and he treated
Fulkerson and Frescobaldi as if they were in league to impose upon
him. There were moments when Fulkerson saw the varnish of professional
politeness cracking on the Neapolitan's volcanic surface, and caught a
glimpse of the lava fires of the cook's nature beneath; he trembled
for Dryfoos, who was walking rough-shod over him in the security of an
American who had known how to make his money, and must know how to
spend it; but he got him safely away at last, and gave Frescobaldi a
wink of sympathy for his shrug of exhaustion as they turned to leave
It was at first a relief and then an anxiety with Fulkerson that
Lindau did not come about after accepting the invitation to dinner,
until he appeared at Dryfoos's house, prompt to the hour. There was,
to be sure, nothing to bring him; but Fulkerson was uneasily aware
that Dryfoos expected to meet him at the office, and perhaps receive
some verbal acknowledgment of the honor done him. Dryfoos, he could
see, thought he was doing all his invited guests a favor; and while he
stood in a certain awe of them as people of much greater social
experience than himself, regarded them with a kind of contempt, as
people who were going to have a better dinner at his house than they
could ever afford to have at their own. He had finally not spared
expense upon it; after pushing Frescobaldi to the point of eruption
with his misgivings and suspicions at the first interview, he had gone
to him a second time alone, and told him not to let the money stand
between him and anything he would like to do. In the absence of
Frescobaldi's fellow-conspirator he restored himself in the caterer's
esteem by adding whatever he suggested; and Fulkerson, after trembling
for the old man's niggardliness, was now afraid of a fantastic
profusion in the feast. Dryfoos had reduced the scale of the banquet
as regarded the number of guests, but a confusing remembrance of what
Fulkerson had wished to do remained with him in part, and up to the
day of the dinner he dropped in at Frescobaldi's and ordered more
dishes and more of them. He impressed the Italian as an American
original of a novel kind; and when he asked Fulkerson how Dryfoos had
made his money, and learned that it was primarily in natural gas, he
made note of some of his eccentric tastes as peculiarities that were
to be caressed in any future natural-gas millionaire who might fall
into his hands. He did not begrudge the time he had to give in
explaining to Dryfoos the relation of the different wines to the
different dishes; Dryfoos was apt to substitute a costlier wine where
he could for a cheaper one, and he gave Frescobaldi carte blanche for
the decoration of the table with pieces of artistic confectionery.
Among these the caterer designed one for a surprise to his patron and
a delicate recognition of the source of his wealth, which he found
Dryfoos very willing to talk about, when he intimated that he knew
what it was.
Dryfoos left it to Fulkerson to invite the guests, and he found
ready acceptance of his politeness from Kendricks, who rightly
regarded the dinner as a part of the 'Every Other Week' business, and
was too sweet and kind-hearted, anyway, not to seem very glad to come.
March was a matter of course; but in Colonel Woodburn, Fulkerson
encountered a reluctance which embarrassed him the more because he was
conscious of having, for motives of his own, rather strained a point
in suggesting the colonel to Dryfoos as a fit subject for invitation.
There had been only one of the colonel's articles printed as yet, and
though it had made a sensation in its way, and started the talk about
that number, still it did not fairly constitute him a member of the
staff, or even entitle him to recognition as a regular contributor.
Fulkerson felt so sure of pleasing him with Dryfoos's message that he
delivered it in full family council at the widow's. His daughter
received it with all the enthusiasm that Fulkerson had hoped for, but
the colonel said, stiffly, "I have not the pleasure of knowing Mr.
Dryfoos." Miss Woodburn appeared ready to fall upon him at this, but
controlled herself, as if aware that filial authority had its limits,
and pressed her lips together without saying anything.
"Yes, I know," Fulkerson admitted. "But it isn't a usual case.
Mr. Dryfoos don't go in much for the conventionalities; I reckon he
don't know much about 'em, come to boil it down; and he hoped"--here
Fulkerson felt the necessity of inventing a little--"that you would
excuse any want of ceremony; it's to be such an informal affair,
anyway; we're all going in business dress, and there ain't going to be
any ladies. He'd have come himself to ask you, but he's a kind of a
bashful old fellow. It's all right, Colonel Woodburn."
"I take it that it is, sir," said the colonel, courteously, but
with unabated state, "coming from you. But in these matters we have
no right to burden our friends with our decisions."
"Of course, of course," said Fulkerson, feeling that he had been
delicately told to mind his own business.
"I understand," the colonel went on, "the relation that Mr. Dryfoos
bears to the periodical in which you have done me the honor to print
my papah, but this is a question of passing the bounds of a purely
business connection, and of eating the salt of a man whom you do not
definitely know to be a gentleman."
"Mah goodness!" his daughter broke in. "If you bah your own salt
with his money--"
"It is supposed that I earn his money before I buy my salt with
it," returned her father, severely. "And in these times, when money
is got in heaps, through the natural decay of our nefarious
commercialism, it behooves a gentleman to be scrupulous that the
hospitality offered him is not the profusion of a thief with his
booty. I don't say that Mr. Dryfoos's good-fortune is not honest. I
simply say that I know nothing about it, and that I should prefer to
know something before I sat down at his board."
"You're all right, colonel," said Fulkerson, "and so is Mr.
Dryfoos. I give you my word that there are no flies on his personal
integrity, if that's what you mean. He's hard, and he'd push an
advantage, but I don't believe he would take an unfair one. He's
speculated and made money every time, but I never heard of his
wrecking a railroad or belonging to any swindling company or any
grinding monopoly. He does chance it in stocks, but he's always
played on the square, if you call stocks gambling."
"May I, think this over till morning?" asked the colonel.
"Oh, certainly, certainly," said Fulkerson, eagerly. "I don't know
as there's any hurry."
Miss Woodburn found a chance to murmur to him before he went:
"He'll come. And Ah'm so much oblahged, Mr. Fulkerson. Ah jost know
it's all you' doing, and it will give papa a chance to toak to some
new people, and get away from us evahlastin' women for once."
"I don't see why any one should want to do that," said Fulkerson,
with grateful gallantry. "But I'll be dogged," he said to March when
he told him about this odd experience, "if I ever expected to find
Colonel Woodburn on old Lindau's ground. He did come round handsomely
this morning at breakfast and apologized for taking time to think the
invitation over before he accepted. 'You understand,' he says, 'that
if it had been to the table of some friend not so prosperous as Mr.
Dryfoos --your friend Mr. March, for instance--it would have been
sufficient to know that he was your friend. But in these days it is a
duty that a gentleman owes himself to consider whether he wishes to
know a rich man or not. The chances of making money disreputably are
so great that the chances are against a man who has made money if he's
made a great deal of it.'"
March listened with a face of ironical insinuation. "That was very
good; and he seems to have had a good deal of confidence in your
patience and in your sense of his importance to the occasion--"
"No, no," Fulkerson protested, "there's none of that kind of thing
about the colonel. I told him to take time to think it over; he's the
simplest-hearted old fellow in the world."
"I should say so. After all, he didn't give any reason he had for
accepting. But perhaps the young lady had the reason."
"Pshaw, March!" said Fulkerson.
So far as the Dryfoos family was concerned, the dinner might as
well have been given at Frescobaldi's rooms. None of the ladies
appeared. Mrs. Dryfoos was glad to escape to her own chamber, where
she sat before an autumnal fire, shaking her head and talking to
herself at times, with the foreboding of evil which old women like her
make part of their religion. The girls stood just out of sight at the
head of the stairs, and disputed which guest it was at each arrival;
Mrs. Mandel had gone to her room to write letters, after beseeching
them not to stand there. When Kendricks came, Christine gave Mela a
little pinch, equivalent to a little mocking shriek; for, on the
ground of his long talk with Mela at Mrs. Horn's, in the absence of
any other admirer, they based a superstition of his interest in her;
when Beaton came, Mela returned the pinch, but awkwardly, so that it
hurt, and then Christine involuntarily struck her.
Frescobaldi's men were in possession everywhere they had turned the
cook out of her kitchen and the waitress out of her pantry; the
reluctant Irishman at the door was supplemented by a vivid Italian,
who spoke French with the guests, and said, "Bien, Monsieur," and
"toute suite," and "Merci!" to all, as he took their hats and coats,
and effused a hospitality that needed no language but the gleam of his
eyes and teeth and the play of his eloquent hands. From his
professional dress-coat, lustrous with the grease spotted on it at
former dinners and parties, they passed to the frocks of the elder and
younger Dryfoos in the drawing-room, which assumed informality for the
affair, but did not put their wearers wholly at their ease. The
father's coat was of black broadcloth, and he wore it unbuttoned; the
skirts were long, and the sleeves came down to his knuckles; he shook
hands with his guests, and the same dryness seemed to be in his palm
and throat, as he huskily asked each to take a chair. Conrad's coat
was of modern texture and cut, and was buttoned about him as if it
concealed a bad conscience within its lapels; he met March with his
entreating smile, and he seemed no more capable of coping with the
situation than his father. They both waited for Fulkerson, who went
about and did his best to keep life in the party during the half-hour
that passed before they sat down at dinner. Beaton stood gloomily
aloof, as if waiting to be approached on the right basis before
yielding an inch of his ground; Colonel Woodburn, awaiting the moment
when he could sally out on his hobby, kept himself intrenched within
the dignity of a gentleman, and examined askance the figure of old
Lindau as he stared about the room, with his fine head up, and his
empty sleeve dangling over his wrist. March felt obliged to him for
wearing a new coat in the midst of that hostile luxury, and he was
glad to see Dryfoos make up to him and begin to talk with him, as if
he wished to show him particular respect, though it might have been
because he was less afraid of him than of the others. He heard Lindau
saying, "Boat, the name is Choarman?" and Dryfoos beginning to explain
his Pennsylvania Dutch origin, and he suffered himself, with a sigh of
relief, to fall into talk with Kendricks, who was always pleasant; he
was willing to talk about something besides himself, and had no
opinions that he was not ready to hold in abeyance for the time being
out of kindness to others. In that group of impassioned
individualities, March felt him a refuge and comfort--with his
harmless dilettante intention of some day writing a novel, and his
belief that he was meantime collecting material for it.
Fulkerson, while breaking the ice for the whole company, was mainly
engaged in keeping Colonel Woodburn thawed out. He took Kendricks
away from March and presented him to the colonel as a person who, like
himself, was looking into social conditions; he put one hand on
Kendricks's shoulder, and one on the colonel's, and made some
flattering joke, apparently at the expense of the young fellow, and
then left them. March heard Kendricks protest in vain, and the colonel
say, gravely: "I do not wonder, sir, that these things interest you.
They constitute a problem which society must solve or which will
dissolve society," and he knew from that formula, which the colonel
had, once used with him, that he was laying out a road for the
exhibition of the hobby's paces later.
Fulkerson came back to March, who had turned toward Conrad Dryfoos,
and said, "If we don't get this thing going pretty soon, it 'll be the
death of me," and just then Frescobaldi's butler came in and announced
to Dryfoos that dinner was served. The old man looked toward
Fulkerson with a troubled glance, as if he did not know what to do; he
made a gesture to touch Lindau's elbow. Fulkerson called out, "Here's
Colonel Woodburn, Mr. Dryfoos," as if Dryfoos were looking for him;
and he set the example of what he was to do by taking Lindau's arm
himself. "Mr. Lindau is going to sit at my end of the table,
alongside of March. Stand not upon the order of your going,
gentlemen, but fall in at once." He contrived to get Dryfoos and the
colonel before him, and he let March follow with Kendricks. Conrad
came last with Beaton, who had been turning over the music at the
piano, and chafing inwardly at the whole affair. At the table Colonel
Woodburn was placed on Dryfoos's right, and March on his left. March
sat on Fulkerson's right, with Lindau next him; and the young men
occupied the other seats.
"Put you next to March, Mr. Lindau," said Fulkerson, "so you can
begin to put Apollinaris in his champagne-glass at the right moment;
you know his little weakness of old; sorry to say it's grown on him."
March laughed with kindly acquiescence in Fulkerson's wish to start
the gayety, and Lindau patted him on the shoulder. "I know hiss
veakness. If he liges a class of vine, it iss begause his loaf
ingludes efen hiss enemy, as Shakespeare galled it."
"Ah, but Shakespeare couldn't have been thinking of champagne,"
"I suppose, sir," Colonel Woodburn interposed, with lofty courtesy,
"champagne could hardly have been known in his day."
"I suppose not, colonel," returned the younger man, deferentially.
"He seemed to think that sack and sugar might be a fault; but he
didn't mention champagne."
"Perhaps he felt there was no question about that," suggested
Beaton, who then felt that he had not done himself justice in the
"I wonder just when champagne did come in," said March.
"I know when it ought to come in," said Fulkerson. "Before the
They all laughed, and gave themselves the air of drinking champagne
out of tumblers every day, as men like to do. Dryfoos listened
uneasily; he did not quite understand the allusions, though he knew
what Shakespeare was, well enough; Conrad's face expressed a gentle
deprecation of joking on such a subject, but he said nothing.
The talk ran on briskly through the dinner. The young men tossed
the ball back and forth; they made some wild shots, but they kept it
going, and they laughed when they were hit. The wine loosed Colonel
Woodburn's tongue; he became very companionable with the young
fellows; with the feeling that a literary dinner ought to have a
didactic scope, he praised Scott and Addison as the only authors fit
to form the minds of gentlemen.
Kendricks agreed with him, but wished to add the name of Flaubert
as a master of style. "Style, you know," he added, "is the man."
"Very true, sir; you are quite right, sir," the colonel assented;
he wondered who Flaubert was.
Beaton praised Baudelaire and Maupassant; he said these were the
masters. He recited some lurid verses from Baudelaire; Lindau
pronounced them a disgrace to human nature, and gave a passage from
Victor Hugo on Louis Napoleon, with his heavy German accent, and then
he quoted Schiller. "Ach, boat that is a peaudifool! Not zo?" he
demanded of March.
"Yes, beautiful; but, of course, you know I think there's nobody
Lindau threw back his great old head and laughed, showing a want of
teeth under his mustache. He put his hand on March's back. "This
poy--he was a poy den--wars so gracy to pekin reading Heine that he
gommence with the tictionary bevore he knows any Grammar, and ve bick
it out vort by vort togeder."
"He was a pretty cay poy in those days, heigh, Lindau ?" asked
Fulkerson, burlesquing the old man's accent, with an impudent wink
that made Lindau himself laugh. "But in the dark ages, I mean, there
in Indianapolis. Just how long ago did you old codgers meet there,
anyway?" Fulkerson saw the restiveness in Dryfoos's eye at the purely
literary course the talk had taken; he had intended it to lead up that
way to business, to 'Every Other Week;' but he saw that it was leaving
Dryfoos too far out, and he wished to get it on the personal ground,
where everybody is at home.
"Ledt me zee," mused Lindau. "Wass it in fifty-nine or zixty,
Passil? Idt wass a year or dwo pefore the war proke oudt, anyway."
"Those were exciting times," said Dryfoos, making his first entry
into the general talk. "I went down to Indianapolis with the first
company from our place, and I saw the red-shirts pouring in
everywhere. They had a song,
"Oh, never mind the weather, but git over double trouble, For
we're bound for the land of Canaan."
The fellows locked arms and went singin' it up and down four or
five abreast in the moonlight; crowded everybody' else off the
"I remember, I remember," said Lindau, nodding his head slowly up
and down. "A coodt many off them nefer gome pack from that landt of
Ganaan, Mr. Dryfoos?"
"You're right, Mr. Lindau. But I reckon it was worth it--the
country we've got now. Here, young man!" He caught the arm of the
waiter who was going round with the champagne bottle. " Fill up Mr.
Lindau's glass, there. I want to drink the health of those old times
with him. Here's to your empty sleeve, Mr. Lindau. God bless it! No
offence to you, Colonel Woodburn," said Dryfoos, turning to him before
"Not at all, sir, not at all," said the colonel. "I will drink
with you, if you will permit me."
"We'll all drink - standing!" cried Fulkerson. "Help March to get
up, somebody! Fill high the bowl with Samian Apollinaris for Coonrod!
Now, then, hurrah for Lindau!"
They cheered, and hammered on the table with the butts of their
knife- handles. Lindau remained seated. The tears came into his
eyes; he said, "I thank you, chendlemen," and hiccoughed.
"I'd 'a' went into the war myself," said Dryfoos, "but I was
raisin' a family of young children, and I didn't see how I could leave
my farm. But I helped to fill up the quota at every call, and when the
volunteering stopped I went round with the subscription paper myself;
and we offered as good bounties as any in the State. My substitute
was killed in one of the last skirmishes--in fact, after Lee's
surrender-- and I've took care of his family, more or less, ever
"By-the-way, March," said Fulkerson, "what sort of an idea would it
be to have a good war story--might be a serial--in the magazine? The
war has never fully panned out in fiction yet. It was used a good
deal just after it was over, and then it was dropped. I think it's
time to take it up again. I believe it would be a card."
It was running in March's mind that Dryfoos had an old rankling
shame in his heart for not having gone into the war, and that he had
often made that explanation of his course without having ever been
satisfied with it. He felt sorry for him; the fact seemed pathetic;
it suggested a dormant nobleness in the man.
Beaton was saying to Fulkerson: "You might get a series of sketches
by substitutes; the substitutes haven't been much heard from in the
war literature. How would 'The Autobiography of a Substitute' do?
You might follow him up to the moment he was killed in the other
man's place, and inquire whether he had any right to the feelings of a
hero when he was only hired in the place of one. Might call it 'The
Career of a Deputy Hero.'"
"I fancy," said March, "that there was a great deal of mixed motive
in the men who went into the war as well as in those who kept out of
it. We canonized all that died or suffered in it, but some of them
must have been self-seeking and low-minded, like men in other
vocations." He found himself saying this in Dryfoos's behalf; the old
man looked at him gratefully at first, he thought, and then
Lindau turned his head toward him and said: " You are righdt,
Passil; you are righdt. I haf zeen on the fieldt of pattle the voarst
eggsipitions of human paseness--chelousy, fanity, ecodistic bridte. I
haf zeen men in the face off death itself gofferned by motifes as low
as--as pusiness motifes."
"Well," said Fulkerson,."it would be a grand thing for 'Every Other
Week' if we could get some of those ideas worked up into a series. It
would make a lot of talk."
Colonel Woodburn ignored him in saying, "I think, Major Lindau--"
"High brifate; prefet gorporal," the old man interrupted, in
rejection of the title.
Hendricks laughed and said, with a glance of appreciation at
Lindau, "Brevet corporal is good."
Colonel Woodburn frowned a little, and passed over the joke. "I
think Mr. Lindau is right. Such exhibitions were common to both
sides, though if you gentlemen will pardon me for saying so, I think
they were less frequent on ours. We were fighting more immediately
for existence. We were fewer than you were, and we knew it; we felt
more intensely that if each were not for all, then none was for any."
The colonel's words made their impression. Dryfoos said, with
authority, "That is so."
"Colonel Woodburn," Fulkerson called out, "if you'll work up those
ideas into a short paper--say, three thousand words--I'll engage to
make March take it."
The colonel went on without replying: "But Mr. Lindau is right in
characterizing some of the motives that led men to the cannon's mouth
as no higher than business motives, and his comparison is the most
forcible that he could have used. I was very much struck by it."
The hobby was out, the colonel was in the saddle with so firm a
seat that no effort sufficed to dislodge him. The dinner went on from
course to course with barbaric profusion, and from time to time
Fulkerson tried to bring the talk back to 'Every Other Week.' But
perhaps because that was only the ostensible and not the real object
of the dinner, which was to bring a number of men together under
Dryfoos's roof, and make them the witnesses of his splendor, make them
feel the power of his wealth, Fulkerson's attempts failed. The
colonel showed how commercialism was the poison at the heart of our
national life; how we began as a simple, agricultural people, who had
fled to these shores with the instinct, divinely implanted, of
building a state such as the sun never shone upon before; how we had
conquered the wilderness and the savage; how we had flung off, in our
struggle with the mother-country, the trammels of tradition and
precedent, and had settled down, a free nation, to the practice of the
arts of peace; how the spirit of commercialism had stolen insidiously
upon us, and the infernal impulse of competition had embroiled us in a
perpetual warfare of interests, developing the worst passions of our
nature, and teaching us to trick and betray and destroy one another in
the strife for money, till now that impulse had exhausted itself, and
we found competition gone and the whole economic problem in the hands
of monopolies--the Standard Oil Company, the Sugar Trust, the Rubber
Trust, and what not. And now what was the next thing? Affairs could
not remain as they were; it was impossible; and what was the next
The company listened for the main part silently. Dryfoos tried to
grasp the idea of commercialism as the colonel seemed to hold it; he
conceived of it as something like the dry-goods business on a vast
scale, and he knew he had never been in that. He did not like to hear
competition called infernal; he had always supposed it was something
sacred; but he approved of what Colonel Woodburn said of the Standard
Oil Company; it was all true; the Standard Oil has squeezed Dryfoos
once, and made him sell it a lot of oil-wells by putting down the
price of oil so low in that region that he lost money on every barrel
All the rest listened silently, except Lindau; at every point the
colonel made against the present condition of things he said more and
more fiercely, "You are righdt, you are righdt." His eyes glowed, his
hand played with his knife-hilt. When the colonel demanded, "And what
is the next thing?" he threw himself forward, and repeated: "Yes,
sir! What is the next thing?"
"Natural gas, by thunder!" shouted Fulkerson.
One of the waiters had profited by Lindau's posture to lean over
him and put down in the middle of the table a structure in white
sugar. It expressed Frescobaldi's conception of a derrick, and a
touch of nature had been added in the flame of brandy, which burned
luridly up from a small pit in the centre of the base, and represented
the gas in combustion as it issued from the ground. Fulkerson burst
into a roar of laughter with the words that recognized Frescobaldi's
personal tribute to Dryfoos. Everybody rose and peered over at the
thing, while he explained the work of sinking a gas-well, as he had
already explained it to Frescobaldi. In the midst of his lecture he
caught sight of the caterer himself, where he stood in the pantry
doorway, smiling with an artist's anxiety for the effect of his
"Come in, come in, Frescobaldi! We want to congratulate you,"
Fulkerson called to him. "Here, gentlemen! Here's Frescobaldi's
They all drank; and Frescobaldi, smiling brilliantly and rubbing
his hands as he bowed right and left, permitted himself to say to
Dryfoos : "You are please; no? You like?"
"First-rate, first-rate!" said the old man; but when the Italian
had bowed himself out and his guests had sunk into their seats again,
he said dryly to Fulkerson, "I reckon they didn't have to torpedo that
well, or the derrick wouldn't look quite so nice and clean."
"Yes," Fulkerson answered, "and that ain't quite the style--that
little wiggly-waggly blue flame--that the gas acts when you touch off
a good vein of it. This might do for weak gas"; and he went on to
"They call it weak gas when they tap it two or three hundred feet
down; and anybody can sink a well in his back yard and get enough gas
to light and heat his house. I remember one fellow that had it
blazing up from a pipe through a flower-bed, just like a jet of water
from a fountain. My, my, my! You fel-- you gentlemen--ought to go out
and see that country, all of you. Wish we could torpedo this well,
Mr. Dryfoos, and let 'em see how it works! Mind that one you
torpedoed for me? You know, when they sink a well," he went on to the
company, "they can't always most generally sometimes tell whether
they're goin' to get gas or oil or salt water. Why, when they first
began to bore for salt water out on the Kanawha, back about the
beginning of the century, they used to get gas now and then, and then
they considered it a failure; they called a gas- well a blower, and
give it up in disgust; the time wasn't ripe for gas yet. Now they
bore away sometimes till they get half-way to China, and don't seem to
strike anything worth speaking of. Then they put a dynamite torpedo
down in the well and explode it. They have a little bar of iron that
they call a Go-devil, and they just drop it down on the business end
of the torpedo, and then stand from under, if you please! You hear a
noise, and in about half a minute you begin to see one, and it begins
to rain oil and mud and salt water and rocks and pitchforks and
adoptive citizens; and when it clears up the derrick's painted--got a
coat on that 'll wear in any climate. That's what our honored host
meant. Generally get some visiting lady, when there's one round, to
drop the Go-devil. But that day we had to put up with Conrad here.
They offered to let me drop it, but I declined. I told 'em I hadn't
much practice with Go-devils in the newspaper syndicate business, and
I wasn't very well myself, anyway. Astonishing," Fulkerson continued,
with the air of relieving his explanation by an anecdote, "how
reckless they get using dynamite when they're torpedoing wells. We
stopped at one place where a fellow was handling the cartridges pretty
freely, and Mr. Dryfoos happened to caution him a little, and that ass
came up with one of 'em in his hand, and began to pound it on the
buggy-wheel to show us how safe it was. I turned green, I was so
scared; but Mr. Dryfoos kept his color, and kind of coaxed the fellow
till he quit. You could see he was the fool kind, that if you tried
to stop him he'd keep on hammering that cartridge, just to show that
it wouldn't explode, till he blew you into Kingdom Come. When we got
him to go away, Mr. Dryfoos drove up to his foreman. 'Pay Sheney off,
and discharge him on the spot,' says he. 'He's too safe a man to have
round; he knows too much about dynamite.' I never saw anybody so
Dryfoos modestly dropped his head under Fulkerson's flattery and,
without lifting it, turned his eyes toward Colonel Woodburn. "I had
all sorts of men to deal with in developing my property out there, but
I had very little trouble with them, generally speaking."
"Ah, ah! you foundt the laboring-man
reasonable--dractable--tocile?" Lindau put in.
"Yes, generally speaking," Dryfoos answered. "They mostly knew
which side of their bread was buttered. I did have one little
difficulty at one time. It happened to be when Mr. Fulkerson was out
there. Some of the men tried to form a union--"
"No, no!" cried Fulkerson. "Let me tell that! I know you wouldn't
do yourself justice, Mr. Dryfoos, and I want 'em to know how a strike
can be managed, if you take it in time. You see, some of those
fellows got a notion that there ought to be a union among the
working-men to keep up wages, and dictate to the employers, and Mr.
Dryfoos's foreman was the ringleader in the business. They understood
pretty well that as soon as he found it out that foreman would walk
the plank, and so they watched out till they thought they had Mr.
Dryfoos just where they wanted him-- everything on the keen jump, and
every man worth his weight in diamonds --and then they came to him,
and--told him to sign a promise to keep that foreman to the end of the
season, or till he was through with the work on the Dryfoos and Hendry
Addition, under penalty of having them all knock off. Mr. Dryfoos
smelled a mouse, but he couldn't tell where the mouse was; he saw that
they did have him, and he signed, of course. There wasn't anything
really against the fellow, anyway; he was a first-rate man, and he did
his duty every time; only he'd got some of those ideas into his head,
and they turned it. Mr. Dryfoos signed, and then he laid low."
March saw Lindau listening with a mounting intensity, and heard him
murmur in German, "Shameful! shameful!"
Fulkerson went on: "Well, it wasn't long before they began to show
their hand, but Mr. Dryfoos kept dark. He agreed to everything; there
never was such an obliging capitalist before; there wasn't a thing
they asked of him that he didn't do, with the greatest of pleasure,
and all went merry as a marriage-bell till one morning a whole gang of
fresh men marched into the Dryfoos and Hendry Addition, under the
escort of a dozen Pinkertons with repeating rifles at half-cock, and
about fifty fellows found themselves out of a job. You never saw such
a mad set."
"Pretty neat," said Kendricks, who looked at the affair purely from
an aesthetic point of view. "Such a coup as that would tell
tremendously in a play."
"That was vile treason," said Lindau in German to March. "He's an
infamous traitor! I cannot stay here. I must go."
He struggled to rise, while March held him by the coat, and
implored him under his voice: "For Heaven's sake, don't, Lindau! You
owe it to yourself not to make a scene, if you come here." Something
in it all affected him comically; he could not help laughing.
The others were discussing the matter, and seemed not to have
noticed Lindau, who controlled himself and sighed: " You are right. I
must have patience."
Beaton was saying to Dryfoos, "Pity your Pinkertons couldn't have
given them a few shots before they left."
"No, that wasn't necessary," said Dryfoos. "I succeeded in
breaking up the union. I entered into an agreement with other parties
not to employ any man who would not swear that he was non-union. If
they had attempted violence, of course they could have been shot. But
there was no fear of that. Those fellows can always be depended upon
to cut one another's throats in the long run."
"But sometimes," said Colonel Woodburn, who had been watching
throughout. for a chance to mount his hobby again, "they make a good
deal of trouble first. How was it in the great railroad strike of
"Well, I guess there was a little trouble that time, colonel," said
Fulkerson. "But the men that undertake to override the laws and
paralyze the industries of a country like this generally get left in
"Yes, sir, generally; and up to a certain point, always. But it's
the exceptional that is apt to happen, as well as the unexpected. And
a little reflection will convince any gentleman here that there is
always a danger of the exceptional in your system. The fact is, those
fellows have the game in their own hands already. A strike of the
whole body of the Brotherhood of Engineers alone would starve out the
entire Atlantic seaboard in a week; labor insurrection could make head
at a dozen given points, and your government couldn't move a man over
the roads without the help of the engineers."
"That is so," said Kendrick, struck by the dramatic character of
the conjecture. He imagined a fiction dealing with the situation as
something already accomplished.
"Why don't some fellow do the Battle of Dorking act with that
thing?" said Fulkerson. "It would be a card."
"Exactly what I was thinking, Mr. Fulkerson," said Kendricks.
Fulkerson laughed. "Telepathy--clear case of mind transference.
Better see March, here, about it. I'd like to have it in 'Every
Other Week.' It would make talk."
"Perhaps it might set your people to thinking as well as talking,"
said the colonel.
"Well, sir," said Dryfoos, setting his lips so tightly together
that his imperial stuck straight outward, "if I had my way, there
wouldn't be any Brotherhood of Engineers, nor any other kind of labor
union in the whole country."
"What!" shouted Lindau. "You would sobbress the unionss of the
"Yes, I would."
"And what would you do with the unionss of the gabidalists--the
drosts-- and gompines, and boolss? Would you dake the righdt from one
and gif it to the odder?"
"Yes, sir, I would," said Dryfoos, with a wicked look at him.
Lindau was about to roar back at him with some furious protest, but
March put his hand on his shoulder imploringly, and Lindau turned to
him to say in German: "But it is infamous--infamous! What kind of man
is this? Who is he? He has the heart of a tyrant."
Colonel Woodburn cut in. "You couldn't do that, Mr. Dryfoos, under
your system. And if you attempted it, with your conspiracy laws, and
that kind of thing, it might bring the climax sooner than you
expected. Your commercialized society has built its house on the
sands. It will have to go. But I should be sorry if it went before
"You are righdt, sir," said Lindau. "It would be a bity. I hobe
it will last till it feelss its rottenness, like Herodt. Boat, when
its hour gomes, when it trope to bieces with the veight off its own
gorrubtion-- what then?"
"It's not to be supposed that a system of things like this can drop
to pieces of its own accord, like the old Republic of Venice," said
the colonel. "But when the last vestige of commercial society is
gone, then we can begin to build anew; and we shall build upon the
central idea, not of the false liberty you now worship, but of
responsibility-- responsibility. The enlightened, the moneyed, the
cultivated class shall be responsible to the central
authority--emperor, duke, president; the name does not matter--for the
national expense and the national defence, and it shall be responsible
to the working-classes of all kinds for homes and lands and
implements, and the opportunity to labor at all times.
The working-classes shall be responsible to the leisure class for
the support of its dignity in peace, and shall be subject to its
command in war. The rich shall warrant the poor against planless
production and the ruin that now follows, against danger from without
and famine from within, and the poor--"
"No, no, no!" shouted Lindau. "The State shall do that--the whole
beople. The men who voark shall have and shall eat; and the men that
will not voark, they shall sdarfe. But no man need sdarfe. He will
go to the State, and the State will see that he haf voark, and that he
haf foodt. All the roadts and mills and mines and landts shall be the
beople's and be ron by the beople for the beople. There shall be no
rich and no boor; and there shall not be war any more, for what bower
wouldt dare to addack a beople bound togeder in a broderhood like
"Lion and lamb act," said Fulkerson, not well knowing, after so
much champagne, what words he was using.
No one noticed him, and Colonel Woodburn said coldly to Lindau,
"You are talking paternalism, sir."
"And you are dalking feutalism!" retorted the old man.
The colonel did not reply. A silence ensued, which no one broke
till Fulkerson said: "Well, now, look here. If either one of these
millenniums was brought about, by force of arms, or otherwise, what
would become of 'Every Other Week'? Who would want March for an
editor? How would Beaton sell his pictures? Who would print Mr.
Kendricks's little society verses and short stories? What would
become of Conrad and his good works?" Those named grinned in support
of Fulkerson's diversion, but Lindau and the colonel did not speak;
Dryfoos looked down at his plate, frowning.
A waiter came round with cigars, and Fulkerson took one. "Ah," he
said, as he bit off the end, and leaned over to the emblematic
masterpiece, where the brandy was still feebly flickering, "I wonder
if there's enough natural gas left to light my cigar." His effort put
the flame out and knocked the derrick over; it broke in fragments on
the table. Fulkerson cackled over the ruin: "I wonder if all Moffitt
will look that way after labor and capital have fought it out
together. I hope this ain't ominous of anything personal, Dryfoos?"
"I'll take the risk of it," said the old man, harshly.
He rose mechanically, and Fulkerson said to Frescobaldi's man, "
You can bring us the coffee in the library."
The talk did not recover itself there. Landau would not sit down;
he refused coffee, and dismissed himself with a haughty bow to the
company; Colonel Woodburn shook hands elaborately all round, when he
had smoked his cigar; the others followed him. It seemed to March
that his own good-night from Dryfoos was dry and cold.
March met Fulkerson on the steps of the office next morning, when
he arrived rather later than his wont. Fulkerson did not show any of
the signs of suffering from the last night's pleasure which painted
themselves in March's face. He flirted his hand gayly in the air,
and said, "How's your poor head?" and broke into a knowing laugh.
"You don't seem to have got up with the lark this morning. The old
gentleman is in there with Conrad, as bright as a biscuit; he's beat
you down. Well, we did have a good time, didn't we? And old Lindau
and the colonel, didn't they have a good time? I don't suppose they
ever had a chance before to give their theories quite so much air.
Oh, my! how they did ride over us! I'm just going down to see Beaton
about the cover of the Christmas number. I think we ought to try it
in three or four colors, if we are going to observe the day at all."
He was off before March could pull himself together to ask what
Dryfoos wanted at the office at that hour of the morning; he always
came in the afternoon on his way up-town.
The fact of his presence renewed the sinister misgivings with which
March had parted from him the night before, but Fulkerson's
cheerfulness seemed to gainsay them; afterward March did not know
whether to attribute this mood to the slipperiness that he was aware
of at times in Fulkerson, or to a cynical amusement he might have felt
at leaving him alone to the old man, who mounted to his room shortly
after March had reached it.
A sort of dumb anger showed itself in his face; his jaw was set so
firmly that he did not seem able at once to open it. He asked,
without the ceremonies of greeting, "What does that one-armed Dutchman
do on this book?"
"What does he do?" March echoed, as people are apt to do with a
question that is mandatory and offensive.
"Yes, sir, what does he do? Does he write for it?"
"I suppose you mean Lindau," said March. He saw no reason for
refusing to answer Dryfoos's demand, and he decided to ignore its
terms. "No, he doesn't write for it in the usual way. He translates
for it; he examines the foreign magazines, and draws my attention to
anything he thinks of interest. But I told you about this before--"
"I know what you told me, well enough. And I know what he is. He
is a red-mouthed labor agitator. He's one of those foreigners that
come here from places where they've never had a decent meal's victuals
in their lives, and as soon as they get their stomachs full, they
begin to make trouble between our people and their hands. There's
where the strikes come from, and the unions and the secret societies.
They come here and break our Sabbath, and teach their atheism. They
ought to be hung! Let 'em go back if they don't like it over here.
They want to ruin the country."
March could not help smiling a little at the words, which came fast
enough now in the hoarse staccato of Dryfoos's passion. "I don't know
whom you mean by they, generally speaking; but I had the impression
that poor old Lindau had once done his best to save the country. I
don't always like his way of talking, but I know that he is one of the
truest and kindest souls in the world; and he is no more an atheist
than I am. He is my friend, and I can't allow him to be
"I don't care what he is," Dryfoos broke out, "I won't have him
round. He can't have any more work from this office. I want you to
stop it. I want you to turn him off."
March was standing at his desk, as he had risen to receive Dryfoos
when he entered. He now sat down, and began to open his letters.
"Do you hear?" the old man roared at him. "I want you to turn him
"Excuse me, Mr. Dryfoos," said March, succeeding in an effort to
speak calmly, "I don't know you, in such a matter as this. My
arrangements as editor of 'Every Other Week' were made with Mr.
Fulkerson. I have always listened to any suggestion he has had to
"I don't care for Mr. Fulkerson? He has nothing to do with it,"
retorted Dryfoos; but he seemed a little daunted by March's position.
"He has everything to do with it as far as I am concerned," March
answered, with a steadiness that he did not feel. "I know that you
are the owner of the periodical, but I can't receive any suggestion
from you, for the reason that I have given. Nobody but Mr. Fulkerson
has any right to talk with me about its management."
Dryfoos glared at him for a moment, and demanded, threateningly:
"Then you say you won't turn that old loafer off? You say that I have
got to keep on paying my money out to buy beer for a man that would
cut my throat if he got the chance?"
"I say nothing at all, Mr. Dryfoos," March answered. The blood
came into his face, and he added: "But I will say that if you speak
again of Mr. Lindau in those terms, one of us must leave this room. I
will not hear you."
Dryfoos looked at him with astonishment; then he struck his hat
down on his head, and stamped out of the room and down the stairs; and
a vague pity came into March's heart that was not altogether for
himself. He might be the greater sufferer in the end, but he was sorry
to have got the better of that old man for the moment; and he felt
ashamed of the anger into which Dryfoos's anger had surprised him. He
knew he could not say too much in defence of Lindau's generosity and
unselfishness, and he had not attempted to defend him as a political
economist. He could not have taken any ground in relation to Dryfoos
but that which he held, and he felt satisfied that he was right in
refusing to receive instructions or commands from him. Yet somehow he
was not satisfied with the whole affair, and not merely because his
present triumph threatened his final advantage, but because he felt
that in his heat he had hardly done justice to Dryfoos's rights in the
matter; it did not quite console him to reflect that Dryfoos had
himself made it impossible. He was tempted to go home and tell his
wife what had happened, and begin his preparations for the future at
once. But he resisted this weakness and kept mechanically about his
work, opening the letters and the manuscripts before him with that
curious double action of the mind common in men of vivid imaginations.
It was a relief when Conrad Dryfoos, having apparently waited to make
sure that his father would not return, came up from the counting-room
and looked in on March with a troubled face.
"Mr. March," he began, "I hope father hasn't been saying anything
to you that you can't overlook. I know he was very much excited, and
when he is excited he is apt to say things that he is sorry for."
The apologetic attitude taken for Dryfoos, so different from any
attitude the peremptory old man would have conceivably taken for
himself, made March smile. " Oh no. I fancy the boot is on the other
leg. I suspect I've said some things your father can't overlook,
Conrad." He called the young man by his Christian name partly to
distinguish him from his father, partly from the infection of
Fulkerson's habit, and partly from a kindness for him that seemed
naturally to express itself in that way.
"I know he didn't sleep last night, after you all went away,"
Conrad pursued, "and of course that made him more irritable; and he
was tried a good deal by some of the things that Mr. Lindau said."
"I was tried a good deal myself," said March. "Lindau ought never
to have been there."
"No." Conrad seemed only partially to assent.
"I told Mr. Fulkerson so. I warned him that Lindau would be apt to
break out in some way. It wasn't just to him, and it wasn't just to
your father, to ask him."
"Mr. Fulkerson had a good motive," Conrad gently urged. "He did it
because he hurt his feelings that day about the pension."
"Yes, but it was a mistake. He knew that Lindau was inflexible
about his principles, as he calls them, and that one of his first
principles is to denounce the rich in season and out of season. I
don't remember just what he said last night; and I really thought I'd
kept him from breaking out in the most offensive way. But your father
seems very much incensed."
"Yes, I know," said Conrad.
"Of course, I don't agree with Lindau. I think there are as many
good, kind, just people among the rich as there are among the poor,
and that they are as generous and helpful. But Lindau has got hold of
one of those partial truths that hurt worse than the whole truth,
"Partial truth!" the young man interrupted. "Didn't the Saviour
himself say, 'How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the
kingdom of God?'"
"Why, bless my soul!" cried March. "Do you agree with Lindau?"
"I agree with the Lord Jesus Christ," said the young man, solemnly,
and a strange light of fanaticism, of exaltation, came into his wide
blue eyes. "And I believe He meant the kingdom of heaven upon this
earth, as well as in the skies."
March threw himself back in his chair and looked at him with a kind
of stupefaction, in which his eye wandered to the doorway, where he
saw Fulkerson standing, it seemed to him a long time, before he heard
him saying: "Hello, hello! What's the row? Conrad pitching into you
on old Lindau's account, too?"
The young man turned, and, after a glance at Fulkerson's light,
smiling face, went out, as if in his present mood he could not bear
the contact of that persiflant spirit.
March felt himself getting provisionally very angry again. "Excuse
me, Fulkerson, but did you know when you went out what Mr. Dryfoos
wanted to see me for?"
"Well, no, I didn't exactly," said Fulkerson, taking his usual seat
on a chair and looking over the back of it at March. "I saw he was on
his car about something, and I thought I'd better not monkey with him
much. I supposed he was going to bring you to book about old Lindau,
somehow." Fulkerson broke into a laugh.
March remained serious. "Mr. Dryfoos," he said, willing to let the
simple statement have its own weight with Fulkerson, and nothing more,
"came in here and ordered me to discharge Lindau from his employment
on the magazine--to turn him off, as he put it."
"Did he?" asked Fulkerson, with unbroken cheerfulness. "The old
man is business, every time. Well, I suppose you can easily get
somebody else to do Lindau's work for you. This town is just running
over with half- starved linguists. What did you say?"
"What did I say?" March echoed. "Look here, Fulkerson; you may
regard this as a joke, but I don't. I'm not used to being spoken to
as if I were the foreman of a shop, and told to discharge a sensitive
and cultivated man like Lindau, as if he were a drunken mechanic; and
if that's your idea of me--"
"Oh, hello, now, March! You mustn't mind the old man's way. He
don't mean anything by it--he don't know any better, if you come to
"Then I know better," said March. "I refused to receive any
instructions from Mr. Dryfoos, whom I don't know in my relations with
'Every Other Week,' and I referred him to you."
"You did?," Fulkerson whistled. "He owns the thing!"
"I don't care who owns the thing," said March. "My negotiations
were with you alone from the beginning, and I leave this matter with
you. What do you wish done about Lindau?"
"Oh, better let the old fool drop," said Fulkerson. "He'll light
on his feet somehow, and it will save a lot of rumpus."
"And if I decline to let him drop?"
"Oh, come, now, March; don't do that," Fulkerson began.
"If I decline to let him drop," March repeated, "what will you do?"
"I'll be dogged if I know what I'll do," said Fulkerson. "I hope
you won't take that stand. If the old man went so far as to speak to
you about it, his mind is made up, and we might as well knock under
first as last."
"And do you mean to say that you would not stand by me in what I
considered my duty-in a matter of principle?"
"Why, of course, March," said Fulkerson, coaxingly, "I mean to do
the right thing. But Dryfoos owns the magazine--"
"He doesn't own me," said March, rising. "He has made the little
mistake of speaking to me as if he did; and when"--March put on his
hat and took his overcoat down from its nail--"when you bring me his
apologies, or come to say that, having failed to make him understand
they were necessary, you are prepared to stand by me, I will come back
to this desk. Otherwise my resignation is at your service."
He started toward the door, and Fulkerson intercepted him. "Ah,
now, look here, March! Don't do that! Hang it all, don't you see
where it leaves me? Now, you just sit down a minute and talk it over.
I can make you see--I can show you-- Why, confound the old Dutch
beer-buzzer! Twenty of him wouldn't be worth the trouble he's makin'.
Let him go, and the old man 'll come round in time."
"I don't think we've understood each other exactly, Mr. Fulkerson,"
said March, very haughtily. "Perhaps we never can; but I'll leave you
to think it out."
He pushed on, and Fulkerson stood aside to let him pass, with a
dazed look and a mechanical movement. There was something comic in
his rueful bewilderment to March, who was tempted to smile, but he
said to himself that he had as much reason to be unhappy as Fulkerson,
and he did not smile. His indignation kept him hot in his purpose to
suffer any consequence rather than submit to the dictation of a man
like Dryfoos; he felt keenly the degradation of his connection with
him, and all his resentment of Fulkerson's original uncandor returned;
at the same time his heart ached with foreboding. It was not merely
the work in which he had constantly grown happier that he saw taken
from him; but he felt the misery of the man who stakes the security
and plenty and peace of home upon some cast, and knows that losing
will sweep from him most that most men find sweet and pleasant in
life. He faced the fact, which no good man can front without terror,
that he was risking the support of his family, and for a point of
pride, of honor, which perhaps he had no right to consider in view of
the possible adversity. He realized, as every hireling must, no
matter how skillfully or gracefully the tie is contrived for his
wearing, that he belongs to another, whose will is his law. His
indignation was shot with abject impulses to go back and tell
Fulkerson that it was all right, and that he gave up. To end the
anguish of his struggle he quickened his steps, so that he found he
was reaching home almost at a run.
He must have made more clatter than he supposed with his key at the
apartment door, for his wife had come to let him in when he flung it
open. "Why, Basil," she said, "what's brought you back? Are you
sick? You're all pale. Well, no wonder! This is the last of Mr.
Fulkerson's dinners you shall go to. You're not strong enough for it,
and your stomach will be all out of order for a week. How hot you
are! and in a drip of perspiration! Now you'll be sick." She took
his hat away, which hung dangling in his hand, and pushed him into a
chair with tender impatience. "What is the matter? Has anything
"Everything has happened," he said, getting his voice after one or
two husky endeavors for it; and then he poured out a confused and
huddled statement of the case, from which she only got at the
situation by prolonged cross-questioning.
At the end she said, "I knew Lindau would get you into trouble."
This cut March to the heart. "Isabel!" he cried, reproachfully.
"Oh, I know," she retorted, and the tears began to come. "I don't
wonder you didn't want to say much to me about that dinner at
breakfast. I noticed it; but I thought you were just dull, and so I
didn't insist. I wish I had, now. If you had told me what Lindau had
said, I should have known what would have come of it, and I could have
"Would you have advised me," March demanded, curiously, "to submit
to bullying like that, and meekly consent to commit an act of cruelty
against a man who had once been such a friend to me?"
"It was an unlucky day when you met him. I suppose we shall have
to go. And just when we bad got used to New York, and begun to like
it. I don't know where we shall go now; Boston isn't like home any
more; and we couldn't live on two thousand there; I should be ashamed
to try. I'm sure I don't know where we can live on it. I suppose in
some country village, where there are no schools, or anything for the
children. I don't know what they'll say when we tell them, poor
Every word was a stab in March's heart, so weakly tender to his
own; his wife's tears, after so much experience of the comparative
lightness of the griefs that weep themselves out in women, always
seemed wrung from his own soul; if his children suffered in the least
through him, he felt like a murderer. It was far worse than he could
have imagined, the way his wife took the affair, though he had
imagined certain words, or perhaps only looks, from her that were bad
enough. He had allowed for trouble, but trouble on his account: a
svmpathy that might burden and embarrass him; but he had not dreamed
of this merely domestic, this petty, this sordid view of their
potential calamity, which left him wholly out of the question, and
embraced only what was most crushing and desolating in the prospect.
He could not bear it. He caught up his hat again, and, with some
hope that his wife would try to keep him, rushed out of the house. He
wandered aimlessly about, thinking the same exhausting thoughts over
and over, till he found himself horribly hungry; then he went into a
restaurant for his lunch, and when he paid he tried to imagine how he
should feel if that were really his last dollar.
He went home toward the middle of the afternoon, basely hoping that
Fulkerson had sent him some conciliatory message, or perhaps was
waiting there for him to talk it over; March was quite willing to talk
it over now. But it was his wife who again met him at the door,
though it seemed another woman than the one he had left weeping in the
"I told the children," she said, in smiling explanation of his
absence from lunch, "that perhaps you were detained by business. I
didn't know but you had gone back to the office."
"Did you think I would go back there, Isabel?" asked March, with a
haggard look. "Well, if you say so, I will go back, and do what
Dryfoos ordered me to do. I'm sufficiently cowed between him and you,
I can assure you."
"Nonsense," she said. "I approve of everything you did. But sit
down, now, and don't keep walking that way, and let me see if I
understand it perfectly. Of course, I had to have my say out."
She made him go all over his talk with Dryfoos again, and report
his own language precisely. From time to time, as she got his points,
she said, "That was splendid," "Good enough for him!" and "Oh, I'm so
glad you said that to him!" At the end she said:
"Well, now, let's look at it from his point of view. Let's be
perfectly just to him before we take another step forward."
"Or backward," March suggested, ruefully. "The case is simply
this: he owns the magazine."
"And he has a right to expect that I will consider his pecuniary
"Oh, those detestable pecuniary interests! Don't you wish there
wasn't any money in the world?"
"Yes; or else that there was a great deal more of it. And I was
perfectly willing to do that. I have always kept that in mind as one
of my duties to him, ever since I understood what his relation to the
"Yes, I can bear witness to that in any court of justice. You've
done it a great deal more than I could, Basil. And it was just the
same way with those horrible insurance people."
"I know," March went on, trying to be proof against her flatteries,
or at least to look as if he did not deserve praise; "I know that what
Lindau said was offensive to him, and I can understand how he felt
that he had a right to punish it. All I say is that he had no right
to punish it through me."
"Yes," said Mrs. March, askingly.
"If it had been a question of making 'Every Other Week' the vehicle
of Lindau's peculiar opinions--though they're not so very peculiar; he
might have got the most of them out of Ruskin--I shouldn't have had
any ground to stand on, or at least then I should have had to ask
myself whether his opinions would be injurious to the magazine or
"I don't see," Mrs. March interpolated, "how they could hurt it
much worse than Colonel Woodburn's article crying up slavery."
"Well," said March, impartially, "we could print a dozen articles
praising the slavery it's impossible to have back, and it wouldn't
hurt us. But if we printed one paper against the slavery which Lindau
claims still exists, some people would call us bad names, and the
counting-room would begin to feel it. But that isn't the point.
Lindau's connection with 'Every Other Week' is almost purely
mechanical; he's merely a translator of such stories and sketches as
he first submits to me, and it isn't at all a question of his opinions
hurting us, but of my becoming an agent to punish him for his
opinions. That is what I wouldn't do; that's what I never will do."
"If you did," said his wife, "I should perfectly despise you. I
didn't understand how it was before. I thought you were just holding
out against Dryfoos because he took a dictatorial tone with you, and
because you wouldn't recognize his authority. But now I'm with you,
Basil, every time, as that horrid little Fulkerson says. But who
would ever have supposed he would be so base as to side against you?"
"I don't know," said March, thoughtfully, "that we had a right to
expect anything else. Fulkerson's standards are low; they're merely
business standards, and the good that's in him is incidental and
something quite apart from his morals and methods. He's naturally a
generous and right- minded creature, but life has taught him to
truckle and trick, like the rest of us."
"It hasn't taught you that, Basil."
"Don't be so sure. Perhaps it's only that I'm a poor scholar. But
I don't know, really, that I despise Fulkerson so much for his course
this morning as for his gross and fulsome flatteries of Dryfoos last
night. I could hardly stomach it."
His wife made him tell her what they were, and then she said, "Yes,
that was loathsome; I couldn't have believed it of Mr. Fulkerson."
"Perhaps he only did it to keep the talk going, and to give the old
man a chance to say something," March leniently suggested. "It was a
worse effect because he didn't or couldn't follow up Fulkerson's
"It was loathsome, all the same," his wife insisted. "It's the end
of Mr. Fulkerson, as far as I'm concerned."
"I didn't tell you before," March resumed, after a moment, "of my
little interview with Conrad Dryfoos after his father left," and now
he went on to repeat what had passed between him and the young man.
"I suspect that he and his father had been having some words before
the old man came up to talk with me, and that it was that made him so
"Yes, but what a strange position for the son of such a man to
take! Do you suppose he says such things to his father?"
"I don't know; but I suspect that in his meek way Conrad would say
what he believed to anybody. I suppose we must regard him as a kind
"Poor young fellow! He always makes me feel sad, somehow. He has
such a pathetic face. I don't believe I ever saw him look quite
happy, except that night at Mrs. Horn's, when he was talking with Miss
Vance; and then he made me feel sadder than ever."
"I don't envy him the life he leads at home, with those convictions
of his. I don't see why it wouldn't be as tolerable there for old
"Well, now," said Mrs. March, "let us put them all out of our minds
and see what we are going to do ourselves."
They began to consider their ways and means, and how and where they
should live, in view of March's severance of his relations with 'Every
Other Week.' They had not saved anything from the first year's
salary; they had only prepared to save; and they had nothing solid but
their two thousand to count upon. But they built a future in which
they easily lived on that and on what March earned with his pen. He
became a free lance, and fought in whatever cause he thought just; he
had no ties, no chains. They went back to Boston with the heroic will
to do what was most distasteful; they would have returned to their own
house if they had not rented it again; but, any rate, Mrs. March
helped out by taking boarders, or perhaps only letting rooms to
lodgers. They had some hard struggles, but they succeeded.
"The great thing," she said, "is to be right. I'm ten times as
happy as if you had come home and told me that you had consented to do
what Dryfoos asked and he had doubled your salary."
"I don't think that would have happened in any event," said March,
"Well, no matter. I just used it for an example."
They both experienced a buoyant relief, such as seems to come to
people who begin life anew on whatever terms. "I hope we are young
enough yet, Basil," she said, and she would not have it when he said
they had once been younger.
They heard the children's knock on the door; they knocked when they
came home from school so that their mother might let them in. "Shall
we tell them at once?" she asked, and ran to open for them before
March could answer.
They were not alone. Fulkerson, smiling from ear to ear, was with
them. "Is March in?" he asked.
"Mr. March is at home, yes," she said very haughtily. "He's in his
study," and she led the way there, while the children went to their
"Well, March," Fulkerson called out at sight of him, "it's all
right! The old man has come down."
"I suppose if you gentlemen are going to talk business--" Mrs.
"Oh, we don't want you to go away," said Fulkerson. "I reckon
March has told you, anyway."
"Yes, I've told her," said March. "Don't go, Isabel. What do you
mean, Fulkerson ?"
"He's just gone on up home, and he sent me round with his
apologies. He sees now that he had no business to speak to you as he
did, and he withdraws everything. He'd 'a' come round himself if I'd
said so, but I told him I could make it all right."
Fulkerson looked so happy in having the whole affair put right, and
the Marches knew him to be so kindly affected toward them, that they
could not refuse for the moment to share his mood. They felt
themselves slipping down from the moral height which they had gained,
and March made a clutch to stay himself with the question, "And
"Well," said Fulkerson, "he's going to leave Lindau to me. You
won't have anything to do with it. I'll let the old fellow down
"Do you mean," asked March, "that Mr. Dryfoos insists on his being
"Why, there isn't any dismissing about it," Fulkerson argued. "If
you don't send him any more work, he won't do any more, that's all.
Or if he comes round, you can-- He's to be referred to me."
March shook his head, and his wife, with a sigh, felt herself
plucked up from the soft circumstance of their lives, which she had
sunk back into so quickly, and set beside him on that cold peak of
principle again. "It won't do, Fulkerson. It's very good of you, and
all that, but it comes to the same thing in the end. I could have
gone on without any apology from Mr. Dryfoos; he transcended his
authority, but that's a minor matter. I could have excused it to his
ignorance of life among gentlemen; but I can't consent to Lindau's
dismissal--it comes to that, whether you do it or I do it, and whether
it's a positive or a negative thing--because he holds this opinion or
"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
"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.
While they were getting ready, some one rang, and Bella went to the
door, and then came to tell her father that it was Mr. Lindau. "He
says he wants to see you just a moment. He's in the parlor, and he
won't sit down, or anything."
"What can he want?" groaned Mrs. March, from their common dismay.
March apprehended a storm in the old man's face. But he only stood
in the middle of the room, looking very sad and grave. "You are Going
oudt," he said. " I won't geep you long. I haf gome to pring pack
dose macassines and dis mawney. I can't do any more voark for you;
and I can't geep the mawney you haf baid me a'ready. It iss not
hawnest mawney --that hass been oarned py voark; it iss mawney that
hass peen mate py sbeculation, and the obbression off lapor, and the
necessity of the boor, py a man-- Here it is, efery tollar, efery
zent. Dake it; I feel as if dere vas ploodt on it."
"Why, Lindau," March began, but the old man interrupted him.
"Ton't dalk to me, Passil! I could not haf believedt it of you.
When you know how I feel about dose tings, why tidn't you dell me
whose mawney you bay oudt to me? Ach, I ton't plame you--I ton't
rebroach you. You haf nefer thought of it; boat I have thought, and I
should be Guilty, I must share that man's Guilt, if I gept hiss
mawney. If you hat toldt me at the peginning--if you hat peen frank
with meboat it iss all righdt; you can go on; you ton't see dese tings
as I see them; and you haf cot a family, and I am a free man. I voark
to myself, and when I ton't voark, I sdarfe to myself. But. I geep
my handts glean, voark or sdarfe. Gif him hiss mawney pack! I am
sawry for him; I would not hoart hiss feelings, boat I could not pear
to douch him, and hiss mawney iss like boison!"
March tried to reason with Lindau, to show him the folly, the
injustice, the absurdity of his course; it ended in their both getting
angry, and in Lindau's going away in a whirl of German that included
Basil in the guilt of the man whom Lindau called his master.
"Well," said Mrs. March. "He is a crank, and I think you're well
rid of him. Now you have no quarrel with that horrid old Dryfoos, and
you can keep right on."
"Yes," said March, "I wish it didn't make me feel so sneaking.
What a long day it's been! It seems like a century since I got up."
"Yes, a thousand years. Is there anything else left to happen?"
"I hope not. I'd like to go to bed."
"Why, aren't you going to the theatre?" wailed Bella, coming in
upon her father's desperate expression.
"The theatre? Oh yes, certainly! I meant after we got home," and
March amused himself at the puzzled countenance of the child. "Come
on! Is Tom ready?"
Fulkerson parted with the Marches in such trouble of mind that he
did not feel able to meet that night the people whom he usually kept
so gay at Mrs. Leighton's table. He went to Maroni's for his dinner,
for this reason and for others more obscure. He could not expect to
do anything more with Dryfoos at once; he knew that Dryfoos must feel
that he had already made an extreme concession to March, and he
believed that if he was to get anything more from him it must be after
Dryfoos had dined. But he was not without the hope, vague and
indefinite as it might be, that he should find Lindau at Maroni's, and
perhaps should get some concession from him, some word of regret or
apology which he could report to Dryfoos, and at lest make the means
of reopening the affair with him; perhaps Lindau, when he knew how
matters stood, would back down altogether, and for March's sake would
withdraw from all connection with 'Every Other Week' himself, and so
leave everything serene. Fulkerson felt capable, in his desperation,
of delicately suggesting such a course to Lindau, or even of plainly
advising it: he did not care for Lindau a great deal, and he did care
a great deal for the magazine.
But he did not find Lindau at Maroni's; he only found Beaton. He
sat looking at the doorway as Fulkerson entered, and Fulkerson
naturally came and took a place at his table. Something in Beaton's
large-eyed solemnity of aspect invited Fulkerson to confidence, and he
said, as he pulled his napkin open and strung it, still a little damp
(as the scanty, often-washed linen at Maroni's was apt to be), across
his knees, "I was looking for you this morning, to talk with you about
the Christmas number, and I was a good deal worked up because I
couldn't find you; but I guess I might as well have spared myself my
"Why?" asked Beaton, briefly.
"Well, I don't know as there's going to be any Christmas number."
"Why?" Beaton asked again.
"Row between the financial angel and the literary editor about the
chief translator and polyglot smeller."
"Lindau is his name."
"What does the literary editor expect after Lindau's expression of
his views last night?"
"I don't know what he expected, but the ground he took with the old
man was that, as Lindau's opinions didn't characterize his work on the
magazine, he would not be made the instrument of punishing him for
them the old man wanted him turned off, as he calls it."
"Seems to be pretty good ground," said Beaton, impartially, while
he speculated, with a dull trouble at heart, on the effect the row
would have on his own fortunes. His late visit home had made him feel
that the claim of his family upon him for some repayment of help given
could not be much longer delayed; with his mother sick and his father
growing old, he must begin to do something for them, but up to this
time he had spent his salary even faster than he had earned it. When
Fulkerson came in he was wondering whether he could get him to
increase it, if he threatened to give up his work, and he wished that
he was enough in love with Margaret Vance, or even Christine Dryfoos,
to marry her, only to end in the sorrowful conviction that he was
really in love with Alma Leighton, who had no money, and who had
apparently no wish to be married for love, even. "And what are you
going to do about it?" he asked, listlessly.
"Be dogged if I know what I'm going to do about it," said
Fulkerson. "I've been round all day, trying to pick up the pieces--row
began right after breakfast this morning--and one time I thought I'd
got the thing all put together again. I got the old man to say that
he had spoken to March a little too authoritatively about Lindau;
that, in fact, he ought to have communicated his wishes through me;
and that he was willing to have me get rid of Lindau, and March
needn't have anything to do with it. I thought that was pretty white,
but March says the apologies and regrets are all well enough in their
way, but they leave the main question where they found it."
"What is the main question?" Beaton asked, pouring himself out
some Chianti. As he set the flask down he made the reflection that if
he would drink water instead of Chianti he could send his father three
dollars a week, on his back debts, and he resolved to do it.
"The main question, as March looks at it, is the question of
punishing Lindau for his private opinions; he says that if he consents
to my bouncing the old fellow it's the same as if he bounced him."
"It might have that complexion in some lights," said Beaton. He
drank off his Chianti, and thought he would have it twice a week, or
make Maroni keep the half-bottles over for him, and send his father
two dollars. "And what are you going to do now?"
"That's what I don't know," said Fulkerson, ruefully. After a
moment he said, desperately, " Beaton, you've got a pretty good head;
why don't you suggest something?"
"Why don't you let March go?" Beaton suggested.
"Ah, I couldn't," said Fulkerson. "I got him to break up in Boston
and come here; I like him; nobody else could get the hang of the thing
like he has; he's--a friend." Fulkerson said this with the nearest
approach he could make to seriousness, which was a kind of
Beaton shrugged. "Oh, if you can afford to have ideals, I
congratulate you. They're too expensive for me. Then, suppose you
get rid of Dryfoos?"
Fulkerson laughed forlornly. " Go on, Bildad. Like to sprinkle a
few ashes over my boils? Don't mind me!"
They both sat silent a little while, and then Beaton said, "I
suppose you haven't seen Dryfoos the second time?"
"No. I came in here to gird up my loins with a little dinner
before I tackled him. But something seems to be the matter with
Maroni's cook. I don't want anything to eat."
"The cooking's about as bad as usual," said Beaton. After a moment
he added, ironically, for he found Fulkerson's misery a kind of relief
from his own, and was willing to protract it as long as it was
amusing, "Why not try an envoy extraordinary and minister
"What do you mean?"
"Get that other old fool to go to Dryfoos for you!"
"Which other old fool? The old fools seem to be as thick as
"That Southern one."
"He did seem to rather take to the colonel!" Fulkerson mused aloud.
"Of course he did. Woodburn, with his idiotic talk about
patriarchal slavery, is the man on horseback to Dryfoos's muddy
imagination. He'd listen to him abjectly, and he'd do whatever
Woodburn told him to do." Beaton smiled cynically.
Fulkerson got up and reached for his coat and hat. "You've struck
it, old man." The waiter came up to help him on with his coat;
Fulkerson slipped a dollar in his hand. "Never mind the coat; you can
give the rest of my dinner to the poor, Paolo. Beaton, shake! You've
saved my life, little boy, though I don't think you meant it." He
took Beaton's hand and solemnly pressed it, and then almost ran out of
They had just reached coffee at Mrs. Leighton's when he arrived and
sat down with them and began to put some of the life of his new hope
into them. His appetite revived, and, after protesting that he would
not take anything but coffee, he went back and ate some of the earlier
courses. But with the pressure of his purpose driving him forward, he
did not conceal from Miss Woodburn, at least, that he was eager to get
her apart from the rest for some reason. When he accomplished this,
it seemed as if he had contrived it all himself, but perhaps he had
not wholly contrived it.
"I'm so glad to get a chance to speak to you alone," he said at
once; and while she waited for the next word he made a pause, and then
said, desperately, "I want you to help me; and if you can't help me,
there's no help for me."
"Mah goodness," she said, "is the case so bad as that? What in the
woald is the trouble?"
"Yes, it's a bad case," said Fulkerson. "I want your father to
"Oh, I thoat you said me!"
"Yes; I want you to help me with your father. I suppose I ought to
go to him at once, but I'm a little afraid of him."
"And you awe not afraid of me? I don't think that's very
flattering, Mr. Fulkerson. You ought to think Ah'm twahce as awful as
"Oh, I do! You see, I'm quite paralyzed before you, and so I don't
"Well, it's a pretty lahvely kyand of paralysis. But--go on."
"I will--I will. If I can only begin."
"Pohaps Ah maght begin fo' you."
"No, you can't. Lord knows, I'd like to let you. Well, it's like
Fulkerson made a clutch at his hair, and then, after another
hesitation, he abruptly laid the whole affair before her. He did not
think it necessary to state the exact nature of the offence Lindau had
given Dryfoos, for he doubted if she could grasp it, and he was
profuse of his excuses for troubling her with the matter, and of
wonder at himself for having done so. In the rapture of his concern
at having perhaps made a fool of himself, he forgot why he had told
her; but she seemed to like having been confided in, and she said,
"Well, Ah don't see what you can do with you' ahdeals of friendship
except stand bah Mr. Mawch."
"My ideals of friendship? What do you mean?"
"Oh, don't you suppose we know? Mr. Beaton said you we' a pofect
Bahyard in friendship, and you would sacrifice anything to it."
"Is that so?" said Fulkerson, thinking how easily he could
sacrifice Lindau in this case. He had never supposed before that he
was chivalrous in such matters, but he now began to see it in that
light, and he wondered that he could ever have entertained for a
moment the idea of throwing March over.
"But Ah most say," Miss Woodburn went on, " Ah don't envy you you'
next interview with Mr. Dryfoos. Ah suppose you'll have to see him at
once aboat it."
The conjecture recalled Fulkerson to the object of his confidences.
"Ah, there's where your help comes in. I've exhausted all the
influence I have with Dryfoos--"
"Good gracious, you don't expect Ah could have any!"
They both laughed at the comic dismay with which she conveyed the
preposterous notion; and Fulkerson said, "If I judged from myself, I
should expect you to bring him round instantly."
"Oh, thank you, Mr. Fulkerson," she said, with mock meekness.
"Not at all. But it isn't Dryfoos I want you to help me with; it's
your father. I want your father to interview Dryfoos for me, and
I-I'm afraid to ask him."
"Poo' Mr. Fulkerson!" she said, and she insinuated something
through her burlesque compassion that lifted him to the skies. He
swore in his heart that the woman never lived who was so witty, so
wise, so beautiful, and so good. "Come raght with me this minute, if
the cyoast's clea'." She went to the door of the diningroom and
looked in across its gloom to the little gallery where her father sat
beside a lamp reading his evening paper; Mrs. Leighton could be heard
in colloquy with the cook below, and Alma had gone to her room. She
beckoned Fulkerson with the hand outstretched behind her, and said,
"Go and ask him."
"Alone!" he palpitated.
"Oh, what a cyowahd!" she cried, and went with him. "Ah suppose
you'll want me to tell him aboat it."
"Well, I wish you'd begin, Miss Woodburn," he said. "The fact is,
you know, I've been over it so much I'm kind of sick of the thing."
Miss Woodburn advanced and put her hand on her father's shoulder.
"Look heah, papa! Mr. Fulkerson wants to ask you something, and he
wants me to do it fo' him."
The colonel looked up through his glasses with the sort of ferocity
elderly men sometimes have to put on in order to keep their glasses
from falling off. His daughter continued: "He's got into an awful
difficulty with his edito' and his proprieto', and he wants you to
"I do not know whethah I understand the case exactly," said the
colonel, "but Mr. Fulkerson may command me to the extent of my
"You don't understand it aftah what Ah've said?" cried the girl.
"Then Ah don't see but what you'll have to explain it you'self, Mr.
"Well, Miss Woodburn has been so luminous about it, colonel," said
Fulkerson, glad of the joking shape she had given the affair, "that I
can only throw in a little side-light here and there."
The colonel listened as Fulkerson went on, with a grave diplomatic
satisfaction. He felt gratified, honored, even, he said, by Mr.
Fulkerson's appeal to him; and probably it gave him something of the
high joy that an affair of honor would have brought him in the days
when he had arranged for meetings between gentlemen. Next to bearing
a challenge, this work of composing a difficulty must have been
grateful. But he gave no outward sign of his satisfaction in making a
resume of the case so as to get the points clearly in his mind.
"I was afraid, sir," he said, with the state due to the serious
nature of the facts, "that Mr. Lindau had given Mr. Dryfoos offence by
some of his questions at the dinner-table last night."
"Perfect red rag to a bull," Fulkerson put in; and then he wanted
to withdraw his words at the colonel's look of displeasure.
"I have no reflections to make upon Mr. Landau," Colonel Woodburn
continued, and Fulkerson felt grateful to him for going on; "I do not
agree with Mr. Lindau; I totally disagree with him on sociological
points; but the course of the conversation had invited him to the
expression of his convictions, and he had a right to express them, so
far as they had no personal bearing."
"Of course," said Fulkerson, while Miss Woodburn perched on the arm
of her father's chair.
"At the same time, sir, I think that if Mr. Dryfoos felt a personal
censure in Mr. Lindau's questions concerning his suppression of the
strike among his workmen, he had a right to resent it."
"Exactly," Fulkerson assented.
"But it must be evident to you, sir, that a high-spirited gentleman
like Mr. March--I confess that my feelings are with him very warmly in
the matter--could not submit to dictation of the nature you describe."
"Yes, I see," said Fulkerson; and, with that strange duplex action
of the human mind, he wished that it was his hair, and not her
father's, that Miss Woodburn was poking apart with the corner of her
"Mr. Lindau," the colonel concluded, "was right from his point of
view, and Mr. Dryfoos was equally right. The position of Mr. March is
His daughter dropped to her feet from his chair-arm. "Mah
goodness! If nobody's in the wrong, ho' awe you evah going to get the
"Yes, you see," Fulkerson added, "nobody can give in."
"Pardon me," said the colonel, "the case is one in which all can
"I don't know which 'll begin," said Fulkerson.
The colonel rose. "Mr. Lindau must begin, sir. We must begin by
seeing Mr. Lindau, and securing from him the assurance that in the
expression of his peculiar views he had no intention of offering any
personal offence to Mr. Dryfoos. If I have formed a correct estimate
of Mr. Lindau, this will be perfectly simple."
Fulkerson shook his head. "But it wouldn't help. Dryfoos don't
care a rap whether Lindau meant any personal offence or not. As far
as that is concerned, he's got a hide like a hippopotamus. But what
he hates is Lindau's opinions, and what he says is that no man who
holds such opinions shall have any work from him. And what March says
is that no man shall be punished through him for his opinions, he
don't care what they are."
The colonel stood a moment in silence. "And what do you expect me
to do under the circumstances?"
"I came to you for advice--I thought you might suggest----?"
"Do you wish me to see Mr. Dryfoos?"
"Well, that's about the size of it," Fulkerson admitted. "You see,
colonel," he hastened on, "I know that you have a great deal of
influence with him; that article of yours is about the only thing he's
ever read in 'Every Other Week,' and he's proud of your acquaintance.
Well, you know" --and here Fulkerson brought in the figure that
struck him so much in Beaton's phrase and had been on his tongue ever
since--" you're the man on horseback to him; and he'd be more apt to
do what you say than if anybody else said it."
"You are very good, sir," said the colonel, trying to be proof
against the flattery, "but I am afraid you overrate my influence."
Fulkerson let him ponder it silently, and his daughter governed her
impatience by holding her fan against her lips. Whatever the process
was in the colonel's mind, he said at last: "I see no good reason for
declining to act for you, Mr. Fulkerson, and I shall be very happy if
I can be of service to you. But"--he stopped Fulkerson from cutting
in with precipitate thanks--"I think I have a right, sir, to ask what
your course will be in the event of failure?"
"Failure?" Fulkerson repeated, in dismay.
"Yes, sir. I will not conceal from you that this mission is one
not wholly agreeable to my feelings."
"Oh, I understand that, colonel, and I assure you that I
"There is no use trying to blink the fact, sir, that there are
certain aspects of Mr. Dryfoos's character in which he is not a
gentleman. We have alluded to this fact before, and I need not dwell
upon it now: I may say, however, that my misgivings were not wholly
removed last night."
"No," Fulkerson assented; though in his heart he thought the old
man had behaved very well.
"What I wish to say now is that I cannot consent to act for you, in
this matter, merely as an intermediary whose failure would leave the
affair in state quo."
"I see," said Fulkerson.
"And I should like some intimation, some assurance, as to which
party your own feelings are with in the difference."
The colonel bent his eyes sharply on Fulkerson; Miss Woodburn let
hers fall; Fulkerson felt that he was being tested, and he said, to
gain time, "As between Lindau and Dryfoos?" though he knew this was
not the point.
"As between Mr. Dryfoos and Mr. March," said the colonel.
Fulkerson drew a long breath and took his courage in both hands.
"There can't be any choice for me in such a case. I'm for March,
The colonel seized his hand, and Miss Woodburn said, "If there had
been any choice fo' you in such a case, I should never have let papa
stir a step with you."
"Why, in regard to that," said the colonel, with a, literal
application of the idea, "was it your intention that we should both
"Well, I don't know; I suppose it was."
"I think it will be better for me to go alone," said the colonel;
and, with a color from his experience in affairs of honor, he added:
"In these matters a principal cannot appear without compromising his
dignity. I believe I have all the points clearly in mind, and I think
I should act more freely in meeting Mr. Dryfoos alone."
Fulkerson tried to hide the eagerness with which he met these
agreeable views. He felt himself exalted in some sort to the level of
the colonel's sentiments, though it would not be easy to say whether
this was through the desperation bred of having committed himself to
March's side, or through the buoyant hope he had that the colonel
would succeed in his mission.
"I'm not afraid to talk with Dryfoos about it," he said.
"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
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
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
"And Mr. Mawch takes the risk of that jost fo' a principle?"
"And you do it jost fo' an ahdeal?"
"It won't do to own it. I must have my little axe to grind,
"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.
"You will?" he shouted, in a rapture. "In every way--and
always--as long as you live? Do you mean it?" He had caught her hand
to his breast and was grappling it tight there and drawing her to him.
The changing emotions chased one another through her heart and over
her face: dismay, shame, pride, tenderness. "You don't believe," she
said, hoarsely, "that Ah meant that?"
"No, but I hope you do mean it; for if you don't, nothing else
There was no space, there was only a point of wavering. "Ah do
When they lifted their eyes from each other again it was half-past
ten. "No' you most go," she said.
"But the colonel--our fate?"
"The co'nel is often oat late, and Ah'm not afraid of ouah fate,
no' that we've taken it into ouah own hands." She looked at him with
dewy eyes of trust, of inspiration.
"Oh, it's going to come out all right," he said. "It can't come
out wrong now, no matter what happens. But who'd have thought it,
when I came into this house, in such a state of sin and misery, half
an hour ago--"
"Three houahs and a half ago!" she said. "No! you most jost go.
Ah'm tahed to death. Good-night. You can come in the mawning to
see-papa." She opened the door and pushed him out with enrapturing
violence, and he ran laughing down the steps into her father's arms.
"Why, colonel! I was just going up to meet you." He had really
thought he would walk off his exultation in that direction.
"I am very sorry to say, Mr. Fulkerson," the colonel began,
gravely, "that Mr. Dryfoos adheres to his position."
"Oh, all right," said Fulkerson, with unabated joy. "It's what I
expected. Well, my course is clear; I shall stand by March, and I
guess the world won't come to an end if he bounces us both. But I'm
everlastingly obliged to you, Colonel Woodburn, and I don't know what
to say to you. I--I won't detain you now; it's so late. I'll see you
in the morning. Good-ni--"
Fulkerson did not realize that it takes two to part. The colonel
laid hold of his arm and turned away with him. "I will walk toward
your place with you. I can understand why you should be anxious to
know the particulars of my interview with Mr. Dryfoos"; and in the
statement which followed he did not spare him the smallest. It
outlasted their walk and detained them long on the steps of the 'Every
Other Week' building. But at the end Fulkerson let himself in with
his key as light of heart as if he had been listening to the gayest
promises that fortune could make.
By the tune he met March at the office next morning, a little, but
only a very little, misgiving saddened his golden heaven. He took
March's hand with high courage, and said, "Well, the old man sticks to
his point, March." He added, with the sense of saying it before Miss
Woodburn: "And I stick by you. I've thought it all over, and I'd
rather be right with you than wrong with him."
"Well, I appreciate your motive, Fulkerson," said March. "But
perhaps-- perhaps we can save over our heroics for another occasion.
Lindau seems to have got in with his, for the present."
He told him of Lindau's last visit, and they stood a moment looking
at each other rather queerly. Fulkerson was the first to recover his
spirits. "Well," he said, cheerily, "that let's us out."
"Does it? I'm not sure it lets me out," said March; but he said
this in tribute to his crippled self-respect rather than as a forecast
of any action in the matter.
"Why, what are you going to do?" Fulkerson asked. "If Lindau
won't work for Dryfoos, you can't make him."
March sighed. "What are you going to do with this money?" He
glanced at the heap of bills he had flung on the table between them.
Fulkerson scratched his head. " Ah, dogged if I know: Can't we
give it to the deserving poor, somehow, if we can find 'em?"
"I suppose we've no right to use it in any way. You must give it
"To the deserving rich? Well, you can always find them. I reckon
you don't want to appear in the transaction! I don't, either; but I
guess I must." Fulkerson gathered up the money and carried it to
Conrad. He directed him to account for it in his books as
conscience-money, and he enjoyed the joke more than Conrad seemed to
do when he was told where it came from.
Fulkerson was able to wear off the disagreeable impression the
affair left during the course of the fore-noon, and he met Miss
Woodburn with all a lover's buoyancy when he went to lunch. She was
as happy as he when he told her how fortunately the whole thing had
ended, and he took her view that it was a reward of his courage in
having dared the worst. They both felt, as the newly plighted always
do, that they were in the best relations with the beneficent powers,
and that their felicity had been especially looked to in the
disposition of events. They were in a glow of rapturous content with
themselves and radiant worship of each other; she was sure that he
merited the bright future opening to them both, as much as if he owed
it directly to some noble action of his own; he felt that he was
indebted for the favor of Heaven entirely to the still incredible
accident of her preference of him over other men.
Colonel Woodburn, who was not yet in the secret of their love,
perhaps failed for this reason to share their satisfaction with a
result so unexpectedly brought about. The blessing on their hopes
seemed to his ignorance to involve certain sacrifices of personal
feeling at which he hinted in suggesting that Dryfoos should now be
asked to make some abstract concessions and acknowledgments; his
daughter hastened to deny that these were at all necessary; and
Fulkerson easily explained why. The thing was over; what was the use
of opening it up again?
"Perhaps none," the colonel admitted. But he added, "I should like
the opportunity of taking Mr. Lindau's hand in the presence of Mr.
Dryfoos and assuring him that I considered him a man of principle and
a man of honor--a gentleman, sir, whom I was proud and happy to have
" Well, Ah've no doabt," said his daughter, demurely, " that you'll
have the chance some day; and we would all lahke to join you. But at
the same tahme, Ah think Mr. Fulkerson is well oat of it fo' the