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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 101 pages of information about Hazard of New Fortunes, a Volume 1.
who were then mindful of the poor have not forgotten them, and what is better the poor have not often forgotten themselves in violences such as offered me the material of tragedy and pathos in my story.  In my quality of artist I could not regret these, and I gratefully realize that they offered me the opportunity of a more strenuous action, a more impressive catastrophe than I could have achieved without them.  They tended to give the whole fable dignity and doubtless made for its success as a book.  As a serial it had crept a sluggish course before a public apparently so unmindful of it that no rumor of its acceptance or rejection reached the writer during the half year of its publication; but it rose in book form from that failure and stood upon its feet and went its way to greater favor than any book of his had yet enjoyed.  I hope that my recognition of the fact will not seem like boasting, but that the reader will regard it as a special confidence from the author and will let it go no farther.

Kittery point, Maine, July, 1909.

PART FIRST

A HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNES

I.

“Now, you think this thing over, March, and let me know the last of next week,” said Fulkerson.  He got up from the chair which he had been sitting astride, with his face to its back, and tilting toward March on its hind-legs, and came and rapped upon his table with his thin bamboo stick.  “What you want to do is to get out of the insurance business, anyway.  You acknowledge that yourself.  You never liked it, and now it makes you sick; in other words, it’s killing you.  You ain’t an insurance man by nature.  You’re a natural-born literary man, and you’ve been going against the grain.  Now, I offer you a chance to go with the grain.  I don’t say you’re going to make your everlasting fortune, but I’ll give you a living salary, and if the thing succeeds you’ll share in its success.  We’ll all share in its success.  That’s the beauty of it.  I tell you, March, this is the greatest idea that has been struck since”—­Fulkerson stopped and searched his mind for a fit image—­“since the creation of man.”

He put his leg up over the corner of March’s table and gave himself a sharp cut on the thigh, and leaned forward to get the full effect of his words upon his listener.

March had his hands clasped together behind his head, and he took one of them down long enough to put his inkstand and mucilage-bottle out of Fulkerson’s way.  After many years’ experiment of a mustache and whiskers, he now wore his grizzled beard full, but cropped close; it gave him a certain grimness, corrected by the gentleness of his eyes.

“Some people don’t think much of the creation of man nowadays.  Why stop at that?  Why not say since the morning stars sang together?”

“No, sir; no, sir!  I don’t want to claim too much, and I draw the line at the creation of man.  I’m satisfied with that.  But if you want to ring the morning stars into the prospectus all right; I won’t go back on you.”

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