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Hazard of New Fortunes, a — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 101 pages of information about Hazard of New Fortunes, a Volume 1.
in terms; the flat is the negation of motherhood.  The flat means society life; that is, the pretence of social life.  It’s made to give artificial people a society basis on a little money—­too much money, of course, for what they get.  So the cost of the building is put into marble halls and idiotic decoration of all kinds.  I don’t object to the conveniences, but none of these flats has a living-room.  They have drawing-rooms to foster social pretence, and they have dining-rooms and bedrooms; but they have no room where the family can all come together and feel the sweetness of being a family.  The bedrooms are black-holes mostly, with a sinful waste of space in each.  If it were not for the marble halls, and the decorations, and the foolishly expensive finish, the houses could be built round a court, and the flats could be shaped something like a Pompeiian house, with small sleeping-closets—­only lit from the outside—­and the rest of the floor thrown into two or three large cheerful halls, where all the family life could go on, and society could be transacted unpretentiously.  Why, those tenements are better and humaner than those flats!  There the whole family lives in the kitchen, and has its consciousness of being; but the flat abolishes the family consciousness.  It’s confinement without coziness; it’s cluttered without being snug.  You couldn’t keep a self-respecting cat in a flat; you couldn’t go down cellar to get cider.  No! the Anglo-Saxon home, as we know it in the Anglo-Saxon house, is simply impossible in the Franco-American flat, not because it’s humble, but because it’s false.”

“Well, then,” said Mrs. March, “let’s look at houses.”

He had been denouncing the flat in the abstract, and he had not expected this concrete result.  But he said, “We will look at houses, then.”

X.

Nothing mystifies a man more than a woman’s aberrations from some point at which he, supposes her fixed as a star.  In these unfurnished houses, without steam or elevator, March followed his wife about with patient wonder.  She rather liked the worst of them best:  but she made him go down into the cellars and look at the furnaces; she exacted from him a rigid inquest of the plumbing.  She followed him into one of the cellars by the fitful glare of successively lighted matches, and they enjoyed a moment in which the anomaly of their presence there on that errand, so remote from all the facts of their long-established life in Boston, realized itself for them.

“Think how easily we might have been murdered and nobody been any the wiser!” she said when they were comfortably outdoors again.

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