Hazard of New Fortunes, a — Volume 5 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 118 pages of information about Hazard of New Fortunes, a Volume 5.

“Play me false?  Oh, it wouldn’t be playing me false.  It would be merely looking out for himself, if the new Angel had editorial tastes and wanted my place.  It’s what any one would do.”

“You wouldn’t do it, Basil!”

“Wouldn’t I?  Well, if any one offered me more salary than ’Every Other Week’ pays—­say, twice as much—­what do you think my duty to my suffering family would be?  It’s give and take in the business world, Isabel; especially take.  But as to being uneasy, I’m not, in the least.  I’ve the spirit of a lion, when it comes to such a chance as that.  When I see how readily the sensibilities of the passing stranger can be worked in New York, I think of taking up the role of that desperate man on Third Avenue who went along looking for garbage in the gutter to eat.  I think I could pick up at least twenty or thirty cents a day by that little game, and maintain my family in the affluence it’s been accustomed to.”

“Basil!” cried his wife.  “You don’t mean to say that man was an impostor!  And I’ve gone about, ever since, feeling that one such case in a million, the bare possibility of it, was enough to justify all that Lindau said about the rich and the poor!”

March laughed teasingly.  “Oh, I don’t say he was an impostor.  Perhaps he really was hungry; but, if he wasn’t, what do you think of a civilization that makes the opportunity of such a fraud? that gives us all such a bad conscience for the need which is that we weaken to the need that isn’t?  Suppose that poor fellow wasn’t personally founded on fact:  nevertheless, he represented the truth; he was the ideal of the suffering which would be less effective if realistically treated.  That man is a great comfort to me.  He probably rioted for days on that quarter I gave him; made a dinner very likely, or a champagne supper; and if ‘Every Other Week’ wants to get rid of me, I intend to work that racket.  You can hang round the corner with Bella, and Tom can come up to me in tears, at stated intervals, and ask me if I’ve found anything yet.  To be sure, we might be arrested and sent up somewhere.  But even in that extreme case we should be provided for.  Oh no, I’m not afraid of losing my place!  I’ve merely a sort of psychological curiosity to know how men like Dryfoos and Fulkerson will work out the problem before them.”

IX.

It was a curiosity which Fulkerson himself shared, at least concerning Dryfoos.  “I don’t know what the old man’s going to do,” he said to March the day after the Marches had talked their future over.  “Said anything to you yet?”

“No, not a word.”

“You’re anxious, I suppose, same as I am.  Fact is,” said Fulkerson, blushing a little, “I can’t ask to have a day named till I know where I am in connection with the old man.  I can’t tell whether I’ve got to look out for something else or somebody else.  Of course, it’s full soon yet.”

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Hazard of New Fortunes, a — Volume 5 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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