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

“You may be sure I shall not regret it.  If ever I’m low-spirited about anything, I’ll think of giving Mr. Beaton his freedom, and that will cheer me up.”

“And don’t you expect to get married?  Do you intend to be an old maid?” demanded her mother, in the bonds of the superstition women have so long been under to the effect that every woman must wish to get married, if for no other purpose than to avoid being an old maid.

“Well, mamma,” said Alma, “I intend being a young one for a few years yet; and then I’ll see.  If I meet the right person, all well and good; if not, not.  But I shall pick and choose, as a man does; I won’t merely be picked and chosen.”

“You can’t help yourself; you may be very glad if you are picked and chosen.”

“What nonsense, mamma!  A girl can get any man she wants, if she goes about it the right way.  And when my ‘fated fairy prince’ comes along, I shall just simply make furious love to him and grab him.  Of course, I shall make a decent pretence of talking in my sleep.  I believe it’s done that way more than half the time.  The fated fairy prince wouldn’t see the princess in nine cases out of ten if she didn’t say something; he would go mooning along after the maids of honor.”

Mrs. Leighton tried to look unspeakable horror; but she broke down and laughed.  “Well, you are a strange girl, Alma.”

“I don’t know about that.  But one thing I do know, mamma, and that is that Prince Beaton isn’t the F. F. P. for me.  How strange you are, mamma!  Don’t you think it would be perfectly disgusting to accept a person you didn’t care for, and let him go on and love you and marry you?  It’s sickening.”

“Why, certainly, Alma.  It’s only because I know you did care for him once—­”

“And now I don’t.  And he didn’t care for me once, and now he does.  And so we’re quits.”

“If I could believe—­”

“You had better brace up and try, mamma; for as Mr. Fulkerson says, it’s as sure as guns.  From the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, he’s loathsome to me; and he keeps getting loathsomer.  Ugh!  Goodnight!”

XVI.

“Well, I guess she’s given him the grand bounce at last,” said Fulkerson to March in one of their moments of confidence at the office.  “That’s Mad’s inference from appearances—­and disappearances; and some little hints from Alma Leighton.”

“Well, I don’t know that I have any criticisms to offer,” said March.  “It may be bad for Beaton, but it’s a very good thing for Miss Leighton.  Upon the whole, I believe I congratulate her.”

“Well, I don’t know.  I always kind of hoped it would turn out the other way.  You know I always had a sneaking fondness for the fellow.”

“Miss Leighton seems not to have had.”

“It’s a pity she hadn’t.  I tell you, March, it ain’t so easy for a girl to get married, here in the East, that she can afford to despise any chance.”

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