A Hazard of New Fortunes — Volume 3
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A Hazard of New Fortunes — Volume 3


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Hazard of New Fortunes, Part Third by William Dean HowellsThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: A Hazard of New Fortunes, Part ThirdAuthor: William Dean HowellsRelease Date: October 23, 2004 [EBook #3368]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNES, ***Produced by David WidgerA HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNESBy William Dean HowellsPART THIRDI.The scheme of a banquet to celebrate the initial success of 'Every Other Week' expanded in Fulkerson's fancy into aseries. Instead of the publishing and editorial force, with certain of the more representative artists and authors sittingdown to a modest supper in Mrs. Leighton's parlors, he conceived of a dinner at Delmonico's, with the principal literaryand artistic, people throughout the country as guests, and an inexhaustible hospitality to reporters and correspondents,from whom paragraphs, prophetic and historic, would flow weeks before and after the first of the series. He said the thingwas a new departure in magazines; it amounted to something in literature as radical as the American Revolution inpolitics: it was the idea of self government in the arts; and it was this idea that had never yet been fully developed inregard to it. That ...



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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Hazard of NewFortunes, Part Third by William Dean HowellsThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: A Hazard of New Fortunes, Part ThirdAuthor: William Dean HowellsRelease Date: October 23, 2004 [EBook #3368]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK A HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNES, ***Produced by David Widger
A HAZARD OF NEWFORTUNESBy William Dean HowellsPART THIRDI.The scheme of a banquet to celebrate the initialsuccess of 'Every Other Week' expanded inFulkerson's fancy into a series. Instead of thepublishing and editorial force, with certain of themore representative artists and authors sittingdown to a modest supper in Mrs. Leighton'sparlors, he conceived of a dinner at Delmonico's,with the principal literary and artistic, peoplethroughout the country as guests, and aninexhaustible hospitality to reporters andcorrespondents, from whom paragraphs, propheticand historic, would flow weeks before and after thefirst of the series. He said the thing was a newdeparture in magazines; it amounted to somethingin literature as radical as the American Revolutionin politics: it was the idea of self government in thearts; and it was this idea that had never yet beenfully developed in regard to it. That was what mustbe done in the speeches at the dinner, and thespeeches must be reported. Then it would go likewildfire. He asked March whether he thought Mr.
Depew could be got to come; Mark Twain, he wassure, would come; he was a literary man. Theyought to invite Mr. Evarts, and the Cardinal and theleading Protestant divines. His ambition stopped atnothing, nothing but the question of expense; therehe had to wait the return of the elder Dryfoos fromthe West, and Dryfoos was still delayed at Moffitt,and Fulkerson openly confessed that he was afraidhe would stay there till his own enthusiasmescaped in other activities, other plans.Fulkerson was as little likely as possible to fallunder a superstitious subjection to another man;but March could not help seeing that in thispossible measure Dryfoos was Fulkerson's fetish.He did not revere him, March decided, because itwas not in Fulkerson's nature to revere anything;he could like and dislike, but he could not respect.Apparently, however, Dryfoos daunted himsomehow; and besides the homage which thosewho have not pay to those who have, Fulkersonrendered Dryfoos the tribute of a feeling whichMarch could only define as a sort of bewilderment.As well as March could make out, this feeling wasevoked by the spectacle of Dryfoos's unfailing luck,which Fulkerson was fond of dazzling himself with.It perfectly consisted with a keen sense ofwhatever was sordid and selfish in a man on whomhis career must have had its inevitable effect. Heliked to philosophize the case with March, to recallDryfoos as he was when he first met him stillsomewhat in the sap, at Moffitt, and to study theprocesses by which he imagined him to have driedinto the hardened speculator, without even the
pretence to any advantage but his own in hisventures. He was aware of painting the charactertoo vividly, and he warned March not to accept itexactly in those tints, but to subdue them andshade it for himself. He said that where hisadvantage was not concerned, there was ever somuch good in Dryfoos, and that if in some thingshe had grown inflexible, he had expanded in othersto the full measure of the vast scale on which hedid business. It had seemed a little odd to Marchthat a man should put money into such anenterprise as 'Every Other Week' and go off aboutother affairs, not only without any sign of anxiety,but without any sort of interest. But Fulkerson saidthat was the splendid side of Dryfoos. He had acourage, a magnanimity, that was equal to thestrain of any such uncertainty. He had faced themusic once for all, when he asked Fulkerson whatthe thing would cost in the different degrees ofpotential failure; and then he had gone off, leavingeverything to Fulkerson and the younger Dryfoos,with the instruction simply to go ahead and notbother him about it. Fulkerson called that pretty tallfor an old fellow who used to bewail the want ofpigs and chickens to occupy his mind. He alleged itas another proof of the versatility of the Americanmind, and of the grandeur of institutions andopportunities that let every man grow to his fullsize, so that any man in America could run theconcern if necessary. He believed that old Dryfooscould step into Bismarck's shoes and run theGerman Empire at ten days' notice, or about aslong as it would take him to go from New York toBerlin. But Bismarck would not know anything
about Dryfoos's plans till Dryfoos got ready to showhis hand. Fulkerson himself did not pretend to saywhat the old man had been up to since he wentWest. He was at Moffitt first, and then he was atChicago, and then he had gone out to Denver tolook after some mines he had out there, and arailroad or two; and now he was at Moffitt again.He was supposed to be closing up his affairs there,but nobody could say.Fulkerson told March the morning after Dryfoosreturned that he had not only not pulled out atMoffitt, but had gone in deeper, ten times deeperthan ever. He was in a royal good-humor,Fulkerson reported, and was going to drop into theoffice on his way up from the Street (Marchunderstood Wall Street) that afternoon. He wastickled to death with 'Every Other Week' so far as ithad gone, and was anxious to pay his respects tothe editor.March accounted for some rhetoric in this, but let itflatter him, and prepared himself for a meetingabout which he could see that Fulkerson was onlyless nervous than he had shown himself about thepublic reception of the first number. It gave Marcha disagreeable feeling of being owned and of beingabout to be inspected by his proprietor; but he fellback upon such independence as he could find inthe thought of those two thousand dollars ofincome beyond the caprice of his owner, andmaintained an outward serenity.He was a little ashamed afterward of the resolution
it had cost him to do so. It was not a question ofDryfoos's physical presence: that was rathereffective than otherwise, and carried a suggestionof moneyed indifference to convention in the graybusiness suit of provincial cut, and the low, wide-brimmed hat of flexible black felt. He had a stickwith an old-fashioned top of buckhorn worn smoothand bright by the palm of his hand, which had notlost its character in fat, and which had a history offormer work in its enlarged knuckles, though it wasnow as soft as March's, and must once have beensmall even for a man of Mr. Dryfoos's stature; hewas below the average size. But what struckMarch was the fact that Dryfoos seemed furtivelyconscious of being a country person, and of beingaware that in their meeting he was to be tried byother tests than those which would have availedhim as a shrewd speculator. He evidently hadsome curiosity about March, as the first of his kindwhom he bad encountered; some such curiosity asthe country school trustee feels and tries to hide inthe presence of the new schoolmaster. But thewhole affair was, of course, on a higher plane; onone side Dryfoos was much more a man of theworld than March was, and he probably divined thisat once, and rested himself upon the fact in ameasure. It seemed to be his preference that hisson should introduce them, for he came upstairswith Conrad, and they had fairly madeacquaintance before Fulkerson joined them.Conrad offered to leave them at once, but hisfather made him stay. "I reckon Mr. March and Ihaven't got anything so private to talk about that
we want to keep it from the other partners. Well,Mr. March, are you getting used to New York yet?It takes a little time.""Oh yes. But not so much time as most places.Everybody belongs more or less in New York;nobody has to belong here altogether.""Yes, that is so. You can try it, and go away if youdon't like it a good deal easier than you could froma smaller place. Wouldn't make so much talk,would it?" He glanced at March with a jocose lightin his shrewd eyes. "That is the way I feel about itall the time: just visiting. Now, it wouldn't be thatway in Boston, I reckon?""You couldn't keep on visiting there your wholelife," said March.Dryfoos laughed, showing his lower teeth in a waythat was at once simple and fierce. "Mr. Fulkersondidn't hardly know as he could get you to leave. Isuppose you got used to it there. I never been inyour city.""I had got used to it; but it was hardly my city,except by marriage. My wife's a Bostonian."""She's been a little homesick here, then, saidDryfoos, with a smile of the same quality as hislaugh."Less than I expected," said March. "Of course,she was very much attached to our old home."
"I guess my wife won't ever get used to New York,"said Dryfoos, and he drew in his lower lip with asharp sigh. "But my girls like it; they're young. Younever been out our way yet, Mr. March? OutWest?""Well, only for the purpose of being born, andbrought up. I used to live in Crawfordsville, and"then Indianapolis."Indianapolis is bound to be a great place," saidDryfoos. "I remember now, Mr. Fulkerson told meyou was from our State." He went on to brag of theWest, as if March were an Easterner and had to beconvinced. "You ought to see all that country. It's agreat country.""Oh yes," said March, "I understand that." Heexpected the praise of the great West to lead up tosome comment on 'Every Other Week'; and therewas abundant suggestion of that topic in themanuscripts, proofs of letter-press and illustrations,with advance copies of the latest number strewnover his table.But Dryfoos apparently kept himself from looking atthese things. He rolled his head about on hisshoulders to take in the character of the room, andsaid to his son, "You didn't change the woodwork,after all.""No; the architect thought we had better let it be,unless we meant to change the whole place. Heliked its being old-fashioned."
"I hope you feel comfortable here, Mr. March," theold man said, bringing his eyes to bear upon himagain after their tour of inspection. "Toocomfortable for a working-man," said March,and he thought that this remark must bring them tosome talk about his work, but the proprietor onlysmiled again."I guess I sha'n't lose much on this house," hereturned, as if musing aloud. "This down-townproperty is coming up. Business is getting in on allthese side streets. I thought I paid a pretty goodprice for it, too." He went on to talk of real estate,and March began to feel a certain resentment athis continued avoidance of the only topic in whichthey could really have a common interest. "You livedown this way somewhere, don't you?" the old manconcluded."Yes. I wished to be near my work." March wasvexed with himself for having recurred to it; butafterward he was not sure but Dryfoos shared hisown diffidence in the matter, and was waiting forhim to bring it openly into the talk. At times heseemed wary and masterful, and then March feltthat he was being examined and tested; at othersso simple that March might well have fancied thathe needed encouragement, and desired it. Hetalked of his wife and daughters in a way thatinvited March to say friendly things of his family,which appeared to give the old man first an unduepleasure and then a final distrust. At moments heturned, with an effect of finding relief in it, to his
son and spoke to him across March of matterswhich he was unacquainted with; he did not seemaware that this was rude, but the young man musthave felt it so; he always brought the conversationback, and once at some cost to himself when hisfather made it personal."I want to make a regular New York business manout of that fellow," he said to March, pointing atConrad with his stick. "You s'pose I'm ever going todo it?""Well, I don't know," said March, trying to fall inwith the joke. "Do you mean nothing but a businessman?"The old man laughed at whatever latent meaninghe fancied in this, and said: "You think he would bea little too much for me there? Well, I've seenenough of 'em to know it don't always take a largepattern of a man to do a large business. But I wanthim to get the business training, and then if hewants to go into something else he knows what theworld is, anyway. Heigh?""Oh yes!" March assented, with some compassionfor the young man reddening patiently under hisfather's comment.Dryfoos went on as if his son were not in hearing."Now that boy wanted to be a preacher. What doesa preacher know about the world he preachesagainst when he's been brought up a preacher? Hedon't know so much as a bad little boy in hisSunday-school; he knows about as much as a girl.