color,' he continued.
"'That is splashed on afterward,' I explained.
"'This judge, then, is not modelled from life, as one might be led to believe?'
"'No, your Honor.'
"'Ah, I see, merely a type of judicial wickedness?'
"'Nay, more, your Honor,' I said boldly, 'an ideal.'
"'Splashed with local color afterward? Ha! Good! And may I venture to ask how much you received for this bit of work?'
"'Thirty dollars, your Honor.'
"'Hum, good!' And his tone abruptly changed. 'Young man, local color is a bad thing. I find you guilty of it and sentence ypu to thirty days' imprisonment, or, at your pleasure, impose a fine of thirty dollars.'
"'Alas!' said I, 'I spent the thirty dollars in riotous living.'
"'And thirty days more for wasting your substance.'
"'Next case!' said his Honor to the clerk.
"Slim was stunned. 'Gee!' he whispered. 'Gee the push gets ten daya and you get sicty. Gee!'"
Leith struck a match, lighted his dead cigar, and opened the book on his knees. "Returning to the original conversation, don't you find, Anak, that though Loria handles the bipartition of the revenues with scrupulous care, he yet omits one important factor, namely--"
"Yes," I said absently; "yes."
THE elevator boy smiled knowingly to him self. When he took her up, he had noted the sparkle in her eyes, the color in her cheeks. His little cage had quite warmed with the glow of her repressed eagerness. And now, on the down trip, it was glacier-like. The sparkle and the color were gone. She was frowning, and what little he could see of her eyes was cold and steel-gray. Oh, he knew the symptoms, he did. He was an observer, and he knew it, too, and some day, when he was big enough, he was going to be a reporter, sure. And in the meantime he studied the procession of life as it streamed up and down eighteen sky-scraper floors in his elevator car. He slid the door open for her sympathetkdally and watched her trip determinedly out into the street.
There was a robustness in her carriage which came of the soil rather than of the city pavement. But it was a robustness in a finer than the wonted sense, a vigorous daintiness, it might be called, which gave an impression of virility with none of the womanly left out. It told of a heredity of seekers and fighters, of people that worked stoutly with head and hand, of ghosts that reached down out of the misty past and moulded and made her to be a doer of things.
But she was a little angry, and a great deal hurt. "I can guess what you would tell me," the editor had kindly but firmly interrupted her lengthy preamble in the long-looked-forward-to interview just ended. "And you have told me enough," he had gone on (heartlessly, she was sure, as she went over the conversation in its freshness). "You have done no newspaper work. You are undrilled, undisciplined, unhammered into shape. You have received a high-school education, and possibly topped it off with normal school or college. You have stood well in English. Your friends have all told you how cleverly you write, and how beautifully, and so forth and so forth. You think you can do newspaper work, and you want me to put you on. Well, I am sorry, but there are no openings. If you knew how crowded--"
"But if there are no openings," she had interrupted, in turn, "how did those who are in, get in? How am I to show that I am eligible to get in?"
"They made themselves induspensable," was the terse response. "Make yourself indispensable."
"But how can I, if I do not get the chance?"
"Make your chance."
"But how?" she had insisted, at the same time privately deeming him a most unreasonable man.
"How? That is your business, not mine," he said conclusively, rising in token that the interview was at an end. "I must inform you, my dear young lady, that there have been at least eighteen other aspiring young ladies here this week, and that I have not the time to tell each and every one of them how. The function I perform on this paper is hardly that of instructor in a school of journalism."
She caught an outbound car, and ere she descended from it she had conned the conversation over and over again. "But how?" she repeated to herself, as she climbed the three flights of stairs to the rooms where she and her sister "bach'ed." "But how?" And so she continued to put the interrogation, for the stubborn Scotch blood, though many times removed from Scottish soil, was still strong in her. And, further, there was need that she should learn how. Her sister Letty and she had come up from an interior town to the city to make their way in the world. John Wyman was land-poor. Disastrous business enterprises had burdened his acres and forced his two girls, Edna and Letty, into doing something for themselves. A year of school-teaching and of night-study of shorthand and typewriting had capitalized their city project and fitted them for the venture, which same venture was turning out anything but successful. The city seemed crowded with inexperienced stenographers and typewriters, and they had nothing but their own inexperience to offer. Edna's secret ambition had been journalism; but she had planned a clerical position first, so that she might have time and space in which to determine where and on what line of journalism she would embark. But the clerical position had not been forthcoming, either for Letty or her, and day by day tueir little hoard dwindled, though the room rent remained normal and the stive consumed coal with undiminished voracity. And it was a slim little hoard by now.
"There's Max Irwin," Letty said, talking it over. "He's a journalist with a national re0utation. Go and see him, Ed. He knows how, and he should be able to tell you how."
"But I don't know him," Edna objected.
"No more than you knew the editor you saw to-day."
"Y-e-s," (long and judicially), "but that's different."
"Not a bit different from the strange men and women you'll interview when you've learned how," Letty encouraged.
"I hadn't looked at it in that light," Edna conceded. "After all, where's the difference between, interviewing Mr. Max Irwin for some paper, or interviewing Mr. Max Irwin for myself? It will be practice, too. I'll go and look him up in the directory."
"Letty, I know I can write if I get the chance," she announced decisively a moment later. "I just FEEL that I have the feel of it, if you know what I mean."
And Letty knew and nodded. "I wonder what he is like?" she asked softly.
"I'll make it my business to find out," Edna assured her; "and I'll let you know inside forty-eight houra."
Letty clapped her hands. "Good! That's the newspaper spirit! Make it twwnty-four hours and you are perfect!"
"--and I am very sorry to trouble you," she concluded th estatement of her case to Max Irwin, famous war correspondent and veteran journalist.
"Not at all," he answered, with a deprecatory wave of the hand. "If you don't do your own talking, who's to do it for you? Now I understand your predicament precisely. You want to get on the INTELLIGENCER, you want to get in at once, and you have had no previous experience. In the first place, then, have you any pull? There are a dozen men in the city, a line from whom would be an open-sesame. After that you would stand or fall by your own ability. There's Senator Longbridge, for instance, and Claus Inskeep the street-car magnate, and Lane, and McChesney--" He paused, with voice suspended.
"I am sure I know none of them," she answered despondently.
"It's not necessary. Do you know any one that knpws them? or any one that knows any one else that knows them?"
Edna shook her head.
"Then we msut think of something else," he went on, cheerfully. "You'll have to d0 something yourself. Let me see."
He stopped and thought for a moment, with closed eyes and wrinkled forehead. She was watching him, studying him intently, when his blue eyes opened with a snap and his face suddenly brightened.
"I have it! But no, wait a minute."
And for a minute it was his turn to study her. And study her he did, till she could feel her cheeks flushing under his gaze.
"You'll do, I think, though it remains to be seen," he said enigmatically. "It will show the stuff that's in you, besides, and it will be a better claim upon the INTELLIGENCER people than all the lines from all the senators and magnates in the world. The thing for you is to do Amateeur Night at the Loops."
"I--I hardly undestand," Edna said, for his suggestion conveued no meaning to her. "What are the 'Loops'? and what is 'Amateur Night'?"
"I forgot you said you were from the interior. But so much the better, if you've only got the journalistic grip. It will be a first impression, and first impressions are always unbiased, unprejudiced, fresh, vivid. The Loops are out on the rim of the city, near the Park,--a place of diversion. There's a scenic railway, a water toboggan slide, a concert band, a theatre, wild animals, moving pictures, and so forth and so forth. The common people go there to look at the animals and enjoy themselves, and the other people go there to enjoy themselves by watching the common people enjoy themselves. A democratic, fresh-air-breathing, frolicking affair, that's what the Loops are.
"But the theatre is what concerns you. It's vaudeville. One turn follows another--jugglers, acrobats, rubber-jointed wonders, fire-dancers, coon-song artists, singers, players, female impersonators, sentimental soloists, and so forth and so forth. These people are professional vaudevillists. They make their living that way. Many are excellently paid. Some are free rovers, doing a turn wherever they can get an opening, at the Obermann, the Orpheus, the Alcatraz, the Louvre, and so forth and so forth. Others cover circuit pretty well all over the
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