Patsy grabbed the first dozen and handed them to Beth, for they were to be reserved as souvenirs. Then, running back to the table, she seized a bunch and began distributing them to the watchers outside the window. The natives accepted them eagerly enough, but could not withdraw their eyes from the marvelous press, which seemed to possess intelligence almost human.
Each of the three girl journalists now had a copy in hand, scanning it with boundless pride and satisfaction. It realized completely their fondest hopes and they had good cause to rejoice.
Then Uncle John, who ought to have been in bed and sound asleep at this uncanny hour of night, came bouncing in, accompanied by Arthur Weldon. Each made a dive for a paper and each face wore an expression of genuine delight. The roar of the press made conversation difficult, but Mr. Merrick caught his nieces in his arms, by turn, and gave each one an ecstatic hug and kiss.
Suddenly the press stopped.
“What’s wrong, McGaffey?” demanded Patsy, anxiously.
“Nothing, miss. Edition off, that’s all.”
“What! the entire four hundred are printed?”
“Four twenty-five. I run a few extrys.”
And now a shriek of laughter came from the windows as the villagers, slowly opening the papers they held, came upon the caricature of Peggy McNutt. The subject of the cartoon had, with his usual aggressiveness, secured the best “standing room” available, and his contemplative, protruding eyes were yet fixed upon the interior of the workroom. But now, his curiosity aroused, he looked at the paper to see what his neighbors were laughing at, and his expression of wonder slowly changed to a broad grin. He straightened up, looked triumphantly around the circle and exclaimed:
“By gum, folks, this ’ere paper’s going to be a go! I didn’t take no stock in it till now, but them fool gals seem to know their business, an’ I’ll back ’em to the last ditch!”
Of course the girls exhausted their store of “effusions” on the first two or three papers. A daily eats up “copy” very fast and the need to supply so much material began to bewilder the budding journalists. There was not sufficient local news to keep them going, but fortunately the New York news service supplied more general news than they could possibly use, and, besides, Mr. Marvin, foreseeing this dilemma, had