“Peggy, you are not only a poet but a humorist. This is one of the best short poems I ever read.”
“It’s short ‘cause I run out o’ rhymes,” admitted Peggy.
“But it’s a gem, what there is of it.”
“Don’t, dear,” remonstrated Louise; “don’t poke fun at the poor man.”
“Poke fun? Why, I’m going to print that poem in the Tribune, as sure as my name’s Patricia Doyle! It’s too good for oblivion.”
“I dunno,” remarked Peggy, uncertainly, “whether it’s wuth fifty dollars, er about—”
“About forty-nine less,” said Patsy. “A poem of that length brings about fifty cents in open market, but I’ll be liberal. You shall have a whole dollar—and there it is, solid cash.”
“Thank ye,” returned Peggy, pocketing the silver. “It ain’t what I expected, but—”
“But what, sir?”
“But it’s like findin’ it, for I didn’t expect nuth’n’. I wish I could do more of ’em at the same price; but I did thet pome when I were young an’ hed more ambition. I couldn’t think of another like it to save my neck.”
“I am glad of that, Peggy. One of this kind is all a paper dare print. We mustn’t get too popular, you know.”
“I s’pose you’ll print my name as the one what did it?” he inquired anxiously.
“I shall print it just as it’s written, advertisement and all.”
She did, and Peggy bought two extra copies, at a cent apiece. He framed all three and hung one in his office, one in the sitting room and a third in his bedroom, where he could see it the first thing when he wakened each morning. His fellow villagers were very proud of him, in spite of the “knocking” of the Clarks. Skim was deeply mortified that Peggy’s “bum pome” had been accepted and his own masterly composition “turned down cold.” The widow backed her son and told all the neighbors that “Peggy never hed the brains to write thet pome, an’ the chances air he stole it from the ‘Malvern Weekly Journal.’ Them gal edyturs wouldn’t know,” she added scornfully; “they’s as ignerunt as Peggy is, mostly.”
A few days later McNutt entered the printing office with an air of great importance.
“Goodness me! I hope you haven’t done it again, Peggy,” cried Patsy, in alarm.
“No; I got fame enough. What I want is to hev the wordin’ on my business cards changed,” said he. “What’ll it cost?”
“What change do you wish made?” asked Patsy, examining the sample card.
“Instead of ‘Marshall McMahon McNutt, dealer in Real Estate an’ Spring Chickens,’ I want to make it read: ’dealer in Real Estate, Spring Chickens an’ Poetry.’ What’ll it cost. Miss Patsy?”
“Nothing,” she said, her eyes dancing; “We’ll do that job free of charge, Peggy!”
THE PENALTIES OF JOURNALISM
Two strange men appeared in Millville—keen, intelligent looking fellows—and applied to Joe Wegg for jobs. Having received a hint from Mr. Merrick, Joe promptly employed the strangers to prepare the old mill for the reception of the machinery for the lighting plant, and both of them engaged board at the hold.