They offered her higher wages, and Mr. Merrick himself had a long talk with her, but all arguments were unavailing.
“What shall we do, Thursday?” asked Patsy in despair. “None of us understands telegraphy.”
“Hetty Hewitt does,” he suggested.
“Hetty! I’m afraid if I asked her to assume this work she also would leave us.”
“No; she’ll stay,” he said positively.
“But she can’t edit the telegraph news. Suppose she took the messages, who would get the night news in shape for the compositors? My uncle would not like to have me remain here until midnight, but even if he would permit it I have not yet mastered the art of condensing the dispatches and selecting just such items as are suitable for the Tribune.”
“I’ll do that, Miss Doyle,” promised Smith.
“I’ve been paying especial attention to the work of Miss Briggs, for I had an idea she was getting uneasy. And I can take all the day messages, too. If Hetty will look after the wires evenings I can do the rest of the telegraph editor’s work, and my own, too.”
“Good gracious, Thursday!” exclaimed Patsy; “you’ll be running the whole paper, presently.”
“No; I can’t do the typesetting. But if the Dwyer girls stick to their job—and they seem quite contented here—I’ll answer for the rest of the outfit.”
“I’m glad the Dwyer girls seem contented,” she answered; “but I’m afraid to depend upon anyone now—except you.”
He liked that compliment, but said nothing further. After consulting with Louise and Beth, Patsy broached the subject to Hetty, and the artist jumped at the opportunity to do something to occupy her leisure time. The work brought her in contact with Thursday Smith more than ever, and when Miss Briggs departed bag and baggage for New York, the paper suffered little through her defection.
“Newspaper folk,” remarked Major Doyle, who was now at the farm enjoying his vacation and worshipping at the shrine of the managing editor in the person of his versatile daughter, “are the most unreliable of any class in the world. So I’ve often been told, and I believe it. They come and go, by fits and starts, and it’s a wonder the erratic rascals never put a paper out of business. But they don’t. You never heard of a newspaper that failed to appear just because the mechanical force deserted and left it in the lurch. By hook or crook the paper must be printed—and it always is. So don’t worry, mavourneen; when your sallow-faced artist and your hobo jack-of-all-trades desert you, there’ll still be a way to keep the Millville Tribune going, and therefore the world will continue to whirl on its axis.”
“I don’t believe Thursday will ever desert, and Hetty likes us too well to leave us in the lurch; but suppose those typesetters take a notion to flit?”
“Then,” said matter-of-fact Beth, “we’ll fill the paper with ready-made plate stuff and telegraph for more compositors.”