He repeated his programme. Perhaps—he afterward thought so himself—this editorial was a bit too pessimistic. But he had to write it—had to ease his soul. He set it off, however, by a lovely little paragraph which he printed boxed. Here it is:
Possibly much of the laughter heard on
this planet comes from
the mothers and fathers who are thinking or talking of the children.
In this way, then, Joe entered into the life of the people.
OTHERS: AND THEODORE MARRIN
Joe became a familiar figure in Greenwich Village. As time went on, and issue after issue of The Nine-Tenths appeared, he became known to the whole district. Whenever he went out people nodded right and left, passed the time of day with him, or stopped him for a hand-shake and a question. He would, when matters were not pressing, pause at a stoop to speak with mothers, and people in trouble soon began to acquire a habit of dropping in at his office to talk things over with the “Old Man.”
If it was a matter of employment, he turned the case over to some member of the Stove Circle; if it was a question of honest want, he drew on the “sinking-fund” and took a note payable in sixty days—a most elastic note, always secretly renewable; if it was an idle beggar, a vagrant, he made short work of his visitor. Such a visitor was Lady Hickory. Billy was at his little table next the door; over in the corner the still-despondent Slate was still collapsing; at the east window sat Editor Sally Heffer, digging into a mass of notes; and near the west, at the roll-top desk, a visitor’s chair set out invitingly beside him, Joe was writing—weird exercise of muttering softly, so as not to disturb the rest, and then scratching down a sentence.
Billy leaped up to receive her ladyship, who fatly rolled in, her tarnished hat askew, her torn thrice-dingy silks clutched up in one fat hand.