The coming advent was announced, but I had no arrangements for securing either advertisements or subscribers. Josiah King, now proprietor of the Pittsburg Gazette and James H. McClelland called at the Journal office and subscribed, and with these two supporters, the Pittsburg Saturday Visiter, entered life. The mechanical difficulty of getting out the first number proved to be so great that the forms were not on the press at 3 P.M. By five the streets were so blocked by a waiting crowd, that vehicles went around by other ways, and it was six o’clock, Jan. 20th, 1848, when the first copy was sold at the counter. I was in the editorial room all afternoon, correcting proof to the last moment, and when there was nothing more I could do, was detained by the crowd around the doors until it was after eleven.
Editors and reporters were gathered in the sanctum, and Mr. Riddle stood by his desk pointing out errors to some one who should have prevented them, when I had my wraps on ready to start. Mr. Fleeson, then a clerk on the Journal, stepped out, hat in hand, and bowing to the proprietor, said:
“Mr. Riddle, it is your privilege to see Mrs. Swisshelm to her lodgings, but as you seem to decline, I hope you will commission me.”
Mr. Fleeson was a small man and Mr. Riddle had drawn himself to his full height and stood looking down at him, saying:
“I want it distinctly understood that Mrs. Swisshelm’s relations in this office are purely those of business. If she requires anything of any man in it, she will command him and her orders shall be obeyed. She has not ordered my attendance, but has kept her servant here all the evening to see her to her friend’s house, and this should be sufficient notice to any gentleman that she does not want him.”
During the ten years we used the same editorial-room. Mr. Riddle was often absent on the days I must be there, and always secured plenty of light by setting away the shutters when I entered. He generally made it necessary for me to go to his house and settle accounts, and never found it convenient to offer his escort to any place unless accompanied by his wife.
The Visiter was three years old when he turned one day, examined me critically, and exclaimed:
“Why do you wear those hideous caps? You seem to have good hair. Mrs. Riddle says she knows you have, and she and some ladies were wondering only yesterday, why you do make yourself such a fright.”
The offending cap was a net scarf tied under the chin, and I said, “You know I am subject to quinsy, and this cap protects my tonsils.”
He turned away with a sigh, and did not suspect that my tonsils had no such protection outside the office, where I must meet a great many gentlemen and make it apparent that what I wanted of them was votes! votes!! Votes for the women sold on the auction block, scourged for chastity, robbed of their children, and that admiration was no part of my object.