Something of these views he one day expressed to Pike, the Editor of the Tidborough County Times. He was taken into the County Times office by business connected with an error in the firm’s standing account for advertisement notices and, encountering Pike outside his room, entered with him and talked.
Pike was a man of nearly sixty with furiously black and luxuriant hair. He had been every sort of journalist in America and in London, and some years previously had been brought into the editorship of the County Times. The Press, broad-based on the liberty of the English people and superbly impervious to whatever temptation to jump in the direction the cat jumps, is, on the other hand, singularly sensitive to apparently inconsequent trifles in the lives of its proprietary. Pike, with his reputation, was brought into the editorship of the County Times solely because the proprietor late in life suddenly married. The wife of the proprietor desiring to share a knighthood with her husband, the proprietor, anxious to please but unwilling to pay, incontinently sacked the tame editor who was beguiling an amiable dotage with the County Times and looked about for a wild editor, whom unquestionably he found in Mr. Pike.
The breath of the County Times became as the breath of life to the Tory tradition and burst from its columns as the breath of a fiery furnace upon all that was opposed to the Tory tradition. The proprietor felt that his knighthood was assured as soon as the tide of liberalism turned; and the County Times, which could not notice even a Baptist harvest festival without snorting fire and brimstone upon it, said that the tide of radicalism—it did not print the words Liberal or Liberalism—was turning every day. About once a week the County Times said that the tide of radicalism “definitely turned last night.”
Pike was a man of extraordinarily violent language. Consequent, no doubt, on the restraint of having to write always in printable language, his vocal discussion of the subjects on which he wrote was mainly in unprintable. He spoke of trade-unionists always as “those swine and dogs” and of the members of the Government as “those dogs and swine",—swine and dogs being refined and temperate euphuisms for the epithets Mr. Pike actually employed.