Ide’s trembling suddenly ceased. The color came back to his face, and he straightened his back. His jaw went forward half an inch, and a gleam came into his eye. He pushed back his battered hat with one hand, and extended the other, with levelled fingers, toward the lawyer. He took a long breath and then laughed sardonically.
“Tell old Paulding he may go to the devil,” he said, loudly and clearly, and turned and walked out of the office with a firm and lively step.
Lawyer Mead turned on his heel to Vallance and smiled.
“I am glad you came in,” he said, genially. “Your uncle wants you to return home at once. He is reconciled to the situation that led to his hasty action, and desires to say that all will be as—”
“Hey, Adams!” cried Lawyer Mead, breaking his sentence, and calling to his clerk. “Bring a glass of water—Mr. Vallance has fainted.”
THE PLUTONIAN FIRE
There are a few editor men with whom I am privileged to come in contact. It has not been long since it was their habit to come in contact with me. There is a difference.
They tell me that with a large number of the manuscripts that are submitted to them come advices (in the way of a boost) from the author asseverating that the incidents in the story are true. The destination of such contributions depends wholly upon the question of the enclosure of stamps. Some are returned, the rest are thrown on the floor in a corner on top of a pair of gum shoes, an overturned statuette of the Winged Victory, and a pile of old magazines containing a picture of the editor in the act of reading the latest copy of Le Petit Journal, right side up—you can tell by the illustrations. It is only a legend that there are waste baskets in editors’ offices.
Thus is truth held in disrepute. But in time truth and science and nature will adapt themselves to art. Things will happen logically, and the villain be discomfited instead of being elected to the board of directors. But in the meantime fiction must not only be divorced from fact, but must pay alimony and be awarded custody of the press despatches.
This preamble is to warn you off the grade crossing of a true story. Being that, it shall be told simply, with conjunctions substituted for adjectives wherever possible, and whatever evidences of style may appear in it shall be due to the linotype man. It is a story of the literary life in a great city, and it should be of interest to every author within a 20-mile radius of Gosport, Ind., whose desk holds a Ms. story beginning thus: “While the cheers following his nomination were still ringing through the old court-house, Harwood broke away from the congratulating handclasps of his henchmen and hurried to Judge Creswell’s house to find Ida.”
Pettit came up out of Alabama to write fiction. The Southern papers had printed eight of his stories under an editorial caption identifying the author as the son of “the gallant Major Pettingill Pettit, our former County Attorney and hero of the battle of Lookout Mountain.”