The victorious newspaper is out and on the streets—the greatest chronicle of any age—the most devout function of the most conventional epoch of civilization.
The night editors of all other city newspapers look with livid faces on that front page. They scan the true and succinct account of Corkey’s interview, which reaches them an hour later. They indignantly throw it in the waste-basket, cut off the correspondents by telegraph, and proceed hurriedly to re-write the front page of their exemplar.
The able editor comes down the next day and writes a leader on the great shipwrecks of past times, the raft scene and the heroism of Corkey.
Corkey and his mascot are still at Wiarton. Corkey is superintending the search for the yawl and Lockwin’s body.
Superintending the search is but a phrase. Corkey is exhibiting his mascot, pounding on the hotel bar and accepting the congratulations of all who will take a drink.
The four correspondents fall back on the Special Survivor and hope for sympathy.
“We have been discharged by our papers,” they cry in bitter anger and deep chagrin.
“Can’t you get us re-instated?” they implore, in eager hope.
“The man,” says Corkey, judicially, “who don’t know no better than to send that shipwreck as it was—well, excuse me, gentlemen, but he ought to get fired, I suppose.” Corkey stands sidewise to the bar, his hand on the glass. He looks with affection on the mascot and ruminates. Then he brings his adamantine fist down on the bar to the peril of all glassware.
“Yes, sir! Now I was out on that old tub. I was right there when she drapped in the drink. If anybody might make it just as it was, I might—mightn’t I?”
“You might,” they answer in admiration of a great man.
“Well, I didn’t do no such foolish thing as you fellows, did I?”
“But why didn’t you tell us, Mr. Corkey?”
“That isn’t what my paper hired me to do. Is it, you cow-licked, cross-eyed, two-thumbed, six-toed stuttering moke?”
There is a terrifying report of knuckles on the counter. There are signs of strangling and a sneeze.
“N—n—n—noah,” stammers the faithful son of swart Afric.
Esther Lockwin, the bride of a few months, has been hungrily happy.
She has been the wife of David Lockwin, the people’s idol. She has passed out of a single state which had become wearisome. She has removed from a vast mansion to a less conspicuous home.
Of all the women in Chicago she would consider herself most fortunate.
People call her cold. It is certain that she is best pleased with a husband like Lockwin. It is his business to be famous.