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The Palace Beautiful eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about The Palace Beautiful.

“I want to see the editor of The Joy-bell,” asked Jasmine, in as firm a tone as she could command.

The red-haired boy raised his eyes from a huge ledger which he was pretending to occupy himself over, and said, “Can’t see him,” in a laconic tone, and dropped his eyes again.

“But why?” asked Jasmine, somewhat indignantly.  “I have particular business with him; it is most necessary that I should see him.  Pray, let him know that I am here.”

“Very sorry,” replied the boy, “but can’t.”

“Why not?”

“’Cause he ain’t in town.”

“Oh!”

Poor Jasmine fell back a pace or two; then she resumed in a different tone—­

“I am very much disappointed; there is a story of mine in The Joy-bell, and I wanted to speak to him about it.  It was very important, indeed,” she added, in so sad a voice that the red-haired boy gazed at her in some astonishment.

“My word,” he said, “then you do not know?”

“Don’t know what?”

“Why, we has had a funeral here.”

“A funeral—­oh, dear! oh, dear! is the editor of The Joy-bell dead?”

Here the red-haired boy burst into a peal of irrepressible laughter.

“Dead! he ain’t dead, but The Joy-bell is; we had her funeral last week.”

Poor Jasmine staggered against the wall, and her pretty face became ghastly white.

“Oh, boy,” she said, “do tell me about it; how can The Joy-bell be dead, and have a funeral?  Oh, please, don’t jest with me, for it’s so important.”

The genuine distress in her tones touched at last some vulnerable point in the facetious office-boy’s breast.

“I’m real sorry for you, miss,” he said, “particular as you seems so cut up; but what I tell you is true, and you had better know it.  That editor has gone, and The Joy-bell is decently interred.  I was at her birth, and I was at her funeral.  She had a short life, and was never up to much.  I never guessed she’d hold out as long as she did; but the editor was a cute one, and for a time he bamboozled his authors, and managed to live on them.  Yes, The Joy-bell is in her quiet grave at last, and can’t do no more harm to nobody.  Lor’, miss, I wouldn’t take on if I was you, you’d soon get accustomed to it if you had a desk at an office like this.  In at the births, and in at the deaths am I, and I don’t make no count of one or t’other.  Why, now, there was The Stranger—­which went in for pictorial get up, and was truly elegant—­it only lasted six months; and there was The Ocean Wave, which did not even live as long.  And there was Merrie Lassie—­oh, their names is legion.  We’ll have another started in no time.  So you must be going, miss?  Well, good morning.  If I was you, miss, I wouldn’t send no more stories to this yere office.”

CHAPTER XLVIII.

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