‘Waiting until you reject this article,’ I said.
He sent a boy for Mr Ottarson, the city editor. Meanwhile he had begun to drive his pen across the broadsheets with tremendous energy.
Somehow it reminded me of a man ploughing black furrows behind a fast walking team in a snow flurry. His mind was ’straddle the furrow’ when Mr Ottarson came in. There was a moment of silence in which the latter stood scanning a page of the Herald he had brought with him.
‘Ottarson!’ said Mr Greeley, never slacking the pace of his busy hand, as he held my manuscript in the other, ’read this. Tell me what you think of it. If good, give him a show.
‘The staff is full, Mr Greeley,’ said the man of the city desk. His words cut me with disappointment.
The editor of the Tribune halted his hand an instant, read the last lines, scratching a word and underscoring another.
‘Don’t care!’ he shrilled, as he went on writing. ’Used to slide downhill with his father. If he’s got brains we’ll pay him eight dollars a-week.
The city editor beckoned to me and I followed him into another room.
‘If you will leave your address,’ he said, ’I will let you hear from me when we have read the article.
With the hasty confidence of youth I began to discount my future that very day, ordering a full dress suit, of the best tailor, hat and shoes to match and a complement of neck wear that would have done credit to Beau Brummel. It gave me a start when I saw the bill would empty my pocket of more than half its cash. But I had a stiff pace to follow, and every reason to look my best.
I took a walk in the long twilight of that evening. As it began to grow dark I passed the Fuller house and looked up at its windows. Standing under a tree on the opposite side of the avenue I saw a man come out of the door and walk away hurriedly with long strides. I met him at the next corner.
‘Good-evening!’ he said.
I recognised then the voice and figure of John Trumbull. ’Been to Fuller’s,’ said he.
‘How is Hope?’ I asked.
‘Better,’ said he. ’Walk with me?
‘With pleasure,’ said I, and then he quickened his pace.
We walked awhile in silence, going so fast! had hardly time to speak, and the darkness deepened into night. We hurried along through streets and alleys that were but dimly lighted, coming out at length on a wide avenue passing through open fields in the upper part of the city. Lights in cabin windows glowed on the hills around us. I made some remark about them but he did not hear me. He slackened pace in a moment and began whispering to himself’ I could not hear what he said. I thought of bidding him good-night and returning but where were we and how could I find my way? We heard a horse coming presently at a gallop. At the first loud whack