He had crossed the floor half a dozen times, when in came the same youth, shouting “Copy, sir, copy!”
“Copy what?” shouted Jake, laying hold of the boy’s shirt-sleeve. “Tell me what you want copied! tell me, sir, or I will shake your interiors out of you-”
The boy was small, but spunky. His education had been received at the corners of the streets. He had never taken lessons of a professor, but he had practised upon a number of urchins smaller than himself, and had become a thoroughly proficient and expert pugilist.
It was not for Bill Bite to be roughly handled by any one, not even by an editor. So he pushed him from him, and said,
“I want copy; that’s a civil question,—I want a civil answer.”
Jake’s organ of combativeness became enlarged. He sprang at the boy, grasped him by the waist, and would have thrown him down stairs, had not a movement the boy made prevented him.
Bill’s arms were loose, and, nearing the table, he took the inkstand and dashed the contents into the face of his assailant.
“Murder!” shouted the editor.
“Copy!” shouted the boy; and such a rumpus was created, that up came Mr. Pica, saying that the building was so shaken that an article in type on the subject of “Health and Diet” suddenly transformed itself into “pi.”
The two belligerents were parted; the editor and Master Bill Bite stood at extremes. At this crisis who should enter but Mr. Stubbs, senior, who, seeing his son’s face blackened with ink, inquired the cause rather indignantly; at which Mr. Pica, not recognizing in the indignant inquirer the father of the “talented editor,” turned suddenly about and struck him a blow in the face, that displaced his spectacles, knocked off his white hat into a pond of ink, and made the old fellow see stars amid the cobwebs and dust of the ceiling.
The son, seeing himself again at liberty, flew at the boy, and gave him “copy” of a very impressive kind.
Down from the shelves came dusty papers and empty bottles, whilst up from the printing-office came the inmates, to learn the cause of the disturbance.
A couple of police-officers passing at the time, hearing the noise, entered, and one of them taking Mr. Stubbs, senior, and the other Mr. Stubbs, junior, bore them off to the lock-up.
This affair put a sudden stop to “The Buzz of the Nation.” The first number never made its appearance.
Mr. Pica, having obtained the amount of the check, went into the country for his health, and has not been heard from since.
Elder Stubbs and Stubbs the younger paid a fine of five dollars each; and when they reached home and related to Mrs. Stubbs the facts in the case, she took off her spectacles, and, after a few moments’ sober thought, came to the sage conclusion that her son Jake was not made for an editor.