The Stolen Story and Other Newspaper Stories/The Great Secretary-of-State Interview
The Great Secretary-of-State Interview
THIS was the first important assignment they had given him since he had become a newspaper man.
The Star was the name of the paper, a bright afternoon paper that printed very few pictures and a great deal of news. The name of the reporter was Rufus Carrington, and most of the time they seemed to forget his existence and made him sit idle in the middle of the busy room, getting in people's way, just as they do with all cubs, letting them soak in the atmosphere of the place. This seemed all wrong to Rufus, who thought that a newspaper man, of all men in the busy city, ought to be the busiest.
He had supposed that reporters went out upon the street and prowled about blindly on the lookout for news, like policemen after arrests, and he had wondered what part of the town he would have to patrol, and whether to wear his reporter's badge on the breast of the waistcoat or at the bottom, like his Harlem literary-club pin. But he soon found that each reporter was sent for a particular piece of news, the existence of which was determined in some mysterious way by the city editor, who had his fingers on the pulse of the strenuous metropolis and scowled most of the time.
His few assignments were, for the most part, to get up minor obituaries—"obits" they were called—or to run down stories which the news-bureaus sent in (on type written tissue-paper, called "flimsy") to see if they were correct; and no one said anything about badges, which he had discovered were seldom worn, except at fires. Of late they had taken to sending him to the Weather Bureau occasionally to find out what kind of a day it was going to be, or to a police court to look out for picturesque cases, which a cub doesn't always recognize when he sees them; and of those he does cover he may forget to find out the age, address, initials, or occupation of someone in the story, or the name or precinct of the policeman, or the place or time of the occurrence, or the time or place of the arrest; if so, "Run, get back and get your facts!" growled the city editor. And the chances were good that not a line of it would be printed in the paper after all.
Reporting was a very different job from "Journalism," as he had pictured it from a romantic distance. He did not breathe a word concerning his high ideals about the Power of the Press—except possibly on Sundays, to his mother up in Harlem—and his worthy ambition to cleanse it he had postponed indefinitely. His present ambition, though he did not confide this to anybody, was to keep from being sworn at by the city editor, who sometimes made him feel that he had missed his calling. It is at this stage that most of them (who go into newspaper work, calling it Journalism) quit and try something else, and shudder ever afterward at the mention of reporting.
Rufus did not quit, because, if you care to know it, he intended to become a great writer some day, and he believed that this was the way to go about it. He thought a little disagreeableness for a couple of years would not hurt him; and it would be very pleasant afterward to read that "From the year so-and-so till the year so-and-so the author engaged in newspaper work; then, with the appearance of his first book, Rufus Carrington"—that would make a fine sonorous mouthful, "Rufus Carrington, author"— …
This was a responsible assignment, and he meant to do well with it. It was right that he should, because they were thinking of dropping him at the end of the week, along with a couple of other cubs who were not catching on rapidly enough. The only reason they had sent him up to get the interview was that a good part of the staff, which was small, was up across the Harlem this afternoon on the big railroad catastrophe, and the rest of the good reporters were down the bay on a grounded-steamer story, and the regular political men were off on more important interviews.
At least they thought they were going to be more important. The interview with the Secretary of State turned out to be the story of the day, the biggest story of many days, in some respects; but this would not have been the case if young Carrington had not been sent to cover it.
"He probably won't say much," Van Cise, the city editor, had said, "but watch him if he gets to talking about the Convention. You understand? That's the story to-day, of course."
"Of course," said Carrington, the cub, putting on his hat excitedly. He did not understand at all. He was not interested in conventions and seldom read the political columns. All he understood was that they were sending him to interview the Secretary of State of these United States, and it felt good. So he hurried down the stairs with his brows knit like the older reporters starting out on their big stories.
He felt considerably awed when he arrived at the Fifth Avenue Hotel and was led into the small parlor where the other reporters were waiting, because here he found himself face to face with some of the best-known newspaper men on Park Row, and a number of prominent correspondents for out-of-town papers. A couple of them smiled as though they thought he was pretty young to cover the story. Rufus took a seat all alone in the corner by the door and tried not to appear conscious, and when they stopped looking at him he looked at them. Donaldson had once been a foreign correspondent. The man beside him sometimes wrote editorials. They were all older than he was. Some of them had beards, some wives, and some political aspirations. At that point the Secretary of State entered.
He was smiling his public-occasion smile, looking scholarly in a frock-coat which fitted better than most public men's frock-coats, and he was followed by his stenographer, who seemed tired and had an offensive blond beard, and was to take down every word said from the moment the Secretary of State took his seat until he left the room.
The important one said, "How do you do, gentlemen?" very cordially, and began shaking hands with them all; with Carrington, too, who did not know whether or not to say he was glad to meet him.
The Secretary of State told his stenographer to call a waiter, and the waiter to take the gentlemen's orders. Rufus thought it odd for the Secretary of State of these United States to set up the drinks, but the older men did not seem to mind it. They gave their orders and forgot to say thank you. Then the interview began.
Rufus did not know the interview was beginning; because reading an interview and making one are so different. He thought they were just talking and would begin to formally interview, in long, grave questions with participles in them, as soon as they had finished their drinks, carefully writing down what was said in note-books (which most reporters do not carry), by shorthand (which few reporters understand). One of the men, the ancient-looking reporter from The Post, merely inquired in a casual and personal tone, as though to fill up a pause, although he expected to print the answer and the Secretary knew it, "What brings you to New York to-day, sir?"
"Oh, merely personal business; just a flying trip. I expect to go back to-night."
Then someone edged up toward what they all wanted to know, by asking if the Secretary thought the Convention now assembled in the Western State would nominate Holliday for Governor. They had an idea, and it was correct, that this Convention and his sudden trip to New York had something to do with each other. That was why they had besieged the hotel until he capitulated and sent out word that he would be pleased to meet the reporters all together at this hour. Only, the Secretary called them "Representatives of the Press."
The scholarly looking Secretary smiled pleasantly and said he would not venture an opinion as to that, and then (though nobody just knew how the transition was made) he began talking copiously about party affairs in New York, and the possibility of reconciling the two factions—something that would make very interesting copy if said next fall, but hardly worth a paragraph to-day.
But Rufus made two observations. First, that when the question about Holliday was asked, one of the reporters, who was about to finish his drink, held his glass poised until the answer came. And he noticed that the scholarly looking Secretary seemed to be less the scholar now and more the shrewd-eyed but smiling politician. Somehow Rufus was rather sorry about that.
But he could not keep up with the rapid current of the talk at all. He did not know which was the current and which were the eddies. All the others seemed to know, and some of them began to jot down occasional notes on copy-paper or on the margins of their newspapers while he looked at them and wondered what they wrote, and wished he knew something about politics. The others knew a great deal about politics. Most of them could tell all the initials and ambitions of all the minor politicians in the State, and of all the big politicians in every State. They understood the national significance of this State Convention.
The Secretary understood a good deal about reporters. He knew that among those to whom he was giving audience there were two or three of the best interviewers in the country, and they knew he knew this. So the merry game of lead-up and dodge-away had been carried on for nearly twenty minutes, and the Secretary of State seemed to have the merriest time of them all. He was smiling serenely. Baffling interviewers was one of his recreations.
Donaldson was sharpening his lead-pencil. "What is the cause," he said, boldly, "of the administration's antagonism toward Holliday?" He went on whittling his pencil.
General Holliday had chin-whiskers and was the best type of Western statesman. Wolf, the machine man, was no type of statesman; he was a politician. Everyone knew, including the Secretary of State, that Holliday was a better man than Wolf. What decent reason could the administration give for being opposed to the better man? And if the Secretary of State said there was no opposition, he knew, none better, what might be the result. But he had reasons for not wanting to express a preference for either wing of the party. Whatever was said would, in half an hour, be flashed into every big newspaper-office in the country and, what was of more consequence, into the Convention Hall of the Western city. If he refused to answer, that, too, would be news, and news that he did not care to have disseminated. It required some thinking to reply, but the reply came without any of the delay that has been made here: "I am not aware that any antagonism has been manifested toward General Holliday on the part of the administration."
It came out very easily apparently, and it was an answer that could be published without embarrassment to the administration. There had been no manifestation of antagonism; that was true.
A momentary lull followed. The reporters were not stopping to admire the Secretary's skilful answer, but they were so anxious to follow it up before he changed the subject that everyone waited for everyone else to do it.
Young Carrington had carefully put down the question and answer, although he did not appreciate the significance of either. He was sitting next to the Secretary of State, and he was the only one who had not said a word. He wanted to show that he was not so green as they thought he was. His heart began to thump, but he stopped chewing his pencil and said to the big man, in a brave voice, "What I should like to know sir, is, will Holliday have the support of the administration if he is nominated? Will he?"
That was what they all wanted to know. But it came out so naïvely, as if the idea had just occurred to him (and so it had), that some of them burst out laughing. The secretary laughed a little, too, and, turning kindly toward the boy, who had dropped his eyes, said, with a queer, ironical smile, in an amused tone, "He would have the heartiest support the administration could give." Then turned and smiled around at the rest of the room as much as to say, "You know what I mean by that;" and the others thought they did know what he meant by that and smiled at his ironical evasion, and smiled, too, at the ignorance of the cub. But they were too hot upon the scent of news to delay the interview long and were soon busy asking other questions.
Meanwhile, the cub reporter, wondering why they laughed, sucked in his lower lip and wrote: "He would have the heartiest support the administration could give," but without the queer smile which he had not seen and without the subtle emphasis which he had not appreciated.
"How did you make out?" snapped Van Cise, as Carrington came into the room.
It was getting on toward time to go to press with the last edition, and the city editor was in a hurry to get things cleared up.
Refus returned, jocularly, "Oh, he's the same old fox." He had heard one of the other reporters say that on the way out of the hotel. "Just as we were beginning to get at what we wanted, he jumped up, said he had an engagement and left the room with his stenographer."
The city editor walked on down to the telephone, saying, "Two sticks will do." But on the way back he asked, "Didn't he say anything about Holliday and the Convention?"
"Hardly anything. Said Holliday would have the backing of the administration, but——"
The city editor stopped short. "That Holliday would have what? Say that again." He looked sharply at the boy.
"Why, he merely said that if Holliday was nominated the administration would back him."
"Are you sure about that? Why didn't you say so. Are you sure he said the administration would support Holliday?"
"If nominated," returned Carrington.
"That's news," said Van Cise, getting excited internally. "Write all you've got." He glanced at the clock and then began talking very rapidly. "Write as fast as you can. Start over again. Begin your story 'The administration has come out at the eleventh hour in favor of Holliday. The Secretary of State in an interview this afternoon said, that if Holliday were nominated he would have the heartiest support the administration could give'—quote his exact words. Add that this statement is a great surprise to everybody. Point out the probable effect on the Convention when this news gets there. Then go back and tell of the time of his arrival in town, write the interview chronologically, lead up to this statement again, and—oh, here comes Hopper. Good! See here, Hopper, you take this story with Carrington. Rewrite it and fill in. He doesn't know anything about politics. Never mind your other story. This is more important."
Hopper bristled up with interest. He reached for some copy-paper. The cub mopped his brow. He gasped to himself, "At the hotel they said the story was no good!"
"Come on now," said Hopper. Carrington began a sentence, scratched it out, began it over again. "Hurry," said Hopper, "there's not much time."
The city editor had rushed into the private office, and now Reed, the managing editor, ran out exclaiming, joyously, "Flat-footed for the General!" and tore down to the end of the room. They were making the forms ready. He began shouting new orders. This was to be the story of the day. It was going in the first column. That involved a new make-up of the first page. The office-boys were asking each other what was the big news that had just come in. The copy-readers knew all about it already. Carrington, the cub, was writing faster than he ever wrote before. Hopper was grabbing his sheets almost before he reached the bottom of them, running his pencil through some words, filling in others, calling "copy" to the boys who carried the sheets to the compositors, who were making the type-setting machines hum. Carrington was now writing on page 5. Page 3 was already in type. "I suppose," he whispered to himself, "they were bluffing at the hotel. Just like me to get fooled."
A few minutes later there was a sudden burst of cheers in the Convention Hall of the Western city. Upon a bulletin-board had been written a message sent by Reed, the managing editor, to The Evening Star's correspondent.
For three minutes there was much cheering and throwing up of hats from the Holliday men all over the hall. The Evening Star was always popping out with exclusive news, and it was a clean, reliable paper.
It had come just in time. Other dispatches already arrived had reported "the administration continues its past policy of silence." And in a few minutes more the balloting might have begun and the machine would have rushed its man in.
Now several honest Holliday men tried to take the floor at once, and shouted, "Mr. Chairman." The chairman hammered with his gavel and shouted, "Order! order!" And there was no order, because the machine men were clamoring also. Finally someone beckoned to the band, which played vigorously and soon drowned out the turmoil. Then the voices stopped. Then the band stopped. Then the Holliday men popped up and tried to get the floor. Again the machine men rose to points of order and disorder.
Meanwhile, over in the press corner of the platform, the Convention's correspondents also were excited—for correspondents. "How in thunder did they get a beat on that?" one of the New Yorkers was asking. Another said, "You'd think he'd give a private interview to any other paper in town before The Star."
"But I can't understand," said the Boston Advertiser man, "why he gave this news privately to anyone. If the administration were coming out for Holliday, you'd think they'd tell everyone."
"Of course," said a Westerner, "they'd take pains to give it out as a public statement, wouldn't they?"
"If it were anyone but Reed," said one of the New Yorkers, "I would say it was clearly a fake to secure his own promised fat office through Holliday next fall."
"Reed wouldn't dare fake on a thing like that, even if he were that sort," said The Baltimore Sun man. "It would simply kill him, kill his political chances, and kill him as a newspaper man."
But The Evening Star correspondent wore a confident smile, and only said, "It's a beat on the whole country, and will nominate Holliday as soon as these Western jays regain their heads." But he turned around, relaxed his confident smile, and swiftly wrote this dispatch to the home office, like a good newspaper man: "How about interview? all others say non-committal. Did you have a private interview? I say so here. Better verify before you go to press."
But this did not get through to New York for many precious seconds.
When the dispatch came in, Reed, the managing editor, was leaning against the make-up stone, fanning himself and feeling relaxed; excited, but joyous. The older members of the staff, who knew him well enough, were half-jokingly congratulating him on his prospective office. If Holliday received the nomination to-day, as the better element of the party all over the country had been praying, his election in the fall was practically certain. And it took only this added straw for Reed to get the consulship he wanted from Washington. The younger men looked on and grinned, and wished they dared congratulate him. He was a managing editor who was liked as well as feared.
"I'd feel better, though," they heard him say, "if we could hear from the Convention. I've tried three times to get them on the long-distance 'phone; but the Convention wire is still busy. They ought to get to balloting pretty soon."
"Who got this story?" asked another reporter, just down from Harlem. "Carrington," answered someone. Carrington, pretending not to hear, was leaning back in his chair with his feet on the table, very much as the older men sit after writing their big stories. Others had written The Story of other days, but few of them had ever felt the managing editor lean over them while writing, and say, "Good work, my boy!" and pat them on the back. It was at this point that Van Cise, the city editor, looking excited, came running down the room toward Carrington. Close behind him came Mr. Reed with a scared look on his face, a telegram in his hand. "Mr. Carrington," the latter began, "did you ask him that question alone? Did you?"
Carrington looked up puzzled. The managing editor's voice was more nervous than he had ever heard it before.
Van Cise interrupted vigorously: "Quick! did you? The Secretary of State—Damn it, say something!"
Young Carrington was wondering what there was to be excited about. "Alone? Oh, why yes, sir; I asked that question all by myself." He smiled up good-naturedly.
"Good!" exclaimed the city editor, slapping the desk. "Why didn't you say so before? Then, Mr. Reed, it must be a beat, sir."
But Reed, looking closely at Carrington, only said, "This is all pat, then? Read that." His tone was gentle, as though talking to a scared child. "Quick; this is important." Carrington saw his hand tremble as he held out the telegram.
The cub reporter took his feet down from the table. "Why—why, no sir," he said, getting up, "I didn't have any private interview."
Reed simply stared at him, but Van Cise exclaimed, "What! you just now said——"
"No, I said I asked that question by myself—on my own hook, that is. Why, the others were all right there. I thought——"
"All right there!" exclaimed Van Cise. Reed dropped his hand to his side, and began to blink and smile weakly.
"Good Lord!" groaned Hopper. The rest of the room were gathering round the group, and looked from Reed to Carrington. Van Cise shouted at the cub, two feet away from him: "Young man, see here, did you or did you not quote the Secretary of State correctly? This means a good deal to us."
"Well, look at my notes." He held them up for everybody, looking round for sympathy; but there was none.
"Oh, damn your notes! Did you, or did you not, quote him correctly?"
"Why, I thought you——"
"Never mind what you thought."
"Well, all I can say is——"
"Did you, or did you not, quote him correctly?" thundered Van Cise.
"Well, all I can say—" returned Carrington, his voice breaking in the middle, "is that I sat right next to him and wrote exactly what he said to me, word for word, and if the other papers missed it, that's not my funeral. And you can't get me to acknowledge anything else, no matter what you say."
This was just what Reed, and Van Cise, and all the staff wanted to hear, although they did not look it. Reed was still smiling limply.
"If it isn't so, I'll resign," added the cub, in a lower tone.
"We know that," said Van Cise, and one man laughed and stopped abruptly.
"Wait a minute, Van," said Reed, in a dreadful whisper, "it may come out all right. Now, Carrington"—everyone was listening intently—"did the other reporters hear you ask that question; were they paying attention?"
The cub reporter waited while the clock ticked three times. "Why, come to think of it, they were laughing at something just then; but I was not paying much attention to them. That was not what I was sent there——"
"Boys," said Reed, gently, "it may come out all right." The rest of the room looked at each other. "Now, Mr. Carrington, you run up to the hotel and get your interview confirmed. Here's the proof. Ask whether it's right or wrong. Hopper, you go with him; run." Then, turning to the Make-up Editor, "Stop the presses until we hear from them." This showed how badly rattled was the calm-looking managing editor. The Make-up Editor looked at him and said, "They are running now, sir; we're out on the street already." The newsboys' voices could be heard through the open windows.
"Here's the flimsy story," said a copy-reader, ripping open an envelope which a boy had just brought in. "Late, of course."
"What does it say?" asked Reed. The copy-reader shook his head. "It does not back us up," he said, handing it to Reed, who skimmed over the type-written words, rumpled up the tissue-paper and dropped it on the floor. "If this had only come just five minutes ago," he moaned. "Van Cise," he whispered, very gravely, "do you realize that if our story is not confirmed——"
"Why, we've lost our beat," said the City Editor, "and your office."
"Some of us will lose a great deal more than that," said Mr. Reed, sinking into a chair. He meant his reputation as an honest man.
Up at the Polo Grounds the New Yorks had tied the Baltimores in the ninth inning. Down in the Street, Chicago Gas had closed three points higher than it was before luncheon. Over in the criminal part of the Supreme Court the jury had come in at last and said solemnly, "Murder in the first degree." But along the Row The Evening Star had quietly appeared with a big beat in its last edition, and all the other afternoon papers were sad and excited about it. But none of them was half so sad at being beaten as The Star was at beating them. And of The Star staff no one felt worse than the young author of the beat. Unless it was Reed.
A long half-hour had passed. Every newspaper along the Row had sent men up to the hotel to get the Secretary of State to affirm or deny The Star's beat. Holliday might be nominated at any moment. So might Wolf. Telegrams were flying back and forth. The Secretary of State had received a bushel.
Although the last edition of The Star was out long ago, no one in the office had gone home, not even the women.
"Any word from Hopper yet?" asked Reed. He had stopped making jagged marks on copy-paper now and was pacing up and down the room instead.
"No," replied Van Cise, ringing off and leaving the telephone closet open behind him. "They haven't been able to get anywhere near the old man."
"Well, why not?"
"Sends out word that he gave one interview to-day with the express understanding that he would be left alone the rest of the time."
"What's he doing?"
"Still closeted with Judge Devery and Colonel Hancock."
"Well, can't they get him to say something about our interview? He has surely seen it by this time."
"Hopper says they've tried to bribe the Secretary's stenographer; tried sending American District Telegraph boys with sealed messages; tried every scheme they can think of. The place is full of reporters. The morning papers are taking it up too, now——"
"Yes," said Reed, his foolish smile reappearing, "and they'll make a big story of it if our news proves to be wrong."
"Hopper says most of them think that we had an exclusive interview some time to-day and sent Carrington up for the general interview as a blind. It was just like the kid to let us in for this."
"What does the kid say?"
"Still sticks to it, Hopper says, and keeps showing him his ragged-edge notes."
"Say, come here, Van," said Reed.
A boy had just come in bearing copies of an extra edition of The Evening Earth. In the first column, corresponding to the position of Carrington's beat, was a head-line made up of the single word "CANARD," and the gist of the story beneath it was that The Star was a liar, and that The Earth could prove it. Everyone gathered around the several copies.
Van Cise whistled. "They must have hustled this through in a hurry," he said.
"Say, there's an editorial inside," the telegraph editor remarked.
"Shut up!" said Van Cise. Then to Reed, "Never mind looking at that now, please, old man."
Reed, who had turned his back to them, said, "Oh, I've seen it," and turned around. "There's no mistaking what they want people to think of me. It's quite explicit." He was wondering how many people would read it. A good many. Carrington up at the Fifth Avenue read it. Hopper made him read it twice.
One of the copy-readers whispered, "It looks like a private tip from head-quarters; they wouldn't dare risk a libel suit by such accusations against Reed, if they didn't have a denial from the Secretary of State himself."
"Nonsense," said Van Cise. "There hasn't been time since we came out."
"No, but someone at the Convention may have got him on the long-distance wire half an hour ago and then have rung up The Earth and given them the tip exclusively."
The telephone bell whirred and Van Cise ran into the box before the boy could reach it, and a moment later his loud voice came echoing out: "For Heaven's sake, Reed, come here—there, you take this one; I'll switch on by the other one."
"Hello," called Reed, "Yes, hello, hello, Hopper—(keep out, Central)—go on, Hopper.—You say he is going to give—oh, has given another interview; well, quick, what did he say?—gathered all the reporters in his room, eh? well, go on—yes—had the interview read? Oh, I understand, from stenographer's notes. Go on—what? what's that last? No, before that—oh,—yes—yes—no, really?—what!—Good Heavens! go on—(Say, Van Cise, do you hear that?)"
Van Cise, five feet away, in the other telephone box, answered by way of several miles of wire, "Yes, yes, yes (go on, Hopper)."
Hopper went on: "Well, first, you understand, Young, the stenographer, got down to the question, 'What is the cause of the administration's antagonism toward Holliday?' and the answer was 'I'm not aware that any antagonism has been manifested toward General Hol—' Hello? Hello there? Can you hear?"
"Yes, shut up, go on."
—"'toward General Holliday on the part of the administration.' Then several of the fellows who were there at the first interview nodded their heads and said, 'There! what did I tell you? That's the cause of the young fellow's misunderstanding.' But up jumps that Earth man, Munson—you know Munson—and shouts, 'Misunderstanding? Hell! it was misrepresentation, malicious misrepresentation, the worst trick ever perpetrated in Park Row'—something of that sort, and was starting out to telephone down to 'The Earth' about it. But just then the boy here jumps up, 'Hold on there, Munson—wait a minute, you fellows (his voice got awfully shrill), the next question, sir! Have him read the next question—the very next question.' The Secretary of State waves his hand for silence and smiles a little. He had a piece of paper in his hand all the time, but I didn't know what it was then. 'Gentlemen,' he said, 'that seems reasonable; let us finish the interview. Young will read the next question, and, gentlemen, we are all likely to make mistakes; but my stenographer was never known to do so; I agree to stand by——'"
"Go on! go on!" Reed interrupted. "Give us the facts."
"Well, Young cleared his throat, and everybody quieted down. 'Question,' he reads, 'What I should like to know, sir, is, Will Holliday have the support of the administration if he is nominated? Will he?' Answer: 'He would have the heartiest support the administration could give——'"
"What!" cried Van Cise. Then from Reed, "Ah, say that over again, Hopper."
Hopper repeated it and then continued, "Well, then, the boy jumps up, and shouts, 'There, there, there! What did I tell you! Now, will you stop jumping on me, Hopper! 'How about it, eh? Well, you ought to've seen that sick-looking crowd. They hadn't anything to say. They only looked at the kid and then at each other, while Carrington and I put on our hats to go, grinning back at them. The Secretary of State was guying them, too, on the folly of being too certain. What?"
"Say," interrupted Reed, "didn't either of you get the Convention on the long-distance telephone?" The managing editor's instincts were coming back.
"Wait a minute. Then the Secretary waves the piece of paper in his hand, and says, 'One moment, gentlemen, before you go, allow me to read you this message just received from the Convention.' Then he read, 'Holliday, 175; Wolf, 132. I bid you all good afternoon,' he said, and bowed us out. So, you see his game, don't you? the old fox has been holding off confirming or denying our interview until——"
"Hopper," interrupted Reed, "report here at once; we'll get out a special edition on this—Begin your copy on the way down in the train—A good detailed story about the interview, and how it was confirmed and all that. We'll write the politics end of it down here. The Convention story is coming in over the wire now. Make your best time—and say, bring Carrington along with you; we want to see him. Good-by." And they both rang off.
In Hopper's story he referred interestingly to what The Earth had published (which, by the way, meant a big job for some lawyers next month), quoted all the Secretary's words, dramatically described the reading of the stenographer's notes and had a lot of fun with the old reporters, who let a mere boy flick a big beat out from under their very noses.
Just after the paper went to press, Mr. Reed came down to where the cub was standing with a wide grin on his face. In one hand the editor held a telegram. He put the other on Rufus's shoulder and said, "Mr. Carrington, this is the second telegram from the Convention I have shown you to-day."
It read, "Please accept my heartfelt thanks for bringing me the nomination. John H. Holliday."
"I don't know," the Managing Editor added, "but that it ought to have been sent to you in the first place." However, Rufus got something at the end of the week which he appreciated just as much.