Immagini della pagina
PDF

the girls subscribe, because she told them if they didn’t nothing about them would come out in The Voice of Truth; and then she started a Roll of Honor and a Roll of Ignominy and had proofs of them printed and sent them around. In the Roll of Honor she printed every week the names of all our friends who subscribed—the fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers outside of St. Catharine's, you know; and in the Roll of Ignominy she printed the names of our friends who ought to subscribe and didn't. It was indeed interesting to see how they hurried to get out of the Roll of Ignominy and into the Roll of Honor. Mabel hardly ever had to print their names in the Roll of Ignominy more than once. Mabel Muriel Murphy’s father laughed about that. He said it was “forcing ” circulation; but it wasn’t. It was just an effort to uplift our dear friends and do them good. We knew The Voice of Truth would uplift them and inspire them to better, nobler lives as soon as they began to read it. Maudie Joyce was the managing editor, and I was the editor-in-chief, so of course I took charge of the editorial page, which papa has always said is the backbone of a paper and by it the journal stands or falls. Papa says, too, that no journal can live unless it instructs the masses. So I made up my mind that The Voice of Truth should have a backbone and instruct the masses, and be a kind of beacon light in the stormy sea of life, the way a lighthouse is, you know. The first thing I did was to study all the great New York newspapers, so I could copy the best things in each one in my paper. I gave most of one Saturday to it, and Maudie Joyce helped. After we had read them all for hours and hours I decided I liked the Sun's editorial page best because it was so bright and funny, and besides I knew I could write editorials just like it. And we agreed we’d have “all the news that was fit to print,” like the Times; and we would be dignified and scholarly and quarrel with all the other newspapers, like the Evening Post; and we would have beats, like the Herald, and the weather in Paris, because that would be so exciting. And I thought how surprised and proud papa would be when he turned in disappointment from his morning Tribune and found the news he wanted every Saturday in his Voice of Truth. Then we decided we would attack the rich, like the

World and Journal do. Mabel Muriel Murphy's father was the only very, very rich man we knew, so of course we had to attack him, and we did, too, fearlessly and openly, and he didn’t seem to like it when we told him. But Mabel Muriel explained to him how it was part of the policy of the paper and that he had to be our financial adviser and the Soulless Corporation with its Heel on the Neck of the Poor, besides. So he was, and we gave it to him good and hard in the editorials I wrote. Then we wrote to all the great papers, asking them to exchange with us, and we wrote to the President and members of the cabinet, telling them to give us all the news beats before they gave them to the other papers. That was Maudie Joyce's idea, and it was fine, too, though they didn’t do it, for some reason. I suppose they thought perhaps we didn’t “wield enough political influence.” Little do they wot that my father is a general in the army. I was glad to remember that, for I thought perhaps he would come up for promotion some day, and then there would be trouble about it, and The Voice of Truth would have lots of beats and lay bare the innermost recesses of everybody’s heart. After we finished our letters to the President and his advisers (we asked them to advise us before they did him, but they didn't do that, either)—well, after that we wrote to all the girls we knew in different cities, who used to be at St. Catharine's, and we asked them to be special correspondents and send us everything that happened. We said they must be truthful and fearless and not mind whether people liked what they wrote. The news came first, and their duty to us was paramount. Maudie said that. I don’t know what it means, and I haven’t time to find out, but it sounds well. I hope it doesn’t mean anything wrong. We told the girls we would pay them what all the New York newspapers pay their correspondents, and we would give them “double rates for beats.” “Beats,” you know, are stories no other paper gets. Mr. Murphy suggested that, and he told all the editors in his city about our paper and how his daughter was running it. I had to correct this sad error publicly in the first issue of The Voice of Truth, for of course Mabel Muriel wasn’t running it. I was. Mr. Murphy did not like it when I said I must write a cor

Drawn by George wright.

“THE FIRST THING I did was to study ALL

rection, and he was quite slow about sending checks for a week or two, so that Mabel Muriel had to talk to him very earnestly, and even hint that perhaps we wouldn’t let him be financial adviser any more. That brought him round in a hurry. We knew it would. Of course all this time the paper was just “in the air,” as real writers say. We hadn’t begun to write for it or print it, but we thought about it and talked about it a great deal and every letter we opened seemed to be full of money for subscriptions. We charged four dollars a year, because that is what most weekly magazines cost, and we

knew The Voice of Truth would be better than the magazines. It would have all the news, and “high-class literary features” besides. I was sure of those, because I intended to write them myself.

After we got this far we asked for permission to go to the nearest town for the day, and the Sisters let us go, with one of the graduates to look after us. So of course we had to tell her our secret, and she was very nice about it and quite interested, especially after she saw the big roll of money Mabel Muriel Murphy had to spend. Some of it was her own, and some her father had given her, and the rest was “annual subscriptions payable in advance,” the way they all are, you know. We went right to the best printer in town—the four of us, Mabel Blossom, Mabel Muriel Murphy, Maudie Joyce, and I, with the graduate hovering modestly in the background (she didn’t put on any airs over us or call us children that day, I can tell you!), and we told the printer what we wanted. He didn’t seem much impressed at first, and he began to tell us how cheaply we could get up a little “four-page folder.” He seemed to think we had only a few pennies to spend. But by and by Mabel Muriel Murphy took her big roll of money out of her pocket and carelessly let two or three twenty-dollar bills fall on the floor, and picked them up again absently as if it didn’t matter; and I wish you could have seen that printer sit up and take notice the way babies do when you dangle watches in front of them. His eyes were just as big and round as theirs, too.

THE NEwsPAPERs.”

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]

moi-T- - - -

[ocr errors]

He began to bring out nice sheets of creamy thick paper for samples, and he showed us different kinds of type. We told him we would use very, very large type when we had “beats,” and very small type the rest of the time, because we wanted to crowd a great deal of news into our paper. We asked him to get an artist to make a nice picture for the top of the first page, with an angel blowing a trumpet on one side and a pole for wireless telegraphy at the other side, and Truth flying through the air and hitting the pole. We didn’t know just exactly how to show Truth, but finally Mabel Blossom said we'd better make it a balloon thing coming out of the trumpet and on its way to the wireless pole, so we did. By that time the printer was very kind and willing and eager and anxious to please, and he called two other men in to help, and they all seemed as interested as we were. One of them said he knew Mabel Muriel Murphy's father, and he told the printer he could sell Mabel Muriel the shop on credit if she wanted it, but Mabel Muriel didn’t. She engaged him, though, to do all the work, and he said all we had to do was to bring in the “copy" and he would attend to the rest. Then we decided on the size and the paper and the number of pages. The printer thought we ought not to have more than eight to begin with, and he pointed out that it would be a serious mistake to give people more than their money's worth. We saw that too, right away. Then he showed us the big machine, like an enormous typewriter, that would “set ’’ all our “copy"; and first I thought I’d better come down and learn to set it myself to avoid errors, but the printer did not agree with me. He said that editors rarely did that now “ in the large centres,” and finally I saw that it would probably take a good deal of time, so I gave it up. Thus do we live and learn.

We were with the printer hours before everything was settled, and the graduate was quite nervous about getting back to St. Catharine's so late, but our consciences were at peace, for we knew we had done well. All we had to do after that was to write the paper and telegraph to our correspondents to rush their news, the way real editors do. While we were in town we sent telegrams to all of them to send their beats for next week's paper, and in a day or two they began to come in.

Then things got exciting. Maudie almost

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

that when the time comes to tell anything you must wait till another time, the way Henry James does. The paper wasn't really out yet. I’ve just absently told you some of the things we did before it came out. And in the mean time our work on it was a great secret from the Sisters, for we knew if we told them they would want to help us and see all the articles, and we wanted the credit ourselves. As I said before, the copy from our correspondents in the “large centres " began to come in, and it was fine. Kitty Farrelly lives in New York, so she wrote a beautiful piece about what “Parsifal' meant, and how long the kiss was. She timed it with her watch; and it was a beat, for no other paper had that. We sent Kitty “double rates.” Mamie Chester lives in Chicago, and she knew a girl who was in the Iroquois Theatre fire last winter, so Mamie interviewed her (she wasn’t dead) and wrote a thrilling description. That was a beat, too, because that particular girl had never talked to reporters before. Our Philadelphia correspondent wrote a lovely piece about Ethel Barrymore at home, and we were all so interested; for we saw her in “Cousin Kate,” and she was just sweet, besides illustrating the tragic truth that girls who don’t marry are terribly lonesome when they get to be old. But the very best news of all came from Nettie Upson in Springfield, Massachusetts. Nettie's mother has a Japanese butler, and he told Nettie all about the war with Russia, and how much braver the Japanese were, and how sometime Japan and America will clasp hands across the sea like brothers and go down the ages together and fight all the other nations of the earth and civilize them. It was beautiful, and Nettie wrote it all so thrillingly that Maudie Joyce cried when she read it. I guess there are not many correspondents who can make their managing editors shed scalding tears over their papers. But the gentle reader must not suppose that I was idle while my dear friends and colleagues were thus active. No. I was at work—on the editorial page—and I wrote every word of it myself, after a careful study of the Sun's style. First, of course, I said things about President Roosevelt, pretending to pat him on the back, but really showing how he had failed this nation in its darkest hours of need. (I like him myself, and so does papa, but of course I had to be

fearless.) Next I wrote a funny little poem and said a man in Schenectady did it, and after that I made up some queer names people might have, and I printed them. Then I wrote the Paris weather like the Herald does, and I told about the Soulless Corporation with its Heel on the Neck of the Poor, the way the Journal does, and I explained that it was Mr. Murphy. I told how he ground down his employees on starving wages while his daughter lived in luxury and had more pocket-money than any other girl at St. Catherine's. That inspired me—you know how it is when you get started—so I wrote another editorial and said that The Voice of Truth would constantly and fearlessly expose wrong wherever it was, and that it would hold up the faults of the girls at St. Catharine's for their good. I said how rare are the friends who will tell one the truth about oneself, and they don’t last long, anyhow; and I said The Voice of Truth would be such a friend to the students and would turn its X-rays on the evil in all their hearts. Then I went on to tell the girls what was the matter with them. Even my dear friends should not be spared, I said, so I began with Maudie Joyce and advised her not to be queenly so much or have so many airs, and I said Mabel Muriel Murphy was improving but still had much to learn, and that Mabel Blossom was lazy. Mabel came in while I was writing this, so I read it to her, and she was not pleased the least little bit. But after I reasoned with her she saw it had to be, so she said I could print it if I would let her write an editorial about me. At first I didn’t want her to. There were enough, I thought, and it didn’t seem modest for the editor-in-chief to be on the page that way. But Mabel talked and talked, so finally I gave in and she went off to write it. I wish you could have seen it when she brought it back. What I had said was kind and friendly and loving, but what Mabel Blossom said about me—her dear friend—was dreadful. She said that I had “started out to be a pretty good sort’” (Mabel has not a polished literary style), but that literature had been “too much '' for me. And she said I was conceited and had no sense of humor, and that I took myself too seriously, and that Maudie Joyce and Mabel Muriel thought so, too. She said other things, too, that I will not repeat. I had to

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Drawn by George Wright. MABEL LET Two OR THREE Twenty-Dollar BILLS FALL ON THE FLOOR, AND PICKED THEM UP ABSENTLY.

[graphic]
« IndietroContinua »