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The Cub Reporter
by [?]

Why he chose Buffalo Paul Anderson never knew, unless perhaps it had more newspapers than Bay City, Michigan, and because his ticket expired in the vicinity of Buffalo. For that matter, why he should have given up an easy job as the mate of a tugboat to enter the tortuous paths of journalism the young man did not know, and, lacking the introspective faculty, he did not stop to analyze his motives. So far as he could discover he had felt the call to higher endeavor, and just naturally had heeded it. Such things as practical experience and educational equipment were but empty words to him, for he was young and hopeful, and the world is kind at twenty-one.

He had hoped to enter his chosen field with some financial backing, and to that end, when the desire to try his hand at literature had struck him, he had bought an interest in a smoke-consumer which a fireman on another tugboat had patented. In partnership with the inventor he had installed one of the devices beneath a sawmill boiler as an experiment. Although the thing consumed smoke surprisingly well, it likewise unharnessed such an amazing army of heat-units that it melted the crown-sheet of the boiler; whereupon the sawmill men, being singularly coarse and unimaginative fellows, set upon the patentee and his partner with ash-rakes, draw-bars, and other ordinary, unpatented implements; a lumberjack beat hollowly upon their ribs with a peavy, and that night young Anderson sickened of smoke-consumers, harked anew to the call of journalism, and hiked, arriving in Buffalo with seven dollars and fifty cents to the good.

For seven dollars, counted out in advance, he chartered a furnished room for a week, the same carrying with it a meal at each end of the day, which left in Anderson’s possession a superfluity of fifty cents to be spent in any extravagance he might choose.

Next day he bought a copy of each newspaper and, carefully scanning them, selected the one upon which to bestow his reportorial gifts. This done, he weighed anchor and steamed through the town in search of the office. Walking in upon the city editor of The Intelligencer, he gazed with benevolent approval upon that busy gentleman’s broad back. He liked the place, the office suited him, and he decided to have his desk placed over by the window.

After a time the editor wheeled, displaying a young, smooth, fat face, out of which peered gray-blue eyes with pin-point pupils.

“Well?” he queried.

“Here I am,” said Anderson.

“So it appears. What do you want?”


“What kind?”


“What can you do?”


“Well, well!” cried the editor. “You don’t look much like a newspaper man.”

“I’m not one–yet. But I’m going to be.”

“Where have you worked?”

“Nowhere! You see, I’m really a playwright.”

The editor’s face showed a bit of interest. “Playwright, eh? Anderson! Anderson!” he mused. “Don’t recall the name.”

“No,” said Paul; “I’ve never written any plays yet, but I’m going to. That’s why I want to sort of begin here and get the hang of this writing game.”

A boy entered with some proofs at that moment and tossed them upon the table, distracting the attention of the newspaper man. The latter wheeled back to his work and spoke curtly over his shoulder.

“I’m not running a school of journalism. Good-by.”

“Maybe you’d like me to do a little space work–?”

“I’d never like you. Get out. I’m busy.”

Anderson retired gracefully, jingling his scanty handful of nickels and dimes, and a half-hour later thrust himself boldly in upon another editor, but with no better result. He made the rounds of all the offices; although invariably rebuffed he became more firmly convinced than ever that journalism was his designated sphere.

That night after dinner he retired to his room with the evening papers, wedged a chair against his bed, and, hoisting his feet upon the wash-stand, absorbed the news of the day. It was ineffably sweet and satisfying to be thus identified with the profession of letters, and it was immeasurably more dignified than “tugging” on the Saginaw River. Once he had schooled himself in the tricks of writing, he decided he would step to higher things than newspaper work, but for the present it was well to ground himself firmly in the rudiments of the craft.