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 In due course of time, I having performed my portion of the contract, it became the duty of the two editors to their agreement with me. Every day for ten days I had been turning in the cash for from five to fifteen books, establishing my reputation for industry and sobriety. Mr. Gissel was very anxious to know at the end of each day whom I had seen and how the mention of his name was received. Instead of telling him of the many who laughed or or bought to get rid of me , I gave him flattering reports. Lately, by way of reward I presume, he had taken to reading to me the cleverest passages in his editorials. Mr. Sullivan, the city editor, to me one day that he was from a small town in central Illinois not unlike the Warsaw from which I hailed, and which I then roughly and jestingly to him, and from then on we were on fairly good terms. He dug up a number of poems and granted me the favor of reading them. Some of them were almost as good as similar ones by Whittier and Bryant, after whom they were obviously modeled. Today I know them to be bad, or ; then I thought they were excellent and grieved to think that any one should be going to make a reputation as a great poet, while I, the only real poet extant (although I had done nothing as yet to prove it), remained unrecognized.  
I did not know until later that I might not have secured a place even now, so numerous were the applications of clever and experienced newspaper men, had it not been for the influence of my friend Maxwell. For one reason or another, my errant youth perhaps, my crazy and general ignorance of things journalistic, he had become interested in me and seemed fairly anxious to see me get a start. Out of the tail of his eye he had been watching. When I arrived of an evening and there was no one present he sometimes inquired what I was doing, and by degrees, although I had been cautioned not to tell, he extracted the whole story of Gissel’s book. I even loaned him a copy of the book, which he read and pronounced rot, adding: “They ought to be ashamed of themselves, sending you out on a job of this kind. You’re better than that.”
As the end of my task drew near and I was another uncertain wait, he put in a good word for me. But even then I doubt if I should have had a trial had it not been for the convention which was rapidly drawing near. On the day the newspapers were beginning to chronicle the advance arrival of various leaders from all parts of the country, I was taken on at fifteen dollars a week, for a week or two anyhow, and assigned to watch the committee rooms in the hotels Palmer, Grand Pacific, and Richelieu. There was another youth who was set to work with me on this, and he gave me some slight instruction. Over us was the political man, who commanded other men in different hotels and whose presence I had only when the convention was nearly over.
If ever a youth was cast adrift and made to realize that he knew nothing at all about the thing he was so eager to do, that youth was I. “Cover the hotels for political news,” were my complete instructions, but what the devil was political news? What did they want me to do, say, write? At once I was terrified by this opportunity which I had so eagerly sought, for now that I had it I did not know how to make anything clear.
For the first day or two or three therefore I wandered like a lost soul about the corridors and floors and “committee rooms” of these hotels which I was supposed to cover, trying to find out where the committee rooms were, who and what were the men in them, what they were trying to do. No one seemed to want to tell me anything, and, as dull as it may seem, I really could not guess. I had no clear idea of what was meant by the word “politics” as locally used. Various country congressmen and politicians brushed past me in a most secretive manner; when I hailed them with the information that I was from the Globe they waved me off with: “I am only a delegate; you can’t get anything out of me. See the chairman.” Well, what was a chairman? I didn’t know. I did not even know that there had been lists published in all the papers, my own included, giving the information which I was so anxiously seeking!
I had no real understanding of politics or party doings or organization. I doubt if I knew how men came to be nominated, let alone elected. I did not know who were the various State leaders, who the candidates, why one candidate might be preferred to another. The machinations of such an institution as Tammany Hall, or the things called property interests, were as yet beyond me. My mind was too much concerned with the poetry of life to busy itself with such things as politics. However, I did know that there was a bitter on between David Bennett Hill, governor of New York, and Grover Cleveland, ex-President of the United States, both candidates for on the Democratic ticket, and that the Tammany organization of New York City was for Hill and bitterly opposed to Cleveland. I also knew that the South was for any good Southerner as opposed to Cleveland or Hill, and that a new element in the party was for Richard , better known as “Silver Dick,” of Missouri. I also knew by reputation many of the men who had been in the first Cleveland administration.
Imagine a raw youth with no knowledge of the political of America trying to gather even an inkling of what was going on! The nation and the city were full of dark political trafficking, but of it all I was as innocent as a baby. The bars and lobbies were full of inconsequential delegates, who drank, swore, sang and orated at the top of their lungs. Swinging Southerners and Westerners in their long frockcoats and wide-brimmed hats amused me. They were forever pulling their whiskers or mustachios, drinking, smoking, talking or looking solemn or desperate. In many cases they knew no more of what was going on than I did. I was told to watch the movements of Benjamin Ryan Tillman, senator from South Carolina, and report any conclusions or of conclusions as to how his would vote. I had a hard time finding where his committee was located, and where and when if ever it deliberated, but once I identified my man I never left him. I dogged his steps so
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