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 What the senator had told me was true. The deciding conference was on, and I to hang about the corridors of the Richelieu until it was over. The secretary, whom I found closeted with others (not newspaper men) in a room on the second floor, was good enough to see me when I mentioned Senator McEntee’s name, and told me to return at six-thirty, when he was sure the conference would be over and a general statement be issued to the press. If I wished, I might come back at five-thirty. This dampened my joy in the thought that I had something exclusive, though I was later cheered by the thought that I had probably saved my paper from defeat anyhow for we were too poor to belong to the general news service. As a matter of fact, my early information was a cause of wonder in the office, the political man himself coming down late in the night to find out how I had learned so soon. I of my friend Senator McEntee as though I had known him for years. The political man merely looked at me and said: “Well, you ought to get along in politics on one of the papers, if nowhere else.”  
The capture of this one fact, as I rather felt at the time, was my making in this newspaper office and hence in the newspaper world at large, in so far as I ever was made.
At five-thirty that afternoon I was on hand, and, true to his word, the secretary outlined exactly what conclusions the conference had reached. he brought out a type-written statement and read from it such facts as he wished me to have. Cleveland was to be nominated. Another man, Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, of whom I had never heard, was to be nominated for Vice-President. There were other details, so confusing that I could scarcely grasp them, but I made some notes and flew to the office and tried to write out all I had heard. I know now that I made a very bad job of it, but Maxwell worked so hard and so cheerfully that he saved me. From one source and another he confirmed or modified my statements, wrote an intelligent introduction and turned it in.
“You’re one of the damnedest crack-brained loons I ever saw,” he said at one place, cutting out a great slice of my stuff, “but you seem to know how to get the news just the same, and you’re going to be able to write. If I could just keep you under my thumb for four or five weeks I think I could make something out of you.”
At this I ventured to lay one hand over his shoulder in an affectionate and yet appealing way, but he looked up frowningly and said: “Cut the gentle work, Theodore. I know you. You’re just like all other newspaper men, or will be: grateful when things are coming your way. If I were out of a job or in your position you’d do just like all the others: pass me up. I know you better than you know yourself. Life is a God-damned , game, and nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of every thousand are . I don’t know why I do this for you,” and he cut some more of my fine writing, “but I like you. I don’t expect to get anything back. I never do. People always trim me when I want anything. There’s nobody home if I’m knocking. But I’m such a God-damned fool that I like to do it. But don’t think I’m not on, or that I’m a that can be worked by every Tom, Dick and .” And after visiting me with that fat superior smile he went on working. I stared, nervous, restless, resentful, sorrowful, trying to myself to life and to him.
“If I had a real chance,” I said, “I would soon show you.”
The convention opened its sessions the next day, and because of my seeming cleverness I was given a front seat in the press-stand, where I could hear all speeches, observe the crowd, trade ideas with the best newspaper men in the city and the country. In a day, if you will believe it, and in spite of the fact that I was getting only fifteen dollars a week, my stock had risen so that, in this one office at least, I was looked upon as a newspaper man of rare talent, an bright boy sure to carve out a future for himself, one to be made friends with and helped. Here in this press-stand I was now being coached by one newspaper man and another in the intricacies of convention life. I was introduced to two other members of our staff who were supposed to be experienced men, both of them small, clever, practical-minded individuals well adapted to the work in hand. One of them, Harry L. Dunlap, followed my errant fortunes for years, securing a place through me in St. Louis and rising finally to be the of one of our Presidents, William Howard Taft—a not very President to be adviser to at that. The other, a small brown-suited soul, Brady by name, came into my life for a very little while and then went, I know not where.
But this convention, how it thrilled me! To be tossed into the vortex of national politics at a time when the country was over the possible of the old Democratic party to strength and power was something like living. I listened to the speeches, those dully conceived flights and word gymnastics and pyrotechnics whereby backwoods statesmen, district leaders and personality- seek to upon the attention of the country their own as well as those of the individuals whom they admire. Although it was generally known that Cleveland was to be nominated (the money power of America having upon him) and it was useless to name any one else, still as many as ten different “statesmen” grea............
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