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 The time was November, 1892. St. Louis, as I stepped off the train that Sunday evening, after leaving Chicago in cold state, seemed a warmer clime. The air was soft, almost balmy; but St. Louis could be cold enough too, as I soon discovered. The station, then at Twelfth and Poplar (the new union Station at Eighteenth and Market was then building), an affair of brick and stone, with the tracks stretching in rows in front of it and reached by board walks laid at right angles to them, seemed unspeakably shabby and to me after the better ones of Chicago. St. Louis, I said to myself, was not as good as Chicago. Chicago was rough, powerful, active; St. Louis was sleepy and slow. This was due, however, to the fact that I entered it of a Sunday evening and all its central portion was still. Contrasted with Chicago it was not a at all. While rich and successful it was a creature of another mood and of slower growth. I learned in time to like it very much, but for the things that set it apart from other cities, not for the things by which it sought to rival them.  
But on that evening how dull and commonplace it seemed—how slow after the wave-like of energy that appeared to shake the very air of Chicago.
I made my way to a hotel called The Silver Moon, recommended to me by my and sponsor, where one could get a room for a dollar, a meal for twenty-five cents. Outside of Joseph B. McCullagh, editor of the Globe-Democrat, and Edmond O’Neill, former editor of the Republic to whom I bore a letter, there was no one to whom I might commend myself. I did not care. I was in a strange city at last! I was out in the world now really, away from my family. My great interest was in life as a spectacle, this singing, , mystic state in which I found myself. Life, the great sea! Life, the , colorful !
After eating a bite in the almost darkened restaurant of this hotel I at once went out into Pine Street and stared at the street-cars, yellow, red, orange, green, brown, labeled Choteau Avenue, Tower , Jefferson Avenue, Carondelet. My first business was to find the Globe-Democrat building, a prosperous eight-story brownstone and brick affair at Sixth and Pine. I stared at this building in the night, looking through the great plate glass windows at an onyx-lined office, and finally went in and bought a Sunday paper.
I went to my room and studied this paper—then slept, thinking of my coming introduction in the morning. I was by the clangor of cars. Going to the washstand I was struck at once by the yellowness of the water, a dark yellowish-brown, which deposited a yellow in the glass. Was that the best St. Louis could afford? I asked myself in youthful derision. I drank it just the same, went down to breakfast and then out into the city to see what I should see. I bought a Globe-Democrat (a Republican party paper, by the way: an anachronism of age and change of ownership) and a Republic, the one morning Democratic paper, and then walked to Sixth and Pine to have another look at the building in which I was to work. I wandered along Broadway and Fourth Street, the street of the old courthouse; sought out the Mississippi River and stared at it, that vast river lying between banks of yellow mud; then I went back to the office of the Globe-Democrat, for it was nearing the time when its editor-in-chief might choose to put in an appearance.
Joseph B. McCullagh (“Little Mac” of Eugene Field’s verse) was a short, thick, aggressive, rather and person of Irish extraction. He was short, sturdy, Napoleonic, rather than leonine. I was instantly and thrown back by his stiff reserve. A negro elevator boy had waved me along a marble hall on the seventh floor to a room at the end, where I was met by an office boy who took in my name and then me into the great man’s presence. I found him at a roll-top desk in a minute office, and he was almost buried in discarded newspapers. I learned that he would never allow these to be removed until he was all but crowded out. I was racked with nervousness. Whatever high estimate I had conceived of myself had out by the time I reached his door. I was now surveyed by keen gray Irish eyes from under bushy brows.
“Um, yuss! Um, yuss!” was all he to say. “See Mr. Mitchell in the city room, Mr. Mitchell—um, yuss. Your salary will be—um—um—twenty dollars to begin with” (he was chewing a cigar and his words), and he turned to his papers.
Not a word, not a sign, that he knew I had ever written a line worth while. I returned to the handsome city room, and found only empty desks. I sat down and waited three-quarters of an hour, examining old papers and staring out of the windows over the roofs until Mr. Mitchell appeared.
Like his employer, he was thick-set, a bigger man but less attractive. He had a round, closely-cropped head and a severe and expression. He reminded me of Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby. A fat man—can anything be worse? He went to his desk with a quick stride when he entered, never noticing me. When I approached and explained who I was and why I was there he scarcely gave me a glance.
“The afternoon assignments won’t be ready till twelve-thirty,” he commented drily. “Better take a seat in the next room.”
It was then only eleven-thirty, and I went into the next room and waited. It was empty but deliciously warm on this day. How different from McEnnis, I thought. Evidently being called to a newspaper by telegram was not to be interpreted as that one was to lie on a bed of roses.
A little bit afraid to leave for this hour, in case he might call, I hung about the two windows of this room staring at the new city. How wonderful it seemed, now this morning, after the quiet of the night before, how strong and forceful in this November air. The streets and sky were full of smoke; there was a clangor of street-car gongs below and the of endless trucks. A block or two away up a tall building of the newer order, twelve stories at least. Most of the buildings were small, old family turned into stores. I wondered about the life of the city, its charms, its . What did it hold for me? How long would I remain here? Would this paper afford me any real ? Could I make a great impression and rise?
As I was thus several newspaper men came in. One was a short fellow with a golden-brown mustache and a shock of curly brown hair, whose name I subsequently learned was Hazard—a fitting name for a newspaper reporter. He wore a fedora hat, a short cream-colored ............
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