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HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER XVII
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 This reporters’ room, for all its handsome furnishings, never took on an agreeable atmosphere to me; it was too gloomy—and because of the personality next door. The room was empty when I entered, but in a short while an old drunken railroad reporter with a red nose came in and sat down in a corner seat, taking no notice of me. I read the morning paper and waited. The room gradually filled up, and all went at once to their desks and began to write . I felt very much out of ; a reporter’s duty at this hour of the night was to write.  
However, I made the best of my time reading, and finally went out to supper alone, returning as quickly as possible in case there should be an assignment for me. When I returned I found my name on the book and I set out to interview a Chicago minister who was visiting in the city. Evidently this city editor thought it would be easier for me to interview a Chicago minister than any other. I found my man, after some knocking at wrong doors, and got nothing worth a stick—mere religious drive—and returned with my “story,” which was never used.
While I was writing it up, however, the youth of the Jovian curls returned from an assignment, hung up his little wrinkled overcoat and sat down in great comfort next me. His evening’s work was for he took out his pipe, rapped it on his chair, lighted it and then picked up an evening paper.
“What’s doing, Jock, up at police headquarters?” called the little man over his shoulder.
“Nothing much, Bob,” replied the other, without looking up.
“By jing, you police reporters have a cinch!” jested the first. “All you do is sit around up there at headquarters and get the news off the police blotters, while we poor devils are chasing all over town. We have to earn our money.” His voice had a peculiarly healthy, gay and ring to it.
“That’s no joke,” put in a long, lean, spectacled individual who was sitting in another corner. “I’ve been tramping all over south St. Louis, looking for a confounded robbery story.”
“Well, you’ve got long legs, Benson,” retorted the Hazard. “You can stand it. Now I’m not so well that way. Bellairs, there, ought to be given a chance at that. He wouldn’t be getting so fat, by jing!”
The one called Jock also answered to the name of Bellairs.
“You people don’t do so much,” he replied, grinning cheerfully. “If you had my job you wouldn’t be sitting here reading a newspaper. It takes work to be a police reporter.”
“Is that so?” the little man banteringly. “You’re proof of it, I suppose? Why, you never did a good day’s work in your life!”
“Give us a match, Bob, and shut up,” grinned the other. “You’re too noisy. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me yet tonight.”
“I got your work! Is she over sixteen? Wish I had your job.”
Jock folded up some copy paper and put it into his pocket and walked into the next room, where the little assistant was away over the night’s grist of news.
I still sat there, looking on.
“It’s pretty tough,” said the spirited Hazard, turning to me, “to go out on an assignment and then get nothing. I’d rather work hard over a good story any day, wouldn’t you?”
“That’s the way I feel about it,” I replied. “It’s not much fun, sitting around. By the way, do you know whose desk this is? I’ve been sitting at it all evening.”
“It doesn’t belong to anybody at present. You might as well take it if you like it. There’s a vacant one over there next to Benson’s, if you like that better.” He waved toward the tall awkward scribe in the corner.
“This is good enough,” I replied.
“Take your choice. There’s no trouble about desks just now. The staff’s way down anyhow. You’re a stranger here, aren’t you?”
“Yes; I only came down from Chicago yesterday.”
“What paper’d jeh work on up there?”
“The Globe and News,” I answered, lying about the latter in order to give myself a better than otherwise I might have.
“They’re good papers, aren’t they?”
“Yes, pretty fair. The News has the largest evening circulation.”
“We have some good papers here too. This is one of the biggest. The Post-Dispatch is pretty good too; it’s the biggest evening paper.”
“Do you know how much circulation this paper has?” I inquired.
“Oh, about fifty thousand, I should say. That’s not so much, compared to Chicago circulation, but it’s pretty big for down here. We have the biggest circulation of any paper in the Southwest. McCullagh’s one of the greatest editors in this country, outside of Dana in New York, the greatest of any. If McCullagh were in New York he&rsq............
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