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 My connection with the Globe-Democrat had many aspects, chief among which was my rapidly developing consciousness of the significance of and its relation to the life of the nation and the state. My journalistic career had begun only five months before and preceding that I had had no newspaper experience of any kind. The most casual reader of a newspaper would have been as good as I in many respects.  
But here I rather sensed the significance of it all, the power of a man like McCullagh, for instance, for good or evil, the significance of a man like Butler in this community. I still had a lot to learn: the extent of in connection with politics in a city, the power of a newspaper to make sentiment in a State and so help to carry it for a Governor or a President. The political talk I heard on the part of one newspaper man and another “doing politics,” as well as the leading editorials in this and other papers, which just at this time were concerned with a coming mayoralty fight and a in the State between rival leaders of the Republican party, completely cleared up the situation for me. I listened to all the gossip, read the papers carefully, wondered over the and oddities of State governments in connection with our national government. Just over the river in Illinois everybody was concerned with the administration of John P. Altgeld, governor of the State, and whether he would pardon the Chicago whose death sentences, recorded a few years before, had been to life . On this side of the river everybody was interested in the administration of William Joel Stone, who was the governor. A man by the name of Cyrus H. Walbridge was certain to be the next mayor if the Republicans won, and according to the Globe, they ought to win because the city needed to be reformed. The local Democratic board of aldermen was supposed to be the most in all America (how many cities have yearly thought that, each of its governing body, since the nation began!), and Edward Noonan, the mayor, was supposed to be the lowest and creature that ever stood up in shoes. The chief editorials of the Globe were frequently concerned with blazing denunciations of him. As far as I could make out, he had joined with various corporations and certain members of council to steal from the city, sell its valuable for a song and the like. He had also joined with the police in bleed the saloons, and houses of prostitution. Gambling and prostitution were never so as now, so our good paper stated. The good people of the city should join and help save the city from destruction.
How familiar it all sounds, doesn’t it? Well, this was 1892, and I have heard the same song every year since, in every American city in which I have ever been. Gambling, prostitution, graft, et cetera, must be among our national weaknesses, not?
Just the same, in so far as this particular office and the country about St. Louis were concerned, Joseph McCullagh was of immense significance to his staff and the natives. Plainly he was like a god to many of them, the farmers and residents in small towns in States like Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and in Southern Illinois, where his paper chiefly circulated, for they came to the office whenever they were in the city merely to get a glimpse of him. He was held in high by his staff, and was one of the few editors of his day who really deserved to be. Within his office he had an adoring group of , which included everyone from the managing editor down. “The chief says——,” “The chief thinks——,” “The old man looks a little this morning—what do you think?” “, wait’ll the old man hears about that! He’ll be !” “That ought to please the old man, don’t you think? He likes a bit of good writing.” Yet for all this , “the old man” never seemed to notice much of anything or have much to say to any one, except possibly to one or two of his leading editorial writers and his telegraph editor. If he ever conferred with his city editor for more than one moment at a time I never saw or heard of it. And if anything seen or heard by anybody in connection with him was not whispered about the reporters’ room before nightfall or daybreak it was a of . Occasionally he might be seen down the hall to the or to the room of his telegraph chief, but most always it was merely to take his carriage or walk to the Southern Hotel at one o’clock for his or at six for his dinner, his derby hat pulled over his eyes, his white socks gleaming, a in his hand, a cigar between his lips. If he ever had a crony it was not known in the reporters’ room. He was a or eccentric, and a few years later, as I have said, he leaped to his death from the second story window of his home, where he had lived in as much privacy and singularity as a Catholic priest.
There were silent figures slipping about—Captain King, a chief editorial writer; Casper S. Yost, a secretary of the corporation, assistant editor and what not; several editors, artists, reporters, the city editor, the business manager—but no one or all of them collectively seemed to amount to a hill of beans. Only “the old man” or J. B., as he was occasionally referred to, counted. Under him the paper had character, and point, not only in its news but in its editorial columns. Although it was among the conventional of the conventional of its day (what American newspaper of that period could have been otherwise?), still it had an which made one feel that “the old man” knew much more than he ever wrote. He seemed to like to have it referred to as “the great religious daily” and often quoted that phrase, but with the saving grace of humor behind it.
And he seemed to understand just how to supply that region with all it desired in the shape of news. Though in the main the paper published gossip, oddities about storms, accidents, , still there was something about the way the thing was done, the crisp and brief manner in which the material was edited, which made it palatable—very much so, I should say, to the small-town store-lounger or owner—and nearly all had humor, naïveté or . The drift of things politically was always presented in leaders in such a way that even I, a mere stripling, began to get a sense of things national and international. States, the adjacent ones in particular, which supplied the bulk of the Globe’s circulation, were given special attention and yet in such a way as not to irritate the general reader, leaving it optional with him whether he should read or not. The editorials, sometimes informing, sometimes threatening and directive, sometimes mere fol-de-rol and foolery, and intended as such, had a delicious in them. Occasionally “the old man” himself wrote one and then everybody sat up and took notice. One could easily single it out even if it had not been passed around, as it nearly always was. “The old man wrote that.” “Have you read the old man’s editorial in this morning’s paper? Gee! Read it!” Then you expected brilliant, biting words, a phraseology, sentences that cracked like a whip, and you were rarely disappointed. The paragraphs exploded at times, burst like a ; at others the whole thing ended like music, the deep, of an organ. “The old man” could write, there was no doubt of that. He also seemed to believe what he wrote, for the time being anyhow. That was why his staff, to a man, him. He was a real editor, as contrasted with your namby-pamby “business man” masquerading as editor. He had been a great reporter and war correspondent in his day, one of the men who were with Farragut on the Mississippi and with Sherman and others elsewhere during the great Civil War.
Wandering about this building at this time was an old red-faced, red-nosed German, with a stomach, very , dull and unimportant. He was, as I later learned, the real owner of the paper, the major portion o............
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