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 Things like these taught me not to depend too on my own skill. I might propose and believe, but there were things above my planning or powers, and creatures I might choose to despise were not so helpless after all. It my thoughts on the weakness of the human mind as a directing organ. One might think till doomsday in terms of human ideas, but over and above ideas there were forces which or controlled them.... My own fine contemptuous ideas might be superseded or set at by the raw animal or force of a man like Galvin.  
During the next few months a number of things happened which seemed to broaden my horizon . For one thing, my trip to Chicago having revived interest in me in the minds of a number of newspaper men there, and having seemingly convinced them of my success here, I was bombarded with letters from one and another wanting to know whether or not they could obtain work here and whether I could and would aid them. At the close of the Fair in Chicago in October hard times were expected in newspaper circles there, so many men being released from work. I had letters from at least four, one of whom was a hanger-on by the name of Michaelson, of whom more anon, who had attached himself to me largely because I was the stronger and he expected aid of me. I have often thought how frequently this has happened to me—one of my typical experiences, as it is of every one who begins to get along. It is so much easier for the strong to tolerate the weak than the strong. Strength . We want only those who will swing the censer before our ambitions and desires. Michaelson, or “Mich,” was a poor who had been connected with a commercial agency where daily reports had to be written out as to the financial and social condition of John Smith the butcher, or George Jones the . This led Mich, who was a farm-boy to begin with, to imagine that he could write and that he would like to run a country paper, only he thought to get some experience in the city first. By some process, of which I forget the steps, he fixed on me; and through myself and McEnnis, who was then so friendly to me, had secured a tryout on the Globe in Chicago. After I left McEnnis quickly tired of him, and I heard of him next as working for the City Press, an organization which served all newspapers, and paid next to nothing. Next I heard that he was married (having succeeded so well!), and still later he began to bombard me with pleas for aid in getting a place in St. Louis. Also there were letters from much better men: H. L. Dunlap, afterwards chief press of President Taft; an excellent reporter by the name of Brady, whom I have mentioned; and a little later, John Maxwell.
Meanwhile, in spite of my great failure in connection with Galvin, my with Wandell seemed to rise rather than sink. Believe it or no, I became a privileged character about this institution or its city room, a singular thing in the newspaper profession. Because of specials I was constantly writing for the Sunday paper, I was taken up by the sporting editor, who wanted my occasional help in his work; the dramatic editor, who wanted my help on his dramatic page, asking me to see plays from time to time; and the managing editor himself, a small, , soft-spoken, red-headed man from Kansas City, who began to invite me to lunch or dinner and talk to me as though I knew much (or ought to) about the world he represented. I was so unfitted for all this intellectually, my hour of stability and feeling for organization and control having not yet arrived, that I scarcely knew how to manage it. I was nervous, shy, poorly spoken, at least in their presence, while inwardly I was blazing with ambition, vanity and self-confidence. I wanted nothing so much as to be alone with my own desires and even though I believed all the while that I did not and that I was lonely and neglected!
Unsophisticated as I really was, I began to see Wandell as but a figure in this journalistic world, or but one of many, likely to be here and gone tomorrow, and I swaggered about, taking liberties which months before I should never have dreamed of taking. He talked to me too freely and showed me that he relied on my advice and and admired my work. All out-of-town assignments of any importance were given to me. Occasionally at seven in the evening he would say that he would buy me a drink if I would wait a minute, a not very wise thing to do. Later, after completing one big assignment or another, I would stroll out of the office at, say, eight-thirty or nine without a word or a by-your-leave, and so respectful had he become that instead of calling me down in person he began writing me monitory letters, couched in the most diplomatic language but insisting that I by the rules which governed other reporters. But by now I had grown so in my own estimation that I smiled confidently, knowing very well that he would not fire me; my salary was too small. Besides, I knew that he really needed me or some one like me and I saw no rival anywhere, one who would work as hard and for as little. Still I would reform for a time, or would plead that the managing or the dramatic editor had asked me to do thus and so.
“To hell with the managing editor!” he one day exclaimed in a rage. “This is my department. If he wants you to sit around with him let him come to me, or else you first see that you have my consent.”
At the same time he remained most friendly and would sit and chat over proposed stories, getting my advice as to how to do them, and as one man after another left him or he wanted to enlarge his staff he would ask me if I knew any one who would make a satisfactory addition. Having had these appeals from Dunlap, Brady and several others still in Chicago, I named first Dunlap (because I felt so sure of his merit), and then these others. To my surprise, he had me write Dunlap to come to work, and when he came and made good, Wandell asked me to bring still others to him. This flattered me very much. I felt myself becoming a power. The result was that after a time five men, three from Chicago and two from other papers in St. Louis, were transferred to the staff of the Republic by reason of my recommendation, and that with full knowledge of the fact that I was the one to whom they owed their opportunity. You may imagine the airs which I assumed.
About this time still another thing occurred which lifted me still more in my own . Strolling into the Southern Hotel one evening I chanced to see my old chief, McCullagh, sitting as was his custom near one of the pillars of the lobby reading his evening paper. It had always been such a pleasing and homelike thing in my days at the Globe to walk into the lobby around dinner time and see this great chief in his low shoes and white socks sitting and reading here as though he were in his own home. It took away a bit of the loneliness of the city for me for he appeared to have no other home than this and he was my chief. And now, for the first time since I had so from the Globe, I saw him as before, smoking and reading. Hitherto I had carefully avoided this and every other place at such hours as I was likely to encounter him. But now I had grown so that I was not quite so much afraid of him; he was still wonderful to me but I was beginning to feel that I had a future of my own and that I could achieve it, regardless perhaps of the error that had so pained me then. Still I felt to the full all that old allegiance, respect and affection which had dominated me while I was on the Globe. He was my big editor, my chief, and there was none other like him anywhere for me, and there never was . Nearing the newsstand, for which I made at sight of him in the hope that I should escape unseen, I saw him get up and come forward, perhaps to secure a cigar or another paper. I flushed guiltily and looked wildly about for some place to hide. It was not to be.
“Good evening, Mr. McCullagh,” I said politely as he neared me.
“How d’ do?” he returned gutturally but with such an air of as I had never noticed in him before. “How d’ do? Well, you’re still about, I see. You’re on the Republic, I believe?”
“Yes, sir,” I said. I was so pleased and flattered to think that he should trouble to talk to me at all or to indicate that he knew where I was that I could scarcely contain myself. I wanted to thank him, to apologize, to tell him how wonderful he was to me and what a fool I was in my own estimation, but I couldn’t. My tongue was thick.
“You like it over there?”
“Yes, sir. Fairly well, sir.” I was as in his presence as a jackie is before an officer. He seemed always so forceful and commanding.
“That little matter of those theaters,” he began after a pause, turning and walking back to his chair, I following, “—Um! um! I don’t think you understand quite how I felt about that. I was sorry to see you go. Um! um!” and he cleared his throat. “It was an unfortunate mistake all around. I want you to know that I did not blame you so much. Um! You might have been relieved of other work. I don’t want to take you away from any other paper, but—um!—I want you to know that if you are ever free and want to come back you can. There is no prejudice in my mind against you.”
I don’t know of anything that ever moved me more. It was wonderful, thrilling. I could have cried from sheer delight. He, my chief, saying this to me! And after all those wretched hours! What a fool I was, I now thought, not to have gone to him personally then and asked his consideration. However, as I saw it, it was too late. Why change now and go back? But I was so excited that I could scarcely speak, and probably would not have known what to say if I had tried. I stood there, and finally out:
“I’m very sorry, Mr. McCullagh. I didn’t mean to do what I did. It was a mistake. I had that extra assignment and—”
“O-oh, that’s all right—that’s all right,” he insisted gruffly and as if he wished to be done with it once and for all. “No harm done. I didn’t mind that so much. But you needn’t have left—that’s what I wish you to understand. You could have stayed if you had wanted to.”
As I viewed it afterward, my best opportunity for a secure position in St. Louis was here. If I had only known it, or, knowing, had been quick to take advantage of it, I might have profited greatly. Mr. McCullagh’s mood was plainly warm toward me; he probably looked upon me as a foolish and excitable but fairly capable boy whom it would have been his pleasure to assist in the world. He had brought me from Chicago; perhaps he wished me to remain under his eye.... Plai............
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