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HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER LXIX
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 The next day I was left to myself, and visited City Hall, Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and the financial and commercial sections.  
I, having no skill for making money and intensely hungry for the things that money would buy, stared at Wall Street, a kind of cloudy Olympus in which foregathered all the gods of finance, with the eyes of one who hopes to extract something by observation. it was not then, as it is today, the center of a sky-crowded world. There were few if any high buildings below City Hall, few higher than ten stories. Wall Street was curved, low-fronted, like Street in London. It began, as some one had already out, at a and ended at a river. The house of J. P. Morgan was just then being for its connection with a government gold bond issue. The offices of Russell and George Gould (the son), as well as those of the Standard Oil Company below Wall in Broadway, and those of a whole company of now forgotten magnates, could have been pointed out by any messenger boy, postman or policeman. What impressed me was that the street was with something which, though far from pleasing, craft, greed, cunning, , ruthlessness, a smart swaggering ease on the part of some, and hopeless, bedraggled or beaten aspect on the part of others, held my interest as might a tiger or a snake. I had never seen such a world. It was so busy and paper-bestrewn, messenger and bestridden, as to make one who had nothing to do there feel dull and commonplace. One thought only of millions made in stocks over night, of yachts, orgies, travels, fames and what not else. Since that time Wall Street has become much tamer, less significant, but then one had a feeling that if only one had a tip or a little skill one might become rich; or that, on the other hand, one might be torn to bits and that here was no mercy.
I arrived a little before noon, and the ways were alive with messenger boys and young clerks and assistants. On the ground was a mess of papers, torn telegrams and letters. Near Broad and Wall streets the air was filled with a hum of voices and typewriter clicks issuing from open windows. Just then, as with the business later, and still later with the motion picture industry, it had come to be important to be in the street, however thin one’s connection. To say “I am in Wall Street” suggested a world of and possibilities. The fact that at this time, and for twenty years after, the news columns were all but closed to suicides and failures in Wall Street, so common were they, how and unfounded were the dreams of many.
But the end of Wall Street as the seat of American money domination might even then have been . The cities of the nation were growing. New and by degrees more or less independent centers of finance were being developed. In the course of fifteen years it had become the boast of some cities that they could do without New York in the matter of loans, and it was true. They could; and today many enterprises go west, not east, for their cash. In the main, Wall Street has into a second-rate gamblers’ paradise. What significant Wall Street figures are there today?
On one of my morning walks in New York I had wandered up Broadway to the Building and looked into its windows, where were visible a number of great presses in full operation, much larger than any I had seen in the West, and my brother had recalled to me the fact that James Gordon Bennett, owner and editor of the Herald, had once commissioned Henry M. Stanley, at that time a reporter on the paper, to go to Africa to find Livingstone. And my good brother, who romanticized all things, my supposed abilities and possibilities included, was inclined to think that if I came to New York some such great thing might happen to me.
On another day I went to Printing House Square, where I stared at the Sun and World and Times and Tribune buildings, all facing City Hall Park, sighing for the opportunities that they represented. But I did not act. Something about them overawed me, especially the World, the editor of which had begun his career in St. Louis years before. Compared with the Western papers with which I had been connected, all New York papers seemed huge, the tasks they represented editorially and reportorially much more difficult. True, a brother of a famous with whom I had worked in St. Louis had come East and connected himself with the World, and I might have called upon him and spied out the land. He had himself with a most favorable record in the West, as had I, only I did not look upon mine as so favorable somehow. Again, a city editor once of St. Louis was now here, city editor of one of the city’s great papers, the Recorder, and another man, a Sunday editor of Pittsburgh, had become the Sunday editor of the Press here. But these appeared to me to be exceptional cases. I reconnoitered these large and in the main rather dull institutions with the eye of one who seeks to take a . The editorial pages of all of these papers, as I had noticed in the West, with and remarks about that region, and their voices representing great circulation and wealth gave them amazing weight in my eyes. Although I knew what I knew about the of newspapers to financial interests, their rat-like fear of religionists and moralists, their betrayal of the ordinary man at every point at which he could possibly be betrayed yet still having the power, by weight of lies and and make-believe, to stir him up to his own and destruction, I was frightened by this very power, which in subsequent years I have come to look upon as the most deadly anD forceful of all in nature: the power to masquerade and by.
There was about these papers an air of assurance and righteousness and authority and superiority which overawed and frightened me. To work on the Sun, the Herald, the World! How many , from how many angles of our national life, were constantly and hopefully eyeing them from the very same sidewalks or benches in City Hall Park, as the ultimate solution of all their literary, commercial, social, political problems and ambitions. The thousands of pipe-smoking collegians who have essayed the Sun alone, the scullion Danas, Greeleys and ............
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