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HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER LXXIV
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 It is possible that, due to some physical or mental defect of my own, I was in no way fitted to so huge and ruthless a spectacle as New York then presented, or that I had too keen a conception of it at any rate. After a few days of work here I came in touch with several newspaper men from the West—a youth by the name of Graves, another by the name of Elliott, both of Chicago, and a third individual who had once been in St. Louis, Wynne Thomas, brother of the famous , Augustus. All were working on this paper, two of them in the same capacity as myself, the third a staff man. At night we used to sit about doing the late watch and spin all sorts of newspaper tales. These men had wandered from one place to another, and had seen—heavens, what had they not seen! They were completely . Here, as in newspaper offices everywhere, one could hear the most disconcerting tales of human depravity and cruelty. I think that in the hours I spent with these men I learned as much about New York and its difficulties and opportunities, its different social , its outstanding figures social and political, as I might have learned in months of reporting and reading. They seemed to know every one likely to figure in the public eye. By degrees they introduced me to others, and all confirmed the conclusions which I was reaching. New York was difficult and revolting. The police and politicians were a menace; was ; wealth was shamelessly showy, cold and . In New York the outsider or beginner had scarcely any chance at all, save as a servant. The city was overrun with hungry, loafing men of all descriptions, newspaper writers included.  
After a few weeks of experimenting, however, I had no need of from any source. An assignment or two having developed well under my handling, and I having reported my success to the city editor, I was allowed to begin to write it, then given another assignment and told to turn my story over to the large gentleman with the gold-headed . This infuriated and discouraged me, but I said nothing. I thought it might be due to the city editor’s conviction, so far not disturbed by any opportunity I had had, that I could not write.
But one night, a small item about a fight in a house having been given me to investigate, I went to the place in question and found that it was a cheap beer-drinking on the upper East Side which had its origin in the objection of one neighbor to the noise made by another. I constructed a ridiculous story of my own to the effect that the first irritated neighbor was a musician who had been attempting at midnight to construct a waltz, into which the snores, gurgles, moans and of his next-door neighbor would not fit. Becoming irritated and unable by calls and knocking to arouse his friend and so bring him to silence, he finally resorted to piano banging and glass-breaking of such a terrible character as to arouse the entire neighborhood and cause the sending in of a riot call by a policeman, who thought that a tenement war had broken out. Result: broken heads and an interesting parade to the nearest police station. Somewhere in the text I used the phrase “sawing wood.”
Finding no one in charge of the city editor’s desk when I returned, I handed my account to the night city editor. The next morning, lo and , there it was on the first page consuming at least a fourth of a column! To my further surprise and gratification, once the city editor appeared I noticed a change of attitude in him. While waiting for an assignment, I caught his eye on me, and finally he came over, paper in hand, and pointing to the item said: “You wrote this, didn’t you?” I began to think that I might have made a mistake in creating this bit of news and that it had been investigated and found to be a fiction. “Yes,” I replied. Instead of me he smiled and said: “Well, it’s rather well done. I may be able to make a place for you after a while. I’ll see if I can’t find an interesting story for you somewhere.”
And true to his word, he gave me another story on this order. In the Hoffman House bar, one of the show-places o............
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