Newspaper Page Text
OCTOBER 16, 1910.
THE CORNER IN T. R. R. THE T. R. R. stockhold ers w ere having a meeting in Radbourn'i room, and the smoke from six pipes filled the air. Tlic three directors were sitting on the edge of the small iron bed, one stockholder was on Radbourn 'a trunk, and Bobby Mahew had the only chair becauso he was president of the company, The factory was seated on the window sill, with his elbows on his knees. He was very glum. In fact, I lie meeting of the stockholders had been called by the president es pecially In Investigate him. That was pretty bad, but it was still worse to have to sit on a narrow win (low sill. All the stockholders of the 'I. B. li. Company board ed with Mrs. Qregg, on West Kitty seventh Street, and Radbourn'i room was the front hall bedroom on the fourth floor, so it was not inconvenient for tha stockholders to meet occasionally, if the natural in convenience of crowding six men into one small room is overlooked. Therefore, meetings of the T. R, R, stockholders were held on an average of six nights each week. As all the meetings were held especially to investigate the factory, the factory was getting callous to investigations, and lie said he didn't car' a rap how much they investigated him if they vrould only bring their own tobacco with them. Hut it was a little hard to be sinoth- ered in the imoke of one '■ own tobacco. The stock of tin- T. B. R. Company hail fallen below par. As Bobby Maln'w said, '' 11 isn 't worth a continental rent," and that was why the stockholders met night after night to investi gate. Something had to be done to start the fac tory. Bo they met reg ularly ad d bullyragged Kadliourn awhile, an d t he n played six handed euchre. Badbourn was the fac tory. "Thomas Kawson Hadbourn Company" was the full title of the con cern, and Badbourn was the sole asset. lie had been capitalized, and stock in him bad been issued, and then when be began to pay dividends things went to smash and lie became a piece of idle property, and the stock holders daily saw the mo ment approaching when they would be called upon to put in more money to pay the factory's board bill. Radbourn was a writer, and his duty as a factory was to write funny little poems and laughable iliort stories. If the stockholders had imagined he would run out of ideas they would not have taken stock in him. But he did run out of ideas, and that was why he was being investigated. As Hobby Mahew laid, "If it's indigestion, we've got to discover it and gel him something for it, and pat him on tea and toast for a while; or if it's homesickness, we've got to make things lively for him and distract his mind. But probably he only needs B little spurring, so we'll spur him a*little," and they did. They spurred him every evening. Radbouru said, '' You fellows come up here and lather me with abuse and then rub it in." When Radbourn came to New York he had very little idea of what he meant to do. He had had a few rhymes and skits printed in some of the comic papers, and he thought he might make a living with his pen. He believed he could sell more rhymes and skits if he was on the ground than if he was in In diana, and he had a hundred dollars or so to pay his expenses until he could command a steady market for his manuscripts. He also had a vague notion of writ ing a novel or play or something some time. But whether it was the change of location, or that he had fallen into the habit at home of writing at night, he found his pen had lost its cunning, and he ?ould not write anything acceptable. So his little LOS ANGELES HERALD SUNDAY MAGAZINE ELLIS PARKER BUTLER roll of banknotes grew smaller and smaller, until he found himself disheartened, and he began in study the "Help Wanted" Columns of morning papers and to write letters to "B 54" and ".I 321," care of tin 1 Daily Bugle, in answer to advertisements stating that a bookkeeper was wanted. lie spent his days sitting on a bench in Central I'ark trying to coax an inspiration, and by evening he was usually so homesick and disgusted that he was glad to accept an invitation to take a hand in a cuchiv it whist game, lie was jolly enough then, but tli!> morning brought the old distaste for writing, and tha Bight of a sheet of white paper was enough to drive him from the house. Soon after the time when he began to read the re I nrts of suicides with peculiar Interest he secured a | OSition as assistant bookkeeper in the office of Brown & Jones, on Leonard street, and at once his muse be jan favoring him with ideas, and every evening he could steal from his friends in the boarding house found him scribbling at a breakneck speed, and the editors accepted everything he found time to write, lint Hobby Mahew and the rest were importunate, and I ■*I^^^ j"^* /«— + fc***^^ —w Radbourn wai more apt to spend his evenings at euchre than at his literary work. One of the euchre players wai May Gorman, and Radbourn rather liked her. That w«s one reason he was drawn to Varney's room night after night. She. had the hall bedroom at the opposite end of the hall on his floor, and they usually stopped a few minutes at the head of the stairs for a brief chat. Even when he did not go down to play cards he would leave his door open, and when May Gorman came up she would stand in his doorway and exchange a few words, and frequently he would write after his Inspiration had fled, and when he was tired and sleepy, merely to have her say a cheery, "Good night." May Gorman was a school teacher, and she, too, was alone in the city, and thus they had a common bond. She had read a great many books, and her criticism of Radbourn's work was sensible and helpful, al though it was mainly praise. But praise was helpful to Radbourn. He was one whom success spurred to greater efforts, and her praise was a sign of success, he argued, for to please her was to write that which would please the great public. When Radbourn's tale of the man who built a transportable boarding house was accepted by the Gotham Ma(/a~ine May Gorman was the first person to whom he told his good luck, and it was May Gor man who persuaded him to submit "Mrs. Green- Copyrighted by sh.irt Storied berry sCousin '' to the Oothaw iin<l while every one in the li (i 11 s c encouraged him ti greater efforts, May Gormai was the most enthusiastic be liever Id his future. When "Mrs. Greenberry's Cousin" appeared in the Ootham, fully illustrated, Radbourn know he had a certain standing in the lit erary world, for the Gotham \\ :is the greatest of all the magazines. To appear i» the 'Gotham was tin highest hope of all aspiring authors. Radbourn was jubilant, and greatly as he needed money he appre ciated the honor of breaking into the exclusive pages of the Ootham more than the check for $50 he re ceived for the short story. And when the editor of Garbury's Magazine wrote asking th.it he submit a manuscript, and guaranteeing personal attention, he felt that it was ii crime against himself to continue longer frittering away his days over the led^fr and daybook of Brown & Jones. He had written " Mrs. Oreenberry's Cousin" in one evening, and he argued that if for an evening's labor he received $;>O, with the entire week at his disposal he could easily earn t.'n times the pittance his clerical work afforded. lie did not, however, dare to give up his position. for it often takes months to place a manuscript, ami many are returned time and again, anil if his writ ings should prove unsuccessful tor a while he would be unable to pay Mrs. Hard to nil in tne maga zines. Several editors had already noted him as the possible coming great humorist. But if Radbourn did not care to lay his financial Btraitl before May Gorman, he had no qualms about telling "the fellows;" he told them again and again. One evening, led by Hobby Mabew, they trooped up to his room to beguile liim away from his writing, and ended by finding seats where they could, and taking up the subject of his shortsightedness in working day and night. "It's all right, I suppose, if you like it," said Bobby, "but you'll kill yourself, that's all. You know about burning a candle at both ends, Bad." "Yes, I know," said Radbourn, "but what's a fellow to do? If I quit my place I may not get in a cent for six months, and I 'd be on the streets or at the workhouse. It's all right for you fellows to talk, but I simply dare not give up my position." "I wish I could earn fifty dollars by an evening's work," said Varner, "and you wouldn't see me in ■peeling beef In a beastly slaughter house. Oh no! " "Neither would I if I had a couple of hundred dollars,'' said Radbourn, putting his feet on the table that served him for a desk. "If I had, say, enough to keep me and pay my board for six months I 'd leave Brown & Jones tomorrow. I could make ten times what I do there. But I haven't five dollars to my name, and there you are! " 5 Gregg, and he would be turned out of the board inn house in disgrace. The frequent remarks of the young men in the house that he was fool ish to waste his time on Leonard street when he had a gold mine in his ink bottle added to his dissatisfaction, but t li c hardest to bear was May Gorman's constant urg ing that he give up everything and devote his time exclusively to putting the works of hie genius moro largely be fore the world. He could not tell her that he was penniless, and that he depended on his weekly salary to pay Mrs. Gregg, but he felt that she was right. With more time at his disposal, he be lieved he could make a name for himself such as any author might envy. lie was right. His stories had a freshness and originality that ap pealed to the jaded edi tors. He was something new, and the good-natured humor of his writings filled a place that was i i * «n :., ♦!,„ mB «M.