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- The Adventures of a Boy Reporter - 10/23 -


square in which he had his home, and he was glad to get to bed. He had been nervous and excited all day, and found it difficult to sleep, but finally the tired eyelids lay quietly over the tired eyes, and Archie was dreaming of the cool and pleasant arbour of grapes at home, and of how the Hut Club was holding a special meeting there to devise ways and means of welcoming home their distinguished fellow member, Mr. Archie Dunn, who had achieved such great success in the city.

Notwithstanding his tired feeling, Archie was up early the next morning, and out at the corner to buy an Enterprise. He hastily turned the pages, trying to find the story of his Coney Island adventures, but he looked in vain. It wasn't visible anywhere. He was about to think that it had not been thought worth while printing when he noticed on the front page, in large letters, "The Boy Reporter's Great Discovery," and then followed the complete account, just as he had written it. This was the best thing yet. Just to think that his story had been considered important enough to print upon the front page! He could hardly believe it. Surely he had made great strides, and Archie began to realise that it is not experience that is most needed in journalism, but something to write about. "I have simply been fortunate in finding some interesting things," he said, to himself, and then, after a light breakfast in a quaint Italian restaurant around the corner, he hurried down-town to the office of the newspaper.

Archie was beginning to feel, by now, that he had worked for a long time upon the paper, and as he had become acquainted with almost every one connected with it, this wasn't a strange feeling for him to have. And it was evident, too, that the editors intended to keep him busy for some time to come, and Archie realised that he was in newspaper work to stay, for a time, at least. And he was overjoyed at the prospect, for he found the whole business as fascinating and as interesting as he had expected it would be.

Mr. Jennings, of the evening edition, was at the office when Archie arrived, and sent for him to come in. "Here is fifty dollars," he said, "for your work of yesterday, and you will have more coming to you if these men are convicted. I want to congratulate you on what you have done so far. Come in this afternoon, and I think Mr. Van Bunting will have a new plan for you."

CHAPTER XII.

A SUCCESSFUL REPORTER-- THE EDITOR DECIDES TO SEND HIM AS CORRESPONDENT TO THE PHILIPPINES-- LEAVING NEW YORK-- IN CHICAGO.

AT three o'clock in the afternoon Archie was seated in Mr. Van Bunting's office, together with Mr. Jennings and several of the chief members of the editorial staffs of both editions of the paper. The editors had spread out before them, on the large table, several maps, and most of them were busily engaged in making notes on little paper pads. All the time, however, an excited conversation was being carried on, for some editors wanted Archie to proceed to the Philippines one way, and some thought that the better plan would be for him to go by some other route. But the important fact with Archie was that he was really going to be sent to the Philippines as a war correspondent, and that he was going to start very shortly. He had called on Mr. Van Bunting early in the afternoon, and had then learned for the first time what the new plan was to be. When the managing editor asked him how he would like to go to the Philippines, Archie could scarcely reply, so delighted was he with the brilliant prospect before him. He managed to stammer out a few words, though, in spite of his surprise. "I always thought war correspondents were selected from the most experienced men in journalism," he said, but Mr. Van Bunting only laughed. "That's what we have already done, my boy," he said, "and so far none of our distinguished correspondents have sent us a thing worth printing that we didn't already know. You see they can't send any more to us in the way of news than we can get from the War Department in Washington, and most of these men are too old fogy to send us anything out of the ordinary line of war correspondence. Now, what we want is for you to go over there and have some adventures, and write us something which will be different from what we have had before from the Philippines. We are sending you, because you have had no experience at such work, and will be sure to send us something unusual, and that is what we want. If you can only do as well in the tropics as you have done here in New York, we shall be more than satisfied with your work. I am sorry that I won't have time to give you very complete instructions, but perhaps it will be as well. And now some of the men are waiting outside to come in and talk this matter over, so we'll have them in now."

And Archie found himself in the midst of an editorial conference, during which many things were discussed. The meeting lasted more than two hours, and finally it was decided that Archie should travel from New York to San Francisco, and go from there to Manila on the army transport which was to sail on the twenty-fifth of the month. This meant that he would have to leave the city in two days' time, and Archie announced himself as quite willing to do this, as he had few preparations to make. The editors gave him many instructions about how he was to address his correspondence, and how he should proceed in the event of finding it necessary to send despatches by cable. And at the end of the conference he felt that he knew all that he would need to know, so that he could start off without fear of not being able to fulfil his mission. As far as Archie could understand it, his chief instructions as to duty were to the effect that he must have as many experiences as possible of as many different kinds, and that he must write about them in a perfectly natural way, just as if he were writing a letter to the folks at home. And he thought, of course, that this would be very easy to do.

Mr. Van Bunting gave him a letter of credit for six hundred dollars, which amount, he said, would probably be sufficient to pay his expenses while he was in the Philippines, and he also gave him a cheque for three hundred dollars, which was intended to pay the expense of getting to Manila. "Of course," said Mr. Van Bunting, "you can spend as much or as little of this as you please, and if you need more, and we find that the venture is paying us, why, we will send it on demand." Archie was so overcome with the knowledge that he possessed nine hundred dollars, that he could hardly thank the editor enough, and he made up his mind that he would spend as little as possible of the sum, and bring back part of it to Mr. Van Bunting upon his return. He couldn't imagine how it would be possible for him to spend so much money, and he felt that, after some of his experiences since he left home, he ought to be able to economise in many ways where other reporters wouldn't know how to save at all.

When the two days were up Archie had made all his preparation, and was ready to leave New York for Manila. He had sent a long letter home to his mother, telling her of his great good fortune, and enclosing a cheque for a hundred dollars, which she was to spend while he was gone. He told her that he would send her more money from time to time, and felt very proud as he mailed the letter. He told her, too, that if at any time she didn't hear from him on time, she could write to Mr. Van Bunting, and he would let her know of his whereabouts. This was something which Mr. Van Bunting had very thoughtfully advised him to do. "Your mother is sure to worry if the mails are overdue," he had said, "and if she writes to me, I will always be able to tell her of your whereabouts, for we can hear of you through our other correspondents, if not from your own despatches." So Archie felt that his mother shouldn't worry, since he was such a fortunate boy in so many ways.

The night before leaving he took a long farewell walk up Broadway. Everything was bright with light, and there was, as usual, a great crowd of pleasure-seekers on the sidewalks. It was all as fascinating as ever to Archie, and he felt sorry that he was to leave it so soon. New York had begun to grow on him, as it grows on any one living there for any length of time, who is in a position to appreciate the city's attractions. He felt that he would almost rather be on Broadway than in the Philippines, but of course he forgot this feeling when he remembered the confidence which Mr. Van Bunting had reposed in him by sending him upon such an important mission. So, after he had passed all the bright theatres and restaurants, he turned down a quiet side street and returned to his lodging, so that he might have a good night's rest before starting on his long journey.

At seven in the morning he was up again, and at nine o'clock he was bidding farewell to his many friends in the editorial rooms of the Evening Enterprise. Every one congratulated him upon his great good luck in getting such a chance to distinguish himself, and when they had done telling him that he had a great future before him, Archie felt happier than ever before in all his life.

The train left the Grand Central Station at one o'clock, and Mr. Jennings went with him to the station to see him well started upon the journey. "You may be sure we are all much interested in you, Archie," he said, as the train was leaving, "and we shall look forward anxiously to your safe return." These words made Archie very glad, for it cheered him to know that at least one of the editors liked him for himself as well as for what he could do.

The Southwestern Limited seemed to fairly fly along the banks of the beautiful Hudson, and everything was so delightful that Archie could scarcely believe that only a week or two before he had been walking along country roads, anxious to reach New York, that he might become an office boy. Every thing in this train was as perfect as modern ingenuity could make it, and there was no lack of interesting things to be examined, when Archie tired of the landscape. Then, when the train had been two hours out of New York, he discovered that the famous president of this great railway system was aboard, and, mustering up his courage, he determined to introduce himself. He had long been anxious to see this famous after-dinner orator and statesman, and here was a chance which might not come soon again. So he went back to the drawing-room, and found the great man to be quite as pleasant as he was interesting, and Archie was asked to seat himself and tell something about his experiences since leaving home. Everything he said was listened to with great interest, and this distinguished wit seemed to find many of the adventures very funny indeed. "You have certainly had some wonderful experiences," he said, when Archie had finished, "and I can appreciate your anxiety to leave school. I had that desire myself when I was a boy of about fifteen, but my father succeeded in making me change my opinion on the subject, and without much argument, unless you can call an ox-team and a stony pasture an argument. I had been asking to stay at home from school for a long time. I said that I was too old to be sitting there with a lot of girls and some younger boys, and that I wanted to work. Finally, my father said that I could stay at home if I cared to, and that he would let me work on the farm for a time. I was overjoyed, of course, at the prospect of staying out of school.

"The next morning I was awakened at four o'clock, and had to swallow my breakfast in a hurry, because I was late, my father said. Then he took me out to the barn and ordered me to hitch up the ox-team, and when this was done he took me out to a pasture lot and told me to pick up all the boulders there. Well, I picked up boulders all day long, and by evening my back and arms were so sore I could hardly move them. I was too tired to eat supper, and was soon asleep in bed. When my father awoke me at four the next morning, I told him to let me alone and that I was going back to school. After that I was content to stay in school, and said nothing more about leaving until I had finished


The Adventures of a Boy Reporter - 10/23

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