a paper when it is lying on the smoking-room table, and tell you it is damned good, but the people that plank down their penny. That’s the sort we want.”

Peter Hope, able editor, with ideals, was shocked—indignant. William Clodd, business man, without ideals, talked figures.

“There’s the advertiser to be thought of,” persisted Clodd. “I don’t pretend to be a George Washington, but what’s the use of telling lies that sound like lies, even to one’s self while one’s telling them? Give me a genuine sale of twenty thousand, and I’ll undertake, without committing myself, to convey an impression of forty. But when the actual figures are under eight thousand—well, it hampers you, if you happen to have a conscience.

“Give them every week a dozen columns of good, sound literature,” continued Clodd insinuatingly, “but wrap it up in twenty-four columns of jam. It’s the only way they’ll take it, and you will be doing them good—educating them without their knowing it. All powder and no jam! Well, they don’t open their mouths, that’s all.”

Clodd was a man who knew how to get his way. Flipp—spelled Philip—Tweetel arrived in due course of time at 23, Crane Court, ostensibly to take up the position of Good Humour’s office-boy; in reality, and without his being aware of it, to act as its literary taster. Stories in which Flipp became absorbed were accepted. Peter groaned, but contented himself with correcting only their grosser grammatical blunders; the experiment should be tried in all good faith. Humour at which Flipp laughed was printed. Peter tried to ease his conscience by increasing his subscription to the fund for destitute compositors, but only partially succeeded. Poetry that brought a tear to the eye of Flipp was given leaded type. People of taste and judgment said Good Humour had disappointed them. Its circulation, slowly but steadily, increased.

“See!” cried the delighted Clodd; “told you so!”

“It’s sad to think——” began Peter.

“Always is,” interrupted Clodd cheerfully. “Moral—don’t think too much.

“Tell you what we’ll do,” added Clodd. “We’ll make a fortune out of this paper. Then when we can afford to lose a little money, we’ll launch a paper that shall appeal only to the intellectual portion of the public. Meanwhile——”

A squat black bottle with a label attached, standing on the desk, arrested Clodd’s attention.

“When did this come?” asked Clodd.

“About an hour ago,” Peter told him.

“Any order with it?”

“I think so.” Peter searched for and found a letter addressed to “William Clodd, Esq., Advertising Manager, Good Humour.” Clodd tore it open, hastily devoured it.

“Not closed up yet, are you?”

“No, not till eight o’clock.”

“Good! I want you to write me a par. Do it now, then you won’t forget it. For the ‘Walnuts and Wine’ column.”

Peter sat down, headed a sheet of paper: ‘For W. and W. Col.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.