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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Dan had no acquaintance with Atwill


very good. Too bad to take you out of the newspaper business; you have the right point of view and you know how to get hold of the right end of a sentence. Let me see. I wish you would do another interview changing the phraseology and making it short, and we'll give the 'Advertiser' a chance to print it. I'll attend to these other things. You'd better not be running into the 'Courier' office too much now that you're with me. They haven't got on to that yet, but they'll give us a twist when they do."

Dan had been admitted to the ante-chamber of Bassett's confidence, but he was to be permitted to advance a step further. At four o'clock he was surprised by the appearance of Atwill, the "Courier's" manager. Dan had no acquaintance with Atwill, whose advent had been coincident with the "Courier's" change of ownership shortly after Dan's tentative connection with the paper began. Atwill had rarely visited the editorial department, but it was no secret that he exercised general supervision of the paper. It had been whispered among the reporters that every issue was read carefully in proof by Atwill, but Dan had never been particularly interested in this fact. As Atwill appeared in the outer office, Bassett came from his own room to meet him. The door closed quickly upon the two and they were together for half an hour or more. Then Bassett summoned Dan.

"Mr. Atwill, this is Mr. Harwood. He was formerly employed on the

'Courier.' It was he that wrote up the Hoosier statesmen, you may remember."

Atwill nodded.

"I remember very well. Those articles helped business,--we could follow your pencil up and down the state on our circulation reports. I jumped the city editor for letting you go."

Atwill was a lean, clean-shaven man who chewed gum hungrily. His eyes were noticeably alert and keen. There was a tradition that he had been a "star" reporter in New York, a managing editor in Pittsburg, and a business manager in Minneapolis before coming to supervise the "Courier" for its new owner.

"Atwill, you and Harwood had better keep in touch with each other. Harwood is studying law here, but he will know pretty well what I'm doing. He will probably write an editorial for you occasionally, and when it comes in it won't be necessary for the regular employees of the 'Courier' to know where it comes from. Harwood won't mind if they take all the glory for his work."

When Atwill left, Bassett talked further to Harwood, throwing his legs across a chair and showing himself more at ease than Dan had yet seen him.

"Harwood," he said,--he had dropped the mister to-day for the first time in their intercourse,--"I've opened the door wider to you than I ever did before to any man. I trust you."

"I appreciate that, Mr. Bassett."

"I've been carrying too much, and it's a relief to find that I've got a man I can unload on. You understand, I trust you absolutely. And in coming to me as you did, and accepting these confidences, I assume that you don't think me as wicked as my enemies make me out."

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