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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Blackie's Philosophy

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Norah was horrified. My letters were full of him. I told her that she might get a more complete mental picture of him if she knew that he wore the pinkest shirts, and the purplest neckties, and the blackest and whitest of black-and-white checked vests that ever aroused the envy of an office boy, and beneath them all, the gentlest of hearts. And therefore one loves him. There is a sort of spell about the illiterate little slangy, brown Welshman. He is the presiding genius of the place. The office boys adore him. The Old Man takes his advice in selecting a new motor car; the managing editor arranges his lunch hour to suit Blackie's and they go off to the Press club together, arm in arm. It is Blackie who lends a sympathetic ear to the society editor's tale of woe. He hires and fires the office boys; boldly he criticizes the news editor's makeup; he receives delegations of tan-coated, red-faced prizefighting-looking persons; he gently explains to the photographer why that last batch of cuts make their subjects look as if afflicted with the German measles; he arbitrates any row that the newspaper may have with such dignitaries as the mayor or the chief of police; he manages boxing shows; he skims about in a smart little roadster; he edits the best sporting page in the city; and at four o'clock of an afternoon he likes to send around the corner for a chunk of devil's food cake with butter filling from the Woman's Exchange. Blackie never went to school to speak of. He doesn't know was from were. But he can "see" a story quicker, and farther and clearer than any newspaper man I ever knew--excepting Peter Orme.

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There is a legend about to the effect that one day the managing editor, who is Scotch and without a sense of humor, ordered that Blackie should henceforth be addressed by his surname of Griffith, as being a more dignified appellation for the use of fellow reporters, hangers-on, copy kids, office boys and others about the big building.

The day after the order was issued the managing editor summoned a freckled youth and thrust a sheaf of galley proofs into his hand.

"Take those to Mr. Griffith," he ordered without looking up.

"T' who?"

"To Mr. Griffith," said the managing editor, laboriously, and scowling a bit.

The boy took three unwilling steps toward the door. Then he turned a puzzled face toward the managing editor.

"Say, honest, I ain't never heard of dat guy. He must be a new one. W'ere'll I find him?"

"Oh, damn! Take those proofs to Blackie!" roared the managing editor. And thus ended Blackie's enforced flight into the realms of dignity.

All these things, and more, I wrote to the scandalized Norah. I informed her that he wore more diamond rings and scarf pins and watch fobs than a railroad conductor, and that his checked top-coat shrieked to Heaven.

There came back a letter in which every third word was underlined, and which ended by asking what the morals of such a man could be.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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