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Walter Babson was born in Kansas. His father was a farmer and horse-doctor, a heavy drinker, an eccentric who joined every radical political movement. In a country school, just such a one as Una had taught, then in high school in a near-by town, Walter had won all the prizes for essays and debating, and had learned a good deal about Shakespeare and Cæsar and George Washington. Also he had learned a good deal about drinking beer, smoking manfully, and tempting the giggling girls who hung about the "deepot." He ran away from high school, and in the most glorious years of his life worked his way down the Mississippi and up the Rio Grande, up to Alaska and down to Costa Rica, a butt and jester for hoboes, sailors, longshoremen, miners, cow-punchers, lunch-room owners, and proprietors of small newspapers. He learned to stick type and run a press. He returned to Kansas and worked on a country newspaper, studying poetry and college-entrance requirements in the evening. He had, at this time, the not entirely novel idea that "he ought to be able to make a lot of good fiction out of all his experiences." Actually, he had no experiences, because he had no instinct for beauty. The proof is that he read quite solemnly and reverently a vile little periodical for would-be authors, which reduced authorship to a way of earning one's living by supplying editors with cheap but ingenious items to fill space. It put literature on a level with keeping a five-and-ten-cent store. But Walter conned its pompous trade journal discussions as to whether the name and address of the author should be typed on the left or the right side of the first page of a manuscript; its lively little symposia, by such successful market-gardeners of literature as Mamie Stuyvesant Blupp and Bill Brown and Dr. J.