The mind of the matron was horrified not so much at the possible death of Sue as at the possible half-column detailing that event in all the newspapers, which, added to the scandal of the year before, would give the college an unenviable notoriety for many months to come.
He turned with more interest to a cheery half-column on the activities of a gentleman in Minnesota who, with what seemed to Archie, as he thought of Mr. Daniel Brewster, a good deal of resource and public spirit, had recently beaned his father-in-law with the family meat-axe.
He pledged his word of honor as a gentleman to provide the letters, a laudatory, an uplifting letter, from every citizen in town whose testimony would be of weight; also a half-column of fit praise in the next issue of the Argus, twelve copies of which Potts should freely carry off with him for judicious scattering about the fortunate town in which his journey should end.
While he ate his breakfast of toast, milk, and eggs Lloyd skimmed through the paper, reading aloud everything she thought would be of interest to him. Then, after a moment, her eye was caught and held by a half-column article expanded from an Associated Press despatch.
Twisting herself quickly out of the hammock, Mrs. Conant's eye soon traversed the half-column of the "Recall." It ended thus: "It will be remembered that Mrs. Conant disappeared one evening in March of last year. It was freely rumoured that her marriage with Lloyd B. Conant resulted in much unhappiness.
"There isn't much of it." "How beautifully clearly you read!" said Mrs. Orgreave, with mild enthusiasm, when Hilda had read the meagre half-column. "Do I?" Hilda flushed. "Is that all there is about it?" "Yes. They don't seem to think it's very important that half the people are starving!" Hilda sneered. "Whose fault is it if they do starve?" Osmond Orgreave glanced at her with lowered head.
"Back to McVeigh and Mackie's where I can watch a ticker and go broke buying more Pacific Southwestern," was the reply, and just then the chauffeur found his opening and the big car whirled and plunged into the down-town stream. In the financial news the next morning there was a half-column or more devoted to the sudden and unaccountable flurry in Pacific Southwestern.
Hundred thousand dollars, half-column. Million dollars, a full column. Five million dollars, half the front page, wood-cut of the embezzler, and two editorials, one leader and one paragraph. "And so with everything. We are creatures of habit. The expected always happens, and newspapers are dull because the events they chronicle are dull."
He told us he was going to the Mills, too, and " Her voice growing more and more wistful, died away in the fascination of watching the fascination of Elbridge as he first took in the half-column of scare-heads, and then followed down to the meagre details of the dispatch eked out with double-leading to cover space.
The occult was to him an open book, and he was wont temporarily to paralyze the small talk of social gatherings with dissertations upon the teachings of the ancients which he had swallowed at a gulp. He criticised the schools of modern painting in impressive art terms, while he himself dashed off half-column poems at a sitting for the Courier, in which he had acquired controlling stock.