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Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels By Stephen Leacock Characters: 2884

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

The afternoon edition of the Metropolitan Planet was going to press. Five thousand copies a minute were reeling off its giant cylinders. A square acre of paper was passing through its presses every hour. In the huge Planet building, which dominated Broadway, employés, compositors, reporters, advertisers, surged to and fro. Placed in a single line (only, of course, they wouldn't be likely to consent to it) they would have reached across Manhattan Island. Placed in two lines, they would probably have reached twice as far. Arranged in a procession they would have taken an hour in passing a saloon: easily that.

In the whole vast building all was uproar. Telephones, megaphones and gramophones were ringing throughout the building. Elevators flew up and down, stopping nowhere.

Only in one place was quiet-namely, in the room where sat the big man on whose capacious intellect the whole organization depended.

Masterman Throgton, the general manager of the Planet, was a man in middle life. There was something in his massive frame which suggested massiveness, and a certain quality in the poise of his great head which indicated a balanced intellect. His face was impenetrable and his expression imponderable.

The big chief was sitting in his swivel chair with ink all round him. Through this man's great brain passed all the threads and filaments that held the news of a continent. Snap one, and the whole continent would sto


At the moment when our story opens (there was no sense in opening it sooner), a written message had just been handed in.

The Chief read it. He seemed to grasp its contents in a flash.

"Good God!" he exclaimed. It was the strongest expression that this solid, self-contained, semi-detached man ever allowed himself. Anything stronger would have seemed too near to profanity. "Good God!" he repeated, "Kivas Kelly murdered! In his own home! Why, he dined with me last night! I drove him home!"

For a brief moment the big man remained plunged in thought. But with Throgton the moment of musing was short. His instinct was to act.

"You may go," he said to the messenger. Then he seized the telephone that stood beside him (this man could telephone almost without stopping thinking) and spoke into it in quiet, measured tones, without wasting a word.

"Hullo, operator! Put me through to two, two, two, two, two. Is that two, two, two, two, two? Hullo, two, two, two, two, two; I want Transome Kent. Kent speaking? Kent, this is Throgton speaking. Kent, a murder has been committed at the Kelly residence, Riverside Drive. I want you to go and cover it. Get it all. Don't spare expense. The Planet is behind you. Have you got car-fare? Right."

In another moment the big chief had turned round in his swivel chair (at least forty degrees) and was reading telegraphic despatches from Jerusalem. That was the way he did things.

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