A. B. (Alfred Barton) Rendle.

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Ah hear you vant me; Ah come." He
moved quietly between the factor, who
was at his desk, and a rifle that his keen
eyes saw in a comer.

" Ye plundherin' thaf e ! " the factor said,
with an oath ; " how *d ye know there was
n't a man on the posht? I '11— I '11 take
ye wid me own hands, so I wull ! " he
shouted, and leaped from his chair.

Along knife appeared suddenly in Jules's
hand, and an ugly glint came to the gray
eyes as he answered :

" Not so fas', M'sieu' le Facteur; not so
fas'. Ah vant talk weet you vone leet'
firs', s'il vous plait."

The factor saw the glint on the knife
and the glint in the eyes, and realized that
both were dangerous; so he sat down
again, looking round for some available
weapon. " Go on," he growled ; " 1 '11 get
the life-blood out o' ye fer this, ye divil ! "

" Why you 'ave your Indians hont Jules
lak a chien ? Why you no let Jules trap
in peace ? V'y for you geeve hordaire'
zat les Indians zey biun mes leet' huts ?
V'y for you vant ma vie?" Jules asked
these questions slowly, as he faced the in-
furiated Irishman without a tremor.

"I '11 show ye whut fer, ye half-breed
whelp ! " And the factor started up again.

"Pas encore, M'sieu' le Facteur! You
bes* resler tranquille an' hear v'at Jules
Verbaux 'ave to say." The insult— that he.



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378



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Verbaux, a pure French-Canadian, bad
Indian blood in him — roused Jules to fierce
though suf^jesscd i^e^;.the swarthj face
paled under the bronze, and his breath
came and went with little hisising sounds.

" Ah demand zat you veel geeve hor-"
daire^ to your Indians to leave Jules halon' ;
la territoire du Nord ees zat hof Ic bon
EHeu. He geeve to us zat territoire to mak'
hont ; he no geeve eet to la compagnie for
deir hown.'*

The factor swore a string of horrible
oaths, cursing the naan before him.

" 1 '11 have the hearrrt from your dirty
carcass to pay fer this, see if I don't! " he
finished.

" You no haccep' v* at Jules say, M'sieu'
le Facteur ? "

There was a note of warning in the low-
spoken words, but the factor was too wild
with fury to notice it.

"I '11 accept nawthing but your life,

ye !— your life ; an' I '11 get it if I have

to hound ye outcn the country to do it ! "
he screamed.

** Ver' good ! Hoi' htq) your ban's ! " In
a second Jules had seized the rifie behind
him and was pointing it at the factor's heart.

"Ye would n't nrarther me in cowid
blood, would ye?*' The cowardly bully
was afraid, as he held his hands over his
head.

" Non^ M'sieu' le Facteur; niais Ah 'm
goin' show your Indians *ow Jules tak'
deir facteur, 'stead of deir facteur tak*
Jules! Stan' hup an' marche!" Jules
motioned to the door.

With the abject fear of death in his eyes,
the Irishman stumbled to the door and
lowered his hands to open it.

"HoU hup ban's! Call Maquette!"
came the sharp order.

The captive refused to speak, so Jules
called the Indian himself. Maquette came
and opened the door.

** Quick,, Maquette ! Hit him with an
ar ; he can't watch the both of us ! " said
the factor.

Jules spoke again: "Maquette, your
f addaire an' my faddaire dey mak' la chasse
togedder Ion' before dees compagnie she
come een our territoire ; Maquette, Jules no
vant hurrt de son hof bees faddaire's fr'en'.
You go bout, Maquette, n'est-ce pas ? "

The old man turned, and went out of
the store.



' '•Marche, M'sieu' Ic Facteur; en
avant ! *' The iacongmous pair wcm down
the steps and out into tbe yard; Jules
deftly picked up his snow-shoes, . and the
factor tried to turn off at tbe gate.

"Ve go en for^t," said Jules, persua-
sively.

The children stopped their play and
stared;, then they scampered away with
loud cries.

Across the clearing the two went ; tbexi
down a wood road till it ended, and .on into
the woods. Beads of perspiration stood oo
the factor's neck and face, and bis arms
drooped every now and then, when Jules
would say quietly, "Han's biq), M'sieu'
le Facteur!"

They went on thus^ for a long time, twist-
ing and turning through tbe timber, tbe
factor breathing in hoarse gaLsp&, and barely
dragging one foot after the other ia the
wet snow. Jules had been quietly prepar-
ing a noosed thong, and now he stepped up
behind b» prisoner and tossed k over the
upheld arms, drawing it tight with a jeriL.

" Ve stop maintenant," he $aid.

Tbe factor swayed and would have
fallen bad not J uies caught bim and backed
him up against a tree. He then passed a
thong under tbe Irishman's chin^ and made
that fast around the trunks holding bim up.
He had to stand upright, because when be
relaxed his legs the tbong choked bim.
Then Jules unwound tbe woolen mufBer
from his own throat and neatly cut a strip
from it with the sharp knife. "Hopen
mout ' ! " he ordered.

In reply the factor shut his jaws with a
snap. Jules smiled, and, forcing the point
of his blade between the clenched teeth,
pried them open and quickly slipped the
heavy strip of wool inside the naouth, draw-
ing it tight and tying it behind the tree
also. Then he stood off and surveyed bis
work. The rifle he stuck up just out of the
factor's reach.

" Ah don' steal v'at not bdong to Jules^"
he said ; and continued, as he put on bis
snow-shoes and rewound the muffler about
his neck : " Maintenant, M'sieu' le Facteur,
you choe an' choe— so^" — he moved his
own jaws as he spoke, — "an' een vone
heure, mebbe, you choe troo dat leet* cra-
vate ; den you can freeyourse'f an' fin' jrowr
vay to la poste. Meanv'ile Ah go, M'sieu*
le Facteur. Adieu! Bonne chance I "



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THE METHOD OF OPERATION ^



WITH the accession of Mr. William
Henry Smith to the office of general
manager of the Associated Press, less than
twenty-five years ago, there came a change
for the better in the administration. The
Western papers which had been admitted
to a share in the management demanded
more enterprise and a report of more varied
character. The policy of limiting the field
to "routine news" — sport, markets, ship-
ping, etc.— was abandoned, and the insti-
tution began to show evidences of real
journalistic life and ability. It startled the
newspaper world by occasionally offering
exclusive and well- written items of general
interest. When Mr. Blaine was closing
what promised to be a successful political
campaign in 1884, it was an Associated
Press man who shattered all precedents,
as well as the candidate's hopes, by re-
porting Dr. Burchard's disastrous " Rum,
Romanism, and Rebellion " speech. This
was then an unheard-of display of enter-
prise.

Two years later, the same reporter scored
again. He had been sent to Mount Mc-
Gregor with many others to report General
Grant's last illness. He was shrewd enough
to arrange in advance with the doctor for
prompt information of the final event. A
system of signals had been agreed upon,
and when, one day, the doctor sauntered
out upon the veranda of the Drexel cot-
tage and drew a handkerchief from his
pocket and wiped his hands, the reporter
knew that the general was dead and tele-
graphed the fact throughout the world. For
I Sec other papers in this group by Mr. Stone



months afterward it was spoken of with
wonder as the Associated Press " scoop."

A MASTERPIECE OF REPORTING

Then came the Samoan disaster, in
1885, and with it a disclosure that an As-
sociated Press man might not only be
capable of securing exclusive news, but
might also be able to write it in a creditable
way. Mr. John P. Dunning of the San
Francisco bureau happened to be in Apia
when the great storm broke over the
islands. In the roadstead were anchored
three American war-vessels, the Trenton^
NipsiCf and Vandalia ; three German war-
ships, the AdUr, Oiga, and Eber ; and the
British cruiser Calliope, All of the Ameri-
can and German ships were driven upon
the coral reefs and destroyed, involving
the loss of one hundred and fifty lives. The
Calliope, a more modem vessel with su-
perior engines, was able to escape. As
she pushed her way into the heavy sea, in
the teeth of the hurricane, the jackies of
the Trenton dressed ship, while her band
played the British national anthem. It
was a profoundly tragic salutation from
those about to die.

Mr. Dunning's graphic story, which will
long be accepted as a masterpiece of de-
scriptive literature, was mailed to San
Francisco, and a month later was pub-
lished by the newspapers of the Associated
Press. It was a revelation to those who
had long believed the organization inca-
pable of producing anything more exciting
in The Century for April, May, and June.



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380



THE CENTURY MAGAZINE



than a market quotation. It was also an
inspiration to those who were to succeed
Mr. Smith in the administration of the
business. It revealed the possibilities in
store for the association.

In the earlier days telegraphic facilities
were so limited and the cost of messages
was so great that it was necessary to report
everything in the briefest form. It was
enough that the facts were disclosed, and
little heed was paid to the manner of pres-
entation. Moreover, a great majority of
those writing the despatches were telegraph
operators, destitute of hterary training.

The advantages of an Associated Press
newspaper were very great. It was scarcely
possible for a competitor to make head-
way against the obstacles which he was
compelled to face. Not only was the bur-
den of expense enormous, but the telegraph
company which was in close alliance with
the association frequently delayed his ser-
vice, or refused to transmit it at any price.
It followed that the quantity of news which
an editor was able to furnish his readers
became the measure of his enterprise and
ability. It was his proudest boast that
his paper printed "all the news.*' James
Gordon Bennett, Sr., of the New York
"Herald," and Wilbur F. Storey of the
Chicago "Times," set the pace, and won
much fame by lavish expenditures for
telegrams, which were often badly written.

A NEW STANDARD OF NEWS-GATHERING

As new cables were laid, and land wires
were extended, and rival telegraph com-
panies appeared, the cost of messages was
reduced, and there came a demand for
better writing and better editing. The hour
for selection in news had arrived. It was
obvious that no editor could any longer
print all the information offered him, and it
was equally evident that the reader, whose
range of vision had been surprisingly wid-
ened by the modern means of communi-
cation, had neither time nor inclination to
read it all. Editors who could and would
edit were required. Newspapers present-
ing a carefully prepared perspective of the
day's history of the world were needed.

Thus was clearly outlined the path along
which the Associated Press must travel.
Its resources were unlimited. Through its
foreign alliances, it had a representative
at every point of interest abroad ; and,



through its own membership, it was able
to cover every part of the United States.
It was only necessary to organize, educate,
and utilize these forces. Strong men, spe-
cially trained for the work in hand, must
be chosen, and stationed at strategic points.
The ordinary correspondent would not do ;
indeed, as a rule, he of all men was least
fitted for Associated Press work. Writing
for a single newspaper, he might follow
the editorial bias of his journal ; and even
though he was inexact, his statements
were likely to pass unchallenged. In
writing for the Associated Press any de-
parture from strict accuracy and impar-
tiality was certain to be discovered.

But the strategic points were not the
only ones to be looked after. News of the
highest importance, requiring for its proper
treatment the best literary skill, was sure
to develop in the most remote quarters.
To find men in these out-of-the-way spots,
imbued with the American idea of journal-
istic enterprise, and qualified to see an event
in its proper proportions and to describe
it adequately and vividly, was a serious
undertaking. Yet the thing must be done,
if the ideal service was to be reached.



. THE BEST REPORTERS FOUND IN
SMALL COMMUNITIES

Within the limits of the United States,
the task was a comparatively easy one.
Here men of the required character were
obtainable. It was only necessary to se-
lect them with care and to drill them to
promptness, scrupulous accuracy, impar-
tiality, and a graphic style. So wide-spread
is American education that it was soon dis-
covered that the best men could usually
be found in the villages and the smaller
cities. They were more sincere, better
informed, and less " bumptious " than the
journalistic Gascons so frequently em-
ployed on the metropolitan press.

For the foreign field, greater obstacles
were presented. Our methods were not
European methods, and the Europeans
were not news-mad peoples. At the besti
the contributions of any news-agency to the
columns of any foreign newspaper were ex-
ceedingly limited and prosaic. This is par-
ticularly true upon the Continent, where the
journals devote themselves chiefly to well-
written political leaders ^^ndifeuilUions, and
where news has a distinctly secondary place.



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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS



.381



I took up the subject with the chiefs of
the foreign agencies. Fortunately, in Baron
Herbert de Renter, head of the great c<Hn-
pany which bears his name, I found a
sympathetic ally. During twelve years of
intimate intercourse with him, he has
shown at all times journalistic qualities of
a very high (^er. A man of brilliant in-
tellect, scholarly, modest* having a keen
sense of the immense responsibility of his
office, but of nervous temperament and
tireless energy, he has shared every impulse
to reach a higher level of excellence in the
service. With his cooperation and that of
Dr. M antler, chief of the German agency,
a zealous and efficient manager, but lack-
ing the encouragement and stimulus of a
news-reading and news-demanding public,
substantial progress was made. The object
desired was a correct perspective of the
daily history of the world.

The end could not be reached at a single
bound. Long-continued effort and the
exercise of no small degree of patience
were necessary. What has been done may
perhaps best be illustrated by a few ex-
amples. When Mr. Chamberlain resigned
from Mr. Balfour's ministry two years ago,
it was the Assockited Press in London
which gave this news to the world ; and
when the Alaskan Commission was sum-
moned to meet in London in the autumn
of 1903, the keenest interest in its de-
liberations was manifested in both coun-
tries, and the efforts of the Associated
Pres6 were naturally bent on keeping its
readers fully informed of the delibera-
tions of the comnussion. A few minutes
after the final decision of the commission
was reached, one Saturday evening, it had
been flashed across the Atlantic. No of-
ficial confirmation of this fact was obtain-
able in England until the meeting of the
commission on Monday; but so implicit
was the confidence fek in the news which
had been published in America by the As-
sociated Press that the English papers ac-
cepted its statements as true.

THE ASSASSINATION OF FRESIDENT
• MCKINLEY

On the afternoon of September 6, 1901,
worn out by a long period of exacting
labor, I set out for Philadelphia, with the
purpose of spending a few days at Atlan-
tic City. When I reached the Broad-street



station in the Quaker City, I was startled
by a number of policemen crying my name.
I stepped up to one, who pointed to a boy
with an urgent message for me. President
McKinley had been shot at Buffalo, and
my presence was required at our Phila-
delphia office at once. A message had
been sent to me at Trenton, but my train
had left the station precisely two minutes
ahead of its arrival. Handing my baggage
to a hotel porter, I jumped into a cab and
dashed away to our office. I remained
there until dawn of the following morning.

The opening pages of the story of the
assassination were badly written, and I or-
dered a substitute prepared. An inexpe-
rienced reporter stood beside President
McKinley in the Music-hall at Buffalo
when Czolgosz fired the fatal shot. He
seized a neighlxnring telephone and noti-
fied our Buffalo correspondent, and then
pulled out the wires, in order to render
the telephone a wreck, so that it was a
full half -hour before any additional details
could be secured.

I ordered competent men and expert
telegraph operators from Washington, Al-
bany, New York, and Boston to hurry to
Buffalo by the fastest trains. All that night
the Buffalo office was pouring forth a
hastily written, but faithful and complete
account of the tragedy, and by daybreak
a relief force was on the ground. Day by
day, through the long vigil while the
President's life hung in the balance, each
incident was truthfully and graphically
reported. In the closing hours of the great
tragedy false reports of the President's
death were circulated for the purpose of
infiuencing the stock-market, and, to coun-
teract them, Secretary Cortelyou wrote
frequent signed statements, giving the
facts to the Associated Press.



THE MARTINIQUE DISASTER

On the night of May 3, 1902, a brief
telegram from St. Thomas, Danish West
Indies, reported that Mont Pelee, the vol-
cano on the island of Martinique, was in
eruption, and that the town of St. Pierre
was enveloped in a fog and covered with
ashes an inch deep. Cable communication
was cut off. The following morning 1 set
about securing the facts. We had two
correspondents on the island, one at St.
Pierre and the other at Fort de France,



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382



THE CENTURY MAGAZINE



nine miles away; but clearly neither of
these could be reached.

Fortunately, investigation disclosed that
an old friend, a talented newspaper man,
was the United States consul at Guade-
loupe, an island only twelve hours distant.
I instantly appealed to the State Depart-
ment at Washington to give him a leave
of absence, and, when this was granted,
I cabled him to charter a boat and go to
St. Pierre at once, and secure and transmit
an adequate report. The Associated Press
men at St. Vincent, St. Thomas, Porto
Rico, Barbados, Trinidad, and St. Lucia
were instructed to hurry forward any in-
formation that might reach them, and to
endeavor to get to Martinique by any
available means. St. Thomas alone was
able to respond with a short telegram,
three days later, announcing the destruc-
tion of the Martinique sugar-factories,
which were only two miles distant from
St. Pierre. The despatch also reported
the loss of one hundred and fifty lives, and
the existence of a panic at St. Pierre be-
cause of the condition of the volcano,
which was now in full eruption and threat-
ening everything on the island. Mr. Aym6,
the consul at Guadeloupe, found difficulty
in chartering a boat, but finally succeeded,
and, after a thrilling and dangerous night
run through a thick cloud of falling ashes
and cinders, arrived before the ill-fated
city. The appalling character of the catas-
trophe was then disclosed. Thirty thousand
people, the population of the town, had been
buried under a mass of hot ashes ; one single
human being had escaped. It was enough
to make the stoutest heart grow faint.

But Aym6 was a trained reporter, inured
by long experience to trying scenes; and
he set to work promptly to meet the re-
sponsibility which had been laid upon him.
Our St. Pierre man had gone to his death
on the common pyre, but Mr. Ivanes, the
Associated Press correspondent at Fort de
France, survived. With him Mr. Ayme
joined effort, and, with great courage and
at serious risk, they went over the blazing
field and gathered the gruesome details
of the disaster. Then Mr. Aym6 wrote
his story, returned to the cable-station at
Guadeloupe, and sent it. It was a splen-
did piece of work, worthy of the younger
Pliny, whose story of a like calamity at Pom-
peii has come down to us through two thou-
sand years. It filled a page of the Ameri-



can newspapers on the morning of May 1 1,
and was telegraphed to Eiu-ope. It was the
first adequate accoimt given to the world.
Mr. Aym6 returned to Martinique and
spent three weeks in further investigation,
leaving his post of duty only when the last
shred of information had been obtained
and transmitted. As a result of his terrible
experience, his health was impaired, and,
although he was given a prolonged leave
of absence, he has never recovered. It
cost the Associated Press over $30,000 to
report this event.

THE DEATH OF POPE LEO XllI

The illness and death of the late Pope
constituted another event which called for
news-gathering ability of a high order.
Preparations had been made long in ad-
vance. Conferences were held with the
Italian officials and with the authorities at
the Vatican, all looking to the establish-
ment of relations of such intimacy as to
guarantee us the news. We had been noti-
fied by the Italian Minister of Telegraphs
that, because of the strained relations exist-
ing between his government and the papal
court, he should forbid the transmission of
any telegrams announcing the Pope's death
for two hours after the fatal moment, in
order that Cardinal Rampolla might first
notify the papal representatives in foreign
countries. This was done as a gracious
act of courtesy to the church.

To meet the emergency, we arranged a
code message to be sent by all cable-lines,
which should be addressed, not to the As-
sociated Press, but to the general manager
in person, and should read : " Number of

missing bond, . (Signed) Montefiore."

This bore on its face no reference to the
death of the Pontiff, and would be trans-
mitted. The blank was to be filled with
the hour and moment of the Pope's death,
reversed. That is, if he died at 2 : 53, the
message would read: "Melstone, New
York. Number of missing bond, 352.
(Signed) Montefiore." The object of re-
versing the figures was, of course, to pre-
vent a guess that it was ^ deception in
order to convey the news. If the hour had
been properly written, they might have sus-
pected the purport of the message.

When, finally, the Pope died, although
his bed was completely surrounded by
biuning candles, an attendant hurried from



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THE \ASSOCTATED PRESS



383



the room into an anteroom and called for
a candle to pass before the lips of the
d3ring man, to determine niiether he still
breathed. This was the signal for another
attach^, who stepped to the telephone and
announced to our correspondent, two miles
away, that the Pope was dead. Unfor-
tunately, the hour of his death was four
minutes past four, so that whichever way
it was written, whether directly or the re-
verse, it was 404.

Nevertheless, the figures were inserted
in the blank in the bulletin which had been
prepared, it was filed with the telegraph
company, and it came through to New
York in exactly nine minutes from the mo-
ment of death. It was relayed at Havre,
and again at the terminal of the French
Cable Company in New York, whence it
came to oar ofik:e on a short wire. The
receiving operator there shouted the news
to the entire operating-room of the Asso-
ciated Pr«ss, and every man on every key
on every circuit out of New York flashed
the announcement that the Pope had died
at four minutes past four; so that the fact
was knoinm in San Prandsco within eleven
minutes after its actual occurrence.

The Renter, Havas, and Wolff agents
located in our office in New York retrans-
mitted the announcement to London,
Paris, and Berlin, giving those cities their
first news of the event. A comparison of
the report of the London "Times" with
that of any mining paper in die United
States on the day following the death of the
Pope would show that, both as to quantity
and quality, our report was vastly superior.
The London " Times " had a column and
a half; the New York *f Times" had a
page of the graphic story of the scenes in
and about the Vatican. The New York
" Times '* story was ours. This was so no-
table an event that it occasioned comment
throughout the world.

During the illness of the Pope I ordered
a number of the best men from our Lon-
don, Paris, and Vienna offices to Rome to
assist our resident men. The advantage of
such an arrangement was that the Lon-
don men were in close touch with church
dignitaries of England, while our repre-
sentatives from France and Vienna had



Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 47 of 120)