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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Gustav Freytag (1816–1895)

Preparing for Publication

From “The Journalists”

BOLZ, Editor; MÜLLER, BELLMAUS, and KÄMPE, Assistants.

Bolz.Well, Müller, what about the proofs for the evening edition? Have I seen them all?

Mül.Not quite—all except this(handing proof),for the “Miscellaneous” column.

Bolz.Let’s see it.(Reads.)“Garments Stolen from Clothes-Line.” “Birth of Triplets.” “Concert.” “Concert.” “Lodge Meeting.” “Theatrical Performance”—quite so, quite so!—“Invention of a New Locomotive.” “The Great Sea-Serpent”—Confound him, dishing up that old sea-serpent of his again! I’d like to see the beast served up as a jelly, and himself obliged to eat it cold!—Bellmaus, you fiend, what’s the meaning of this?

Bell.Why, what’s the matter? What are you so excited about?

Bolz(very solemnly).Ah, Bellmaus, when we conferred the honor upon you of entrusting you with the manufacture of bric-à-brac for this newspaper, our intention was not that the great serpent should wind itself everlastingly through our columns. By the way, how the deuce did you come to stick that old yarn in again?

Bell.Oh, it just happened to fill up six lines that were wanting.

Bolz.An excuse, to be sure, but not the best. You must invent your own stories, my dear chap. What are you a journalist for? Make up some “Voluntary Contribution,” such as “General Considerations upon Human Existence,” or “Dogs on the Public Highways.” As an alternative, you might select a blood-curdling tale, perhaps “Murder in the First Degree from Sheer Politeness,” or else, “Six Sleeping Children Slain by a Stoat,” or something of the kind. There are so many things which happen all the time, and so many more which don’t, that the most conscientious journalist need never be at a loss for news.

Bell.All right! Give me the proof; I’ll change it at once.(Goes to table, cuts out piece from a newspaper, and pastes it on proof.)

Bolz.That’s the way, my boy! I’m glad to see you are improving.

Käm.What do you want me to supply for to-morrow?

Bolz.Hanged if I know! I might possibly induce some one to write the leading article. However, you had better be ready with something, in case of an emergency.

Käm.Very well; but what?

Bolz.Oh, you can write about emigration to Australia. That subject won’t call forth disapproval from anybody.

Käm.Agreed! And am I to speak for, or against, emigration to Australia?

Bolz(enthusiastically).Against—by all means, against! All willing hands we want in our own country. Describe Australia as a terrible place; paint it in its true colors, you know, but as black as possible. Say how the kangaroo, rolling itself up into a ball, flies at the colonist’s head with irresistible ferocity, while the duckbill tweaks at his calves from behind; how the gold-digger is compelled to stand up to his neck in salt water all through the winter, while he never gets a drop to drink for three months in the summer; how the emigrant, if he survives these horrors, at last is eaten up by the thievish natives. Make it all very graphic, and at the end give the latest quotations of Australian wool from the Times. You’ll find the necessary books in the library.