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Gangelin, Paul; Hanson, Earl; Gregory, Horace (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXI, Number 1 (October 1921)

Gregory, Horace
Portraits of the immortals,   p. 3

Page 3

October, 1921
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Portraits of the Immortals
"Why, Mr. Johnson! You can't tell me that you
have never heard of Carl Sandburg! And you've
read so much, too. Do you know, it was only last
week that Mr. Sandburg gave us the most inspiring
lecture, free, all for the benefit of our club? He's
such a virile man, so strong, so rugged, like Abraham
Lincoln * * M and well, you know, American.
But he is so very subtile that only a few of us can
really understand him. He's like a man-child, prim-
itive and simple. Do you know what he did? We
were serving tea and he disappeared. I found him
in the cellar with the janitor. He was playing a
banjo and singing that funny song, "He Done Her
Wrong"! Wasn't that just like him?"
"You young newspaper men of to-day are too
highly specialized. What you need is a broader vi-
sion. I remember 'Gene Field when he was on the
Daily News. He dropped into Charley Dau's caf6,
near Madison and State. Chicago was a real city
in those days! Well, he was in the back room; he
had a girl with him; she was a neat little baggage,
played in the chorus in Pinafore,-Gilbert and Sulli-
van were all the rage then. And 'Gene wasn't in-
toxicated. He was just mellow. I never saw 'Gene
drunk; he was always just right. Well, do you
know what he was doing? He was talking to that
girl in Latin, mind you, Latin. He conjugated the
verb amo five times and she didn't understand a word;
she was laughing at him, thought he was crazy.
Now, that was learning for you. You see, a man
doesn't get that sort of training to-day; he's narrow.
My boy, you need a broader vision."
"So you saw her in vaudeville, eh? Couldn't
dance, sing, or act; well, I'm not surprised,-yet,
she's attractive. She was a bright little devil, cute
as they make 'em. I knew her 'way back in the
'nineties; she was about three or four; lived in the
flat above us. Yes, she's from Saint Louie .... Clever
little kid. She'd climb up on my knees and fish
for candy hidden in my vest pockets ..... Restless;
here, there, and everywhere; up and down the street
and then back in the house. Lord, what that baby
didn't know,-you couldn't put anything across on
her! Tangled black hair and big gray eyes, and
yet, she wasn't exactly pretty; her mouth was too
large,-spoiled her face.... and, well, she was too
damned precocious .... I wasn't married then .... I
knew her mother, a widow... . Beautiful woman....
built like a statue, firm all over, but, Gad, what a
fool !"
"Well, did you see him? That was Bruno, 'The
Brute Bruno' they call him. Bah! He's the scum
of the ghetto. He comes here to me, a poor book-
seller, to show himself off. He comes with a fine
lady, all furs, paint, and diamonds, and he makes be-
lieve like he's a great man. Heh, I know him; I
knew him when he was a bum, two months from Rus-
sia, and what is he now? A dressed-up bum with a
fine lady. He say to the lady, 'Do you like me to
read you some Greek?' I give him Sappho. I
know it all from the front to the back. I listen, I
laugh. I know Bruno damn' well, too. Well, come
in to-morrow. You see him."
"Sure, I met Frank Harris when I was looking for
a job in New York. I was trying to sell an article
I'd written about Iceland. He's a queer bird, started
raving about some business he had in hand before
I could say two words. He said that capital was
down on him, grinding him to pieces, that the Post-
master General was seven different kinds of fool, and
the whole blooming country was heading straight to
the devil. Then he opened upon me: "What do
I want an article on Iceland for? Go home, boy,
and write a story. You can find a betrayed girl and
a drunken millionaire in Iceland as well as in New
York. Write your story and sell it to the Cosmopol-
iian and get rich.' Then his wife came and called
him away."

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