the application of an ear to the mouth of that tube.
The place is warm, close, light, and still.
Whether it is necessarily
detrimental to a compositor's health to work from eight to ten hours every night in such an atmosphere, in such a light, is still, it appears, a question.
thinks it is not. The compositors think it is, and seldom feel able to work more than four nights a week, filling their places on the other nights from the list of substitutes, or in printer's language “subs.”
Compositors say, that sleep in the day time is a very different thing from sleep at night, particularly in summer, when to create an artificial night is to exclude the needful air. They say that they never get perfectly used to the reversion of nature's order; and often, after a night of drowsiness so extreme that they would give the world if they could sink down upon the floor and sleep, they go to bed at length, and find that offended Morpheus
has taken his flight, and left their eye-lids glued to their brows; and they cannot close them before the inexorable hour arrives that summons them to work again.
In the middle of the room the principal night-foreman is already “making up” the outside forms of to-morrow's paper, four in number, each a section of a cylinder, with rims of polished iron, and type of copper face.
It is slow work, and a moment's inattention might produce results more ridiculous than cross-readings.
The editorial rooms, too, have become intense.
Seven desks are occupied with silent writers, most of them in the Tribune uniform—shirt-sleeves and moustache.
The night-reader is looking over the papers last arrived, with scissors ready for any paragraph of news that catches his eye. An editor occasionally goes to the copy-box, places in it a page or two of the article he is writing, and rings the bell; the box slides up to the composing-room, and the pages are in type and corrected before the article is finished.
Such articles are those which are prompted by the event of the hour; others are more deliberately written; some are weeks in preparation; and of some the keel is laid months before they are launched upon the public mind.
is at his desk writing in a singular attitude, the desk on a level with his nose, and the writer sitting bolt upright.
He writes rapidly, with scarcely a pause for thought, and not once in a page makes an erasure.
The foolscap leaves fly firm under his pen at the rate of one in fifteen minutes. He does