Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Queer Joke That Eugene Field Played on a Printer


A Maddening Prank

When Eugene Field was city editor of the Kansas City Times he found great amusement in annoying one of the characters employed on the paper. Ferguson was one of the "makeups" on the paper, and in Wyandotte, where he resided, just over the line from Kansas City, he was the leader of a local temperance society. For over a year Field, on coming down to the paper to go to work, would write a personal concerning Ferguson. Generally it ran like this: "Mr. John Ferguson, the well known 'makeup' of the Times composing room, appeared for work yesterday evening in his usual beastly state of intoxication." This entertaining bit Field would send down in a bundle of copy, and the others of the composing room would set it up and say nothing.

Poor Ferguson knew that this awful personal was in their midst and every night would go carefully over every galley for the purpose of locating and killing it. It gave him vast trouble. Every now and then Field would not write his personal about Ferguson, and then the bewildered Ferguson was worse off than ever. As long as he could not find it it might still be there. It almost drove the poor man off the paper. Now and then it escaped his eagle eye and was printed. On such occasions Ferguson's burdens were beyond the power of even a Christian spirit to bear.

No comments: