6 The Taste of the Meat
columns of The Billow. Week a er week he held down an office chair,
stood off creditors, wrangled with printers, and turned out twenty-five
thousand words of all sorts. Nor did his labors lighten. The Billow was
ambitious. It went in for illustration. ^e processes were expensive. It
never had any money to pay Kit Bellew, and by the same token it was un-
able to pay for any additions to the office staff. Luckily for Kit, he had his
own income. Small it was, compared with some, yet it was large enough
to enable him to belong to several clubs and maintain a studio in the Latin
quarter. In point of fact, since his associate-editorship, his expenses had
decreased prodigiously. He had no time to spend money. He never saw
the studio any more, nor entertained the local Bohemians with his famous
chafing-dish suppers. Y The Billow, in perennial distress, absorbed his
cash as well as his brains. ^ere were the illustrators, who periodically
refused to illustrate; the printers, who periodically refused to print; and
the office-boy, who frequentlyrefused to officiate. At, such times O’Hara
looked at Kit, and Kit did the rest.
When the steamship Excelsior arrived from Alaska, bringing the
news of the Klondike strike that set the country mad, Kit made a purely
“Look here, O’Hara,” he said. “^is gold rush is going to be big—the
days of ’49 over again. Suppose I cover it for The Billow ? I ’ll pay my
O’Hara shook his head. “Can’t spare you from the office, Kit. ^en
there ’s that serial. Besides, I saw Jackson not an hour ago. He ’s starting
for the Klondike to-morrow, and he ’s agreed to send a weekly letter and
photos. I would n’t let him get away till he promised. And the beauty of
it is that it does n’t cost us anything.”
^e next Kit heard of the Klondike was when he dropped into the club
that a ernoon and in an alcove off the library encountered his uncle.
“Hello, avuncular relative,” Kit greeted, sliding into a leather chair
and spreading out his legs. “Won’t you join me?”
He ordered a cocktail, but the uncle contented himself with the thin
native clarethe invariably drank. He glanced with irritated disapproval
at the cocktail and on to his nephew’s face. Kit saw a lecture gathering.
“I ’ve only a minute,” he announced hastily. “I ’ve got to run and take
in that Keith exhibition at Ellery’s and do half a column on it.”
“What ’s the matter with you?” the other demanded. “You ’re pale.
You ’re a wreck.”
Kit’s only answer was a groan.