English at Work
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Text 5. Jack London. Martin Eden.
Martin was elated — so elated that when he recollected the Hornet owed him fifteen dollars for "The Peri and the Pearl," he decided forthwith to go and collect it. But the Hornet was run by a set of clean-shaven, strapping young men, frank buccaneers who robbed everything and everybody, not excepting one another. After some breakage of the office furniture, the editor "(an ex-college athlete), ably assisted by the business manager, an advertising agent, and the porter, succeeded in removing Martin from the office and in accelerating initial impulse, his descent of the first flight of stairs.|
"Come again, Mr. Eden; glad to see you any time," they laughed down at him from the landing above.
Martin grinned as he picked himself up.
"Phew!" he murmured back. "The Transcontinental crowd were nanny-goats, but you fellows are a lot of prize-fighters.
More laughter greeted this.
"I must say, Mr. Eden," the editor of the Hornet called down, "that for a poet you can go some yourself. Where did you learn that right cross, — if I may ask?"
"Where you learned that half-Nelson," Martin answered. "Anyway, you're going to have a black eye."
"I hope your neck doesn't stiffen up," the editor wished solicitously. "What do you say we all go out and have a drink on it — not the neck, of course, but the little rough house?”
"I'll go you if I lose," Martin accepted.
And robbers and robbed drank together, amicably agreeing that the battle was to the strong, and that the fifteen dollars for the "Peri and the Pearl" belonged by right the Hornet's editorial staff.
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