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The Worst Writing

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Speaking oL handwriting," said an old newspaper man, "the worst in the profession since the Greeley myth was that of Col. J. F. Barton. The colonel was a southern man; he died at Alubama in '97, and a dozen years ago he was famous throughout the middlewest as an editorial wriier of great power and versatility. The queer thing about him was that. his normal V-Onmanship looked almost like copper-plate - a beautiful flowing script, bilt let him get excited or hurried, and it double-discounted the chitken tracks on Cleopatra's needie," relates the Ne-w Orleans Times Democrat. "There used to be a funny story about him, current among printers, and TH teil it for what it is worth. One night, aceording to the y'arn, a tramp printer drifted into a western office where the colonel was in charge, and applied for a job. The foreman put him to work and he pegged along all right until just before the hour for going to press, when Barton sent in a hurry-up editorial based on a late neivs telegram. Nearly all the printers had left, so the new man got a piece of the 'copy,' a page from about the middle. He carried it to his case, looked at it frowningly, turned it upside down, looked at it again, and finally put it in position before him and began to snatch up type. 'Read that in your sticks!' yelled the foreman; 'we ain't got time for proofs!' And when the new man carried his matter over it was 'dumped' into ths forms without further ceremony. "What he had set up ran about like this: 'The miscreant who wrote the copy I have before me is responsible for my f ate. No human being can read it. He can not read it himself. Tonight I shall jump a freight, and, as I am somewhat shaky from i'ecent jags. will probably fall off and be killed. My blood be on his head.' This remarkable paragraph appearing without rhyme or reason in the middle of Barton's brllliant editorial, astonished the readers of the paper next morning. When the colonel reeovered himself sufficiently to get a club and rush down to the office the tramp printer had vanished."