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Slug Number Eleven

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"Neverbeen in a printing office bef ore, I suppose. Wliat woman's picture ia that over that case, you ask? Why, that's Nan. She was Slug 11. Oh, no. Slug 11 wasn't her nickname. 'Twas her nnmber. See! here is a slug eleven. ' Vrintoriuse their slug numbers to mark their matter; else how could they make v.p thtir strings? A string? Oh, we apaste all our dupes together, and that makes a string that shows what wo've done. Here's my string for the day- regular rope, ain't it? "Want to know about Nan, eli? Wel!, she was the only female typesetter we had, and she was a hummer. She could talk longer, and on occasions louder, and trutli compels me to say broader, than - well, than some girls. Pretty? Not exactly, just so so Slender, lively, liair tho color of canned salmón, teeth pretty well justified, and eyes that were usually blue, but liable to turn green if she got mad. Boys used to say that if Nan was going to Paradise she'd be late getting there; but I never saw nothing bad about her cxcept, once in a while, her tongue. Mister, don't you get it into your head that becauseagirl sets type or works in a factory among a lot of men she can't be good. "To resume my yarn. One day there carne aloiijï a íiandsome young'fellow that we dubbed Mr. Kokuk, because he came from the town of Kokuk. Nan took quite a fancy to him. He and The Rat were about the only persons in the office that Nan did notice. We called him The Rat because he went back on us when we struck. We took him back out of pity , but no one loved him. Lank, . cadaverolis, pock marked, thin lipped fellow, with eyes like two holes burnt in a blanket. "Well, Nan and Mr. Kokuk went to two or three dances and a circus or two - we used to get plenty of cornps to such things then - and first we knew they were engaged. The very next week we went on a strike again, all except Nan and The Rat. He said his wife was dying, and he had to earn what he could. It wasn't mueh, bccause he was a regular blacksmith. We cali a poor printer & blacksmith. Nan's eyes turned green as she said she wouldn't go because she didn't want to, 'so therel' About a week af ter the strike began Mr. Kokuk and I were in a saloon opposite the block where The Rat's folks roomed, and we saw Nan come in at the f amily entrance and Duy a flask of whisky. We were in there celebrating the end of the strike. All went back next day, and late in the evening, when only Mr. Kokuk, Nan and I were lef t in the office, I heard him go over and teil Nan he must break off the engagement because she had gone back on the strikers, but more particularly for the reason that he would never marry a woman that bought whisky by the flask at a saloon. Mr. Kokuk was a kind of goody goody fellow, you bee. Nan wheeled abcut on her stool, her eyes snapped til! the lashes fairly cracked, and she said: 'You are a little piaster of paris god, ain't you? Be careful you don't tip over or you'll break in two. You ought to go as a missionary to the cannibals. You wouldn't be good eating, but they ain't very particular.' Mr. Kokuk put on his coat and went away, but alter he had gono I went to lift a handful of type out of a form that stood near Nan's case, and I saw that her eyes were sweating. Tears as big as rain drops feil down over her case. She kept on throwing in type. She tossed 'a's' into the e' box and coniinas over among the periods and 'capa' down among the lower case letters in a reckless marnier. Every stickful of type she set up next day was so lousy the foreman threatened to discharge her. What do I mean by lousy ? Why, full of mistakes, to be sure. I knew the reason and corrected some of her galleys to help her out. At the next meeting of our union some one said it had been proposed to raise a fund to bury The Rat's two children that had just dicd that day of scarlet fever, both on the same day, mind you. He had buried his wife the week before. 'He ought to be able to bury his own dead; he"s been at work right along,' said some one, and nearly all growled assent. " 'Who started the movement to raise the fundí1' asked I. " 'Nan,' answered the fellow who had Íiroposed the matter. 'She headed the ist. She's about the only fiiend the family had. Sat up nights to help take care of Rat's wife, who was a mighty sweet little woman. Bought whisky for her when that was all that would keep the noor woman alive.' "You ought to have seen tho expression of Mr. Kokuk's face when he heard this explanation as to vvhy Nan went to the saloon to get a bottle of whisky. 'And when Rat's wife died,' continued the speaker, 'and liis two children feil sick, bIic cared for theiu. Worked all day and sat up nearly all night with them. I teil you, boys, printing offices have their devils, but now and then angels drop down into them, and' "Before he could say any more Mr. ,} Kokuk sprang up and moved that each raeinber be assessed 2 to def ray the funeral expenses of Rat's children, and that as inany of the boys as could hire subs should attend the funeral. Did we carry the niotion? Well, rather. "Nan was tho only woman ïnourner, and she looked handsome on a cheap dress of black she had got for the occasion. Next day she was back at her case, and at evening, while slie was distributing type, Mr. Kokuk crept up to her case looking like a whipped spaniel, and said: 'Nan, do you know wliat I think of you?' " 'No; and what's more, I don"t care!' snapped Nan. " 'Well, I think you are a saint upon earth.' " 'Do you know what I think of you?' said Nan, knocking about half a handful of matter into pi. 'I don't think anything.' "Then how Mr. Kokuk did plead for forgivenoss! Nan said not a word for a long time, but finally she turneil about With a half sneer on her face and said: Til jeff to see who jays for the tickets to the theatre to-night.' To jeff is to pla a game with type. Mr. Kokuk got stuck for the tickets, and I teil you he waa tickled. They went; but they only eaw paxt of the play. As they were walking along to the theatre they passed a parsonage. 'Isn't that the man that preaclied the funeral sermón for The Rafs children?' asked Mr. Kokuk. " 'Yes,' answered Nan. " 'Let's go in and see him,' said Mr. Kokuk. "In they went, and Kan, who is usually surprised at nothing, was much astonished vvhen Mr. Kokuk asked the minister to marry them, but she consented and they were married, and when the minister had reached the end of the performance and Mr. Kokuk took Nan in his arms and kissed her, what did she do but drop hor head on his shoulder and cryl She said it was because she was wqrn out watching with The Rat's folks, íbut I reckon those tears were tinctured witb the compound essence of joy. "Say, do you see that kind of countrified looking fellow with a 6louch hat standing over there by one of the forma talking to the foreman? Thafs Mr. Kokuk. IIo's now editor and proprietor of The Kokuk Banner. Gets all the county printing and is making a barrel of money. lle's here on a visit and telling the boys about Nan. Gave mo her picture as she new looks. Gent Ie, refined looking lady, ain't she? She's boss of tbu Sunday school in Kokuk, has two scholara from her own family to send to it, and when any of the printers go on the tramp she bustles into The Banner office and tosses metal with the best of them. If there's a sick family in Kokuk or the contiguous territory that needs help, you bet Nan wil] be there. "Say, mister, I'm not well posted on religión, but when the saints take their nlaces in line in heaven I'll bet Nan will


Old News
Ann Arbor Register