"Make two sticks of it," said McCloy, "and then go back to the Jefferson police court."
When I sat down at my old desk, and began to write the copy boy came and stood beside me and when I had finished the first page, snatched it. I had to explain I was only taking notes.
At The Journal, Sam Chamberlain who used to pay me $500 a story, touched me on the shoulder as I was scribbling down notes, and said "Hearst says to take you back at $17 a week." I said "I'm worth $18 and I can't come for less." So he brought up the business manager and had a long wrangle with him as to whether I should get $18. The business manager, a Jew gentleman, didn't know me from Adam, and seriously tried to save the paper a dollar a week. When the reporters and typewriter girls began to laugh, he got very mad. It was very funny how soothing was the noise of the presses, and the bells and typewriters and men yelling "Copy!" and "Damn the boy!" I could write better than if I had been in the silence of the farm. It was like being able to sleep as soon as the screw starts.
During the winter of 1907 the world rang with the reports of the atrocities in the Congo, and Robert J. Collier, of Collier's Weekly, asked Richard to go to the Congo and make an investigation. I do not believe that my brother was ever in much sympathy with the commission, as he did not feel that he could afford the time that a thorough investigation demanded. However, with his wife he sailed for Liverpool on January 5, 1907, and three weeks later started for Africa. Regarding this trip, in addition to the letters he wrote to his family, I also quote from a diary which he had just started and which he conscientiously continued until his death.
From diary of January 24th, 1907. Last day in London. Margaret Frazer offered me gun from a Captain Jenkins of Nigeria. Instead bought Winchester repeating, hoping, if need it, get one coast. Lunched Savoy-Lynch, Mrs. Lynch, her sister--very beautiful girl. In afternoon Sam Sothern and Margaret came in to say "Good bye." Dined at Anthony Hope's--Barrie and Mrs. Barrie and Jim Whigham. Mrs. Barrie looking very well, Barrie not so well. As silent as ever, only talked once during dinner when he told us about the first of his series of cricket matches between authors and artists. Did not have eleven authors, so going along road picked up utter strangers one a soldier in front of embracing two girls. Said he would come if girls came too--all put in brake. Mrs. Barrie said the Llewellen Davis' were the originals for the Darlings and their children in Peter Pan. They played a strange game of billiards suggested by Barrie who won as no one else knew the rules and they claimed he invented them to suit his case. Sat up until three writing and packing. The dinner was best have had this trip in London.
Compagnie Belge Maritime Du Congo.
To-morrow, we will be in Banana, which is the first port in the Congo. When I remember how far away the Congo seemed from New York and London, it is impossible to believe we are less than a day from it. I am so very glad I came. The people who have lived here for years agree about it in no one fact, so, it is a go-as-you-please for any one so far as accurate information is concerned, and I am as likely to be right as any one else. It has been a pleasant trip and for us will not be over until some days, for at Matadi, which is up the river, we will probably live on the steamer as the shore does not sound attractive. Then I shall probably go on up the river and after a month or six weeks come back again. At Boma I am to see the Governor, one of the inspectors on board is to introduce me, and I have an idea they will make me as comfortable as possible, so that I may not see anything. Not that I would be likely to see anything hidden under a year. Yesterday was the crossing of the Equator. The night before Neptune, one of the crew, and his wife, the ship's butcher, and a kroo boy, as black as coal for the heir apparent came over the side and proclaimed that those who never before had crossed the Equator must be baptized. We had crossed but I was perfectly willing to go through it for the fun. The Belgians went at it as seriously as children, and worked up a grand succession of events. First we had gymkana races among the kroo boys. The most remarkable was their placing franc pieces in tubs of white and red flour, for which the boys dived, they then dug for more money into a big basket fitted with feathers and when they came out they were the most awful sights imaginable. You can picture their naked black bodies and faces spotted with white and pink and stuck like chickens with feathers. Then the next day we were all hauled before a court and judged, and having all been found guilty were condemned to be shaved and bathed publicly at four. Meantime the Italians, is it not the picture of them, had organized a revolution against the Tribunal, with the object of ducking them. They went into this as though it were a real conspiracy and had signs and passwords. At four o'clock, in turn they sat us on the edge of the great tank on the well deck and splashed us over with paste and then tilted us in. I tried to carry the Frenchman who was acting as barber, with me but only got him half in. But Milani, one of the Italians, swung him over his head plumb into the water. The Frenchman is a rich elephant hunter who is not very popular. When the revolution broke loose we all yelled "A bas le Tribunal" "Vivela Revolution"! and there was awful rough house. I made for the Frenchman and went in with him and nearly drowned him, and everybody was being thrown into the tank or held in front of a fire cross. After dinner there was a grand ceremony, the fourth, in which certificates were presented by an Inspecteur d'Etat who is on board, and is a Deputy Governor of a district. Then there was much champagne and a concert and Cecil and I sat with the Captain, the Bishop, in his robes and berretta and the two inspectors and they were very charming to both of us.
Compagnie Belge Maritime Du Congo. S. S. February 13th, 1907. DEAR MOTHER: