Sam Clemens, Editor and Proprietor of The Teatime Tattler, favourite newsheet of the ton, regards his brand new expensive Koenig’s steam printing press in disgust.
“What is wrong with this printing press, ladies and gentlemen?” he asks the assembled staff of that celebrated journal of the scandals and idiosyncracies of those in high places.
Printers, typesetters, journalists, and office clerks stare at the gleaming machine, but none is prepared to venture an opinion. It is clear that Mr Clemens is building up a head of steam, and his staff know better than to attract his fire.
He does not, in any case, expect an answer. He will tell them what is wrong. “It is not printing! And why? Because we have no new booked until March!”
He rounds on the assembled personnel, who fall back a step or two in their haste to avoid his accusing eye. “Four weeks of holiday, ladies and gentlemen! Four weeks, I gave you, and have you thought of The Teatime Tattler in that time? I put it to you that you self-evidently have not! Get out there and find news! I have six weeks to fill this month and next, and if it is not filled by this Friday, heads will roll! The rest of the year, too! We have spaces through to December, and authors out there with books to sell and gossip to share. Go on. What are you waiting for! I need stories! I need ladies in despair, men in crisis, mothers in tears, fathers in flight, communities in outrage! Out! Out! Out!”
He herded them towards the door, from the most senior wordsmith to the most junior copy boy.
“And I’d better go myself,” he added, grabbing his hat, a notebook, and several sharpened pencils. “The presses must roll!”
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