Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3
Taking his Time
Taking his Time.
The old Government Printing Office, Wellington, was the scene of many incidents, both grave and gay, and changes from « pica to brevier » as the intelligent comp freely translated Horace Greeley of respected memory. Piece-rooms have always been the rallying point of all odd characters, and I think the piece-room of the Government Printing Office has more than had its share of « cards. » I have repeatedly heard readers remark that if they kept a record of the brilliant flashes of wit which have emanated from the proofs of piece hands, it would soon fill up a goodly pile of paper. We have all of us read many accounts of the way in which the I. C. interprets his orders to « follow copy. » It was strongly enforced upon the writer when an apprentice that he was to « follow copy, even if it went out of the window, » but he has never yet followed it that far. Still we come across men who will follow copy or instructions as implicitly as recommended to the writer. This brings me back to the old Government Printing Office. His name was Mahoney, which carries so much of the genuine brogue with it that it seems hardly necessary for me to inform you that he was an Irishman. Perhaps it is a bull to say so, but all Irishmen are not Irish, but it is a fact. Nevertheless M. was an Irishman. He had been for some time on his lines, when one day the foreman gave him a house-proof to correct, saying as he gave it to him— « Take your time on it, » —meaning, of course, that the time of correcting the galley of matter was to be taken, so as to be charged as author's corrections. But M., in the simplicity of his nature thought the boss was giving him a soft thing, and after an effusive « thank you » to his benefactor, he retired to his frame, and after laying the proof upon that article of furniture he rubbed some invisible soap off his hands, and remarked to himself (a very common practice with the Celts) with a chuckle, « Bedad, this is the finest mike I have had for many a day, » and thereupon filled up his pipe and retired to the back of the premises for half-an-hour's smoke. Included in the programme of his mike was the reading of the paper, and gossip ad lib. In this manner M. managed to spend two days over four hours' correcting, when the boss suddenly entered his elysium and wanted to know what was the matter with the galley, and how much longer it was going to take him before he was finished. « Why, » innocently remarked the Hibernian, « you tould me to take me time, and bedad I think I've managed it pretty well! »