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Jennie Baxter, Journalist

Library of Alexandria
JENNIE MAKES HER TOILETTE AND THE ACQUAINTANCE OF A PORTER. Miss Jennie Baxter, with several final and dainty touches that put to rights her hat and dress—a little pull here and a pat there—regarded herself with some complacency in the large mirror that was set before her, as indeed she had every right to do, for she was an exceedingly pretty girl. It is natural that handsome young women should attire themselves with extra care, and although Jennie would have been beautiful under any conceivable condition of dress, she nevertheless did not neglect the arraying of herself becomingly on that account. All that was remarkable on this occasion consisted in the fact that she took more than usual pains to make herself presentable, and it must be admitted that the effect was as attractive as anyone could wish to have it. Her appearance was enough to send a friend into ecstasies, or drive an enemy to despair. Jennie’s voluminous hair, without being exactly golden, was—as the poets might term it—the colour of ripe corn, and was distractingly fluffy at the temples. Her eyes were liquidly, bewitchingly black, of melting tenderness, and yet, upon occasion, they would harden into piercing orbs that could look right through a man, and seem to fathom his innermost thoughts. A smooth, creamy complexion, with a touch of red in the cheeks, helped to give this combination of blonde and brunette an appearance so charmingly striking that it may be easily understood she was not a girl to be passed by with a single glance. Being so favoured by nature, Jennie did not neglect the aid of art, and it must be admitted that most of her income was expended in seeing that her wardrobe contained the best that Paris could supply; and the best in this instance was not necessarily the most expensive—at least not as expensive as such supplementing might have been to an ordinary woman, for Jennie wrote those very readable articles on the latest fashionable gowns which have appeared in some of the ladies' weeklies, and it was generally supposed that this fact did not cause her own replenishing from the modistes she so casually mentioned in her writings to be more expensive than her purse could afford. Be that as it may, Miss Baxter was always most becomingly attired, and her whole effect was so entrancing that men have been known to turn in the street as she passed, and murmur, By Jove! a phrase that, when you take into account the tone in which it is said, represents the furthermost point of admiration which the limited vocabulary of a man about town permits him to utter; and it says something for the honesty of Jennie’s black eyes, and the straightforwardness of her energetic walk, that none of these momentary admirers ever turned and followed her. On this occasion Miss Jennie had paid more than usual attention to her toilette, for she was about to set out to capture a man, and the man was no other than Radnor Hardwick, the capable editor of the Daily Bugle, which was considered at that moment to be the most enterprising morning journal in the great metropolis. Miss Baxter had done work for some of the evening papers, several of the weeklies, and a number of the monthlies, and the income she made was reasonably good, but hazardously fitful. There was an uncertainty about her mode of life which was displeasing to her, and she resolved, if possible, to capture an editor on one of the morning papers, and get a salary that was fixed and secure. That it should be large was a matter of course, and pretty Miss Jennie had quite enough confidence in herself to believe she would earn every penny of it. Quite sensibly, she depended upon her skill and her industry as her ultimate recommendation to a large salary, but she was woman enough to know that an attractive appearance might be of some assistance to her in getting a hearing from the editor, even though he should prove on acquaintance to be a man of iron, which was tolerably unlikely. She glanced at the dainty little watch attached to her wristlet, and saw that it lacked a few minutes of five. She knew the editor came to his office shortly after three, and remained there until six or half-past, when he went out to dine, returning at ten o'clock, or earlier, when the serious work of arranging next day’s issue began. She had not sent a note to him, for she knew if she got a reply it would be merely a request for particulars as to the proposed interview, and she had a strong faith in the spoken word, as against that which is written. At five o'clock the editor would have read his letters, and would probably have seen most of those who were waiting for him, and Miss Baxter quite rightly conjectured that this hour would be more appropriate for a short conversation than when he was busy with his correspondence, or immersed in the hard work of the day, as he would be after ten o'clock at night. She had enough experience of the world to know that great matters often depend for their success on apparent trivialities, and the young woman had set her mind on becoming a member of the Daily Bugle staff. She stepped lightly into the hansom that was waiting for her, and said to the cabman, Office of the Daily Bugle, please; side entrance