Smoke Bellew

Jack London
Smoke Bellew [2nd version]

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Title: Smoke Bellew
Author: Jack London
Release Date: May, 2004 [EBook #5737] [Yes, we are more than one
year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on August 19, 2002]

Edition: 10a
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

This etext was prepared by Les Bowler, St. Ives, Dorset, and Paul J.

by Jack London

The Taste of the Meat The Meat The Stampede to Squaw Creek Shorty
Dreams The Man on the Other Bank The Race for Number Three* The
Little Man The Hanging of Cultus George The Mistake of Creation A
Flutter in Eggs The Town-Site of Tra-Lee Wonder of Woman
*Alternate title--The Race for Number One

In the beginning he was Christopher Bellew. By the time he was at
college he had become Chris Bellew. Later, in the Bohemian crowd of
San Francisco, he was called Kit Bellew. And in the end he was known
by no other name than Smoke Bellew. And this history of the evolution
of his name is the history of his evolution. Nor would it have happened
had he not had a fond mother and an iron uncle, and had he not

received a letter from Gillet Bellamy.
"I have just seen a copy of The Billow," Gillet wrote from Paris. "Of
course O'Hara will succeed with it. But he's missing some tricks." Here
followed details in the improvement of the budding society weekly.
"Go down and see him. Let him think they're your own suggestions.
Don't let him know they're from me. If you do, he'll make me Paris
correspondent, which I can't afford, because I'm getting real money for
my stuff from the big magazines. Above all, don't forget to make him
fire that dub who's doing the musical and art criticism. Another thing.
San Francisco has always had a literature of her own. But she hasn't
any now. Tell him to kick around and get some gink to turn out a live
serial, and to put into it the real romance and glamour and colour of
San Francisco."
And down to the office of The Billow went Kit Bellew faithfully to
instruct. O'Hara listened. O'Hara debated. O'Hara agreed. O'Hara fired
the dub who wrote criticisms. Further, O'Hara had a way with him--the
very way that was feared by Gillet in distant Paris. When O'Hara
wanted anything, no friend could deny him. He was sweetly and
compellingly irresistible. Before Kit Bellew could escape from the
office, he had become an associate editor, had agreed to write weekly
columns of criticism till some decent pen was found, and had pledged
himself to write a weekly instalment of ten thousand words on the San
Francisco serial--and all this without pay. The Billow wasn't paying yet,
O'Hara explained; and just as convincingly had he exposited that there
was only one man in San Francisco capable of writing the serial and
that man Kit Bellew.
"Oh, Lord, I'm the gink!" Kit had groaned to himself afterward on the
narrow stairway.
And thereat had begun his servitude to O'Hara and the insatiable
columns of The Billow. Week after week he held down an office chair,
stood off creditors, wrangled with printers, and turned out twenty-five
thousand words of all sorts. Nor did his labours lighten. The Billow
was ambitious. It went in for illustration. The processes were expensive.
It never had any money to pay Kit Bellew, and by the same token it

was unable to pay for any additions to the office staff.
"This is what comes of being a good fellow," Kit grumbled one day.
"Thank God for good fellows then," O'Hara cried, with tears in his eyes
as he gripped Kit's hand. "You're all that's saved
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