The tendency of the Grecians to be always on the qui vive for some new thing was not unique. A desire for news seems to be a human characteristic. The barber shop used to be the clearing-house for town gossip. Then some one thought of sending the gist of the talk in a news letter to out-of-town friends, and thus began the newspaper, occupied at first with clever essays and sage admonishments as well as items of news. To-day advice is given in a temperate way by editorials, and the news is presented so as to produce shock and astonishment as much as possible. Consequently "the evil that men do" is exploited so as to arouse sentiment and sensation, and the false position is assumed, that in human affairs terror and pain, horror and discord predominate.

The day will come when men and women will occupy their minds with their own duties, and will so perfect their occupations that in the business world there will be a fine fellowship of competent workers. At present it seems irksome to the average man to "mind his own business," and he has a curiosity, sometimes insatiable, in regard to his neighbor's affairs. Minstrel and troubadour used to travel from place to place, bringing to castle and palace and roadside inn tales of the doings of men, and in newer countries the traveling pedler and the peripatetic tailor used to carry interesting gossip. The circuit-riding pastors who carried their libraries in their saddle-bags, were welcomed, doubtless, as messengers of heaven, but the welcome was tinged by pleasure in the thought that they had news to bring about human beings on earth.

We who customarily greet a friend with the query "What's the news? may as well admit this deep-lying interest in the happenings of the time and in the actions of men, and concede that it may legitimately be ministered to, but we have no right to assume that this interest is a morbid curiosity to be satisfied only with gruesome records of human agony and pitiless exposures of human mistakes, or cruel denunciations of human faults and errors. There is an interest which has nobility in it. There is a desire to know of worthy activities. The troubadours sang often of heroic accomplishments; seldom of court scandals. They set on fire the minds of youth who aspired to knightly endeavors. May not people of the present day be inspired to practical goodness even as ardent minds in times of old were inspired by the heroes of romance to devote their lives to high ends? Men say "romance is dead," but never was there so much opportunity for that fine flavor of interest in the deeds of men which we name romance, as in the present time, when the toil of a month will accomplish what once the labor of years could not do.

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October 24, 1908

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