Good Literature

For eight years the writer was employed in one of the United States post-offices as carrier and clerk. His duties as carrier consisted in delivering letters and papers to the homes of patrons, and as clerk it was part of his duties to sort the mail on a table and place it in boxes for the different carriers. About twelve thousand people received their mail through that office and it was possible to notice more or less accurately what the community as a whole was receiving for its reading. There were newspapers of all kinds, containing as usual descriptions of disease and crime; there were also almanacs and advertisements of medicines, sometimes from six to twelve sacks of them at a time, the last named naturally containing detailed descriptions of various diseases. All this was going into the homes of suffering humanity to be read, and sometimes even read aloud in the hearing of little children. Sometimes a look at this great mass of literature would make the heart grow faint.

Fortunately, however, it was also sometimes my privilege to be working when the sack containing the Sentinels would come in, and I would always open it with eagerness to see if any new names were added to the list of subscribers. Small as the little bundle would be (usually from twenty to twenty-five copies), it seemed that it was all there was in the way of reading matter to offset the great mass of other literature. Sometimes a number of pieces of literature would come through from our state publication committee and some copies would be mailed to addresses where it was felt they would be welcomed. On these occasions there was always silent rejoicing on my part.

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