Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/52

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Letters From A Railway Official.

to which we are closest. It once fell to the lot of a young official to escort over his road some of its directors, bankers from New York. Being an enthusiast for his section of country, being an operating man with an instinct for developing traffic, he talked of progress, of the economic and social welfare of the people. When he spoke of sugar planting, or of cotton growing, of blooded stock and dairy yield, the bankers asked, “How much does it cost to raise an acre?” or “What percentage of profit do they make?” He returned from the trip feeling that money must be their god, that his directors could think only in terms of dollars and cents. It dampened his ardor for a time. Then he was so fortunate as to ride for a few days with some of the really big modern bankers. He found himself listening with open mouth to their expression of practical sociological truths. He marveled at their recognition of the human element, and he understood better why the board sometimes turned down his recommendations. His only lament was that he could not see more of them. There, my boy, is the great misfortune, there is a problem to be solved. There is too much Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. The directors seem