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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/199

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Correspondence and Explanations.

down south recently asked me to preach a little on the necessity for a more dignified tone in railway correspondence. He cited his correspondence with government offices as an example of dignified expression. Instead of saying, “Please advise me,” or, “Kindly let me know,” or “I wish to be informed,” they use some such impersonal expression as, “Please advise this office,” or “Kindly favor the department,” or, “This bureau desires information concerning, etc.” Some people say they like to have an official or an employe act as if he owned the property. I would not. A man will ride his own horse to death. When acting as trustee, guardian, or fiduciary, he will perhaps conserve the property entrusted to his charge more carefully than if it were his own. Is not a careful trustee better than a careless owner? Railway officials are trustees as well as hired hands. Through long traditions of service, the government officer, however hampered by certain limitations that are inherent in government administration, forms a habit of mind which prompts first attention to his employer rather than to himself. On railways we are equally loyal, but are cruder in our manifestations. We have the feudal conception of

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