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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/56

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Letters From A Railway Official.

dent, acting general manager, acting vice-president, and even acting president. As such he signs the name of his boss, the theory being that the latter, like a feudal baron or a king, is omnipresent within his own dominions. Not only does this outgrown conception violate the fundamental laws of matter; it often borders upon a breach of honor, integrity and good faith. Legal fictions are fast giving place to the law of common sense. Railway officials should not risk arraignment before the bar of public opinion for such indefensible practices.

When the chief clerk does business in the name of some one else the effect is dwarfing to all concerned. We do not get the effect of either one or two men, but that of a fraction of both. Again, the chief clerk is handling important correspondence with officials below of higher rank than himself, of greater compensation, and presumably of wider experience. Human nature is such that sooner or later the chief clerk, a junior, is telling an official, a senior, where to head in. Among the hundreds of railroad officials with whom it is my proud privilege to claim acquaintance, I have found nearly every one flattering himself, “My chief clerk never makes such breaks.” To avoid