“What did you say?”
“Leave it out. We won’t use it.”
“But” The managing editor was simply dumbfounded. He stared at Norman as if the man was out of his mind.
“I don’t think, Clark, that it ought to be printed, and that’s the end of it,” said Norman, looking up from his desk.
Clark seldom had any words with the chief. His word had always been law in the office and he had seldom been known to change his mind. The circumstances now, however, seemed to be so extraordinary that Clark could not help expressing himself.
“Do you mean that the paper is to go to press without a word of the prize fight in it?”
“Yes. That’s what I mean.”
“But it’s unheard of. All the other papers will print it. What will our subscribers say? Why, it is simply—” Clark paused, unable to find words to say what he thought.
Norman looked at Clark thoughtfully. The managing editor was a member of a church of a different denomination from that of Norman’s. The two men had never talked together on religious matters although they had been associated on the paper for several years.
“Come in here a minute, Clark, and shut the door,” said Norman.
Clark came in and the two men faced each other alone. Norman did not speak for a minute. Then he said abruptly: “Clark, if Christ was editor of a daily paper, do you honestly think He would print three columns and a half of prize fight in it?”
“No, I don’t suppose He would.”
“Well, that’s my only reason for shutting this account out of the news. I have decided not to do a thing in connection with the paper for a whole year that I honestly believe Jesus would not do.”
Clark could not have looked more amazed if the chief had suddenly gone crazy. In fact, he did think something was wrong, though Mr. Norman was one of the last men in the world, in his judgment, to lose his mind.
“What effect will that have on the paper?” he finally managed to ask in a faint voice.
“What do you think?” asked Norman with a keen glance.
“I think it will simply ruin the paper,” replied Clark promptly. He was gathering up his bewildered senses, and began to remonstrate, “Why, it isn’t feasible to run a paper nowadays on any such basis. It’s too ideal. The world isn’t ready for it. You can’t make it pay. Just as sure as you live, if you shut out this prize fight report you will lose hundreds of subscribers. It doesn’t take a prophet to see that. The very best people in town are eager to read it. They know it has taken place, and when they get the paper this evening they will expect half a page at least. Surely, you can’t afford to disregard the wishes of the public to such an extent. It will be a great mistake if you do, in my opinion.”
Norman sat silent a minute. Then he spoke gently but firmly.