Here followed the name of one of Norman’s old friends, the editor of a daily in an adjoining town.
My Dear Mr. Norman:
I hasten to write you a note of appreciation for the evident carrying out of your promise. It is a splendid beginning and no one feels the value of it more than I do. I know something of what it will cost you, but not all. Your pastor,
One other letter which he opened immediately after reading this from Maxwell revealed to him something of the loss to his business that possibly awaited him.
Mr. Edward Norman,
Editor of the Daily News:
Dear Sir—At the expiration of my advertising limit, you will do me the favor not to continue it as you have done heretofore. I enclose check for payment in full and shall consider my account with your paper closed after date.
Very truly yours,-------
Here followed the name of one of the largest dealers in tobacco in the city. He had been in the habit of inserting a column of conspicuous advertising and paying for it a very large price.
Norman laid this letter down thoughtfully, and then after a moment he took up a copy of his paper and looked through the advertising columns. There was no connection implied in the tobacco merchant’s letter between the omission of the prize fight and the withdrawal of the advertisement, but he could not avoid putting the two together. In point of fact, he afterward learned that the tobacco dealer withdrew his advertisement because he had heard that the editor of the news was about to enter upon some queer reform policy that would be certain to reduce its subscription list.
But the letter directed Norman’s attention to the advertising phase of his paper. He had not considered this before.
As he glanced over the columns he could not escape the conviction that his Master could not permit some of them in his paper.
What would He do with that other long advertisement of choice liquors and cigars? As a member of a church and a respected citizen, he had incurred no special censure because the saloon men advertised in his columns. No one thought anything about it. It was all legitimate business. Why not? Raymond enjoyed a system of high license, and the saloon and the billiard hall and the beer garden were a part of the city’s Christian civilization. He was simply doing what every other business man in Raymond did. And it was one of the best paying sources of revenue. What would the paper do if it cut these out? Could it live? That was the question. But was that the question after all? “What would Jesus do?” That was the question he was answering, or trying to answer, this week. Would Jesus advertise whiskey and tobacco in his paper?
Edward Norman asked it honestly, and after a prayer for help and wisdom he asked Clark to come into the office.