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[92] gradually begun to exert on him a demoralizing influence; if he attends on such an occasion, he avers, it is commonly left unmentioned; but if he fails to go, his name is apt to swell the list of persons present. Now, as on this semi-public occasion the great object is not to be there, but to be supposed to be there, the reporters secure for you that credit without exertion of your own.

The curious thing is that, no matter how irresponsible are the newspaper assertions about ourselves personally, we find it impossible not to put some faith in them when they relate to other people. Even when we know that we were not present, as reported, each of us assumes that everybody else was. We read the list of guests at some entertainment, and readily believe that all named as attending were actually there in the body, although we may have known a hundred instances where such lists were taken only from some hasty list, printed or written, of invited guests, some of whom might be at the time in Seattle or Venezuela. The cruel advantage of the reporter lies always in the intrinsic impressiveness of print, the product of an art which still retains something of the solemnity that belonged to it in the days when it was held to be magical.

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