WORDS AND ROMANCE
'The romance of words' is a phrase which has gained wide currency of late. It has given the title not only to an interesting book about words, but to a series of syndicated articles running in the American press. In the case of many words the enthusiastic interest suggested by the phrase is well justified. Few romantic narratives can vie in interest with that of such a word as bank. Originally a humble Teutonic word, serving as a name for 'bench,' through adoption by the Lombard bankers of northern Italy, this word has eventually become the name for an institution which is the center of modern worldly power. Further, in Spanish guise, as banco, the name of a game of cards, the word journeyed with the Spanish to Western America, where it had an adventurous, not to say hazardous career, surrounded by all the romance of life in the Wild West. Even more romantic, if possible, is the story of the word dollar told in the last chapter. Of humble origin as the name for a coin produced from the silver of a Bohemian valley, the word has been exalted to the highest worldly position. Migrating to the western hemisphere, it served as the name for a Mexican coin which has come to be the unit of value in the commerce of China and the Far East. Adopted as the name for the unit of value in the coinage of the United States, it has attained almost divine honors as the symbol of human success, the supreme end of wordly endeavor, the 'Almighty dollar.'
The possibilities of romance in the subject of words are