Sivut kuvina

WAITER Sir, from my birth I was a nervous child,
This way and that swung weakly by suggestion,
And could not see my fellow creatures weep
But I must echo them with noisy tears.
Speak of an earthquake, and I fly the house;
Hang o'er the bulwarks, I am sick myself.

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Come and be mourners at my funeral,
For I am in the vestibule of death.

This is the gate and portal of my ending,
I think there doth not any word remain,
But silence and still quiet touch my lips
With the mute harmony of things unspoken.
I never was of that loud company

Which seek their harvest in a waste of words;
'DO' was my dictionary. And my sword
Leaped from the sheath ere I could mention it.

As you may see in some great orchestra
A little lonely fellow at the end

Sits by the cymbals, and the instruments
Thunder around him their tempestuous din,-
Flutes, horns, and oboes, harp and clarinet,
And the wild fiddles like the forest swaying
On Swedish mountains when the storm is high,
But he, that could with one most royal clash
Startle the city and make all that music
Like the small twittering of birds appear,
Sits with his brasses, but doth make no sound
Till the conductor shall command him so,
And leaves his cymbals and goes home at last,
Still with no sound, nor kindly thanks, nor notice,
For the conductor hath forgotten him -
So sit I here, and die without a word.

(Stabs self)

(Stabs self)

(Stabs self and surveys scene)

Well, this will puzzle them at Scotland Yard.


(Dies. Chord)



I HAVE a daughter in the sophomore class of X College. It is a small freshwater college, but with an excellent reputation; admission is fraught with many difficulties and confers some distinction. My choice was due partly to its location near the city in which I live, but partly also to its lack of ostentation.

We might have chosen the large university in my city, one of the largest in the country. But my son was a student there, and from him I learned of the disadvantages of large colleges the lack of personal contact with the professors; the impersonal, machinelike processes of degree-making; the absence of true college life. To some extent I had contact with the student body at that large university. The group was not impressive. It certainly was quite different from the small group of students I studied with at Columbia in the early nineties. So my daughter was going to have the best I could afford; perhaps ill afford, for I am a man of modest means salaried man, in fact, having two other children already in college. Her going meant considerable sacrifice of comforts, of opportunities for saving, and even of the savings previously made.


As my daughter's college is less than an hour from the city, really in the suburbs, I could visit her off and on, going down direct from the office in time for the evening meal or for an occasional Saturday afternoon. Thus

VOL. 139-NO. 5


I have obtained an intimate glimpse of present-day college life.

My first impression was decidedly favorable. There were the alluring old buildings, scattered over the large campus, a welcome relief from the congestion of a large metropolis. There were the groups of young girls and boys (it is a coeducational institution). There was loud talking, laughing, joking; and some innocent spooning, to be sure; yet, as far as I could see and learn, there was very little of that extravagance of conduct which some observers seem to find about a campus. They were happy boys and girls. But, somehow, I never could feel the atmosphere of an educational institution.

A few visits were needed before I could answer the question which seemed to trouble me: 'What does this remind me of?' It came in a flash. A summer hotel in the mountains or at the seashore. The exuberant youth, the loud, sporty clothes, - perhaps not always expensive; I am a poor judge of that, the cars before the entrance, the meandering couples, the total absence of care, even the tone of the conversation, all smacked of vacation rather than vocation.

I confess that, when the comparison occurred to me, it worried me. And the more I observed the so-called college life, the more worried I became. I have no fear that modern youth or the coming generation will go to moral perdition. Each age and generation


must establish its own moral standards and follow them or not, as it desires. Who am I to say that I know what those standards should be? The basis for my worry was economic rather than moral; or, if you wish, an economic morality.

Personally, I hate summer hotels or camps or vacational institutions, with their enforced idleness. Others may like them better. But, after all, it is understood that a vacation is only a vacation. It is a break in the regular necessary productive routine of life. It may be a very pleasant break for two or three weeks when one is tired out, but as a permanent diet, or for four years at least, what effect must it have on the formative period of life, on the process of preparation for active life?

'But this is unfair,' argues my daughter. 'You have been here only during leisure hours. Our classes meet in the daytime, you know.'

Of course. And I do not want to be unfair to the young generation — that that is the surest sign of approaching old age. But let us see. The average requirements of a college are about fifteen hours per week. Laboratory work, which is much more arduous than simply listening to an old fogy of a professor talking, for some mysterious reason usually counts as half time; so the average working hours of undergraduate students may be twenty hours per week within the class. If the students put in an extra hour of reading and study for every classroom hour, they may and should do more, but few do, that means a working week of thirty to thirty-five hours, including extra reading. Pretty easy, I call that, as compared with the working hours of some millions of young persons of the same age who have entered productive occupations and are partly or wholly making their own living.

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Shall I be told that I have under

estimated the necessary effort of undergraduate study? I don't think so. Look at the time that is left for all other - extracurricular, I believe they call them 'activities' and pleasures. The average undergraduate student finds sufficient time to indulge in amateur dramatics, amateur journalism, amateur politics, clubs, fraternities, social life, and at least the normal amount of amateur or serious love-making. In addition or as a substitute - some manage to work at various occupations, and thus partly or entirely pay their way through college. If some do this, the others must have a lot of time to waste.

That is the régime of life through the college year, eight or nine months or so. Even that year is interrupted by prolonged vacations: at midyear, Christmas, and Easter. The calendar of one large university tells me that the college term begins on September 24. The Thanksgiving recess lasts five days (my clerical staff gets one day, no more: girls all of college age); the Christmas recess from December 22 to January 4, or two weeks; the term-end recess, from February 1 to 8, or a full week; Easter recess, four days altogether more than four weeks. And the classes all end some time between May 24 and June 1. Some twenty-one to twentytwo weeks of leisure out of the year.

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So upon the partial idleness - or leisure, a more euphemistic expression

of the school year there is superimposed the total leisure of the numerous and prolonged vacations. Many students try to utilize these, but of course no regular occupation can be pursued for two or three months with an interval of nine or ten, so the labor market is flooded every summer with young folks looking for temporary jobs. To some it makes no difference what the work is, so long as an opportunity to earn presents itself: waiting, summer

hotel clerking, door-to-door selling; occasionally, for the more adventurous, manual labor. I have read of two students making a success at bricklaying at ten dollars a day. To others the prime consideration is how to occupy the summer. It may be a summer school, or counseling at camps, or anything, so long as the work is not too strenuous. Others, more girls than boys, languish at home, bored to death with the monotony of private family life as compared with the stimulus of group life, and create problems for their parents and siblings. What very few of them do or can do is to train themselves for their life work, for their chosen profession. Exciting as bricklaying may be as an experience for the future physician, college professor, or bond salesman, it is n't exactly a preparation for his profession. And yet, the college years are years of preparation.


I am afraid that I am giving the reader an altogether unfavorable impression of myself. Here, you will say, is a very grouchy, selfish old man who begrudges his children the privileges of the college education which, for some reason or other, perhaps out of sheer regard for convention, he is paying for. I must insist, therefore, not only in selfdefense, but for a better evaluation of the argument which follows, that I am a college man myself; not only that, but possessor of a Ph.D., an academic man by disposition, author of half a dozen serious books, and a member of the W. W. A. fraternity (Who's Who in America). So that's that.

And secondly, I look on myself as a kind, easy-going, indulgent, and loving father. I believe my children endorse that description. I have assumed the duty of seeing three children through college. I found soon that the least that

will take a modern youth through college comfortably is $1500 a year. Three times four times $1500 makes all of $18,000. (And I never had the $18,000.) Into this went almost all the savings of a lifetime, and most of the income during their college years. It has meant a sacrifice, many sacrifices for my wife and myself. I do not run a car

not even a Ford. We have sacrificed many opportunities for vacation and travel; opportunities for saving for our old age, which is not so very far off. All of this we have done cheerfully, but the question will not down: Was it necessary? Was it wise? Was it fair to us? And was it worth while for them?

Were ours an isolated case, then this article might be considered a presumption. But obviously it is not an isolated case. It may be somewhat unusual to carry the burden of three children in college simultaneously. Wise spacing of children might have prevented that. But a family of three children is, after all, not an unusual one, and college education within the last thirty or forty years has changed from a luxury to a seeming necessity, from an exception to a tradition, not only for the rich and the near rich, or the middle class to which I belong, but even for many a worker's family as well. It is no more a question as to whether one can afford to see his children through college, but whether one can afford not to do so.

The total number of students in colleges and universities, exclusive of professional schools, in 1873 - the earliest year for which these data are available

was only about 23,000; in 1903, 125,000; in 1922, 438,000; and to-day it approaches 600,000.

The beginnings of college education in America were partly vocational training for teachers, clergy, and lawyers and partly social. College training was the training of a gentle

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