Billeder på siden

the epitome of Americanism, and any direct transformation is not possible. Any attempt on the part of the "authorities" violently to disregard the university's will could end only in failure; to talk of the extra-curriculum as if it were something that could be abolished or summarily dealt with, as an old building might be torn down, is quite foolish. Change must always come at the demand or with the assent of the university will, and that will depends largely upon its environment, which is to say, American society.

This is a fair view of the conditions existing. Would we have them different? That point is quite open to argument; a great deal can be advanced in favor of the present system. But in our view it is not adequate. It can hardly be said that there is in America enough of a sound intellectual balance for us to conduct our affairs, at least those which transcend the business of the stock-market and the commercial world, as they should be conducted. In general, we have too loose a way of thinking. On the other hand, popular aspirations, popular tastes, as revealed by the pages of Sunday supplements, are all in crying need of stabilizing, of teaching. Such deficiencies can only be supplied by education, not a mere high-school collection of facts and immaturely held ideas, but true education that can only come from some real appreciation of the scholarly and the cultured ideal. Such an education it is difficult to get in American universities. That is the point at which the present system falls down.

This brings us into something of a vicious circle. The university is the resultant of the nation, but the nation is at the same time the resultant of the university. If we accept a purely deterministic view, there is no way out, but such a view is not necessary. Certainly neither the country nor the university can be suddenly changed, nor can either be altered independently of the other, but there are many spots where new influences can enter in. The undergraduate himself is beginning to feel the deficiencies of his education; the attack upon the supremacy of the extra-curriculum has already begun to come from him. He in turn will have influence on his society after he graduates, and on his sons after him. Parents can begin to change, little by little, the ideas with which their boys go up to the great univer

sities. The graduates can use their influence upon the undergraduates. All these forces cannot work suddenly, cannot even bring any apparent result at all, perhaps, but none of them can be totally unavailing. Each will go into the final result, and that is the most that any laborer for truth can ask as reward. University and educational development is indeed, more than any other, an evolutionary matter, but it behooves everyone to make very sure that he has done his part in the evolution. It devolves upon all who believe that a change must come if the American college and university is to fulfill its great mission, to see to it that their own efforts in that direction, however impotent they may appear, are not slackened.

Walter Millis.


I own I have been startled into fear

To see upon some dark December night

The stricken fields and slopes grow strangely bright And fairy shadows silently appear,

And at that melancholy time of year

When only stubble shows and earth is cold,

To see the landscape filled with waving gold

And sudden harvests gleam where all was sere;
Yet must I think it stranger still to find
How when the heart is at its winter time
Of barrenness and drear sterility,

Such glimpses raise a harvest, suddenly,
Of golden sentiments, whence sky-larks climb,
In the illumined landscape of the mind.

Amos Wilder.



N Sunday evenings it is my custom to call on Dr. Edmunds. The Doctor is at his best then. He stretches his enormous form in the deep arm-chair before the fire in his dingy little study and completely relaxes. His blue eyes take on a dreamy look as he puffs meditatively on his pipe. Sometimes we get into involved arguments and he thumps the arm of the worn leather chair with his enormous fist to prove his point, and at other times we are absolutely silent. Dr. Edmunds has been practicing for twenty-five years in Warren and he has practically grown up with the place. People always called in Dr. Edmunds in preference to any one else. There is something about his towering strength and calm assurance, that gives people confidence.

This particular Sunday was a cold bleak day in November. The rain dripped dismally off the corners of the roof and we had thrown on another log to warm up the room. The doctor was stretched out in his arm-chair, his feet resting on the fender and his massive head with its mop of brown hair leaning back against the cushion. I thought at first that he was asleep, but I

was wrong.

"It was a night like this," he said, "that I was called out to Rockhill Road."

"I don't remember that," I said.

"No," he replied slowly, "you couldn't. It was almost twenty years ago. I had just started in practicing then. It was Sunday evening and I was sitting in front of the fire-just as I am now, when I got a call to go to the Hubble farm on Rockhill Road. You know how far it was in those days. It was a good two hours ride in the rain.

"It was a long, cold ride to get to the place and when I got there I found it was a square white farmhouse of the poorer kind, isolated by miles of barren country. Four big pine trees grew around it, shutting it off from the road and there was only a light in the ell which ran at right angles to the house.

"I crossed the porch and knocked at the door. A woman or girl, I couldn't tell which it was in that dim light, opened it.

"Are you the doctor?' she said in a dull, colorless voice. "I told her that I was and she let me into the hall. It was little and narrow and an oil lamp in a bracket hung on the wall. It was when she passed under the light that I got my first good look at her. She wore a loose calico dress covered by an apron. Although her face was white and thin she might have been pretty once, but her eyes, large and dark, had that queer, haunted look of people who have lived too much alone.

"Out in the hall we could hear the low, whimpering cry of some one who had been hurt. She opened the door of the kitchen. 'Come this way,' she said and her voice was as tuneless as before.

"In a big rocking chair before the stove was a little old woman wrapped in a shawl. She was rocking back and forth and her feet, clad in shapeless worsted slippers thumped on the floor. Her face, drawn with pain, was yellow and sunken, and her wispy white hair was loosened and hung over her forehead. She seemed perfectly unconscious of our presence and rocked and moaned in front of the fire without looking up.

"At first she wouldn't let me touch her, giving, as I approached, a protesting cry and rocking back and forth in agony. Gradually I managed to calm her. Her arm was broken and she had been holding it in place under her shawl. It was a clean break above the wrist, and easy to set, but it was the old woman's attitude that puzzled me. She kept moaning to herself in a queer, convulsive way, not from the pain, though it must have been considerable, but from fright. She kept twisting her shriveled head with its mop of tousled white hair first in one direction and then in another and at the same time grasping my arm with her well hand.

"Dan had nothing to complain of,' she said hurriedly. I could hardly understand her she spoke so quickly and so indistinctly. 'Annie was always a good wife to him. He wanted to work her to death like he did his own mother and sister. He wanted to work her to death.'

"It was while the mother was talking that I turned to look at the daughter. After I entered the room she paid no further

« ForrigeFortsæt »