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Divinity School Editor.
Entered at Tufts College Post-Office as second-class matter.
June 5, 1895.
UNDER Somewhat unusual circumstances the new editorial board enters upon its duties. Only three of the board have ever before been connected with the TUFTONIAN. This large percentage of strangers would seem to make an introduction almost necessary, but as the individuality of the staff is seldom thought of, and because of the perfunctory nature of all introductions, we propose to waive formality and custom and promptly take up the work, profiting as much as we may by the experience of those who have preceded us. It is not our intention to set forth any definite policy for the management of the college publications during the coming college year. Such an attempt in the present condition of affairs would be foolish in the extreme. In order to preserve the uniformity of the volume, and because of its own merits, we shall follow as closely as may be the policy of the retiring board for the remaining issues, and before the opening of another college year proposals which are set forth below may be so far matured as to make possible an entire reconstruction of the paper. Whatever methods we shall pursue, and whatever changes we shall see fit to make will be made with a view to the good of the college and the best interests of our constituency. We believe that the field of the college publication is by no means limited to the undergraduate body. It should operate extensively among the alumni, and in a general way command the consideration of the people at large. In striving for cosmopolitanism, however, the representative Tufts spirit is not to be sacrificed. The paper should serve to connect the alumni more closely with the present life of the college, and to keep them in touch with the live issues and topics of the institution. It should be the review of college progress in literature and science, and the medium for discussion of questions of college policy. Graduates and students should be its willing contributors, and recognition in its columns deemed an honor. We realize, however, that the attainment of this ideal in our paper is impossible, yet we shall endeavor to approach as near to the goal as our support will enable us, and we bespeak for ourselves your hearty co-operation.
We desire to call attention to the article in another column on "Tufts College Publications," which embodies in substance the plan of the new editorial board for the reconstruction of the TUFTONIAN. The college has already reached a point in its growth where a fourteen-page semimonthly is wholly inadequate to its needs. Difficult as it is to successfully manage a literary and news journal in one sheet in a small institution, it is disproportionately more perplexing to satisfactorily conduct one in a college of the size of Tufts. The interests to which it must cater and the fields which it must cover are so different and so widely separated that none can be justly treated. Much of the news which appears in a semi-monthly is necessarily old, and the literature is much too scanty. If literature is given the preference there is a just complaint concerning the lack of fresh news, and if the paper is devoted largely to the publication of current events it fails to accomplish one of the chief aims of a college publication,—to foster literary talent and encourage writing for publication. What, then, is to be the remedy? Clearly a separation of the two departments is the most natural result. The advantages of such an arrangement are so patent that they hardly need to be stated. The only query is, How shall they be supported, and how managed? The first of these questions is the more vital. The two chief sources of revenue for a college paper are advertisements and subscriptions. There have been times when it has been difficult to secure advertisements, but during the past year the business manager of the TUFTONIAN has been obliged to refuse numerous applicants for advertising space, and the indications for the easy filling of extra pages during the coming year are most promising. Many advertisements can also be secured for a weekly publication which would be refused to one issued less frequently.
Upon the subscription side of the question we must depend upon the alumni and students. With the present number of each it is evident that two papers ought to be easily supported. Ought needs emphasis, for past experience has shown that the real result falls far short of what we might reasonably expect. This apathy toward Tufts publications has been the stumbling-block of their progress. The cause and effect, however, have been so confused that an improvement in the capacity and value of the paper may result in an increase in its support. The recent movement of the non-fraternity men for representation upon the staff tends to establish confidence in an increased interest. To successfully conduct such an enterprise the hearty co-operation of every one will be necessary, and we appeal to each student and alumnus to take the plan into consideration, and to hold himself personally responsible for its success or failure. The movement is in the interests of the students and graduates, not for the pleasure or profit of the board of management, and as such should receive their united aid.
The plan as it now stands provides for a weekly news sheet of eight pages, and a literary magazine issued from six to nine times per year. Both are to be under the management of one editorial board and subject to the direction of the editor-in-chief, who will appoint a managing editor for each. As is stated elsewhere, the weekly should be an inexpensive sheet conducted by wide-awake local news-gatherers, and the magazine should be devoted to literary and scientific subjects, and open to both graduates and students. It is intended to make it the medium for bringing together the two interests and the common ground for the discussion of college topics. It should be of a high literary standard and capable of commanding the respect of the college world. The plan has been in the minds of those immediately connected with the TUFTONIAN for some time, but heretofore has never been actively agitated. The present board of editors is interested in the project and determined to make a vigorous effort to give it a trial. The financial success of the venture is the only doubtful feature, and the removal of that depends largely upon our readers. We request a free discussion of the subject, both by means of communications to the TUFTONIAN and personal letters. No pains will be spared to consummate our plans, but the success of them is at present very doubtful. Whatever may be the outcome, however, if we shall succeed in presenting the needs of our publication to the active consideration of all who should be interested our effort will not have been in vain.
As the time for the production of "Ralph Roister Doister" draws near it must be gratifying to those who are giving so much time to its preparation to see the attention it is attracting outside of the Tufts circle. It has received press notices from prominent papers widely separated in
location. Professors of literature, dramatic critics, and students have come to look upon it as an important step in the study of dramatic literature. With this wide-spread interest outside the college, it seems that the students ought to take a twofold interest in its success, regarding it as something worth attending in itself, and as an event which if successfully carried out will reflect much credit upon the college. We believe that the students in general fail to realize its true significance and look upon it as the mere presentation of a commonplace play. It is much more than this. When we realize that the English department is doing something which has never before been attempted by any university, that it is reviving in the minutest detail possible the stage and costumes of over three hundred and fifty years ago, and that this is the first time the play which stands as the first English comedy has been produced since its original presentation under the direction of the author, then we shall be able to appreciate in some degree its signifiIts claim to consideration does not lie in brilliant scenic effects or elaborate stage setting, but in the historical reproduction. The work and expense of staging the play has been much greater than is generally supposed. It must be remembered that no stage edition of the play is in existence, and that all the stage arrangements and directions have to be supplied. Tufts stands as a pioneer in this field, and her action is critically watched by other colleges. All students interested in literature, history, the stage, or general education cannot afford to miss the opportunity of witnessing this reproduction of the sixteenth century.
JIM was bashful. Not that I consider this anything remarkable in itself, for bashfulness, I suppose, is as prevalent and healthy an affliction of callow youth as growing-pains or teething. But as these little ailments attack certain temperaments much more severely than others, so diffidence in the case of Jim assumed the proportions of a chronic disorder, which, as he reached that awkward and uninteresting period in the metamorphosis of a youth when he is neither a polliwog nor a frog, became positively painful to contemplate. It took the form of a morbid self-consciousness, which kept the poor fellow under the delusion that his every word and action were the object of critical scrutiny; and to clinch matters, this self-consciousness was attended by an acute sensibility which converted his imaginings into rankling darts.
There is no person in the world more traduced than the bashful man. Few, indeed, understand him; and besides this, the ridiculous aspect of his weakness is so prominent, and he is such a helpless victim that he is a favorite butt for those coarse-grained animals who have neither the sensibility to appreciate his situation nor the humanity to spare him. He himself is aware of this and is conscious of the fact that his, above all other trials, must be borne without the slightest sympathy, and in this lies his martyrdom.
Jim, moreover, had a great deal of pride and self-respect, not by any means unusual accompaniments to diffidence, which in itself would not admit of his imparting his troubles to his dearest friend. He patiently bore up under them therefore, vaguely hoping that he would outgrow them sometime. He did finally outgrow the tyranny of the small boy, that little fiend who always singles out such characters for persecution, but only to fall into the toils of an even less merciful enemy wearing petticoats. In company his tongue was tied and his mind was a vacuum, but his hands and feet were awful realities, and their number so distractingly large that he was inclined to envy a museum freak he had once seen who was born without those very superfluous appendages.
If Jim had only followed the dictates of his own good sense and let nature take her course there would be nothing for me to tell, but his case was rendered almost hopeless by the intervention of some well-intending but misguided friends, who attempted to prescribe for him. Acting under their advice, he made a reckless attempt to assume something of the debonaire carriage which in his eyes was the acme of human accomplishments. But, alas! outraged nature turned upon him with quick and awful retribution. His attempts at playfulness were like the heavy gambols of an elephant, and in striving for easy bearing, he conducted himself with such shocking familiarity that he nearly ruined the reputation he sustained among the village matrons as a
"nice young man." Fortunately, his intelligence soon pointed out to him the folly of attempting to appear in any but the manner to which he was born, and he gave up these abortive methods.
Among the young men of the village in which Jim lived was one with whom he maintained some intimacy, and, as is usually the case in youthful friendships, his companion was in nearly every respect his opposite. As society went in the country village, Albert, his friend, was recognized as a society man and a great favorite with the ladies. It was mainly under his tutelage that poor Jim made his grotesque break for freedom, which ended in the disastrous manner which I shall relate.
Albert was no vain theorist in his method of instruction, but proposed to follow up his first lecture with a practical demonstration of the principles involved. ""T wont do any good for me to just tell you to screw up your courage and be easy and natural as I am," he told Jim, on the way home from school one afternoon. "You might agree with me, and set out to do as I tell you, but I'll bet that the first time you came into a room full of girls you'd slump down into the first chair handy, and sit and twiddle your fingers the whole evenin'."
Jim was forced to admit the reasonableness of this conclusion, and, although he had misgivings from the first, he could make no adequate protest to the plan which his zealous friend proposed to him. The plan was that Jim should spend the first week of the approaching vacation with Albert at his home in a neighboring town, where the latter confidently hoped, through the instrumentality of his sister, a bright young miss of about Jim's age, and her girl friends, effectually to cure his friend of his foolish weakness. The remedy, as Jim contemplated it, seemed to promise no indifferent result. It was one of those summary nostrums which kill or cure at once.
The week fixed for the visit drew rapidly near, and only too soon the fateful day came when he had to bid good-by to his mother (probably for the first time in his life) and take the drowsy old three-seated stage which connected the two villages. Fortune, like any other trickster, seems prone to play her pranks upon those who are least capable of bearing them, and in this instance, when the stage reached M- Jim learned with dismay that they would be delayed over an hour. This would bring him to his destination at an hour when all the family would probably have retired. His anticipations, therefore, of waking up a slumbering household and the prominence it must give him were not of the most pleasant character.
But his journey finally came to an end, and late at night he alighted from the coach, stiff and tired from his long ride. He still had before him, however, a walk of a mile out into the country to the home of his friend. This was briskly accomplished, and to his delight he made out a light in one of the windows of the house to which he had been directed. A timid rap brought a kindly, fresh-faced woman to the door, who, not waiting for any explanation, having probably been prepared for him by her son, ushered him in with such warm cordiality that he was quickly placed as nearly at ease as it was possible for him to be in the presence of a stranger. Without waiting to consult him, she immediately began to bustle about, preparing a light supper, accompanying her actions with an uninterrupted flow of talk, which embraced everything of immediate interest, from her son and daughter to the price of butter. From this one-sided conversation Jim learned that he was but one of a number of guests whom his hospitable hostess was entertaining. Indeed, she informed him with some reluctance that, not expecting him that night, she was just a little put out to provide him with a sleeping-room, although there would be no difficulty whatever in arranging for him during the remainder of his visit. It was finally decided that the lounge in the front parlor should be pressed into service, and that he should occupy that.
"Now," she said to him as she bade him good night, "you have had a long ride and you have been kept up very late, so you may lie in the morning just as long as you wish. I shan't tell the children' anything about your coming, but let you surprise them in the morning.”
If Jim could only have foreseen the disaster which was to result from this arrangement he would not have slept one wink that night; but as it was, he passed off as sweetly into the land of dreams as if there was never a cloud on his horizon.
The next morning he was slowly and gently awakened by a sunbeam, which, having crept in by the side of a drawn curtain, was slanting across his face. For a few moments he lay in a bliss
ful, semi-conscious state, which gradually broke into that feeling of bewilderment that comes over the inexperienced traveler when he wakes amid strange surroundings. The circumstances leading up to his present situation were just beginning to link themselves dimly together, when he was suddenly brought to a full possession of his senses by the sound of feminine voices, which seemed to be approaching along the hall, into which his extemporized sleeping-room opened. As they came nearer he made out that the possessors of the voices were his greatest terrors, - girls. The recollection of the last words of his hostess filled him with a vague apprehension, which gave place to a thrill of horror a moment later, when he heard one of the voices suggest entering the parlor. He saw the door-knob turn and the door open slightly, as the girls paused a moment in some animated discussion. Upright in his couch he sat, rigid as a man who had seen a spectre, clutching the quilt desperately with both hands. To be discovered in that plight meant eternal shame and disgrace to his unbalanced senses. As the door swung open he had just sufficient presence of mind and barely time to roll noiselessly off onto the floor and back under the sofa, pulling the quilt along with him. He was not a moment too soon, for just then three pretty girls came into the room; and, as it was, he must have been discovered had not the curtains been drawn. But, although he had stowed himself safely away, he had not had time to hide his clothes, which were thrown across a rocking-chair. These of course were revealed to them when one of the young ladies, whom by her actions he took to be the sister he had heard of, raised the curtain and threw open the blinds.
"There," she said with maidenly severity, as the disorderly array of clothing met her eye, "if that is n't just like Albert for all this world! It seems as if, as much as Mamma and I scold
him for leaving his clothes lying around, he would begin to learn to take care of them. You may congratulate yourself, Sadie, that you have n't an older brother to wait on," she scolded on, shaking the wrinkles out of Jim's clothes with spiteful little shakes and folding them over her
"Now, you see, I have got to trapse way up-stairs to his room with these clothes." (A smothered groan of anguish from beneath the lounge.)
"Hum!" replied the youngest of the group, whom they called "Bess," a saucy little thing with black eyes and a snub nose, "I know of some people who would be mighty thankful for the opportunity to wait on him sometime. Now, Sadie, you stop pinching me, or I'll tell who that 'somebody' is." This threatened disclosure had immediate effect on Sadie, who stopped pinching and relapsed into blushes and confusion.
"O girls, that reminds me," interrupted the young hostess, mercifully coming to the rescue. "Albert has a school friend coming to visit him to-day. I have never seen him, but Albert says he is so bashful that he almost faints away in company, and that he looks upon a girl as a sort of monster. Now I want to give you just a word of caution beforehand," she continued, with an admonitory shake of the finger. "You must be very gentle with him, and not do or say anything abrupt or startling; and you especially, Bess, will have to be particularly careful of that sharp little tongue of yours."
"Of all weaknesses in a man," replied this young woman, with a contemptuous toss of the head, "faint-heartedness is the one with which I have least patience."
In the meantime a terrible martyrdom was being enacted beneath the sofa. Poor Jim, from his concealment, although invisible to his tormentors, could distinctly see their every motion and hear every word. The threatened abduction of his clothes had first filled him with wild alarm, but this was but a mild sort of torture compared with the anguish he suffered later from the merciless thrusts at his one festering wound. Like all bashful persons, he resented most of all any allusion to his weakness; and as criticism was the great bug-a-boo of his life, the shrinking from which was the principal manifestation of that weakness, ingenuity could not have devised a rack more perfectly calculated to wring his very soul than the present ridiculous situation. The very candor of the criticisms which he was forced to hear tipped their barbs with fire and brimstone. Indignation, resentment, injured pride, and humiliation, all seasoned with cold chills of fear, swept over him like the swift breezes which ripple the surface of a mountain lake; and as if his mental suffering was not sufficient, the screw was given a fresh turn when he began to feel a warm current of air passing up about him. He then remembered that he had unwittingly pre