The Hasty Pudding Club has just announced that the Shubert Plymouth Theatre of Boston has been engaged for the performance of "Wetward Ho" on April 28,29 and 30. These performances will come on the last three days of Amateur Week in Boston, the Vincent club presenting its play on the first three days of the week.
Unusual arrangements for scenery, details of which have just been made public, have been made this year. The introduction of gorgeous displays of color has been attempted especially in the ship scene, where the bridge will be designed, in black and gold; a huge peacock, in splendid colors, is perched on the balustrade of the bridge. All the scenery will be constructed under the personal supervision of Eugene Frost and Edward S. Ely, two of the country's most famous designers, and recently put in charge of the work on the scenery of the new Hippodrome in the Boston Arena.
As coach, the Club has secured the services of Mr. Kendall Weston, a famous Shakespearean actor and now director of the Somerville Players. Mr. Weston played in former years with Edwin Booth and Lawrence Barrett.
Miss Virginia Tanner will personally be in charge of all the dancing and work of the choruses in the show. She has acquired national reputation as the director of the dancing in "Caliban" and in the Masque given at the dedication of the new Technology Buildings.
The Hasty Pudding Club is departing form a precedent of years in the arrangements for the costumes in "Wetward Ho". All costumes will be specially designed and made for the play alone under the direction of Miss Grace Ripley of the Studio of Costume Designs. The decision to have costumes specially made for use in the show, has given the Club greater latitude in the use of color schemes. It is the intention of the management to make every effort to have the costumes complete in every detail, to exhibit harmony with the scenery and to achieve a color effect hitherto unknown in productions by the Hasty Pudding Club.
The Lyrics for the play are by Joseph Alger '22, Howard Elliott Jr. '22, Isidor Straus 2nd '21, and A. L. Steinert '22. The songs are the principal attractions this year and have elicited favorable criticism form competent critics. Chief among the popular songs form the show are "Girl of Mine", "Since I Met Marie", and "Mamie". where the fact that two undergraduates have names beginning with the same letter is regarded as enough upon which to found a beautiful friendship, but there is no bunk about this sort of thing at Harvard. The chances are against, rather than in favor of, the outsider getting inside,--as they are everywhere else. But that in itself may be a valuable factor in the undergraduate's development. The "Smart Aleck" may well be disappointed at the impression he creates or the enthusiasm he arouses, yet he may learn in consequence to behave more like a gentleman. Such persons may be prejudiced against Harvard bfore they come as well as afterwards, but it is an excellent reason for their going there.
I feel justified in assuming that what you refer to in your letter as "snobbishness" and what I call in may story "priggishness" is nothing but what form time immemorial has been known as "Harvard indifference". Can anybody seriously question that there must be something peculiar to Harvard which arouses all this vehemence? Of course there must be. It is that quality of mind which in its best is Harvard's most precious jewel and which at its worst is her least attractive characteristic. "Harvard Indifference" was a bone of contention before the Civil War', in the days when Theodore Roosevelt drove a dog cart around the Yard, and in my own time, twenty-five years ago. As to challenging its existence--one might as well attempt to deny successfully that there was any difference between the general atmosphere surrounding the Archbishop of Canterbury and a Methodist Revivalist.
A New England College
Harvard is a New England college, which, while it draws its students form all over the world and has Wall Street bankers among its overseers, is still essentially dominated by New England influence. The jokes about the Adamses, the Lowells and the Cabots, the cod fishball and the bean are not for nothing. A Boston man is, or anyhow always used to be, different form a Kentuckian. One star differs from another in glory: Balfour and Lloyd George, Charles Elliott Norton from Mark Twain.
"Harvard indifference" is the offspring of Puritanism and intellectual detachment. It is socially impeccable but not ingratisting. The New Englander is by nature more reserved and less responsive than the hybrid children of warmer parts of our country. Austerity--not "lure"--is the chief characteristic of the "stern daughter of the Voice of God". And there is, too, a certain shyness and self consciousness about New Englanders that, taken with the conviction latent in their bones that gaiety and sin are somehow related, makes them advance slowly in friendship and embarrassed about their emotions even when these are entirely respectable.
Now this reluctance to give one's heart away (or, I perhaps should say, to let anybody know you have one) has its intellectual concomitant in a reserve of judgment and a detached impartiality that savours of coldness. But it is neither snobbishness nor priggishness, although it may easily become either or both, in which event, it certainly is not endearing. Therefore, it seems to me, that the Boston man who (like myself) gradated form Harvard can afford to laugh good-naturedly at the allegation that he is "like an egg which has been laid twice--each time successfully", and acknowledge the corn. And most of us old grads are fatuous enough to believe that the University can afford to invite honest criticism and profit by it. Certainly, she is too great to fear the venom of the disgruntled or the hostility of the unworthy.
There are snobs at Harvard and snobs at Yale, Oberlin and Lealand Stanford. There are prigs everywhere. The young gentleman in my story--"That sort of Woman"--which you have apparently done me the compliment to read--"Payson Clifford, Jr."--was a Harvard prig, but in the end, all his underlying good qualities, you will have observed, came to the top and he proved to be a regular fellow after all. He is not generic but he is--isn't he?--not exactly uncommon. Let us be honest. "Harvard Indifference" is at once the virtue upon which we pride ourselves and the vice, the stigma of which the ignorant seek to smear across our scutcheon. But the world knows what is written beneath in letters of gold. We cannot add a cubit to our moral stature by yearning to be like those joyful sons of other institutions of learning who herald their democracy and mutual esteem by holing like wolves. Let us be content that the shades of the Puritan will always flit silently among us to dampen slightly our fervency and moderate our joy of living. Those sober men of the old time were not devoid of passion and numbered among them many of the "good and the great", of whom we are still able--on occasion--lustily to sing. But with all our pride of tradition, we might still attempt to cultivate a slightly more conciliatory manner, to simulate a greater geniality, to handle ourselves in such a way that when some barbarian calls one of us a snob, he can look him in the eye and say: "When you call me that, smile!