Henry Adams, most austere of intellectuals, had his kindlier moments. In one of these, he took it upon himself to appraise the effects of a Harvard education. The standard he set can scarcely be considered too high, even by one who has descended upon Cambridge for purposes of enjoyment. "Four years of Harvard College, if successful," he would have us believe, "resulted in an autobiographical blank."
But Adams wrote of Harvard in the 1850's. That was before the time of the intrepid Miss Murray of the Union, who can make a man feel as guilty in being a split second late for a meal as though he'd been caught cribbing in an exam. That was before Harvard men could know the fury of being charged telescopic prices for the privilege of keeping their cars in the open air, (corner of Holyoke and Mt. Auburn).
Adams missed the thrill of anticipation that has become part and parcel of a year's residence in Cambridge; the thrill of horror before the perennial epidemic of German measles: the sense of being a pawn in the hands of fate as the onslaught sweeps unchecked from House to House.
Nor could Adams have experienced the intellectual exercise of attempting to determine whether or no he had an hour exam in a certain course. The mystery surrounding those short hours in November and April is at once stimulating and infuriating--a challenge to minds fresh from the comparative routine of school.
We may be entering a new Dark Age, but at least for a Freshman Harvard today offers opportunities for training in patience which will tax any man's soul--and the sum of these experiences, over a period of four years, will make an autobiography of peculiar interest.