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THE men employed to supplement and polish, as it were, the work of the Goody in the rooms of those rich enough to maintain men of such expensive habits, furnish from their number a character both interesting to the student of mythical history and dreadful to the midnight wayfarer. His very name implies the cunning and treachery of a demon, - Slippery Mike. I shudder as I write it!
Other branches of labor have indeed furnished favorite characters; it was not many years ago that in a college epic of celebrity the part of heroine was assigned to a Goody, and although in the degenerate year 1873 we would not select a Goody to play the role of youth and beauty, we do boast of one possessing a knowledge of ancient college lore and a fluency in communicating it that can be explained only by the fact that she is a garrulous Goody, and the daughter of a garrulous Goody. She has been dubbed the "historical," and is thought to be contemporary with a certain venerable college officer; indeed, she has been heard to say that the Professor and herself are all that is left of the good old times.
But these lesser celebrities are not to be compared with the dreadful Mike. I have never seen him, - few men have; but to disbelieve in him would be folly. Are not strange but authentic stories told of his midnight appearances at ill-fated rooms? Have we not watched for him on long and wearisome nights, when - to our relief - he did not attempt to rob us of our coal? His whereabouts are uncertain. Once he entered - through a window - the lower floor of Grays. Once he hid - must it be confessed that he instinctively chose a place of security? - in a Holyoke bath-tub.
But wherever you are, O Freshman I forget not the matted hair, the bloodshot eye, the rapacious claw of Slippery Mike. Remember that he is an outlawed man, made desperate by hunger, hardened by the recollection of many crimes, and when in the cold, dark hall, with trembling hand you seek the errant key-hole, fancy that you hear behind you the stealthy tread, that you feel upon your tender neck the cold and clammy touch, of Slippery Mike. Fancy all this, I say, and come in before the lights are out. As a conscientious member of an upper class, I would not seek to inculcate undue superstition, but there are warnings that cannot be neglected with impunity.
The class to which this hero belongs, curiously enough, has no common name. I protest against this deficiency, and call upon the College to supply it. Must one be compelled to say, "Have you seen the man who makes my fire, blacks my boots, brings up the water, steals the coal, upsets the inkbottle, and fuddles himself before 12 M.?" No; it is too much. Let some distinctive name be chosen at once, and, whatever be its origin, be it Greek, Latin, French, German, Anglo-Saxon, or a hybrid, let it, Oh, in the name of justice, let it be opprobrious!
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