GRADUATES tell us of a time when old Massachusetts was entirely given up to Sophomores, when none but Seniors were allowed to dwell in the coveted Holworthy, while in the other buildings whole entries were often occupied by members of the same class. How pleasant must have been college life in those days, surrounded by friends and classmates! How easily could I forgive the men now engaged in their twentieth boxing-round in the room above, if they were in my class! And could I cherish my present vindictive feelings against the long-haired individual across the entry, who labors under the insane idea that he can play the piano, were he my bosom friend? No; I could, in that case, call upon this fellow and gently remonstrate with him, and he, of course, would immediately desist. But now, even if I had the courage to expostulate with my neighbors, which I confess I have not, I should probably meet with discourtesy and contempt. Now I am not particularly troubled because the man next door keeps a very large dog. If he enjoys it, and the raw meat is not too expensive, I am not concerned. But when that dog bowls in loud and dismal tones late into the night, I begin to wish him in his native kennel. I never call upon this neighbor of mine, for his animal is very fierce, and always unchained.
And thus it is that I am surrounded by disagreeable fellows whom I don't even wish to know, all because of this new idea, so prevalent among the Faculty, of abolishing class distinctions and discouraging class feeling, and of making the privileges of the Freshman even greater than those of the Senior. An undergraduate, even, writing in a late Advocate, harping upon the somewhat stale theme, "When the College is merged into the University," etc., expresses serious objections to class feeling because the outside world, "hard, cold, and avaricious, recognizes no such sentimentalities." What then? Must we make our little college world "hard, cold, and avaricious," too? If such is the character of the big world, let us have the two realms as different as possible. It is very well to sneer at the "romance" and "sentiment" of class feeling, but, there is very little danger of a Harvard boy's mind being filled with too much of these notions, which, after all, are not so bad and undesirable as our cold, practical writers describe them.
Another writer in the same paper goes to much greater lengths in his attack on our time-honored institution. "K" is not at all cool or persuasive in his arguments, but "goes for" class feeling as an abolitionist might have spoken against slavery. He says: "Its atmosphere is stifling, and its fetters galling." Rather strong language, I think, to apply to the friendship which naturally exists between one or two hundred young men of like age, having like studies, and the same interests and pursuits in general. This writer longs for the time when "pseudo-unity of spirit will no longer be a palliative of transgression and a plea for distinction." He calls class feeling "the curse of our college," decidedly fails to establish the fact, and winds up with a paragraph the meaning of which is rather mysterious. Abolish class feeling, and for each one of the present four classes you will have half a dozen cliques and rings, the influence of which will make their members far more narrow-minded, bigoted, and snobbish than they can ever become while guided by the generous impulses of class friendship. But this is a subject worthy of abler treatment and a more extended notice, and I only mention it inasmuch as it concerns my neighbors; for the College thinks it very wrong for classmates to live together, and consequently I have here men of every class, description, taste, and habit, mingled together. I know of but one entry in college where the opposite is the case, and there, while the students lose none of the solid benefits, they gain many of the lighter enjoyments of college life.