"Smith," said I, "I'm in the deuce of a fix, and want you to help me out of it."
"How so?" said he.
"I've got a forensic that must be written tonight, for my censure-marks are frightfully near four hundred, and I don't dare to risk any more. I can write that easily enough, but besides that I've got some editorials to write to-night for our paper, and I can't do both. Now, had you just as lief write the editorials for me? I only want a few; something about the last concert at Sanders Theatre, about the changes at the Library, and a remark or two on the semi-annuals. I'd do it myself, but I have n't time."
"Certainly," said Smith in his quiet way, "I'll write them, and bring them round some time in the course of the evening."
I felt relieved. Smith went off, and I went at my forensic. I was just putting the final flourish to the thing, some hours later, when he came in with his editorials.
"I found the thing more trouble than I expected," he said, "but I finally struck upon something that I think will suit you. Here's the one about the Library."
I took it and read: -
"`While improvements are in vogue at the Library, we wish to call attention to one desirable change. Every one who studies there must notice how much easier it is to concentrate his attention upon his books now than it was when, every time he raised his eyes, he caught sight of some fair maiden shut up in a dim recess behind an impassable bar, just like the heroine of a fairy-tale. All this is changed; but still the obstacle to study is not wholly removed. The most inveterate grind can scarcely maintain his composure, and calmly shuffle those puzzling cards in the catalogue, if, on raising his eyes, he sees beside him a sylph-like form waiting patiently for him to finish; and even when his eyes are on his book, his ear will catch the sound of a gentle step far different from the thumping stride of the busy small boy. All this might be obviated by having a small boy to consult the cards or look at books for the library girls; then they would be at peace in one part of the building, and we in another."
"Smith," said I, "is n't that just a little too strong, - `gentle step, sylph-like form'? Why, I believe that you must have some other motive than marks for your everlasting grinding at the Library."
"Don't you like that?" said he, looking a little downcast. "For if you don't, I fear this about the goodies will hardly suit you."
"The goodies," said I, - "a time-honored subject surely. What have you to say upon it?"
"`How can it be expected that students will develop a true love for the beautiful as long as the college surrounds them with such fearfully homely goodies -"
"Heavens!" I exclaimed, "that's an attack from a new point with a vengeance."
"`The purifying influence of women, which, as the poet says -"
"Hold on, Smith," said I, "this will never do. Have you put poetry in an editorial?"
"Only a few lines from `The Princess.'"
"Why, Smith, what is the matter with you? I thought you were a sensible fellow, and never would give yourself away in this style."
Smith glared indignantly for a moment, then gathered up his papers, and marched out of the room. I have n't seen him but once since, and then he would n't speak. However, I shall try to stand it.