If you have ever read "Verdant Green" you will be better able to appreciate Benjamin Emilius Butterfield's state of mind on coming to Cambridge. He felt very much as Verdant Green must have felt at his first wine party. He had been invited by a friend to meet a few men, and have a quiet talk over a glass of wine, and he had prepared himself accordingly, and in dress coat and white tie, he went prepared to hear edifying discussions and profound deductions from the data gathered during years of hard study. To his surprise, on entering a room, filled with smoke and men dressed in every variety of costume, from dressing jacket to cricket flannels, the conversation ran on entirely different subjects. "Would Brazen Nose 'bump' the boat ahead of her?" "What chances have our eleven next week?" and the like, were the topics under discussion.

The men in the room were pointed out to him, not for their literary ability, but "this man is stroke in our boat; that one over there is captain of the eleven; that one took the hundred yards at the bridge last year," etc.

Now Butterfield had some such idea of Cambridge as Verdant Green had of Oxford, and he was somewhat surprised at the reality. Going out on the street-cars in the afternoon he was first of all perplexed by the vocabulary of two gentlemen in top hats and very pointed shoes, who sat near him. The conversation was as follows: "What are you going to grind up for Stubby?" Butterfield pricked up his ears at this, expecting to hear some sage advice as to the proper food for a young dog. "Oh, I shall give him chum's note-book and something from the reference shelves." Butterfield was startled, and then began to wonder what particular breed of dog the gentleman's pup belonged to. "I wish you'd let me take it a day or two; I should like to 'grind' some myself." He has a dog, too, thought Butterfield. "By the way, have you been out in Bob's dog-cart yet? I tell you she's a beauty." "Yes, very 'dog,' that's a fact." Butterfield's eyes opened in amazement, and he determined to see those dogs as soon as possible, for such a canine phenomenon was new to him - an animal that ate note-books and could pull two men in a cart was an animal worth seeing. Shortly after this, as the car settled down to a steady jog on the other side of the railroad track, after unloading several members of a colored colony, he began to look around him and take notice of the other passengers in the car. There was the usual young lady in a broad-brimmed hat, with three or four books and a pocket book in her lap, who stared across the river at the back yards across the water in a dreamy way, and a young man opposite who spent his time reading a book upside down, and trying to intercept her gaze. This rivalry between certain young gentlemen and the row of brick houses on the other side of the water is something that has continued for years, I presume, and as far as I can judge, the brick houses should be awarded the prize. The only hope I have is that under the present regime the struggle between architecture and education will be decided in favor of the latter, owing to the decay of the former.

In one corner of the car sat a Memorial Hall waiter returning to the scenes of his daily triumphs over twelve brow-beaten individuals who submit to cold roast beef and hot vegetables or cold vegetables and hot roast beef, according to the best judgment of the servant above-mentioned. He had a sleek, self-satisfied air, and well he might, for he knew the secret goings-on in an establishment which had been the despair of the president and corporation of Harvard College and six hundred students to boot. He probably knew why the directors remained together four hours in one day and then handed in a report to their constituents covering half a page of foolscap. He had been many times behind that mystery-hiding screen and could tell, if he would, why it takes fifteen minutes to get a cup of coffee and two minutes to have a steak and fried potatoes cooked to order. He might also explain why it is that, although the students have full power, yet they cannot add pickles to the bill of fare without consulting a body of men known as the corporation, who have invariably met just the day before and will not meet again for a month, so that petitions to the board of directors are very much like the pension claim of the old soldier who had calculated that, should everything go smoothly, his great grandchild would have to live to be ninety-six years old to profit by his wounds. Another very curious thing is the fact that if one dines out but two nights in the week beef is always marked twenty-five cents all the other nights of that week. I have studied over this problem and have dined out of the hall on different nights with the express purpose of testing the fact, but I am invariably caught, on my return, with boiled mutton and turkey wings.


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