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COMMUNICATIONS.

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PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF PROF.

SOPHOCLES.

EDITORS HERALD-CRIMSON.- Several years ago the professor was in the habit of visiting our family quite frequently, so that I often came in contact with him. There were a few of the professors at whose homes he was always welcome and he regularly, at that time, dined with us on Sundays. He would breakfast and dine early with others, but at 6 o'clock he would appear at our house for his second Sunday dinner. In the evenings when worked up he was fond of relating how the Turks decapitated condemned prisoners. Standing in the middle of the room with his bright eyes flashing fire he would make with his hands each of the peculiar motions after the manner of a Turkish headsman. When he went out he carried a stout cane like a club, in the end of which was a long sharp spike. This served him as a defensive weapon, for the old man was very much afraid of robbers. On the street he always wore the same cap and red neckerchief which served him in his last years, and in his pockets he carried crumbs with which to feed birds, of which he was very fond. If he had anything to carry, were it a pound of sugar from the grocery, white grapes for his favorite chickens, or his clean linen, it was always wrapped in a blue and white checked handkerchief of huge dimensions.

When class day came he would invite us to his room to see the dancing on the green, which always took place in front of his windows. It was a funny room, and served him as kitchen, parlor, study and bedroom, all at once. He did not use the small bedrooms except as storehouses for his books and manuscripts. The furniture of the large room was simple in the extreme. Near the small stove was a plain table and two chairs. In one corner, arranged on his large handkerchief spread on the floor, was his clean linen, in another was his small iron bedstead. About the room, especially on the window-seats and mantel, were numerous pots, mortars, pestles, etc., which gave it the appearance of the abode of an alchemist. The west window was boarded up and the door was secured by several stout locks, which he always tightly fastened on leaving the room. Of the keys, which he always carried and often dangled in his hand, two were very old and large, from six to eight inches in length and of heavy wrought iron.

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He often brought us delicious cakes, which had been sent him from his native country, and once he presented us with a small bag of dates and almonds sent him by the monks of Mt. Sinai, among whom he received his early education. The bag, in shape like a large sausage, was made of the prepared skin of some animal, into which the fruit and nuts had been pounded solidly. When eaten it was cut like an ordinary sausage and the skin peeled off. One evening he came to our house much terrified. He said that he had been attending a faculty meeting and that an explosive placed outside the door by some mischievous students had burst just as he was passing through the doorway. He insisted that it was no use trying to teach the students Greek, and because he did not do much work in the classroom he would not accept the salary of a full professor. His principle income was from the publication of his various works pertaining to Greek.

OBSERVER.EDITORS HERALD-CRIMSON:- In your issue of Tuesday, you publish an article entitled "American vs. English Tennis" on which I should like to make three observations. In particular I would refer to the following sentences. "In volleying. the English player invariably takes the ball as late and as close to the ground as possible, and this he manages to do without losing speed in his return. In fact on the other side the return volley is immensely harder than it is in America. The advantage of this is obvious to anyone who has studied the game. In the American style of volleying, on the other hand, as the ball is seldom allowed to drop below the level of the net, the 'shaping' of the racket tells the receiver at once at what angle the ball is coming, and he is there to meet it. The low volley always keeps the ball low. I should recommend our players to take pains to acquire the low volley'

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1. It is impossible for any man, even "the English player" to strike the ball below the net line "without losing speed in his return." The sole reason, therefore, why "on the other side the return volley is immensely harder than it is in America" lies in the general rule that men cannot hit quickly and hard too. The speed of the return depends upon the quality of the stroke, and an accurate gauging of the position of the ball. Consequently, unless the player is too near the net, the longer he waits, the better. The point is that a man should strike as soon as he is prepared. It is often good strategically and it gains time; and the better the player, the sooner he can afford to strike. 2. It is not evident why the "shaping" of the racket is more treacherous in revealing the direction of high volleys than of low volleys. 3. It is not true that "the low volley always keeps the ball low." As may easily be seen from a diagram, the low volley if it passes the net at the same height, and falls in the same place, will be, after passing the net, always as high and usually much higher than the high volley, and, in proportion to its speed, the bounce will be very much higher. The true reason why the high volley is objectionable is that it rarely passes the net low enough; or, when it does it necessarily makes a high bounce near the net, thus giving the opponent a chance to kill the ball.

It will be seen that I quarrel not with the conclusions, but with the premises and arguments of the writer, with whom I thoroughly agree in disapproving of the "net game."

WJan. 8 1884.

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