The early editors of the Advocate would probably have been much surprised if, on the day when the first number of volume I was put on sale they had been told that twenty-six years later the sixth number of volume III would be composed of two pages of editorial, a short article on an approaching athletic contest with Yale, a poem, a sonnet, a review of their own labor, and about eight pages of fiction. They would probably have been still more surprised if they had been told what the character of this fiction would be; that there would be four stories, of very different lengths, and on very different subjects, but all alike in that their plot and the method followed in working them out, would be very dramatic in all their essential - that is, that the four authors of these four stories would depend, each in his own way, on the vividness with which he could narrate a combination of incident which seemed to him to have some meaning, - to throw some light on the problem of life, and then would leave the readers of their stories each to find the meaning or read the lesson as he might, - the founders of the Advocate would, in short, have been surprised if they had known that in twenty-six years their periodical would, except for its editorials, be composed of fiction, and that this fiction would be in its style, essentially dramatic and sensational.
And their surprise would not have been unnatural. The Advocate, at the time of its birth, was the only college paper, and was composed, necessarily, largely of college news, such as today forms almost the entire matter of the CRIMSON, and secondarily of such matter as today makes up the Monthly and the Advocate. When the CRIMSON was founded the department of college news was no longer open to the Advocate and the Monthly in its turn came in and occupied the field of more serious literary work. It was thus, in a way by no means uncreditable to the Advocate that its contents came to be what they are today. That the style in which the fiction is written should, in the the twenty-sixth anniversary number be dramatically sensational is due partly to the mere accidental make-up of the number, and partly to a general tendency of modern pictorial style which is not unworthy of more extended thought and discussion than can be given in these columns.
In general, when one looks over the early numbers of the Advocate and compares them with those of the present year one cannot help feeling that the style of the modern numbers is more artificial, than that of the earlier ones, and lacks some of the force that lies in the straightforward simplicity of the contribution of the last generation.
To come to a brief but more specific criticism of the last number, - of the editorial the one on the "Umpire Question," deserves especial notice, for its thoroughly sane and sportsmanlike attitude. The prophecy indulged in the "Topic of the Day" proved to be exceedingly, well judged. Mr. Stearn's article on "The Origin of the Advocate" is an extremely interesting bit of college journalistic history. Of the fiction "The Brothers-in-Law" is the strongest as well as the most elaborately worked-up, and "Yesterday and Today," though it does not make itself entirely clear, comes easily second. "A Glass of Absinthe" is rather too artificial in its style to have force enough to carry its incident. "A Clover" is a mere sketch, but not badly done.
"In Sunday Meditation", is very slight. The sonnet, "Christ Church" is worthy of very high praise for the forceful simplicity and great repose of its style.