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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

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It is a common saying that "life is a struggle." Surely no one appreciates this more than the undergraduate, who when the torments of the class-room are over for the time, has field to his room for a quiet smoke or an hour's study, and is interrupted first, by the dark-skinned man with the earrings and silk handkerchief knotted around his throat. He knocks softly, and entering mysteriously, informs you that he has just arrived from Havana on the steamer, and has, with infinite pains and danger succeeded in smuggling a few thousand cigars, which he happens to have in the bundle that he carries under his arm, and of which he will let you have a hundred or so as a special favor. Scarcely is this dreadful creature disposed of, leaving an odor of garlic behind him that lingers in spite of pipes and open windows, when the picture fiend appears.

You tell him you can't afford to buy any. No matter, don't think about money, any time will do. No you don't want to charge it. Very well, he will take any old clothes that you have. It is only by the use of the strongest possible terms, and the plainest language that he can be induced to take his leave.

All of us see dozens of times every day the notices forbidding peddlers and beggars to come into the buildings and among the students, but apparently they are of as little avail as our prayers for fire-escapes. Still, let us not give up all hope for when the peddlers are kept out the fire-escapes may be built, and the gymnasium may be lighted at the entrance.

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