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THE population of a college is of such a cosmopolitan and consequently migratory nature, that the beginning of a vacation causes scarcely a perceptible stir. The recitation-rooms become suddenly deserted, a few loads of trunks leave town, and a body of men, equal to a good-sized Western village, have departed with the stealth of an Arab encampment. An ubiquitous individual of the spirit-world could hardly be more interestingly employed than in following the men to their different homes and amusements, and observing what becomes of them, - we had almost said what they become; for a college man, marked and catalogued according to college standards, becomes often a totally different being when thrown into the world. Some, lionized and petted by their small circle of friends and acquaintances, assume alarming proportions in their own estimation, and, by reason of their own greatness, are threatened with the tragic end of the fabled frog. The more numerous class, however, are swallowed up in the larger life of some great city, where, in contact with the great, broad stream of humanity engaged in the strife of active life, they realize the pettiness of their own small achievements and successes, and are led to wonder if these can ever really serve them when their resources are put to the test in real life. In short, they get a glimpse of what awaits them on leaving the quiet seclusion of study.
But these sort of considerations are not apt to be uppermost in the thoughts of the student while spending, his vacation amid the gayeties of city life. In fact, if we may take Harvard men in New York as an example, their thoughts seem quite as much taken up with the alluring frivolities of the metropolis as with moralizing on the sterner problems of life which underlie them. During the holidays New York presents the gayest phase of American life. It is becoming more and more Parisian every day, both in appearance and manner of life. As a consequence, it is adapted, as no other city in the States is, to the requirements of a loafing public. By loafing we would not be understood to mean the vulgar street-corner and bar-room form of this refined enjoyment, but the graceful and elegant passing of one's time, when no duties call, in a round of well-timed and carefully moderated enjoyments. It is an art, this living a life of leisure well, and New-Yorkers are just learning it. Our Harvard men probably understand this art of loafing as well as anybody, and they are not slow to show their proficiency when occasion offers. A very large number of them, both residents and visitors, were in New York during the past vacation, and things were correspondingly lively. Released from dull routine of ordinary duties, and with all the resources of the metropolis at their disposal, they revel in that highest of all luxuries, the time and ability to follow the dictates of their own sweet wills.
The keenest enjoyment to be derived from the hours before noon is ordinarily a total oblivion of them. "Another folding of the arms to rest" is delicious, especially if there is a bell in the neighborhood to remind you of the prayer-bell, so that the delicate luxury of revenge may be added to that of slumber.
After a leisurely eaten breakfast, of which the monotony may be relieved by some choice literature from the N. Y. Herald, the next feature in a well-regulated day for this autocrat of elegant loafing is a cigar at a certain billiard-room, which is the favorite rendezvous of Harvardites. Here the first serious efforts of the brain and body should be expended on the delicate ivories. As everybody is here, the programme for the day is usually laid out, at the same time that the latest scintillations of wit and humor are exchanged. This is only the beginning, but we cannot delineate further. Lunch, calls, driving, dinner, theatre, supper, and so forth, follow. There is no break in the possibilities of enjoyment, except perhaps in the afternoon for a couple of hours, when, in this slushy weather, the Park does not substitute the Bois. New York by gaslight, however, is nearly equal to the standard of Parisian brilliancy, and the day can be ended as successfully as begun. A week of this sort of existence is apt to make one lose sight of the fact that he was ever trammelled by duties or cares of any kind. The reminder comes, however, as soon as one touches the soil of Cambridge, and finds with surprise that recitations have begun, and the instructor expects as full preparation as though you had been digging all the vacation and not cultivating the aesthetic side of your nature. A singular class of men our instructors, always here in time, well up on the lesson, and yet it was only yesterday that we saw them promenading a fashionable avenue or gazing with an evidently interested expression at the frivolities of a popular theatre. Well, we must to work and put in practice the good resolutions of 1874. Not to hazard any of the usual advice and moralizing on the good resolutions which we take it for granted all our readers have made, we do wish them the very happiest of all Happy New Years.
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