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Recognition of Acquaintances.


We invite all members of the University to contribute to this column, but we are not responsible for the sentiments expressed. Every communication must be accompanied by the name of the writer.

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

A visitor to the University was lately heard to express surprise that he had seen undergraduates who were introduced to one another in his presence on one day pass by in each other's sight on the next without the exchange of a common greeting or the slightest act of recognition. To the aspersions "Harvard indifference" and "Harvard snobbery" we are not inclined to accredit a greater basis in fact than to the myriad of similar slanders made against every university by shallow phrase-makers with more time than ideas at their disposal. But it ought to be our care that not a single instance of behavior should occur in our midst to act as an exception to the rule which should need no proving: that courtesy no less than intelligence is a part of our acquirement. That such incidents ever happen we should, attribute, not to meanness of spirit, but, rather to the carelessness of youth and to the very young man's desire soon to be considered mature, serious or buried in thought. It is his belief that, since it would be weak for him to make the first advance, it is better to rouse a man's cough by the chilliness of his presence than by a hearty slap on the back. The baneful effect of such a habit of mind upon the individual and upon the spirit of the institution is not difficult to see. With diffidence and deservedness carried to an extreme, the opportunities to appreciate new sides in the nature of an acquaintance--which are only to be discerned after considerable time and may be of a sort to make him a fast friend--are thrown away; and the splendid discipline that comes to the man who weeds out ill founded prejudices is not gained.

It is one of the priceless advantages of a large university that, by reason of its size, it affords its students a greater chance to choose their friends with good taste and discretion. And it is every man's privilege, if not the secret of his happiness, that he may restrict the circle of his intimates to those whose tastes square with his own and to whom he can look for all around betterment. But if we are to think of him as one who never inflicts pain, the gentleman cannot retain his integrity and let pass unnoticed the acquaintance whose hand he has over grasped and who is one with him in a great and, as we are fond of thinking, an ideal society of scholars. UNDERGRADUATE.

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