The current number of the Advocate is made up of five timely and well-expressed editorials, three poems, one play, three stories, and an essay. The verse is of the average undergraduate standard. The play attempts too much in a short space to be effective. Of the stories, "The Man in Puce Waistcoat" relates a humorous incident, apparently in Eighteenth Century England, of how the choleric gentleman, in the costume described, lost five pounds by betting that another wayfarer at the inn could not cure the servant girl's earache. The pain, proved to be caused by an ant which was brought out by means of a ladle of water. The story is well told. "Un Roi de France" and "The Hoss-Thief" are tales of murder and sudden death. In the first, one does not fully sympathize with Pierre in his heroic calm while the flames of the burning building licked his feet. But "then mercifully, he fainted," which, of course, makes his end less horrible. The story of the "hoss-thief" is told thirty years afterward with appropriate scenic effects.
The essay, "A Plea for Leisure," recognizes a real need in college life that is often lost sight of in our discussions of three-year degrees, and incentives to work. "Leisure," the author says, "means a time for quiet reading, thinking and talking." Emphatically it does not mean a time of stagnation. Neither is it time taken away from study. A boy entering college is at a very impressionable, formative period. We, the teaching force, should find means to stir him intellectually, to rouse his ambition to do, and should also give him time to think, for all the new ideas to expand and develop. We should advise him, because he is still immature and likely to misjudge his powers and drain his strength, as to the use of his time. We should give him work to fill his working time, not forgetting that he needs play-time. We should encourage individual activity for the class and the college, but at the same time restrain it so that the boy shall not become ineffective through multiciplicity of aims and lose sight of the purpose of his college course, which is sound education. Intellectual ambition, unselfish endeavor for the class, academic leisure--the author of this essay recognizes the place of all three but makes his special plea for the third.
The Advocate this week is readable, not distinguished. It might as well have been published in Tucson, Arizona, as in Cambridge. Have the undergraduates, one wonders, no ideas to express on college questions of the hour, no tales to tell of undergraduate life? An issue which would discuss these things would be of extreme interest to graduates and surely would be to undergraduates as well. They are not different from the rest of the world--they, too, like to read about themselves