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Review of Current Advocate

By H. N. Hillebrand

Echoes of the Great Game lurk in the current Advocate, but they are only echoes. Out of its seven contributions, one essay, one poem, and one story deal with athletics, and for such temperance in yielding to a present obsession the editors are to be praised.

The contents are not above average merit, judging them by the standards of undergraduate composition. Of the three poems, the most ambitious and decidedly the best is "Nobody's Land." One passes indifferently over the trite "heart-story" which lies behind this rhapsody and forgives Mr. Jopling some melodramatic lines, content to find in him true appreciation of the great western desert and a gift of expression which sometimes reaches eloquence. There is nothing to praise, in Mr. Murdock's effusion on "The Game." It embodies an idea latent in the minds of many people, that poetry means making similes and the more the better. Mr. Sanger's poem on election which knows no form. It might go on forever, or it might be cut down by three stanzas without great damage; and any one stanza might follow any other. Yet the poem is not without a terse effectiveness.

Distinctly the best work is done in the essays where undergraduate work usually is best. Mr. Whistlerr's plea for strict nonprofessionalism in amateur athletics stands out as the most noteworthy contribution to the magazine. The exposition is admirably clear and just, the illustrations are well chosen, and there is a maturity in the style which is most grateful to the reader. "The Joy of being a Freshman," by Mr. Murdock, is in humorous vein, and enjoys a real merit among pieces of its kind in making fun moderately and in having a vital subject. The writer has discovered a truth is too late,--that of all four years at college there are only two which really count, the last and the first.

The stories are the least satisfactory part of the Advocate's contents. Mr. Larrabee's narrative of conversion and the mysterious ways of Providence is slow in starting and foggy in psychology. We have no faith in the hero's change of heart, for he is ever a creature of impulse and moves when and where his creator would have him. "Borrowing a Smile," by Mr. Clark, save that it is more firmly constructed than the other story, has little to recommend it. The moral is hackneyed, and the subject is just such a one as would suit a Munsey "storiette." To say that it is banal and trifling is to be as severe as courtesy allows.

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