While society after society is springing up to improve and purify everything under the sun and a few things not under the sun, the college is supposed still to be an oasis of liberalism and tolerance. Hence it seems scarcely credible that Mount Holyoke students have sold their birthright to murder the King's English whenever and wherever they please, even to give others a mess of potage. Yet the Transcript vouches for the fact that the Y. W. C. A., perhaps by some form of insidious propaganda, has put in force fines for every lapse from "correct" speech at the dinner table during the week before Thanksgiving, the proceeds to be given to the indigent population of South Hadley for Thanksgiving dinners. In the first two days the bill was run up to over sixty-five dollars, which, at the low rate of fines denotes some nine hundred faux pas.
It would be interesting to know just how the fines have been allocated. For there was probably not a single alleged error for which it is impossible to find plausible justification. Numberless expressions condemned by the purists of today can be found in the greatest classics written in the English language. After all, is it not a sign of intelligence rather than the reverse to use slang? For it is a well worn platitude that the slang of today is the speech of tomorrow; even the majestic Plato used slang in his deepest philosophical works because of its freshness and vividness. One is inclined to impute the passiveness of Mount Holyoke students under this oppressive regulation to ignorance of the distinguished precedents for unstandardized speech rather than to conviction of the worthiness of the purist ideal. And even so, it is hard to see why they would not prefer giving turkeys outright to having their dinner spirits dampened by purist police-women.