At Pennsylvania State College, seven students have gallantly sacrificed themselves to "tobacco testing". Each of them will smoke thirty-six cigars, made of specimens grown on experimental farms, and report on the "burning quality, taste, aroma and character of ash."
One is, of course, immediately reminded of Walter Reed, and other scientists who have experimented on themselves for the good of humanity. In these days when people are willing to walk a mile for a Camel, it is highly important that they be safeguarded against an undue percentage of nicotine; and nowhere can guardians of the general welfare be so properly found as in the colleges. Even the Yale "Pest" would agree that none are better suited. But should this philanthropy be restricted to the comparatively innocuous luxury,--tobacco. No,--as any statesman would say,--a thousand times, no! The self-denial, the courage, the patriotism which inspired these students may be diverted to even more conspicuously beneficial uses.
For example, a few volunteers could well be used to sample the Waldorf's tomato soup. Let those who have scalded their unwary mouths speak up. And if some agency would furnish several desirable young men to wear August's imported neckwear, one would be greatly aided in seeing oneself as others see one, and much agony might be averted.
But the outstanding employment for these patriots has, naturally, been reserved until the end. There really is, however, a need for a "Public Taster", corresponding to the renowned "King's Taster" of mediaeval courts. There have been most lamentable cases of blindness and even worse caused by impure beverages of doubtful authenticity, and even some of the best recommended importations are simply frightful.
Here is a field of unlimited opportunity for publicly-inclined students, and there are, indeed, evidences that it does not need advertising. Still, "tasting" must be encouraged only as a serious profession; no frivolity should mar its beautiful self-sacrifice.