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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

THE DEADLY PARENTHESIS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

A member of the class of '28 spoke to his undergraduate advisor as follows:--

"What a magnificent University! What a splendid Curriculum! Here are 130 pages in the pamphlet of courses of instruction."

But the advisor smiled sardonically and said, "Omitted in 1924-25."

The youth stared "What did you say?"

"Those courses are omitted, this year."

"But surely not all of them. They can't all be omitted."

The senior sighed, "Well, perhaps not, but it seemed so to me. And some of them are starred."

"Yes, I've noticed that. What does the star mean?"

"It means that they are unattainable. Surely you have heard the expression, 'Hitch your wagon to a star." It can't be done, you know."

"But, then, why does the University Print all these announcements?"

"Oh, the announcements are quite all right. It's the courses that are missing." The Senior swore feelingly, for he was in the department of English, poor fellow, and the matter touched him closely. But the youth had not been listening; he was thumbing his pamphlet.

"Here," he exclaimed, "here is a course that is neither starred nor omitted." The Senior glanced at it.

"Yes," he approved, "you might take that."

"Ah!" replied the youth as he made a mark in the margin of his pamphlet. "Do you think I can find four more?"

"No," replied the Senior.

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