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The Cambridge Letter


The cold mists of Autumn are beginning to float over Cambridge from the fens in the evenings. On the University farm the sugar beet is being lifted and the sugar beet is being lifted and the harvest stubble is all ploughed up, while the October exams, finished this week, show their results in a few days, and show how many candidates reap the harvest of degrees and how many are ploughed up.

The air of expectation in the town changes to one of realization. All the Freshmen are up, and the college notice boards are draped with notices of an official nature. In many colleges it is the custom for the tutors to address a meeting of all the Freshmen in which they advise their pupils what to do and what not to do. They are told to wear cap and gown in the streets after dark; failing this, and supposing the proctors catch them, they pay a fine of 6s 8d (a third of a pound). They are also advised, not in so many words, to avoid meeting the proctors when or if in the company of notorious women of the town.

It might be well to give readers of the Harvard CRIMSON some idea of the status and functions of various University officials. How much these compare with those of their American counterparts may then be seen.

University officers of interest to the undergraduate (and there are many administrative functionaries of great importance whom he never hears of) are the Vice-Chancellor, who is elected annually from the heads of colleges and who presides over the senate; the lecturers and demonstrators; and the proctors. These lost are three in number, and they patrol the streets in turn, night by night, dressed in cap, gown, and white tie, and accompanied by the bull-dogs-sturdy college porters in top hats. They look out for drunk or gownless undergraduates, visit prescribed haunts, and take the names of law-breakers. The proctor's first question is: "Are you a member of this University, sir?" Should an undergraduate hope to escape by answering no, and should he be subsequently discovered, he is told that what he said becomes true-that is, he is no longer a member of the University. The proctor's picturesque appearance makes him easy to avoid.

College authorities are the Master or President, and the Fellows. The Fellows may be active or-unknown to the Undergraduate. His tutor looks after his morals, his director looks after his work. Both these functions consist mainly of saying once a term: "Well, Pinkerton, everything all right?" "Yes, thank you, sir."

It is difficult to draw a picture of University officialdom in so short a space, but these outlines may serve to introduce Harvard men to characters who frequently appear in any report of Cambridge life.

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