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The Vagabond

TONE-OF-VOICE NOTE

A good deal depends on the tone of voice.

We've always thought that Shakspere was batty when he said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. What there is about the word rose that calls up images of sweetly perfumed balconies on sultry moon-lit evenings in the spring, and maidens eager to be stormed thereon, and oh! so tenderly captured, we don't know. But we're perfectly sure that if the vicissitudes of language had caused Romeo to climb by a trellis of cucumbers to Juliet's bower to gain that soul-stirring kiss, the play might as well not have been written. There's a hidden meaning, a kind of divinity, that gives "rose" a power over the senses that not another vegetable possesses in its name.

Names are funny, too. Juliet does some speculating about where-fore Romeo is Romeo and not Caspar Milquetoast or some other moniker that would rid the young pigeons of the family barriers between them. And the tone of her voice--that tender caress of a voice, instinct with primal passion and heart-throb and love--gives a musical quality and dramatic force that's been associated with it ever since. If you said to us "Romeo" and we replied "Romeyback" that would be that. But when Juliet, atop the rose-kirtled balcony, breathes out on the sweet smelling evening, "Ah, Romeo!" it's a moment immortal.

But what got us into this idea of the value of a tone of voice was an incident we witnessed on Holyoke Street. The whole thing could have taken place in pantomime save for the final remark, and that depended not on itself, but entirely on the tone of voice with which the ladies mouthed it. We'll leave you to say it over for yourself.

A bright spring day three damoiselles were gaily endeavoring to turn their roadster around in Holyoke Street. It was the kind of a car that means for the open road, and its mood was the mood of its fair inhabitants. And it frankly gave in to claustrophobia and wouldn't turn. So the hilarious females, full of the joie de vivre, summoned a passing Harvard lad to extricate them from their troubles. Sir Lancelot obliged like a true knight, but, the troubles over, he was heard by the damsels no longer in distress to drop the remark "Just Radcliffe!"

The motor shrieked to a stop. The gals spun round in their seats in fury and in a tone of voice that defies description screamed, "What do you mean, Radcliffe!"

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