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It is very quiet in the Houses. The girls have abandoned their nightly promenade and the bicycles have long since stopped ambling past. Even the Good Humor man has finished his last coaxing round and has jingled off into the night's vastness, Everywhere is the atmosphere of study. But in Lowell House tower there is a stirring. No lights, but a sinister, dark figure outlined vaguely against the open window. Someone sneaking up there to shatter the silence of a pre-exam night by jazzing those mad Russian bells? No. A quiet retreat wherein to grind out a futile string of oaths to help relieve the jitters? No.
A solemn moaning fills the warm air. It oozes into Lowell study rooms and library. It jumps the street over to Winthrop's lighted cram centers. Inhuman, the sound swells and fades, changes catch with a sobbing descent, or rasps anew to tortured heights. Angry heads appear, and irritated voices dispute with the sound, imploring or threatening.
High overhead all the disturbance, the big bass bell seems to fidget uneasily. Not yet. No. No one is beating a wastebasket yet. But soon . . . Yes, there goes that tinny one now, beaten with a shoe--cynical applause. Shucks, this fellow practicing on his violin in the dark shadows of the tower room gets as much response from the boys with a pound or so of wood and gut as a wild, untuned bell gets with a ton of metal on Sunday mornings.
From afar a tomeat ye-owls sympathetically. The boys stuff cotton into their cars and try to concentrate on their notes.
But music is eternal; exams are only temporal things.
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