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The Vagabond



Last night the Vagabond sat in his New room and reminisced. As idle driblets of thought and kaleidoscopic memories wafted their feather-like way through his brain, his gaze drifted around the many walls which encircle his new penthouse cubicle. Before him the desk, the calendar, the typewriter. Well enough; they had been so in the past. And there was the Falstaffian old leather Morris chair with its spinster companion, the ever slightly drunken bridge lamp, leaning confidentially over its shoulder--looking the same as ever. But will the old combination still breed the same pleasant spawn of thoughts, the Vagabond wondered? Could they still whisper the same mental innuendoes of Donne when he thought of English 30, or of Dewing when he thought of Ec. 61? Last year they did, but that was in the Old familiar room. When he had sat on his windowseat there, he knew that if he looked out he could just glimpse a corner of the clock in Memorial Hall tower. But that New windowseat, a bigger, softer, less intimate one--well, the Vagabond wasn't exactly sure of the view from it. Perhaps an unfamiliar smattering of Lowell tower, a few hurricane-slain tress, a foot or so of Drive and Charles; and the clock now brazenly and imperatively in full view, no doubt. The rest of his uprooted belongings, including the radio which squeals, were also set up in a New territory, embarrassed, trying to regain their Old composure, to melt dustily and uncomplainingly into their erstwhile demure obscurity. A New bed with an unfamiliar sag. A New bureau with all the knobs on the drawers. An utterly New and slightly terrifying room. . . a New Year.

Pensively the Vagabond flicked a key of his Old Underwood. Would it still be able to unravel those neat, printed letters which somehow lessen the chaos of thought? Could it still supply the right word, the proper touch to sentences in this foreign atmosphere? Then suddenly, in the vast loneliness of unfamiliar surroundings, he remembered again how Freshmen feel. How awful and unhuman and unknowable college seems. How important and lightning and complicated a History 1 lecture can sound. How vast and impersonal and uninterested the Union can feel. How suave and learned and acquainted everyone else can seem when you are the only one in a New herd. The wind, the light, the air, the very atmosphere, are different from the Old, the homey kind. College is like that, the Vagabond reflected--like moving into a New room.

But Freshmen get along. They learn of tutoring schools and mimeographed lecture notes. They get used to the animal heads and the menu at the Union. They acquire shoes and hats and slacks and friends like the rest. They find their places and the atmosphere gradually, unnoticeably, has meanwhile through some magic grown normal and livable. They get used to Harvard--their New room. And the Vagabond guesses that pretty soon he will get used to his New room, too. Till then he, too, will just grope hopefully for the light.

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