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The Plight of the Foolish Virgins


"Enter to grow in wisdom, but after eleven go around by the main gate." So might be inscribed the granite arch above Wigglesworth Gate. Today this gate stands as a continual source of frustration to the returned men of Harvard who are doomed to live in the Yard.

Since time immemorial--or at least since the gate was built--the custom has been to lock it on the dot of six in the evening. At best this was but a feeble gesture toward protecting the Yard, comparable to stopping up one hole in a sieve. All the other gates blatantly proclaim welcome to the crafty artisans of the night. It was only natural that the present inhabitants of the Yard, carrying on the greater part of their social and scholastic activities in the Houses, should request that this custom be temporarily suspended.

They were soon to learn that University officials had no intention of granting the request, or of judging the merits of the case. After preliminary tactics of passing the buck, a campaign of false issues was begun. One sober member of the University charged that there would be defecation in the gateway by townies if it were left open. He argued everything except why this gate of the many gates in the Yard should be locked at night. Finally a milk sop was thrown to the students by extending the hour of closing to eleven.

The term drags wearily to a close and the men of the Yard still trudge down by the Square if they tarry past the curfew hour. Only occasionally they stop to wonder whether it is a college or a nursery school that thus penalizes them for their nocturnal meanderings.

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