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Deus ex Machina

By Paul W. Mandel

A certain national sightseeing company, according to its brochure, operates out of such places as Death Valley, Carlsbad Caverns, Columbia Icefields, and Indian Detours. It also sends a bus to "Educational Boston, Cambridge, and Harvard University" at 12 noon and 3 o'clock on every day that it can round up four or more passengers. About 20 people took the noon excursion last Tuesday, including a couple from Detroit, a Latin American, and a public-relations man who spent the ride telling the Latin American about the virtues of Southern California.

The tour began at the Hotel Statler and led through Central Square. Lamont Library was the first Harvard building to appear. "That's a club building," the driver commented, "and the one past it is the College Library. The one with all the ivy." Turning right at the Square, he drove up toward Cambridge Common and pointed to a bronze statue labelled Sumner. "Now look past that information booth," he said. "That statue is John Harvard, founder of Harvard University." The sightseers murmured interestedly.

Next attraction was a large white structure inscribed Littauer Center of Public Administration. "And that's the Law School," said the driver. He took another right and identified Soldier's Hall. "My, that's a funny sort of building," said the man from Detroit.

The tour took a fifteen-minute time out, so that everyone could see the glass flowers at the University Museum. Only three persons stayed behind, including the driver, who explained to his passengers that "I've seen them so may times I'm sick of them." I took the opportunity to ask him how he had acquired such familiarity with the Harvard scene. "Oh," he shrugged, "I've been doing this for years."

When the tourists got back, the bus took another turn and paused in front of the Graduate Dorms. "These apartment houses were built by Harvard," said the driver. "It's a new thing in apartment houses." Then came the Radcliffe Yard. "Behind that fence is Radcliffe College. That's a college for ladies."

The driver rolled slowly over the spot where the Washington Elms once stood, and wheeled on into residential Cambridge. Other attractions included the home of James Russell Lowell, president of Harvard; Stillman Infirminary (sic), where the Harvard boys go; and the Harvard School of Business. Last spectacle in the University was Soldiers Field and the Harvard Stadium. "Oh!" said the man from Detroit. "The Yale Bowl!"

Back at the Statler, the driver quipped, "That's the end of the tour, folks. I hope you're satisfied." Most of the rubbernecks looked very, very satisfied. As the lady from Detroit put it--she had also spent the morning on the Historie and Modern Boston tour--"We go on these trips in every city. They're so educational."

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