The Girl and the Game and Other College Stories/The Advantages of a College Education



Robert J. Elliot, 2d, the son of the well-known Robert J. Elliot, came to college from a large prep. school, suffering from enlargement of his Ego. It is a common disease, but usually they get over it in Freshman year. At least they did in those days, though there were cases even then where serious lapses occurred. Elliott's symptoms were only aggravated by his Freshman year—for the following reasons:

The faction from his school wanted to nominate one of their crowd for a class officer at the first elections, held early in the term before the Freshmen knew many of their class-mates by sight. Elliot had been running nearly everything at school, and though some of them were down upon him, they put him up for treasurer or secretary or something, because they thought he would stand the best chance of election with the class at large. He thought it was because the crowd liked him best.

He was elected; partly because he was known as the son of Robert Elliot—most Freshmen have no personality at all—and partly because he had led some cheers during the rush with the Sophomores the night before. He thought it was because they recognized in him "one born to command," as his doting old-maid aunt had once said of him in his presence. So he mounted the platform, stood erect beside the class president just elected (the latter a football giant, very rattled), and was inspected by his class-mates while congratulated by the patronizing upper-classmen who were conducting the meeting and smoking pipes.

He was pleasing to look at, older than some of them, and not afraid of a crowd. So the class approved and cheered him and pounded on the desks vigorously. He hearkened to the cheers with a reserved. smile, and decided that his aunt was a good judge of human nature.

Now, in those barbarous days, Freshman class officers were always sought out for special attentions by the entertainment committees from the Sophomore class. Elliot was hazed in proportion to his importance. But this he took, like the printing of his name in two-inch capitals on the annual Sophomore proclamation, as due a man of such consequence in the class commune. It did not affect his disease except to increase it.

Again, at the regular class meeting, later—the first is only for temporary purposes—he ran for his class office once more, and was reëlected, as were the other officers, because there was nothing against him.

At about the same time he was appointed manager of the Freshman football team, and made a very good one. He was a capital organizer.

In short, young Elliot became very important; was secretary of his class, which was large, led cheers at class games, had a nodding acquaintance with a number of upper-classmen, and was sought out by the toadying elements of his own class who liked to be seen with him at football practice. And all those who have been Freshmen know how inspiringly important all this seems at the time. Those who have gone the rest of the way through college know, also, that too much Freshman year prominence is quite likely to be more like weight than wings to an ambitious undergraduate.

Elliot did not know it. He had his name put up for Sophomore president, and was defeated because the class thought they had given him honors enough, and also because he had become accustomed to saying—by his manner, at least—"We prominent fellows," and was not especially cordial with all the obscure members of the class. This was not because he was a snob, it was because he did not know those fellows, and was too honest to pretend to be delighted to see them. But their votes count one each.

Then he tried for a prize in Clio Hall, and—"Oh, well, I didn't work hard enough," he remarked later. Next he decided to become an editor of the Princetonian, and did not write enough. And in the spring of the Sophomore year he ran for the treasurership of the University Football Association. This was considered a very great honor, the most prominent official position in the undergraduate world. Or, rather, the presidency was, which the treasurer inherited in his Senior year, according to precedent. Elliot banked everything upon it. Gaining this, he thought, would mean an election to a certain well-known club which he wanted very much to make. He thought it would mean that; he never ascertained, because he was turned down hard—quite hard.

Now, if he had realized that the reasons lay in himself, and had said, "Maybe I am not born to command. Maybe God did not mould me of special clay in special design," all this might have made a man of him. But he did not.

He told himself that all friends were fickle, that there was no truth or honor in mankind, that clubs were hot-beds of snobbery, and that the treasurer of the P. U. F. B. A, was stuck on himself. None of the Elliots has any humor.

He became what was called a "Sour Ball." He objected to everything, from the food at his eating club to the decision of the board of trustees in regard to entrance requirements; proclaimed that Princeton spirit was dead, that the whole college and athletics in particular were going to the bad, and that every one was arrogant from the President of the institution to the captain of the Freshman lacrosse team. He talked thus at dinner, in Sunday-night pow-wows, and on walks to Kingston. And yet he was not altogether a nuisance to his associates, who respected the ability by which he maintained his position with interesting and impressive arguments. Besides, he had an agreeable personality and was exceedingly obliging. He possessed something of charm, in fact.

It was when he was in this frame of mind in his Junior year that he joined the How-How Eating Club, which had rather good meals and plenty of fun—all in one room of a house on Nassau Street. This was ages ago, before there were many of the modern large elective clubs with permanent homes and expensive pins to wear on the waistcoat. The How-How Club—most of it—had been one crowd ever since Freshman year, and they liked one another well enough to stay together for the rest of their college course, as two or three of them had been obliged to inform the emissaries of a certain large permanent club. They represented a variety of phases of undergraduate activity. Most all of them amounted to something in some way.

And each one had learned to take care of his temper at the table. This was necessary in order to have any peace or self-respect. Three times a day keen, undergraduate repartee flew back and forth across that table-cloth. The man who could not sit up and defend himself was thrown down and trampled upon.

The trouble with the club just now was that they were all too well acquainted. Each knew what the rest thought about all subjects and how each one would take everything, and how he would say it. They were very fond of one another, but they had been together so much that all the mystery of personality had been rubbed off, and they weren't old enough to appreciate what good friends they really were to one another.

When they heard that Elliot wanted to come, they said: "Why, yes, we've nothing against Bob." They needed a new element.

Elliot thought he was rather favoring them in coming; they did not look at it in that way. They were under the impression that they were the best all-round crowd in the class, and the only reason that he was allowed to cherish this newest delusion of his for some time was that they did not discover its existence at first.

Then by and by Mason, one of those who had been at the same prep. school and knew him better than the others, began to perceive it and to show him so by a few little pleasantries.

Elliot had been a big boy at school when Mason was a little boy at school, and Elliot had an idea that their mutual attitude was still relatively the same. So he continued to take what was said to him with an indulgent smile which meant, "Oh, I don't mind that from you, you know," until one day Mason said something which Elliot thought called for reproof; drawing himself up, he looked serious and said, "See here, I've had enough of that from you, Mason."

But this was not a tiny little prep. boy with an uncertain voice he was now addressing, but Mason of the Junior class, who was getting a reputation in Whig Hall as a debater. "Oh, I don't believe so," he answered in a thoughtful manner; "I rather like it. In fact, I've been thinking it would be pleasant to have some fun with you."

"To tell you the truth, Bob," interrupted Downing with a good-natured voice from the end of the table, "we're just beginning with you."

Elliot paid no heed to that. The fact that Mason, timid little Mason, dared answer thus to him, R. Elliot, who used to ignore Mason's existence, roused him like a slap on the nose, and he turned upon the little one to crush him with a single blow. "Children should be seen and not heard," he said in a loud tone which was intended for withering sarcasm. It did not wither.

"Really? Is that the best you can do?" said Mason raising his eyebrows. "Try again, and see if you can't manage to keep from getting so red in the face this time; it isn't becoming to 'one born to command.'" Mason was a distant cousin of Elliot.

"Shut up, you little poler!" he retorted childishly.

"Your temper"—Mason was buttering his potato and talking in an exasperatingly even tone—"is one of several things you have failed to command. A little poling"—which means hard study—"along that line might not hurt 'the pride and ambition of the family.'"

And Downing spoke up again. Downing was president of the class. "My young friend"—Elliot hated to be patronized by Downing—"we no longer consider it witty to make remarks about polers as you did just now; that is an under-classman trick. You ought to be over it by this time."

"Say, fellows," remarked Skinney Harrison, "what a lot he has got to learn. But don't feel discouraged, Bobbie; you'll forget all about it when you are a grown man, like papa. Cheer up."

Then as they saw that he was becoming angry the whole table began taking shots at him. It was their duty to teach him to control his temper.

Thus began a new epoch in the life of R. Elliot, 2d. At school, and for a year or two in college, he had always been sought out as a personage of importance. At home, and wherever he went in summer, he had always been known as the son of Robert J. Elliot. He had never been mastered before. He had never acknowledged that any one was his equal in any respect and it amazed him, as when a child first learns there is no chance of getting the moon.

He made a hard fight for it, but around that table were heads better for this sort of thing and tongues considerably nimbler than his would ever be. At last he acknowledged to himself that, possibly, after all, he was not unique. This is one of the advantages of a college education.

They, his clubmates and friends, having turned Robert inside out and upside down, and rubbed him this way and that until they thought they had shown him his relative importance in the world, then turned their special attention to Skinney Harrison once more, who was getting lonely up there at the end of the table. They now considered Elliot one of themselves.

All that they had done was meant kindly. At least not unkindly, as any one ought to have seen. They liked him, for otherwise they would not have allowed him to stay there. They were merely giving him his share with the rest, and, perhaps, were rather generous toward him because they deemed that his need was greater.

No one knew that it was going in deep. If they had they would have let up as they always did with Skinney Harrison when his jaw dropped. Elliot had not again lost control of his temper, answered back about as well as the average, and was the sort of fellow that looks eminently incapable of having his feelings hurt.

But he was a very serious person, like his father. He was taking the things said to him at the club seriously, carrying them up to the campus with him, and repeating them to himself in bed, feverishly, when he ought to have been asleep.

The others at the table caught it about as badly, sometimes worse, but he did not take that into consideration, for he was not thinking about the others. So he concluded that they all considered him a boot-licker, a schemer, an utterly unscrupulous politician and a coward. What would be the object in talking as they did, unless they meant him to see a foundation of truth under it? he asked himself.

The worst of it was that when he stopped to consider carefully he did see a foundation of truth under some of it. But he did not stop there; that only set him going. He made up his mind to be quite honest with himself. He became still more serious. And in a short time he was wondering if there was any good in himself at all.

You see, for twenty years or so he had been a lively, energetic boy with a mind so occupied with external interests, as should be the case with all healthy young organisms, that he had never wasted time over introspection. When he got this attack of ingrowing thoughts he ran against a lot of stuff he had never dreamed of before, and it nearly took his breath away.

And, like many when they first realize some of the gray facts of reality at the bottom roots of living, he began looking for nothing but the gray ones, and, naturally, succeeded in his search. Then he turned, as one will in self-denunciation, for comparison with others, and began to wonder if they were not all wrong and built on selfish principles, too, and found that they were. He was all selfish, and they were all selfish and everything ever done and said and thought in all the world was reducible to selfish motives. This school-girl morbidness Elliot thought an original discovery.

Making this discovery occupied the rest of his Junior year. When he came back as a Senior he took to strolling about the campus alone, with eyes open for selfish motives. "Those Sophomores that shouted 'Thank you, please,' so loud for that ball which rolled near me," he would point out to himself, "do so to show these Freshmen over here how familiar they could be with a Senior." Just then a classmate said "Hello, Bob," in a friendly tone, and Elliot smiled knowingly, for Senior elections were near at hand. For these and similar atrocities he hated mankind.

No one suspected him of being so miserable. They called him "Sour Ball," but thought he was merely disappointed at the way some things had turned out, or a little serious thinking over what "next year" means to a Senior. He was treated like every one else by the fellows on the campus and at the club, any one of whom would have been glad to let Elliot tell him all about it, and forget it. But Elliot had never learned to do such things.

Now what he really needed, of course, to make him realize what a good thing was life in that little world, was about one month of hustling in the big outside world with a taste of earning the price of his meals in a down-town-to-work-at-nine-one-hour-for-luncheon-up-town-at-six sort of life, among people who did not care enough for him to say sarcastic things. This was to come a year later. But meanwhile, as he did not know enough to consult friends or books about his ailment, if he had merely spent a little of the time employed in telling himself how miserable he was, in going down to the university field an hour a day and chasing himself about the track until he dropped, then after a tingling shower bath followed by a hard whiskey rub-down, he would have sauntered up to the club, while the sun was gloriously dropping behind the elms, with his cheeks aglow, a ravenous appetite, and a heart full of thanks to his God for having permitted him to live and be an under-graduate for another twenty-four hours. But you see the others would have thought he was trying for the Track Athletic team and guyed him about it, and he cringed before ridicule. Besides the misanthrope enjoyed wallowing in the mire of his misanthropy. They always do. So he sat around in his room telling himself how miserable everything was until his digestion deserted him, and then he was really miserable.

The climax came about in a very natural way. He came down to the club for dinner one evening with a loathing for food and human nature. He tried some of the first for duty's sake, but for human nature he had no use, and he sat there with his chin on his shirt bosom and his legs stretched out under the table, thinking how he hated them all. He had a notion to tell them so.

As it was, he went around the table mentally, addressing each one in turn. He did not have to look up. He knew where each one sat and just how each looked, and how Grafton chewed with his lips apart.

"Oh, you huge ass!" he breathed, as Downing began to differ with somebody and to show his reasons for it. "You self-satisfied ass! You think because you won that debate last year that you're just about right, don't you? That's it! give them platitudes in a loud voice. They don't know the difference. It's all a game of bluff. Swell up your chest, stick out your chin; now smile! That's the way.

"And you, you poor little affected mannerism, next there. You absurd little fool with your ill-fitting English clothes. I wonder if it ever occurs to you what a ridiculous little figure you make when you go to Philadelphia for Sunday and put your padded coat on your sloping shoulders—and with your cockney manners, too—and then talk about your relatives among the nobility. But you don't know any better. You think you're the real thing.

"And you, you great tub of self-indulgence! you childish clown! I suppose you really think that you are a wonderfully fine fellow because the whole college knows you and says 'Hello, Skinney,' to you. You think that because you're popular you amount to something. That's right, grin and chuckle and slap Rankin on the back. That's the way you get your popularity. You are called generous and kind. That's because you're big. But I wonder if you ever stopped to think of any one else's comfort when it stood in the way of your dinner or your cigar. There you go again, with your childish capers. You are truly pitiable."

At that point little Mason bethought himself to call Skinney down a peg, and did so sharply.

For a moment Elliot was glad; and then he thought, "Why should that little fool think it his privilege to regulate this table? He has been told he is sarcastic, so he thinks he must live up to his part on all occasions. Anybody can curl up a lip and sneer; that's not very bright. He thinks he understands people's weaknesses and can pierce them every time. I wonder if it ever occurs to him that others see as much as he does. Look at him curling up his ugly mouth and glancing around the table to see which one to light upon."

"Great Scott! Elliot, don't talk so much. Give us a chance," Mason called out in a loud tone.

Elliot, who had not uttered a word for three meals, only smiled in a superior manner, murmured, "Don't excite yourself," and began to toy with his roast beef. He prided himself on being self-contained.

Then he took in the rest of the table in imaginary conversation; smiled contemptuously at the man who sang on the Glee Club and was good looking and knew it; ridiculed the Princetonian editor who wrote long-worded, many-claused sentences and complacently considered himself a moulder of public opinion; laughed at the man who thought himself literary and wrote about shimmering curls and moaning the moan of remorse in the Nassau Lit; heaped satire upon the young man who was making up his mind to become a preacher; and so on around the dozen or so at the table, each one of whom had foibles, which, if examined to the exclusion of their virtues, were enough to make their possessors appear ridiculous and, possibly, hateful.

Without waiting for dessert, or even to fill his pipe, Elliot left the table, walked slowly up the street, through the campus, climbed the stairs to his room and locked the door.

When a man does not appear at the club at meal time the natural inference is that he is a guest at some other club; and if he misses several meals in succession, his friends suppose him to be out of town, and ask his roommate where he went, if he has one; if not, they wait until the absent member comes back and tell him to account for himself, if they think of it.

All day Friday Elliot's napkin remained cornucopia-shaped in the tumbler. This was the way Willis, the waiter, preferred fixing them. That evening some one said, "Where's Bob?" "Gone home over Sunday, I suppose," another replied. Then, as nobody changed the subject, Downing remarked, "Wonder what's the matter with Bob lately? He's so blamed morose. Notice him last evening?"

"Got a remorse sour on, likely," suggested Cute Rankin, who knew what that meant.

"I think it's a girl," said the Glee Club man.

"Anyway," spoke up Mason, "he ought to talk. There's no excuse for a man's being that way. Talk will help anything that worries, same as yelling in pain.

Meanwhile, way up in the top story of Witherspoon lay the Sour Ball, flat on his back with an attack of acute indigestion, hating everything, especially the hot rolls he had eaten the day before.

Ben, the black man, had gone after the doctor, who said the patient should not try to get up "for a day or two," and then went away again.

This was at about noon on Friday, after he had already been in bed a long period of darkness, made up of interminable waits for Old North clock to strike the next hour; and then an unbearable age of daylight during which he saw Ben clean up the room and heard the bell ring for each of the recitation hours, and speculated about the mail which was noisily dropped through the slot in the outer room.

In those days there was no Isabella McCosh Infirmary with sun-baths and electric bells and trained nurses wearing clean, light-blue dresses which rustle. When you fell ill in your room you stayed there. What you had to eat was brought by the waiter from the club—when he had finished washing the dishes—in a basket with a napkin soaking in the soup. Your friends went for the doctor and nursed you until your health returned, or your relatives came, which was better.

But there were particular reasons why Elliot did not consider it worth while sending for things to eat. He breakfasted on cracked ice which Ben stole from the cooler downstairs. For luncheon he munched small bits of ice. He dined upon ice. And every two hours he took some foul white stuff that the doctor put in a tumbler on a trunk beside his watch, which latter moved very slowly these days.

At one time he began counting the half-inch circles and the two-inch circles in the wall-paper figure on the right-hand side of the room. Toward twilight he had gained considerable proficiency; he counted twenty-three more in the last half hour than in the first. He kept account with a pencil on an envelope, both of which he fished out of his clothes on the trunk by the bed.

Presently it became too dark to count, but he could hear the bell ring for Hall and afterward strike the hours, which is somewhat interesting. Also he could bet with himself how soon the entry door downstairs would squeak and slam again. He tried to name the owner of each footstep as various fellows came running or walking up the clattering stairs. For some reason or other they nearly all whistled or sang this evening. After a while they stopped running up and down. His watch ticked noisily.

And it came to pass in the course of time that morning dawned once more, and he began to count again. He saved the bureau, where were photographs and cards and things, to feast on the next day. The room was small and he had to economize. This was only Saturday morning.

By and by Ben, the man, came up to fix the room again. "Good-morning, Ben," cried Elliot eagerly. It seemed to Elliot that Ben did his work in a rudely short time. He would not be back now for twenty-four hours.

But the doctor would be along in the afternoon. To be sure! Only six or eight hours, and he would see the doctor! He became excited over it and counted his pulse beats.

After luncheon Skinney Harrison put on a sweater and his big tramping shoes to walk down to Lawrenceville and see his prep. brother. Then he remembered that his essay was due two days before and thought the prep. could wait. In order to write good essays students should cultivate their styles. So he went to the library, took down an eighteenth-century novelist, cocked his feet up on another chair, and cultivated his style until he thought it would do.

On the way to his room he met Dave Haskell who charged upon him at full speed and leaped upon his shoulders. "Let's take a walk, say out to the battlefield and up Stony Brook and across to Cedar Grove," said Haskell.

"Wait at the corner of Reunion while I put away these books," said Harrison. "It's impossible to force the muse, isn't it?"

As he was hurrying toward Witherspoon, whistling, he met the doctor coming out and asked who was ill. The doctor said Elliot, and the one with the books under his arm very naturally went up the four flights of stairs to see what was the matter. He ran in without knocking.

"It's a wonder you wouldn't crawl off and hide yourself in your foul-odored roost and not let any one know you're laid up," said Skinney, who now panted. This was vernacular for "I am surprised to learn that you are ill and confined to your room, and regret that you have not acquainted me with the fact."

The misanthrope had heard the heavy footsteps coming nearer and nearer and thought he recognized them, but he wasn't sure; in fact, he betted that he was mistaken and made the stakes higher as each flight was ascended. When Harrison burst in he raised his head and cried, "Why, hello, Skin!" He was always polite to callers.

"What's the matter with you?" said Skinney, opening the blinds and the window, and letting in some good, fresh, campus air. He came back to the bed again. "Was that it?"

Then he lifted Elliot's head and pulled out the pillows, putting them back as gently as he could. "Perhaps you want your head higher." He did not wait for an answer, but picked up a pair of muddy shoes and a coat and placed them carefully under the pillow, saying, "How does that grab you?" Harrison had a deep, hearty voice, and he filled the room with it. His cheeks were fresh and rosy, and he stepped across the floor as though it were fun to walk and be alive.

He brought a basin of water to the trunk. "Your mug's dirty," he explained, and rolled up the sleeves of Elliot's pajamas. "Don't look frightened, Bob; it isn't cold enough to hurt. This is the way my pretty nurse did me when I was in the Presbyterian Hospital." He began sponging Elliot's hot brow and burning eyelids and feverish neck with luxuriously cold water. "Lord, but your hands feel dry! You look as though you'd been pulled through a knot-hole. Honestly, Bob you're horribly done-up looking." Young men are so devoid of tact.

Harrison's skinniness consisted of 206 pounds in his gymnasium suit, some of which was fat. His hands were large and firm and strong, and his touch was as soft and supple as a barber's.

Elliot's eyes were half closed, and he did everything that Harrison told him to do. He soaked his hands in the basin and paddled like a baby while Harrison brushed his hair with the part on the wrong side. "Now you look more nearly decent," Skinney said. "And you've been up here all this time alone, Sour Ball? I know you weren't lonely, though I should have been, but it wasn't right not to let some of us know. Stop fussing with those covers. I'll put the window up before I go. Fresh air'll do you good."

The Great Tub of Self-indulgence then went into the other room, brought back a novel and an arm-chair and, putting his feet upon the foot of the bed, began to read aloud while David Haskell waited at the corner of Reunion, swearing at him for breaking his engagement.

"Much obliged to you, Skinney," said Elliot; "but you'd better not stay here."

"Shut up and go to sleep; sick people always sleep, don't you know that?"

"But there's no sense in your loafing indoors on a day like this."

"Do I bother you?" Skinney went on reading and the sick man closed his eyes.

At dinner-time Harrison stopped reading and tiptoed out, and went whistling down to the club, where he told the rest what the Sour Ball had been up to.

After dinner those who had no pressing engagements tramped up to the top floor of Witherspoon. Elliot heard their voices as soon as the entry door slammed downstairs, and rose up in bed to listen and make sure, but he pretended to be asleep when they all came bounding in, the noisy, healthy, pipe-smoking crowd, that he hated. "Well, Sour Ball! Hello, Bob! How are you by this time? What can I do for you?" they said.

The first to enter the room impolitely took the one available chair. Downing, the man who used platitudes so exasperatingly to Elliot, sat down on the bed, upon Elliot's foot, who said nothing. The Glee Club man and the Princetonian editor, both thoroughly despicable, planted themselves in the window-seats, putting their muddy feet on the cushions. Some of the rest of the odious gang perched on trunks, brushing Elliot's things off upon the floor. Others leaned against the wall and furniture. They made seven in all. Elliot counted them. He looked at each in turn covertly. He followed them when they moved about the room. Rankin came in later. He was a noisy man, and he shuffled his feet along the hallway and kicked open the door singing out in a cheerful tone, "How's the corpse? How's the corpse?" and was silenced for it by the gang. "What do you think this man's made of?" said Harrison.

Rankin begged Elliot's pardon. Elliot said it didn't matter. "You look like the devil, Bob," said Rankin, standing before the bed, hands in pockets.

Skinney Harrison still assumed control of the invalid because he had discovered him, and because he was going to be a doctor like his father in a few years. He looked very thoughtful and responsible, and opened the window when the smoke became so dense he couldn't see across the room.

"You think," said one of those by the window, closing it, "that because you're going to study medicine you know all about this, don't you?"

Harrison said that sick people always liked lots of air. This started a discussion about fresh air and illness in which every one joined except Elliot, who was not consulted. After this they fell to talking about the ordinary topics of the college world, which continued until twelve o'clock, when Harrison suddenly remembered his future profession, and sent them all home.

Then, after fixing Elliot for the night, he said, "Yell if you want anything," and stretched out upon the divan in the study. Elliot didn't yell or say anything.

The next day some of them dropped in before breakfast, and they took turns staying with him all day. Sometimes they read to him, sometimes they talked, at times they cleaned pipes, at times they did nothing. Elliot was doing a lot of thinking.

Mason, sarcastic little Mason, whom Elliot especially despised, arranged to spend the next night with him, perhaps because they were distant cousins.

"Now, go to your own room," said Elliot, after Mason had fixed things, "and go to bed."

"Shut up and go to thunder," said Mason going into the study and turning up the light.

At three o'clock the light was still burning. Elliot thought he heard the snip of a page being turned over, but he was not certain, so he moved around in bed until he made the springs sound. Something darkened the doorway. He shut his eyes again. The shadow receded. He heard a yawn and the sound of a man's arms dropped to his side.

At a little before daylight Mason heard Elliot say in the clear tone of one who has been awake: "Would you mind bringing me my bulldog brier? You'll find it on the mantel-piece."

Mason brought it in, saying: "This is a good sign, but it strikes me as an odd time to smoke."

"Will you fill it, please?"

"There you are," said Mason, reaching for a match.

Elliot looked up at the bright eyes and the curling mouth while Mason held the match, then looked away again. He started to say something, then picked up a book near by, and with the back of it levelled the ashes in his pipe. "Mase," he said, "you fellows are—puff-puff—awful good—puff-puff—it's out; give me another match, please. Thank you. I was going to say—oh, yes, I just wanted to tell you that I am entirely cured now."

"Huh," said Mason; "didn't think it was anything serious."

"You don't know," said Elliot, taking out his pipe and looking at it. "You don't know what I'm talking about, Mase."

"Better go to sleep," said Mason, starting back toward the study; "glad you're all right anyway."

"I'm talking about the advantages of a college education. I have discovered——"

But Mason shut the door, and Elliot fell sound asleep. Fellows like Elliot go through life making discoveries.