The current Advocate has been given: me in proof-sheets which must be lacking their final revision. With all due allowance for this, however, there is throughout the number a somewhat poignant slovenliness of style: not one of the prose writers seems able to compose a long sentence that shall be at once logically constructed, well-balanced, and graceful. But the paper is written in tolerable journalese,--and perhaps one expects too much from the promising combination of aspiring youth and a, presumably, inspiring Department of English.
The number is frankly dedicated to Mars, with Venus trailing along as a somewhat slatternly camp-follower. The editorial space is devoted to s consideration of the attractiveness of the militia and an appeal to the undergraduate to enlist. The example of England is adduced: "England has shown her appreciation of trained reserves. Ever good citizen, artisan, sea-captain, farmer, and gentleman, in the narrower English sense, offers his services; but never in England can it (sic) rise to the proportion and importance of our own national guard." Every good Harvard man surely belongs in one or another of the above categories.
The chief article is entitled "Harvard and the Militia." The conclusion of the writer, "T. H. B.," is: "Yet, with all the fun you are learning what to do and what not to do, when it comes, if it ever does come to the great, terrible, Yale game of War." Every good Harvard man is bound to feel the appeal of this.
There are three short stories: an account of a prize-fight,--still Mars,--a story of a squalid seduction,--Venus following the camp-fires,--and a study of an Idiot, Boy who inadvertently slew a pet cricket. The first two are by Mr. T. Pulsifer. As for the prize-fight, in "The Champion," there is some vivid realism in the style that gives promise of an eventually competent reporter. The anther should study the great classic in this genre,--the account by Mr. John I., Sullivan of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight, in, I think, The New York Journal. It was fought on Saint Patrick's Day, and there were in the audience, says that eminent feuilletonist, "nine lady sports all dressed in green." The seduction--"His Room-mate's Side of It"--is merely vulgar and uncharacteristic. An artist may sometimes feel inclined to experiment with this kind of subject, but the present very conventional treatment of it would bore even a lumber-camp. On the whole, I am inclined to care most for the tale of the Idiot Boy, "Jonathan," who inadvertently slew his pet cricket. The tragedy was due to an indigestion brought on by eating dough. The end is charming: "Jonathan is 'a great hand,' his father tells me, at running a village store. But somehow I wish I could forget the dead and buried look that lurks in Jonathan's eyes." But, oh, the difference to him!
There are five bits of verse. Four of them need not be dealt with here but should be reviewed professionally by some instructor: the fifth. by Mr. A. Gregg, is an unimportant but charmingly "Visualized" little song, which really sings.--But I cannot resist the temptation to quote from one of the other poems:
"When earth, and sea and sky, and all the stars.
Module their harmonies to one sad song"
One wouldn't like to have missed that exquisite word "module."
On the whole, it is more fun to write about the current Advocate than to read it. Still, there is this to be said on the matter, from the editor's point of view: the number introduces, in an attractive way, a subject of real importance to undergraduates: and as for the rest of the issue, the motto, "Sat est. scripsisse" is a sufficiently good slogan with which to challenge one's contemporaries
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