Descending to Scroogian depths, the Housemasters celebrated Yuletide by considering till further slashes in students' opportunities to entertain. Apparently, it isn't enough to castrate three hours each afternoon. Football Saturdays, where the seven until eleven privilege is most needed, may well lose those hours, too. This is by no means official yet, but one can hear Marley's chains already, clanking gloomily in the restructures' minds.
Presumably, these losses would be a sacrifice to the miniscule number who study while others entertain. Presumably, too, they would be a sacrifice to the principle of Social Pattern, dear to the hearts of prep-school administrators. In any case, this work represents as logical a bit of reasoning as belief in Santa Claus.
What makes such knifing particularly unpleasant is its appearance at the end of what appeared to be a renascence in official thinking. Last year, we could not blame anyone for suggesting that the House-masters were gradually sloughing off their social monasticism. Whispers crept about the college that a half-decent set of rules might appear from the bowels of University Hall, and the Housemasters seemed to smile benignly about it all.
Whatever the appearances, however, the result and the concommittants now under consideration are as thorough a perversion of liberal education as one could imagine. Coddling, protecting, and rigorously channeling undergraduates is the policy of small schools planted in distant woods, and the personal distortions it accomplishes have no place at a University. Of what use is it to a man's education that he is shielded from all those petty personal frictions which will afflict him for years to come? What chance do men have of maturing personally if committees here, committees there, committees every-where make all their social decisions? This sort of thing only encourages irresponsibility, not maturity.
It is a great pity that all this must be said on our festive page. Yet the proliferation of social Bob Cratchits promised by the Housemasters' and Senior Tutors' thinking has a perverse aptness. In a considerably less charming fashion, it reminds us, as Dickens reminded his readers, that Yuletide can be as full of ill-will as any other season.