Old Gold and Black
October 13, 1922
Site Editor's Note: We would like as much to provide you with as swank a follow-up note as the one accompanying the article from which this doth sequel but we find ourselves much too busy ruminating over this novel, He Loved But Was Lured Away. We cain't for the life of us understand why in 79 years no one, I mean no one, in Hollywood has thought this piece of estimably fulsome stock of literature worth a go on the big screen. Danged it, and with all those teary-eyed scenes to behold which just ooze off the page in little yeller streams into the mind's eye with blues and reds and pinks aplenty all mixing together and making us oozle. Pardon us, whilst we spell our eyes with a hanky.
By the way, this first piece may or may not be the product of the Editor. But we include it anyway.
THE CRUCIAL YEAR
Great football teams are not developed in one season. We may as well look that fact in the face and become reconciled to it. But for all that, or because of it, the efforts expended by the players and coaches on Gore Field do not resolve themselves into a matter of mere silly antics, but are eminently worthwhile. This year promises to be the most crucial in the history of athletics at Wake Forest. As we see it we stand at the beginning of a new period--not necessarily better or worse than the old--but still a new period. For the first time in our history we have abandoned our ancient half-way methods--are free--and are going into athletics in a systematic way. The future is ours to make it what we will. And the things we do or fail to do this year will determine largely what the future shall be, because in this year we must lay the foundation for the new period, and the strength of any structure depends in the ultimate test upon the character of its foundation.
Because the student body believed that we were entering a new period, there has been evident from the opening of the term a decidedly better spirit than that which prevailed in the past. It carried more men to Goldsboro than had ever before attended an out-of-town game, and it gave them the courage to meet overwhelming defeat in a manner that calls for the admiration of every newspaper in the State and even of our opponents on the field. That was well and good, and we are proud of that demonstration of spirit, as we are also the fact that practically every man in school turned out to see the team off to Davidson last Saturday. But--fine as these things are--they are the product of supreme moments when excitement is rife and one finds it easy to be led on by some enthusiastic leader. They do not represent the final test.
True college spirit is something deeper and bigger than these demonstrations and moments of excitement. It consists of unyielding belief in the college--unswerving trust in the coaches and teams--faith that holds good with a man even when he is alone, and the courage to rebuke the knocker. A great steady surging something it is--intangible but all powerful--that sweeps aside all petty differences and dislikes and gathers the student body into a compact unit about the common center--the college. Its first principle is faithfulness at all times, everywhere. Are we sure that we have that kind of spirit? Is it significant that attendance at "pep" meetings steadily falls off? Is it true that some of us have dropped back into the old habit of pessimism and cynicism--that the chronic grouch here and there once more has his circle of admirers who applaud his cowardly sayings? Finally, do we want to so build this year that in the future teams may go out from the college which will truly deserve to be called great? If we do--then let us remember.
WHAT THE FRESHMAN READS
Last week, in airing our views on North Carolina culture, we ventured to remark that H. L. Mencken wasn't so far wrong after all. Since that time we've been deluged with the opinions and views of our readers, from which we gather that we're something between a black-hearted traitor and an unmitigated liar. It appears that we have accused our dear old state wrongly--she does read. More--we have basely slandered the parents who send their sons to college--the high school teachers who taught them before they came, and the sons who come. It seems that they are not solely interested in the mere "making of a livin'," and that they do read for reading's sake. We really ought to be ashamed of ourselves and calmly beg everybody's pardon, we suppose. But, unfortunately, we seem to possess a streak of stubborn cussedness that just won't let us be good. Nevertheless, we will admit that these college students do read. We'll even go so far as to admit that they read before they enter college.
On our desk there lies, as we write, a batch of reading lists handed by freshmen to a member of the English faculty. The acquaintance with literature displayed therein is truly astonishing. The discrimination and taste shown is calculated to delight the most exacting. And the breadth and range of subjects and authors--how it warms our heart to contemplate it.
Each and every freshman has read a book called Mackbeth or Mcbeth--of course no one can be so mean spirited as to suggest that it is usually spelled Macbeth--they were, of course, merely parading their knowledge of the archaic spellings which obtained in Shakespeare's time. The Merchant of Venice--sometimes written The Merchant of Venis--A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Julius Caesar have been perused by nearly all. So also with Burke's Speech on Conciliation, Washington's Farewell, Emerson's Manners, Carlyle on Burns, Pride and Prejudice, and Ivanhoe. We might, with all truth, point out that the Department of Education requires all these to be studied in high school classes, but for that we would be branded as a cynic. The same applies to Pilgrim's Progress, Silas Marner, David Copperfield, and Sohrab and Rustum, House of Seven Gables, Idyls of the King, Vicar of Wakefield, Evangeline, and the Courtship of Miles Standish, but only about one out of three of the papers before us make any mention of these. But the freshman must not be blamed for this--one must not try to know too much of course. Besides, the main business of every man is "making a livin'," and if one devotes even a few hours of his precious money-valued time to "making a life" he really should be applauded, don't you know.
But it is only when they branch off on their own initiative--away from the study courses and required reading--that we can begin to understand and appreciate the esthetic thirst for the beautiful and fine which consumes the souls of these verdant lads. Only the other day we were reading an article by some Smart Aleck who claimed that that prime old favorite, Horatio Alger, Jr., had fallen on unhappy days and that modern youth had grown too sophisticated to read him. What a beautiful refutation of such a blasé theory is found in the fact that here in North Carolina not only the smaller boys but even college freshmen follow the adventures of "Tom, the Bootblack" with bated breath, or weep over the trials of "Phil, the Fiddler." And how well does it speak for the wealth of good simple sentiment that yet lives in our province, untouched by the questionable smartness of the moderns, when we reflect that six lists included Little Lord Fauntleroy, and two, the Red Fairy Book. Ah, no--beloved ones--we need never fear for your welfare while your minds are intent upon the noble "lean-on-me, grandfather" of the beautiful golden-haired boy, or the breathless doings of Tom Thumb or Mother Goose. Truly, in this age of sophistication and unbelief it is refreshing to stumble on one whose faith "in fairies and Aladdin's Magic Ring" remains unshaken--yes, though he be a freshman. Sweet and unspoiled must also be the soul of that freshman who--as he himself says--has read "some books by Belle Wright."
But pleasant as it is to muse upon this class of reading, we must admit that it does not rise to the literary heights obtained by some other books which are mentioned. For instance, there is Tarzan and Tarzan the Terrible. Positively we feel ignorant when we remember that--although nearly every freshman who handed in a list had read these two and four or five more about this decidedly striking character--we ourselves have never read even one. But we never could understand that deep, animal psychology stuff--so please don't be too uncharitable in judging us. But the men to whom we humbly remove our hats are those who chronicle the fact that they have read "several numbers of the Wild West Magazine," Old King Brady, Buffalo Bill, and Jesse James! Here we have the spirit of the pioneer, the rich red blood of which heroes are made--the soul of the Cavalier--and North Carolina should be proud of such sons. Maybe we ourselves--harsh cynics that we are now--had something of that in us when ages and ages ago we sneaked out to the barn to read about the same Buffalo Bill, but it died young--more's the pity.
And now we come to a gem of literature, which we judge by the title to be a masterpiece. It is with shame that we confess that we had been in ignorance as to its existence until we ran across it on one of these lists. "He Loved But Was Lured Away," it is called. Its author we do not know, but we hazard a guess that it was one of the old masters--say Laura Jean Libby, Charles Garvice, Bertha M. Clay, or Mary J. Holmes. "He Loved But Was Lured Away"--what a wealth of imagery the very title calls up in a mind capable of appreciation! There must have been a simple confiding country girl--her big handsome country lover who lived on the next farm--and a peroxide vamp from the city who rolled her stockings, smoked cigarettes, and said "cuss" words, and who stole the country lover away from the country lass. Oh, perhaps it is a bit highbrow, the intricate depth of plot and the wholesome sentiment it embodies. Truly, it moves one to tears --"He Loved But Was Lured Away."
In the light of this review we feel justified in admitting that the freshmen are rather well read. It may be true that not a single man among them has read anything by Thackeray, or Hugo, but what's the use when one can read Horatio Alger instead? Why waste time with Dickens when "Belle" Wright and Laura Jean Libby are admittedly so superior? And what sort of an idiot would associate with Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, or The Forty-Five Guardsmen when he could be with Buffalo Bill, Old King Brady, or Jesse James? True also it may be that a freshman was wondering who said "With malice toward none, with charity for all" when it happened to be flashed on the screen at the local picture house the other night, but it doesn't really matter whether he knew that or not--it wouldn't help him "make a livin'," and probably wouldn't contribute to his amusement. Yes, the freshman class is well read, and the college and the State should be proud of it!
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