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Harvard Philosophy 4 - Owen Wister

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PHILOSOPHY 4
A STORY OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY

BY OWEN WISTER

I



Two frowning boys sat in their tennis flannels beneath the glare of lamp
and gas.  Their leather belts were loosened, their soft pink shirts
unbuttoned at the collar.  They were listening with gloomy voracity to
the instruction of a third.  They sat at a table bared of its customary
sporting ornaments, and from time to time they questioned, sucked their
pencils, and scrawled vigorous, laconic notes.  Their necks and faces
shone with the bloom of out-of-doors.  Studious concentration was
evidently a painful novelty to their features.  Drops of perspiration
came one by one from their matted hair, and their hands dampened the
paper upon which they wrote.  The windows stood open wide to the May
darkness, but nothing came in save heat and insects; for spring, being
behind time, was making up with a sultry burst at the end, as a delayed
train makes the last few miles high above schedule speed.  Thus it has
been since eight o'clock.  Eleven was daintily striking now.  Its
diminutive sonority might have belonged to some church-bell far distant
across the Cambridge silence; but it was on a shelf in the room,--a
timepiece of Gallic design, representing Mephistopheles, who caressed
the world in his lap.  And as the little strokes boomed, eight--nine--
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