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as that; if regents and billionaires had been convinced, they had at least done nothing rash in the enthusiasm of conviction, but had wisely kept them in the rear of their affection, out of the shot and danger of desire. And as for the general public, if it had drawn any conclusion at all, it was to the effect that college professors as a class, and the Professor in particular, were a threadbare and squalid sort of people, who were much to be pitied because they hadn't chosen a lucrative occupation.
On the contrary, by his little act of deception he had been guilty of affecting those only whom he did not wish to take him seriously. His impersonation of the povertypinched professor had left in its train a measure of discontent among at least some of his colleagues.
For example, one had written him in a strain of mournful congratulation saying that his depiction was all too true, but that he supposed nothing could be done about it—durum, sed levius fit patientia! Another regretted that he had not chosen a different profession, and exprest his conviction that if the Professor were really possest of the red blood and vigor indicated by his publications, and were still young, he could easily find some occupation in which he might enjoy real authority and get an adequate salary.
As his correspondent was not specific, the Professor was left to the dark of conjecture. He thought over all the powerful and salaried men of his acquaintance; brokers, lawyers, promoters, politicians, plumbers, railway conductors, hotel clerks, and football coaches. He didn't really envy any one of them but the last, who surely had both salary and power to a superlative degree, and it was impossible for the Professor to adopt his calling for the reason that his own faith in athletics was impaired by the insane and inconvenient belief that the main purpose of universities and colleges was intellectual—"the dissimulation of knowledge," as one of his co-educational students wrote.
Still another had written the Professor that it seemed to him that “ any one who could write so pithy and racy an article on so dry a subject as The College Professor would
do well to leave his Latin to the dead, and devote himself to literary work—success in that line of work meaning good clothes to cremate." This had caused the Professor to smile for weeks.
The Professor saw now that his policy had been wrong: he ought to have spoken unequivocally, and not to have jested on a serious subject; he ought to have compared men in his own calling with masons and drainmen rather than with bankers and literary celebrities; and he ought to have been the spokesman, not of that part of his brethren who were really poor, but of those who were rich. His guilt was indeed great. The winter of discontent was already long enough—and what malefactor to be compared with him who lengthened or deepened it by ever so little !
For there really were college professors who were rich, and chief among them was the Professor himself. There! don't get the idea that he had married an heiress or a vaudeville queen, or that his investments in Central American Rubber and Melanesian Mining Stock had actually yielded the results promised by his faculty friend who was agent for them, or that his shares in the Planotelophonoscope Project had brought forth an hundredfold, or that his savings had accumulated until he had a fortune. He had long since been calculating the matter of savings, and with the aid of his friend the professor of advanced calculus had arrived at the conclusion that if he persevered in laying by at the present rate until he was eighty-two he would have enough to support himself and his family for a period of a year and three months.
And as to the other projects—well, ask the first professor you meet how they turned out. Every one knows about them, except the impractical, old-fashioned, and criminally negligent few who can not be brought to take advantage of golden opportunities to do business in a large way.
No, the Professor had no more money than most professors have. He was just as poor as most of them are. And yet he was not poor. I know you will find it hard to believe me, but you must learn not to judge a man's income
merely by his salary. If the Professor's income had been nothing but the amount of salary he received, he would have been in real truth as poor as he was supposed to be by his rich friends. But the fact was that, tho very few of the general public realized it, and not a great many of his colleagues, he was in comparative affluence. He had revenues invisible as well as those that could be seen of men.
I see your covert smile. The very moment I mentioned revenues invisible, you began to think of Graft, and you have been thinking ever since of the sale of syllabuses and textbooks to students at extortionate prices, or of secret and treacherous understandings with travel bureaus, book concerns, life insurance companies, and all the various promoters who manifest benevolent solicitude for the welfare of college professors, and who are willing to pay for the privilege of doing them good.
Well, let us confess that there were certain benefits which came to the Professor along with his occupation. But let us not call them by so harsh a name as graft. Graft involves at least the pretense of secrecy, and sometimes a measure of opprobrium if it becomes known; but the Professor had no secrets; he told every one of his transactions, students and legislators included-and they were so far from imputing it to him a fault that all without exception greeted his revelations with the same mild smile of indulgence. His naïve
eas as to the nature of wealth were really amusing.
No, graft wasn't the name for it. Graft that is neither secret nor profitable never gets before the grand jury, never arouses resentment or envy, and never affords the state's attorney opportunity to rise in the political scale, and is not graft at all. Let us rather call the Professor's bonanza by the mild name of Perquisites. There is a difference between the two: we say Perquisites when you take what is expressly allowed you; Graft when you take everything not expressly forbidden, and as much of what is forbidden as you are reasonably sure will not be noticed.
A Professor with Perquisites ? Certainly. For example, professors are by common consent allowed the covers and unused leaves of their students' examination books: a Perquisite of no mean value to a professor who engages in literary activity, or conducts an extensive correspondence, or has a half-dozen children in the grades. In some institutions of especially generous disposition, too, a common stenographer and type-writer is employed, so that when a professor has syllabuses or examinations to strike off, or correspondence on behalf of the institution, he may get them done without expenditure of his own time and stationery; and sometimes, if he is ingenious, he may get a little of his private work thru in this way.
These Perquisites the Professor enjoyed. They were not very great in comparison with those enjoyed by many of his colleagues, it is true. He sometimes envied the professors of engineering and geology, who had long pleasure trips with their students to shops and mines, and came back with nuggets of real gold; or the professor of domestic science, who was reputed to have prior claim to the product of the experimental cuisine; or the professor of chemistry, who as analyst for the pure food commission was entitled to the partially despoiled packages of food and medicine and bottled goods of various kinds which lay strewn in the wake of his activities. What opportunities for a professor who had six children and the expensive tastes of a sometime student in a German university !
When he read of the fines resulting from analyses, however, and reflected that the art of cooking—from observation and hearsay the Professor had become convinced that, as taught in college, it was an art rather than a science—was still in its infancy, he reconciled himself to his lot. After all, it was just as well to pay the baker more, and economize on the doctor—and to make a virtue of necessity in the case of the bottles. That kind of virtue, he knew, was not of the highest quality, but a college professor couldn't afford to be too particular.
And besides (here we are coming to something at last), the Professor had his own peculiar Perquisite—one which was immeasurably more valuable than those of all the rest put together. It was this which constituted the vast income of which I havę spoken.
What was it? Simply this: he was entitled to the interest on the funds which he handled in his profession. Of course I don't mean funds in actual money. The state would never have entrusted the keeping of such possessions as that even to a professor in the school of economics or commerce, to say nothing of a professor of ancient classics. Let their subjects be ever so practical, you couldn't get the world to dissociate professors from the impractical. The children of the world are wiser than the children of light. You may hear a chiropodist, or a slight-of-hand performer, or a snake-swallower, called a professor, but who ever heard of the name being applied to a banker, or a broker, or a captain of industry?
But there are funds which are not financial, and there are treasure houses other than banks. Wise and beautiful thoughts, stored in the treasure houses of literature and the arts, also constitute wealth. The Golden Treasury is no mere figure of speech. Literary riches were the funds which the professor had in keeping. The banks of ancient Rome and Athens contained his principal trusts, but he had extensive deposits in many other banks as well; and his duty was the administration of them all in the interest of the sons and daughters of the commonwealth.
Now that you know the nature of the Professor's trust, you will be better able to understand his good fortune. His first great Perquisite was the pleasure of handling it. His administrative duties gave him the greatest delight.
In other words, the Professor's duty was to minister to his pleasure; he enjoyed his work; and since everybody knowsat least every one who has read Tom Sawyer—that work which is enjoyable is not work at all, but play, it is perfectly plain that the Professor didn't have to work for a livelihood. He simply drew his salary, and went on with the fun of living. Perhaps he did not go so far as to say that he would gladly have paid for the privilege of doing what he was salaried to do (for where could he have raised the money? and no board of regents or trustees would have accepted his kind of cur