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can walk. No man is safe; no man can tell what he shall do, or what others will do to him, if he once enters a gambling house or a brothel. The history of every city, and the history of every college, will prove what I say. There is no wisdom in looking at such places, — nothing but greenness and folly. The difficulty with gambling is, as some one has said, that “it eats the heart out of a man," — that imperceptibly the playing with slips into the playing for, until without gambling life seems tame: and the difficulty with vice is that it involves physical danger of the most revolting kind ; that it kills self-respect; that it brings with it either shamelessness or a miserable dishonesty for decency's sake; and that it is a breach of trust to those who are, or who are to be, the nearest and the dearest, - a breach of trust to father and mother, and to the wife and children, who may seem remote and unreal, but who to most young men are close at hand. By the time a boy goes to college, he may well feel responsibility to the girl whom some day he will respect and love, and who, he hopes, will respect and love him. A boy's or man's sense of fair play should show him that it is effrontery in a man who has been guilty of vice with women to ask for a pure girl's love. The time is only too likely to come when a young fellow who has yielded to the tremendous sudden temptation that is thrown at him in college and in the world, will face the bitter question, “Can I tell the truth about myself to the girl I love? If I tell it, I may justly lose her; if I do not tell it, my whole life may be a frightened lie."
“Who is the Happy Husband ? He
Not merely the curiosity which listens to false arguments about life and wisdom, but the awful loneliness of a boy far from home, may lead to vice and misery. The boy who is used to girls at home, and who knows in his new surroundings no such girls as he knew at home, no such girls as his sisters' friends, is only too likely to scrape an easy acquaintance with some of those inferior girls by whom every student is seen in a kind of glamour, and to whom acquaintance with students is the chief excitement of life. With little education, much giddy vanity, and no refinement, these girls may yet possess a sort of cheap attractiveness. They are, besides, easy to get acquainted with, easy to be familiar with, and interesting simply because they are girls — for the time being, the only accessible girls. I need not dwell on the embarrassment, the sorrow, and even the crime, in which such friendships may end; but I may emphasize the responsibility of every man, young or old, towards every woman. “Every free and generous spirit,” said Milton, “ought to be born a knight.” It is the part of a man to protect these
girls against themselves. If they know no better than to hint to a student that they should like to see his room some evening, he knows better than to take the hint, — better than to suffer them through him to do what, though it may not stain their character, may yet destroy their good name. No girls stand more in need of chivalry than these vain girls, not yet bad, who flutter about the precincts of a college.
Students know what responsibility means; but their views of it are distorted. They demand it of their elders ; in certain parts of athletics they demand it of themselves. Which is the worse breach of faith, to sit up a quarter of an hour later than your athletic trainer allows, or to betray the trust that father and mother have put in you, to gamble away or to spend on low women the money sent you for your term-bill, and to cover all with a lie ?
It may be from a dim notion of these eccentricities in undergraduate judgment that many boys cultivate irresponsibility with a view to social success. Social ambition is the strongest power in many a student's college life, a power compared with which all the rules and all the threats of the Faculty, who blindly ignore it, are impotent, a power that robs boys of their independence, leading them to do things foolish or worse and thereby to defeat their own end. For in the long run, — in the later years of the college course, — the “not there" and the “there" can be clearly distinguished. A student may be poor, he may not play poker, he may not drink, he may be free from all vice, he may not even smoke; and yet, if his virtue is not showy, he will be popular – provided he “ does something for his class." "He is a bully fellow,”the students say. “He is in training all the time.”