This September Ted had entered the State University as a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. The university was at Mohalis only fifteen miles from Zenith, and Ted often came down for the week-end. Babbitt was worried. Ted was “going in for” everything but books. He had tried to “make” the football team as a light half-back, he was looking forward to the basket-ball season, he was on the committee for the Freshman Hop, and (as a Zenithite, an aristocrat among the yokels) he was being “rushed” by two fraternities. But of his studies Babbitt could learn nothing save a mumbled, “Oh, gosh, these old stiffs of teachers just give you a lot of junk about literature and economics.”
One week-end Ted proposed, “Say, Dad, why can’t I transfer over from the College to the School of Engineering and take mechanical engineering? You always holler that I never study, but honest, I would study there.”
“No, the Engineering School hasn’t got the standing the College has,” fretted Babbitt.
“I’d like to know how it hasn’t! The Engineers can play on any of the teams!”
There was much explanation of the “dollars-and-cents value of being known as a college man when you go into the law,” and a truly oratorical account of the lawyer’s life. Before he was through with it, Babbitt had Ted a United States Senator.
Among the great lawyers whom he mentioned was Seneca Doane.
“But, gee whiz,” Ted marveled, “I thought you always said this Doane was a reg’lar nut!”
“That’s no way to speak of a great man! Doane’s always been a good friend of mine—fact I helped him in college—I started him out and you might say inspired him. Just because he’s sympathetic with the aims of Labor, a lot of chumps that lack liberality and broad-mindedness think he’s a crank, but let me tell you there’s mighty few of ’em that rake in the fees he does, and he’s a friend of some of the strongest; most conservative men in the world—like Lord Wycombe, this, uh, this big English nobleman that’s so well known. And you now, which would you rather do: be in with a lot of greasy mechanics and laboring-men, or chum up to a real fellow like Lord Wycombe, and get invited to his house for parties?”
“Well—gosh,” sighed Ted.
The next week-end he came in joyously with, “Say, Dad, why couldn’t I take mining engineering instead of the academic course? You talk about standing—maybe there isn’t much in mechanical engineering, but the Miners, gee, they got seven out of eleven in the new elections to Nu Tau Tau!”