Of President West of Old Blaines College, his Trustees and his Troubles; his Firmness in the Brown-Jones Hazing Incident so misconstrued by Malicious Asses; his Article for the Post, and why it was never printed: all ending in West’s Profound Dissatisfaction with the Rewards of Patriotism.
The way of Blaines College was not wholly smooth that winter, and annoyances rose to fret the fine edge of President West’s virgin enthusiasms. The opening had been somewhat disappointing. True, there were more students than last year, the exact increment being nine. But West had hoped for an increase of fifty, and had communicated his expectations to the trustees, who were correspondingly let down when the actual figures—total enrolment, 167—were produced at the October meeting. The young president explained about the exasperating delays in getting out his advertising literature, but the trustees rather hemmed over the bills and said that that was a lot of money. And one of them bluntly called attention to the fact that the President had not assumed his duties till well along in September.
West, with charming humility and good humor, asked indulgence for his inexperience. His mistake, he said, in giving an excess of time to the study of the great collegiate systems of the old world, if it was a mistake, was one that could hardly be repeated. Next year ...
“Meantime,” said the blunt trustee, “you’ve got a ten per cent increase in expenditures and but nine more stoodents.”
“Let us not wholly forget,” said West, with his disarming smile, “my hope to add substantially to the endowment.”
But he marked this trustee as one likely to give trouble in the future, and hence to be handled with care. He was a forthright, upstanding, lantern-jawed man of the people, by the name of James E. Winter. A contractor by profession and a former member of the city council, he represented the city on the board of trustees. For the city appropriated seventy-five hundred dollars a year, for the use of the college, and in return for this munificence, reserved the right to name three members of the board.
Nor was Mr. Winter the only man of his kidney on that directorate. From his great friend among the trustees, Mr. Fyne, donator of the fifty thousand dollar endowment on which Blaines College partly subsisted, West learned that his election to the presidency had failed of being unanimous. In fact, the vote had stood seven to five, and the meeting at which he was chosen had at times approached violence. Of the five, two had voted against West because they thought that old Dr. Gilfillan’s resignation did not have that purely spontaneous character so desirable under the circumstances; two because they did not think that West had the qualifications, or would have the right point of view, for a people’s college; and one for all these reasons, or for any other reason, which is to say for personal reasons. This one, said Mr. Fyne, was James E. Winter.