Sunlight glistened through the windows of the
classroom as the freshman class trickled in. The boys quickly filled the back
of the room, leaving the front gapingly bare.
Anyone sitting there? A tall dark haired boy with grey eyes asked an earlier arrival.
first boy turned and answered the question. Oh, hi we met this morning in Latin.
Its Dave, right?
Hi, Im Marc. They greeted each other as Marc settled himself and his books.
Say, did you see the reading list for this class! The other requirements are half this put together!
Something tells me this profs just as bad as hes made out to be. Dave
shook his head dolefully. Why couldnt he be retiring now, instead of next year? No use dropping the class when its a freshman requirement. WHY did I have to skip a grade?!
Yeah I skipped TWO! In the competitive academic world of Princeton University, a comment like this was usually intended as
a putdown. But this time it seemed more a plea for sympathy.
Marc stared straight ahead, his face expressionless. I heard his own son calls him Attila the Professor!
Dave gave a low soundless whistle in reply.
The door opened once again, but this time an
instant hush fell over the room. A tall imposing man in tweeds, his stride slow
but still firm despite his 85 years, strode to the lectern. He searched through
an overstuffed Gladstone bag for his lecture notes, and scanned them silently for a few moments. Then, adjusting his wire rimmed spectacles, he addressed the class.
Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am Dr. Henry Jones and this course is Introduction to Medieval Literature. From the depths of the Gladstone bag came a sheaf of mimeographed sheets.
He left the lectern and walked forward to the front row of students. This
is the class syllabus, and your required reading list. There will be a weekly
paper, and tests will be in an essay format. The professor continued onward with the course requirements, looking from student
to student, forming his own impressions of them in the usual manner. The piercing
gaze had lost none of its power over the years.
Marcus Ravenwood Jones caught his grandfathers
eye and unconsciously sat up straight. He adored this man, his one surviving
grandparent, the man whose stories had fascinated him from earliest childhood and had introduced him to the wonders of Howard
Pyle and Sir Thomas Malory. The fascination of the boy would be the lifelong
love of the man he would become. But now he was face to face with the Princeton
legend, a man feared, respected and loved by three generations of Princeton graduates.
A teacher who accepted nothing less than excellence. A renowned scholar
who could have taught only graduate courses, but who also continued to teach undergraduates even freshmen due to a deeply
ingrained sense of duty.
Maybe it wasnt too late to transfer to Harvard,