Forty Modern Fables, by George Ade, , at sacred-texts.com
TWO Brothers started away to College at the same Time. Just before they boarded the Train, Pa led them aside and handed them some splendid Advice. He told them that they were now ready to mold their Futures. He said he wanted them to stay in of Evenings and Bone hard, and he hoped they would mind the Faculty and keep away from the Cigarette Fiends who play the Banjo and talk about Actresses. He wanted them to stand high in their Classes and devote their Spare Moments to Reading rather than to the Whimsies and Mimical Fooleries of a University Town.
William listened solemnly and promised to Behave. Cholley fidgeted in his Chair and said it was nearly Train-Time.
So they rode away on the Varnished Cars, William reading about the Goths and Vandals and Cholley playing Seven-Up with a Shoe Drummer from Lowell.
At the University William remembered what Pa had said, so he cooped himself up in his Room and became a Dig and soon enough was greatly despised as a Pet of the Professors. Cholley wore a striped Jersey and joined the Track Team and worked in to the Glee Club. He went to his Room when all the other Places had closed up. Every Time a Show struck Town he was in the Front Row to guy the Performers and pick up some new Gags. He went calling on all the Town Girls who would stand for his Fresh Ways, and he was known as the best Dancer in the Ki Ki Chapter of the Gamma Oopsilon Greek Letter Fraternity. The Reports Sent Home indicated that William was corralling the Honors in Scholarship and Cholley was getting through each Exam by the Skin of his Teeth, but he had been elected a Yell Captain and could do his 100 Yards in Ten Seconds Flat. Pa would write to Cholley now and then and tell him to Brace Up and give him a Hunch that Life was full of Sober Responsibilities and therefore he had better store his Mind with Useful Knowledge and Chop on all the Frivols and Fopperies, whereupon Cholley would write back that he needed Fifty by Return Mail to pay for Chemicals used in the Laboratory.
By the Time that both were Seniors, William had grown a fuzzy Climber in front of each Ear and was troubled with Weak Eyes. He always had a Volume of Kant under his Arm and seemed to be in a Brown Study as he walked across the Campus. Cholley kept himself Neat and Nobby and seemed always Cheerful, even though he had two or three Conditions to his Discredit and had only an Outside Chance of taking his Degree. He was Manager of the Football Team, and he had earned the affectionate Nickname of "Rocks." He was a great Hand to get acquainted with any Girl who dared to show herself near the Halls of Learning and by constant Practice he had developed into a Star Chinner, so that he could Talk Low to almost any one of them and make her believe that of all the Flowers that ever bloomed she was the one and only $30,000 Carnation.
William kept away from Hops and Promenades because he remembered what Pa had said about the Distracting Influence of Fripperies and the Twittle-Tattle of Artificial Society. The only Girl he knew was a Professor's Sister, aged 51, with whom he was wont to discuss the Theory of Unconscious Cerebration. Then he would drink a Cup of Young Hyson Tea and go Home at 8.45 i. M. Cholley at about that Time would be starting out in his Primrose and Dockstader Suit to write his Name on Dance Cards and get acquainted with the Real Folks.
On Commencement Day William received the Cyrus J. Blinker Prize of a Set of Books for getting the Highest General Average of any one in the Class. Cholley just managed to Squeeze Through. The Faculty gave him a Degree for fear that if it didn't he might come back and stay another Year.
After they had graduated, Pa gave them another Talk. He said he was proud of William, but Cholley had been a Trial to him. Still he hoped it was not too late to set the Boy on the Right Track. He was going to put both of them into a Law Office and he wanted them to Read Law for all they were worth and not be lured away from their Work by the Glittering Temptations of Life in a Big City. William said he was prepared to Read Law until he was Black in the Face. Cholley said he wouldn't mind pacing a few Heats with Blackstone and Cooley now and then, if he found that he could spare the Time. The Father groaned inwardly and did not see much Hope for Cholley.
When the two Sons became Fixtures in the Office of an established Law Firm, William kept his Nose between the Leaves of a Supreme Court Report and Cholley was out in the other Room warming up to the Influential Clients and making Dates for Luncheons and Golf Foursomes.
Within three Months after they started at the Office, William had read all the Books in the Place and Cholley was out spending three weeks at the Summer Home of the President of a Construction Company, who was stuck on Cholley's Dialect Stories and liked to have him around because he was such a good Dresser and made it lively for the Women.
Out at this Country Place it happened that Cholley met a Girl who didn't know how much she was worth, so Cholley thought it would be an Act of Kindness to help her find out. When he sat out with her in the Cool of the Evening and gave her the Burning Gaze and the low entrancing Love Purr that he had practised for Four Years at the University, she stopped him before he was half finished, and told him that he need not work Overtime, because he was the Boy for Nellie. She said she had had him Picked Out from the Moment that she noticed how well his Coat set in the Back.
In one of the large Office Buildings of the City there is a Suite finished in Dark Wood. At a massive roll-top Desk sits Cholley, the handsome Lawyer, who is acquainted with all the Club Fellows, Society Bucks and Golf Demons. When a Client comes in with a Knotty Question, Cholley calls in a Blonde Stenographer to jot down all the Points in the Case. Then the Client departs. Cholley rings a Bell and Brother William comes out of a Side Room with his Coat bunched in the Back and his Trousers bagged at the Knees. His Cravat is tied on one Side only and he needs a Shave, but he is full of the Law. Cholley turns all the Papers over to him and tells him to wrestle with the Authorities for a few Days and Nights. Then William slips back into his Hole and Humps himself over the calf-bound Volumes while Cholley puts on his slate-colored Gloves and Top Coat and goes out to where Simpson is holding a Carriage Door open for him. He and Nellie take the air in the $2,200 Victoria that he bought with her Money and later in the Day they dine with the Stockson-Bonds and finish at the Theater.
Cholley often reflects that it was a great Piece of Foresight on Pa's part to counsel Studious Habits and Rigid Mental Discipline, for if William had not been a Grind at College probably he would not have proved to be such a Help around the Office, and although William gets the Loser's End of the Fees and is never Called on to make a Witty Speech at a Banquet given by the Bar Association, he has the Satisfaction of knowing that he is the Silent Partner of the best-dressed Attorney in Town and one who is welcome wherever he goes.
MORAL: There are at least two Kinds of Education.