The Plastic Age
Sanford defeated Raleigh this year in football, and for a time the college was wild
with excitement and delight. Most of the free lumber in Haydensville was burned
in a triumphant bonfire, and many of the undergraduates celebrated so joyously
with their winnings that they looked sadly bedraggled for several days afterward.
The victory was discussed until the boys were thoroughly sick of it, and then they
settled down to a normal life, studying; playing pool, billiards, and cards; going to
the movies, reading a little, and holding bull sessions.
Hugh attended many bull sessions. Some of them he found interesting, but many
of them were merely orgies of filthy talk, the participants vying with one another
in telling the dirtiest stories; and although Hugh was not a prig, he was offended
by a dirty story that was told merely for the sake of its dirt. Pudge Jamieson's
stories were smutty, but they were funny, too, and he could send Hugh into
paroxysms of laughter any time that he chose.
One night in late November Hugh was in Gordon Ross's room in Surrey along
with four others. Ross was a senior, a quiet man with gray eyes, rather heavy
features, and soft brown hair. He was considerably older than the others, having
worked for several years before he came to college. He listened to the stories
that were being told, occasionally smiled, but more often studied the group
The talk became exceedingly nasty, and Hugh was about to leave in disgust
when the discussion suddenly turned serious.
"Do you know," said George Winsor abruptly, "I wonder why we hold these smut
sessions. I sit here and laugh like a fool and am ashamed of myself half the time.
And this isn't the only smut session that's going on right now. I bet there's thirty at
least going on around the campus. Why are we always getting into little groups
and covering each other with filth? College men are supposed to be gentlemen,
and we talk like a lot of gutter-pups." Winsor was a sophomore, a fine student,
and thoroughly popular. He looked like an unkempt Airedale. His clothes, even
when new, never looked neat, and his rusty hair refused to lie flat. He had an
eager, quick way about him, and his brown eyes were very bright and lively.
"Yes, that's what I want to know," Hugh chimed in, forgetting all about his desire
to leave. "I'm always sitting in on bull sessions, but I think they re rotten. About
every so often I make up my mind that I won't take part in another one, and
before I know it somebody's telling me the latest and I'm listening for all I'm
"That's easy,"' Melville Burbank answered. He was a junior with a brilliant record.
"You're merely sublimating your sex instincts, that's all. If you played around with
cheap women more, you wouldn't be thinking about sex all the time and talking
"You're crazy!" It was Keith Nutter talking, a sophomore notorious for his
dissipations. "Hell, I'm out with bags all the time, as you damn well know. My sex