Vandover and the Brute
There was little of the stubborn or unyielding about Vandover, his personality was not
strong, his nature pliable and he rearranged himself to suit his new environment at
Harvard very rapidly. Before the end of the first semester he had become to all outward
appearances a typical Harvardian. He wore corduroy vests and a gray felt hat, the brim
turned down over his eyes. He smoked a pipe and bought himself a brindled bull-terrier.
He cut his lectures as often as he dared, "ragged" signs and barber-poles, and was in
continual evidence about Foster's and among Leavitt and Pierce's billiard-tables. When
the great football games came off he worked himself into a frenzy of excitement over
them and even tried to make several of his class teams, though without success.
He chummed with Charlie Geary and with young Dolliver Haight, the two San Francisco
boys. The three were continually together. They took the same courses, dined at the same
table in Memorial Hall and would have shared the same room if it had been possible.
Vandover and Charlie Geary were fortunate enough to get a room in Matthew's on the
lower floor looking out upon the Yard; young Haight was obliged to put up with an
outside room in a boarding house.
Vandover had grown up with these fellows and during all his life was thrown in their
company. Haight was a well-bred young boy of good family, very quiet; almost every
morning he went to Chapel. He was always polite, even to his two friends. He invariably
tried to be pleasant and agreeable and had a way of making people like him. Otherwise,
his character was not strongly marked.
Geary was quite different. He never could forget himself. He was incessantly talking
about what he had done or was going to do. In the morning he would inform Vandover of
how many hours he had slept and of the dreams he had dreamed. In the evening he would
tell him everything he had done that day; the things he had said, how many lectures he
had cut, what brilliant recitations he had made, and even what food he had eaten at
Memorial. He was pushing, self-confident, very shrewd and clever, devoured with an
inordinate ambition and particularly pleased when he could get the better of anybody,
even of Vandover or of young Haight. He delighted to assume the management of things.
Vandover, he made his protégé, taking over the charge of such business as the two had in
common. It was he who had found the room in Matthew's, getting it away from all other
applicants, securing it at the eleventh hour. He put Vandover's name on the waiting list at
Memorial, saw that he filled out his blanks at the proper time, helped him balance his
accounts, guided him in the choice of his courses and in the making out of his study-card.
"Look here, Charlie," Vandover would exclaim, throwing down the Announcement of
Courses, "I can't make this thing out. It's all in a tangle. See here, I've got to fill up my
hours some way or other; you straighten this thing out for me. Find me some nice little
course, two hours a week, say, that comes late in the morning, a good hour after
breakfast; something easy, all lectures, no outside reading, nice instructor and all that."