CHAPTER I. ANDOVER AHOY!
DAUDET tells us that he would not, for his life, step off the train at Tarascon. There is said to he a certain hamlet in the White Mountains that is henceforth a closed country for Mr. Howells. Colonel Higginson's best novel was not popular at Newport. It. is well understood that, local fiction generally excites resentment in the locality which it depicts.
But in the case of this little Andover story, the author---himself an old Senior---hopes that he may be protected from assault and battery by the modesty of his undertaking, if not by his loyal and affectionate feeling toward the place.
The author is glad to take this opportunity to say that, apart from the necessary local setting of the story, "The New Senior" is a study in fiction, not in history. He has taken no photographs of his old neighbors, and offered no criticisms on his old hosts and friends. In regard to the one character of the story which might be interpreted as historic, it is perhaps just to say that the author never knew him except through his forcible reputation. For this reason the sketch is not a portrait, but an imaginative outline which the pupils and admirers of Uncle Jim will fill out affectionately each for himself.
The present admirable management of the Commons Dining Hall, which it would be impossible to confuse with that of a by-gone day, has left the author scope for a snap-shot view of the Club of twenty years ago, and even of a later day, when all fitting schools were less highly civilized than they are now.
With his personal opinion of the Academy's eleven dormitories, the author is confident that all true friends of Andover, old or young, heretical or orthodox, dead or living, will heartily sympathize.
It only remains to add that the author is aware how far he has fallen below the requirements of modern boys' fiction in not having made his hero an attractive madcap. Yet he hopes there may be found readers who will take some interest in the history of a boy who did not find it necessary to disgrace himself or old Andover. In the tense reality of school-life scrapes are not heroic. The larger half (if the arithmetical parodox maybe permitted) of our American boys have plain, sturdy, studious, manly qualities which the struggle for Academic existence develops, and which Phillips Academy vigorously cultivates. Every reader will recall some brave and quiet fellow who battled his way through an education without a patron or an interpreter.
Newton Highlands, Mass.