CHAPTER VI
UNIVERSITY PASTOR

WHEN WOODROW WILSON entered the presidency of Princeton, in the autumn of 1902, he could feel sure of his pre-eminence in the service of the university. One of the professors who had opposed Patton wrote to the new leader to assure him that he was the one under whom they wished to serve, that they would stand by him until things were "right." But in his hour of ascendancy Wilson turned to Bliss Perry with a grim and knowing smile and said: "If West begins to intrigue against me as he did against Patton, we must see who is master!"

Andrew Fleming West, a graduate of the Class of '74, had not been content to remain merely an able professor of the classics at Princeton. He had larger ambitions and had worked hard for their realization. But in the nineties it had been plain that his ideals and Wilson's were not compatible. In a soft, mellow voice West lulled his boys with the verse of Horace. Somewhat casual about attendance at classes, he had come to depend more on wit and social charm than on intellectual effort to maintain his place in the Princeton community. His home saddened by the chronic illness of his wife, he found pleasure in the company of cultivated men; and as a charming diner-out, and a greeter adept at making returning alumni feel at home, he appeared to be striking up friendships with men from whom he might hope to get financial support for his educational ambitions. While Woodrow Wilson, who rarely praised and never jollied anyone designingly, was wearing himself thin over his typewriter and in public speaking, ruddy- cheeked Andrew West was expanding his huge frame and genial spirit in good living and in deeds of personal kindness to his friends and colleagues.1 He was in his element in New York's Gin Mill Club,

____________________
1
West took an active part, too, in Princeton's administration and publicity. As secretary of the Committee on the Schedule, he had labored to make the old College of New Jersey into a university. He it was who had organized and promoted the Susquicentennial celebration; and under his aegis was published a lavish and pompous memorial tome. West had observed the fine points of academic protocol at English universities and was restless to import them to Princeton. He had taught Latin in a high school and in 1883 had received a Pb.D. degree at Princeton and had become a professor of the classics there. He had produced no considerable scholarly work of depth.

-84-

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