Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview
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21
COLLEGE DAYS AT YALE

Ihr bringt mit euch die Bilder froher Tage,
Und manche liebe Schatten steigen auf.

IT would be difficult to exaggerate the eagerness with which I looked forward to college. If I had been away at boarding school, the transition would not have been so violent. But I had always come home every day from attendance at public school; and it seemed to me that going away from home to college, and living there with the other underU+0AD graduates, would be paradise. I was happy at home, I loved my parents who were very kind to me, and yet I longed to get away. Boys and girls long to leave home; boys love to go away to college and girls love to have a separate apartment with the key in their sole possession.

There are two reasons, which only partially explain it. The first is that although the average child loves his paU+0AD rents, he does not love them half so much as they love him. This is true, as he will find out when he has children of his own. The tragedy is that the presence of children is necesU+0AD sary to the parents' happiness, while the son or daughter, though loving the parents, gets on very well in their abU+0AD sence. The greatest novel ever written on the eternal theme of the Younger Generation is Turgenev Fathers and ChilU+0AD dren; and although individual parents and individual sons may be quite unlike the parents and their son Bazarov, the feeling on both sides is about the same. The love of many parents for their children is mingled with terror; terror that

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