Through Our Parents Eyes
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Tom Marshall's The Burro '03


NIGHT was beginning to brood over the University.

The main building looked grave and silent, as though resting from the toils of the day and preparing for success on the morrow. The copper twilight wrapped the cactus garden in gloom, while the flagpole, bare and gaunt, seemed to stand like a sentinel guarding the campus. Now and then a light appeared in South Hall, but most of the rooms seemed lifeless, and probably their occupants were holding kangaroo court in some back room, for occasionally there was a shout and a clash of music, showing that there were boys somewhere around.

North Hall stood silent and looked as dignified as it is possible for a dormitory to look, which isn't but half a dormitory, after all. Inside, things did not seem as calm and peaceful. Down stairs all was silent, save the creak of a rocker in the matron's room; but the upper hall echoed with a confusion of excited voices from the transom over Carrie Westfall's door. It was a girl's mass meeting. Within, the girls were sitting about the room on almost anything that could be used for a chair. Some on chair3, some on the bed, while others lounged on the rugs. The chief speaker and chairman sat on the table, and all eyes were fixed on her.

"You didn't know it, Amy Brigg? Dreaming your old "Marble Faun," I suppose-Oh? Down town to dinner with aunt? Well, I'll tell you. It's all over in University Hall. A notice right up on the bulletin board-a map of the grounds all marked in red ink, where we may go and where we mayn't; everybody can read it, penalties and all: it's an insult; an insult to every one of us!"

"I think it's a shame that we college girls should be treated like kids," said Mary Watts.

"Why don't they chaperone us to classes and have us all sit in a row, and then take us across the 'limits,' back to the dormitory after class," exclaimed another.

Madge Collins was one of the leaders of this outburst. She was thoroughly disgusted with the University in general. Madge was a general favorite in school; she did not have any more knowledge than the average student, but she was bright and quick, and ever ready for fun. There was one thing that always disturbed Madge's peace, and that was the strict rules. Madge rebelled at these.

"Well we will just tell the boys how things are," she exclaimed, "just how we are shut up like prisoners, and not allowed to walk where we please, for fear we will see a boy. Why don't they build a board fence from the gate to the dining hall: then we wouldn't be tempted to look at South Hall."

"Well, Madge if things are this way we shall have to stand them, I shan't rebel," said Carrie, "while I would gladly change the condition of affairs, I don't think that any hard feelings or outbursts of anger can alter things. And telling the boys won't do any good, we're just in for it and we will have to give in."

"I won't," Madge replied doggedly. "The boys can sympathize with us anyway. I don't care what you girls do, I shall tell Will all about it. Do as you wish but you know what I'm going to do."

Miss Brown, assistant matron at the dormitory, was greatly loved by all the girls, for she sympathized with them and entered into all their trials and fun. She was not much older than some of the students and her own ways were very girlish.

"Let's appoint Carrie, Madge and Amy on a committee to go and see Miss Brown," said Emma Smith.

"All right, ask her just what she thinks and tell her what we think," said Madge, rapping on the table with the ink bottle.

So the meeting broke up: the girls went to their rooms, and the committee rushed to Miss Brown to get her opinion on this momentous question.

"Now what shall we do Miss Brown? We want to show the authorities that we won't submit to anything so foolish, as having our limit marked off. You know just how things stand. Now do give us your opinion," they exclaimed.

"Why girls, I'm sure that there is nothing for you to do but submit to these rules," said Miss Brown, "besides you know that the places that are marked off on the map are places that you rarely. if ever, care to go. To be sure you cannot go to the main building, only during school hours, but why should you want to go at any other time?"

"It's not that Miss Brown." Madge replied, speaking for the committee, "It's the principle of the thing. and just think, you and the matron are the only persons in this big building that can go where you please. We can't even go to the tennis court."

The next morning just after drill, the boys stood before the bulletin board, listening eagerly to the boy who was reading the notice that had caused such a tumult in North Hall. As the girls came over from the dormitory, they were greeted by, "Have you seen this: do you know what this says?"

"Well, I guess we have."

"I can sympathize with you but I wouldn't stand for it."

"I guess you would; what would you do?"

"I'd do something; like to see myself shut up in such a way."

Will Newman was a particular friend of Madge's and it was to him that she went for a kind word when she felt that her rights were intruded upon.

"Now Will, you think its awful, don't you?"

"Yes, I do, Madge, and I'm sorry for you."

"Yes. and we are in college, too, and right here on the campus we can't go where we please; you wouldn't stand it. would you?"

" No.'

"Now that's just what I say: we mustn't stand it ether; but goodness, some girls are so scarey."

But talking did not mend matters, and for awhile excitement prevailed throughout the school. But gradually the subject dropped and at length it was only now and then that the "limits" were spoken of.

The campus was quiet: the moon shone brightly. Now and then a breeze waved the long trailing branches of the pepper trees and caused the birds to twitter and shift their perches. At the back of the campus in the shadow of the shop, something was moving. An indistinct form at the window, followed by the sound of someone springing lightly to the ground, the soft shutting of the sash, a suppressed giggle and there hurried into the moonlight a group of girls moving quickly from shadow to shadow till they reached a thick group of trees on the main drive.

"Let's rest here: my but I didn't know it was so heavy. Someone get a stick and put it through the handle, and more of us can carry it."

"My goodness, I've got some on my skirt; will it wash out? Then I'll have to burn it for they'll search our rooms and if-

"Well, come on: change hands. Let's begin by the President's house; I don't believe that they're at home anyway."

It was Madge's determined voice that spoke and soon in front of the executive cottage amid much suppressed giggling and holding back of skirts there was poured from an old oil can across the hard caliche drive a stream of paint that showed gory red in the brilliant moonlight.

"It's just the place they put it on the map. O, girls, let's put a sign 'Dormitory Girls' Limits."'

"Mercy, there's a man coming."

There was a scattering to the nearest shadow but it was only Mr. Whittier, the gardener, after all, making his last round, and as he saw from some distance that the gate was closed, he turned and walked slowly back.

"Now he's past."

It did not take them long to paint the dead line and a few rocks between. In a short time they went back and the campus was again quiet.

Of course the boys were accused of painting the campus red, but for awhile the girls felt nervous. Two or three days passed and they were not accused of doing wrong, and, soon they were as fearless as ever.

*     *     *     *

"Girls, Miss Brown is going to leave us and we're to have a new assistant by the name of Miss Middleton," said Carrie Westfall, one evening when the girls had gathered in the parlor to sing.

"Oh my? What will happen next? Who told you about it? "

"Miss Brown is so nice, how we will miss her. What is Miss Middleton like?"

"I don't know, girls. I just heard that a change has been made."

"I know we won't like her," said Madge. "But I'll tell you what we will do. When she comes, one of us can go to her and talk with her: in some way mention the limits, if she is sorry for us, we will know that she is fine, but if she don't bide with us, well, I guess we won't like her a bit."

Accordingly, Madge herself was sent to consult with Miss Middleton but her report was one that struck terror to the girls' hearts. Madge returned with a verdict that the lady was not at all- like Miss Brown, indeed she was awful.

"Girls, she says that we, girls should be held under strict rules and that if she ever caught anyone outside of the limits, when she should be inside, she would report them."

Of course this was not encouraging to the dormitory girls, and from that time on Miss Middleton was spoken of in any but respectful terms. She proved herself equal to her statements and severely censured any girl who was found lagging in her work or too spirited to keep the rules.

One day, a month after Miss Middleton had been assigned her duties, Madge Collins walking down the hall, found a paper on which was written:

"By order of the Board of Regents, the, Matron" and Assistant Matron will hereafter receive no gentlemen callers; neither will they drive or accept any attention from' gentlemen while exercising their duties in the Dormitory.

Secretary of Board of Regents.

After reading it, Madge rushed upstairs." Girls, come into my room, I've something to tell you."

Within five minutes her room was full.

"Now listen to this," and she read the order.

"That explains all," said Carrie. "You know that, gentleman from town used to call so often to see Miss Middleton and all of a sudden his visits ceased. I wondered why-and now I know; and then for her to say that she is a man hater."

"I'm going to keep this," said Madge, "It may come in handy some day."

The climax was reached one day when Will Newman asked permission to take Madge Collins for a ride and his request was refused. This was talked of for days; things were unbearable; what were they coming to; this was much like convent life.

"Madge if you are game, we can go yet," said Will one day after school as they talked over their troubles.

"I don't see how," said Madge, "unless," she hesitated, "I go without permission."

"That's what you will have to do; go without permission: I will have the buggy ready and Wednesday evening you just walk out of, the, dormitory. I will wait for you. just outside the 'limits,' and we can go riding, The only danger is getting outside the 'limits,' if anyone should see you there they would know that you were a dormitory girl, but after you get outside, no one will notice you, especially in a buggy."

So it was arranged. Wednesday evening Madge was to leave the dormitory by herself; Will was to await her outside the 'limits;' they must walk quietly along, get into the buggy and then they were safe.

Wednesday evening was perfect, there was no moon to lighten the 'limits,' and the weather was indeed very suitable for driving. Will Newman paced noiselessly up and down the path, waiting for Madge to appear. It was late now, could she have been found out; perhaps she wouldn't come; but then girls always were late. At last he saw her coming. How calmly she walked along; no girl but Madge could come as unfearingly as she did. No one would suspect her of disobeying rules. She would attract no attention, if she only passed the 'limits' without being caught she was safe. But now she was across and he stepped up to her and they walked quietly along, but they dared not hope until they were outside of the campus.

Madge Collins and Will Newman certainly enjoyed their ride, and while every dark object they saw was surely the president, matron or regent, they did not see many dark objects. They were out quite a distance on the Fort Lowell road when they heard someone coming. The moon had come up and was shining brightly. It seemed not only to lighten but to calm the surrounding country. The rays lighted up each adobe of the old "Oasis" and gave the old ruins a ghostly appearance. All was still save, the sound of the two buggies. Looking back Madge saw, to her horror, Miss Middleton and some gentleman, coming rapidly behind them.

" Oh Will, its Miss Middleton, I can tell her hat by the red ribbon on it, and someone else is with her and they are after us."

Will whipped his horse smartly and they dashed along and when they dared look back, to their great joy, they saw the much-feared buggy turn down the opposite road.

"We will keep going this way," said Will, "for we don't want to go. back until we are sure they are gone. That road they took takes them to the Tanque Verde road, past Bayless' corral.

But Miss Middleton was not looking for her charge. She herself had quietly slipped off for a pleasant evening with her friend from the city. The night was so beautiful that when they reached the cross-roads she took off her hat to enjoy the cool breezes. She little knew that the couple ahead of her were runaways too. But then she had not been thinking much about the dormitory; driving was pleasant this evening. They had gone quite a way from the cross-roads when she suddenly missed her hat. She and her friend searched but in vain. They returned to the crossing roads, and still no hat. It was growing late, and Miss Middleton, feeling that she must, now return to the dormitory, gave up the search.

The professor of French lived opposite North Hall. [Note: this isa reference to Louise Foucar PPS] There was a side gate across from her house that led" to the campus. Here Madge believed was a safe way to reach the dormitory. Bidding Will good night, she hurried along. She reached the dormitory safely and had scarcely closed the door when someone knocked and Miss Middleton stepped in.

"Where have you been, Miss Collins?"

"Driving, Miss Middleton."

"Driving! You have disgraced the Dormitory and all of us. You will be expelled. Tomorrow you shall go to the President. Your parents shall be notified. What will they think of you?

"Miss Middleton."

"You have nothing to say. Do you think that you can disobey rules and not be punished? The Regents' rules are firm and must be obeyed. You knew you would be punished; there is no excuse whatever,"

Madge moved towards the wardrobe and taking down a hat with red ribbon on it, said, "You were driving; is this your hat?"

Miss Middleton stared and then recovering herself, said, "Yes, I was driving and this is my hat. But I am a teacher and not subject to students' rules. I can go where I please. You have disobeyed intentionally the Regents' rules. Now good night."

"Wait, Miss Middleton, I think I have something else that belongs to you."

It was a bit of crumpled paper and it was type-written, but as Miss Middleton took it, she saw something else. It was the Regents' Seal of the University of Arizona.

The girls wondered at the friendship that sprung up between Miss Middleton and Madge, and whenever they wished anything all they had to do was to get Madge interested and they always gained their point.

Continue with An Unfinished Search