Quite aside from its natural characteristics, there is an atmosphere about a college town, especially a New England college town, that is unmistakable. It is not so much actively intellectual as passively aware of and satisfied with its own intellectuality.
The beautiful little town of Corinth was no exception; from its tree-shaded village green to the white-columned homes on its outskirts it fairly radiated a satisfied sense of its own superiority.
Not that the people were smug or self-conceited. They merely accepted the fact that the University of Corinth was among the best in the country and that all true Corinthians were both proud and worthy of it.
The village itself was a gem of well-kept streets, roads and houses, and all New England could scarce show a better groomed settlement.
In a way, the students, of course, owned the place, yet there were many families whose claim to prominence lay in another direction.
However, Corinth was by all counts, a college town, and gloried in it.
The University had just passed through the throes and thrills of one of its own presidential elections.
The contest of the candidates had been long, and at last the strife had become bitter. Two factions strove for supremacy, one, the conservative side, adhering to old traditions, the other, the modern spirit, preferring new conditions and progressive enterprise.
Hard waged and hard won, the battle had resulted at last in the election of John Waring, the candidate of the followers of the old school.
Waring was not an old fogy, nor yet a hide-bound or nar-row-minded back number. But he did put mental attainment ahead of physical prowess, and he did hold by certain old-fashioned principles and methods, which he and his constituents felt to be the backbone of the old and honored institution.
Wherefore, though his election was an accomplished fact, John Waring had made enemies that seemed likely never to be placated.