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A Different Approach to Shakespeare

by Margaret Campbell, ’34 BA

It was one of those perfect days in late September or early October. The sky was a vividly cloudless blue. No breath of wind stirred the golden aspen leaves. The air was clear as wine.

The class for English 53, a senior course on Shakespeare, had assembled in one of the lecture theatres on the second floor, east side of the Arts Building. Someone had raised the front window at the side of the room as far as it would go. A gentle hum of conversation circled around the group of students. We were waiting for the professor, Edwin Kemper Broadus.

Footsteps were approaching down the hall, then through the door came Dr. Broadus. He took up his usual position behind the desk, sat down his books and papers, seemed about to begin his lecture but — stopped! He glared at us. There on the desk was a small white handkerchief with a dainty edging of crochet lace, slightly crumpled as if it had wiped a warm brow or dusted off a neat little hand.

The Doctor turned, marched over to the chalkboard and from the ledge picked up two felt erasers, returned to the desk and grasped the innocent little hankie between them. Striding over to the window he extended his arms into space and relaxed his grip. The guileless little bit of feminine frippery floated out into the still autumn air then drifted gently to the ground below.

Dr. Broadus returned the erasers, resumed his position behind the desk and glared at us once more. Not a surpressed cough, not a strangled giggle had escaped from our throats.

What was the subject of his lecture that day? Much Ado About Nothing ... ? Or was it All's Well That Ends Well ?

Published Autumn 1988.

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