Here and There at Tufts
If you ask Nicholas Dwyer a casual question, he will entertain you as long as you have time to listen, just as he has entertained a dozen generations of Tufts men.
" Yis, sor, I've been here since 1863. It was in Dr. Ballou's time whin I begun. Mr. James O. Curtis. of Medford, one of the Trustees, got me the place. I used to do work for Mrs. Ballon, who wasn't very smart. Mary, me first wife, was here whin I came. I married her in January, 1864, and we wint to live in the basement of Middle Hall, that's now the Library.
" Ah, what foine boys I've held in me arrums! There was 'Romy Klinghammerhe's dead, poor fellow! An' there was Clinton Dolbear, an' Sam Capen, an' Coleman Tousey - all foine men. Many's the time I've lifted Sam Capen on top of Jumbo, in the Museum, Hah ! he could lift me up on it, now. But the old boys have all gone away.
"Do ye remember Lester Fisher? He was a short, thick-set fellow, an' he lost his red cat. 'Nicholas,' says he, 'I'll give ye five dollars if ye'll find me red cat for me.' He'd married a wife from Longwood, an' she was that fond of it! 'I'll ask the neighbors,' says I, 'but I don't want your five dollars. An' I'll give you five dollars,' says I, ' if the cat ain't in the place where I'll tell ye.' ' Where's that ? ' says he. ' On the porch of the very house the cat lived in,' says I.
"I remembered the time I tuk two black cats from one house to another, thinkin' to get rid of 'em. 'Twas two black cats (an' two thiefs) that I put into a flour bag to carry away, an' 'twas two white cats that I dumped out agin .....
" Well, I found Mr. Fisher's cat for him, an' he held out to me five dollars betune his fingers. Yis, he give me the five dollars, indeed he did. Ah, he was a foine man ! "
Tufts would be a different place to the old graduate, in the absence of Nicholas Dwyer. He has seen, and remembers, many vicissitudes of the College and its inhabitants. He himself has been janitor of various buildings-at one time of three together. Now he is officially connected with the chemical laboratory, where he is as much a characteristic sight of the Hill as the reservoir or the chaper tower.