From the reader's perspective, the chief difference between Paul and the college student he meets is that, while the former is the story's protagonist and is described in some detail, the latter comes and goes in a single brief paragraph and we know very little about him. We are told that he is a "wild" boy from San Francisco and is a freshman at Yale. He is on a short visit to New York and offers to show Paul "the night side of the town." They stay out all night, returning to the hotel at 7:00am. Finally, Cather tells us:
They had started out in the confiding warmth of a champagne friendship, but their parting in the elevator was singularly cool. The freshman pulled himself together to make his train and Paul went to bed.
Since the boy is a college freshman, he is presumably slightly older than Paul. He is described as wild but, unlike Paul, seems able to keep his wildness within socially acceptable limits. The fact that he is a Yale freshman who is familiar with New York City nightlife...
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