Patient peruser, have you ever heard of Whitville? For the benefit of the unfortunates who have not, it might be well to state that it is the name applied to a boarding house located not far from the College gate, and run by Whitney, or rather by his wife.
Whitville has been the scene of many a "tear." Its walls have listened to deep schemes, held many a riotous crowd, and have seldom witnessed hard study. Many a time and oft has the unsophisticated "first-year," sweetly slumbering in the arms of his second-year room-mate, started from his downy boarding-house couch, and with glaring eyes and bated breath, stammered "wh-wh-h-ats th-that?" only to be told: "nuthin' but Whitville broke loose."
Boys may come and boys may go, but it is firmly believed that the crowd that made Whitville. its habitation in '87, presents an anomaly in the history of the College. Not for scholastic research and philosophic profundity. Oh! no. Just the reverse, in fact.
Who of that motley crew will ever forget the attempt made by a couple of "town boys" to go with "our girls?" Whitville had two young lady boarders that year, the pride of the College, the joy of Whitville. The young men of the place numbered fifteen. When, as it occurred once or twice, those "town boys" returned with "our girls" from some convivial meeting, and hesitated at the front steps for half an hour or more, to commune about the starry flocks that roam the azure meads of heaven, then it was that ghostly forms might have been seen in the rooms above in hurried consultation; others flitting from room to room, rousing sonorous sleepers and leaving them with the injunction to "bring something." Freeman's room and Arbuthnot's, which were directly above the front steps, were the base of operations that will be left to the imagination. There were no more astronomical observations from the front steps.
The successors of the young men alluded to above were Carl Friend and Teddy Nichols, of the class of '88. At first these gentlemen fared no better than did their predecessors.
One evening, while making their regular weekly visit, the idea was conceived that a serenade would be an eminently proper thing with which to entertain our visitors. H. E. Robb had one of the finest baritone voices in our company. It resembled a mixture of the filing of a saw and the beating of a pie pan. "Bob," however, declined our urgent invitation on the ground of a slight bronchial trouble, and his rival and collaborator, Whitney's big tom cat, was pressed into service. The cat, equatorially suspended from the upper story and manipulated by Arbuthnot and Dixon, was soon made to execute a series of performances in chromatic scales, runs, trills, quavers and demi-semi-quavers that made Bob turn pale with envy.
In a few diplomatic interviews that occurred soon after, it was agreed that Whitville would cease hostilities if presented a box of cigars. The box was soon forthcoming, and then followed a scene in which the biter was bit.
All of the boys assembled in one room, each determined to have his shire. The cigars were quite robust. As several of the party were indulging in their first experience in that line, it was not long before the cigar was the stronger of the two. Were the writer to live till the top of his head was as bare as a billiard ball, and his face as wrinkled as a dried potato, he would never forget that night, for he was the first to seek the outer air and pace the road, while he tried to calm rebellious nature. It is in such moments of anguish that the wayward boy thinks of home and mother, and longs for something to calm the surging billows of his soul and of his stomach too.
The above incident calls to mind Breese's cigar. Breese, who married soon after graduation, joined the faculty and sank into oblivion, one day sent to town by one of the boys for a cigar, giving as an excuse that his tooth ached, or the flies bothered him - something in that line anyhow. A short time before, he had been delivering a series of after-dinner speeches to "our girls" on the evils of drink, the vileness of the tobacco habit, and so on, ad lib. He was just concluding an animated elucidation on some kindred subject, when the messenger arrived with the cigar and an empty whisky flask which he had picked up by the roadside. It was suggested that the two be presented to Breese in the presence of the girls. One of the boys rushed into the parlor, and before Breese could get away, gave him the articles, with the explanation that "he could not get the bottle filled." The expressions of feminine amazement, both facial and vocal, baffle description. Breese, it was understood, spent the best part of that afternoon in profuse explanation.
Did you ever hear of Ben Skinner's flirtation? One day during the spring term, some giddy girls were going past Whitville, ostensibly in quest of flowers, when they were seemingly attracted by Phil Creager's beaming countenance, which was in juxtaposition with a convenient window at the time. They made some move with a handkerchief. The news spread like wildfire that we had been attacked, and Whitville immediately flew to arms. The windows were crowded with excited youths frantically fanning the air with handkerchiefs, towels, pillow-cases - anything to make a demonstration. Someone suddenly looked around, when lo and behold! there was Skinner, evidently laboring under great excitement, furiously tossing a bed sheet. It was agreed by all that a man whose pent-up feelings were such as to require a bed sheet for their expression when an ordinary kerchief sufficed for common mortals, should have free and undisputed sway in giving vent to the same. Skinner reigned supreme.
The time that Freeman's black eye, caused by a judicious application of burnt cork and carmine, but attributed to the pugilistic skill of Teddy Nichols, came so near dissolving one of "our girls" to a saline solution when she "poured herself out at her eyes," - the pillow fights in the parlor - the midnight raids on the pantry - the buckwheat cakes - all will linger in the memory when even the subjects studied at the time will have faded into dim forgetfulness.
A few short years have gone, and Whitville of '87 has scattered far and wide. Some are married, others want to be, and others ought to be. The time is not far distant when time shall have silvered the heads, though perhaps not the pocketbooks, and dull care furrowed the faces of those remaining. Those who live to see the dim twilight of life, will no doubt in reminiscent moods find memory diligently but vainly seeking for scientific truth or scholastic lore amid the ponderous tomes of human learning, yet will she come with all her garnered store of boyish pranks and youthful follies when the gentle zephyrs in that evening of old age, blowing through his whiskers, seems to softly whisper Whitville, Whitville.
The Ionian girl's a queer girl,
The queerest e'er I've seen,
And the queerest I expect to see
Long months and years between.
Her ways are very charming.
She will write a brilliant essay,
She will tell you of the first crusade,
She is witty, she is pretty,
She will give an apt quotation,
P. S. C.
Since college life for me commenced,
There's been no time, I ween,
When misery was so much condensed
So little joy was seen.
The thoughts of Ag. are hardly thro',
In his most despicable works,
We learn of Tetradecapods,
And last, most horrible of all.
Investigate them all about,
If this were all, I'd not complain,
For, soon as we are through with Zoo,
We propound theories, vast in scope,
On Wednesdays Olin claims his share
And then, to cap the climax,
Then, when at night our weary heads
However, 't will not always last,
P. S. C.
According to my notions of the eternal fitness of things, the college of the future will be a very different affair from the college of to-day. With the growth of the college, with the increased number of students and their increased appreciation of social advantages, the college social will rise from its present position of mediocrity and take its proper place as foremost among the society events of our pleasant little city.
It will cease to be a cross between an agricultural chicken show and an amateur representation of Romeo and Juliet, in which "music, literary exercises and friendly greeting find place," and will rise to a higher and more dignified plane. At the college of the future, there will be present, besides the students and faculty, the governor and lieutenant governor, the Board of Regents, the senior class of the University, and many individual friends of the students.
The gentlemen will appear dressed in swallow-tailed coats, barn door shirt fronts and white vests; while the ladies will be attired in full dress, abbreviated collars, twelve-button kids and all. The social will open up with a grand ball in the new and spacious hall built especially for the purpose, through the praiseworthy efforts of our "farmer legislators."
The college military band, which includes a superannuated French harp and a tuning fork, furnishes the music for the dancing, in which all enthusiastically engage.
The seniors lead out the sophomore maids,
The preps "sashay" with the faculty's wives,
Then each and every one promenades,
And "allemande-left" for all their lives.
The dancing amusement will have emerged from the embryo skip-to-my-loo of the present to the dignified minuet and stately quadrille. The musical voices of Professors Popenoe and Lantz will be heard ringing through the hall, as they call the intricate changes of the moniemusk and Sicilian circle. President Fairchild will be there looking younger than ever, and it will be a pleasing sight to see him as he walks across the hall with a blushing young first-year clinging confidingly to his arm. Mrs. Kedzie will be there, and Mrs. Winchip, and Professors Walters and Georgeson and Kellerman and White, all lively, jolly, joking, dancing, enjoying themselves as in the days of their youth.
The affair will close with a grand banquet, which will of course be the "entire production of Mrs. Kedzie and her girls," and consequently will not overtax the gastronomic capacities of the guests. Toasts something like the following will be heartily responded to:
"The health of the Governor."
The health of President Fairchild."
More to eat for Friday lunches."
"Our Alma Mater."
"Kids under twelve not wanted."
"Our Alliance Legislature."
After supper everyone will join in the old-fashioned Virginia reel, the national anthem will be sung, and at three o'clock in the morning
The College bell will toll the coming of the day,
And preps and sophs and all will tear themselves away; and thus will end the college social of the not far distant future.
[Composed by T. E. Wimer, member of the class of '90, for the Webster Annual, of 1890.]
The Bay State may sing its fair praises to Harvard,
And Connecticut sing of her time honored Yale,
But we'll laud the name of a dearer old College,
In the land where the sunflowers nod in the gale.
Of the grandeur of Kenyon, of Union, or Lee,
But there far above in her own splendor shining,
Beams kindly and brightly, our K. S. A. C.
We may wander afar from the scenes of our boyhood,
And when life is o'er, and the dark, silent boatman,
I stood by the gate in the morning
As the bell was ringing loud,
The preps came in from the city
And passed by in a noisy crowd.
And like those joyous first-years,
Those noisy girls and boys;
A crowd of thoughts came o'er me
And filled my heart with joys.
I thought of them all in chapel
Hard listening to a prayer
In behalf of civilization
And its advancement everywhere.
T. C. D.
Little oval goose eggs,
Little tens, so rare,
Make a student homesick,
Make him almost swear.
When my winks in vain were wunk,
And my last stray thoughts were thunk,
Who saves me from a shameless flunk?
Tom & Carolyn Ward