Last Class-Day was particularly afflicted by circumstances which will probably not be repeated. The weather was the worst for the occasion that we have had for several years, and the Yard was in a pitiable condition. But the canker-worms will probably not have another chance to revel among our elm-leaves; and the graduating class would certainly be ready and willing to meet the expense of having the streets in the vicinity of the Yard thoroughly watered, - a suggestion which was made last year, but was not acted on. This would insure us against being again overwhelmed with such a dusty simoom as visited us last year. Furthermore, the turf in the Yard should be cared for; if it is dry, it ought to be watered sooner than the evening before Class-Day, as was the case last year.
So much for externals. The chief reason for a decline of the interest felt in Class-Day may be found in the great increase of our classes. While the classes were one third or one half the size they are now, Seniors, with a few exceptions, could invite nearly all their friends in the vicinity to come and enjoy all the Class-Day exercises. Nowadays, with eight tickets to the Chapel and five to the tree, very few men can invite a large share of their acquaintance to these the most interesting parts of the programme of the day. To be sure, there are some few extra tickets belonging to men who ask no friends to Class-Day; but their number is so small that they may be almost disregarded.
This can be remedied in part. The finished hall in the Memorial Building has been spoken of in connection with the exercises now held in the Chapel. It would certainly be large enough for any company likely to assemble; but whether it would prove suitable for an effective delivery by the speakers could only be ascertained by experiment. And when the amphitheatre of the building is completed, our wants in this direction will be permanently provided for.
At the tree, perhaps the favorite scene of the day, we are even more cramped than at the Chapel. Probably no class would be willing to be the first to relinquish the old Rebellion Tree for any other, no matter how superior the location; so we must put up with the lack of room as best we can, as long as Holden Chapel stays where it is.
Some people wish to have Harvard changed into an institution to which men may come as for a matter of business, to obtain instruction on one subject or another, staying and going at their own sweet wills, and paying accordingly. If the Elective System or any other influence should ever bring it about that all which Harvard graduates have in common is a date of the reception of a degree, and perhaps not even that, then Class-Day must die as a matter of course; but until that unhappy day comes, let us do anything in our power to preserve an anniversary which has always signified to Harvard friends all that is lively, gay, and enjoyable, and has been for so long to the collegians their one day of romance.