A Sophomore's Account of the Rush.
CAMBRIDGE, Nov. 4, 1884.
Dear--, You remember in my last letter I wrote you of the grand torchlight parade in which the college was to participate, and of the rush which was to take place between Sophomores and Freshmen at the close. Well, we left Harvard square at about six o'clock, and here it was, that the struggle between '87 and '88 began; it was to see which should get possession of the few horse cars. We pulled and tugged, spilled the oil in our torches over each other's clothes, disarranged the artistic hanging of our black ulsters, and in the end drove from the car the resisting Freshmen. After forming on Charles street, we joined the main line on Marlborough street. We shouted ourselves hoarse for '87, for the ladies, and for the tattooed man of the white plume. At the South End we got stuck in the mud and had not our eyes at this instance caught sight of an orange and black '87 banner flying before us in the hands of some young lady admirers, there is no doubt that many a gallant warrior would have fallen behind in the hands of Pharisees and Mugwumps to be brought before that terrible tribunal the "Executive Committee of the Committee of One Hundred."
On we marched; many of our men were tired, yet more were full of spirits, and the curves which some of them described would have baffled the most ingenious mathematician. At Bowdom square we disbanded, and the two upper classes rushed for the cars, but '87 and '88 kept on their march, the former leading in unregular lines, the latter following in a compact body. We cross the bridge, and near the scene of many a hard fought battle. '88 forms her lines more clumsily still; she is preparing for a rush. But where is '87? Her men extend in a long straggling line for a long mile ahead. What is the matter? Are the Sophomores afraid of their temporal fathers, the Faculty, or of broken heads? We are greeted on every side by taunts and jibes from upper classmen, and even the Freshmen begin to hoot at us. It is unbearable; something must be done. Fifteen or twenty of us get together and shout lustily for '87 and then throw ourselves upon the advancing column; our classmates are now in duty bound to assist us, and soon a big crowd is collected. Just at this moment a policeman hastens up and orders the streets to be cleared. He is greeted with jeers, and an enthusiastic Freshman shouts out, "We'll clear it!"
The "copp" more prudent than valiant retreats. In this case discretion was doubtless the better part of valor. We in the front rank agreed to throw down our torches. Now comes the rush. I can tell you little except what happened to myself. I pulled my "plug" down over my ears and rushed in. At the first onset somebody knocked off my hat- I thought my head had gone too- I put my hands up, it is my head, still there, thank heaven! But I have no reason to rejoice, for when I left home that night as the last buckle of my armor was being girded on, I heard a voice as if from the depths of Thayer saying, "Return with our plug or without your skull." There was no mistaking it. I had lost the former and retained the latter. I became desperate: a Freshman stands before me with an uninjured prize upon his head. I rush at him; he perceives my intention and with both hands clasped tight on his "plug" bears on for dear life; he decides to retain his scalp rather than his hat. Victory! Our first rush is about over. The two sides are very evenly matched, neither seems to have any decided advantage. Every one now looks to himself to see if he has suffered any injury. I find that my eye has a tendency to close; my nose seems swollen; my cheeks tingles, and my head is rather confounded. I look to my dress; where is my gown? I can find only one sleeve, my belt and a few shreds of black and orange cloth hanging from my shoulders. I am horrified when I think that some Freshmen may have the rest.
Neither side is satisfied with the result; a second rush is inevitable, The Sophomores take up their line of march for Old Cambridge, this time keeping in closer ranks. Before Beck Hall is reached they take their stand on the sidewalk, and as the Freshmen come up an attempt is made to dislodge them. At first '88 seems to have the advantage, for she has rushed up against a fence which creaks and groans and finally gives way, sending head over heels several Juniors who had taken a position there to watch the fight. '87 and '88 are thrown into a promiscuous heap, from which they gradually extricate themselves, and once more rush at each other. This time it is decisive. The Sophomores rush the Freshmen off the sidewalk and retain possession of it. Now a number of single combats takes place in almost every one of which the Sophomores gain the victory. I now look to my spoils. I have captured this time two '88 hats and recaptured an '87 hat from an '88 man. I feel content and wend my way home. As I am about to mount the steps of the dormitory, I cast my eyes over toward the Delta of Memorial, and there I see three Freshmen standing near the statue of John Harvard, evidently up to some mischief. I watch until they are gone and then cross over to see what they have been up to. To my horror I see upon the scholarly and dignified head of our illustrious founder, what think you? an '88 plug hat! I hastened to relieve the good man from such a humiliating and embrassing position, and appropriate for my private store one more trophy. This act made me feel very virtuous, and when I went to sleep that night I dreamed pleasant dreams, of Freshmen coming to my room and gazing with fear and a we upon the trophies on the wall, and then with many an excuse for their intrusion, hastily withdrawing.
But my dear fellow, after such a night's work I am growing very sleepy and must bring this letter to a close.
YOUR OLD-TIME CHUM.