NEW LONDON, June 23.On the 26th of June and the 2nd of July, Harvard will again try conclusions with her old rivals, Columbia and Yale. Everything has been done this year to make these races successful. and it is confidently expected that they will take place without hitch or postponement. The weather is beautiful, and the water of the Thames has been uncommonly smooth for the last few weeks. The air up the river is delight fully cool and bracing, and consequently the oarsmen are all feeling wonderfully well. To use an old boatman's words, who rowed me across Gale's Ferry the other day, "The people don't die at all round these parts. No sir. There's Jim Smith over there, you see, hoeing his garden, well he's lived to be a hundred and two, and is likely to live as long again. There's no graveyards round here. If a man wants to die he crawls away off into the woods some where and dies there." Perhaps this may be a little strong, but it is certainly true that the air is remarkably fresh and invigorating.
The 'varsity live a very regular life. They rise at seven o'clock and breakfast at half past. I may say here that training at Harvard, as far as food and drink are concerned, is not at all the same as it was some years ago. Then the men of the crew could only eat so many pounds of meat, and drink so many glasses of water a day. Potatoes and other vegetables were hardly allowed at all. As a consequence the men grew tired of their food, and were very apt to become overtrained by much hard work. Nowadays, however, things are very different, as one can easily judge who happens to watch the crew at table. The men are not stinted at all with regard to the amount they eat, and can have almost anything they want, provided it is not unwholesome, like pastry, candy, etc.
But to return to the crew's daily routine. After breakfast, the men do whatever they feel like. Some sit down to write letters, some read or talk, - I have seen none studying as yet. Others amuse themselves by watching through a telescope the various steam yachts and sail-boats which are continually passing. At about ten the crew walk down to the little boat-house, and get ready for their morning pull. The shell in use now is the old '85 boat, in which the 'varsity won their races last year. It is probably not quite as strong and stiff as the new shell, but it is much steadier, and seems to suit the men better.
In the morning the crew take a long. steady pull, or practises starting, but they seldom row any distance on time. This is generally left for the afternoon. While they are out, the launch usually returns from New London, bringing a supply of provisions, etc., and also the morning's papers and letters for the crew; so that when the crew come back, they find enough to engage their attention until two o'clock, when dinner is served. The table is a long one, large enough for fifteen or sixteen people. Plain china crockery and glassware are used, all the service of the table, in fact, showing the greatest economy and simplicity. There are two negro waiters, one of whom I believe acts also as cook.
After dinner, as in the morning, the men have the time all to themselves for one or two hours. A favorite occupation this year is to practice rifle-shooting in the field just beside the quarters. A target has been set up at about seventy-five yards, and some of the men have already become excellent shots. Base-ball, too, is quite popular, "stroke" being especially skilful at this game. At half past five the crew again don their rowing clothes and take their afternoon pull. The work is harder than the morning row, as the men usually try a "timer," or take a very long, slow pull. Speaking of "timers," it may be of interest to mention what time is usually made for various distances. Anywhere from twenty to twenty-five minutes is about the average time made by college crews for a four-mile race, - although last year Harvard's time was even more than this, - but it must be borne in mind that on that day the conditions of the course were especially unfavorable. For a two mile contest from ten to twelve minutes, is good time. Two years ago the Columbia freshmen won in nine minutes and a fraction, but it is doubtful whether this record will be reached again, unless the course is in very good condition.
The launch usually accompanies the crew in the afternoon, so as to enable the coach to watch the men and correct their faults. This afternoon, however, on account of a little injury to the machinery, it could not be used. After supper, which is served at about a quarter of eight, the men lounge about on the piazza, singing or talking, until ten o'clock, when they retire for the night.
Taking it all in all, their life at the quarters is very much enjoyed. It is such a complete change from the hard study of the winter, and there is just excitement enough, in watching the other crews and thinking about the races to prevent anyone's getting tired of the place. As I have said before, the crew are all very well, feeling much better, they say, and certainly looking better than they did just before leaving Cambridge. This afternoon they rowed as follows:
Position. Name. Weight.
Stroke. R. A. F. Penrose, R.G., 166
7. H. W. Keyes, '87, 168
6. W. H. Brooks, '87, 170
5. T. P. Burgess, '87. 176
4. F. Remington, '87, 156
3. J. R. Yocum, M.S., 176
2. J. J. Colony. L. S., 160
Bow. G. S. Mumford, (capt.)'87, 150
Cox. T. Q. Browne, 95
Substitutes, A. P. Butler, '88; C. F. Adams, 3rd, '88; and J. W. Wood, '88.
Little can be said about the work of the crew as a whole, except that they are rowing precisely the same stroke which succeeded so well last year, and which they have been practicing all this spring. Since leaving Cambridge, however, the men have become rather steadier, and have become more shaken together. There is not so much splashing, and the men get their work in better from their stretchers.
There have been several visitors at the quarters during the week. For the first few days Mr. Farley stayed at the house to superintend the examinations which several of the crew were unable to take at Cambridge. This afternoon Messrs. Appleton and Carrol, '85; Mr. McCook, '85; and Mr. Borland, '86, made a short visit to see how the crew was getting along. They remained only an hour or two, however, and left soon for New London. Capt. Meikleham of Columbia has been around once or twice, making final preparations for next Saturday's race. Mr. Adee of Yale has been chosen referee for the race next Saturday, but the selection of judges and time keepers has been left till Friday.
The following are the races which will be rowed this year, and the time at which they will take place.
Yale vs. University of Pennsylvania, four miles, Friday, June 25th, between five and six o'clock. Harvard vs. Columbia, four miles, Saturday, June 26th, at half past six.
Harvard, Yale and Columbia freshman race, two miles, Thursday, July 1st, between eleven and twelve o'clock.
Harvard vs. Yale, four miles, Friday, July 2nd, at noon.
H. D. HALE.