Social Life at Princeton.
"Social life at Princeton, or at any college town, can be taken to mean little, except the social life of the students. Of what is usually known as society, Princeton has almost nothing. Life here is semi-monastic; society is that of one's fellows of the cloister; and of social events it can only be said that they are somewhat more frequent than angels' visits.
The first of these in the student's history occurs in a few weeks after entrance, after he has ceased to tremble at the thought of midnight visits from the upper-classmen - a social custom that is, we hope, happily discontinued by the general assent of every class now in college - and has become some-what accustomed to the routine of his new life. Every member of the incoming class finds himself in receipt of an invitation from the venerable president to attend a reception at his residence. Excitement ensues; wardrobes are ransacked and set in order; lessons are hastily read, or pushed aside; visions of bright forms and thoughts of conquest flit through the undergraduate mind; upper-classmen are quizzed as to the probabilities of the evening, social, and even gastronomical. At the appointed time, a long train of students file into the president's library, and are warmly received by that gentleman, his wife, various members of the faculty, and a large corps of ladies from the homes of professors and from the families of ancient lineage, of which there are several in Princeton. To the inquiring mind two things are at once apparent: first, that the upper-classmen have prevaricated in stating that the new-comer would meet here the same ladies that had entertained his father before him, and, secondly, that the proportion of ladies to students is so small that none but the brave, and moreover the very strategical, will be likely to secure more than a word with any one of them. But no one retires discouraged. Little systems of student satellites revolve about the centres of attraction; the hum of conversation and ripple of laughter are unceasing; while Dr. and Mrs. McCosh move about among the groups, exerting a genial influence over the entire assemblage.
As regards class feeling in the early part of the course, it is proper and necessary to speak of hazing; and a very few words will suffice. The wild reports that have been circulated through the newspaper world within a few years have had only the barest foundation in fact. The unparalleled atrocities and so on have consisted in a quiet call upon some unwary freshman, a reading of some Greek or Latin author to the company by their unwilling host. probably from a recumbent position upon the table, and, finally, an invitation given him to retire to his couch, in most cases promptly accepted. Occasional instances of a departure from this rule have been exaggerated to the utmost for reasons best known to the reporters. At last, however, Princeton, has followed the example of other institutions in this respect. By the action of the student body itself acting in conjunction with the faculty, hazing this year has been unknown and there is every reason to believe that it will henceforth remain so."