The mania for confession, which some say is traceable to Saint Augustine, and which none deny Rousseau made popular as means of making one's suppressed desires articulate, has seized on Lampy. The Boston Herald yesterday contained the modest "Life and Times of Lampy" written by himself.
It is a simple tale, and simply told. But those who read it will remark it strange that Lampy glosses over in a line or two the question of his origin. Some will call it filial ingratitude that he not even mentions who his parents were. The matter always has been shrouded deep in mystery: no wonder Lampy hesitates to talk about first causes. Lampy's simple statement that a note somebody passed in classroom brought him forth, is even more at odds with nature than a virgin birth. Therefore, the CRIMSON, who remembers well the scandal incident to Lampy's birth, is loath to let the matter pass without revealing what was known and what suspected at the time.
It was in 1876 as Lampy says. How well the CRIMSON recollects it! Who, indeed, of those then living could forget the year which has been branded ever since in Harvard annals as the "Plague Year" of the century? For then it was that Mistress Advocate, a young and, up till then, respected member of the neighborhood, so shocked the world by bringing forth a lusty, roly-poly boy who was to prove himself the plague of wit and humor. Who was his father no one knew, though there were many guesses. But in commemoration of the joke his mother played upon society, the child was called Lampoon.
Strange prodigies foretold that he was destined to no ordinary way of life. The gargoyles on Memorial Hall were heard to laugh and shriek at midnight, and the ghost of Punch was seen in broad daylight astride an ibis in Mt. Auburn Street. And sure enough, as years went by, the fact was oft remarked that young Lampoon was not a common child. For hours he'd ponder over some inanity, and then would roar with laughter at his own conceit. And this, together with his marked plebeian tendencies and over-strong aversion to the Irish nation, got it whispered round that Mistress Advocate had had some secret traffic with old John the Orangeman. But John, whene'er the thing was hinted at, swore roundly in his well known way, "Ter Hell wid Yale!"--disclaiming thus his offspring. Thus Lampy's disinheritance has been advanced by some as cause sufficient for his marked dislike of County Corkers.
Now many years have passed since John the Orangeman was gathered to his fathers, and Mother Advocate, in penance for her sin, has vowed upon herself a life of straitened chastity. But old John's death and Mother Advocate's remorse could not wipe out the past. Lampy lived; not only lived, but flourished on the jokes the CRIMSON kindly furnished him. Indeed, the CRIMSON may assert a modest pride in Lampy's modest humor, since the CRIMSON often is to Lampy what Prince Harry was to Falstaff--the inspiration, source, and fountain of his wit.
And now upon his fiftieth anniversary the CRIMSON here extends to Lampy its congratulations, and adds the wish that be may live to be a hundred. There's no fool like an old one, and it may be Lampy will discard his youthful aged jokes and on his own account grow witty wise.