"Oh, that song! We could do very well without it, sir. This is a private club, and we frown on publicity of any sort."
These are the worlds of a gentleman named Abbott, who is the manager of the most widely-publicized drinking the eating club in the world--Mory's Association Incorporated in New Haven.
The song in question is, of course, the "Whiffenpoof Song", and it has served to make the tables down at Mory's synonymous with the name of Yale. It also mentions a place where Louis dwells and a drinking establishment known as the Temple Bar, which was really the same place. The history and tradition of Mory's are of ancient vintage.
Before 1863, Yale men suffered from a serious lack of good imbibing spots in New Haven. The town bars were filled with grime-stained workmen, not the cleanly-scrubbed and wealthy young bloods of the local university.
Short and Stumpy
The Wooster street taproom of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Moriarty was dependent upon the same source for its income, but shone out above all other New Haven alehouses in disdaining the common American saloon trapping in favor of a quiet European charm and hospitality. A Yaleman of this era wrote, "Frank's offered a hospitality and possessed a dignity never acquired by any one of the various saloons in the district.:
No one thought a great deal of the location of Moriarty's, however--on the outskirts of the tom between the University and the river.
But one afternoon in the spring of 1863 almost everyone in the University was at the river, watching a crew race between the Elis and their rivals from Cambridge. It was a hot day, and a group of seniors decided to drop off at an ale-house on their way back to their rooms. So they walked into a place on Wooster Street--any old bar would do--and were surprised to find themselves surrounded by the sombre atmosphere, the odor of British ale, the characteristic old prints, the quiet, order, and decency of an old English grilleroom.
They looked a little self-conscious among the habituees of the establishment, so Mrs. Moriarty invited them into the family sitting room. The rotund and jovial Frank and his kindly, and equally heavy, wife put forth a hospitality that had not been expected by the weary college revellers. They stayed longer than they had planned--about 80 years longer.
Moriarty's was soon the Yaleman's second home. It picked up the na,me of "the quiet House," and class after class of Eli undergraduates developed a great fondness for the short, stumpy imitation English oak door, the sort, stumpy bar, the short, stumpy proprietor, and his short stumpy wife.
The tables, many old plints and books, and small gold-lettered glass signs--"Welsh Rarebit", "Golden Buck". "Eggs and Toast", "Grilled Sardines"--hold places of honor and prominence on the present Mory's.
And generations of Yale men have stood on the table tops and delivered immortal addresses, one of which is conscientiously recorder in Yale's Memorable Room;
A Ditthertathon on Spithes
I've twied hot spithed wum in every form (cheers), and I know what I'm talking about. (Bully old man!) I have twied one spithe, and two spithes, three spithes(Hurrah!), four spithes, five spithes (Hear! Hear!), and thix spithes, and upon my word as a sthudent of Yale I declare that hot spithed wum without thix spithes is but a vulgar thubterfuge! (Prolonged cheering)"
In 1898 Louis Linder, always kind, helpful, and generous to the Yale men, took over the management. Students began to refer to the new Temple Bar location as either "Mory's" or "Louie's." But in 11912 expansion of the business district forced out the alehouse. A group of alumni, under the name of Mory's Association, Incorporated, bought the present white colonial building on York street as a food-and drink club for Yale men, and moved in Louie, the old clock, the books, the tintype photos, and other reminders, of "Quiet House" and Temple Bar days.
The old carved round tabletops decorate the walls, while present students whittle their way through a new set. The tradition of communal drinking still survives in Mory' "Green Cup", containing champagne, and other potents known only to the brewers.
Mory's is still a private club, and about as private as the men's room in Grand Central. Almost any upperclassman can join, by countersigning two friends who are members and waiting until his application blank acquires the proper degree of mustiness.
Even non-members have the run of the house on weekends. Since money rarely changes hands inside the clapboard walls, and payment are made via monthly bills, visitors find it easy to pass their debts onto half-willing newly-met members.
Small rooms give Mory's an intimsey that Cronin's misses. The big difference is the steady signing from every table, a recreation banned by law in Boston. Yale is the singingest college in the East, and Mory's gathers music waves like a sonar machine. If a person isn't singing, he's hushing his friends to hasp someone else sing.
The Whiffenpoofs, Yale's most famous if not best singing group, harmonizes every Monday evening. Some of their songs were first sung in the Wooetes Street alehouse in 1865.