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DEAR GEORGE, - You will doubtless be greatly surprised to learn from this letter that Harvard, after being defeated at the oar for one hundred consecutive years, has at length won a boat-race! Although almost paralyzed with joy at this unexpected event, I will endeavor to narrate as coherently as possible the circumstances which led to our glorious victory.
The Convention of Boating-Men met, as you know, at Omaha last winter, and decided to hold the next regatta at Detroit, on July 25; moreover, Harvard was granted permission henceforth to choose material for her University crews from the association of colored waiters at Memorial Hall, in consideration of the fact that members of the Law School have always been excluded from rowing on the 'Varsity. As soon as the Convention adjourned our delegates hastened back to Cambridge, and at their recommendation the colored waiters were set to work, between meals, in the Gymnasium. At the spring races they entered a crew composed of six stalwart brothers, Stubbs by name, which gained considerable advantage over our University crew, beating it by one mile. It was thereupon resolved that the colored crew should represent Harvard at the Intercollegiate Regatta, and with that object in view the brothers Stubbs were kept in excellent training until the 15th of July; they then left for Detroit, accompanied by five hundred undergraduates armed to the teeth.
At Buffalo the party embarked on board the double-turreted monitor "Infinity" and the gunboats "Hyperbola" and "Parabola," purchased, as you know, two years ago by our Boat-Club to take care of the interests of Harvard at the regattas.
The only incident of the voyage between Buffalo and Detroit was the capture and execution of a band of cutthroats hired by Trinity to place torpedoes in the Detroit River for the purpose of destroying our fleet.
The 25th of July dawned, and the day was all that could be desired; in consequence of my position as war correspondent of the Smithville Daily Herald, I obtained a reserved seat on board the stake-boat (a propeller of some 2,000 tons), where also were seated the one hundred Judges, all graduates of Harvard.
The election of Harvard men solely as judges this year was owing to the unexpected liberality with which our Divinity School subscribed to the Boat-Club; a fund was thereby created which proved invaluable for electioneering purposes.
At 2.30 P. M. the crews, 499 in number, drew up in line; all the colleges which rowed in the last regatta were represented, including the victorious Vassar six; but, in addition to these, there were three crews which never before had entered in any Intercollegiate Regatta, namely:-
Harvard Crew (colored), of Harvard University, Boston,
Ephraim G. Stubbs, stroke, William Shakespere Stubbs, 4,
George Washington Stubbs, 2, John Stuart Mill Hamilton Stubbs, 5,
Andrew Jackson Stubbs, 3, Daniel Pratt Stubbs, bow.
Red Cloud Crew (Indian), of Red Cloud University, Ogallalla,
Heap-swearing Fox, stroke, Heap-pull Charley, 4,
Big-muscle Jack, 2, Ten-handed Ox, 5,
Two-fisted Buffalo, 3, Red-eyed Sam, bow.
Ah Sin Crew (Chinese), of Ah Sin University, Mariposa,
Pullee-Bullee, stroke, Yum-Yum, 4,
Chow-Chow, 2, Shang-Hy, 5,
Hoop-La, 3, Jim-Jam, bow.
The course was a straight-away one, three miles in length. Precisely at three o'clock, as the starting-gun was fired, two thousand eight hundred and ninety-five oars were dipped simultaneously into the water with a unison that was truly grand.
Vassar immediately took the lead, closely pushed by Ah Sin; at the end of the first mile Harvard was 498th, having passed Wesleyan, - a circumstance which gave rise to much profanity among the members of this usually orthodox University.
At the end of the second mile Vassar was still ahead, leading Ah Sin by five lengths; Harvard, however, had now gained the 497th place, our colored brethren, by strict attention to business, having succeeded in passing Yale.
Deafening cheers for Harvard greeted this achievement. Bets of two to one were offered that she would not come in last, when an unlooked-for circumstance took place which eventually gave the victory to our College. When three fourths of a mile from the stake-boat, the Indian crew, spurting, overhauled the Chinamen, and through the carelessness of Jim-Jam, the bow-oar of Ah Sin, the two boats fouled; the boats which were closely following these two crews, in endeavoring to avoid a collision with them, fouled each other, and in an incredibly short space of time the course became completely blocked, over 490 boats being hopelessly entangled, - Vassar ahead, clear of the general confusion, and rowing beautifully.
Harvard, being twenty lengths behind the boats, had ample time to avoid the labyrinth of entangled crews, which opportunity she improved by making a wide detour.
Yale and Wesleyan followed the example set by their swarthy rival, while Vassar now led all three by half a mile. Suddenly Heap-swearing Fox, stroke of the Indian crew, drew a tomahawk from his belt, and with an appalling yell buried it in the brain of the unfortunate Jim-Jam.
The terror produced by the war-whoop of the bloodthirsty savage was simply sickening.
Miss Susan B. A. Smith, stroke of the Vassar crew, fainted dead away; the Wesleyan crew ceased rowing, and initiated an impromptu prayer-meeting; while Ephraim G. Stubbs, livid with fright, set his crew a tremendous stroke, in order to put a safe distance between his woolly head and the tomahawk of the red-skin.
The Yale crew, which had been selected with especial reference to the decisions of the Judges, was stone-deaf, to a man; consequently the bloodcurdling yells of the savages had not the least effect upon it. Too near-sighted to observe the distress of Vassar, they were quick in noticing Harvard forge ahead, and, making a desperate spurt, soon lapped our crew.
At this juncture "the colored crew pulled nobly," seeing which, Bruiser, bow-oar of Yale, raised his oar, and brought it down upon the devoted head of Ephraim G. Stubbs with great violence.
The good-natured African did not cease rowing, but, as the oar of the Yale man fell splintered into the water, merely showed his teeth and ejaculated, "Nebber say die."
These courageous words inspired our crew surprisingly; and with renewed energy they pulled away from their now seriously disabled opponents, and passed the stake-boat ten lengths in advance of them.
The Judges, after some deliberation, gave the race to Harvard, reasoning in this wise; Harvard at the end of the second mile had passed two crews, therefore at the end of the 498th mile she would have passed 498 crews, or, in other words, have won the race, provided no foul had occurred.
Immediately after this decision I was obliged to go ashore and take care of Jenkins, who became insane from joy over our victory.
I must bring this letter to an abrupt termination, as I hear him now screaming "'Rah! 'Rah! 'Rah!" in the next room, and must go and quiet him.
With kind regards to yourself and family, I remain
HORACE.THE French Club, organized at the beginning of last year to afford an opportunity for practice in conversational French, has completed its first year, during which there have been a number of very entertaining meetings. It has been deemed advisable, however, to render the meetings more interesting and beneficial by more regular literary exercises. In future the members will read at each meeting a comedy, the parts being assigned a week in advance. The committee has selected for the next meeting "Le Medecin malgre lui," and will continue to choose, in the broad field of French comedy, the most attractive pieces for reading. In order to have a larger number to choose from, the limit of membership will probably be extended to forty members.
The club has been encouraged to hope that the President and some of the honorary members will favor it during the year with some "conferences." Any one who has attended the French University Lectures can readily see how much these will contribute to the success of this year's meetings.
As there are only ten vacancies in the roll of members, all who desire to join the society would do well to hand in their names as early as possible at either of the following rooms: No. 8 Little's Block, No. 9 or 19 Holworthy.
The German Club will follow the example of its sister society, only choosing a different field for research, according to the genius of the language. Unfortunately the number of its members is small, '78 having as yet only contributed one representative.
Applicants for membership are requested to call at No. 391 Harvard Street or at No. 19 Holworthy.
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