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ON a priori grounds, at least, it is safe to say that seldom during the year has Harvard been represented by such an elegant assemblage of wit, or, at any rate, of wisdom, as, meeting round the festive board at Parker's on Friday evening, April 16, prolonged its feast of reason, without artificial aid from the flowing bowl, almost into Saturday morning. There were present about thirty of the more prominent scholars of the upper classes, who had there met together for mutual amusement. The injunctions of the menu had been carefully and fully observed by half past nine, and then began the intellectual part of the entertainment.
Each of the new members was required to read an essay, of a length not demanding more than three minutes for its delivery, on a subject which had been assigned him by the exceedingly witty (?) committee of arrangements from the Senior Class. I have queried the word "witty," because to the uninitiated mind, judging from the detailed account of the performances in the last Advocate, it may seem that the wit is exceedingly small and "sick." And so it must be confessed the greater part of it was; but the jokes were better to hear than to read, and of course an audience, for the most part excited by Adam's ale, ice-cream, and the sight of two quart bottles of champagne, was not calm enough to be very discriminating. As a rule, the essays were by no means equal to the subjects, but, fortunately, many of them were unheard on account of the numerous witticisms which the members volunteered, and indeed a great part of the pleasure of the evening was due to these spontaneous jokes.
There were several essays, however, that are worthy of note, either from their own merits or their subject. Mr. Croswell read an essay, a third of which was Latin poetry, "De Lunae natura; utrum viridis casei sit aut contra." His strongest argument was that the moon was a matter of square feet and inches, while it was impossible to cut in-ches out of cheese. Mr. Emerson wrote on "A Shabby Monarch, or Napoleon out at Elba." Mr. Gerrish's subject was, "Whirly and Late, or the Last Waltz" (whirly for early, you know, because you whirl when you dance). Mr. Peirce, of '76, was to have read an essay on "Water on the Brain, or a Notion (an Ocean) in the Head." There were others who seemed to be laboring under the difficulty of which a Junior member boldly complained, saying that his subject was such that he had been obliged to write a pack of prodigious nonsense, which he was going to inflict on us as a punishment for making him write it.
As admission to this celebrated fraternity, which has on its rolls the names of so large a proportion of Harvard's distinguished graduates, is one of the highest honors which are bestowed on successful students, it cannot be out of place to give expression in this public manner to the general opinion that the annual supper would be far pleasanter, if two hours and a half were not spent in listening to so many weak and silly attempts at wit. Just as this year's dinner was more entertaining than the last, let us hope that next year some more amusing or at any rate shorter programme will be devised.
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