But I am going too fast. I have taken it for granted that we are to have exercises in the morning. I must stop. I am told that the oration and poem are dull and stupid, that no one wants to hear them, and that they only serve to tire people by bringing them here so early in the day. To this the answer is simple : the oration and poem have been a part of Class Day as long as there has been a Class Day. Every one knows what to expect of them, and year after year it has been impossible to supply with tickets all those who would like them. The rush at the Chapel door, after the Seniors have gone in, has become historic. Surely it cannot be the general opinion that this part of the day only bores one.
We are told that keeping people here all day is too much, that they get tired, and that they much prefer a performance like that of last year, when they were only compelled to enjoy themselves in the evening. I fear that those who urge this have had more conversation with the chaperons than with the young ladies. Those who especially do honor to Class Day, and who, after the Seniors, take the most pleasure in it, are the "buds." Now who ever heard one of these complain of the length of a ball? No, no, it is absurd to suppose that such transparent sophistry should impose for a moment upon men who have learned their Barbara Celarent.
It may be said that, as the day last June was a success, and as every one had a delightful time, why go back to an old worn-out custom, since the innovation was not a failure? But did any one say that they had had enough of it? Did any one feel pleased that they had been compelled to confine their enjoyment to the evening, instead of being able to amuse themselves throughout the day? I think not.
It has been said that the difficulty in the way of electing officers will overthrow an attempt to restore the old ways. This argument smacks strongly of a too careful study of the troubles in the class of seventy-seven. The class of seventy-eight have always got on remarkably well together. They have had numerous meetings, all of which have been harmonious. There has never been the slightest complaint that one society has encroached upon the rights of others; and there is no reason why the Class-Day officers should not be elected as smoothly, as easily, and as satisfactorily as were the officers of the Sophomore dinner.
With the class of seventy-eight lies the decision of the question, not only whether there is to be an old-fashioned Class-Day next June, but also whether we shall ever again see what has delighted Harvard students and their friends for generations. The only Class Day that seventy-nine has seen took place in their Freshman year. Is it to be supposed that they will exert themselves to restore ceremonies which, provided they were treated in the canonical manner, they can only connect with a severe course of snubbing? With the present Senior class lies the power of killing or perpetuating Class Day, and may wisdom guide them in their action!