ONCE upon a midnight dreary, after an evening's grind over Thucydides and English 1, I walked out into the Yard, just at the hour when churchyards yawn, (Query, is it the exceeding sleepiness of the inhabitants that makes churchyards yawn?) to cool my throbbing brain.
Led by curiosity, I strolled into Memorial. The faint moonlight shining through the many-colored windows made stains, as though brandy-and-water had been spilt upon the pavement. Perhaps this thought was father to a wish.
By the pied piper of Hamelin! who were these four brightly clad figures seated at the tutor's table? As I quietly approached them, the one at the end of the table, who was scratching the end of his nose with a sword as though puzzled, spoke to his vis-a-vis, "???! Ante-up, Phil, ante-up! that cup of wather has gone t' yer head!"
"Aw, - confound you, Pam, aw, - I did n't drink it, you know, - aw, - I never drink, you know, - this is a temperance hotel, - I never even eat, you know, except 'Sweet food of sweetly uttered knowledge' that comes from the - aw - law pills below me, - aw."
"Hold yer whist, will yer?" returned the Greek, "and show up yer hand."
"It is poker we're playing, old fellow, not whist," said Chaucer.
??? O Jove-nurtured Geoffrey," replied Epaminondas. "Nothing of the kind, - you 're off, - I was brought up by hand," said the poet, for he was good at repartee.
"Sacramento, San Francisco! If zey talk less, zey would play better," said a gentleman with a wreath, which made him look most uncomfortable, without at all taking the place of a beaver as a head covering.
"Aw, - it is not the correct ki-bosh, you know, to talk so much, - aw, - I have four knaves," put in the hero of Zutphen.
"Zat will knave-r do, Sid, I have four queens more beautiful than day, - that remind me of my Beatrice - ah! Beatrice - Corpo di Venus! but she loved -" "Dry up," said the English poet. "I have four veray parfit gentil kings, - cela appropriates le gateau, n'est-ce-pas?"
"French, after the scole of Harvard atte Cambrydge," whispered Sidney.
"By Pluto's scrubby beard and all the stars of Olympus and the Boylston," shouted Epaminondas, "ye may be asy, me byes, 't is four aces I have! Whoop! whirra! "???! Well, I should cough!" And the general smiled a smile more dreadful than his own dreadful frown, and added that it reminded him strongly of Leuctra.
"Young man, ze need not address me as ole Pappy, I was never a father," said the divine comedian.
"I say, by Jove, you know, what - aw - bad pun, Chalky," exclaimed Sir Philip. "Let us have some cold tea - aw - and a new deal. My deal, you know." He dealt, and I regret to say, stacked the cards in a painfully amateurish way. I could tell what he was at all across the table. He produced two aces from his sleeve, too, but made a mistake in his deal, as he soon discovered.
"I'll bet twenty," said Chaucer, shoving his chips out. The chips were made of slabs of doughnut from the kitchen, cut thin, and beautifully polished to look like ivory. Epaminondas went him twenty better, and they continued to pile up chips in a dreadfully reckless manner, until there were doughnuts enough on the table to have killed all the ostriches between Cairo and Capetown.
Having used up all the available fiats, Epaminondas rose solemnly and said in a funereal tone, "Gen'lmen, I wish to say that there is no gum games allowed when Epaminondas is back of the bar; but I have four aces."
"The - the - Faculty-meeting - you say!" shrieked Chaucer. "S-SO HAVE I!" Up jumped Sidney with - "I say, fellows, you know;" but was immediately silenced by a handful of doughnut chips from Geoffrey. I was making tracks for the door about this time, but I heard a dreadful crash as I reached it. The table was upside down, with its legs stretched appealingly into the air, and only the Greek standing upright.
I noticed next morning at breakfast that Chaucer had a much less satisfied air than usual. The hair of Sidney, too, looked rumpled, and the copy of the Daily Advertiser, which he holds so conspicuously forward, had a look of having been up all night.