The Freshman Fence.


A gentleman who visited Yale with the '88 nine last spring gives the following account of this unique custom, which may be of interest to Harvard men who have not witnessed it, - especially to the '89 men, who, it is to hoped, will not witness it at all. * * * * "The 23rd of May last, - a day famous in Harvard athletic annals, - was a gloomy enough one from a freshman point of view; apart from the fact that the day itself opened in clouds and rain, the game which followed seemed to have partaken of the nature of the weather, and the ensemble was truly dismal. The line of herdics which had taken hopeful '88 men to the field, returned at a brisk trot with all their crimson banners carefully put out of sight; the Yale freshmen all this time, however, were howling themselves hoarse on the field, and waving great blue banners with a wild enthusiasm.

On reaching the New Haven House, Harvard men found the balconies filled with the fairest of New Haven beauties, and the streets crowded. The celebrated fences were occupied by a struggling throng of upperclassmen, who pushed and jostled each other in truly fraternal manner, waiting for the only victorious Yale team of 1885 to appear. A shout, then a roar, from the unwashed announce their appearance; down the long street in silence and precision the class of '88 marches with the proud team in advance and with blue banners flapping triumphantly to the breeze.

Their arrival is hailed by a yell from a thousand throats, and the plaudits of the fair ones in the balconies. On they come, till they are opposite the senior fence; "Halt," cries their leader, and the column comes to a rest. Then the seniors rise, and at the command of their chief give three hearty cheers for '88, who respond by three equally strong ones for '85. Acknowledging this courtesy, '85 gives three more cheers for the freshmen, who doff their hats and move on to the junior fence, where the same scenes are repeated. As they round the corner of Elm street and halt opposite the sophomore fence, their impatience increases, and scarcely has the final cheer been given when the word "Break ranks," is heard, and an indiscriminate rush for their precious fence ensues; the first, in their eagerness to sit upon the coveted fence are thrown pell-mell over the other side, and a struggling mass contests for the honor of being the first seated, fully five minutes elapsing before order is restored.

When comparative quiet at last reigns there, one loud voice calls for the '88 glee club; which now, hoarse with cheering, begins to sing the Yale anthem, with laudatory verses to '88, '87, '86 and '85; all egotistic references to freshman exploits being received with howls of derision by the upperclassmen. This song leads to others, and long after the darkness has shut down on the city, the freshmen remain seated on their cherished fence, discoursing sweet music, till the hour arrives for going to the freshman banquet. Such is the reward they earn for defeating a Harvard team; may the next freshman class be forced to relinquish their fence and their laurels to Harvard!"