Judging by newspaper accounts of it, the annual freshman riot at Yale was a great success. As institutions, a class spread, or a picnic, or a jubilee may be well enough in their way, but Yale freshmen are sure that for downright fun a good, democratic riot, with bonfires to dance around, and bottles to throw, and instructors to throw at--why there's no comparison.
And what if there follows a little matter of probation for the whole class? Every freshman who has ever been to preparatory or high school knows that Edmund Burke demonstrated long ago that you can't indict a whole nation, or a whole class either for that matter.
With the possible exception of the Treaty of Versailles, no event within the last ten years is fraught with such momentous significance to the newspaper reading public as this last edition of the Yale riot. Certain facts concerning Yale are now established once for all.
In the first place, they really did have a fence at Yale. Heretofore, one was always hounded by the suspicion that that fence was another photographer's trick thrust in, like painted clouds, to give atmosphere. But it was a regular fence after all. The joke is on us.
In the second place, it is now proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that they have an English instructor at Yale. The papers all said so. And he was hurt it seems. His name was Bangs.
In the third place, the incident shows that Yale freshmen are very fond of examinations. At New Haven they celebrate beforehand. It must have been an inspiring sight, all those enthusiastic young faces glowing in the light of the bonfire in anticipation of the happy examination hours to come.
Finally, in spite of their warlike exteriors and their ruthless destruction of fences and instructors, Yale freshmen are at bottom quite tractable. When the merry-making was at its height, with Mr. Bangs at the bottom of the pile, someone said: "Willie, go to your room!" Willie hesitated--and was lost, for the voice said: "William, go to your room this instant, do you hear? or we'll call back the crew at Gales Ferry!" And William fled with contrition in his heart; and the most successful Yale riot in recent years had come to an end.