Recent and hectic research into his moldy History 1 notes has told the Vagabond, with all that bluntness and clarity which characterized his first eager draughts of knowledge at Professor Merriman's fount so many "eras" ago, that Waterloo was an inconsequential little place near Brussels where a great British man called Wellington, whose family name was Wellesley, and a German man named Blucher, first recipient of the Iron Cross, were fortunate enough to crush a great French man named Napoleon on June 18, 1815. Napoleon, who once held a commission as second lieutenant of artillery, had put on a great show, but St. Helena was ahead.
Thirteen years previously, in 1802, the Congress of the struggling American republic had got around to founding an academy at an inconsequential little place on the Hudson called West Point "for the practical and theoretical training of young men for the national military service, who, upon satisfactorily completing the four-year course are eligible for commissions as second lieutenants in the United States Army." The Vagabond, lovable drain-trap for unimportant details and evanescent emotions that he is, finds himself vastly impressed by this very ordinary second lieutenant coincidence just now. Napoleon and West Pointers--both young men starting life on the same footing--as second lieutenants.
But let it be understood at once that Vag has no intent to draw a crude and obvious analogy. Some may reason, since this is a football day, that Vag is inferring that Napoleon was a good soldier who was eventually defeated; and that West Pointers are good soldiers who may meet the same fate today. This logic, however, is too shallow. Football is not war, nor is the stadium a Waterloo battlefield for either team. Columbia has already given the soldiers a taste of defeat; but then Napoleon came back strongly after his Leipzig setback. The Little Corporal once more reigned supreme for the Hundred Days--just about the length of a modern football compaign.
No, considering these facts, Vag will not predict or even analyze today's gridiron situation. He has preferred to toy with random history for the nonce. For him, the slight coincidence that Waterloo and West Point both begin with the letter "W" is alone quite enough to set the Vagabondian Underwood to growling out phrases.
Of course, this afternoon he will slouch over to Soldiers Field to watch the soldiers perform. As the cadets ripple past, he will be acutely conscious of the contrast of his rounded shoulders and his heterogeneous clothing with their trim appearance; but, being a Harvard man, he will probably choose to cover the embarrassment of his faults by proudly accentuating them. Nevertheless, once in the sheltering anonymity of the stadium crowd, he is sure that the squad of soldiers in black-and-gold uniforms on the field will be interesting to watch. They always are. But he will also have an appreciative eye for the other hundreds of soldiers in gray uniforms. They put on a great show too--those tall, handsome, straight, wholesome-looking second lieutenants.
And Vag must also remember to keep a closer watch on his Radcliffe girl. She thinks those uniforms are swell. Let there be no mutiny, young lady, lest Vag become the Wellington of your West Point Waterloo.