Eliot House Masters Lino Pertile and Anna Bensted announced their intention to step down as heads of the Eliot household in June after ten years at the helm in a Thanksgiving Day letter--uhh, narrative?--to the House. (The missive was a quarter of the required length of the final paper this FlyBy correspondent is currently attempting to write. And substantially more entertaining.)
The announcement begins with a conversation between Pertile and former University President/House namesake Charles W. Eliot. Pertile writes that he thought Eliot "spent fall and winter in Florida and only came back to Massachusetts in the spring, just before the crew races. That anyway is when I expected him to reappear, not now."
When the specter asks Pertile about his rumored departure, Pertile--a Dante scholar who has been notably involved, to say the least, with House crew--offers: “'Mr. Eliot, you see, this is our tenth year, and the third in which we hold the Agassiz Cup. I don’t think we should tempt fortune further...we have had such a wonderful run here for the past ten years, that to ask you and the other Gods'--he liked that a lot!--'to ask you and the other Gods for more'--he loved that!--'might be foolish…I mean, reckless, irritating too…You know, hubris and all that stuff…'"
Having sufficiently flattered Eliot, Pertile makes one final demand: "we must win all the crew races once more, we must keep the Cup and bring back the Plate, too. Will you help us?”
Eliot (the president) agrees.
"Then he suddenly stood up, came near me, gave me a high five, and shouting “Done!” he flew straight out of the window. Yes, out of the closed window! And by the time I looked out, I saw him happily flying free as a bird downstream over the Charles."
The conversation between Pertile and Eliot also suggested that new masters have not yet been set (Eliot: "I like new masters, they are so impressionable…When are they coming? Have we got a date yet?” Pertile: “Not quite yet, I’m afraid.). Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds will be responsible for selecting Pertile and Bensted's replacements. It will be the third set of Masters she will have installed since she took office in June 2008.