NEW YORK, Oct. 16, 1882. The session at Columbia has opened with somewhat of the old time life. The coming of a freshman class numbering between one hundred and one hundred and ten men adds much to the wonted activity of our affairs collegiate. '85 having put on sophomoric dignity begins to show some qualities not characteristic of funerals which were conspicuous by their absence last year. The present freshmen are for the most part large, well built men, and while the average age is about eighteen there are quite a number of them who long since passed their teens. The class looks as if it would make its mark in anything from dancing a German to playing foot-ball or rowing a race.
It was a matter of great surprise to a majority of the students that our freshmen so easily defeated their Harvard opponents on the Harlem last July. From the supreme indifference and inexcusable laziness of '85 we had come to regard that class as on a par with our lamented '82, which has been put down by many as the worst class Columbia has ever had.
The New London affair was certainly a most unfortunate conglomeration. The death of Mr. Benjamin was a blow which struck deep into the hearts of all Columbia students, for Benjamin was loved by all, and was a living example of that old saying, that the richest jewels are found in the smallest packages.
I cannot here discuss the subsequent events, which almost seem to have shattered the many ties of friendship which have hitherto bound us to "Fair Harvard." It had been the intention of Columbia to say nothing whatever in regard to the controversy through the press, and it was almost the unanimous opinion of the students that, owing to the well known fairness of Harvard students in general, the whole matter would be settled to the satisfaction of all parties, and that Columbia and Harvard would still continue on their former footing of friendliness. The endeavor, however, of the Harvard Boat Club to cast the blame and discredit of the fiasco upon Columbia induced the directors of the Boat Club to call a mass meeting of the students to set the true statement of the case before them and gain their consent for its publication. This statement has already been published in the New York papers, and I would recommend the students of Harvard who desire to get at the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to read, "mark, learn and inwardly digest," although, as a prominent daily of this city very aptly states, all Columbia need do for a complete vindication of her course in the matter, is to show the referee's report.
The action of the Columbia crew has been praised and sanctioned, not by the Columbia College Boat Club alone, but by the whole college in mass meeting assembled, where the use of any one man's thumb has little or no effect.
Our fall regatta has been abandoned, much to the disgust of '85, for that class felt sure of an easy victory in the class races. The reasons given for abandoning the regatta is that it interferes with our foot-ball prospects. What our foot-ball prospects are I really cannot say. We have had prospects ever since our foot-ball commenced, and if they are the same this year as they have been in years past, I would suggest that we hold two or three fall regattas, for the sole purpose of interfering with them.
The cane rush between the freshman and sophomore classes resulted in a hard-earned victory for the latter, and the privilege of supplying sundry thirsty seniors and juniors with the sparkling zythum fell to the lot of the former, who, it must be said, "did noble."
Lacrosse, which we all left last spring in a supreme state of deadness, seems to show some signs of life, and it is no uncommon thing to see long, lean and lanky looking individuals parading our so-called campus, seeking for recruits. The freshmen, always anxious to identify themselves with something, it matters not what, fall an easy prey to these prowlers, and before long we may expect to hear of the budding Columbia College Lacrosse Team, warranted harmless and safe to lose as many goals as there are to be lost. Mass meetings will then be called, and the Lacrosse Association will be squelched, only, Phoenix-like, to rise again.
A majority of the classes have met and organized. The Athletic Association has commenced work, and the fall games will be held on the Manhattan Athletic Grounds next Saturday, when we may look for a "busting of records." In this instance the "busting" will probably be at the wrong end, as the number of our athletes is not astonishingly large, and what few we have are for the most part astonishingly slow. The mile-walk will probably be the most interesting event of the day, owing to the variety of gaits which will be displayed. One freshman avows his intention of "running in the mile-walk," so if the Athletic Association chooses a judge who can tell a walk from a hop or a hop-skip-and-jump, there are chances for some fun with the freshman.
Prof. Price has been installed in his chair of English Literature, and has already become very popular with the students.
The trustees have this year provided us with a gymnasium, which, while it is small, is very neat and not at all gaudy. The students have begun work there already, and it is but natural to hope that by next spring Columbia may have increased as much in bone and sinew as she hopes to in brains.
T. C. S.