Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ivy beleaguered

From Dizzyhead Paul's Weekend Stubble, a charming F. Scott Fitzgerald epistle about some good-natured Princeton roughhousing:

Tonight is the cannon rush so if you never hear from me again you’ll know I died a freshman. (gentle pathos.) The “horsing” (or hazing) is going on now. Its very foolish. Freshies have to carry their cap in their mouths and by the way our uniforms are some class (not)...

(As Paul points out: Great pre–Wayne's World use of "not"!)

The incident brought to mind this tidbit about James Fenimore Cooper, who was expelled from Yale under mysterious circumstances:

[Biographer] Lounsbury could conclude only that "a frolic in which he was engaged during his third year was attended by consequences more serious than disfavor." Cooper family tradition is that he was expelled for an explosion set off in a friend's room by "the clever use of a keyhole." Other biographes recount a prank in which a young man trained a donkey to sit in a professor's chair. Sstill another rumor proposed that Cooper had set off a bomb in chapel. Interestingly, Cooper's brother had been expelled from Princeton in 1802 for allegedly taking part in burning down Nassau Hall. —Judith Ann Schiff, Yale Alumni Magazine (Nov/Dec 2006)

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