Society at Amherst, Folder 3: Public Ball - 1

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Somehow there crept into the college tendencies to mordernism [sic]
quite irrepressible. The most obvious of these was the decision of the
graduation class of '74 to finish their year with a public ball! As I
remember those who were on the commitee [sic] to accomplish this found it a
difficult task and had a most tedious and trying time of it. Only a few
of the men really wanted it, so beside all the practical details necessary
to putting the event through, there was the haunting fear of final failure
in charm and eclat. Palmer's hall in the top of the small block where the
town hall now stands was scrubbed up for the occasion and in evening light
subdued by necessity of oil lamps, was quite festive in appearance with
the rural decorations of daisies and evergreen. When the evening came, an
interesting dinner party of men at our own house caught the spirit of the
wicked precedent about to be established, and insisted upon strolling up
to over look the dancing from the gallery that ran across the end of the
hall. The young men looked very attractive as they made the grand promenade, --
and I well remember very distinctly that our present Congressman Gillett
led with the beautiful Miss Foote of New Haven, niece of the Reverend Dr
Jenkins. The ball grew merrier and less stiff as the hours grew small
till these novices must have been fully satisfied with their wicked ex
periment of the first ball ever given at Amherst in town or college. As
this happened also to be the same night of the President's reception, is it
strange that there were wonderings with aspersions cast on the distinguished
men who failed to appear on that honorable accoasion [sic]. And why not! Who
would not lament the loss of such guests as the Honorable Edward Gillett,
Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune, Samuel Bowles of the Republican, Dr
Storrs of Brooklyn, Judge Spofford of New Orleans? It was indeed a gallant
row to be misied [sic] and longed for by any host. The year following as no scismic [sic]
convulsion followed this departure, from venerated custom, there was