150 History of Wake Forest College
The Anniversary of Freedom's Birthday was celebrated by the Students of the
Wake Forest Institute, in a manner the most interesting, perhaps, ever witnessed in
any part of the Union; and, I am certain, an impression has been produced, that will
last as long as memory holds her seat in the minds of the many fair ones, who
graced by their presence and smiles this spirit-stirring scene.
For some days previous I had been a guest at the Institute, and was aware that a
celebration was intended, but never dreamed that it would be anything more than an
attempt to copy after similar ones in the Towns and Cities. In this, I was agreeably
disappointed, for it exceeded the utmost expectations of the warmest friends and
supporters of the establishment, and I am convinced, every beholder went away
perfectly delighted and satisfied with the proceedings of the day. I have seen in
Europe, as well as in this country, larger assemblages and more gorgeous displays,
but never anything like the one I am about to describe.
The sun had not quite raised his brilliant head above the horizon, when the iron-
tongued summoner tolled long and loud for matins. In a few moments, all the
dormitories sent forth their occupants, and a living stream was seen pouring into the
temporary chapel from all quarters. After prayer the beloved President, the Rev'd.
Mr. Wait, gave some wholesome advice to those under his fatherly protection and
dismissed them with a blessing. All was now bustle and activity, and the students
were seen walking forth in their holiday apparel, with smiling faces, and decorated
with the ribbon, or badge of their respective Societies. Carriages with "nature's last
and best," equestrians and pedestrians in groups, soon swelled into a little multitude;
friends met friends, parents their children, and guardians their wards.
"Smiles that might as well be tears," shone on every face, and the dew of
affection like pearls, sparkled bright in virtue's richest diadem. I turned my eyes
away, for I felt emotions within me that recalled the days of my boyhood in the far
distant land of my fathers; hastily I passed my hand across my brow, and hurried for
relief to the scene of the forthcoming ceremony.
The rostrum was erected in a grove a short distance from the house, which, for
classic beauty, might vie with those of the most celebrated of antiquity. Seats were
arranged in front of the orator's stand, and on either side semicircular ones for the
members of the two Societies.
After viewing the tasteful and modest decorations of the delightful spot, I
returned to breakfast. The air was refreshing, for the sun, as if determined to assist
in the proceedings of this memorable