Beginnings of the Literary Societies 151
day, kindly drew a vail across his burning brow; bright eyes beamed from beneath
brows of spotless white, illuminating with their glances every object on which they
fell, causing many a quick pulsation among the young lords of creation, and making
nature joyous in their lovely presence.
About eleven o'clock, the Philomathesian Society, under the command of their
captain, Mr. E. F. H. Johnson, was drawn up in military array in front of the
dwelling house, and presented a scene which I shall not easily forget. At the word of
the command every head was uncovered, for at that moment Mrs. Wait, the lady of
the President of the Institute, made her appearance on the balcony, attended by the
President of the Society and Mr. W. to present the banner. In lowering it to the
standard-bearer, (Mr. Wiley A. Atkinson), the following address was delivered by
that lady, in a clear distinct tone of voice, and was received with marked respect and
attention by the young gentlemen:
"Sir: In committing to your protection the banner of the Philomathesian Society,
permit me to express my sincere desire that all the members of this Association may
become highly distinguished in the principles of the Gentleman, the Scholar and the
Christian. Let the pure white of this standard, the emblem of innocence and purity,
characterize your future lives. Ever bind that Gospel to your hearts, which you have,
by the very significant emblem on one side of this banner, professed to hold in the
highest veneration. You are among the first sons of the Wake Forest Institute. Its
future character, in a great degree rests solely with you. Act nobly; and become its
pride and its glory."
At the conclusion every hat waived in the air.
The banner, now displayed in due form, fluttered in the breeze, and might almost
be said to keep time to the mellow strains of national music, like a thing of life. As I
looked on its white satin folds, with its golden emblems glittering in the sunbeams,
and read its unpretending motto,
"Esse quam videri malo,"
I could not help feeling a deep interest in the welfare of the youthful army. Every
eye seemed to have added to its brightness a tear of manly affection, and each
countenance bore the impress of a determination to support their motto, and protect
their banner from dishonour or insult. It was a goodly sight. When the music ceased,
the lady bowed, retired, and her salute was returned in the same respectful manner
as on her appearance. The Ensign now took his place, and the word was given to
March.
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