Social Life, Recreations and Discipline 463
and since. Though generally obedient they often felt free to depart
somewhat from the strictest construction of the laws, when they
supposed they were doing no one harm. We have seen that they had
night suppers in violation of the rules. It was also against the rules to
have firearms, but in the early days many of the students had each his
own pistol. It was also against the rules to have intoxicating liquors or
drink them, but the students would sometimes surreptitiously play
with strong drink, escaping the notice of the watchful faculty. Buying
a jugful from some ready vendor and carrying Dick, the negro fiddler,
they would "dance around a stump and have a good time." But few
got drunk, or fought or got into serious trouble.11
The boys also found pleasure in teasing the members of the faculty
by ringing the college bell at the midnight hour and sometimes earlier
in the night. Often the ringer would ring until warned by a confederate
of danger and then escape, to take up the ringing again as soon as he
thought it safe. One night the bell was ringing at an early hour and
when the college officer appeared, it kept ringing, though no ringer
was in sight. Another member of the faculty came up and then
another, and finally all; the bell continued to be rung as if by spirit
hands; the beloved teachers were in a fret and stew but the students
were calm and had knowing faces; the bell continued to ring for half
an hour, until by accident a teacher caught his foot in a rope and ob-
served as he stumbled that the bell's regular ringing was interrupted;
following up his rope he traced it to a student's rocking chair, who
while studiously reading as if oblivious of the tumult around him was
regularly rocking to and fro and ringing the bell. Tradition says that
the professors were so glad to be relieved of their growing fear that
spooks were playing pranks with them
11 "I never knew of any case of drunkeness during my stay at College, but the
boys would sometimes buy a jugful and get Dick, the old negro fiddler, to go into
the woods and have a good time dancing around a big stump. One thing I can say in
the students' favor is that I never knew of a fight or any serious trouble while there."
Creecy, Wake Forest Student, XXVIII, 314.
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